2019 450 MOTOCROSS SHOOTOUT

450 Shootout

 
Last year, we stated that 2018 was the tightest fight yet. Well, 2019 takes the cake. The range of 450 motocross machines available in your local dealership is nothing short of impressive. Each bike we have to chose from is an excellent piece of machinery, a fact that makes our shootouts tighter and tighter to judge. To organise a shootout, we have an array of responsibilities to ensure a fair and just shootout for the readers and manufacturers alike. Someone reading this may well use our opinion to lay down over $10,000 on a brand-new motocross machine. We take these tests seriously and a lot of consideration is taken into where we test, who we choose as testers and whether we offer a control tyre. Read on to learn about the class of 2019.

THE RIDERS
When assembling our testing team, we like to ensure we have a vast range of riders. There’s little point in having all professional racers telling the average C-Grader what they should be riding at their local club day. So without further ado…

DANNY HAM – EX PROFESSIONAL MOTOCROSS AND SUPERCROSS RACER
Hammy has raced at the highest level in Australian motocross and supercross, racing for both factory Yamaha and Suzuki along the way. Danny is known for his style and the huge jumps he would launch, pioneering freestyle motocross in Oz and appearing in Crusty Demons of Dirt. Today, Hammy still hauls arse around a track and his knowledge of bike set-up is impressive.

CRAIG ANDERSON – 12-TIME AUSTRALIAN CHAMPION
Craig Anderson needs little introduction. He’s a 12-Time Australian Champion, has raced for some of the biggest teams in Australia as well as in the USA. Ando has ridden under CDR Yamaha, Factory KTM, Factory Honda and of-co2gburse, Yamaha of Troy. Ando’s experience is nothing short of priceless to this testing line-up.

MAT MCENTEE – CURRENT MX NATIONALS PRO
Mat Mcentee enters the DIRT ACTION testing team with a list of credentials and a bucket-load of speed. Mat most recently returned from injury to race a borrowed YZ250F at the final round of the MX Nationals series, he finished 15th in the MX2 class with very little prep. Mat is fast and knows exactly what is needed to take a bike to the top of Australian motocross without the support of a factory race team.

DANE THOMPSON – A GRADE
Our current project Yamaha YZ450F pilot, Dane Thompson Works full-time as an electrician and races at an A-Grade level on weekends. He is currently leading the A-Grade club championship at Macarthur and finished fourth in the Dirt Action Amcross series after crashing out of the final round and needing to sit out a round mid-season. Dane is a fit guy who knows what he wants from a dirt bike and has multiple DA tests under his belt.

MATT BERNARD – CLUBMAN
Matt is the Deputy Editor of Dirt Action and has been lucky enough to ride almost every bike that has made its way to the DIRT ACTION testing team since 2009. With 20 years of racing experience, Matt most recently raced a Sherco SEF450 in the DIRT ACTION Amcross series. He enjoys a cold pale ale, a killer schnitzel and knows the words to most songs produced by the Wiggles thanks to his daughter.

THE TRACK
A test facility is one of the most critical selections that needs to be made when presenting a shootout. We headed to Maitland MX for the first time last year and chose it again for the 2019 test. The circuit itself is a mixture of tight and technical and fast and flowing. There is a lot of jumps, some sections with multiple jumps in a row, plenty of decent sized tabletops, a set of whoops, a couple of fast straights and a good surface for testing. We started the day with a deeply ripped circuit that has been prepared by the legends at the Maitland Motorcycle Club and by the end of the day, the circuit had dried and became hardpacked in some sections. Need somewhere to race in the hunter region – head to Maitland.

Dunlop

 

THE CONTROL TYRE

DUNLOP MX33
For 2019, we chose to include a control tyre into our 450 shootout. This removes the variability of what is essentially a consumable product fitted to each bike. Each of the test bikes was fitted with Dunlop MX33 tyres at the recommendation of Dunlop. These tyres were supplied in OEM sizing. The Dunlop MX33 is a soft to intermediate tyre chosen to work well on the developing Maitland circuit.

