2019 CRF 450 or SX-F 450 (UPDATE)

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12/1/2018 11:57 AM

That's right... another "this bike" or "that bike" thread smile

I just tipped the 50HR mark on my RM-Z 250. It's been a great bike and I've had a lot of fun with it, but I'm considering selling and hopping on a new 450 in the spring (it's getting cold here in Jersey and I have time to decide). I've narrowed it down to two bikes, the Honda and KTM. None of my friends have either, so I can't readily test ride, but I've had good experiences with both brands in the past. Here on my thoughts/considerations on each:

Reliability
One of the main reasons I'm switching to a 450 is reliability. I'm a casual weekend rider, and with the extra power, I don't expect to be on the rev limiter much at all. I'm a freak when it comes to maintenance, so I'm hoping to get 100 hrs without much issue. Today's 4 strokes all seem to be pretty solid. I've read some complaints about the KTMs, but it seems that they really stand behind their products and fix if there's a premature issue. On the other hand, today's Honda's sound pretty bulletproof. This seems like a fanboy question, but hopefully I can get an unbiased review. What do you guys think?

Power
Really a moot point for me. Coming from a 250 (and a Suzuki for that matter), both bikes will have more than enough power.

Weight
The KTM is substantially lighter than the Honda, though I've read that the Honda feels light and nimble when riding. Any validity to this? Even if that's the case, picking up the 250 lb Honda from a mid moto fall sounds far more exhausting than the KTM (20lbs less) in the same scenario.

Price
The Honda is about $600 less on the showroom floor. However...

Clutch/Exhaust (upgrades)
The KTM comes with a hydraulic clutch, which I would upgrade on the Honda. The Honda is still cheaper at this point, but when I factor in the dual exhausts that I'll eventually buy, the Honda is the more expensive bike.

Quality of components
Some of the nuts and bolts on my Suzuki (and my friends Yamaha) are made of peanut butter. Any advantages for build quality in either bike here?

Aesthetic
Not really that important, but I will say that I think the Honda is the best looking bike in the lineup.

Interested to hear what you guys think. And if you ride Field of Dreams (Millville, NJ) or Raceway Park (E-town) and are willing to let me ride your CRF450 or SXF450, I'd be happy to buy you a beer...

Thanks in advance,

@austin_van_bogh

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Two wheels, tacos, and tubes

12/1/2018 12:14 PM

What is your local Honda or KTM dealer like? Support means something.
To me hydro clutch alone worth it. When you add the quality of the breaks it makes it an easier decision.
No to dual exhaust due to the cost to replace for crash damage.

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12/1/2018 12:15 PM

Ive ridden them both. Do you prefer smooth [ktm] or more agressive hit/response [honda]

Quality both are well built. Id give the nod to ktm though. Front top back, top to bottom they have high end parts and thought into design.

Nothing game changing but they are good. Both are good. I prefer suspension on the honda, prefer clutch, brakes on ktm.
Both handle great.

Both feel light on the track
Ktm less tiring, smoother,
Hondas very very strong amd agressive at all rpms.

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12/1/2018 12:35 PM

cdncombatmedic wrote:

What is your local Honda or KTM dealer like? Support means something.
To me hydro clutch alone worth it. When you add the quality of the breaks it makes it an easier decision.
No to dual exhaust due to the cost to replace for crash damage.

They're actually the same dealer, so I would be getting the same service regardless (which is good). I'm with you 100% on the hydro clutch. And how could I forget the Brembo brakes... +1 for the orange bike.

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Two wheels, tacos, and tubes

12/1/2018 12:42 PM

yz133rider wrote:

Ive ridden them both. Do you prefer smooth [ktm] or more agressive hit/response [honda]

Quality both are well built. Id give the nod to ktm though. Front top back, top to bottom they have high end parts and thought into design.

Nothing game changing but they are good. Both are good. I prefer suspension on the honda, prefer clutch, brakes on ktm.
Both handle great.

Both feel light on the track
Ktm less tiring, smoother,
Hondas very very strong amd agressive at all rpms.

Thanks for the feedback! I much prefer linear power over too much bark on a 450. I would guess this could be adjusted on the Honda by going down a tooth or two on the rear sprocket, but that's one more thing I would need to change.

