Honda CRF450R
02 Feb

Model updates: The first ‘from the ground up’ redesign of the CRF450R for eight years packs an HRC-inspired power-up engine with an 11% top-end power boost, and stronger torque right through the rev range. It also gets an all-new seventh generation aluminium frame with new chassis geometry, lower centre of gravity and ‘factory’ race kit-specification 49mm Showa steel spring front fork. A titanium fuel tank, smooth, aerodynamically-efficient plastics and the option of electric start complete the all-new package.

1. Introduction

The Honda CRF450R has been a benchmark since its introduction in 2002. It has defined the art of balance, with an engine that produces hard-hitting, useable power and a chassis that allows riders of all experience levels to put every drop of that power to good use. From a rider’s perspective – whether amateur enthusiast or pro-racer – it’s always been a machine that offers total control, together with the durability and longevity that Honda has long been famed for.

And of course, the CRF450R has constantly evolved, with every upgrade drawing on lessons learned in the white heat of Honda’s moto-cross racing programmes throughout the world. Over the last eight years the CRF450R has been honed into one of the most complete race-ready rides. Now for 2017, revolution has replaced evolution. Europe’s favourite open-class moto-crosser is effectively brand new, wielding a major power boost from its new engine, plus increased grip and drive from a redrawn chassis.

It looks different, feels different and delivers a whole new experience trackside. In plain and simple terms, it’s faster. Much faster.

Mr M.Uchiyama, Large Project Leader (LPL) 17YM CRF450R:

“This is a full model change for the CRF450R. Nothing has been overlooked, and we have been relentless in our effort to provide customers with a machine that’s ahead of the pack.

Our focus has been on producing a machine with exceptional engine performance, outstanding rear wheel traction and a low centre of gravity – to create a 5% improvement in acceleration on the previous model.The phrase underpinning development was ‘Absolute Holeshot’.

We have already started racing and perfecting the 17YM CRF450R in the Japanese MX championship, winning the first five moto’s in succession.

We are proud now to give a machine with this kind of performance to motocross lovers worldwide.”


2. Model Overview

The 2017 CRF450R has been developed – with direct input from Honda’s AMA and MX GP teams – to be first out of the gate, first into turn 1 and to punch a blistering lap time. With a new engine packing an 11% increase in peak power matched to a chassis that can truly make full use of it, the 2017 CRF450R is stronger, sharper and more focused.

And as MX1-class machines are all about competition, both 16YM and 17YM machines were raced back to back by HRC in a series of start simulations. The power and drive of the new bike saw it gain a significant advantage. 0-10m took 1.53s, 6.4% less time than the outgoing machine.

The new power unit uses innovative engineering on both intake and exhaust side. On the intake, straight passageways reduce air resistance significantly for improved combustion efficiency. On the exhaust side, the twin pipes divide close to the engine, facilitating the increase in compression ratio from 12.5 to 13.5, a key element in the greater power output.

A 49mm Showa USD fork – steel sprung and developed from a race-ready factory item supplied to MX race teams in the Japanese championship – replaces the KYB air fork. The aluminium frame’s main spars are now tapered for more front-end stability and traction, and the 17YM CRF450R has completely revised geometry; it’s shorter in wheelbase, with a more compact swingarm and adjusted rake and trail. It also has a lower centre of gravity thanks to details like a lightweight titanium fuel tank and lower upper shock mount.

Brand new plastics create ultra-efficient aerodynamic performance, and a smooth, ‘organic’ shape to give the rider ultimate freedom to move. They also feature film insert graphics, which deliver sharp visuals and a durable finish. For the first time, electric start is now available as an option.

3. Key Features

3.1 Engine

The CRF450R’s 449cc engine now makes a full 11% more top end power than the outgoing model. Overlaid, the power and torque curves of the 16YM and 17YM graphically display the performance gain of the new design: it’s stronger everywhere but especially through the midrange torque area and at the top end, with a major increase in rpm, peak power and over-rev.