2017 Honda CRF450R & CRF450RX Announced

Details On The All-New Honda Motocross & Off-Road Bikes

2017 Honda
Honda gave the media a sneak peek at two exciting new motorcycles, the all-new CRF450R flagship motocrosser and a completely new model the CRF450RX. The motocross bike is new from the ground up, with a radical departure from the traditional engine layout on a motocross bike. Honda has gained a claimed five and a half horsepower with their new intake design that routes air over the rear shock mount rather than around it. This allows a more direct intake as well as a better downdraft layout for a better intake angle into the cylinder. When viewing the old intake tract and the new one the differences will shock you. Once you see it, the design seems like such an obviously better way to get a more efficient intake.Photo by Pete Peterson
2017 Honda
Another big change to the new bike is going back to a coil spring fork. In testing the riders were working with a blank sheet, they had no instructions other than to make a better bike. And when the coil spring fork went on the test crew knew right away that was the fork they wanted – and they got it. The new bike comes with what Honda tells us is a 49mm Showa A kit fork, less the A-kit coatings.Courtesy of Honda
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The motocrosser is joined by an off-road version, which carries all the same components of the motocrosser with these changes: The MX bike’s 1.6 gallon titanium tank is replaced with a 2.2 gallon plastic one, the rear has an 18” rear wheel, there is a kickstand, the ECU maps are mellowed (it still has 3 maps to chose from on the fly), and the suspension valving is adjusted. The bike is a closed-course race bike and it does not replace the CRF450X. Yes, Honda is adding this model, not replacing the existing CRF450X (which is a green sticker bike, while the new RX is not).Photo by Pete Peterson
2017 Honda
The 450RX has electric start. Does the motocrosser?... Sort of. Honda is offering a kit to turn the 450R into an electric start machine. The kit (starter and harness/button) is set to cost around $650, but that does not include the battery. Honda wanted to keep the cost of the kit down and allow the customer to decide which battery to use; the kit is designed to charge any battery type available.Photo by Pete Peterson
2017 Honda
We were given a chance to see the bikes, but not ride them. We asked for comments from the Honda reps who have had time on these bikes. Keep in mind they are Honda employees, but were able to offer some comments that will give you an idea of the personality traits of these two new bikes. Also keep in mind that Honda had pre-production plastics on the bikes, so in the photos shot at the Honda museum you may notice the shrouds don’t have the production in-molded graphics, and the black shroud area, the glide/skid plate, and the front and rear disc guards do not represent the texture/finish of what the final production plastic will look like (the shapes are true, just not the finish look). Johnny Campbell rode the RX out to show it off to the media group.Photo by Pete Peterson
2017 Honda
One big focus of the Honda engineers and R&D department was to get the center of gravity lower, the weight more centralized and to get more weight to the rear wheel to improve traction. At the same time the move back to a coil spring fork added weight to the front of the bike. According to Honda it is a wash in overall weight with the new bike hitting the scales at the same weight as the previous model. If you’re wondering about a more important number – the price – Honda did not have details available but suggested customers will not see a dramatic MSRP increase. This is the RX, you can tell by the 18” rear wheel and the larger (and plastic) gas tank.Courtesy of Honda
2017 Honda
If you’re not aware, months ago an earthquake in Japan upset one of Honda’s production facilities, as well as those of suppliers in the area. This has delayed these new models’ arrival but according to Honda should not affect the number of bikes made. So the fear of a huge demand and limited supply should not be a problem. Well, the supply side should not be a problem, as Honda expects a full delivery of bikes. As for when, you can expect to see these bikes reach the dealers in late October or early November. As for now, Honda showed off the only two units in the country (this is the R motocrosser). We will get our first rides just before bikes are on the showrooms, and we are as eager to see how these machines perform as you are.Courtesy of Honda

ENGINE

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The engine is Honda’s Unicam design but the overall package is more compact.Courtesy of Honda
2017 Honda
The new Unicam design uses a finger follower on the intake cam; it has DLC. The valve springs are oval in cross-section, allowing a more compact top end.Courtesy of Honda
2017 Honda
The intake and exhaust are closer to vertical now. Along with larger intake valves and new valve seats, Honda claims some impressive efficiency increases: 19% for the intake and 10% for the exhaust.Courtesy of Honda
2017 Honda
The piston has a new shape and a new compression ratio: up to 13.5 from 12.5 in 2016.Courtesy of Honda
2017 Honda
A new oil jet design is engineered to improve cooling and lubrication.Courtesy of Honda
2017 Honda
The bottom end is also all new, with a dual-stage scavenge pump systems that is engineered to reduce friction from oil and air in the bottom end. The new machines uses less oil than the 2016 450R, going from 1490cc to 1250cc and with all the oil shared in one system for the engine and transmission.Courtesy of Honda
2017 Honda
This is possibly the most startling visual Honda provided. Looking at the new intake design, especially from the top, really shows how much cleaner the air’s path appears to be with the new layout.Courtesy of Honda
2017 Honda
The new exhaust is more compact and with smoother bends. It now branches into two much sooner than with the old exhaust, and crosses in front of the shock.Courtesy of Honda
2017 Honda
This photo shows where the exhaust branches off earlier.Photo by Pete Peterson
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The new clutches uses one less fiber and one less steel plate, helping with the engine’s new compactness.Courtesy of Honda
2017 Honda
The gear ratios are different on the new bike, as well as the final drive; the front sprocket remains a 13, but the rear sprocket goes from a 48 tooth to a 49 tooth.Courtesy of Honda
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This illustration shows the straightened intake well.Courtesy of Honda
2017 Honda
The map switch is now integrated into the kill switch. The ECU still has three maps – standard, aggressive, and smooth, and the aggressive and smooth maps can be adjusted for riders who want to create a custom map. The ECU adjuster is not included with the bike. Johnny Campbell says most of the difference to the RX’s ECU maps and the R’s maps is down low and focused on better traction for the trail vs. a groomed MX track. From mid and up, he says, the maps are pretty similar.Courtesy of Honda
2017 Honda
With the map selector and kill switch are combined on the left side of that bar, that leaves room for starter button on the right.Courtesy of Honda
2017 Honda
This cool illustration shows some internal engine detail.Courtesy of Honda
2017 Honda
Honda claims 5 and a half more horsepower out of the new engine.Courtesy of Honda

