2019 Special Edition 450 Shootout – Dirt Bike Magazine


KTM versus Honda versus Husqvarna. Three pro replicas are offered to the public this year: The Honda Works Edition, the Husqvarna Rockstar Edition and the KTM Factory Edition. All are hard to find and pricey. Still, we managed to get them all together this week. We know that these three bikes aren’t really duplicates of what Ken Roczen, Jason Anderson and Marvin Musquin ride. They don’t have works parts, they aren’t set up for Supercross and they aren’t assembled by the factory team. They’re still very special. All three of these bikes offer features and performance going way beyond sticker kits and numbers. We figured that was enough to justify a 450 shootout for special editions.This isn’t just a revisit of the 2019 450 MX shootout. Like all of our shootouts, that was executed with the somewhat nebulous average rider in mind. We used a cross-section of test riders of various ages and skill levels, crunched the data and declared a winner. That bike was the 2019 Kawasaki KX450, which was a bike that everyone could love. This time, we’re changing the rules. These three bikes aren’t average. They represent the very best that each company can produce on an assembly line, short of building a real works bike. They’re elite bikes for elite riders. Accordingly, we only invited only pro level test riders to be a part of the shootout. All three make more power than their alter egos. In the case of the Husky, the difference is barely perceptible. You get a little more with the KTM, and you get a lot more with the Honda. It’s a rocket! The KTM and Husky turn well and have reasonable straight-line stability. They are defined, however, by their lack of weight. They both weigh 222 pounds without fuel. That’s downright incredible. The Honda is around 16 pounds heavier, and it can’t escape that fact. Some riders report that the Honda steers lightly, but the flipside to that is that it’s more nervous at speed. In the original shootout,the KTM and Husky were called out for having harsh front suspension. That wasn’t necessarily the case here. With minor internal changes, increased air pressure and the new triple clamps, both the KTM and the Husky were much improved over the standard models. Most, but not all, of our pro experts rated the KTM and Husky fork higher than the Honda fork. The Honda’s valving and spring rate are the same as those of the standard model, but feel completely different because of the coatings.

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