450 OFF-ROAD SHOOTOUT: The Beta 450RR, Honda CRF450X, Husaberg FE450, Husqvarna 450TXC, Kawasaki KLX450R, KTM 450XC-W, Suzuki RMX450Z and Yamaha WR450F

 
(9/28/2010)

While the dirt bike world is flourishing, the economy is still struggling, and the off-road market reflects this dichotomy. Suzuki re-renters the off-road stage with the RMX450Z, which is virtually a brand-new machine. In contrast, the Honda CRF450X, the Kawasaki KLX450 and the Yamaha WR450 are all virtually unchanged. And then there’s the heavily modified KTM 450XC-W, the brand-new Beta 450RR, an updated Husaberg FE450, and the very race-oriented Husky 450TXC.

We tossed all of these machines into the veritable Dirt Bike salad bowl, tested them in a variety of terrains and came away with a fairly normal spread of opinions as to which machine is the best off-roader. The off-road world is broad, and building the perfect machine for both the desert and ugly enduro trails is pretty much a pipe dream. The bottom line is that it depends: Are you big, tall or short? Are you experienced, new to the sport, like to bump and jump, or prefer ugly ribbons of rock-laced trail? During our testing, each of these electric-start machines revealed its personality, and different testers were drawn to different bikes.

Here are the parameters we set up: Every machine was equipped with an FMF Q exhaust. While the enhanced flow really targeted the heavily stifled Asian equipment, it also helped with the Euro contingent as well. We rate the Q as the top off-road muffler made, and it helped flatten and equalize the field as far as power and noise were concerned.

Each machine was fit with Dunlop MX51 intermediate tires, both fore and aft. We have come to trust their grip, the wear factor is good, and they are strong performers in a variety of terrain.

Following testing, each machine was weighed on the incredibly precise Dirt Bike scale (accurate to 1.2334 attoparsecs to furmans) and then dyno tested by FMF Racing. We will also give you the bike’s speed in gears, and this, too, is courtesy of FMF Racing.

Only two of the bikes (the Suzuki RMX and the Yamaha WR) had throttle restrictors, and these were removed. In the case of the RMX, a Yosh Cherry Bomb was fit to map it richer for the higher-flowing FMF Q.

So, here goes—and enjoy. There isn’t a moldy apple in the bunch, though it is an eclectic mix of sizes, powerbands and handling traits.


BETA 450RR

The Italian Beta 450RR is pretty much an all-new machine for 2010. Not only with respect to the powerplant (a dual-overhead-cam, Keihin-carbureted, six-speed with separate oil chambers for the tranny and engine), but also the chassis, suspension and bodywork. Our initial testing of the 450RR revealed that it is a wonderful machine and a serious threat to the KTM-dominant world.

STRENGTHS:
This is a double-edged sword, as both the powerband and thin chassis with plush suspension make the Beta a real contender for extreme conditions and ugly trails. The power is strong, tractable, and readily on tap (not quite as instant as the ’Berg’s); the clutch pull is light, and the Zoke fork and the Sachs shock swallow hack and trail litter with a hefty appetite.

GROANS:
As soft and plush as the suspension is, faster trails and desert applications reveal that it’s too cushy at race speeds. There’s a tiny bit of vibration through the bars and, incredibly, the clutch pull is almost too light (making the engagement feel weak).

THE CRUNCH:
The Beta is a truly superb off-road machine. It makes stunning power, belching down low with tractable and competitive juices that hunger for tight, nasty terrain. It’s thin, light feeling, and fit with excellent off-road bling like the lights, hand guards, brakes and plastic. It falls a bit short of the KTM in suspension versatility and broadness of the powerband, but not too far.

RATINGS:
Skid plate: (A) Aluminum unit with good coverage, a tight fit, and wings protect the water pump and ignition.

Airbox access: (B) Side panel access is a bit clumsy, though the air filter latch system is sano.

Seat: (A-) Good consistency and feel. Push-button removal!

Computer/odo: Electronic, resettable, fairly small thin readout.

Brakes: (B+) Braking rotors and Nissan brakes equal good stopping power everywhere.

