For those who frequently go off-road with their motorcycles, they understand how important the bike's weight is, especially on the tight single tracks inside the jungle. They also know that a 450cc dirtbike is the top of the food chain in terms of power. With a 450's raw power delivery, riding these motorcycles already requires some considerable skills.
But besides power, why should we be excited about a new CRF450L? When Honda released the CRF 250L back in 2013, a lot of fans were delighted while some disappointed with the Littel Red Pig's lack of power. After all, they were comparing the 250L to Honda's legendary 250R race bike. Unfortunately, it does not share the same engine as the 250L.
Granting fan's wishes, Honda recently made the 2020 CRF 450L available globally. This road-legal dirt bike that, unlike the old CRF 250L with an engine based on the CBR 250, has been using the same 450cc and underpinnings as Honda's CRF 450R motocross bike sicne the 2018 model year.
For compliance with road regulations, the engine was toned down a bit. Compression is down to 12:1 from 13.5:1, cam timing is milder, the crank is heavier, it has a six-speed gearbox instead of five, there's a larger radiator and a large silencer (exhaust pipe). These modifications brought down the power of the 450L to only 25.3 Ps versus the 58.3 Ps of the 450R. Nonetheless, the tradeoff is quite fair since Honda tuned the 450L's engine for longevity and road-worthiness, not for racing. The engine will go up to 32,000 kilometers between major strip downs, with air filter and oil filter change every 1,000 kilometers.
Having received a ground-up redesign in 2016, the CRF450R’s chassis was the perfect place for the CRF450L to start out on. Rake and trail are set at 28.5°/122mm with the wheelbase increased 18mm from the CRF450R to 1500mm, for greater stability in 450L. Both the R and the L feature 22mm fork offset. Wet weight is only 130.8 kg (CRF 250L weighs 146 kg); seat height is 940mm. The tapered dual-spar aluminum beam frame was made slightly wider at the swingarm pivot points, to allow for the wider engine width resulting from the 6-speed gearbox. The headstock was modified to mount a steering lock and the aluminum swingarm injected with urethane to reduce noise. The rear subframe is the same, with mounting point adjusted to take the taillight and the right-exit single exhaust muffler. These changes were made to match the machine’s vastly broader usage range, and road legal requirements.
The CRF450L’s overall style draws fully on that of the CRF450R. Carried over are the rear mudguard, side panels and bash plate. Svelte side shrouds hide a larger radiator and auxiliary fan. All lighting, including the indicators and license-plate light, are LED. Last but not least, the new CRF450L has a titanium fuel tank that can handle 7.6 liters of fuel. SRP in the US market is $10,399 or roughly PhP540,000.
We asked our insider from Honda Philippines if they will be bringing the CRF 450L here in the country, but they have not answered yet as of this writing.