2020 KX450 vs 2020 YZ450

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9/20/2019 1:49 PM

Time for a freshie. I've watched and read every shootout/review/intro etc. and I'm struggling super hard to choose between the KX and the YZ. Here's what I see as the pros and cons for me. What would you buy?

6'1", 185lb, Vet Novice

KX450 Pros:
-Bike fits my size well
-Highly adjustable ergos
-Good usable power
-$2.5K savings on leftover (compared to new YZ)
-Hydro clutch is a nice touch
-No new KX450 for at least 2 years so no worry about pressure to replace

KX450 Cons:
-Forks need some tweaking
-Muffler is hideous - add $ for new exhaust
-No easy on-the-fly map switch or tuner
-Quality/Durability a little less than Yamaha
-Poor resale

YZ450 Pros:
-Sooo much hype
-Top notch Quality/Durability
-Suspension is best in class
-Power is super good
-Tuner app is sweet
-Probably don't have to spend much on extras

YZ450 Cons:
-$2.5K more than Kawi leftover
-Rode a '19 and felt strange - knees were above seat making it hard to grip- has this changed for '20? I'm only 6'1"...
-Ergos overall are slightly less desirable than the Kawi
-Expect a full model update before Kawi - like having newest models (FOMO what can I say)

What would you buy?

View Results

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9/20/2019 2:16 PM

Get a 19 or 20 YZ with a taller/ wider seat? Different bars and pegs maybe? All of those parts will probably be less than an exhaust and suspension work for the KX. Or get the KX and change what you think it needs but live without the tuner app. Keep in mind that you can get a tuner for the KX.

https://www.kawasaki.com/accessories/item/kx-fi-calibration-kit-handheld/999990527

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9/20/2019 2:16 PM

Dealer support and intended purpose certainly should factor in. More interested in re-sale value or actually racing/riding it? That $2,500 could get some tires, gas, training, suspension, etc. now vs. a perceived delta in the future.

Making an informed decision without riding it yourself is a bit of a leap of faith, but you truly can't go wrong. From what I read, you're leaning toward the Kawie. Load it up and break it in this weekend.

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9/20/2019 2:27 PM

I don’t think there is much of any build quality difference between the two. I think the build quality between all of the brands is very similar.

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9/20/2019 2:45 PM

You said super hard whistling

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Never try to argue with idiots; they will only bring you down to their level.....and being more experienced, they will beat you at their own game!


2006 KX250

9/20/2019 2:45 PM

Oh.... get the KX

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Never try to argue with idiots; they will only bring you down to their level.....and being more experienced, they will beat you at their own game!


2006 KX250

9/20/2019 2:50 PM

bvm111 wrote:

You said super hard whistling

Haha touche.

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9/20/2019 2:50 PM

I don't think you'll find the Yamaha to be any more reliable than the Kawasaki. I've been on green six years now with no major issues. They are both sweet bikes, but that $2500 savings is hard to pass up for someone like me.

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9/20/2019 3:03 PM

731chopper wrote:

I don’t think there is much of any build quality difference between the two. I think the build quality between all of the brands is very similar.

I have both bikes and there is a difference. The KX build quality is definitely lower

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9/20/2019 3:29 PM

Genuinely interested in what you feel is more quality about the Yamaha? I know the KX chain rollers and slides are not that quality.

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9/20/2019 4:13 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/20/2019 4:16 PM

Mr. Afterbar wrote:

Genuinely interested in what you feel is more quality about the Yamaha? I know the KX chain rollers and slides are not that quality.

Well....there’s a couple things that stand out. I’m not sure if it is a commentary on low quality components on the kx or amazingly high quality components on the yzf. To name a few:
Chain slider and roller wears quickly (no big deal)
Engine hanger stripped with a proper torque wrench
Throttle tube has to immediately be replaced if you want different grips
The clutch......i went to a rekluse setup pretty quickly
Subframe bracket that holds the muffler broke off
Handlebar holders twist with a strong breeze
Play develops quickly in the footpegs because the footpeg brackets are aluminum
Not enough oil in the forks from the factory (fuckers)
Engine is very noisy and sounds a little clunky
Air filter setup is clunky
That’s just off the top of my head. I’ve got 30 hours on mine and after adjustment and dealing with that crap the bike is obviously a great race bike. I love riding it and it’s awesome and easy to ride quickly.

The yamaha.....for the first time in the history of bikes that i’ve purchased.....only required grips.

I get it. It sucks to hear that our babies are ugly but it’s just a dirt bike so it’s ok.