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Two wheels, tacos, and tubes

12/1/2018 12:57 PM

19 ktm fe, or. Crf wegrin

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12/1/2018 1:08 PM
Edited Date/Time: 12/1/2018 1:09 PM

mxb2 wrote:

19 ktm fe, or. Crf wegrin

If money and availability weren't a factor, that CRFWE would probably be at the top of the list. The Jeff Walker vlogs really sold me on that bike, even if though I'm not nearly half as fast as he is...

&t=2s

It's a bad ass bike. Still lacks a hydro clutch though wink
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Two wheels, tacos, and tubes

12/1/2018 1:13 PM

mxb2 wrote:

19 ktm fe, or. Crf wegrin

austin_bo wrote:

If money and availability weren't a factor, that CRFWE would probably be at the top of the list. The Jeff Walker vlogs really sold me on that bike, even if though I'm not nearly half as fast as he is...

&t=2s

It's a bad ass bike. Still lacks a hydro clutch though wink

Both great bikes. Win win,. If you are gonna mod it or bling it out. We crf, no brainer. Not much more $$

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12/1/2018 1:53 PM

Have you thought about a KTM 350?

The Honda feels better then KTM out of the To me because the suspension is very good! The KTM with a remap and suspension work can feel great also, just more out of pocket cost.

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12/1/2018 7:12 PM

My vote is for the Honda!! I LOVE my CRF450WE!!

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“Let the Good Times Roll”

12/1/2018 8:44 PM

Love the look of the Honda but twenty pounds leaner is twenty pounds leaner.

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There's something happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear.

12/1/2018 10:26 PM

ledger wrote:

Love the look of the Honda but twenty pounds leaner is twenty pounds leaner.

Love ppl that thumbs down a fact lmao

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12/2/2018 4:45 AM

In my experience, the KTM is lighter in the pits, but feels heavier on the track.
I dont like hydro clutch (if you do thats a plus).
I have owned every model Honda since -09, the Honda clutch is poo, straight poo (and has always been).
Bought a recluse (not cheap) and i still have to change plates after 45 hours.
Im a Honda guy at heart, but somethings are just better on the orange.

Try to get a test ride and then buy the bike thats cheapest, look at resales also, in sweden its almost impossible to sell a used KTM according to my dealer

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12/2/2018 5:06 AM
Edited Date/Time: 12/2/2018 5:08 AM

I always consider what needs to be fixed when deciding. I was in a similar issue between a RMZ and SXF 2018.

The honda has a shit clutch, which is unfortunate. So out the box a hinson is recommended to get added clutch life. My experiences with KTM clutches are very impressive. But, that 600 dollar difference could help that on the honda.

Some cool things KTM does:

Sag mark on the fender.
Nm torque specs etched into triple clamp
Duel fastener hardware
Tool less filter change
Map switch buttons and traction control
Stock radiator lovers actually brace
Hardware for bearing interface are very nice and durable (axels, linkage)
One piece swing arm, no welds.
Chain sliders last a LONG time.
Brake pedal routed behind frame
Comes with frame guards
ODI lock on grips
Front brake line routed behind the number plate

I think the honda is a great bike, shit I think they all are, 2019 is definitely a year of pick a color. I do believe I would be happy with any of them.

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12/2/2018 6:05 AM

yz133rider wrote:

Ive ridden them both. Do you prefer smooth [ktm] or more agressive hit/response [honda]

Quality both are well built. Id give the nod to ktm though. Front top back, top to bottom they have high end parts and thought into design.

Nothing game changing but they are good. Both are good. I prefer suspension on the honda, prefer clutch, brakes on ktm.
Both handle great.

Both feel light on the track
Ktm less tiring, smoother,
Hondas very very strong amd agressive at all rpms.

This is a good summary IMO.

Only minor disagreement from me is on quality. Seem to be slightly more nuisance problems from the KTM/Husky over the Honda.

I bought a 2018 Honda CRF450 since I thought I wanted the stronger engine/sharp handling. It's great when fresh, but harder to manage while tired. If I buy another 450 next year, it will probably be a Husky.

Also, the money I saved on the Honda went towards suspension revalve and other nice add-ons.

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12/2/2018 7:06 AM

Resale on the KTM will be more than the $600 difference in price when you do decide to trade again (in this area). I rode my buddy's 2019 Honda and liked it, but having ridden the KTM/Huskys for awhile there would be an adjustment. I would still lean towards Austria at this point, but the new Kawasaki has me thinking!

