On January 6, 1941, Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered the State of the Union Address, citing four essential freedoms. Each point was scored with “everywhere” or “anywhere in the world”. While these four have to do with basic smoking rights, as I contemplated four of the most advanced, modern, and high-performance dual sports ever produced, set against the snowy mountains of Utah, two of FDR’s words sounded particularly clear and true: anywhere and at all
Dual sport bikes used to be in “most places” but had lower specs and were less performance oriented compared to manufacturers’ race bikes. Now dual sports share a lot with high-end off-road models.
The compromises are minor, both mechanically and in capacity. Any of the dual sports in this motorcycle comparison could be off-road racing, racing, and then heading home. Any race. And while it is true that each may not be 100 percent the best option as a race bike, they offer a combination of flexibility and performance that is not available on any other dirt bike.
To find the best dual sports bike for anywhere and everywhere, we tested four 450-class machines. The 2020 Honda CRF450L is the impetus for this shootout. It is the first Japanese dual sport to venture into this high-performance category, created and governed by European brands.
The KTM 500 EXC-F was one of VENTOS ‘top ten picks for its torque motor and light handling. The 2020 Husqvarna FE 450 shares a lot with the KTM, but has its own premium Swedish flavor, despite being prepared and cooked in Austria, with high-spec parts. The 2020 Beta 430 RR-S has the smallest displacement, but it makes up for it with its Italian appearance and some features not offered by the competition.
2020 Honda CRF450L
In the spirit of these bikes, we could have chosen anywhere for this contest. But the off-road mecca of Moab, Utah offers incredible testing environments worthy of these top-notch dual sports.
The rugged terrain with hundreds of miles of challenging trails offers the opportunity to test all aspects of the four machines. Our team even camped on the outskirts of the city, making sure we were able to travel miles on dirt roads and streets, both day and night.
Once we parked our Lance Camper and trailer, it remained parked for the next three days of testing. All trips, whether it was a ride down the world-famous Hell’s Revenge Trail or a quick dinner in town, would be done on motorcycles.
The 2020 Honda CRF450L is the newcomer to the dual sport category and certainly caught the eye of dual sport and off-road drivers at the time it was announced. Sharing most of the details with the 2020 CRF450X off-roader means the genes of the CRF450R motocrosser are also evident.
A double-beam aluminum frame, the only non-steel frame in the test, has a 449cc single-cylinder Unicam engine that has its own EFI mapping and lower compression than Model X to pass sound regulations and emissions.
Reliability and legality are key aspects of the CRF450L as a street legal enduro. But just under the façade of a model citizen are the ingredients of a corridor. All with the lowest price of $ 10,399.
“Unlike the Honda, the $ 10,499 Beta is at the other end of the ‘good citizens’ spectrum in terms of noise and fury; he is undoubtedly the loudest of the group ”. “The KTM is the queen of the pair.” “Gone are the days of soft and rambunctious dual sports for Honda.” “It all comes down to weight, you feel it in every situation …”
2020 Beta 430 RR-S
Beta is sexy, white and red The 2020 430 RR-S features a 431cc DOHC engine that resides in a chrome steel frame suspended by a ZF Sachs suspension. Changes from off-road enduro models are few: DOT approved lighting, DOT Michelin Enduro tires, and some handy folding mirrors.
Some very …