2017 KTM 450SXF
11 pounds heavier than the KTM, but this comes from the
fact that the KTM gas tank holds 2 gallons of gas and the
Honda only holds 1-1/2 gallons. At 6 pounds a gallon, the
Honda loses 3 pounds when the tanks are full.
As for Honda’s titanium gas tank, we are mystified by
it. It doesn’t weigh more than a few grams less than the
old plastic tank. Plus, Honda added a black plastic cover,
which makes the titanium invisible and, strangely enough,
raises the weight of the Ti tank to more than the plastic
tank. We appreciate a good design exercise as much as
the next guy, but we don’t necessarily like paying for it.
Q: WHICH ONE STARTS BETTER?
A: You’re kidding, right? Although Honda’s early
product-planning meetings called for electric start in 2017,
Honda couldn’t justify the weight or cost. They are offering
the electric starter as a kit, but by the time you buy the kit,
buy the battery and spend the recommended three hours
of shop time installing it, the 2017 Honda will cost $100
more than the KTM 450SXF and weigh 17 pounds more.
Q: WHAT DID WE HATE?
A: The hate list:
(1) Gas caps. Both the KTM and Honda gas caps stick,
but the Honda one is worse because it is low-profile and
made from hard plastic, which hurts when you try to force
( 2) Pipe. Someone needs to clue us in on the pipes on
the 2017 Honda and KTM. The Honda’s twice pipes are
too much of everything for too little reward. The Honda
twin mufflers aren’t as quiet as KTM’s single; in fact, the
Honda blew 119. 7 dB at two-meter max. KTM’s single pipe
is quieter and makes more power, but you can’t take it off
the bike without removing the shock.
( 3) Bike stands. When the CRF450 is sitting on a bike
stand, the rear wheel is on the ground. When the KTM
450SXF is sitting on a bike stand, the front wheel is on
the ground. Either way, it’s a hassle to adjust the spokes,
wash the wheels or work on the bike when one wheel or
the other doesn’t spin.
Q: WHAT DO WE REALLY THINK?
A: Boiled down to its essence, the 2017 Honda
CRF450 is a better Honda CRF450 than what was offered
over the last eight years. It’s more planted and faster than
the 2016 model—and it has hop-up potential for both the
engine and suspension. As for its hyped-up promise as
a game-changer, that didn’t materialize. It’s a good bike
The 2017 KTM is a great bike with almost no flaws. It
is a game-changer—if not for the customer who buys one,
then for the four Japanese brands who must find a way
to design bikes that are anywhere from 11 to 18 pounds
lighter, more powerful and equipped with electric starting.
Until that day, KTM has little to fear from the competition.
Now you can turn the page to find out where your favorite 2017 bike ranks in the hierarchy of motocross.