2009 Honda CRF450X

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Apart from the renewed motocross lineup, Honda also presents 2009’s trail motorcycles, the so called “X” models from which the CRF450X is the biggest and most notorious model. I don’t wonder why as it won every Baja 500 and Baja 1000 competition it entered and there are no indications of Honda wanting to stop here. No reason, also, so here you have it!

 

Introduction

The secret behind trail bikes is that they feature motocross velleities which are valued in natural environments, making the ride more exciting and having the bike tested to its limits. In order to provide more than the expected, the Honda CRF450X gets the same 449cc liquid-cooled, four-stroke single; Unicam, four-valve engine from the CRF450R, but which is now tuned for off-road riding. Also, it gets electric start, meaning that you won’t have to go through the kick starting routine every time you kill the engine and with a 269 pounds overall curb weight, the thing isn’t heavy at all, I could say.

Still, there’s no need for a sixth gear as the engine has a wide powerband which together with the also wide gear ratios of the five-speed gearbox makes for adequate valuing of the versatile engine.

The CRF450R does not only provide the “X” model with engine and tranny, but with the twin-spar aluminum frame featuring forged-aluminum steering head too. By now, the Honda Progressive Steering Damper is one of the best and best known characteristics of CRF models and it definitely couldn’t miss on the 2009 Honda CRF450X. Neither the Showa inverted fork and pro-link single shock, just to point out some other reasons which make it the Kind of Baja.

Honda CRF450X History


Competition

In order to understand how important that title is, we’ve consulted the bikes against which the CRF450X races with awesome results.

Honda CRF450X

The 2009 Yamaha WR450F is a great enduro model which also inspires on its motocross sibling in order to stay competitive. The result is a 449cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four-stroke with five titanium valves that also makes for great trail riding experiences as it provides linear power across the wide rpm range. This bike is also fitted with electric start, like the rest in its category, but the YZ-derived advanced aluminum frame is sure to make a good impression. The base suggested retail price for the 2009 Yamaha is $7,499 which makes decisions even tougher.

Honda CRF450X

Unlike Suzuki Kawasaki does offer an off-road alternative to the Honda and Yamaha and it is known as the 2009 KLX450R. Also priced at $7,499, the KLX is a versatile piece of machinery featuring the KX450 engine and frame that were adapted for the kind of riding that the trails imply. The engine was tuned for more low to mid-range power and the aluminum frame features a perimeter design for great resistance and versatility. With a curb weight of 277.7 lbs, the Kawi is definitely a strong competitor both to the Yamaha (271 lbs wet weight) and Honda.

Exterior

Honda CRF450X

Inspired from Honda’s championship-winning motocrosser, the CRF450X features all it takes in order for you to confuse it with a veritable dirt bike. Ask for a high mounted front fender, side and number plates as well as a narrow seat and an arrow-like rear fender and everything is there for you to enjoy.

The only noticeable difference is the 35-watt halogen headlight replacing the front number plate and even adding an aggressive touch as the housing is still white, just like the side number plates and mudguards. Also, like on 2009 dirt bikes, the rear fender is white painted creating a unified look and making it even harder to be set apart from motocross machines.

The fuel tank is mounted down into the frame, contributing at the low center of gravity. Underneath the gas tank, there’s the always efficient and compact four-stroke motor drawing a straight-out exhaust which is more of an old-school piece compared to what we’d find on a 2009 motocrosser.

Enhancing the aggressive note are the sharp side plates on which the graphics are mounted. Take a close look at the “450X” writing underneath those last and you’ll finally understand what you’re dealing with. Red is the color of most Honda off-road motorcycles, including the CRF450X.

2008 Honda CRF450X Test Ride

Price

It seems that the Japanese 450cc off-road category is one of the toughest not only because of each bike’s performance, but mostly due to the $7,499 MSRP. This is how you end up in the position of choosing between three bikes having the same price and offering pretty much the same things. But, as we all know, small things make the difference in like and that brings that dilemma again.

Conclusion

Although not heavily revised for 2009 or, better said, not revised at all, the Honda CRF450X remains the same consecrated trail blast, a king hard to dethrone and, personally, my favorite.

On a Honda off-road bike it is pretty hard to meet disappointment as there are packed with key features such as the Unicam valve train system for greater engine performance and the Honda Progressive Steering Damper ensuring ease of handling and responsiveness.


SPECIFICATIONS

 

Engine and Transmission

 

Displacement: 449cc
Type: liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore and Stroke: 96mm x 62mm
Compression ratio: 12.0:1
Valve Train: Unicam, four-valve; 35mm intake valve; 30mm exhaust valve
Induction: Keihin 40mm flat-slide carburetor with Throttle Position Sensor (TPS)
Ignition: CD with electronic advance and lighting coil
Starting: Electric and kick
Transmission: Wide-ratio five-speed
Final Drive: #520 T-ring-sealed chain; 13T/51T

Chassis and Dimensions

 

Suspension Front: 47mm inverted Showa cartridge fork with 16-position rebound and 16-position compression damping adjustability; 12.4 inches travel
Rear: Pro-Link Showa single shock with adjustable spring preload, 17-position rebound damping adjustability, and compression damping adjustment separated into low-speed (13 positions) and high-speed (3.5 turns); 12.4 inches travel
Brakes Front: Single 240mm disc with twin-piston caliper
Rear: Single 240mm disc
Tires: Front: 80/100-21
Rear: 110/100-18
Wheelbase: 58.2 inches
Rake (Caster angle): 27.35o
Trail: 117mm (4.6 inches)
Seat Height: 37.9 inches
Ground Clearance: 13.6 inches
Fuel Capacity: 1.9 gallons
Curb Weight: 269 pounds

Features

 

Unique Features

 

  • Electric-start system for easy starting in all conditions.