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9/20/2019 4:39 PM

731chopper wrote:

I don’t think there is much of any build quality difference between the two. I think the build quality between all of the brands is very similar.

Moto520 wrote:

I have both bikes and there is a difference. The KX build quality is definitely lower

Okie dokie.

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9/20/2019 5:12 PM

Mr. Afterbar wrote:

Genuinely interested in what you feel is more quality about the Yamaha? I know the KX chain rollers and slides are not that quality.

Moto520 wrote:

Well....there’s a couple things that stand out. I’m not sure if it is a commentary on low quality components on the kx or amazingly high quality components on the yzf. To name a few:
Chain slider and roller wears quickly (no big deal)
Engine hanger stripped with a proper torque wrench
Throttle tube has to immediately be replaced if you want different grips
The clutch......i went to a rekluse setup pretty quickly
Subframe bracket that holds the muffler broke off
Handlebar holders twist with a strong breeze
Play develops quickly in the footpegs because the footpeg brackets are aluminum
Not enough oil in the forks from the factory (fuckers)
Engine is very noisy and sounds a little clunky
Air filter setup is clunky
That’s just off the top of my head. I’ve got 30 hours on mine and after adjustment and dealing with that crap the bike is obviously a great race bike. I love riding it and it’s awesome and easy to ride quickly.

The yamaha.....for the first time in the history of bikes that i’ve purchased.....only required grips.

I get it. It sucks to hear that our babies are ugly but it’s just a dirt bike so it’s ok.

I'm on a last gen Kawi for at least this weekend so no hurt feelings here. I'm over the chain sliders. They wear out in less than ten hours for me and cause premature wear to the chain. The TM Designworks slider eats chains even faster. Sick of replacing it all every couple months. Agreed on the bar mounts and the grips being vulcanized to the throttle tube is a PITA. Those are really my only complaints after 70+ hours. To be fair to the KX though, I doubt you have the same amount of time on the YZ and would be interested to hear your thoughts once you do. I haven't been on a Yamaha since my PW, but have been considering one. Hard to justify the price difference for myself personally. I've been going back and forth in my head between green, blue, and even yellow.

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9/20/2019 5:25 PM

This is easy because you're running Vet novice. Yamaha all the way. You're not a 20yo kid, so squeeze out the 2500 for perfect suspension and a motor you can tone down a bit to suit your ability. Then all you need to buy is a $100 GYTR tall seat, move the bar mounts and you're done with ergos. Your future self will thank you for saving your back and knees and you wont be scouring ebay for human cartilage.

The KX isnt 2500 less if you have to spend $xxxx amount of money on exhaust and suspension work. With that logic you might as well look at RM's.

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9/20/2019 7:14 PM

Mr. Afterbar wrote:

I'm on a last gen Kawi for at least this weekend so no hurt feelings here. I'm over the chain sliders. They wear out in less than ten hours for me and cause premature wear to the chain. The TM Designworks slider eats chains even faster. Sick of replacing it all every couple months. Agreed on the bar mounts and the grips being vulcanized to the throttle tube is a PITA. Those are really my only complaints after 70+ hours. To be fair to the KX though, I doubt you have the same amount of time on the YZ and would be interested to hear your thoughts once you do. I haven't been on a Yamaha since my PW, but have been considering one. Hard to justify the price difference for myself personally. I've been going back and forth in my head between green, blue, and even yellow.

You’re right. I’m only at 12 hours on the Yamaha right now. It’s just the little things. After all these years being a motocross bike nerd i get particular about the details on the bike. The Yamaha is just built well. No mistakes

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9/20/2019 7:21 PM


Del Amo in socal had these lined up, with one grey yamaha 2020/450 on the other side of the store.
I wish i could ride both these bikes...
I have a 17’ crf450 and plan on keeping it. But is the juice worth the squeeze ? Does yamaha demo bikes ? I know ktm is having a demo day of there bikes and wp components at Cahuilla 10/11/19.
See you at the track !
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9/20/2019 7:24 PM

sure sounds like the kx fits you alot better, id go that route.

