The handling and overall character of the Honda feels a little smoother than last year. For one thing, the bike doesn't feel as rear-end high, likely a result of the revised linkage ratio and modified subframe. The shock stroke still feels quite long (and progressive), and lighter riders will find that they don't come anywhere close to using the entirety of the stroke. The fork on the Honda has great initial feel and good bottoming resistance for most, though our faster test riders opted for more compression in order to better support the front end of the bike and hold it up a little better for added stability going into turns. The Honda will corner like it's on rails in wider turns and when you really set up, but when entering sharp corners the bike can be difficult to turn cleanly and smoothly, the turning can have an aggressive feel. We felt as though we had better luck sweeping the corners, making the arc bigger and the corner easier to get around, as opposed to our modified 2010 model where the rider could just dive into the sharp inside and pretty effortlessly make a nice, smooth transition to the next corner. A lot of this could have also been the difference between an 80/100 front Dunlop 742FA on the stock 2011 and the 90/100 MX51 we had on out last year's bike, and the fluffy-on-top-of-hard dirt. Still, the Honda leans well and settles sufficiently in most turns to allow the tires to hook up and go. And it also shows how small changes make a big difference on today's modern MX machines.Everything else on the CRF450R is what we've come to expect from Honda: Comfortable ergos, decent brakes, a great clutch and absolutely fantastic shifting. We know from previous experience that this bike is tougher than a $2 steak, but that won't stop us from keeping the motorcycle fairly fresh for our upcoming 2011 450F Motocross Shootout. In the meantime, we'll put more time on the Honda and continue to learn about it for a full test in an upcoming issue of Dirt Rider.