Overall suspension: (B) Plush and very compliant through obstacles.

Overall power: (B+) Excellent bottom, clean jetting; loves tough stuff.

Clutch feel: (B) The lightest in the shootout, but almost doesn’t have any feel.

Overall fit and finish: (B+) Has all the goods and is top-of-the-line at that.

Ridability in stock condition: (B+) Tough trails are its home.

PRICE: $8499; WEIGHT: 258 lb.

KYLE REDMOND
6’1”/ 175 lb.
Extreme Enduro/Endurocross racer
“The Beta gets third. It feels the lightest and handles amazingly on tight trails. The suspension is great for tight, too soft and scary for fast, and the engine goes flat on top.”

Tod Sciacqua
5’8”, 170 lb.
Vet A rider, Vet Expert motocrosser
“This bike was a big surprise for me; I just don’t like the design and look of the plastic. The ergos were great, and the suspension was excellent for tight trail riding.”

Adam Booth
5’8”, 175 lb.
Vet A Enduro rider
“The Beta motor is neck-and-neck with the KTM motor; pumping out perfect off idle power, making negotiating nasty trails a treat.”


HONDA CRF450X

How good is the X? Team JCR racers Quinn Cody and Kendal Norman have given back their MX-based R’s in favor of the X, and both practice lots of moto. The Honda CRF450X has matured nicely; the engine is broad, versatile and very strong. It’s still carbureted, though the jetting is pretty close, and the power is smooth in its stock, heavily muffled state. You can take this bike out bone stock and ride.

STRENGTHS:
It runs strong out of the crate. With a little work, you can locate volumes of power and get it up to a very competitive state. The suspension is very middle-of-the-road. It’s stiff enough to keep the bike up in the stroke for faster terrain, but it still has some plushness. Ergonomically, the machine is tight and designed for a more compact rider. Clutch pull is easy, the brakes are strong enough, and if you’re under 5 foot 10” inches, you’ll love the layout.

GROANS:
It’s a tight ergonomic package. If you’re 6 feet or taller, you had better be flexible or have good knees. All of our bigger testers felt cramped. No hand guards, a 7/8-inch handlebar and a heavy feel to the front end drew sighs.

THE CRUNCH:
This machine has morphed into a great off-road bike that has a penchant for speed. It is extremely durable and has been around long enough that there are hordes of experts who can dial-in, beef-up, modify and coax more power out of the machine.

RATINGS:
Skid plate: (B+) Good coverage, tight fit, and plastic wings protect the water pump and ignition.

Airbox access: (B+) Tight confines through side-door access; wingnut closure.

Seat: (B) Good foam.

Computer/odo: (C+) Fully mechanical odo; no clock features.

Brakes: (B) Good feel and strong enough.

Overall suspension: (B) Targets middle-of-the-road off-road.

Overall power: (B-) Will flame on tight trails; big hit in the middle.

Clutch feel: (B+) Smooth and excellent.

Overall fit and finish: (B+) Good lines, tight ergos and durability highlight the X.

Ridability in stock condition: (B)

PRICE: $7899; WEIGHT: 259 lb.

KYLE REDMOND
“I like the Honda CRF450X best. It feels like a motocross bike, handles well, and the suspension seemed well-suited for my style.”

Tod Sciacqua
“The X is in contention for the top spot. It has great brakes, smooth power delivery, great ergos and balanced suspension.”

Tom Webb
6’2”, 220 lb.
Senior A rider
“I’ve ridden a CRF450X for years, and it has huge potential but has the tightest ergonomic package of the bunch, and as my knees continue to loose flexibility, the high pegs and low seat height knock it down the list for me.”


HUSABERG FE450

The Husaberg FE450, with its unique engine layout and fuel injection, makes incredible power that is flat instantaneous. The Husaberg also has a closed-loop fuel-injection system, a plastic subframe that carries the gas low and back, and has an air filter up by the gas tank. It is a unique machine. It requires a different attitude when you’re riding, and its appetite is for ugly.