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Take it to the limit, one more time!

12/2/2018 8:37 AM
Edited Date/Time: 12/2/2018 8:39 AM

I rode a 18 Honda 450 and I really liked it a lot. I felt right at home in about 1/4 of lap on it and felt that I could go right to the line and race it and I can't say that about any of the other Japanese 450s. I hated the clutch and that would have to be addressed right away if I bought one. I really didn't notice the added 20lbs except for when I took it off and put it back on the crate but I need more than the 6 laps and at different tracks to see if I did notice it. With all the Ti, Think seat foam my bike could be 25lbs lighter too. The motor was great and strong everywhere and while it handled very good, I felt that it had no weaknesses in that department it didn't handle or didn't feel as planted and predictable as my bike but I've had 4 KTM 450s in a row and I feel that I had them set perfectly. The dealer, price of the bike and the resale value of it would be a huge factor for me if I was thinking about the Honda because I got 8K, $7900,$7900 for my previous 3 KTM 450 FE's and I'm getting 8K for my current KTM 450FE and my buddy who owned that Honda got hurt shortly after I rode it listed it for sale and it took 4 months to sell and he ended up taking $6250 for it and it was in mint condition with 18hrs on it. My other buddy tried for months to sell his 18 Honda and he ended up trading it in and he took a beating on it.

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12/2/2018 9:01 AM
Edited Date/Time: 12/2/2018 9:10 AM

Was in a similiar situation in 2017 & was considering both of these models for 2018. After test riding a 17 1/2 450 SXF FE I ended up with a 2018 CRF450r. I didn't jive with the KTM ergos & the air forks gave the frt. end a non planted feel. The handling felt awkward in comparison to the Japanese brands owned as well. Seeing many cracked frames & durability issues on the KTM that I had read about & also talking to local shops / riders made my decision easier.

Even though there is a weight difference on the scales the Honda actually feels just as light while riding them. The New gen Honda is very good & feel the 18 has no weakness in the engine, handling, turning & suspension dept's.. I feel you can gas up, set the sag & air in the tires to line up for a race basically off the showroom floor. My advice would be to pay someone to ride each bike before making a decision. IMHO the KTM's are overrated.

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Speak softly and carry a big stick.

12/2/2018 9:06 AM

I've ridden them all and here's some thoughts specific to your question and in a little more detail than the shootout notes...

The Honda has an amazing fork right out of the box. The KTM's fork is also excellent & I think the AER is a great design that suits more riders -stock- than any other fork on a 450 MX bike. The Moto-masses seem to not share my affection for an air-spring adjustable fork and they/you all seem to want the spring fork. So, there's always that,

Shock? I'm gonna give the nod to...NEITHER! They're BOTH really, really good and VERY adjustable.

Chassis: the Honda is the classic -and WIDER- Aluminum Japanese frame that's waaaaay easier to hold with your legs or between your knees than the KTM. This is also a contributing factor to the heavier/bulkier sensation. The KTM is EXACTLY like a super-hot & slim European Super Model in a slinky dress at a German Night Club: it plays fast & light. It IS lighter and it's almost "Too Skinny"...that is until you develop a way to hang on to it with your legs...some folks have a hard time with this.
The Honda feels and handles more like your RM-Z. Neither one of the bikes screams for a revalve or money spent on the chassis just to "get it right".

Power? They're both more than enough; but, the Honda's settings right out of the box seem a bit more adaptable to more riders. The KTM makes A TON of power...it just seems to take a little more work to get it...it seems to lean more towards the "rev-rider" style of riding and may be easier to use for a 250F rider that's moving up.

Maintanence? You'll have to ask the owners. Both bikes have a reputation of being made from really good stuff. The hydro-clutch is VERY nice. The simplicity of the KTM should not be overlooked. Less IS more when it comes to taking care of hardware. On the other-hand, I've never had any problems with Honda's twin-muffler systems and the only thing I've had wear out on the newer CRF's is the clutch...a little quickly; however, firming up the springs fixes that right up.

Riding either one of these bikes with minimal money spent on parts and modifications will be a draw, to me. They're pretty even on that front.

This is where I'd say you simply need to ride both.

Personally, it seems easier to go faster on the Honda "box stock". If you think I'm saying it's faster than the KTM? Maybe...but...only when we stick to "box stock".

