Picking the bike of the year isn’t the easiest assignment in the world, mostly because there are so many good choices that we can’t really go wrong. Because of this, the important task is to pick a bike that stands out from the crowd for reasons beyond how well it performs on the track or the trail. Here, we weigh the decision with aspects such as price, durability, availability, longevity and, of course, technology. The staff of Dirt Rider has made some pretty ballsy picks in the past but has backed them up with logical explanations that spelled out the reasoning behind the choices. This year will be no different. Beginning with the bikes that made it into the nomination round, here’s how things went downAny bike that won a shootout or comparison certainly came up for consideration, but a few of those stood out. On the motocross side, there were two:And the winner is:As a staff, we fought long and hard about our decision. There were two safe-and very logical-choices: the Honda CRF450R motocrosser and the KTM 450 EXC enduro machine. With both bikes having won one of our highly touted comparisons (two in the case of the Honda), their battle would be a duel to the death. And it was-until the Honda CRF450X reared its quiet head, snuck into the debate and tractored right to the throne as if it belonged there. How? Well, the editor who picked it as his favorite in the 24-Hour said it couldn’t beat out the bike that won that comparison, or its own MX brother, which so clearly dominated. And those who picked the KTM were saying when we looked at the big picture, we had to choose the CRF-X, for what it is and what it stands for.Honda’s design goal for this bike was a machine that runs in full power off the showroom floor and meets all of the sound and emission standards without fiddling. In 2006, a new federal off-highway standard will require all off-road bikes to meet California-like emission standards. So in addition to passing the required 82-decibel drive-by test (this is the hard one) and wearing the mandated spark arrestor, bikes will need to have reduced emissions. Right now, the California-spec CRF-X, which we tested at our 24-Hour, is the only full-sized bike that meets all of these standards, and the fact that it exists is really good for the future of our sport. Yes, even on motocross tracks, because as quiet as the bike is, it proves you don’t need noise to make power. Sure, a little weight, but not the sound that is closing down tracks and riding parks across the country. We’d rather ride quiet bikes than not ride at all. Just two seconds to think about that, and another minute spent riding the new CRF-X, and it all made perfect sense. We have a winner, and our whole sport invites someone to top it!