Honda CRF450X (2005) review

With wheelie-happy monsters like Honda's new CRF450X, never has there been a better reason to get stuck in the mud
Details
Manufacturer:
Honda
Category:
Off Road
Price:
£ 5600
Overall
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)
Honda's new enduro tool is entirely rideable, not brutal like its brother, but ye gods it's still bloody fast
Unbelievable grip in the mud, huge power delivery
Firm suspension, expensive

Anyone who knows anything about off-road bikes knows Honda's CRF450 motocrosser is horrifically fast and entirely frightening to ride. Two laps of a track on one is enough to pump your forearms solid and turn your legs to jelly, and the slightest twitch of throttle at the wrong time will launch both bike and rider at the nearest tree. This simple fact isn't doing my confidence any good as I head out on Honda's new CRF450-based enduro bike.

Two laps later and I'm gulping water and quivering like a damp rat. But it slowly dawns that, in fact, I'm basically okay. My forearms aren't pumped up and my legs are still attached to my pelvic region. It appears that my usual Post Motocross Traumatic Stress Disorder is entirely psycho-symptomatic, and the CRF450X is not as terrifying as I assumed it would be. Honda's new enduro tool is entirely rideable, not brutal like its brother, but ye gods it's still bloody fast. The chaps in the engineering division have lopped off peak power but added noticeable low-down torque and driveability in. The 450X will donk along in a higher gear, and the whole thing has a more civilised, user-friendly air. And joy of joys - it comes with an electric start! Thank you, Honda, thank you.

If you're looking to move up from a capable trail bike like Suzuki's DR-Z400, the CRF450X is an obvious choice. If the DR-Z were a Bandit 600, the CRF-X would be a Fireblade. It would be wasted if your off-roading was limited to occasional green-lane pottering, but for keen trail riders looking to move up to the next level, this is certainly one way to go. And as the basis for an utterly rampant supermoto conversion, the X is spot-on, period. With a dry weight of only 113kg and Showa suspension with 20 fathoms of travel, the 450X scoffs at wimpish behaviour. Some riders commented that the suspension was on the firm side for trail riding, but the grip you can find in mud is unbelievable, and bloody great lumps of power are never more than a throttle-tweak away.

At £5600 the CRF450X isn't cheap, and you need to add £500 if you want a numberplate on the back. This puts it at the top-end of the enduro bike market, but it's a proper competition tool and you're paying for the performance and that Honda badge. Most of us would be better off on the 250X , which won't make you feel stupid every time you ride it, but if you simply must have the best of everything in your garage, the CRF450X is a toy and-a-half.

Anyone who knows anything about off-road bikes knows Honda's CRF450 motocrosser is horrifically fast and entirely frightening to ride. Two laps of a track on one is enough to pump your forearms solid and turn your legs to jelly, and the slightest twitch of throttle at the wrong time will launch both bike and rider at the nearest tree. This simple fact isn't doing my confidence any good as I head out on Honda's new CRF450-based enduro bike.

Two laps later and I'm gulping water and quivering like a damp rat. But it slowly dawns that, in fact, I'm basically okay. My forearms aren't pumped up and my legs are still attached to my pelvic region. It appears that my usual Post Motocross Traumatic Stress Disorder is entirely psycho-symptomatic, and the CRF450X is not as terrifying as I assumed it would be. Honda's new enduro tool is entirely rideable, not brutal like its brother, but ye gods it's still bloody fast. The chaps in the engineering division have lopped off peak power but added noticeable low-down torque and driveability in. The 450X will donk along in a higher gear, and the whole thing has a more civilised, user-friendly air. And joy of joys - it comes with an electric start! Thank you, Honda, thank you.

If you're looking to move up from a capable trail bike like Suzuki's DR-Z400, the CRF450X is an obvious choice. If the DR-Z were a Bandit 600, the CRF-X would be a Fireblade. It would be wasted if your off-roading was limited to occasional green-lane pottering, but for keen trail riders looking to move up to the next level, this is certainly one way to go. And as the basis for an utterly rampant supermoto conversion, the X is spot-on, period. With a dry weight of only 113kg and Showa suspension with 20 fathoms of travel, the 450X scoffs at wimpish behaviour. Some riders commented that the suspension was on the firm side for trail riding, but the grip you can find in mud is unbelievable, and bloody great lumps of power are never more than a throttle-tweak away.

At £5600 the CRF450X isn't cheap, and you need to add £500 if you want a numberplate on the back. This puts it at the top-end of the enduro bike market, but it's a proper competition tool and you're paying for the performance and that Honda badge. Most of us would be better off on the 250X , which won't make you feel stupid every time you ride it, but if you simply must have the best of everything in your garage, the CRF450X is a toy and-a-half.

Length (mm)2176
Width (mm)825
Height (mm)1254
Dryweight (kg)113
Seats1
Seat Height (mm)963
Suspension Front47mm Showa inverted forks
Suspension RearPro-link with Showa damper
Tyres Front80/100-21
Tyres Rear110/100-18
Brakes Front240mm disc, twin-pot caliper
Brakes Rear240mm disc, single-piston caliper
Tank Capacity (litres)8.6
Wheelbase (mm)1481
Ground Clearance (mm)348
Cubic Capacity (cc)449
Bore (mm)96
Stroke (mm)62
Compression Ratio12
Coolingliquid
Stroke TypeFour Stroke

Unbelievable grip in the mud, huge power delivery
Firm suspension, expensive