About the Dunlop MX33

  • The front tyre features a block-in-a-block technology to aid in traction and improved steering.
  • Altered block-in-a-block on the rear tyre increases the surface area while additional angles enhance grip, stability and slide control.
  • Both the front and rear tyres feature tie bars that connect each knob to reduce stress and improve durability.
  • Advanced Apex Design improved shock absorption by diffusing the shock through a taller and thinner apex within the sidewall.
  • Multiple block distribution provides more blocks in the tread pattern compared to the replaced MX3S
  • Carcass Tension Control System allows even flex throughout the tyre for increased bump absorption.
  • An all-new compound in both the front and rear tyres enhance durability without sacrificing grip.
  • Replaces the MX3S as the soft-to-intermediate terrain choice and includes a new rear size, 120/90-19.

    Bts1

HOW DOES A SHOOTOUT WORK?
Each manufacturer supplies a stock standard motorcycle for testing. A manufacturer representative is present with their bike and is available for all set-up, adjustments and answers that the test riders need. The bikes have the suspension sag set for each rider as well as any ergonomic changes the test rider may want to make. The mechanic is then trackside as the tester rides and is able to make adjustments to the bike as per the riders specifications whether it be suspension, fuel injection or further ergonomic changes. Riders will spend a session on each bike with time to go back and re-evaluate bikes in the afternoon sessions. At the end of the day, all riders feedback is compiled, and a winner is selected.

 

HONDA CRF450R

Honda 1

 

DANNY HAM
Jumping on to the Honda was the first that I felt a little un-natural.  All the bikes now have a very flat profile across the tank and seat making them easy to move around on and the Honda was no different.  The ergos of the bike have become a big part in the development of the modern bike.  For me the Honda felt a little wider at the radiators and a higher bar to seat feel then previous 3 bikes. Again this will come down to a personal preference and Honda is simply what I’m not use to.  The suspension on the Honda was considerably softer then the other brands but still well balanced with plenty of room to move.   It’s feel was very smooth when hitting the choppy bumps and predictable.  For myself chasing a more confident feel (stiffer suspension) we went in 4 clicks on the front and half turn on high speed on rear which got us closer to the mark.  The power was there also, probably not as much right off the bottom but still plenty of torque and good through middle and top end.  Also like the Yamaha, the brakes have improved and closed the gap to the euros making it easier to get that all important feel when your arms simply say no more.  The Honda is probably the best all round bike and with a small amount of work easily be a competitive bike straight out of the box.

 CRAIG ANDERSON
The 2019 Honda CRF450R has great ergonomics. It seems to fit me really well, it has a good distance from the seat to the footpegs. I felt the Honda’s engine was much-improved from the last years as well. It’s a tough choice between the Honda and the Kawasaki for me as the top bikes in the 2019 450 Motocross shootout.
MAT MCENTEE
The 2019 Honda CRF450R was it’s a massive improvement over the ’18. The new handlebars are a great bend. You would probably leave them on rather than needing to buy new bars. The handling upgrades were unreal, the shock still is a little bit hard but with a few adjustments we made it rideable. I felt comfortable on the Honda almost straight away, hardly needing any time to adapt to it. I did find the front brakes fading a little both times I rode the bike, so a braded brakeline might be a good option for someone who is going to race this bike. The bike has plenty of horsepower but it’s really easy to ride fast.

Honda 2

DANE THOMPSON
The Honda was a great bike to ride the ergonomics on the bike were fantastic. Coming into corners of I wanted to actually take you around the corner, you could really lean in coming in and you don’t have any issues climbing out of a rut. We softened the bike up about three clicks for myself and found it handled really well. Out of corners it squatted perfectly but under brakes at stay level. I think if you were to put an exhaust on the bike it would just have unbelievable bottom-end. The handlears on this bike are great actually good not having a cross bar has there you can really get over front of a lot better. If I had a pick on anything on the bike it would honestly be in the foot pegs, compared to the other bikes you’d probably want to replace these.

