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Quick Comparison CRF250x vs KX450F

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I traded my CRF250X for a KX450F this Saturday. The dealer was trying to move the last 3 available and made me a sweet deal. I was not really looking to trade, but something about the bike kept drawing me to it. I am 220 lbs., 6'2" tall. The CRF was great for the Mid South Hare Scrambles Summer Series, and I was pretty happy with the stock set up. I rejetted it from a 135 to a 155 main, and a 42 pilot, and moved the needle to #4 position. This woke the bike up, and I could pull the front end with ease. The bike turned well and was predictable. It felt light as well, flicking through the trees. The magic button is too cool!

Fast foward to the last race, it was going to be a dust run, but it turned into a mud run with heavy rain during the entire event. This where I realized that I could use more power. I stewed over the trade for days after the race and then pulled the trigger. Best possible decision. Let me explain what I see the differences are, and how this will benefit my style in the woods on the 450 instead of the 250.

First off, having to kick again is not a plus, but it still lights up reliabily. It is quiter than the CRF with the plug out. As far as the lack of 5th gear, who cares? 1st is taller than the CRF, but you know what, that is better. On other motocross specific bikes and on my CRF, 1st is usually a waste in the woods. If your in 1st, your not moving fast enough. On the CRF, 1st was lower, kinda like granny gear. It was near unusable as well, but for play riding, many will use it in "put mode." Now the KX, a tall 1st makes the gear very usable. In the tight stuff, sure you may have to cluth it a little, but exiting from a tight section, turn, or uphill right after a turn, the bike pulls away hard and you are not shifting into 2nd as quick as you would need to any most other bikes. If you enter the tight stuff in the woods with a little momentum in 2nd, you can lug your way through without too much effort with the clutch. 1st gear on the KX is like 1st and 2nd combined on the CRF. 2nd gear on the KX is like 3rd & 4th on the CRF, and 3rd on the KX is like.....hold on man! I have not seen 4th yet in the woods, and 3rd only for a few seconds between sections, but I did click up into 4th in a field. There is no way anybody can legitimately claim that they need a 5th gear. If you need all those gear selections in the woods, it may be that your on a smaller bike. The 450 just does not behave like a small 250 thumper or 2-stroke. The power is so wide in each gear, that you can ride in a low gear with some rev, which is scary fast, or ride in a high gear and lug it. To me, not shifting so much is a good thing. What I like best about this bike is that your speed between sections is so much faster than a small bore. after leaving one turn, you are at the next one in a flash. With near perfect amounts of engine braking, you are conserving pads as well as the clutch in the woods.

If someone states that they need a 5 speed for off-road, then they have not ridden the big KX. I am talking hare scrambles events in the southeast here. Another thing I am going to like about this bike is that the engine will be conserved and last much longer than the CRF250 motor. Keeping the revs lower and having spare power as needed suits me much better than having to use everything an engine has to keep up with the pack. I still lugged the CRF, but when it came time to tackle a hill, I had to worry about was 2nd gear going to pull all the way up or not. Also for decents, I needed to be in 3rd or 4th to prevent engine braking from slowing me down. The KX does not feel that way, even in a lower gear than you would normally use.

Suspension wise, the KX will need some dialing in. It is new, and stiff right now. I will need a few weeks before I can really see what the clickers will do. It turns better than the CRF, but the lock-to-lock turning is slightly shorter than the CRF. It flat sticks to the ground, and the motor does not try to stand the bike up when grabbing too much throttle. Just be sure it is pointed where you want it to be! If feels light everywhere. With my weight, it feels good with the stock settings in the woods. The sag was even perfect without me needing to adjust a thing. All of this is subject to change with a little break-in time, but new springs and such are not going to be needed.

I will like the KX much more than the Honda. I know that htis was not a fair comparsion being such a difference in displacement, but I am sure there are others who have been where I was, looking to get additional power without the arm ripping perceptions of big thumpers scaring them away. People may like the CRF450 for woods. If so, it wont be that far off from what I have just described for the KX.

This is a cool site and my 2nd post!

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Most of the 5 speed stuff is strictly due to magazine crap. SOME magazines will not rate a 4 speed high no matter how good the bike is. The only people I can think of that legitamately may need a 5th gear would be a desert racer. Otherwise you will have a hard time convincing me it's needed. I think that fact will bear out when you see the Factory Team running a 4 speed next year insted of the stock 5 speed gearbox.

Good review, spot on.

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Congrats on the new bike! I agree with the 4 speed transmission comment. I ride strictly MX and went from an 03 YZ450 (4speed) to an 06 YZ450 (5speed). The 5 speeds gears are closer which results in more shifting. The 06 is a far superior bike but, I do miss the 4 speed transmission.

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I agree. After leaving a 5 speed for a 4 speed. I prefer the 4 speed. Much better gearing and less shifting.

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Welcome to TT primative. I'm sure you will find a wealth of info here for your new KX450. Your review was excellent. We have a number of people that have asked about riding the big 450 in the woods but you are the first that has really gone into great detail as to how you are using it. Good stuff! :thumbsup: I'll definitely be adding this to the stickied FAQ thread under bike reviews.

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I just bought mine from a AMA vet rider who rode 1 season and then put a new top end on it, It had 25hrs when I got it, and man from the minute I got on I was smileing, It felt comfortable lightning quick yet controlable, I took it to my local MX track, and right away felt safe and in charge cornering came natural launching off semi arenacross style jumps was predictable and smooth, I just needed more stamina to keep up with responsiveness of it. The next weekend I took it to my local ohv park, and did a mini ISDE, and was keeping time with the seasoned A class vets only about 5 min off the lead rider, and I didn't even have a weighted flywheel or an auto clutch, shure I stalled it a couple of times and my hand almost fell off from clutching, but, It was awesome in the tight stuff and just plowed through the rocks,roots,ruts and whoops, especially on the steep hills I was loving every minute of it, cant say enough good about this bike, It kick's butt over my ex yzf 450, and my horrible ex- crf 250x that bike was a joke.

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