SUZUKI RM-Z450: $8749
There are no changes for the 2017 RM-Z450, but it
remains one of the most under-appreciated bikes in the
class. It has smooth power, excellent handling and suspension that can be dialed in once you understand the
possibilities of the Showa Triple Air fork. Despite being a
little heavy, there is nothing in the class that corners as
well as the Suzuki.
KTM 350SX-F: $9199
We don’t understand why KTM is the only company that
gets it. Aside from its blood brother on the Husqvarna side
of the company, KTM has the only 350cc bike in the 450
MX category. It’s true that Dungey, Cairoli and the other
factory pros race full-size 450s, but even they will say that
the 350 is more fun. This year it gets the WP AER 48 air
fork and traction control.
HUSQVARNA FC350: $9299
When you ride a 350 against 450s, you give up torque
and sheer power, but the powerband of this year’s FC350
is extremely wide because of its 14,000 redline. The 350
also gives you a higher fun factor, less weight and more
maneuverability. The FC350 for 2017 gets a handlebar-mounted traction-control switch and a new air fork.
YAMAHA YZ450F: $8699
The YZ450F has one of the strongest motors in the
motocross world, the best overall suspension and the best
reputation for reliability. The YZ uses the reverse-head-engine layout that rocked the world in 2011, as well as
the topside air filter and wraparound head pipe. There are
virtually no changes for 2017 beyond graphics and minor
HONDA CRF250R: $7599
The Honda 250cc motocrosser is the only single-over-head-cam bike in the 250 MX class. It’s very torquey and
easy to ride, but perhaps down slightly on peak power
compared to DOHC bikes. It has a Showa Triple Air fork,
twin exhausts and weighs the exact same as the Yamaha.
For 2017 the bike returns without changes.
TM FOUR-STROKES: FROM $10,495
TMs aren’t cheap, but if Ferrari made a dirt bike, this is
what it would look like. The frames are hand-welded, the
fork is KYB and the rear shock is made in-house at TM.
This year TM has added a 300cc four-stroke to the line as
a lightweight alternative to 450s. That makes four models:
the MX 250 Fi KS ($10,495), MX 300 Fi KS ($10,595), MX
450 Fi KS ($10,495) and the MX 530 Fi KS ($10,295).