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9/20/2019 7:31 PM

I was in your position last season. What I’ve learned, bike shootouts are kind of pointless unless you live in socal and ride highways. I picked the YZ, but after riding a couple different 19’s, I probably would have picked something different for what my local tracks are like. I can overjump the hell out of shit now though. Thanks KYB

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9/20/2019 8:14 PM

Get a zook so you don’t need a new bike for another decade

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9/20/2019 11:33 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/20/2019 11:38 PM

Here are a few (more) ideas for you having ridden all the 2020's : 6', 200lb, Vet Expert

KX450 Pros:

-Bike will fit you well at 6'1" and the ergos are MUCH better.
-Easy to add some oil, possibly .52 springs, and you'll be close for suspension. Revalve and additional tuning can make it even better.
-Great motor with easy to understand couplers.
-Hydraulic clutch works well and losing the judder-spring is an easy upgrade.
-Best aluminum frame available: compliant, plush, well-balanced.
-No major changes before 2022 models (most likely).
-Parts are now readily available (OE and aftermarket).
-Price!

KX450 Cons:

-Tougher resale.
-Better sell before 80 hours or thereabouts; doesn't hold up as well as other 450 offerings.
-No fix for the bazooka exhaust (cosmetic issue only).


YZ450F Pros:

-Better build quality, though the trans takes a bit longer to 'break-in'.
-Great engine package as well and more tunable if you like to mess with settings.
-Can't beat the suspension off the showroom floor. At 200lbs., I have to dial in everything anyways so this isn't much of a concern, and once tuned basically all the spring offerings (minus BFRC) work excellent.
-Should remain the same till 2022 as well.
-Can go 100+ hours without issue.

YZ450F Cons:

-Handling is the most difficult fix for all the fast 450's, and this is a unique platform which can compound the problem.
-Shrouds are rubbish: too wide and uncomfortable.
-I wear ear plugs, but without them the YZF has a noticeable intake noise...
-Felt great riding at 80% or less, but pushing on this bike was the most difficult for me; it can feel so good in places, and then so unnerving when it goes away (often unanticipated). Wouldn't like to race this bike.
-Feels heavy when mistakes are made, not nearly as 'nimble' as the KX450 in transitions or when the back steps out.

Since you rode a 19', you have a good idea how the Yamaha (still) feels. Here's hoping this adds to your info about each one, and for transparency, I'm one of the Kawi votes...

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9/20/2019 11:53 PM

crc245 wrote:

Here are a few (more) ideas for you having ridden all the 2020's : 6', 200lb, Vet Expert

KX450 Pros:

-Bike will fit you well at 6'1" and the ergos are MUCH better.
-Easy to add some oil, possibly .52 springs, and you'll be close for suspension. Revalve and additional tuning can make it even better.
-Great motor with easy to understand couplers.
-Hydraulic clutch works well and losing the judder-spring is an easy upgrade.
-Best aluminum frame available: compliant, plush, well-balanced.
-No major changes before 2022 models (most likely).
-Parts are now readily available (OE and aftermarket).
-Price!

KX450 Cons:

-Tougher resale.
-Better sell before 80 hours or thereabouts; doesn't hold up as well as other 450 offerings.
-No fix for the bazooka exhaust (cosmetic issue only).


YZ450F Pros:

-Better build quality, though the trans takes a bit longer to 'break-in'.
-Great engine package as well and more tunable if you like to mess with settings.
-Can't beat the suspension off the showroom floor. At 200lbs., I have to dial in everything anyways so this isn't much of a concern, and once tuned basically all the spring offerings (minus BFRC) work excellent.
-Should remain the same till 2022 as well.
-Can go 100+ hours without issue.

YZ450F Cons:

-Handling is the most difficult fix for all the fast 450's, and this is a unique platform which can compound the problem.
-Shrouds are rubbish: too wide and uncomfortable.
-I wear ear plugs, but without them the YZF has a noticeable intake noise...
-Felt great riding at 80% or less, but pushing on this bike was the most difficult for me; it can feel so good in places, and then so unnerving when it goes away (often unanticipated). Wouldn't like to race this bike.
-Feels heavy when mistakes are made, not nearly as 'nimble' as the KX450 in transitions or when the back steps out.

Since you rode a 19', you have a good idea how the Yamaha (still) feels. Here's hoping this adds to your info about each one, and for transparency, I'm one of the Kawi votes...

Great insights. Thanks!

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9/21/2019 1:12 AM

I did a handful of laps on each bike. No setup or sag, just to get a feel and I liked the Kawi more.

The power was a little more tame and suspension was almost perfect. I’m 160lbs 35 B/C rider.

You can’t go wrong but the $2500 less is the kicker for me. Get your suspension set up, exhaust system, maybe grips and bars if needed. You’ll be more dialed in and still be saving money.

