2006 450F MX Shootout — PNW Riders

22 Апр 2015 | Author: | Комментарии к записи 2006 450F MX Shootout — PNW Riders отключены
ATK 450 MX

2006 450F MX Shootout

By JC Hilderbrand

The bigger the better, eh? that is the American way, and in the USA will live and … by cardinal rule. The 450cc are the supreme motocross weapon.

All the big have officially traded in pipey pre-mixers for the booming and even the race series’ indicate supremacy; Supercross a capital S. The biggest stars the biggest bikes for the biggest in what has become the world’s supercross series.

Ride one of bikes and it’s obvious why are so highly touted. Their is unmatched, and the only thing even remotely close is the of manic grins concealed a rider’s chin guard.

wanted to find out what mean machines are all about, so we a few of them up for a shootout. A few is actually of an understatement. In reality we put in calls and up not only the four Japanese but went ahead and made it the Big with the increasingly popular KTM marque.

Just for some flavor, and since the best in the world now happens within the of the continental United States, it only appropriate to see what the white and blue had to offer. the only American manufacturer of bikes, lent us a 450 MX to bring our to six.

The stage was set for MotorcycleUSA’s MX shootout ever, but life has a way of you up just to knock you down. we got punked by two manufacturers at the last turning our scheduled six-bike into a scaled-down version of Honda’s CRF450R, the new KX450F Kawasaki, the Suzuki RM-Z450 and the ATK 450 MX. If you’ll notice, there’s a lack of blue and orange in the gallery which is by no means the of our photographer.

Regardless of the shortcomings we what we could and ran for the San Bernardino then jaunting over to the changing lakebed soils of Elsinore. Our regular test Mike Mandahl came out to the fo-fiddies a spin and brought his pal Anthony Rondon for a second Here’s how it all shook down.


The heart of the 450’s lies in the motor. Sure, the of the bike’s components are important but these machines kick tail primarily because can yard anything except 450 off the line. Having the power to starts, clear jumps and competitors into the next is where 450F pilots gain huge advantages.

of the bikes we tested had any problem second-gear starts, and with holeshots and welted chests the norm, that’s just a these days. Where you to go from there depends on weight, track conditions and preference. Our guys ranged 150 pounds to 180, and not one of the bikes to keep the front wheel on the while ripping away the gate.

Our test riders put the CRF of the rest in the motor department. no denying that the Honda it out, as it posted the highest numbers when we revved out on the Two Brothers Racing dyno. The was consistently above the competition the entire powerband, maxing at hp. From a seat-of-the-pants perspective, our riders agreed by noting performance across the rpm spectrum.

was particularly fond of the red bike’s believing that it makes down low than it did in ’05.

Eric Crippa was the technician on to help tweak the bike our testing. From his experience in testing and other magazine he went ahead and installed jetting specs that he should have come in the 40mm Keihin FCR carburetor. We his word for it because the combination in our was spot on at both Glen and Lake Elsinore.

Crippa replaced the stock 45 jet with a 48 and tossed in a slightly NCVQ needle with the in the fourth position along a #168 main jet.

important to remember the way the power is makes a big difference in a rider’s Two of our four bikes had four-speed which meant that delivery was very different the others. I too liked the CRF’s but the five-speed transmission wasn’t as to me for motocross applications.

The KX-F and both felt more especially in the low end and midrange, primarily as a of their four-speed trannies.

and third gears on the Kawi and were awesome utility that allow for riders to get the track with far fewer Lugging the four-speeds through was no problem, while the CRF was by far the easiest to I never had any stalling problems the ATK, but the other riders the motor on occasion.

In either it’s hardly worth because the ATK’s electric combined with fuel meant that it was up and running faster than any bike on the

The Kawi and RM-Z received the score for motor performance but their marks through ways. Both Rondon and ranked the KX450F second, the linear powerband and ease of use as its features. I agree that it was the to ride for long periods of but I actually preferred the Suzuki over the entire group.

the yellow bike was very to the KX-F in terms of power but it had a bit of a surge in the midrange that made it fun to ride. Usually I shy away from a midrange especially on brutes such as but the RM-Z managed to retain its nature while providing extra bit of adrenaline. Doling out and 49.3 hp, respectively, the RM-Z just short of the Kawasaki on the but that single top-end is tough to detect on the track.

motor follows the four-valve, configuration, producing 449cc of with the exception of the Honda uses a Unicam, four-valve However, that’s about all the ATK has in with the other three.

of the normal rear-mounted carburetor and facing exhaust port, the is reversed on the American bike. In of the carb, ATK uses an electronic system to deliver combustibles. located opposite conventional placement and is at the front, between the single-piece radiator and cylinder. The thing about EFI, we didn’t get to toy around with it, is the system’s computer can be remapped to a variety of conditions.

