The Honda CRF450X was first introduced in 2005 and was designed to dominate Baja. Since then, approximately 27,000 have been sold and it's been the most successful bike in Baja with 11 Baja 1000 victories and another nine wins in the Baja 500. The 2019 model is completely revised with a fuel-injected engine, different Showa suspension components, a new chassis, and updated bodywork. Developed to be ridden on single-track, wooded trails, and wide-open desert, Honda gave us the opportunity to test the green-sticker-legal machine on a 70-mile loop in the Mojave Desert of Southern California to get a first impression of the all-new bike.

Engine

The all-new CRF450X engine is based off the latest-generation CRF450R motocross bike powerplant, but has some key differences to make the power delivery more suitable for off-road riding. The differences from the R model engine include a 12-percent increase in crank mass, a different piston shape, a wide-ratio six-speed transmission, dedicated ECU settings, and case covers to dampen noise. Unlike the street-legal CRF450L model, the CRF450X does not have a catalyzer in the muffler. The header pipe is 3.9 inches longer and 0.1 inch larger in diameter than the L model too.

Honda CRF450X
The Honda CRF450X is all-new for 2019.Drew Ruiz

The CRF450X engine is very user friendly thanks to its linear power delivery. The bottom-end is smooth, which makes the bike manageable in tight trails and when riding over obstacles. It picks up in the midrange and pulls well on the top-end. We rode up plenty of long and steep hill climbs and were impressed with how well the CRF450X continued to pull. Even after chopping the throttle after cresting an obstacle, the Unicam engine picked right back up without any issues.

Mojave Desert of Southern California
Honda gave us the opportunity to test the green-sticker-legal off-road motorcycle on a 70-mile loop in the Mojave Desert of Southern California.Drew Ruiz

The X has a bit more engine-braking than the R or RX models, which helped maintain control when riding down hills, and descents were the only time it was noticeable. The six-speed transmission’s gears are evenly spaced and it never felt like I was between gears while riding it. As with all of the models we’ve tested in the CRF Performance Line, the CRF450X shifts buttery smooth.

CRF450X engine
The CRF450X engine is very user friendly thanks to its linear power delivery.Drew Ruiz

Suspension

The CRF450X uses the same Showa 49mm coil-spring fork and Showa shock as the CRF450R, but each component features off-road-specific settings. The fork has a very plush feel and offers tons of comfort on small impacts such as braking bumps and rocks. On slightly larger impacts, such as drop-offs, whoops, and G-outs, the fork is progressive and holds up well, evidenced by the fact that we didn’t bottom it out once during our 70-mile ride. The shock has a more comfort-oriented feel. It stays planted and doesn’t kick out or do anything unpredictable when riding over rough terrain.

bottom-end is smooth
The bottom-end is smooth, which makes the bike manageable in tight trails and when riding over obstacles.Drew Ruiz

Chassis/Handling

The CRF450X has a few unique model-specific components, including a different subframe and engine hangers, a dedicated top triple clamp, and an off-road-tailored front brake master cylinder and brake hose. It also has a damper-equipped countershaft sprocket and a 2.01-gallon fuel tank, which is just over 0.1-gallon larger than the prior generation model.

2019 Honda CRF450X
The CRF450X is predictable at speed.Drew Ruiz

The CRF450X has a good combination of nimbleness and stability. It reacts well when applying pressure to the footpegs to change direction, and is predictable at speed. As we have come to expect from Honda CRFs, the ergonomics are very agreeable. The rider triangle plays a part in how comfortable the bike is, but if there’s one thing we would change in this area, it would be to have the stock Renthal Fatbar from the CRF450R and CRF450RX model as it’s a bit lower and more to our liking—a very minor detail about a part that’s easy and relatively inexpensive to replace.

CRF Performance Lineup
The wide-ratio six-speed transmission’s gears are evenly spaced, and, as with all of the other models in the CRF Performance Lineup we’ve tested, the CRF450X shifts buttery smooth.Drew Ruiz

Conclusion

After putting the all-new Honda CRF450X through its paces in the Mojave Desert, we came away very impressed. The engine makes plenty of power, yet is easy to ride thanks to its controllable low-end and linear power delivery. The suspension is plush and comfortable right out of the box, and the chassis reacts well to rider input, yet is stable at high speeds. Agreeable ergonomics make the CRF450X that much more enjoyable to ride. Honda has done a great job of producing an off-road motorcycle that is fun to ride, offers good performance, and can legally be ridden year-round in all 50 states.

Showa 49mm coil-spring fork
The Showa 49mm coil-spring fork has a very plush feel and offers tons of comfort on small impacts such as braking bumps and rocks.Drew Ruiz
2019 Honda CRF450X
The CRF450X reacts well when applying pressure to the footpegs to change direction.Drew Ruiz
2019 Honda CRF450X
Honda has done a great job of producing an off-road motorcycle that is fun to ride, offers good performance, and can legally be ridden year-round in all 50 states.Drew Ruiz

TECH SPEC

 
PRICE $9,799
ENGINE 449.7cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder four-stroke
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 6-speed/chain
MEASURED HORSEPOWER N/A
MEASURED TORQUE N/A
FRAME Aluminum twin-spar
FRONT SUSPENSION Showa 49mm coil-spring fork adjustable for rebound and compression damping
REAR SUSPENSION Showa Pro-Link shock adjustable for spring preload, rebound and compression damping
FRONT BRAKE Nissin single 260mm disc w/ twin-piston caliper
REAR BRAKE Nissin single 240mm disc
RAKE/TRAIL 28°06’/4.6 in.
WHEELBASE 58.8 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 37.4 in.
FUEL CAPACITY 2.01 gal.
CLAIMED WEIGHT 275 lb. wet
AVAILABLE Now
CONTACT powersports.honda.com