It’s impossible to overlook the rise in performance that manufacturers have accomplished with dedicated off-road motorcycles For many years bikes were heavy and outdated, with the focus aimed at reliability, but bikes like the 2019 Honda CRF450L show that brands are eager to bridge the gap between the pure power of their motocross models and the easy to ride models of their dual-sport segment. During a recent trip to the Pacific Northwest for the full intro of the new motorcycle, we learned the complete details of the street-legal 450cc machine from Honda’s Jason Abbott.
The 2019 Honda CRF450L is much more than just a CRF450R with lights and a license plate. Yes, Honda took plenty of design and technology from the competition model, like the Unicam engine and twin-spar aluminum frame, but there are a number of parts and pieces that are completely unique to the CRF450L. Honda reworked the engine by dropping a three-ring piston into the cylinder, increased the mass of the crank, enclosed the airbox, configured dedicated ECU settings, bolted on a quiet exhaust system, stuffed a wide-ratio six-speed transmission and complimenting clutch pack inside, and wrapped the engine cases with plastic covers to cut down on noise. The chassis, meanwhile, was widened at the base to accommodate the larger engine-transmission, a new subframe was designed that extends all the way to the tip of the rear fender, the Showa suspension was tuned to take on obstacles one will see on the trail, and the necessary signal lights, digital speedometer and odometer, and assorted pieces were put into place.