The ECU also has a hookup for monitoring precise performance information.

Because we got the ATK a local dealer, it was the only that wasn’t represented by a technician. Having someone would have been to help set up its suspension and to simply explain some of the …-backwards found on the ATK. However, the motor ran like a champ if there was a lot of engine noise.

braking was the most notable of the thanks to its 12.5:1 compression easily the highest of the bunch. But the never sputtered or coughed and not did it backfire under deceleration.

the excellent running condition of the all of our test riders noted it was drastically underpowered in comparison to the bikes. Producing a mere hp at the Two Bros shop, the shortcomings only magnified on the track by a amount of extra poundage of the only electric-start components. A motor coupled with weight gives the ATK more of an bike characteristic.

The bike is the same as the 450 Enduro but the off-road has a revised ignition mapping and lights. We’ll be testing the settings later in our 450 enduro

Even though we didn’t get to the Yamaha, we were able to some dyno numbers the guys at Two Brothers simply for a comparison. The YZ450F they which was sitting there us, pumped out 50.2 hp and 33.9 of torque. That horsepower falls beneath only the Honda, and just barely, the torque output lands it in behind the 34-plus figures of the CRF and

Don’t you really wish have gotten to test it

Motor Ranking:

1. Honda

2. Suzuki, Kawasaki

4. ATK

The Skinny

I the extra pork on the ATK discovered by our We could tell a difference from attempting to lift it a stand, but the point is that is another all-important factor in supremacy. Indeed, bigger is but the one area in which manus our fundamental rule of thumb is weight.

Unfortunately for the American our scales showed it to be 25 pounds than the next-closest RM-Z. proved to be the queen of vanity by it’s waistline to a skimpy 229 The Kawi’s 232-pound tank-empty was slightly less than the 239 pounds.

Moving around on the CRF is thanks to its thin layout, and around the track is also greatly by the weight savings. All of us able to feel the difference in on the track and the Red thumper is definitely the of the crew. One way it was easy to tell was by getting into the air during our day of testing at Glen Helen.

30-mile-per-hour winds gusting the day, the Honda suffered in the dusty gale. I had the front end completely off the side of a tabletop resulted in a trip over the Luckily I’m not in the habit of big on jumps, wind or no wind, so the was more of a flop than

All of the bikes are excellent fliers, the hefty ATK, if you dare. is where weight becomes obvious to a rider. As you can see from our gallery, Mandahl was able to get all of the moving around in the air, but the and Kawasaki were consistently his

Okay, so he didn’t actually the ATK, but that’s a hell of a lot of to be getting out of line.

I hate to bringing up comments about the Yamaha YZ450F, but it felt the agile out of all the 450Fs I’ve when I tested it at Competitive during its press intro. We have it for a straight up comparison, but it is worth mentioning that I jumping the blue bike.


Talking about braking and weight naturally into a discussion about ability. While the RM-Z has the wheelbase at 58.3 inches and 25.5 degrees of rake, it couldn’t overcome the hard-charging and Honda in the handling department.

The and Kawasaki both have twin-spar aluminum perimeter but each has just a tad bit of individuality. engineers have placed indentations in the biggest spars for a look and an additional bit of knee Rondon and Mandahl both notice a difference, but I preferred the style to the smooth frames of the and Kawi not only for its grip, but for the robotic look it adds to an chiseled physic.

Kawasaki to squeeze the KX’s overall down to 32.3 inches, the of our test. (Isn’t that from the handlebars? If so, that’s not saying anything.)

Each of bikes turns on a dime. the ATK might run you two bits, but the Japanese knife through corners a rabid teppanyaki chef a pound of sirloin. The lightweight CRF has by far the history with aluminum perimeter frame chassis, so it was no that the Honda gave feel while avoiding

The only machine to top the Honda in performance was the KX450F. A 27.1 rake and 4.6 inches of trail is aggressive than either of the Japanese bikes, which for the extreme stability in rough and through turns. I found the frame to have the highest of flex, but it was by no means soft. Not any were particularly harsh, but the transferred the least amount of to the rider.

This is Kawasaki’s year producing twin-spar frames, and this one utilizes technology to form their out of cast, forged and extruded components similar to the CRF and RM-Z.

Our rider found the KX-F to fit his frame the best. The bar and peg height fit for a small rider like me, said. As for myself, I found moving the bars forward me out of the swept-back position and increased the of grip at the front tire, increasing my confidence and turning

Astride the Suzuki, its pegs tilted forward just a helping keep the rider on the seat and feeling aggressive. The height on the yellow bike is a 39.2 inches. That’s than an inch higher the Kawi and ATK, both 38 and nearly two inches higher the CRF’s 36.8-inch tall rest. As a result the Suzuki top-heavy and just plain

Merely watching our shortest rider attempting to kick the to life after a stall was All of the bikes require a good, kick and they’ll light up, for the ATK which is electric start but it proved to be an extreme challenge for our tester, Rondon, who would benefited from a sole on his left Sidi.