STRENGTHS:
The strongest feature of the ’Berg is power; it’s all about now! It has great flywheel feel, will poke at zero revs, and nearly refuses to stall. A great clutch with an easy pull (Magura) lets you snug through the properly geared six-speeds. Built in the KTM factory using KTM parts, the Husaberg has all of the right bells and whistles. WP suspension, an O-ring chain, Nekan bulge bars, and a Magura hydraulic clutch highlight the ensemble.

GROANS:
Interestingly enough, the handling is the biggest gripe. The machine feels unbalanced, wheelies too easily on uphills, and lacks good front-end bite under acceleration. The shock is a pain to work on (it has to be removed to change the preload), and the suspension feels divey up front and wallows too much at the back. It needs a radiator fan, as it goes into the steamer mode too easily.

THE CRUNCH:
This is a love it or hate it machine. It has the best engine in the shootout, and the performance is spectacular. It craves downhills, ruts and nasty obstacles; yet it rears for the clouds when climbing even the smallest hill. It starts easily, but needs setup to bring a smile to all—and we’re still working on that.

RATINGS:
Skid plate: (A-) Plastic, broad coverage, tight fit, one bolt to remove it.

Airbox access: (B+) Pull cord to remove the seat and there sits the filter. Great in deep water.

Seat: (B+) Good foam, removal is easy.

Computer/odo: (B+) Small face (hard on older eyes), unique programming, but excellent overall.

Brakes: (B) Front very strong; rear sticky in some situations.

Overall suspension: (C) Soft and divey; lacks a planted feel. The shock is hard to work on.

Overall power: (A) There are no weaknesses.

Clutch feel: (A) Great feel, perfect ease.

Overall fit and finish: (B+) Great parts, very quiet, adjustable ergos.

Ridability in stock condition: (B-) Wildly bizarre. You either love it or cringe.

PRICE: $9498; WEIGHT: 251 lb.

KYLE REDMOND
“The ’Berg is unbalanced and a handful for me to control. It feels light, but really weird.”

Adam Booth
“The Husaberg has simply the best EFI off-road motor, period. It is smooth and does not flame out; even in situations I’d swear that it would to cough and die.”

Tom Webb
“The Husaberg powerplant is flat incredible, but the combination of the fuel carried in the subframe and oddly sprung suspension that promotes a seesaw effect. This turns the wagon into a handful when you’re climbing.”

HUSQVARNA 450TXC

The 450TXC is the only dedicated racer in this group. It was designed for closed-course off-road racing like GNCCs, but it still meets off-road requirements in all 50 states. The TXC differs from the company’s dual-sport TE in several ways: It’s carbureted, not fuel injected; it has a more aggressive KYB fork, new Sachs shock settings, chassis refinements and absolutely no gadgetry in the form of enduro bling.

STRENGTHS:
The Husky feels like a race bike, not a trail machine. It offers good, strong and throbby power mated to stiff suspension that stays up more in its stroke than any machine in the shootout. Lacking the normal enduro paraphernalia of the other steeds, it screams to be ridden hard and has a lighter gait and a very moto feel. When you push the button, it starts quicker than any of the other bikes. It has a stellar titanium muffler and a light-pulling hydraulic clutch.

GROANS:
The Husky is a bit of a vibrator, and the roll-on zest of the power is fairly abrupt. While the suspension is far better than last year’s, it transfers a fair bit of the trail back to the rider. Jetting was drastically affected by elevation (more so than on the other carbureted bikes), and we would really like to have a kickstand.

THE CRUNCH:
Husqvarna is definitely a player for the rider looking for a legal off-road race bike, but it lacks some of the softness of a true enduro bike. The power is pretty throbby and in-your-face, but the bike likes to be pushed and rewards the rider who attacks.
 
RATINGS:
Skid plate:
(A-) Good coverage, tight fit, plastic wings protect the water pump and ignition.

Airbox access: (A-) Quick detach saddle, battery inside hurts available room.

Seat: (B+) Good firm foam that doesn’t break down.

Computer/odo: None

Brakes: (B) The front is strong and very progressive.

Overall suspension: (B-) Definitely race-oriented. Lacks a plush factor for slow, rocky terrain.

Overall power: (B) May be a bit much for the soft, easy-rider crowd.

