Over the course of the next few pages, your argument that last year’s model bike is just as competitive as ever will lose its believability. With countless improvements made to nearly every model, along with the release of two all-new bikes, the 2013 releases show the rate at which our sport is advancing. The most standout bike for next year is easily Honda’s CRF450R, with its all-new aluminum frame, Kayaba PSF (Pneumatic Spring Fork) air fork, and dual exhaust. Not to be outdone is KTM, with their specially crafted 450SX-F that Ryan Dungey piloted to their first US 450 title.
The Honda is not the only model to feature Kayaba’s PSF fork, as Kawasaki’s KX450F is also outfitted with the compressed air units. After making its debut on last year’s KX250F, the Showa Single Function Fork has spread onto both of Suzuki’s RM-Zs, while KTM has continued to revalve their WP units to suit the American market. With all full-size machines running 11 to 12 inches of suspension travel, they are a far cry from the bikes of yesteryear.
Those longing for the nostalgia are not forgotten, as two-strokes are still carried in Yamaha, Husqvarna, and KTM’s lines. The lack of change to the six screamers is a sore subject for some, yet we look at it this way: why mess with a good thing? As long as we continue to hear and smell the pre-mix burners, you will not hear a complaint from us.
As we continue to progress through this decade, one cannot help but think about the flying cars and self-tying shoes we were “promised.” Sadly, this is not a Hanna-Barbera-Spielberg creation and we are still bound to our dreary, simple duties. However, knowing you have the chance to swing a leg over any of the 2013 race bikes should be enough to make you realize how good we have it.