MATT BERNARD
I am not one to usually gel straight away with Honda motocross bikes. It’s been an ergonomics thing. I didn’t have the chance to ride the 2018, but as soon as I swung a leg over the 2019 Honda CRF450R I felt at home. The Renthal handlebars are a nice and natural feeling bend, the footpeg to seat ratio felt great and I felt as if all put together the ergos were already designed for me. I rode the Honda first when the track was ripped deep and a tad sketchy, I should have hated the Honda, but I loved it. The engine is strong but not scarily aggressive. It has ample power that is made in a way that is easy to use for a rider of my ability. The suspension was the standout for me, really plush, yet I never bottomed anything. The bike turned incredibly well for me and I hardly felt out of shape once. I rode the Honda for a second time in the afternoon when I was more comfortable on the track and had all the jumps down pat and I had an absolute black. The harder I pushed the better it felt, I was blown away by how good the bike was and it would be right amongst a couple of bikes on my shopping list.

 

 

 

HUSQVARNA FC450

Husky1

 

DANNY HAM
With a bike that is built so close and similar to the KTM you would think it would be the same bike and in most part it is, but it did offer a slightly different feel.  First up the engine is feels the same as to be expected, the power delivery again is not the most powerful but very user friendly.  Someone that is great on the throttle can really own the power delivery to the ground in all conditions.  On a surface that offers plenty of grip the power can be controlled so it does not rip your arms out of their sockets which I found very useful.  At the opposite end of the force spectrum, the brakes on the Euro bikes are outstanding.  The full Brembo setup on KTM and the Magura hydraulic controlled 260mm front disc brake offer the most feel and power of all the 450’s.  The Husqvarna does have a Carbon Fibre Sub-frame and this is where the difference for me was most noticeable.  The sub-frame offers a little flex which is evident when driving hard out of a very tacky corner.  The seat had to be redesigned to work with this sub-frame and as such gives a more round lower feeling over the KTM.  The hydraulic clutch on both bikes is light on the pull and offers a great feel with the activation.  With a both bikes being so well balanced and smooth on power, these bikes can work well for all riders novice to pro.

CRAIG ANDERSON
The Husqvarna is much-improved this year. I felt the biggest improvement for the bike was the balanced suspension set-up. The new engine and muffler seemed to really make some big changes from 2018, it sounds great and the bike itself has great power.

MAT MCENTEE
The 2019 husky was a great bike, to me it was night and a difference to the KTM. The only real issue I had was the very low bend of bars that come standard so I felt comfortable when sitting down, but a bit cramped when standing up, I’d opt for a higher bend to be more comfortable. Surprisingly the suspension felt better than the KTM even though it’s the same WP AER fork and WP shock. I much preferred the aggressive map on it, so I could pull third gear in most corners where every other 450 could pull those gears regardless, besides the Suzuki. Overall, I really enjoyed riding the Husqvarna.

Husky 2

DANE THOMPSON
I found the engine to be very similar to the KTM. I put the Husqvarna on map number two, that gave it a little more bottom-end than what I had on the map number one. The power itself is really-good. I like the bars that they decided to run on this bike, it’s slightly lower and that’s good to me. The hydraulic clutch awesome, traction control great. I wasn’t a huge fan of the forks. I feel that the subframe which is different from the KTM, plus the seat and the plastics itself makes a big different to how the bike actually handles compared to the KTM. I was very impressed how it handled in corners I didn’t get understeer anything like that overall it was a good bike to ride.

MATT BERNARD
I got off the KTM and was expecting to jump on a white version over at the next quickshade. How wrong I was. Firstly, I must prefer the handlebars on the Husqvarna, they are narrower and a lower, more comfortable bend for me. The seat is nice and grippy and I felt that I had more places on the bike to grip, especially with my legs when jumping. The engine felt best to me in the more aggressive mode, especially when it started to move into the mid-range of the power, down the straights when the RPM got high, holy shit, hang on! This thing would be an animal on a grass track. Whilst the most excitement to me was from mid-top, it still has plenty of punch to pull out of turns and use the torque to get you around. The suspension to me felt balanced, it never did anything strange or unexpected. Although there is much talk about air forks being rubbish, the WP AER performed well for me around the Maitland track. As a clubman, the added value of good quality ODI grips, gripper seat cover and the ability to save on spring costs when getting your forks set-up all add weight to the Husqvarna – slap some numbers on and go race!