Clutch feel: (A-) Magura hydraulic unit. Soft pull and easy.

Overall fit and finish: (B) Fit with all good parts; lacks a sleek finish, but is open through the engine and easy to work on.

Ridability in stock condition: (B-) For trailing; (B+) For racing.

PRICE: $7699; WEIGHT: 259 lb.

KYLE REDMOND
“The Husky was a good all-around bike, and I felt confident going for some big stuff.”

Tod Sciacqua
“This was my least favorite of all the bikes. It had a lot of motor vibration, and the rider ergos were all wonky for me.”

Adam Booth
“The Husky is the most race-oriented machine in the bunch; the suspension is set up for hammering through big bumps, not absorbing the little trail nasties.”


KAWASAKI KLX450R

 

Kawasaki proved that an off-road 450 could be quiet, meet emission standards and still run right without modifications. With just a sprinkling of KX parts and Pro Circuit engine work, this machine can morph into a very palatable off-road-based 450 and has found a following among trail riding enthusiasts.

STRENGTHS:
The KLX runs clean and smooth. It’s quiet, and there are no rejetting or airbox modifications required. The Kawasaki is a gentle bike with a very smooth power delivery and the second plushest suspension (after the Yamaha). It also has fairly light steering for a big bike and great clutch pull for a normal cable design.

GROANS:
The power is mild to the point of overkill, with no one area showing any robustness. It’s a beast, tipping the scales at a hefty 268 pounds. The bars are old-world 7/8-inch Renthals (though we like the bend), and (like all of the Asian machines) it lacks hand guards.

THE CRUNCH:
The Kawasaki isn’t great at any one thing, but it’s pretty good at everything. The good news is that you can always make it into more of a racer, but you can’t always make a race bike into a trailbike. Two years ago, we tested a full Pro Circuit-modified machine, and it had suspension that craved more speed abuse and had an infusion of power that significantly broadened its appeal.

RATINGS:
Skid plate: (B) Plastic, good coverage.

Airbox access: (C+) Side-door access, though it’s not hinged, so the door pops off.

Seat: (B-) Foam breaks down quickly.

Computer/odo: (B+) Easily resettable odo/clock.

Brakes: (B) Decently strong and progressive.

Overall suspension: (B-) Plush; stays up in stroke; too soft for any desert or speed trails.

Overall power: (C+) Smooth, yet a little too soft everywhere.

Clutch feel: (B) Easy pull, and good engagement on cable system with AOF.

Overall fit and finish: (B-)

Ridability in stock condition: (B-) Good trailer; soft and easy.

PRICE: $7499; WEIGHT: 258 lb.

KYLE REDMOND
“To me, the KLX is kinda confusing; you feel like you can go really fast, and then you find yourself on the ground. It’s a lot of bike between your legs and is a handful climbing hills.

Tod Sciacqua
“This bike would be perfect in Baja on long, fast dirt roads. It just feels the heaviest out of all the bikes.”

Adam Booth
“Turning the KLX requires keeping the head over the front end to avoid pushing, and it requires a lot of rider input to stay on the chosen path. The KLX and the RMX are within a pound on the scale, but out on the trail, the KLX feels much heavier.”


KTM 450XC-W



This machine dominated our shootout last year, and for 2010, KTM made some excellent modifications to the frame, its geometry and the suspension. It comes in the Six Days Edition, which includes a skid plate, quick-pull axle, electric fan, Supersprox sprocket and air bleeders. The engine is carbureted via a Keihin FCR unit. It’s a single-overhead-cam six-speeder. It has a kick-starter in addition to the button, and it keeps its engine oil separate from the gearbox oil.

STRENGTHS:
There’s not a lot to complain about on the KTM. It makes great power, the suspension is very plush, it corners and it comes setup so that you can attack tight obstacles, speed terrain with G-loads and whoops in stock trim. The jetting is dead-on, the clutch pull is light (and perfect via the Magura hydraulic unit), and the muscle of the motor pulls the six-speed gearbox through varied terrain quite wonderfully.

GROANS:
The rear brake tends to get sticky and yanks on the linkless rear shock action on severe downhills. Our only other gripe was with the electric start; it doesn’t like to fire up in gear.

