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Wr450 vs crf450 vs ktm520

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well last year i put off a new bike purchase cus i wanted to see what the new crop of 450's wud be like

this isnt intended as a flame post,, im just interested in objective opinions

i ride a yz400f with lots of bits on it

i race hare scrambles, practice on mx tracks but dont race mx. and practice in the hills & bogs of wales and also local woods etc.


Power deliver [hit]

Engine breaking

10oz flywheel wieght


No Detectable Vibration

general Ergo's


a bit heavy

sometimes stalls off bog[i know its a carb thing]

kickstart drill 3 hours into a 4 hour race

sometimes run out of gears [50tooth rear sprocket]

my ideal bike would ideally,,,

look as good as my yzf [clarks tanks and all black plastics,, no graffix]

be as light or lighter then the crf yet ramain robust.

have a 6th high ratio gear

have and electric button

be low maintanance and high performance etc etc

my concerns with each bike are as follows


-lack of engine braking [ i hardly ever use my back brake]

-maybe its a bit flimsey [engine cases cracking when u tighten ,loosen bolts etc]

-power delivery may feel a little mild compared to the hit of the yzf and hit the rev limiter if i down gear it to the tight stuff



-Cam bearings [why oh why dont they run the waterpump from the crank like husabergs]


-maybe a bit too much power


-even if it is lighter then the CFR [doubt it]it will probably still feel heavier due to DOHC

-hmmmmm dont know yet

oppinions welcome


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Although it's not what you want to hear, ANY of those bikes could easily fit your bill.

The KTM and (first year though...)Yamaha have proven to be very reliable.

The Honda's issues have been improved.

Do you want a headlight? I ass-u-me the KTM has a coil, if no light. I don't think the Honda would have one stock.

What mods would you do to each bike if you owned that specific model?

I'd start from there. The KTM's forks have been stated as being inferior to KYB and Showa, but how about modified? The linkless rear end of the KTM is attractive to me. I don't think the power of the KTM should worry you. It has been said to be very linear relative to other 4 strokes.

The Yamaha...we'll just have to wait and see how the rags like it. I DO like my WR400. Take off some weight, improve the ergo's, add an e-button, improve the suspension, and that SUPER TRICK airbox...that is BAD!!

I have always liked Honda's. I know oversize tanks exist, but do not know the capacity. It has been a very popular model. THe suspension has been claimed as being real decent, although I would look at getting all of the 3 bikes re-valved for my weight.

Do you have good dealer support? How about a discount on replacement parts, clothing, helmets, etc?

This is the best I can give you.

Good Luck!!


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I have always like Yamaha and Honda. I have one of each for my sons(smaller models). The riding i do is very similar to what you do, and i faced the same dilema's. i ended up with the KTM, and so far have been very pleased. Parts are no longer hard to find. in many cases i have had a tougher time getting parts for my sons YZ 85 and the XR80. The prices are even reasonable. the Cam bearings are no longer a problem on the newer models. I did change the triple clamps to get it to turn like I wanted, and i paid $6800 plus tax for the bike. the suspension was too soft but works great with mods. i will NEVER buy another bike without the button, e-start is the only way to go. the power delivery is amazingly docile for a bike so powerful, i would not hesitate to recomend it based on power problems. 03 will bring a 450 with supposedly improvede suspension from the factory.

With that said, i cant wait to see how the WR450 pans out. i probably would have bought one if it was available last year, and waiting until December for one this year is a bummer for those waiting. i have a good buddy who is in that group and i cant wait to ride his.

The Honda sounds great, but fragile, and really needs to many mods for consideration. they MAY fix some of the problems, but if Frogs had wings.......! I'm not really sure why Honda won't dive into the offroad racing arena with a true 450f based competitor to the WR, but until it happens IMHO they are not in the running.

If i had to buy today, it would no doubt be another KTM, if i were to buy early next year i would no doubt have to consider the WR450. based on my past experiance with Yamaha, i believe it will be a great bike. either of these would be wonderful rides, and would serve you well. Good luck with whatever you choose, and when and if you get a WR please let us know how you like it.

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They are all great bikes. None of them will fail you. If you have ever had a bike with an electric start, you will never go back to NOT having it. So for me that gets rid of the crf, Dont get me wrong I love this bike It has one of the best(if not the best motors) Just needs an electric start. WR now that its got the green button and a very strong motor its right up their with the best. The only draw backs are the amount of mods that need to be done to make it fit my taste (new bars, new pegs, triple clamp,} But all in all the wr is right up their with first choice, Could loose alittle weight though! The KTM's I personaly think they are a little on the ugly side, The front fender is ugly and they could use another color. But thats about were the complaints stop! These bikes are very set up good bars, chain , green button, Brake lines, very very nice. Maybe alittle bit more money up front, but the extras are their to justify. HUsaberg's should be in this lump of great bikes also. Also last but not least the Cannondale's. I know many of you think Im nuts, but If you have not looked at them close or riden one you should. Give them a chance. They do come set up very very good, bars ,hand guards, skid plates, steel brake lines, good chain, green button, Olhins, ect.. And i dont care much about what brocures say about weight the ktm,s wr's husa, and the c-dale full of fuel are all very close in weight. The c-dale does have the weight down low so it feels light. I will admit I may be pro C-dale because its what i own but I have riden the other bikes alot as well. And as for now im happy with my choice. Maybe next year I'll buy something new. Im not a ONE BRAND IS THE BEST, kind of guy. I'll buy what I think fits, the best value, and best all together package. Thats my take on those bikes, Just dont over look the C-dale.

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The latst review I saw had three bikes. (motocross versions) They had complaints with the Yamaha's but the only problems with the Honda were related to chain stretcing and chain guide wear. (they said it was difficult to find anything wrong with it)

What it comes down too...

KTM... too expensive, hard to get parts and mods.

That leaves the other two.

The new WR450 looks like a major improvement.

The 2nd year CRF450 offers some improvements as well.

Until Honda makes an enduro version I'd give the WR the advantage out of the box.

With minor mods to the CRF it would depend on where you ride.

More major mods to the CRF and it would win hands down!

If Honda introduces an enduro version the CRF wins hands down. I think the XR will remain trails oriented (as is) so whar would they call it? XRR, XRX, FXR (Fast XR :) ?

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The thing I like about yz's is that they feel the same.

If you last had a 83 yz-250 and you jumped on a yz-f you would notice they feel similiar.

I like the yz feel.

All the other bikes are great bikes too, no flame.

I just am very partial to yz-s.

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