 

 

 

KAWASAKI KX450

Kawaski 2

DANNY HAM
Brand new bike, initial feel whilst seated on bike was similar to the Honda, high in the bar feel but sleek and streamlined through the rest of the bike.  The power of the Kawasaki was puchy, especially through the mid range.  Changing the power output is as easy changing the coupler and there is a noticeable difference between the options.  It’s important to note that while all previous power plants including this one have their own unique characteristics, they are all so close in power again it’s really hard to say this one is better then that one.  For myself the Kawasaki still retains it’s very distinctive KX feel and likes to be turned a little more off the rear wheel.  For myself this isn’t really how I ride, generally pretty heavy on the front wheel so I don’t always gel with the KX. That being said I didn’t feel to out of place riding green.  The forks and shock are well balanced though a little softer for me in stock trim and gave a positive feel while turning, along with the weight savings and being the lightest of the Japanese bikes is easy to throw around.  Big improvements to the brakes has bought them up to par with its competition, though the rear brake could be a to good.  With the large 250mm rear disc, the brake has become very sensitive and will take a little getting use to without locking the brake unexpectedly.  Another to take advantage of the Hydraulic clutch that is a light feel but activation that is close to a cable pull system.

 CRAIG ANDERSON
The Kawasaki handled really well. I believe going to the spring from the airfork for this year is a really good thing. The whole bike is much improved for 2019, the inclusion of electric start and hydraulic clutch is a great asset to the bike.

 MAT MCENTEE
2019 KX 450 was a massive surprise almost on the top step for me. The suspension was unreal, I only went a little bit harder on the fork and it just felt like it was amazing. I felt comfortable on the bike straight away, the engine is really strong this year, it’s still smooth power but it pulls quite hard up top. The only thing I’d change as a buyer is oversized bars. It’s strange that it doesn’t come with fat bars standard. It’s about the only weak point of an unreal bike.Kawaski 1

DANE THOMPSON
The KX450 is a great bike to ride. I was actually very impressed compared to last years model, they come a long way. The power of the bike was fantastic, it was extremely smooth. Actually, I think it had more power than I realised, I found myself actually jumping further and coming out a corner a lot faster than I was expecting. The handling is also good, it’s a positive that they have gone away from the air fork. Under heavy breaking, I felt the bike was sitting nice and level. The inclusion of a hydraulic clutch is fantastic, Kawasaki have come away with a very strong bike this year, definitely.

MATT BERNARD
There is so much hype around the 2019 Kawasaki KX450 and it’s hard not to buy into it and award this bike with the win before its even tested. But, wow. This bike is good. It handles brilliantly even with my 95kg frame on it. I found it to be really confidence inspiring, I constantly found myself going that little bit quicker each lap. The engine is strong, really strong, but it’s not super aggressive – a good thing for a clubman riding a 450. The hydraulic clutch is a nice addition and I like the action, it’s not super light but has a nice feel to it. The grips are shit – come on Kawasaki, let’s throw those things in the bin. While the skip is out, toss the standard diameter handlebars, let’s get on the oversized bar program. I felt that the bars were a little high for my comfort when sitting, when standing they were ok, but I would probably aim for a lower bend of bars when I fitted up a set of oversized hangers. Overall, this bike is really, good. I think Kawasaki have nailed the all-new KX for a range of riders.