  • Fuel-tank capacity is 1.9 gallons.

  • Resettable, easy-to-read three-digit odometer.

  • USDA-qualified muffler/spark arrester.

  • Powerful 35-watt halogen headlight offers a wide range of illumination.

  • Integrated LED taillight in rear fender.

  • Convenient sidestand integrated into left footpeg bracket can be easily removed for competition events.

  • Wide-ratio five-speed transmission.

  • Suspension and chassis tuned for competitive off-road riding needs.

  • 18-inch rear wheel for greater flat-tire protection.

  • T-ring-sealed chain is approximately 1.6mm narrower, and stronger compared to conventional chains.

  • Skidplate and engine guards feature a unique three-piece design.
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    Engine/Drivetrain

     

  • Powerful four-stroke 449cc liquid-cooled four-valve Unicam® engine is designed to produce power across a wide rpm band for off-road riding.

  • Electric starter drives the clutch side of the crankshaft to provide superior lubrication of starter gears and produce a narrow engine with a short, strong crankshaft.

  • Compact, lightweight engine assembly weighs only 71 pounds.

  • Lightweight titanium intake valves permit use of smaller valve springs, reducing overall engine height.

  • Clutch cover and cylinder-head cover are made of magnesium to reduce engine weight.

  • Forged 12.0:1-compression slipper piston is lighter than a conventional design, revving quickly while maintaining excellent cylinder sealing and high-rpm power.

  • Nikasil cylinder lining is lightweight and provides cooler and quieter operation for extended engine life.

  • 40mm Keihin FCR-type carburetor features four rollers on the flat slide, resulting in light throttle effort, smooth operation, crisp throttle response and excellent rideability.

  • Carburetor features a Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) to help maintain linear throttle response throughout the rpm range.

  • Twin-sump lubrication system separates the oil supply for the crankshaft, piston and valve train from the clutch and transmission. This ensures a cool supply of oil to the clutch, eliminates clutch and transmission material contamination of the engine oil, reduces the amount of circulating oil and permits the use of a smaller oil pump.

  • Exhaust system uses a lightweight, stainless-steel exhaust header and muffler equipped with spark arrester.

  • Dual radiators feature a refined core area for improved heat dissipation compared to conventional dual-radiator design. Coolant recovery tank is located in front of the engine between the frame downtubes for improved center of gravity. Coolant tank is protected by plastic skidplate.

  • Gear-driven balancer reduces vibration and drives the water pump. Eight clutch plates provide the surface area necessary to handle the engine’s massive torque, while carefully matched clutch springs provide a light feel at the lever.

  • Durable and versatile five-speed wide-ratio transmission.
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    Chassis/Suspension

     

  • Fourth-generation Twin-Spar Aluminum Frame with forged-aluminum steering head.

  • HPSD features a compact damper attached to the upper triple clamp and the steering head to augment more aggressive steering characteristics and assist straight-line handling. Tuned specifically for higher speed, non-motocross, off-road riding applications, the CRF450X damper incorporates different valving/settings compared to the units on the motocross models. HPSD provides straight-line confidence at high speeds, a planted feel in corners, less rider fatigue and outstanding control over a wider variety of terrain and riding conditions.

  • 18-inch rear wheel features same lightweight rear hub and HRC works-type lightweight-aluminum spoke nipples as used on CRF450R.

  • Front wheel features large-diameter front axle and wide wheel-bearing span for excellent rigidity.

  • 25mm rear-axle diameter and large-diameter bearings provide optimum rigidity to withstand torturous off-road conditions.

  • Revised, sophisticated Inverted Twin-Chamber Cartridge Fork.

  • Pro-Link® Rear Suspension (see Technology Section) with new damper settings.

  • Large 50mm diameter for rear shock damper piston for consistent performance under demanding riding conditions.

  • Compact twin-piston front brake caliper, anodized-aluminum brake pistons and lightweight front brake disc minimize unsprung weight for improved turning and handling.

  • HRC works-type rear brake system integrates the rear master cylinder and fluid reservoir, eliminating the need for a separate reservoir and hose assembly.
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    Additional Features

     

  • Rider ergonomics are optimized by adapting the handlebar, seat and footpeg height to place the rider’s legs at the narrowest cross-section of the frame for improved comfort and handling feel.

  • Rear-brake pedal and shift lever are made of lightweight aluminum and are designed to complement the riding position. Brake pedal features optimized ratio to match integrated rear-brake master-cylinder design.

  • Wide, cleated, stainless-steel footpegs are self-cleaning, resist corrosion, provide excellent grip and fold for extra ground clearance.

  • Aluminum Renthal handlebar (971 bend) is rubber-mounted to help reduce rider fatigue and improve comfort.

  • Handlebar holders provide two different mounting positions to match rider preference.

  • Works-type handlebar grips add to rider comfort.

  • Adjustable front-brake lever.

  • Hot-start lever conveniently located on clutch perch.

  • Quick-adjust clutch perch.

  • Front disc brake cover helps protect rotor and caliper from damage.

  • Removable rear subframe allows for easy maintenance.

  • Comfortable, durable controls and high-quality fasteners.

  • Stainless-steel clutch cable for long life.

  • Honda Racing-inspired colors and graphics.

  • When you buy a new Honda Powersports Product, you may be eligible to receive a complimentary one year membership in the Honda Riders Club of America, which includes an exclusive Members-only magazine, rider training benefits, access to the Members-only Clubhouse website and much more.

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