QUICK LOOK: HONDA 2017 CRF450R
- The latest and greatest of the 450cc class of motocross off-road racing bikes.
- Noticeable improvements from the 2016 model.
- Engine type: 449cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke (Unicam)
- Available in one color: Red
- Suggested Retail: $8,849
Honda’s 2017 CRF450R was the most anticipated motocross bike of the New Year, and for good reason. Pitched by Honda as the “Absolute Holeshot”, so far the machine has lived up to its big expectations as the latest and greatest of the 450cc class of motocross off-road racing bikes.
During the Kumamoto earthquake that hit Japan in April 2016, Honda’s production facilities were damaged and the production process of the motorcycle was delayed, much to the dismay of anxious riders everywhere. Many wondered whether or not the 2017 CRF450R would offer much of a change from the 2016 model. The reality is, the two bikes have far more differences than similarities, and in the best possible ways.
During initial chatter and anticipation, some speculated that the “Absolute Holeshot” branding was hinting at a specific new feature, like a start button or ignition timing. However, with the 2017 CRF450R, Honda essentially started from scratch, combining a number of different engineering elements in order to live up to the “Absolute Holeshot” claim. The result is a truly impressive machine that’s a welcome departure from last year’s model.
This creative and unique combination of features is the reason that the bike lives up to it’s hype, which is especially impressive considering it was not only the most anticipated bike of the year but also one of the most anticipated bikes that the industry has seen in a while. We’ll outline some of these specific features below, and you’ll get a sense of why everyone can’t stop talking about the Honda 2017 CRF450R.
HONDA 2017 CRF450R FEATURES
The key to the success of the CRF450R is that it boasts a sound lineup of impressive qualities, including a strong motor, excellent horsepower, tons of torque through curves, and a low center of gravity that keeps the power towards the ground. On top of all that, solid suspension and lightweight design round out the key qualities behind the bike’s features. Using these principles as a guide, Honda essentially started over for the production of this bike.
First, the bike has an all-new Unicam engine. While it still incorporates the original Unicam design, the new engine on the 2017 CRF450R has a new downdraft intake tract and FI body. According to Honda, the new design increases both power and fuel-metering precision, and is the driving force behind the bike’s explosive power and massive torque right out of the starting gate—hence the branding as the “absolute holeshot”.
The 2017 CRF450R also comes with a new Showa spring fork. The 49mm fork, while slightly greater in weight than the fork on the 2016, helps increase the front-suspension, handling, and precision, making it a welcome addition.
Unique to the CRF450R is the titanium fuel tank, which is the first of its kind to be found on a mass-produced bike. Aside from just looking really cool, the tank is also lightweight and helps lower the center of gravity. And on top of all these improvements, Honda is also offering an electric start option for the first time.
Here’s some additional features Honda is highlighting in the 2017 CRF450R:
- Higher compression ratio, 13:5:1 for improved combustion efficiency
- Dunlop MX3S tires
- New cylinder head layout with “in-finger” rocker design
- “In Molded” graphics
- Next-generation aluminum frame
- Updated twin-muffler exhaust system
- 260 mm front brake
- Engine mode select button
Honda’s 2017 CRF450R has all the things that riders loved about the 2016 version, and then some. Last year version was widely admired for it’s lightweight design, agility while taking corners, and maneuverability off the jumps, all of which can be said of the 2017 version with even some improvement. While Honda says the 2016 and 2017 version are the same weights, the riding experience on the 2017 makes the bike feel lighter.
Aside from the similar riding experiences to the 2016 model, the 2017 adds even more impressive qualities. The improvements to the motor are huge and noticeable in ride comparisons. For one, the bike hits hard right from the get go with a crisp, top-notch throttle response. Partly due to the higher compression ratio of 13:5:1, the 2017 CRF450R is very obviously the more powerful machine. Along with the noticeable increase in power, the bike truly explodes out of corners with impressive control.
Lastly, the 2017 CRF450R has a new, flatter seat and tank junction, making it noticeably more open and easier to move around on, including sliding forward and back.
Overall, the Honda 2017 CRF450R truly does represent the latest and greatest of the 450cc class of motocross racing bikes. With it’s improved engineering, lightweight and compact design, and excellent power and control on the track, the bike is a significant step up from the 2016 model, and truly sets a new standard for Honda.