Factory bikes are a rare breed. They are the vehicles on which elite athletes chase their championship dreams. These hand-made, custom bikes are the pride and joy of race teams and riders
Factory bikes are a rare breed. They are the vehicles on which elite athletes chase their championship dreams. These hand-made, custom bikes are the pride and joy of race teams and riders and over the past year we’ve had the opportunity to ride many of them.
• Penrite Honda CRF450R
• CDR Yamaha
• Motorex KTM 450SX
• DPH Motorsports Yamaha
• Motul Suzuki RM-Z450
• TwoTwo Motorsports Kawasaki KX450F
I have tested at least one 2014 factory MX1 machine from each of the five major manufacturers including (in order of appearance) Matt Moss’s championship-winning Motul Suzuki RM-Z450 (ADB #418), Kirk Gibbs’ Motorex KTM 450SX (#421), Chad Reed’s TwoTwo Motorsports Kawasaki KX450F (ADB#422), Kade Mosig’s DPH Motorsports Yamaha (#424), Jacob Wright’s CDR Yamaha (#426) and Jay Marmont’s Penrite Honda CRF450R supercrosser (#427).
Far be it from me to throw rocks at any particular bike or team regarding set-up, component selection or power delivery but how do these bikes stack up against each other? It would be really easy for me to sit here and write a glowing report about how perfect each and every one of these bikes is.
Some of the teams have really hit the nail on the head when it comes to development and others perhaps not so much. But to be honest, the teams were really honest with me when there was a particular area they were struggling with.
Rather than go over each bike individually and list there strong points and, if any weak points I think it’s best to go over all of these bikes in separate categories to give a better perspective as to how they compare to each other.
ENGINE – Both the Kawasaki of Chad Reed and the KTM of Kirk Gibbs had engines that produced enormous bottom end that allowed you to use a really high gear in corners without abusing the clutch.
FORK – Out of all of the bikes, the CDR Yamaha with new KYB air fork was a standout. It was the only fork I rode with that really felt like you were almost cheating.
SHOCK – The Honda was the most balanced front to rear, with a shock that worked really well in all conditions.
HANDLING – The Honda and KTM were both standouts in the handling department, being exceptionally stable and cornering on rails. With a slightly stiffer fork the Suzuki would be super impressive in the handling department.
BRAKES – As you would imagine, every one of these bikes had sensational brakes with oversized rotors, braded lines and even factory calipers on some.
The full review can be found in the May issue of ADB, which goes on sale Monday. In the review, Hoges tells us which parts of the six factory bikes would make up his dream bike. Make sure you grab a copy and check it out.