 

KTM 450 SX-F

Ktm 2

DANNY HAM
The KTM is the all round package for me, strong motor and great handling. Something KTM worked on hard this year was the power delivery to the ground and it was very obvious jumping from bike to bike.  The power is strong, not the most powerful of the bikes but would be the broadest and useable.  We see more and more in recent times riders detuning their bike in order to be able to ride an entire race, not just blast out a couple of fast laps.  You are able to really take advantage of the torque of this bike and ride it in a taller gear everywhere.  This is really useful on a hard slick surface like we rode on, you are able to labour the bike a bit to basically create your own traction control (throttle control) but have plenty of power ready to use by simply turning the throttle.   The KTM’s Handling for me was by far the best.  For myself I like firm suspension on motocross, more of a pro level setup which was easily achieved with this bike.  I’m also finding more that I like the chromoly Steel frmaes of both the KTM and Husky.  One of the biggest differences between the bikes for me was the way they moved around underneath you.  Both the KTM and Husky have that feeling that they are doing what they are meant to and not what they are not to, they have a softer feel through the frame and there was never a moment that was unexpected.  Also the ability to change maps on the fly can be handy, not that I believe you would be doing this while racing, but whilst testing it is easy to switch between setting to get a true understanding of the bikes performance.

 MAT MCENTEE
The 2019 KTM450SXF was a little disappointing to me, I felt like it lacked bottom-end power when compared to previous years. However, it does feel a lot lighter in the air, which a is a real positive. The power feels very different to the KTMs I have ridden and raced in years passed, it seems to have a lot more mid-to-top. The WP AER air forks were a little tricky to get comfortable with. It took time for me to build confidence in the front-end It always felt a little nervous. I worked with the KTM mechanic and made a lot of changes to get it to a where I felt comfortable. I got it close to the Yamaha or Kawasaki which I was comfortable straight away. As a complete package the bike is pretty good, but it would take some setting up for me to be 100% comfortable to race it, once it was set-up it would be a solid race bike.

Ktm 3

DANE THOMPSON
I enjoyed the KTM, I felt it to be slightly lacking in bottom-end when on Map 1. We changed to map number 2 and I found that made a massive difference. This really shows the benefit of a dual-map switch. It gave the extra bottom-end that it needed. I’m not a big fan of the air fork, I felt that it had a bit of chattering at high speed and a bit of understeer in corners. To help settle the bike we had the shock softened up a little which offered a more balance set-up for me. The grips on the bike a great, nice and soft on your hands. The features such the traction control a good.

 MATT BERNARD
I really struggled to gel with the KTM during the first few laps. It felt like riding a race team bike. Really stiff and rigid, either a brand-new bike or something that had been set-up to go really fast. As I became more comfortable it made more sense, it’s made to race and race hard and fast. The harder I hit things, the better it was. It was almost like the nasty bumps didn’t transfer through to the rider. I struggled a little to tip in to turns unless I was full committed, so I think a softer plusher set-up would be needed for a rider of my ability. The engine it self worked well at a higher RPM, a little more bottom-end would be nice for a clubman rider who is likely to short shift and use that torquey power on a technical track like Maitland.

 

SUZUKI RM-Z450

 

Suzuki

DANNY HAM
The bike looks good, nobody questions this. I only heard good reports from previous models and I was looking forward to getting on the bike, after all I have spent most of my time on them. Straight up, I feel comfortable.  This feel is engraved in to my riding style. It is narrow and feels like home, even to the point of kicking the bike over to start and still the heaviest bike on the block. The engine delivers smooth power although a little on the shy side in comparison but holds its own at the top end of the rev range but does sign off early as well. I found myself needing to change gears a lot, down gear going into a corner and almost feeling like riding if like a 250F being unable to really torque it in the taller gear. Then there is the suspension. To get a balanced feel on the bike, the bike was pushed to it’s maximums.  At this point the bike is not too bad, it steers well as the Suzuki is always known to do and to ride it didn’t feel too bad.  For me to race though I would need more and straight up I needed to go harder on comp in the forks but couldn’t, we were already there.  So, I thought we’d try work on the back end to see what we could get out of it.  Usually for the feeling I was getting I would be chasing the high speed and this scenario I wanted to soften the rear a little, obviously no high speed on this bike and I also got ‘we couldn’t, we were already there also!’ For myself to feel comfortable on this bike I would need to do a lot of work with suspension tuners, again my preference is generally harder than most and would probably go down that avenue with all the brands, but the other brands I could get away with it. Unfortunately, on the Suzuki I could not. Although a bit of a harsh review this does not mean this bike can’t be improved. Being similar to previous models there is many parts that could be put to this bike to bring it up to be a more then competitive race spec machine, and I’m sure with the right suspension I would feel right at home riding yellow again.

