DRD went into this Torture Test the way Doug Dubach goes into a race. They wanted to win, they wanted to win by a lot and they wanted to do it with a smile on their face. With a parts list that could make a grown man cry, this Honda CRF450X was built to impress. And it impressed the DR staff and pool of test riders enough to land in the top six.The reason it cruised into the cream of the crop was a combination of it's smooth, strong power delivery and it's healthy appetite for speed. Rynoland is a wide open space and this DRD X-model ate it up and spit it out. On the terrain test speed-freak Kris Keefer nailed his fastest time on this bike and I, too, had the best pace aboard this bike during the motocross test.The test times were proof that DRD came to play and in rider comments this fact was backed up more than once. Numerous accounts of the torque-heavy power delivery were noted from the Escargot test. It seemed the Dubach-tuned motor was grabbing and going like crazy. The bike really made fans all day. The grumblings of complaints came from a heavier feeling than some of the European 450s (this is an X, after all) and a suspension setup that could use some fine-tuning to dial in. As a baseline, the fork/shock combo was great. But faster riders wanted more hold-up in the fork and the Extreme test rock bouncers wanted less of a springy-quick rebounding feel to keep the bike planted and controlled. But that was it, really.The most praise this bike received was in the faster "fun" trails we had set up and throughout both Motocross courses and the Terrain Test. Especially with intermediate-to-pro level riders aboard. The heaviness of the X model seemed to disappear when banking turns and the pumped-up power made it one of those great off-road MX conversions. We had some jealous X owners for sure.So, why didn't it win? That's the real question here. The simple fact is when we took the top six out to our favorite riding areas for additional testing (and to determine the Torture Test winner) we almost immediately knew this bike belonged more fenced in than roaming free. Out on the trails the DRD CRF450X showed its bad manners. The power delivery that was so smooth at Rynoland's open acres became abrupt, snappy and hard to control at times when we got into anything gnarly (think rock waterfalls, challenging switchbacks and trails up washes that make you dizzy)-especially with a stiffer feeling clutch and suspension that wasn't measuring up to our demands. But the real bummer was the noise. This muffler wasn't the same animal from our first day of our Torture Test. Its noise level turned other riders off in our group and almost single-handily decided the bike's fate.
--Jesse Ziegler****OpinionsThe Dr. D CRF450X was another torquey motor with lots of grunt off bottom. If shifted properly the bike was amazing. That meant you could not overrev bike and could not be lazy: it was a working man's machine. The fork felt plush under heavy chop, but maybe little too divvy in rutty corners. It did have great front-end traction on flat, hard surfaces. With different gearing I could race this bike, and it was the fastest time for me.
-Kris KeeferVery smooth power delivery which resulted in excellent traction everywhere on the course; no major hit in the power made it easy to ride smooth / gearing felt decent in the tight stuff and the faster stuff / suspension was really soft and worked excellent in the rocks.
-Chris Barret (on Extreme Test)I have to admit, when I rode this bike back-to-back-to-back-to-back with all the other rides in my fleet, I was sure it was one of the best. The bike tackled our flowing and twisty trails like a champ and really loved the moto test section I was overseeing. In fact, I dropped my fastest time on this bike around the track. The motor was really fast. But it was fast like I like them to be with a longer delivery. This is the power I try to mimic with quieter pipes on MX 450s. However, all those happy thoughts left when I was two miles up a rocky ravine and the DRD X's aggressive attitude started to show. I went from happy to sad when the sound hit my ears, too. I don't know what happened to the exhaust note on this bike, but it sure went downhill fast and was quickly too loud for any trail and most tracks. I think it brought the ugliness out in the power department making this bike harder to handle than others, too, proving once again that noise doesn't equal usable power.
-Jesse ZieglerThis Honda worked well on the track and trail, but the Husaberg was oh-so-sweet on the trail. The Honda beat it hands down at the track and showed me where its roots lied. Being a guy who rides on the track as well as the trail, this bike was one of my logical choices during the Torture Test.-Ryan HannaThe Dubach CRF450X had a ton of power and torque with very smooth power delivery. First gear was perfect for the really tight stuff and it was very maneuverable on the trails with its easy-to-toss-around feel. The suspension was plush but managed harder hits decently. The bike pulled strong on the MX track and down fast straights. The power all-around was great.
-Chris Barrett (on Trail/MX Testing)The DRD Honda had good low end power and worked well in tight turns as well as in high speed sections. It has a low center of gravity to it and was very easy for me to ride (as a shorter person). On the track the power is there but the suspension blows through on anything hit aggressively.