XtraPix: Enduro Squared - First Look

Kawasaki KLX450R vs. Yamaha WR450F.

Kawasaki KLX450R vs. Yamaha WR450F

Weekend warriors, trail riders and enduro racers have two reasons to be happy: Yamaha and Kawasaki have two new off-road machines. Yamaha’s WR450F may not be a completely new model like Kawasaki’s KLX450R but it borrows heavily from the YZ450F motocrosser, with a new frame, new engine and a page-long list of other updated parts and pieces. The KLX is new to the Kawasaki catalog and like the WR, it was bred from a motocross bike, the KX450F.

Testing enduro bikes is the best part of my job. It gives me the opportunity to be out enjoying nature while doing my favorite thing—riding motorcycles. And these bikes are the fastest way to get away from it all. On top of that, the WR and KLX are the best off-road-ready machines I have ridden to date. Before I spoil the magazine story in the July issue, take a look at some extra pictures from our testing.

Sound off! Which bike is better?

Yeah, it?s fast! Hey, the KLX is in the same family as the ZX-14.

KLX?s super-smooth power allows long, controlled wheelies.

On the seashore of Old Mexico.

These bikes eat rocks as if they were chewing candy.

WR450?s torque allows easy wheelies.

Kawasaki spent more time styling the front light than actually testing it out at night.

Motocross-inspired enduro bikes make moto tasks (like jumping) oh so simple.

The KLX chassis is precise and reacts instantaneously to rider input.

Yes the WR is nimble, too?we don't know what's going on in this shot.

WR?s traction-ripping power boosts the rider out of turns.

KYB suspension on both bikes soak up knee-jolting drops.

Riding on the edge of danger?both the KLX and WR are confidence-boosting motorcycles.