CRAIG ANDERSON
I quite liked the engine on the Suzuki, but the handling was quite what I would have liked it didn’t feel balanced to me and I struggled to get a comfortable feeling on the bike.

 MAT MCENTEE
I felt that the RM-Z had a little bit of a cramped cockpit, I would fit some higher handlebars and I think it would offer some more room for me to move around the bike. The bike sits very high in the rear and even though we made adjustments to the sag, it still had rear-high feeling. I think a lowering link would be a great investment, as in it’s standard form I had some trouble getting comfortable. Some time with a suspension tuner would be top of the list after buying an RM-Z. To liven up the engine I would look at putting an exhaust on the bike and some gearing adjustments to make it more competitive on a pro-level. The engine itself is nice and easy to ride, I would just be chasing a little extra horsepower. The Suzuki is one of the best-looking bikes on the market, that’s for sure.

Suzuki 3

DANE THOMPSON
The Suzuki is not a bad bike to ride at all, it’s slightly under powered compared to others in the field at the moment, however you can make pretty easy adjustment. Pop on an aftermarket exhaust or another performance modification and you’d be at that pro-level power. The ergonomics suited me, the bars were nice, the stock grips will need to be changed. I could really get over the front of the bike. The seat itself was a very slippery so definitely fitting in aftermarket in order to be able to really keep your butt planted out of turns would be an option. To get drive, we softened the suspension we made some changes and made it softer in the rear and has hard as we could in the front. That made it a lot better than what it was when I first jumped on but again if you wanted to make it even better you would need to invest in some time with a suspension tuner. Unfortunately it’s missing the electric start – each time I kicked the bike however it started first kick.

MATT BERNARD
The engine on the RM-Z felt pretty good to me, one of the better bikes on the market now for the average rider. Not everyone needs or wants 63hp. With the Suzuki you have a good, solid easy to ride 450 engine with the ability to make a few changes to it to be competitive at a professional level. The ergos felt pretty good to me, the bars are a little too swept, but an easy fix. It truly is one of the best-looking bikes on the market, it’s edgy, sharp looking – an impressive looking bike. The suspension just lets this bike down in its standard form. It’s like the spring rates in the front and rear are miss-matched. Every rider on the test day was chasing a decent set-up and to be honest, I thought they were all a bunch of whining fast professionals, until I had a spin. I rode it with the shock as soft as it could go and the forks as hard as they would go upon the recommendation of the other riders. It worked ok, but I would have liked to go harder again on the forks to try and get it to sit up a little more on the front. The bones are there, the bike is good, it would be a really-good race bike, it just needs some assistance in the suspension department to get there. Oh, and mr Suzuki – bring on the electric start for ‘20!

2019 YAMAHA YZ450F

Yamaha 2

 

DANNY HAM
To say ‘this bike is better than that bike’ is pretty hard these days.  The brands are so close and in the end could simply come down to a personal preference of the rider.  In saying that, if you want ultimate power, you don’t need to look past the blue machine.  There is power everywhere and it makes it so quick.  The engine is smooth, very little vibration, and the gears feel close that utilise all the horse power well on the change.   Going back to something earlier mentioned, with Yamaha’s ability to jump into the app and reprogram the power delivery so easily, some of the riders pulled some of that power back out of the bike for the track, certainly I found it more difficult to land the power delivery to the hard surface sections of the track even with my better then most throttle control.  Unlike the 250f, Yamaha does not have the option of a 2nd map on the fly on the 450, rather you have 1 map and a launch control option.  I found this bike the best to get in and around the turns on this track.  It settled into the ruts well and never pushed over the top or turned to tight.   The only thing that let this bike down in a very small way for me was the handling.  In no way was it bad, there was plenty of room to move with your clickers for fine tuning.  Again this will be a bit to do with the way I set my suspension but I found the bike to twitch around a bit through the middle of the suspension, and more often than not I would find this whilst seated through a fast turn.  This is where I feel the Euro bikes have the advantage with their frames.  The rigidity of the Alloy frames is very noticeable on a track that has the small sharp bumps that we saw on our test track.  Improvements with the brakes with the 270mm disc has seen Yamaha and the other brands close that gap.  The bike also feels very nimble, although toward the heavier end of the 2019 range, it’s weight is not transferred through the way it moves around under you.

