Honda’s top-of-the-line motocrosser, the CRF450R receives a slew of updates for ’13. Engineers focused on refining handling and acceleration performance by incorporating a fresh chassis and improved engine specification. Maintaining affordability was also a priority and although the price hasn’t been announced, Big Red aims at keeping it around the ’12 model ($8440).
The new CRF450R features a new sixth-generation twin-spar aluminum frame and swingarm designed to lower the bike’s center of gravity and further centralize some of its heaviest components. The subframe and airbox are also new and designed to be more maintenance friendly. It also sports an all-new fork engineered in collaboration with KYB.
Instead of conventional coil springs the fork uses pressurized air. Not only does this reduce the weight of the front suspension it allows it to more accurately follow terrain as well as providing added adjustability based on a rider’s weight and/or speed. Other chassis updates include new footpegs, brake disc covers that are easier to remove, and a new proprietary front tire dubbed the Dunlop Geomax MX51FA (80/100-21).
Honda’s venerable 449cc Unicam engine returns with a new piston that boosts the compression ratio by half a point (12.5:1). The shape of the cylinder head was also modified and the two exhaust valves grow (by 1mm to 31mm). Speaking of exhaust, the twin-pipe set-up used on the ’04-’08 CRF250R returns.
The clutch was also reworked and now offers a six-spring design (previous was four) that will provide more consistent engagement throughout the duration of a moto. Other durability enhancements include an added oil jet (to cool the bottom of the piston) as well as new radiators that incorporate large plastic louvers to improve cooling. Fuel tank capacity was also increased by 0.16 gallon to 1.66 gallon (6.28 liters). The motorcycle’s weight has also increased marginally from 240 pounds to 242. The CRF continues to utilize electronic fuel-injection but does not offer push button electric start.
Motorcycle-USA recently sampled the bike at Zaca Station, near Santa Barbara, California. Expect a preliminary review in the coming weeks.
(Top) The twin-pipe design from the ’04-’08 CRF250R makes its way to the 2013 CRF450R. (Bottom) The KYB air fork makes use of air bladders instead of coil springs.