CHASSIS/SUSPENSION

2017 Honda
Honda engineers designed the bike to corner great, but the impression from the riders who have actually gotten to throw a leg over one all commented that the new bike has great stability. The testers worked on ‘track toughness,’ trying to get a chassis, components, and settings that allowed the bike to work good from track to track. While the previous CRF450R might have needed adjustments to be its best at each track, the new bike, according to testers, is more of a machine that a rider can adjust to their riding style and preferences and leave it at those settings at every track. Basically the R&D team tested for, and feel they found, more of a ‘set it and forget it’ racer.Courtesy of Honda
2017 Honda
The new R and RX do not have the Honda steering damper, though they are fitted to take one if a customer wants to purchase the part. Honda in-house test rider Ryan Dudek says the new bike has better stability with steering that compares, and is actually better, than the 2016 bike.Photo by Pete Peterson
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Honda’s new subframe is designed to reduce weight, especially weight far ‘out’ from the machine’s center of gravity.Courtesy of Honda
2017 Honda
The fork leg diameters are up 1mm to 49 and Honda reps are calling the design the A kit fork but without the coatings usually associated with the A kit. Johnny Campbell is and has always remained a fan of the coil spring fork. He said his race team has been using the 2014 Showa coil spring fork off of the 250 on both their 250R and 450R race bikes. About this he commented, “Me, myself, I’ve been nervous about running an air fork in off-road racing for, when you have an endurance race of three hours and you get a fork seal blown, you’re stopped. Where a spring fork, yeah you’re gonna blow fork seals in mud and ruts and all that gravel and stuff, and with a spring fork, okay you can blow a fork seal but you can still finish the race.”Courtesy of Honda
2017 Honda
The shock’s top mount is 39mm lower, allowing for the new intake design and also lowering the bike's center of gravity. The shock’s design is changed, so the overall shaft travel is very close to the previous shock, and is just a few millimeters shorter, according to Honda reps.Courtesy of Honda
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The new design allows the shock to be perfectly centered. The swingarm loses about a half pound of weight. Both help for centralizing mass.Courtesy of Honda
2017 Honda
Here are some number to pore over. The Honda guys are especially proud of the lower center of gravity, and pointed out the differences in the swingarm pivot to axle numbers, which put more weight to the back end of the bike.Courtesy of Honda
2017 Honda
The R’s fuel tank is now titanium. It’s light and carries the fuel weight a little lower in the chassis.Courtesy of Honda
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Honda considered everything, even how narrow the front fender should be to allow the right amount of airflow to the engine. The 450R comes with Dunlop Geomax MX-3S tires.Photo by Pete Peterson
2017 Honda
These Honda holeshot stats are intriguing. If the stock bike pulls that much better there will be some happy Red Riders. Honda claims nearly a 10% increase in power to weight ratio.Courtesy of Honda
2017 Honda
Honda designed the new bike with a 2.7mm lower center of gravity.Courtesy of Honda
2017 Honda
The CRF450RX is a new off-road race bike that joins the fleet without replacing the 450X.Courtesy of Honda
2017 Honda
The RX has an 18” rear and lower gearing at the rear sprocket by one tooth to help in technical sections. The off-roader comes with Dunlop Geomax AT81 tires and gets different suspension settings and a softer rear spring. Johnny Campbell was key to deciding on the RX’s stock settings. He said, “I had a hand in some of the final settings for the suspension and mapping. The R was pretty much a done package and then we started spinning off on this project and they involved us.”Courtesy of Honda
2017 Honda
Because of the added fuel weight and needs of off-road riders, the RX’s engine hangers are different from the R model’s.Courtesy of Honda
2017 Honda
The RX gets the same compact engine with off-road-tuned maps and electric start stock (as well as a kickstarter too). Johnny Campbell said the RX is great for the track, too, “The target obviously is build a bike everybody can be really happy with. Coming from basically a motocross designed bike and then tuning it to off-road, I believe this bike will be even a much better motocross bike for some of the older guys or slower guys that might not want the fully aggressive motocross bike.”Courtesy of Honda
2017 Honda
The RX doesn’t get the titanium tank, but it gets something better - .6 gallons more capacity.Courtesy of Honda
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The shock adjusts on the left side of the new chassis.Photo by Pete Peterson
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The new bodywork is sleek and the bike looks great.Photo by Pete Peterson
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Here’s a look under the seat.Photo by Pete Peterson
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And down into the airbox.Photo by Pete Peterson
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The battery rides in the back of the airbox. The RX comes with its own battery, the R rider who buys the electric start kit picks his own battery.Photo by Pete Peterson
2017 Honda
The all-new Hondas show a lot of promise and we can’t wait to find out how good they are on the track and trail.Courtesy of Honda
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