I had an 06 YZ450F and just got an 08 CRF450R. After riding the Honda for a day I can tell you that the 06 YZ really doesnt turn well. I can go inside with the Honda like I never could on the Yami. I had to overcome the feeling that the front end would wash out if I tried any aggressive moves. I still loved the Yammi till the day I sold it and really have no complaints except the turning. If the 08 YZ450F turns like the Honda go and get one right away. I'm still waiting for the shootout and see how everything compares. As for reliability, I had an 05 CRF250 that I changed the oil every few rides and the air filter every ride and never had to re-shim. I see a lot of the Honda's with valve problems but it's might be a maintenance issue with some of them.
I would get the Yamaha if there was one available. But this is kind of a small town kind of place.
Imagine living in a place like say umm Rhode Island, but then imagine that the state border was actually the national border. And you couldn't cross it without permission from your employer and three government officials.
Then imagine that every item that you brought in from outside would sit in customs for at least one month before it was released to you..
Then imagine that if you ever did get across the border to another country that country was actually Saudi Arabia and you would be held up at the border for 4 hours while everything you had was searched and all your papers were run past 3 levels of of officious torturers also known as customs officials..
For this reason, if something is available and something is not we tend to go with what is available. So it looks like CRF for me. I will be very careful with the maintenance program .. thanks...