2010 BMW G450X
Tested: September 2010 issue
Seat height: 37.5 in.
Weight (tank full): 274 lb
- Solid feel to the chassis and an overall feeling of stability the others can’t match.
- Slimmest ergonomics where your knees grip the bike, and the most comfortable standing position for tall and stand-up riders.
- Engine is well-mannered and strong with the smoothest power and the least vibration passed to the rider.
- Competition kit is included with the bike, and it leaves out nothing.
- Box-stock performance is the best of the three; it requires no key, so there isn’t one to lose.
- The only bike with a five-speed, but it doesn’t feel gappy and has the same overall spread as the six-speeds.
- The only cable clutch here, as well as the smallest tank and oddest seated riding position.
- Steering lock only, thieves could do donuts on your BMW.
The BMW is the most civilized of this bunch in terms of standard equipment. The street equipment doesn’t feel like an afterthought. The BMW is best for riders who like to ride standing up and those looking for something different and unique.
2010 KTM 450 EXC
Seat height: 37.4 in.
Weight (tank full): 270 lb
- In a role reversal, the KTM now has the “normal” ergonomics, handling and power, so it suits the widest range of riders.
- Even with the gearing lowered for trail use, the EXC is turning the least rpm at freeway speed.
- Six-speed wide-ratio equals the BMW and works better than the too-close Husky.
- Standard fuel capacity is the greatest in this test, and there are plenty of tank options, too.
- Proven engine and chassis combination.
- The jetting parts to dial in the response do not come with the bike like with the FI bikes.
- Most expensive bike in this comparison.
Despite the price, you can’t go wrong with the KTM. It has a large dealer network, strong basic performance and astounding aftermarket support to personalize it. It is the easiest to recommend as it fits so many riders’ needs.
2010 Husqvarna TE 450
Tested: August 2010 issue
Seat height: 37.7 in.
Weight (tank full): 287 lb
- Engine has by far the most low-rpm, old-time four-stroke grunt, but she still screams.
- Best-padded seat in this group, and it offers the best seated comfort.
- Easy to work on and maintain, and has a good reputation for reliability.
- Least expensive of these three bikes, and mirrors that rotate in/down without tools.
- Electronic manual and competition equipment included.
- Not fun to ride in stock, restricted form.
- In competition mode intake and exhaust are loud, and pipe insert rattles.
- Vibrates more than the others, and in this crowd the brakes rank third.
The Husky is a sit-down, high-torque cruiser that is a little rough around the edges but offers plenty of performance and capability for the lowest price.