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’96 Honda CR500 VS ’18 KTM 450 Dakar racer

1994 Honda CR500 v 2018 Factory KTM 450 Dakar racer

There’s always going to be those older guys, like myself, who think things were better “back in my day”. As usual, this video proves that we old timers are full of crap and that new stuff, in most cases, is actually better.

What you’re going to be watching in the video below is a heads up drag race between two badass dirt bikes. One of them is a mid-1990’s Honda CR500 (the video title says 1994, the video itself says 1996, so we’re just going to go with mid-90’s) while the competition is a brand new 2018 model KTM 450 Dakar Racer. Both of these bikes are literally badasses, capable of top speeds right around the 100 MPH mark. While that may not seem like a huge number, if you’ve ever been over 50 MPH on a dirt bike anywhere but a paved road, you can definitely vouch for how quickly things can get sketchy at those speeds.

The bikes line up along a nice open stretch of wet sand and let the horsepowers fly, and surprisingly, we are presented with a hell of a race. With that wicked 2-stroke powerband kicking in, the CR500 jumps out to a lead early, but the stronger top end – and extra gear in the transmission – of the KTM allows it to pull around on the big end.

The riders spin around and race back toward the camera for round 2, and while it’s hard to tell from the head-on perspective, it does appear that the Honda takes the second race, promotion a tiebreaker between the two brutes.

Once again, the rip down the beach, slinging sand behind them as they near the 100 MPH mark, with the KTM taking the win, topping out at 103 MPH while the Honda peaked at  96 MPH, establishing the Dakar racer as the winner. While the KTM might have taken the win, I think it’s pretty impressive for a 20+ year old bike to hang with it up top like this. Maybe they didn’t do it better back in my day, but they definitely did it pretty damn well.