The Disputed Champion of MX Bikes Honda CRF450R - Feature Review - Dirt Rider Magazine

**Dear Dirt Rider,

I recently finished reading your article on the '06 CRF450R, and to no surprise, you loved it. I'm sure that you will receive tons of messages about this article, but I had a few questions that I wanted to get off my chest.

1. How is it that you rate the CRF450F the best 450 for the past few years? On what basis? I've read the articles and most sound like an advertisement versus something truly objective.2. If the CRF450F is so dominant in the magazines, why doesn't that translate to the track. For '05 Honda has not been able to buy a win since Carmichael left.

3. If the CRF450R is so good, why haven't we seen it in other series such as GNCC? I'm a motohead of many years and I don't recall ever seeing a Honda win anything.

I could go on, but you get the idea. Every year there seems to be a clear-cut favorite when it comes to shoot-outs/bike tests. It would be nice to see the other bikes get more credit. In the end I think that most bikes are very similar and people could win on any bike at any given time.

Perhaps you could do a series of stock bike tests for an upcoming comparison. It would be cool to see how the different bikes do head-to head in Supercross, Nationals, desert, GNCC, and supermoto tracks.

Keith HamiltonKeith,To answer your questions:1.** The CRF450 is that good, why else would almost every motorcycle magazine agree on picking it (for the past few years running) as bike of the year. It must be the secret checks Honda sends us that we don't talk about, right? No, it's purely the bike's performance, plain and simple, in stock form.2. I would say that Ricky Carmichael has a lot more to do with the win record of the CRF450 than anything else, at least at the highest level. You could put that guy on an RM-Z450 with a 92 db muffler on it (I really wish he'd do this to prove a point) and he'd still win. RC has nothing to do with why the CRF is so dominant in the magazines. It is just the bike. It is simply that good.3. Well, the CRF isn't designed to race GNCC or WORCS or Enduro or anything but Motocross. But that's not why it isn't doing well there. It is because Honda doesn't race it in those events at a top level. If they went out and decided to win, with their wallet in hand, they would win those races. Not because of the bike, but because of the rider on the bike. Racing is about the rider—most of the bikes provide a very close playing field.You could go on and so could I, or any other editor here, or at any other magazine, really. The other bikes do get credit, they just seem to fall just a bit short when all the points are tallied up. And as close as things are these days between production bikes, even a small advantage becomes larger in a comparison situation. You are right about riders winning on any given bike at any given time, the bikes are that close, but it is our job to rank only the bikes.Also, you request that we do a test that revolves around more than just motocross, which we have done for our 250cc comparison this year and you'll see in an upcoming issue. But we have to be careful with this because these bikes are not designed for applications other than MX. Taking them to, lets say a National Hare and Hound or Enduro setting, would be like taking surfers to the ice skating rink for hockey. But if you look at those racing series' you mentioned and see which bikes unsupported riders are riding, you might find they seem to prefer the Honda CRF450. And finally, we test only stock bikes in a stock bike comparison—we make sure of it.Jimmy Lewis
Editor