Honda’s new CRF450L a complete package

Using the CRF450R moto-crosser as a base, Honda’s new road-legal dual-purpose motorcycle has a tough, lightweight chassis built to find all the available grip, powered by an engine that delivers strong, usable power right from the bottom.

31 May 2018 | Motors

The CRF450L is about having maximum fun out on the dirt. - M. Uchiyama, Large Project Leader: 19YM CRF450L.

A true dual-purpose motorcycle should be many things; off-road it needs to be light weight, with quality suspension and handling ability that keeps life easy as the going gets harder. Its engine has to make good power and torque from the bottom up – the sort that is supremely 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 really useful around town; narrow and nimble, a dual-purpose machine slips through gaps, soaks up the hits from rough roads and stays well ahead of traffic thanks to smart, low-gear acceleration. It also needs to be turn-key reliable, with sensible intervals between major service work.

Competition machines can make a solid base for dual-purpose adaptation. But there is much to consider. Race-level performance brings with it an intensive maintenance schedule, which is simply too much for many ‘hobby’ trail riders, who just want to push a button and go – and keep on going, Furthermore, a barely-disguised race bike can mean crucial road-going elements - lights, indicators, ignition switch - are not as user-friendly and durable as they should be.

Honda understands this, and with a desire to produce a dual-purpose bike that draws strongly on the fundamental performance of a race machine, yet with much more ‘normal’ service intervals and high-quality road ancillaries, has taken its CRF450R moto-crosser as the base to start from, and created the new CRF450L.

It is unmistakably a race-bred CRF – and looks it – but with the additions and modifications needed to make it both road legal and supremely useable in a trail environment. As such, the CRF450L is a complete package, as happy roosting trails as it is linking them up on-road. And with Honda engineering and build quality at its core, is sure to do so for years to come.

“The CRF450L is about having maximum fun out on the dirt. It looks like a CRF450R because, really, it is – just a trail-friendly, road-legal version. That’s what the ‘L’ stands for – ‘legal’. 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. And, it contains its HRC-derived CRF technology within a real-world service schedule,”says M. Uchiyama, Large Project Leader (LPL) 19YM CRF450L.

Model overview

The journey from full race to road legal trail was a detailed one for the CRF450L.

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 still a CRF450R; just one that’s quieter, both mechanically from the chassis and engine, as well as its new exhaust. Both fuelling and ignition maps are now managed by 02 lambda sensor; compression ratio has been lowered and crank mass increased for improved drivability. The gearbox is a 6-speed – for longer legs on the road – and a cush drive has been added to the 18-inch rear wheel.

The plastics are lifted directly from the CRF450R and all lighting is LED, with the front headlight in particular throwing out a penetrating beam. Increased volume for the titanium fuel tank adds range and all the items that make the CRF450L ready to purchase as a licensed, road going machine – such as speedometer and horn – are present as standard.

Key features

While the chassis was more straightforward to convert from its CRF450R moto-crosser specification to a dual-purpose performance level, the 449cc engine needed more consideration from Honda’s engineers. Requirements were several: the need for it to pass EURO4 emissions and noise regulations, and to be usable for a wide variety of riders in many differing situations both on and off-road.

While the fundamental architecture of the four-valve Unicam powerplant remains the same, many details have been changed to support the broader role: the crank’s mass has been increased, resulting in 13% more inertia which, for a trail rider, equals improved torque feel and response; valve timing has been revised to give the broader, smoother spread of power and torque; the gearbox is now 6-speed, rather than 5 for longer range use on tarmac; left and right engine covers wear outer covers to reduce noise;

Elsewhere, the ACG has been uprated, to provide the required electrical power for the LED lights and to maintain battery charge during lower-speed running. The battery itself is a high-volume unit.

Bore and stroke are unchanged from the CRF450R, at 96mm x 62.1mm, but the piston uses 3 rings instead of 2 for greater durability. Compression ratio is 12.0:1 (compared 13.5:1). The redesigned airbox feeds the PGM-FI, managed by a lambda sensor in the large-volume single exhaust (which replaces the ‘stubby’ dual-pipe design of the CRF450R). An Air Injection (AI) system and catalyser clean up the spent gases.

The four-valve Unicam cylinder head features a finger rocker arm on the inlet valves; valve lift is 7.7mm with 6.7mm exhaust valve lift. Inlet valve diameter is 38mm. The valve springs are oval in cross section and valve angle is 9° intake/10.5° exhaust.

