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Best 450cc Dirt Bike 2023

Although 450cc dirt bikes may not be the most challenging or lightning-fast dirt bikes you can ride, there’s something enticing about sustained power that doesn’t quit. We all messed around on 2-strokes in our youth, but it’s a consensus that our first 450 felt like stepping up to mastery. Even though the bikes featured here are not street legal dirt bikes, they have the ability to take you almost anywhere with a trail and will stand the test of time if taken care of correctly.

While each of these selections have their own quirks and features, they all have one thing in common: fuel injected and liquid-cooled 4-stroke engines. Keep in mind as you scroll that any of these 450cc dirt bikes for sale are solid investments on their own, and your decision is down to what dirt bike will fulfill your needs best. The 450cc dirt bike prices below are actually within about a $2000 range from each other, but it all depends on the specs you’re looking for.

Our Top Rated 450cc Dirt Bikes for 2023

1. Honda CRF450R

Honda CRF450R Dirt Bike for 2023

Price: $9599 + destination & freight surcharges

Starting off our list is the Honda CRF450R, a modestly priced 450cc dirt bike that’s a stable option both for seasoned and new riders alike. Honda’s done their part to make the CRF450R a featherweight contender by lightening both the frame and subframe. The electric starter also shaves off a few pounds when compared to a kick starter, leading to a curb weight of 244 lbs. (110 kg) total. 

Reliable suspension for the most intense rides is complemented by three course options in Honda’s Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) menu, accessible from the handlebar switch at any time. Choose from standard, smooth and aggressive to dial into the style that feels right for your time out.

You need to have some familiarity with the 2022 CRF450R in order to understand the 2023 model. You were typically a little shaken when you exited the 2021/2022 model. It was a very quick motorcycle. Beyond that, it felt more potent than it actually was. The beginning was average, then it quickly and forcefully began to build up. It had a tendency to stall easily and would occasionally lose power. Even for the finest riders, this bike was demanding due to the soft rear suspension and jittery overall handling.

To remedy this, Honda made numerous adjustments to the throttle body, the mapping, and the motor. That project was a complete success in its outcomes. The Honda is still extremely powerful, but it is no longer frighteningly quick. Increased low-end power with a more progressive ramp-up. But do not misinterpret us. It still hurts a lot. Even though you sometimes have to back out, the throttle control option is at least available now. Before, the rider had to control power with the clutch rather than the throttle because it was either on or off. The three maps are also more helpful.

Although we still like the regular map, you can also switch to map 2 for a more progressive power delivery or map 3 for more spark. Though not pronounced, the variations are discernible.

Another resounding success for 2023 is the suspension adjustments. The bike is well-balanced thanks to the stronger shock spring. Particularly sensitive to balance is the Honda. When the shock ride height is just right, the bike is calmer on straights and tracks better in curves.

Among 450cc dirt bike top speeds, the Honda is more of a midway ride that clocks in at 87 mph (140 kph), which isn’t bad for the included package.

Still want more? You can always go above and beyond with the CRF450RWE Works Edition, complete with a twin air filter, clutch basket and cover, as well as exhaust, fork and rim upgrades. The RWE will cost you almost $3k more than the base package, but it might be worth it if you’re already planning on some of these upgrades.

2. Kawasaki KX450

Kawasaki KX450 dirt bike 2023

Price: $9599 + destination & freight surcharges

2023 brings new Dunlop tires and some graphic updates, especially around the radiator, the rest of the machine remains unchanged.

Tied with the Honda CRF450R for price, the Kawasaki KX450 is a solid choice for riders all over the experience map. We tested this 450cc dirt bike with novices and experts alike, and both groups were impressed with the delicate balance of power and handling that the KX450 had to offer. 

Even better, the KX450 offers a level of personalization that isn’t as common with some of the other 450cc dirt bikes on our list. Two potential handlebar and foot peg positions offer some control over your comfortability and overall feel of the dirt bike on your ride. 

Our favorite thing, especially for those that like to dish out some punishment, is how much flex this 450cc dirt bike frame and subframe have for maximum absorption of impact. This is only heightened by the standard Showa shocks and forks, so you can land hard and keep going. 