THE CRUNCH:
There are no weaknesses. It won’t boil over because of the electric fan. The suspension is plush, yet stiff enough to chew on faster terrain (better than any machine in the shootout). The ergos have the most adjustability. It has great running gear at the chain and sprocket. The bulge bars are strong, and the grips are perfect half waffles.

RATINGS:
Skid plate: (A) Superb plastic unit that is removable via a dzus fastener.

Airbox access: (B) The pop-off access plate is nice, but it is sometimes hard to refit. The filter has a swing-latch to hold it down. The filter requires attention when fitting, so there are no sealing gaps.

Seat: (B) Good foam; single bolt removal located under rear fender (tends to clog with mud).

Computer/odo: (B+) Small face (hard on older eyes), unique programming, but excellent overall.

Brakes: (B) Front very strong, rear sticky in some situations.

Overall suspension: (A-) Does everything quite admirably for a broad range of riders.

Overall power: (A-) The only negative is when you get up in altitude and the jetting comes into play.

Clutch feel: (A) Great feel; perfect ease.

Overall fit and finish: (A)

Ridability in stock condition: (A-)

PRICE: $8798; WEIGHT: 251 lb.

KYLE REDMOND
“The motor was smooth, especially for trails, and I think it is slightly better than the Beta, but the Beta handles better.”

Adam Booth
“The KTM motor is amazing; it never flames out and pumps out ultra-smooth power. The KTM suspension does it all the best; it eats up ugly rocky trail and has good enough resistance to bottoming to handle faster terrain. This bike is the best—easily!”

Tom Webb
“KTM 450XC-W rates first in my world. Best power, best suspension and best overall handling package. Too, it requires nothing in mods to gain this status.”


SUZUKI RMX450Z

Perhaps the most anticipated machine of the year, the Suzuki RMX450Z rates as one of the strongest-handling machines of the shootout. The button-start machine uses a similar aluminum chassis to the Z, has softer cam timing to promote tractability, is fuel-injected, and has a penchant for fast, carving trails.

STRENGTHS:
Cornering is the RMX’s core, and fine-line carving makes it one of the best. Mate this to a very strong powerplant with good bottom and a serious mid-range, and the result is a machine that has a moto background, softened into an off-roader. It’s an easy starter, is fuel-injected, and has 18-inch wheels, lights and all of the enduro jewelry that the trail rider craves.

GROANS:
The clutch pull is stiff and lacks feel. The main reason is the cable, which has a 90-degree bend at the cases. It flexes too much, and all engagement feel gets flushed. We installed a shorter RMZ250 cable and this helped hugely! Still, the pull is too stiff. You have to purchase a Cherry Bomb from Yosh to richen the mapping, and if tight, cobby trails are your forte, the suspension will be too stiff and hacky. The RMX is the second-heaviest machine in the shootout at 267 pounds.

THE CRUNCH:
The RMX isn’t perfect, but the pluses far outweigh the minuses. Change the clutch cable (hopefully Motion Pro will make one soon), make the necessary FI updates, remove the throttle stop, and go tear it up. This machine is a total handler, kills for the corner and rails like a motocrosser.

RATINGS:
Skid plate: (B+) Plastic, good coverage, tight fit to keep mud from collecting.

Airbox access: (B+) Fairly tight confines through side-door access.

Seat: (B) Good foam.

Computer/odo: (B+) Several functions, including clock and resettable odo.

Brakes: (B) Strong, good feel.

Handling: (A-) The best cornering traits of the contestants.

Overall suspension: (C-) For tight, rocky terrain; (B) For anything fast with bumps.

Overall power: (B+) Good bottom to mid with an excellent mid-range. Pulls nicely on top.

Clutch feel: (C-) Stiff, lacks feel, and engagement is the worst of all the machines.

Overall fit and finish: (B) The RMX is fit with good enduro hardware (though it lacks hand guards!) and starts easily. The FI (once equipped with the Cherry Bomb) is a joy, handling elevation and extreme conditions far better than the carbureted machines.