CRAIG ANDERSON
I really struggled with the ergonomics of the Yamaha, I felt like I was too big for it. The handlebars felt too low and the seat too high. I just felt a little cramped on it, so I would need to make some changes if I was to race a YZ. The bike itself almost has too much power, the benefits of having the bike so easily tuned with the smart phone tuner is obvious here. The bike has so much power, but it’s easy tame down with the tuner.

 MAT MCENTEE
2019 Yamaha YZ450F was unreal from the get-go. The suspension was amazing and felt like I could go racing Nationals on it standard. About the only thing I change is probably the handlebars they’re a very tall bend with a lot of sweep. But, the clutch and brake levers felt great. The engine is super strong, if anything it needs to be tamed down a little bit. Overall, this bike is a complete package straight from the showroom. I really couldn’t fault it as a standard bike. I’d probably say it’s first out of the shootout.

Yamaha 1

DANE THOMPSON
Yamaha I was a great bike to ride I’m having a 2018 at the moment I really just a test 2019 see the difference is the difference is it I have made a great the power is a lot more so Midden like me to top and with really cool the through again that’s a lot to do in fact that nothing so they’ve got for that and guess what a lot of the leading in the class we mapped it take away bit of bottom end on purpose purely because I did a bit of country bike and their suspension itself ah we miss often enough just a little bit yeah about 108 Mills.

MATT BERNARD
I have been chewing roost from these bloody new-age Yamaha YZ450Fs at Amcross all year, now that I have ridden the 2019 model, I understand why. This bike is fast, for me, despite running the tamed down map, too fast. Around a track littered with jumps and obstacles the YZ is a lot to hang onto. The suspension handles great, I felt it was nice and squatted out of turns and confidence inspiring at high speed. It feels like there is more bike to hang onto, it’s a little wider around the front, but when riding it’s not noticeable. Being able to customise your mapping with your smartphone is an absolute selling point to this bike, it makes the rest of the markets tuning software instantly obsolete and is a truly excellent idea and product. On a wide-open motocross track, or a grass-track, good luck with keeping up with a YZ450F. For me, it was too fast around the technical circuit, but hell was it fun. Anyone who buys a pipe for one of these for any reason other than looks and weight saving are kidding themselves, a very small percentage of people need anymore power than this thing makes.

 

AND THE WINNER IS…
This is one close fight. It could be the most difficult winner we have ever had to choose. Let’s get this clear, there is no bad bikes in this test and we refuse to rank these bikes from 1st to 6th. Why? There’s not a single bike in this test that deserves “last place” in a test like this. The 450 Motocross range is excellent and with suspension tuning and some engine modifications you will find yourself happy on most of these machines. But, after much arguing and analysing, the winner is.

 

WINNER – 2019 KAWASAKI KX450
The all-new KX450 has just manage to claw it’s head above the 450 class to claim the win in 2019. The updated engine, chassis and suspension has created an all-round package that will be winning races around Australia. The inclusion of the electric start and hydraulic clutch for this year model is another box ticked.

Kawaski 1

 

WITH THANKS

A hell of a lot goes into planning a shootout, so a big thanks to all involved. Big thanks to the team at Dunlop for coming on board as our control tyre, to all the manufacturers for being a part of our test day – thank you. Adam Spence for swinging off his video camera for the day, the riders for sweating it out and pounding out a multitude of laps. The mechanics for all their help, big shout out to Christian Horwood and his family for making the big trip from northern Queensland. Mel for her social media work and Marcus for not only the support with our ideas and for delivering some ice cold beers! What’s next? We will soon find out…