The handlebars on the Honda are a bit narrow and the throttle
somewhat stiff. The whole cockpit area makes you feel a little
cramped. Even our shortest tester Derek McConnell agrees.
Kawasaki gave their 450 a reverse gear, Renthal handlebars,
EFI and an aluminum frame. We think they may have added
softer seat foam in recent years.
The steel handlebars on the Yamaha have a good bend and
sweep to them. It’s not the first item we would change.
When you ride all three machines back to back on the
same trail, it’s not hard to tell the Honda is not the easiest
to control. The tires hook up extremely well and the thumb
throttle is stiff.
Yamaha’s YFZ450 has a track-ready, wide stance that
doesn’t hinder it too much in the woods. A reverse gear
would make it even better.
It’s been since 2009 when Honda
last made any major changes to this
machine. It’s still carbureted and fea-
tures a steel frame—two items that
are not found on any other 450 sport
quad. However, that fact doesn’t keep
top racers in XC, MX and desert from
choosing the Honda as their machine
of choice. The heart of the Honda
is good. It has an electric-starting,
Out back, an aluminum swingarm
is also completely adjustable and
moves a bit more at 9. 3 inches. Twin-
piston calipers handle the stopping
chores up front, while the rear only
has a single-piston caliper grabbing
The Honda is compact. It measures 73. 3 inches long and 46. 3 inches wide. Our riders all felt a little
cramped on the Honda. It’s has narrow handlebars and a stiff thumb
throttle when compared to the other
two models that are equipped with
EFI. The carb doesn’t hinder starting
by any means, and on the good side,
it allows for the largest gas tank of the
group and 2. 7 gallons. And during
our test, we recorded the highest top
speed on the Honda at 73. 2 mph. On
The combination of having an aluminum frame and alumi-
num handlebars transmits a noticeable amount of vibration to
the rider. Fasst Co. (877-306-1801) sells anti-vibe bar ends that
can help with this issue. Rider Matt Dion says they would help.