|2010 450cc Motocross Bike Comparo|
— By Mark WillisWell, the dust has settled on testing the new 2010 model 450cc machines from all the manufacturers, so it time to re-visit and give the low down between the models.
I will break this down into what I feel are the most important areas.
— Power plant
“The Donk” ….well this is a hard one to pick. None of the 450 donks could be described as lacking in power.
I really enjoy the balls that the Kawasaki engine offers, but the new Yamaha just inches out the competition thanks largely to its incredible ease of tuning through the handheld EFI adjustment tool.
Yamaha has revolutionized the way we tune our motorcycles with their affordable ($399) plug and play tuner. This handy little PDA style gizmo has the ability to change the characteristics of the engine markedly and incredibly easily. Major kudos must go the boys back at Yamaha HQ for devising this unit as it is hard to envisage how it could be improved upon. Small, light, easy to carry and easy to use it is a triumph of modern design in that it makes complex changes to the Yamaha’s engine management system as simple as loading songs on to an Ipod.
The Honda engine is quite an improvement over last year.
The KTM was surprisingly strong yet rideable.
The Suzuki had incredible torque and tractability.
But overall the new Yamaha wins the power plant award.
The overall feel of a motorcycle is a combination of chassis and suspension.
In 2010, I feel that Yamaha has got it right again.
The overall feel over a range of different surfaces saw the Yamaha perform impeccably. A great range of adjustment and the fact that it has a new chassis design has obviously benefitted its cause.
Honourable mentions in this department go to all other bikes!
Suspension-wise and link ratio-wise there is not too much to differ, other than personal preference.
The Honda has the best ability to hold a tight line mid corner, thanks in part to its slightly shorter trail, and the Suzuki is a great all round package.
One word … 3 letters .. KTM, nobody comes close.
The brembos that are fitted on the KTM as standard are nothing short of sensational.
The Husky comes in behind the KTM with the Japanese manufacturers left trying to figure out what they need to do to compete in this area…
To look at (and this is probably the most individual category of all), I really like the styling of the new Yamaha. Ergonomically however it is let down a little by the fact that it feels a little wide across the radiator shrouds.
Honda has done a wonderful job in making a 450 that really feels like a 250. It’s slim and sharp and great to sit on.
The simple and spacious layout on the KTM was nice and the Kawasaki has a good overall feel.
But the Honda is overall the winner for me in this category.
Yamaha have raised the bar for 2010 with some great features and well thought out ideas that make it stand out from the crowd. By a reasonable margin, we unreservedly name the YZ450F as MCNEWS.COM.AU’s Best Open Class Motocrosser for 2010.
As is proven on a weekly basis, the best riders will win regardless of colour. For us though it has been a great adventure sampling the best each manufacturer can offer.
Let’s hope that the bar gets raised again in 2011 and by the sounds of it, it is already being lifted by KTM with their ground breaking new 350 SX-F. Time will tell whether the 350 capacity will be the new benchmark, but at least they are trying something different.
A big thanks to all the manufacturers for inviting MCNEWS.COM.AU to test their bikes. It was a lot of fun and we look forward to repeating the process with the 2011 models when they hit Australian shores.
Follows the links below to full reviews of each of the six contenders for the title, there’s not a bad bike amongst them but the Yamaha does stand out as the best of the bunch.