The clutch spins 7 friction discs with a 2mm clutch plate efficiently dissipating heat; the springs generate a good, consistent connection. The front sprocket is a 13T, the rear 51T.

Peak power is 18.4kW, with peak torque of 32Nm. Important from the hobby trail-rider’s perspective is the engine’s reliability and gap between service intervals. And this is where the CRF450L’s build quality and design really stands out; it will go 32 000km between major strip downs, with an air filter oil and oil filter change every 1000km. - QuickPic

Similar News

 

The birth of a legend

2 months ago - 17 December 2020 | Motors

The story of the Suzuki Jimny started in 1967.Flailing Japanese car firm HOPE introduced its Hopestar ON360, a tiny 4x4, built to conform to Japanese...

Boks tackle track with Defender

2 months ago - 16 December 2020 | Motors

Land Rover ambassadors, Duane Vermeulen, Bongi Mbonambi, Trevor Nyakane, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Frans Steyn, together with friends of the brand Lood de Jager and...

Built in Africa for Africa

2 months ago - 16 December 2020 | Motors

When Nissan launches the new Navara pickup, which will be available to African consumers next year, it will be one of the few mass-market vehicles...

New engine, tech and appeal

2 months ago - 15 December 2020 | Motors

While many SUV’s are bought for ‘curb appeal’, the Prado leverages its Land Cruiser DNA to deliver when the going gets tough. The Land Cruiser...

Latest gaming tech to develop safer cars

3 months ago - 24 November 2020 | Motors

Volvo Cars engineers call it “the ultimate driving simulator”, but it is not just an excuse for them to indulge their inner basement gamer. Instead,...

More luxury, more style, more features

3 months ago - 19 November 2020 | Motors

Without fear of overstatement, the Toyota Fortuner is one SUV that definitely needs no introduction – it has firmly entrenched itself in the local marketplace...

Nissan ignites desire to thrive

4 months ago - 02 November 2020 | Motors

Nissan recently launched the highly anticipated Magnite – a new compact SUV.A true reflection of the ‘Nissan-ness’ concept that aims to empower people through breakthrough...

Countdown to new Lexus starts

4 months ago - 29 October 2020 | Motors

The new 2021 Lexus IS countdown has officially begun for South Africa, with the first right-hand-drive market releasing details of their debut in Australia recently....

2021/21 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards

4 months ago - 27 October 2020 | Motors

Now in its sixth iteration, #CarsAwards annually recognises the best purchasing propositions in 13 respective segments of the domestic new-vehicle market and is widely acknowledged...

Starlet and the Legend

4 months ago - 26 October 2020 | Motors

Augetto Graig - Pupkewitz Toyota launched the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ promotion on Saturday at their Windhoek showroom, introducing the immaculate all-new Toyota Starlet and...

Latest News

RCC employees sent home until...

22 hours ago | Business

Over 60 employees of the Roads Contractor Company (RCC) were on Thursday sent home after being denied access to their rented offices, which are owned...

Gondwana and Hollard head back...

22 hours ago | Justice

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKGondwana Collection Namibia and Hollard Insurance Namibia will face each other again in court on 31 March after Gondwana last week brought an urgent...

'Premature' to discuss fracking

22 hours ago | Environment

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKEnvironment minister Pohamba Shifeta says it is “premature and confusing” at this stage to discuss the risks of fracking in the Kavango regions, when...

Veterans want to be appointed...

22 hours ago | Politics

TUYEIMO HAIDULAEMBANDU The president of the Namibia National Liberation Veterans Association (NNLVA), Ben Shikongo, says members of the organisation want to be appointed to...

Women in commercial banking leadership

22 hours ago | Business

STAFF REPORTERThe Namibian Financial Sector Charter, introduced by the Ministry of Finance in November 2008, constitutes a framework and establishes the principles upon which empowerment...

Kenya to reject budget if...

22 hours ago | Economics

OMAR MOHAMMEDA Kenyan parliamentary committee said that it will reject the government's 2021/22 budget plan if the deficit goal is set at more than the...

Fishing rights announcement soon

22 hours ago | Fishing

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKFisheries minister Albert Kawana is expected to announce who his ministry has chosen for new fishing rights at the end of this month.This brings...

Women still live in fear

22 hours ago | Opinion

Namibians can be proud of the progressive legal frameworks that are in place to protect women from violence and discrimination.Legally, women are ensured of the...

Zimbabwe's manufacturing bullish on better...

22 hours ago | Economics

Zimbabwean manufacturers expect to ramp up production to 61% of capacity this year, the highest level in a decade, on expected stability in the foreign...

Load More