Our one gripe with the KX450 is that there are no map settings to speak of. This isn’t a deal-breaker if you won’t be racing competitively or taking your 450cc dirt bike through the paces, but not all of us are weighing these potential options just to cruise around. 

450cc dirt bike top speeds vary widely, but the KX450 clocks in at a solid middle ground of 89 mph (143 kph). We like that this 450cc dirt bike has something for everyone, but we’ll never blame anyone for holding out for the best. 

3. KTM 450 SX-F

KTM 450 SX-F 2023 Best Dirt Bike Brand

Price: $10,899 + destination charges

Speaking of the best, the KTM 450 SX-F is one of our absolute favorites. This 450cc dirt bike’s top speed clocks in at just under 120mph (200 kph) and it continues to receive upgrades that only make it better year over year. For 2023, the vibrant orange frame and nostalgic graphics bring us back to our learning days when riding was all we could eat, sleep and breathe.

For 2023, as with the 250 version, there have been significant improvements to the chassis and engine which makes the whole bike just better than ever! Stiffer frame, higher revving engine with ECU mapping improvements for mid-range torque.

The shock is the major suspension improvement for the 2023 model. The WP Xact device has new settings and is 15mm shorter and (0.2 pounds) lighter. These adjustments made the package better overall, giving the bike a more comfortable sensation at the back and superb bump absorption—undoubtedly made possible by the brand-new hybrid subframe made of aluminum and polyamide.

The 450 SX-F, unlike some other dirt bikes at 450cc, won’t need virtually any upgrades once it’s yours. It’s a tried and true race bike that disregards most set limits and doesn’t play around. However, in contrast to fellow brands Husky and GasGas, it’s also not as forgiving for riders whose racing chops may still need some work. This aggressive bent is something to consider depending on your individual background.

Though there’s not as much physical customization on the 450 SX-F, we love that KTM finally has a complementary MY RIDE app so you can tweak your map settings as you go. Despite all the power it boasts, the 450 SX-F has a surprisingly agile frame that doesn’t lag when the heat is on. Often imitated but never duplicated, the 450 SX-F is what most aggressive 450cc dirt bikes on our list aspire to be. 

For those of us who want to go above and beyond, the factory edition of the 450 SX-F is only $1k more and offers a list of extra features. Flashy Red Bull sponsor graphics, Selle Dalla Valle grippy seat cover and better suspension are just a few of the top perks. However, you could be hard pressed to find one because they’re only limited to 400 units!

4. Yamaha YZ450F

Yamaha YZ450F Fastest Dirt Bike for 2023

Price: $9899 + destination & freight charges

Yamaha has carved out a dedicated audience in recent years, and the YZ450F is one of the main reasons why. We’ve always had a soft spot for this 450cc dirt bike because of how reliable it’s stayed, and it has almost a cult following from the riders who’ve owned one. The YZ450F is straightforward to ride for any experience level.

Suspension is a huge selling point on this 450 cult classic, and suspension settings and internals were enhanced for 2022 in tandem with the rear wheel of the YZ450F. These improvements and Yamaha’s new rear wheel, featuring three cross-spokes, gave heightened awareness and better impact absorption on our test rides. 

For 2023, Yamaha has taken the philosophy of “don’t fix what ain’t broken”. So the suspension has been tweaked to lighten and valve updates to smoothen the ride and increase bump stability.

Even with this subtle change, we could feel a difference when rolling over bumps and pulling out of corners, so Yamaha did something right! In terms of 450cc dirt bike top speed, the YZ450F clocks in at about 80 mph (129 kph), which is still respectable. Another nice touch is Yamaha’s free Power Tuner app, so you can easily tweak the settings on your 450cc dirt bike to your exact liking.

Among upgrade versions, the Yamaha upgrade is the most affordable. The Monster Energy version costs just $200 more, but it doesn’t offer the same upgrades as KTM, GasGas or Honda. However, the aggressive graphics might be worth it if you want your 450cc dirt bike to look the part.