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9/21/2019 1:22 AM

2020 kxf with a slip-on is what i would do, ride it for a bit then when you know what you want, get the suspension revalved

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9/21/2019 11:03 PM

Carstensen14 wrote:
Del Amo in socal had these lined up, with one grey yamaha 2020/450 on the other side of the store.
I wish i could ride both these bikes...
I have a 17’ crf450 and plan on keeping it. But is the juice worth the squeeze ? Does yamaha demo bikes ? I know ktm is having a demo day of there bikes and wp components at Cahuilla 10/11/19.
See you at the track !

Almost bought a 250 from here, until they tried adding $3500 in fees. Pretty ridiculous

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9/22/2019 7:32 AM

Get the yz, the 19 was damn good and the hype of the 20 has me drooling

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9/22/2019 9:09 AM

I have a '19 yz450 with lowered pegs if you want to ride it at ADVMX on Wednesday

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9/22/2019 9:55 AM

Based on your observation that your knees are above the seat on the YZ, get the KX. There's nothing worse than not being able to grip the bike between your legs while standing. I find being tall having comfortable ergonomics is more important than any other single attribute.

It's strange how the Yamaha is a large, wide feeling bike but the seat to pegs distance is so short. I'd hate that.

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9/22/2019 10:37 AM
Edited Date/Time: 9/22/2019 10:38 AM

crc245 wrote:

Here are a few (more) ideas for you having ridden all the 2020's : 6', 200lb, Vet Expert

KX450 Pros:

-Bike will fit you well at 6'1" and the ergos are MUCH better.
-Easy to add some oil, possibly .52 springs, and you'll be close for suspension. Revalve and additional tuning can make it even better.
-Great motor with easy to understand couplers.
-Hydraulic clutch works well and losing the judder-spring is an easy upgrade.
-Best aluminum frame available: compliant, plush, well-balanced.
-No major changes before 2022 models (most likely).
-Parts are now readily available (OE and aftermarket).
-Price!

KX450 Cons:

-Tougher resale.
-Better sell before 80 hours or thereabouts; doesn't hold up as well as other 450 offerings.
-No fix for the bazooka exhaust (cosmetic issue only).


YZ450F Pros:

-Better build quality, though the trans takes a bit longer to 'break-in'.
-Great engine package as well and more tunable if you like to mess with settings.
-Can't beat the suspension off the showroom floor. At 200lbs., I have to dial in everything anyways so this isn't much of a concern, and once tuned basically all the spring offerings (minus BFRC) work excellent.
-Should remain the same till 2022 as well.
-Can go 100+ hours without issue.

YZ450F Cons:

-Handling is the most difficult fix for all the fast 450's, and this is a unique platform which can compound the problem.
-Shrouds are rubbish: too wide and uncomfortable.
-I wear ear plugs, but without them the YZF has a noticeable intake noise...
-Felt great riding at 80% or less, but pushing on this bike was the most difficult for me; it can feel so good in places, and then so unnerving when it goes away (often unanticipated). Wouldn't like to race this bike.
-Feels heavy when mistakes are made, not nearly as 'nimble' as the KX450 in transitions or when the back steps out.

Since you rode a 19', you have a good idea how the Yamaha (still) feels. Here's hoping this adds to your info about each one, and for transparency, I'm one of the Kawi votes...

Why shouldnt the kx last more then 80 hours? I call that bs, i had 165 hours on my 16 with zero issues. Replaced the Piston att 84 hours thats the only thing i touched on the engine. Bike Still looked great at 165 hours.

The newer yz's seems to have alot more problems with engine failures,gerbox failures, starter clutches and cracked frames just Google it 😂

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9/22/2019 11:28 AM

kennyc wrote:

I have a '19 yz450 with lowered pegs if you want to ride it at ADVMX on Wednesday

I might just take you up on that! I just did a top end on my 125 so I’ll be out there breaking it in on Wednesday. Appreciate the offer!

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9/23/2019 11:44 AM

id choose the yzf but thats me. youre only an inch taller than me and i have zero issues gripping yzf but who knows maybe your legs are longer than mine.

both are great on the track. i would go with the yzf just for the build quality I run a small perfomance bike shop here in alberta 403mx

https://www.instagram.com/403mx


When comparing the two brands. In my neck of the woods there are far more yamahas sold and ridden locally blue has a big presence here. Yet in my shop i have alot more of kxfs 250-450s in for engine failures than blue. I see very very few issues with yamaha 4 strokes.

just not a fan of kawi build quality. There are some big names out there who ride for kawi I know constantly bitch about how often they blow up and break green bikes... never speak of it on social media just around a bonfire etc.

i did get to ride a 19 kxf and i must say it is the best bike they have ever made.




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