Video: Casey Davis @air_d617
What an amazing time to be a motocross rider. Modern technology has made the current crop of dirt bikes more powerful, easier to operate, and more adjustable than ever before. Innovations like electric start, hydraulic clutches, air suspension, traction control, and even smartphone engine-tuning apps make this year's crop of 450s more technical than we could have ever imagined only a few short years ago.
For 2018, the Kawasaki KX450F returns completely unchanged, while the Husqvarna FC 450, KTM 450 SX-F, and Honda CRF450R enjoy mild revisions. The Suzuki RM-Z450 and Yamaha YZ450F, meanwhile, are redesigned from the ground up.
For this year's shootout, we assembled a test rider panel of six TransWorld Motocross testing veterans and gathered for the initial day of comparison at Cahuilla Creek MX, with technical setup support from all six manufacturers. Additional days of testing were held at Zaca Station MX, Milestone MX Park, Perris Raceway, and Competitive Edge Raceway. To eliminate traction variances between each machine from the comparison, we outfitted every bike with Bridgestone's excellent X30 intermediate-to-soft terrain tires.
It's almost cliché to say that every bike available can be a winner in the right hands, but it is absolutely true. This year's Shootout was the toughest ever, as evidenced by a three-way tie for the win! Tiebreakers, of course, determined an overall winner, but in 2018 the slogan truly is, "Choose a color."