All-purpose Honda bike can handle it all
Motorbike enthusiasts demand that a dual-purpose motorcycle should be many things. For offroad it needs to be lightweight, with quality suspension and handling ability for when the going gets harder. Its engine has to produce good power and torque that is usable, allowing the rider to find all the rear wheel grip possible, whatever the terrain.
All the attributes that make it great fun off-road also enable it to be useful around town, where a narrow and nimble dualpurpose machine can slip through gaps, soak up the bumps from rough roads and stay ahead of traffic thanks to smart, low-gear acceleration.
Honda now shows that competition machines can be a solid base for dual-purpose adaptation. But race-level performance needs an intensive maintenance schedule which is too much for “hobby” trail riders, who just want to push a button and keep on going. Furthermore, a barely disguised race bike can mean that crucial road-going elements such as lights, indicators and the ignition switch are not as user-friendly and durable as they should be.
Honda understands this and has produced a dual-purpose bike that draws strongly on the performance of a race machine, but with more normal service intervals and high quality road ancillaries. The company has taken its CRF450R motocross bike as the base to start from and created the new CRF450L.
It is unmistakably a race-bred CRF, but with the additions and modifications needed to make it both road legal and supremely useable on a trail. As such, the CRF450L is a complete package for on- and off-road.
“The CRF450L is about having maximum fun out on the dirt.
It looks like a CRF450R because, really, it is - just a trailfriendly, road-legal version,” says Mikio Uchiyama, large project leader of the CRF450L. ‘Legal’ is what the ‘L’ is for. It’s been engineered to deliver excellent handling feel, with linear engine torque that helps the rider make the most of the available grip in all conditions. It also contains its HRC-derived CRF technology within a real-world service schedule.”
Road legality required the engine to gain EURO4 compliance, while from a longevity and usability viewpoint, the power output and character needed careful attention.
It’s a CRF450R that is quieter, both mechanically and from its new exhaust. The compression ratio has been lowered and crank mass increased for improved driveability. The gearbox is a six speed and a cush drive has been added to the 18” rear wheel.
The plastics are the same as the original CRF450R and all lighting is LED, with the front headlight throwing out a penetrating beam. Increased volume for the titanium fuel tank adds range. All the items that make the CRF450L ready to purchase as a licensed, road going machine, such as speedometer and horn, are standard.
The new dual-purpose Honda CRF450L.