5. Husqvarna FC450

Husqvarna FC450 2023

Price: $10,999 + destination charges

The second priciest 450cc dirt bike on our list is the Husky FC450. Among the big three European brands, it’s safe to say that Husqvarna is more of a plush luxury ride compared to KTM or GasGas. Through various mods to the 450cc dirt bike engine compartment and other features, the FC450 chassis is actually about an inch lower than the competition for even more stability in the saddle. This support and associated corner handling have certainly set Husky apart for us, and (as always) we really enjoyed the ride on the FC450.

You could put almost any experience level of adult on this 450cc dirt bike and they’d have a great time, but the FC450 isn’t just a beginner’s bike by any means. It’s easy to control with super steady power, and leaves behind the fanfare of a diehard KTM racer while keeping a similar pace. We can definitely say Husky has managed to balance their bikes very well.

The united Husqvarna/KTM range undergoes a significant top-to-bottom redesign, which includes the arrival of the 2023 Husky FC450.

Although Husqvarna dirt bikes preserved the concept of a steel frame with a central backbone in the new 2023 frame, it is clear that this frame draws some inspiration from the common aluminum twin-spar frames found on Japanese bikes. Massive frame components that surround the swingarm travel considerably more directly to the steering head than they did in the past. These frame elements and the top shock mount are joined by a separate tower.

The forks are still the WP Xact air fork with the air chambers on the left and the damping functions on the right, however, the suspension has been greatly updated for 2023. The brand-new hydro-lock anti-bottoming system gradually increases dampening in the final 40mm of travel. The shock is brand-new on the other end. It is 15mm shorter than the last one and is 455mm long.

The motor has undergone a number of modifications, it essentially retains the same layout and style as the previous iteration. The gearbox, crank, and head are all brand-new. It boasts a new exhaust system, several new features in the electronics package, and updated handlebar switches.

The bodywork is all brand-new. The Husky has a flat cover over the shock reservoir instead of the new plastic used by KTM, which is intended to provide the rider’s legs with greater surface area to grip. It is easily removable for shock access.

There’s no upgrade version of the FC450, and honestly, we don’t feel like there’s much room for improvement on this 450cc dirt bike. If you’re ready to treat yourself and not afraid of the higher price tag, the FC450 is the way to go.


GASGAS MC 450F 2023

Price: $11649 + destination charges

Rounding out the Euro trio is the GasGas MC450F dirt bike. Since GasGas was recently acquired by Pierer Industries, many of their dirt bikes are more comparable to Husky and KTM than ever before, but with a cheaper price tag. Additionally, 2023 is only the third year that this 450cc dirt bike has been in production, which sets it apart from many of its competitors as a new showing.

GasGas and Honda have always found similarities in their aggressive red graphics, and the MC450F is also lighter in comparison to Honda at 222 pounds (101 kilograms). Could it be that GasGas is giving Honda a run for their money with this 450cc dirt bike? The European trio now has an entry level dirt bike that’s the economy equivalent of a KTM 450 SX-F, so we have a feeling that’s true!

Perks on the MC450F include standard Neken handlebars (even in a different color) and it’s got the same accessible airbox in typical KTM fashion. We can’t question that this is the most affordable, easiest Euro 450cc dirt bike, especially with solid Brembo brakes that’ll have you stop on a dime.

We have to point out the lack of map switch on the MC450F. You can change this by purchasing a map switch for an extra $170, but it’ll definitely put you above the comparable price of the competition. However, for an affordable Euro 450cc dirt bike, we think this might actually be worth it just to see what the fuss is about.

If you really want to flex, GasGas released a 2023 Red Bull Factory Edition that’s got all the bells and whistles for just under $2k more. The graphics are aggressive, complete with a 51 for Justin Barcia, and a grippy Selle Dalla Valle racing seat will certainly keep you in place for all that revving you’ll be doing. Lock on grips, triple clamps, bar pad and map switch come standard on this special edition. Grab this 450cc dirt bike before it sells out!

7. Fantic XXF 450

Fantic XXF 450 450cc dirt bike 2023

Price: $11,500 + destination charges

Italian moto makers Fantic have unleashed their latest XXF 450 and it’s giving many of the big brands a run for their money. Though it is the most expensive 450cc dirt bike on our list, it’s arguably one of the more original in the combination of components for a smaller brand. 

