2009 Bike Of The Year - Dirt Rider Magazine

You don't break all of the rules of convention, show up largely unannounced and proceed to kick everyone's butt without much more than a hiccup. There's usually some backlash. Some creepy, often untold dark secret that will eventually be revealed and the whole dream turns bad. Husaberg quickly and quietly developed an all-new bike with front-line technology that steps away from the norm in quite a few ways-the inclined motor to better place the center of gravity in the center of the motorcycle, a radical improvement to the frame of the PDS linkageless shock system, a flawless closed-loop FI system with a programmable and switchable ignition, a plastic subframe and the gas tank where the airbox usually is. And the airbox, well, it's where it always was on a Husaberg (some things don't change).One ride on either size of FE and you know that these guys are onto something. The Husaberg design exercise that was implemented with the aid of KTM's mighty production power has produced a four-stroke dirt bike that really starts to rival the weight feel and handling of a two-stroke, maybe making it even better. The motor is easily one of the best blends of power and delivery ever produced; rev-happy on the 450 and torque-laden on the 570. Combined with the handling prowess that gives the bike a light-yet-planted feel, all mated to a suspension package that sets standards for plushness and go-fast-on-single-track ability, well, we don't have to say any more. We were just waiting for something to go wrong, but it never did. Some larger riders can complain (whine, really!) that they don't fit on the Berg, and the price may put off even more people. Oh, availability could be an issue, too, but hot products are in high demand.This Husaberg was an easy and clear choice for BOTY, and if all new bikes start coming out this revolutionary and this good, the bikes we'll be riding in the near future are going to be unbelievable. Bring it on!MX BOTY
Honda CRF450R

When an off-road bike trumps the motocrossers for all the glory, we have to name a motocross BOTY as well. We not so easily picked the Honda CRF450R. Why was rehashing our 450cc shootout winner a tough choice? Because, if you read around, you may feel that Kawasaki has a better motocross bike, according to some experts. What Kawasaki did was pretty smart: It chose the safe route, making an all-new bike that wasn't as radically new as the Honda CRF. By playing it safe, only changing so much, the KX450 and also its 250cc brother are a much easier progression toward where we're going. And where we're going is where the Honda is at right now: Fuel-injected, mass-centralized, aggressive handling, light feeling and styled aggressively for the next few years. The CRF isn't perfect, cite stalling for instance, and you can pick away at any subjective title bestowed upon a bike. But in talking to the clutch-abusing riders, the ones who don't like the handling and have frenzied suspension shops and triple-clamp manufacturers in droves, and even those whose cam decompression weights fell to the belly of the beast, we will admit that that the CRF isn't perfect. But the Honda is the guiding step into the future of where a motocross bike will need to be to be competitive on the track and on the showroom floor, and that is why we chose it as MX BOTY. Plus it is, after all, a really good motocross bike.Editor Picks
Jesse Ziegler

Height: 5'10"
Weight: 175 lb
IntermediateHonda CRF250R
I'm sick of 450s, all the good off-road bikes have been spoken for, and Pete and Jimmy stole the insanely fun 125s from the garage so I never get to ride them. Therefore, I'm partial to the Honda CRF250R because it was my first 250F motocross bike back in 2004 and I'm sure the next one will be too distantly futuristic to hearken back to the good old days. I sort of like the imperfect carburetion and the way lazy-asses on 450s freak out when I eventually pass them (it's better on a 125 but, again, the only two left have been stolen by Jimmy and Pete). Really, the Honda CRF250R is the most comfortable motocross bike ever created for me to sit on and just ride, so it's my favorite.Jimmy Lewis
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 185 lb
A-riderKTM 250 XC
This bike was going to be bike of the year until the Husaberg flipped its engine all crooked, nailed closed-loop FI and did a pretty good impression of two-stroke handling. But it's no match for my favorite one-bike-does-it-all KTM 250 XC. Usually innovation has a way of gaining momentum come BOTY time, and sadly the biggest loser is specifically this KTM and the two-stroke in general. Damn you Husaberg!Chris Denison
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 155 lb
IntermediateKawasaki KX250F
These days, a win in Dirt Rider 's 250F shootout is harder to earn than an Illinois State Senate seat, and not even a suitcase full of cold, hard cash can guarantee a manufacturer bragging rights for the next year. The midsize thumper class is stacked with great stock bikes, but at each turn of our shootout (March '09 issue) the Kawasaki KX250F was a top pick among our testers. I must admit, I didn't peg the Kawi as my favorite 250F straight away, but after spending more time on the green machine I can see why it rocked our shootout so hard. The KX250F is fast-we're talking mod fast-straight out of the showroom, and one could certainly race this bike all year without changing a thing. The KX-F gets my BOTY vote because Kawasaki saw that the bases were loaded, stepped up to the plate and swung for the fences. Going, going, gone!Karel Kramer
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 225 lb
Senior BKTM 450 XC
When Jimmy said we could each select a personal Bike of the Year, he meant one. I had to think for less than a millisecond: KTM 450 XC. The five-speed, semi-close-ratio XC has a voluminous tank, a kickstand and smooth power for off-road, yet it's as light as a motocrosser and works equally well on the track or the trail for me. The engine feels high-energy, moto-radical off-road for plenty of fun, yet feels off-road civilized on the track-like Hyde and Jekyll. If I'm limited to one bike, this is the one.Pete Peterson
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 160 lb
Vet NoviceYamaha YZ125
Power corrupts. Remember the joy of not having to respect your bike so much? I feel like I've rediscovered motocross with this light, agile, fun bike that I can throw around. Every time I'm driving a 450 I'm wishing I could be riding my 125 instead. And passing your buddies on their big thumpers? I think I scarred my friend "The Schu" for life. Ah, he was a wreck before I passed him. There are no valves, so it's all guilt-free revving, and routine maintenance is a breeze as I change my engine oil 11,000 times per minute with a twist of the wrist. Is less actually more? Absolutely.