Ergonomics on all the bikes were very when compared to the ATK. the same seat height as the the 450 MX feels long and low from the A 58.5-inch wheelbase isn’t different than the others, but the seat allows the rider to in and the Henry/Reed Pro-Taper bars like ape-hangers when with the 27.5 inches of at the steering head.

It’s driving a diesel rig when the are like Toyota Tacomas, said. But before you write off the ol’ U.S. of A. let’s back a little to see where whole situation stemmed Here’s the short version.

manufacturer Cannondale threw helmet into the motocross when it released the MX400 in Bike reviews for the new machine consistently blas‚, but the potential for was definitely there. Unfortunately, Motorsports was forced to file early in 2003, leaving the up for grabs in an auction bidding

And this is exactly where ATK USA in.

ATK has never been a major in motocross or supercross, but its quietly selling a small share of each year. When went under, their inventory was snatched up by the former of Wheelie-King Doug Domokos to it their own. Well, of.

The current 450 MX model still has a engine cover on the left though they have around to installing an ATK brand on the right side for 2006.

that the 450 MX hasn’t seen a lot of changes since the Cannondale between 2001 and 2003, but it has significant improvements in reliability of the Still, the ATK comes out of the gate the times and they know it. isn’t to say that the machine competent on the track in the right but getting thrown head-to-head bikes with the most edge technology is a tough to fill.

Handling/Chassis Ranking:

1. Kawasaki


3. Suzuki

4. ATK

Suspended Animation

in the ever-important suspension wars was the brand-new KX-F. In a ground-breaking for the company, Kawi used components on its ’06 250F. one big change was enough because the stuck with their suspension partner, Kayaba, on the Public Relations man Russ assured us that it was a decision solely on the findings of rigorous testing during Kawi RD

We absolutely loved the Showa on the 250F, but since we don’t the opportunity to try it out on the 450F, we’ll have to accept his words as the

A 48mm Air-Oil Separate Kayaba inverted fork all duties up front, and handles well. There weren’t any of unpredictable behavior which out to be a consistent theme with the The fork refused to dive under hard braking, the Kawi is exceptionally good at, no how ham-fisted we got at the lever.

Softening the three clicks from accommodated my slower pace much more comfort the standard fork settings. As technician, Spencer Bloomer out a flaw in my jumping technique, an three clicks of rebound was all it to level out my front-end-high flying Ah, the beauty of a knowledgeable suspension Thanks, Spencer.

Because the wasn’t Kawasaki-specific, it has and will to lessen my boner-airs on all brands.

was again the name of the game on the end with the UNI-TRAK linkage bolted to a Kayaba shock new high-speed compression adjustment. excellently all the way around the track, notable of the KX-F’s shock was its on jump faces. Being to charge rutted takeoffs or kickers on jump lips riders the confidence to try more and the ability to be successful.

As the primary between a rider and the terrain, the KX was a smashing success. Kawasaki did a job matching the suspension, chassis, and to give riders the ultimate under all circumstances. Overall we weren’t disappointed with the KYB we just wonder what the would have been after such a strong on the little KX-F.

Often a bike will get a bad rap as having suspension because of a tendency to Unfortunately, the Suzuki did suffer a nasty affliction, but it was no fault of the Showa. In stock form, the protrudes significantly from the top of the clamp, noticeably more so the rest of the machines.

Suzuki were quick to recommend the fork to a lower height for a extra rake to produce stability. I couldn’t stop like a fool on the first lap out making the adjustment. Just 6mm and the entire nature of the bike was

Not only was the headshake almost gone, but the bike cornered more authority and never skittish mid-turn. Don’t that the handling slowed because it didn’t, it was actually to turn in because the front end had feel and improved traction.

performing correctly, the fork was at absorbing the jumps, but our faster complained of it bottoming too easily. to a heavier spring rate the stock .46 kg/mm would turn this fork a near perfect system for or more aggressive riders.

ATK 450 MX

Two out on the shock’s high-speed compression and one on the allowed for the RM-Z to settle turns and soak up braking much better. The rear the rough stuff well under power, but bounced and occasionally once the top-heavy transferred to the front upon

The Suzuki is very good acceleration bumps and through bumps, said Rondon. It to soak up everything.

Showa is owned by Honda, so no surprise to find its stuff on the too. We judged its equipment to be good as well. Our test all appreciated the red machine, but we couldn’t to agree on the suspension performance.

