2018 Honda CRF450R Review

2018 Honda CRF450R Review - Back in '17, Honda rebuilt the CRF450R pretty much from the ground up, so I wasn't expecting much in the way of new stuff and expected to see a straight-up carryover. A new, lightweight lithium-ion battery drops enough weight that the factory decided to keep the electric leg and rely on it alone, having offered push-button start as an option last year as a market test. All-in-all, a more capable machine meant for competition on the MX course, at least according to the factory prose. Let's take a look for ourselves, shall we?

2018 Honda CRF450R Review

Design - 2018 Honda CRF450R

Honda toes the current line with a sleek, minimal and modern overall design that sports just the bare minimum of plastic. The CRF450R starts out with the class-typical, high-mount mudguard that transfers its weight directly to the triple tree in order to keep unsprung weight down and suspension response up. Tucked away within the frame, the 1.7-gallon fuel tank has a minimal amount of rise in the fuel-tank bump for a clean profile and a nearly straight back. A Spartan bench seat surrenders to a subframe that tapers down to nothing with a low-drag exit for the slipstream. Contrasting nicely with the red saddle and body panels, the high-mount dual exhaust comes tucked away behind white panels. Short-rise bars work with the footpeg position and saddle shape to leave the rider room to throw around as much body English as they dare while also allowing for a standing riding position and freedom to pull all your jumping tricks and such.

Chassis - 2018 Honda CRF450R

A beam-type, CRF-aluminum frame serves as the bones of the beast with a new extruded subframe extender that replaces the previous gen with a 20-percent drop in weight. The steering head comes set at 27.22 degrees of rake, and the front suspension length and 21-inch wheel diameter give the CRF450 4.6 inches of trail. The titanium fuel tank shaves 1.1 pounds off the previous gen and contributes to the lowered center-of-gravity even though this model picks up five pounds for an overall greater weight than before. Oh well, at least you don't have to kick the damned thing.

2018 Honda CRF450R Review

A set of 49 mm, usd Showa stems float the front end with adjustable rebound- and compression-damping values and 12 inches of travel at the axle. The Showa monoshock out back tames the aluminum swingarm with the above tweaks plus adjustable spring preload for near-complete ride control all around.

Honda chose the wave-pattern brake discs for their superior heat dissipation and self-cleaning capabilities with a single, 260 mm disc and twin-pot caliper up front and 240 mm disc and single-pot anchor out back. Aluminum rims do their part to keep unsprung weight down, and the CRF450R runs a 19-inch hoop in back to go with the 21-incher up front with Dunlop MX3S hoops all around. Overall, the bike feels quick and responsive, with supple suspension and race-readiness right out of the box.

Drivetrain - 2018 Honda CRF450R

Honda taps its 449 cc Thumper to drive the CRF. The water-cooled, four-stroke mill uses Honda's "Unicam" method to period the four-valve head with 38 millimeter titanium consumption poppets and 31 millimeter steel exhaust valves. Significantly oversquare, the 96 mm bore and 62.1 millimeter stroke receives the compression ratio around the peak of the stove at 13.5-to-1, that's, clearly, from whence the 59.9 maximum horsepower comes. The prior gen had a substantial kink from the intake tract, but the mill straightened that out and gave the induction pipe a much more vertical orientation for less limitation, and hopefully, higher volumetric efficiency.

2018 Honda CRF450R Review

A 46 mm, downdraft throttle body homes Honda's Programmed Fuel Injection system, and besides the digital injection and ignition controller, the CRF sport Honda's Engine Mode Select Button that allows the rider switch involving balanced, competitive and moderate power-delivery manners. The mill employs a Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) coating in key wear points from the motor to facilitate some of the load put on the petroleum, and a scavenger pump transmits pressurized oil (instead of splash-and-drip) into the clutch and gearbox for low pumping losses and common lubrication using the motor. The tranny itself is a close-ratio five rate using a chain final drive to take the power to the dirt.

Cost - 2018 Honda CRF450R

Honda lets go of this 2018 CRF450R for $9,149 MSRP, only $300 more than last year. Since competition versions aren't covered under warranty, inspect nicely prior to buying.

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