Ridability in stock condition: (D) This is probably being too generous. You have to remove the throttle stop to climb out of the driveway. It’s an easy fix, but it’s odd that the WR and RMX are the only two using throttle stops.

PRICE: $8399; WEIGHT: 267 lb.

Tod Sciacqua
“The slim motocross-like ergos and the responsive motor made this bike my favorite enduro bike in the group. The bike just rails corners with ease.”

Adam Booth
“The suspension isn’t plush on the RMX; it deflects off roots and rocks, making slow, technical trail riding a tense situation. The clutch pull is way too stiff and the engagement is mushy, causing flame-outs on slow trails at awkward times.”

Tom Webb
“I just love the way the bike handles, and other than the merciless abuse my left index finger receives from the stiff pull, I can go fast and hard with more confidence than any of the other machines.”


YAMAHA WR450F

 

The fact that Team AM Pro Yamaha races a WR450 in the GNCC proves that it has the mettle to be competitive at a high level of racing. In stock trim, you must remove some of the noise impediments that are installed (really closed off exhaust, throttle limiter), but after that, its focus is tight trailing. In the right conditions, it is a strong performer. It has smooth power, very plush suspension and an ease of riding that rated highly with all our testers.

STRENGTHS:
The Yamaha’s suspension is wonderfully plush. This machine loves first- and second-gear trails, and ugly works just fine. The chassis promotes good habits; the power is packed with torque, and it doesn’t want to flame out. The machine is fit with quality parts like the Pro Taper handlebar, O-ring chain and fairly broad ergos.

GROANS:
In tight trails that are boney and hacky, we smile, get her up to speed and the WR wallows, dives and cringes at successive whoops. It doesn’t like to fire up in gear, is a shade obnoxious until it warms up, and the lack of hand guards is a head scratcher. Ground clearance is an issue, promoted by soft suspension that lets the beefy machine settle too low.

THE CRUNCH:
This is a focused trailbike with the potential for a larger vision with proper suspension mods. Still, in its element, the Yamaha WR450 is a strong performer. And now that Paul Whibley is racing one, we know that you can carve off lots of weight and easily modify the power to chew on the versatile off-road world.      

RATINGS:
Skid plate: (C) Good coverage, but too gappy and allows easy access to mud.

Airbox access: (B+) Fairly tight confines through side-door access.

Seat: (B) Good foam.

Computer/odo: (B+) Several functions, including clock and resettable odo.

Brakes: (B) Strong; good feel.

Overall suspension: (B+) For tight, rocky terrain; (C) For anything fast with bumps.

Overall power: (B-) Good bottom to mid with decent peak revs.

Clutch feel: (B) Good feel, nice engagement, lever pull could be easier.

Overall fit and finish: (B) The WR is a workhorse, and if maintained will stick around. The ergos are smooth—just roomy enough to meet the needs of taller guys.

Ridability in stock condition: (D) Like the RMX this is probably being too generous. You have to remove the throttle stop to break the law. It’s an easy fix, but we still find it odd that everyone else has figured a way around it. PRICE: $7499; WEIGHT: 257 lb.

Tod Sciacqua
“The WR is great for smaller guys—it just fits my size. The ergos are awesome; just change out the pipe and jetting, and the motor comes to life!”

Adam Booth
“I prefer tight, horrible trails, and I like the softer power off idle and plush suspension on the WR.”

KYLE REDMOND
“I like the WR motor; it’s very smooth and torquey with lots of power. The suspension was too soft for me in stock form, and it’s weird; the footpegs feel low and high at the same time. It has a small rider compartment.”

 

CONCLUSION: Eight ways from Sunday
The KTM 450XC-W stands alone at the top. It has the best motor and best suspension. It’s the lightest, most durable and it handles well. Improvements over last year come mainly in the form of a new chassis and fork offset, which promote better stability and a planted feel in the turns.

Finishing an impressive second is the Beta 450RR. This machine rates high with all of the testers, and if extreme riding is your thing, then this bike may be the best in the business.

