After 2020’s mad offroad moto sales season, Honda’s back with its CRF450 line for 2021. Some models see minor updates, and now the CRF450L dual sport joins this family under a new name
Although these machines are debuting in 2021’s first quarter, note that Honda says they’re 2022 models. Looks like the auto industry’s bad habit of labeling its vehicles a year ahead is spreading across the motorcycle industry.
This is Big Red’s big-bore motocrosser, and so far, Honda’s riders have done well aboard the updated machine. In AMA Supercross, Ken Roczen has three wins on the new machine; in the FIM’s MXGP series, Tim Gajser sits atop the standings thanks to his success on the new 450. What’s new for 2022? Honda’s press release says “For 2022, the legendary machine gets an updated ECU for enhanced drivability, particularly in the lower rev ranges, while suspension valving is revised for better holdup and improved balance. “Razor Sharp Cornering” continues as the model’s theme, with three main focus areas: power, handling and consistency.” No major changes, then, but it’s hard to argue with success.
If you’re feeling extra-spendy and you think the standard CRF450R will hold you back, you can buy the CRF450RWE. This Works Edition machine has “a long list of elite-level upgrades based on the machines in the Team Honda HRC factory race shop.” Like what? The Honda press release doesn’t say. It’s priced at $12,399 in the US, with availability in August. The standard CRF450R has a $9,599 MSRP, with availability in May.
This version of the 450 is set up for races like the GNCC, WORCS and NGPC series—it’s not a full-on enduro bike. Still, it has suspension and ECU settings optimized for offroad riding, as opposed to the R and RWE machines, which are set up for motocross. Honda also includes an aluminum sidestand on the RX model, handguards, a larger 2.1-gallon fuel tank, and an 18-inch rear wheel. Pricing is $9,899, availability is July.
This is Honda’s desert bike (sorry, XR650R fans). The SLR Honda won the Baja 1000 with this machine last fall, the 14th time a CRF450X has won that race. Honda also touts its trail capability, because of “50-state year-round off-road-legal status, plus off-road appropriate features like a side stand, 18-inch rear wheel, headlight, sealed chain and six-speed transmission.” Still, expect it to be a handful in the tight stuff; Baja success does not equal single-track happiness. Honda wants $9,799 for this bike in the US, and it will be in showrooms in June.
Honda’s middleweight dual sport doesn’t see any changes to the formula, just a name change (it’s the “RL” now!). The new models will be available in May at a $9,999 MSRP.
For full specs on the individual models, visit Honda’s website.