Like KTM, the XXF 450 comes standard with a slim seat, and we found the enhanced grip to be an added bonus. Even the side panels are ergonomically sound, and we liked having this extra level of control on our rides. A Yamaha engine actually powers this 450cc dirt bike, which also comes standard with 21/19 Pirelli tires and Nisin brakes.

Though it’s not exactly light at 245 pounds (111 kilograms), we’re huge fans of how much you can play with the technical side of this 450cc dirt bike. Racing control comes standard and the switch is front and center on the handlebars for easy reach. Three different levels of adjustment are available, as well as launch and traction control which features a screen on the mudguard for easy access.

In addition, Fantic has their signature WiGET – a smart phone app that allows you to customize ignition and carburation mapping. Stick with the presets or create your own to have complete control over your ride. You can even test your calibration out and then check out the 450cc dirt bike engine data, diagnostics and take notes on its performance. Even though we didn’t quite get our settings dialed in, we think these capabilities hold a lot of promise, not to mention being super fun to play with.

The XXF 450 might be pricy, but it also offers additional features that go far deeper than many of the other 450cc dirt bikes on our list. 

Frequently Asked Questions about 450cc Dirt Bike

How fast does a 450cc dirt bike go?

450cc dirt bike top speed

While this ultimately depends on the individual dirt bike, most 450cc dirt bike top speeds start at around 80 mph (129 kph). True to style, the KTM SX-F clocked in at just over 120 mph (193 kph), making it the fastest 450cc dirt bike on our list. 

How much does a 450cc dirt bike cost?

You’d be hard pressed to find a cheap 450cc dirt bike for much less than $10,000. While Yamaha, Honda and Kawasaki’s prices fall just short, the freight and destination charges put them about even with the $10k mark. On the upper end, the Fantic XXF 450 prices out at just over $11,000. It ultimately depends on the features and manufacturer you want, but it’s safe to expect your 450cc dirt bike to be a serious investment.

If you’re lucky enough to stumble across a used 450cc dirt bike for sale, we suggest you proceed with caution and check out our pointers on how to make sure you don’t get taken for a ride yourself!

Is a 450cc dirt bike good for beginners?

Though it’s not impossible, 450cc dirt bikes are not normally ideal for fresh riders. Even though 4-strokes generally have more stable power delivery, 450cc engines still pack a ton of power that can be intimidating for riders who aren’t as steady. This is especially true for young riders – their feet may not even reach the ground! 

It’s safe to start beginners on low power dirt bikes out of caution for everyone’s wellbeing. For youngsters, any power level from an 80cc to 125cc dirt bike (depending on their age and size) is recommended so they can get a feel for their skills first. For adults, a 250cc is usually a safe bet.

Is 450cc faster than 250cc?

450cc dirt bikes are faster than 250cc dirt bikes since their engine packs more power in comparison. However, top speed isn’t necessarily the metric to look at if you’re deciding on what level of dirt bike to purchase. This process is more about the size of bike and engine that you’re already comfortable handling. If you’re already an experienced rider, it’s about the small differences (and your preferences) between each dirt bike.

Is a 450cc dirt bike too big?

450cc dirt bikes are not too big for most full size adults, but this ultimately depends on height and weight of the rider. The main thing to consider, along with how you fit on the dirt bike, is the necessary strength required to throw this machine around. Not to mention that you should be comfortable picking up your 450cc dirt bike from the ground should you lose control, and this can be a challenge for smaller riders. Size and weight are definitely things to consider so you don’t get stuck in a predicament in the middle of nowhere.

We’ve given you all the info, and now the choice is up to you. Regardless of the dirt bike you choose, we know it’ll be a good one as long as you’re honest with your needs and goals along the way. Happy riding!

This Article Has 2 Comments
  1. Chris Reply

    Yamaha wins the overwhelming majority of comparison shootouts .

    • Martin Varrand

      True, I have been following all the comparison shootouts there are and have seen the same.
      I have based my review on various aspects:
      1. Feel on the bike
      2. Specs
      3. Price
      4. Standings in both AMA Motocross, Supercross, MXGP
      5. Sales
      Yamaha is definitely a TOP contender in my books, but others deliver better price/value ratio in my personal opinion.

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