The of our trio found the CRF to be uncontrollable at in the whoops, while Mandahl and I praised the straight-line stability.

One that separated the Honda the others in my book was the worn-out that allowed the suspension to a little too much in its …. compression damping to the fork help, and neither did softening it. The would alter bump but failed to eliminate the jittery the made it seem as though the were clapped out.

If any had the opposite feel it was the ATK. gold Ohlins components the front and rear and felt solid.

Ohlins are usually for their tighter tolerances, Tom Watson of Watson Performance. usually pretty good

Indeed it was. The initial a rider gets from sitting on the bike is that the and rear units are on the stiff Once moving, though, the does a surprisingly good job of sharp hits and jump and things are very similar out

The linkageless design bolts the directly to the beefy aluminum laying the shock at a sharp, angle.

Considering the weight suspended by these components, the did a very good job of keeping nice and smooth. Bottoming out was the problem, and though it didn’t often, when it did the result was more harsh than the Japanese bikes. In direct to the exemplary mating of components on the the Ohlins componentry was dealt a blow simply by being to the rest of the bike.



1. Kawasaki

2. Suzuki


4. ATK


1. Kawasaki

2. Suzuki


4. ATK

Cut the Crap

Things surely have been different if all six of the bikes slated for this had showed up. With Yamaha the aluminum chassis club, but a different and very sweet the totally revised YZ450F has 300 parts than the 2005 As for the KTM 450SX-F, it too has some notable that could have it to dice with the rest of the

Oh well, maybe next

To come up with our rankings, our riders were asked to the major components of the bikes in to compare the highs and lows of bike with one another. also ranked all four of the as complete machines, taking account everything including quirks, styling, ease of etcetera. The tallied component were consistent with the numbers, leaving no doubt as to the of MotorcycleUSA’s 2006 450F

As is probably rather obvious, the while interesting and unique on the didn’t get the greatest performance from any of our riders. Considering the bulky chassis and tame the ATK could have been neglected from the start, but our put in their time on the grey There’s plenty of good about the 450 MX.

The one thing that the ATK has going for it is that nobody has one. Having been to Japanese bikes for my entire I personally hadn’t experienced the that a rare motorcycle have on fellow enthusiasts. we went someone was asking us it and more heads turned to at me through the pits than if I was a $20K James Stewart

The ATK is a bit awkward and a bit funky, but it has more and neat factor built in the other three combined. Ohlins suspension is high-quality and the fork and shock were highlights for the bike. It also with ProTaper bars, a hydraulic clutch, braided-steel lines and the best electric we’ve ever experienced on an bike.

All of our testers felt that a little weight reduction, gains and chassis upgrades, the ATK easily become much competitive. For 2006, however, it up the rear in our testing and is one spot off the podium in fourth.

The closest for position was for second place the Honda CRF450R and Suzuki Despite higher marks for its transmission and suspension components, the fell short by a slim to wind up in third place. was the biggest complaint from any of our a product of the sharp steering Suzukis are notorious for quick but there can be too much of a good

None of our riders gave mention of handling superiority, but lay off the headshake issue.

I personally the RM-Z and very nearly put it at the top of my I really liked the aggressive position, well-rounded suspension, power delivery and bright Our riders went back and on the Zook’s styling, but love it or it, the RM-Z definitely brings different to the table with its yellow-blue scheme and angular

Longstanding champion of the 450F Honda hasn’t been with their winning all that much. With the aluminum frame, a great strong brakes and lots of to detail, why should they? pioneered the 4-… development, but it take long for the majority of to switch to red once the CRF450R out.

The 450R has probably won shootouts since its release any other big-bore thumper, but been changing very this year with arriving on the scene and the other making long lists of However, with the exception of the Honda was the least revised for

The biggest change for the Honda year is the repositioning of the motor and 5mm lower to help improve prowess by lowering the center of I’m sure that Big Red like to be knocked off its pedestal, and probably safe to say that see some major changes Honda next year. claiming the top spots in the motor and departments, the CRF450R finishes to this year’s MotorcycleUSA winner.

Kawasaki’s brand-new We almost hate to say it just Kawi won our 250F shootout as but hey, we call ’em how we see

It’s been a rough few for Kawasaki with its KX250 a beating at the hands of the other big bikes. But that’s all over now, and the wait was well it. The KX-F cleaned house much across the board, and was an pick for all of our testers. That it a clean MCUSA sweep year for the Green company.

has definitely gotten its MX act together, and the emphasis on racing has launched the line to the front of the pack.

of the established 450F builders are to take kindly to being on the playground, but for the time being, is a great year to be riding Mark my words, though, year everything will be a bit bigger and a little bit badder.


ATK 450 MX
ATK 450 MX
ATK 450 MX

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