As for the rest, the pecking order that follows isn’t random, but completely depends on personal preference. Shorter riders loved the Honda CRF450X for its great power and good handling. Riders craving swoopy trails that put a premium on precision loved the Suzuki RMX. No bike corners as well. The Husaberg was both adored and loathed, more so than any bike in the evaluation. Right in the middle came the Yamaha WR450, and in the tight trails portion it rated at the top of the heap. Husky’s 450TXC rated higher with bigger more aggressive riders, and the Kawasaki drew applause for its out-of-the-box trail ability and smooth suspension. In the end, we had a hoot just beating them all up. Editor’s note: Organizing eight motorcycles for a group photo is tough, especially when you get done and find out Boothy was out frolicking in the woods aboard the Yamaha while everyone was handling the group photo and no one noticed until it was all shot and done. 

Comments:
Saturday, October 09, 2010 1:34:40 PM by rcmx67
I love these tests but sometimes find them baffling. I have the WR in the test and find the comments about durability to be way out there. There is a very compelling reason to buy the Yamaha and it's durability. A quick search of the forums will render years of feedback where you can quickly come to the conclusion that if you want a bomb-proof motor go with the WR. The same can be said of the KTM but not the Honda or some of the other brands. The fact that you don't mention that if you buy the Honda you will most likely be replacing valves in a short time shows that your articles lack details that make them really usable. Combine that with the fact that service and parts are not readily available for several of the other brands and you really end up with a 3 or 4 bike shootout for most guys. And, once you throw in reliability it's a two bike shootout. Your test results only judge mostly stock ridability charateristics which are only one factor in a larger equation.
-----------------------------
rcmx
Friday, January 21, 2011 6:37:34 AM by spazmoso
im agreeing with rcmx67 the hondas valve train is pure garbage,and now after more people on the forums i read own KTMs i find their durability to be questionable also oil changes every 2 hrs so they dont have a catastophic head failure is not durability to me,its not the consumers fault 1 failure of any brand and we start to take home mechanics very seriously,this never happened with the 2 stroke,thats where im headed next time,although my wr450 is staying in my stable also
-----------------------------
spazmoso
Wednesday, February 02, 2011 12:24:50 PM by YZ450F and Me
I work with dirtbikes alot as a service manager. KTM's are designed different and have high maintenence but are good in the woods. WR's and other Yamaha's are the best Japanese bikes I think, and have the best valve train maintenence and usually do not have any issues unless the rider did something to it. As for other bikes, I can not say because I don't see them here, but I'd like to ride them.
-----------------------------
-Z-
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 9:46:02 AM by aa21830
Durability and cost of ownership are rarely addressed in magazine shootouts. These are basically first-impression tests, which is fine, but most of us are looking for more than that when considering spending our own money on a motorcycle. I enjoy reading the organized, coherently written magazine tests, and I will occasionally buy a copy of Dirt Bike to read their opinions, but I don't look here for advice on which bike to buy. I consult with people who ride similarly to me and spend their own cash on bikes and parts. Thanks to the Internet, thousands of those people are accessible with a mouse and a few keystrokes.
Monday, July 25, 2011 4:15:12 PM by GasGas68
If you want a good reliable bike go with a Gas Gas. These 2 strokes are bullet proof. I laugh when I hear these new 4 stroke owners crying about valve adjustments and oil changes every two hours WTF? And this is supposed to be an advancement in technology? Screw a 4-stroke! What happened to the XR? I'll tell you it was to reliable and wasn't making Honda enough money in the service department. I wouldn't have a CRF if you gave it to me. I have a friend that his won't crank right now because of the valves. Go Gas Gas and go two stroke you won't regret it!
-----------------------------
Todd
Monday, March 05, 2012 1:02:03 PM by Ward
This article is very helpful to me as is the whole March 2012 magazine, which I actually bought! Like was said above ..... in REAL LIFE, the cost of FUTURE ownership is as important to some of us.
-----------------------------
Ward
650 KLR, DL1000, XR1200

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WARNING: Much of the action depict­ed in this magazine is potentially dan­gerous. Virtually all of the riders seen in our photos are experienced ex­perts or professionals. Do not at­tempt to duplicate any stunts that are be­yond your own capabilities. Always wear the appropriate safety gear.

Copyright 2008 Hi-Torque Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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