The people suggesting that your dealer support matters are on to something: if you have a great dealer for one of the brands? That would certainly affect my decision.

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I ripped a start from Egypt and I was happy about that.

12/2/2018 11:04 AM

"The simplicity of the KTM should not be overlooked" ?? isnt the ktm more complex than the honda ? or how do you mean is the ktm engine more simply made?

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12/2/2018 11:06 AM

TeamGreen wrote:

I've ridden them all and here's some thoughts specific to your question and in a little more detail than the shootout notes...

The Honda has an amazing fork right out of the box. The KTM's fork is also excellent & I think the AER is a great design that suits more riders -stock- than any other fork on a 450 MX bike. The Moto-masses seem to not share my affection for an air-spring adjustable fork and they/you all seem to want the spring fork. So, there's always that,

Shock? I'm gonna give the nod to...NEITHER! They're BOTH really, really good and VERY adjustable.

Chassis: the Honda is the classic -and WIDER- Aluminum Japanese frame that's waaaaay easier to hold with your legs or between your knees than the KTM. This is also a contributing factor to the heavier/bulkier sensation. The KTM is EXACTLY like a super-hot & slim European Super Model in a slinky dress at a German Night Club: it plays fast & light. It IS lighter and it's almost "Too Skinny"...that is until you develop a way to hang on to it with your legs...some folks have a hard time with this.
The Honda feels and handles more like your RM-Z. Neither one of the bikes screams for a revalve or money spent on the chassis just to "get it right".

Power? They're both more than enough; but, the Honda's settings right out of the box seem a bit more adaptable to more riders. The KTM makes A TON of power...it just seems to take a little more work to get it...it seems to lean more towards the "rev-rider" style of riding and may be easier to use for a 250F rider that's moving up.

Maintanence? You'll have to ask the owners. Both bikes have a reputation of being made from really good stuff. The hydro-clutch is VERY nice. The simplicity of the KTM should not be overlooked. Less IS more when it comes to taking care of hardware. On the other-hand, I've never had any problems with Honda's twin-muffler systems and the only thing I've had wear out on the newer CRF's is the clutch...a little quickly; however, firming up the springs fixes that right up.

Riding either one of these bikes with minimal money spent on parts and modifications will be a draw, to me. They're pretty even on that front.

This is where I'd say you simply need to ride both.

Personally, it seems easier to go faster on the Honda "box stock". If you think I'm saying it's faster than the KTM? Maybe...but...only when we stick to "box stock".

The people suggesting that your dealer support matters are on to something: if you have a great dealer for one of the brands? That would certainly affect my decision.

Great analogy and your opinions seem spot on to me. Your Euro super model thing made me spit my drink out. My bike is far from stock so it makes it really hard to compare mine to the Honda that I rode because all his had were Twinwall bars and the correct springs for his weight and the heavy clutch springs which I hated because the pull was very heavy and that alone would give me finger pump :-) I really liked the Honda a lot because it fit me well and did everything easily for me which like you said made it easy to go fast on. It's a GREAT bike...

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12/2/2018 11:14 AM
Edited Date/Time: 12/2/2018 12:21 PM

sebastianer wrote:

"The simplicity of the KTM should not be overlooked" ?? isnt the ktm more complex than the honda ? or how do you mean is the ktm engine more simply made?

I think what he's saying is because I've worked on both and that the KTM is very well thought out and everything is easy to get to which make it a nice bike to work on. The air filter system can't be any easier. I stripped a 19 350SXF down in like 2 hrs to have the frame powder coated and it was so much easier and faster than the almost 3+ hrs that it took me to strip down a 17 Honda 450 that I was getting the frame done in black.

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12/2/2018 11:59 AM
Edited Date/Time: 12/2/2018 12:02 PM

sebastianer wrote:

"The simplicity of the KTM should not be overlooked" ?? isnt the ktm more complex than the honda ? or how do you mean is the ktm engine more simply made?

Digger29 wrote:

I think what he's saying is because I've worked on both and that the KTM is very well thought out and everything is easy to get to which make it a nice bike to work on. The air filter system can't be any easier. I stripped a 19 350SXF down in like 2 hrs to have the frame powder coated and it was so much easier and faster than the almost 3+ hrs that it took me to strip down a 17 Honda 450 that I was getting the frame done in black.

