The 450cc E2 racer is quite possibly the 500GP bike of today. Just like when 180bhp 500cc V4 two-strokes used to sort the men from the boys of road racing, so a 450cc E2 sorts the enduro pack. It’s not whether you can ride one, it’s whether you can truly race them. Sagar can, Knighter can, and there is an elite in EWC who can too. For the rest of us, even at top centre level, it’s a tall ask.
Mark Roberts, Championship level BEC racer: ‘If I was fresh and just doing tests I’d like to ride the 450, but riding six hours a day and then going into a test - I think it would be too much for me. It’s just a big heavy bike and it’s got that much power riding it all day your arms are going to be knackered and you’ll feel the weight. I just don’t think I’m ready for a 450 yet!
‘Riding the 350 you have to ride it like a big 250F. You need to keep it up in the revs to get it to pull, it’s a totally different way of riding. Ideally in a bike I’d like to have the bottom end pull of the 450 with the lightness of the 350 and the manageability of the 350, but you’re not going to get it.
Chris ‘Kiwi’ Hockey, Eastern Centre Leg-end: ‘On the 350 it feels like a 250, it doesn’t matter about the rut or the corner, you just get in there and get on the gas again and let the back wheel drive the front around. Doing that on the 450 it feels like you’re pushing the front some place it doesn't want to go. That’s the difference really… you can throw the 350 around more, it’s easier to ride on the edge. On the 450 you have to be more precise on the right line, in the slot, on the berm - or else you crash, the heaviness of it overpowers you!
‘Watching Tom, as he’s such a good trials rider he’s able to be so precise, and he’s a big bloke too so he can muscle the 450. He can be precise with the line and forceful on the power to propel him out of the corner so much harder than the 350. So there’s no benefit for him stepping down to the 350.’
Tom Sagar, 2008, 2011 & 2013 BEC champion: ‘The 450 works for me, but the 350 is such a very good clubman bike that I wouldn’t expect a clubman or sportsman level racer to go out and buy a 450. I’m always saying that people over-bike themselves, the 350 hits the mark, why go any bigger if you don’t have to?’