SCORE Journal Issue 10 - 2015

SCORE Journal - The Official Publication of SCORE Off-Road Racing

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YAMAHA YZ450FX versions available) are great examples. All stem from the same basic package with a liquid-cooled SOHC 510cc fuel-injected engine, six-speed gearbox and push-button starting (with kickstart backup) which provides more grunt and smoother power off the bottom. The chassis retains the non- linkage PDS rear suspension so that's a holdover from previous generations, but for the majority of recreational riders, that's unnoticeable. Just be sure to set the sag carefully. Of the three, the 500 EXC Six Days is the top of KTM's line (with its special graphics and WP 48mm 4CS fork) and carries a price tag approaching $11,000. The 500 XC-W is $9999 and the 500 EXC (a dual-sport bike if you also like to legally ride on U.S. roads) runs $10,399. YAMAHA YZ450FX YAMAHA AIMS FOR MORE OF THE MARKET For years, the four major Japanese manufacturers have seemingly ignored KTM's steady rise to the top of the sales charts, at least on the off-road side of things. They still produce cutting-edge motocrossers, but when it comes to new offerings for the off-road enthusiast, the attitude appeared to be "10-year-old technology will do." Yamaha alone has started to display renewed interest in providing customers with more than Bold New Graphics for its off-road lineup, and nowhere is this more apparent than the brand-new YZ450FX. Yamaha gave us a hint last year with the YZ250FX, which took the eminently successful MX model and added electric starting (with kickstart backup), an 18-inch rear wheel, larger (2.0-gallon) fuel tank, tool-less air filter access and more. Now Yamaha's done the same with the YZ450F, giving the unique slant-back-cylinder power plant more bottom end and a smoother transition to its generous midrange. The liquid- cooled DOHC 449cc fuel- injected bike also gets a wide- ratio five-speed transmission with an FX-specific clutch designed for the rigors of long- haul cross-country racing, tool-less airbox access, O-ring chain, plastic skid plate and more for $8890. The YZ450FX borrows quite a bit from the revamped $8990 WR450F, which is more suitable for those who prefer something with a kinder, gentler tone and comes standard with lights and slightly cushier suspension settings. But if you want something better suited to gnarly, technical trails, consider the brand-new YZ250X for $7390, which is a YZ250 two-stroke motocrosser with a wide-ratio five-speed, 18-inch rear wheel, O-ring chain and lightweight feel and instant flickability you just can't get in a four-stroke. SJ 076 SCORE JOURNAL

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