Yup

There's less complexity over-all to the KTMs and Huskies. If you take all these bikes apart and lay all the parts on the floor...you'd swear the Austrian bullt bikes are missing some parts ?

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I ripped a start from Egypt and I was happy about that.

12/2/2018 12:17 PM

sebastianer wrote:

"The simplicity of the KTM should not be overlooked" ?? isnt the ktm more complex than the honda ? or how do you mean is the ktm engine more simply made?

Digger29 wrote:

I think what he's saying is because I've worked on both and that the KTM is very well thought out and everything is easy to get to which make it a nice bike to work on. The air filter system can't be any easier. I stripped a 19 350SXF down in like 2 hrs to have the frame powder coated and it was so much easier and faster than the almost 3+ hrs that it took me to strip down a 17 Honda 450 that I was getting the frame done in black.

TeamGreen wrote:

Yup

There's less complexity over-all to the KTMs and Huskies. If you take all these bikes apart and lay all the parts on the floor...you'd swear the Austrian bullt bikes are missing some parts ?

Bam...and you're killing me here BUT once again I couldn't agree more :-)

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12/2/2018 12:22 PM

Racer111 wrote:

My vote is for the Honda!! I LOVE my CRF450WE!!

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I love your CRFWE too lol. That's a great looking bike you have there.

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Two wheels, tacos, and tubes

12/2/2018 12:24 PM

Markee wrote:

I always consider what needs to be fixed when deciding. I was in a similar issue between a RMZ and SXF 2018.

The honda has a shit clutch, which is unfortunate. So out the box a hinson is recommended to get added clutch life. My experiences with KTM clutches are very impressive. But, that 600 dollar difference could help that on the honda.

Some cool things KTM does:

Sag mark on the fender.
Nm torque specs etched into triple clamp
Duel fastener hardware
Tool less filter change
Map switch buttons and traction control
Stock radiator lovers actually brace
Hardware for bearing interface are very nice and durable (axels, linkage)
One piece swing arm, no welds.
Chain sliders last a LONG time.
Brake pedal routed behind frame
Comes with frame guards
ODI lock on grips
Front brake line routed behind the number plate

I think the honda is a great bike, shit I think they all are, 2019 is definitely a year of pick a color. I do believe I would be happy with any of them.

This is some great info - thank you!

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Two wheels, tacos, and tubes

12/2/2018 12:29 PM

mx317 wrote:

Resale on the KTM will be more than the $600 difference in price when you do decide to trade again (in this area). I rode my buddy's 2019 Honda and liked it, but having ridden the KTM/Huskys for awhile there would be an adjustment. I would still lean towards Austria at this point, but the new Kawasaki has me thinking!

I had the 2018 CRF450r. I was happy with it until I road my buddies kx450. I would say try to ride them. Will save you some money. My kx450 is the best bike out right now.

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12/2/2018 12:37 PM
Edited Date/Time: 12/4/2018 2:33 PM

mx317 wrote:

Resale on the KTM will be more than the $600 difference in price when you do decide to trade again (in this area). I rode my buddy's 2019 Honda and liked it, but having ridden the KTM/Huskys for awhile there would be an adjustment. I would still lean towards Austria at this point, but the new Kawasaki has me thinking!

JohnnyD13 wrote:

I had the 2018 CRF450r. I was happy with it until I road my buddies kx450. I would say try to ride them. Will save you some money. My kx450 is the best bike out right now.

I've only ridden a 17 KXF450 and I didn't care for it at all. I've heard so good things about the new 19 KXF450 from buddy's here in New England that have them and what I've read about them.

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12/4/2018 5:25 AM

mx317 wrote:

Resale on the KTM will be more than the $600 difference in price when you do decide to trade again (in this area). I rode my buddy's 2019 Honda and liked it, but having ridden the KTM/Huskys for awhile there would be an adjustment. I would still lean towards Austria at this point, but the new Kawasaki has me thinking!

JohnnyD13 wrote:

I had the 2018 CRF450r. I was happy with it until I road my buddies kx450. I would say try to ride them. Will save you some money. My kx450 is the best bike out right now.

Agreed - I've read nothing but good reviews about them. Unfortunately, I don't have a Kawasaki dealer close by, so it's not a feasible option.

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Two wheels, tacos, and tubes

12/4/2018 5:27 AM

Resale on a 2 year old husky was enough i bought a new rmz450 with the money. Ill take a bath when i sell this rmz tho

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