WHICH 450 MAKES THE MOST HORSEPOWER?
Horsepower is an interesting thing. You can have
too little, and you can have too much, but you can
never have the right amount of the perfect power. In
the past, bikes recklessly pursued the brass ring of
making the most horsepower. They thought that a big
number was all that mattered. Not so. Modern engines
aren’t about peak horsepower as much as the most
Of the six 450cc motocross bikes in the “2012 MXA
450 Four-Stroke Shootout,” here is how they rank in
Kawasaki KX450F: It is a given that the KX450F
would make the most horsepower. It has been at the
top of the power lottery for the last several years.
What most MXA test riders didn’t think would happen
is that the 2012 KX450F would have the most
manageable power too.
Thanks to the ability to run three different power
profiles (electronically) and the addition of the fourth
map just for the starts, the KX450F has the best
engine made in 2012.
KTM 450SXF: Although the KTM doesn’t make
the brute horsepower of the KX450F, it does have the
broadest spread of power. The Austrian engine is able
to mate a mellow, easy-to-use and tractable low-to-mid
transition with a runaway train on the top end. KTM’s
power is luxurious as opposed to brutal. It oozes
its power into the ground and just keeps going and
going. Thanks to its Keihin FCR carburetor, the KTM’s
style of power has no competition from the fuel-
injected side of the family.
Suzuki RM-Z450: After years of weird and
lopsided powerbands, the Suzuki RM-Z got all of its
ducks in a row in 2010–2012. Although the Suzuki
power isn’t brimming with personality, it does deliver
a good spread of power that is especially usable