The race to deliver the best 450cc motocross bike on the planet grabbed another gear in 2017 when Honda released its all-new 2017 CRF450R to challenge the recent dominance of Yamaha’s YZ450F and the never-ending onslaught from the aggressive European companies, namely the KTM 450 SX-F and its fully revived sister, the Husqvarna FC 450.
With Kawasaki merely revising its 2017 KX450F after a complete makeover of the green machine in 2016, and with Suzuki holding fast with its RM-Z450 that hasn’t been updated since 2015, we figured it was time to round up these six combatants and pit them against each other to see just who is delivering the goods in the 450cc class.
But first a quick caveat: KTM agreed to join our 450cc motocross shootout only with the stipulation that we pit its 450 SX-F Factory Edition against the other machines rather than use its standard 450 SX-F. Why? Simple: KTM’s SX-F test fleet was already depleted, and the $10,399 Factory Edition was all it had available to us. In full disclosure, we polled all of the other OEMs to make sure there would be no cries of “foul!” before agreeing to KTM’s offer. Also, bear in mind that price would be an important factor in our Scorecard criteria.
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