Even though the CRF450 has been my favorite big-bore the since it was introduced, beginning in 2004 the character of the engine has been going away from one that I preferred. The CRF450R has been getting snappier, quicker and harder hitting. I was really surprised, as the first thing I noticed on the '07 bike was the smooth and ridable, dare I say mellow, bottom-end delivery. It is as strong as before in the mid, and I'll bet it has more on top, too. It had me riding a gear high in almost all the turns and going faster. And the new suspension setup complemented this by giving an all-round better ride, especially, I thought, in the rear, which is basically unchanged from last year. Maybe moving that muffler that bit forward really does something. I felt the bike was plusher and had better bottoming resistance-all around more progressive, especially in the back. I never felt the need to do anything more than set the ride height. The worked-on front mirrored the rear with a noticeably better bottoming resistance compared with the '06 bike we rode back-to-back. Honda made all the right steps to keep me really happy, and I wonder if the other brands have something more up their sleeves?