them, SuperMac made Honda update the cosmetics on his 1993 bike to look like the new models. Then, when the 1997 aluminum-framed CR250 was introduced, Jeremy knew the jig was up. He wouldn’t be able to race his trusty but rusty 1993 model in 1997. And Jeremy did not like the 1997 CR250’s handling. He was spot-on in his assessment. The first aluminum frame bike handled worse than any previous Honda. In the end, Jeremy didn’t have to deal with it because he left Honda without having to throw a leg over the 1997 aluminum frame. How does this pertain to the 2009 Honda CRF450? According to Jeremy McGrath, “It handles just like my 1993 model.” Q: WHAT DID HONDA DO TO THE 2009 CRF450 CHASSIS? A:An incredible number of changes went into the 2009 frame. Here is the list: (1) The engine is completely redesigned to lower its overall height and position the crankshaft closer to the
(09) RACE TEST
Aluminum extrusions: The 2009 twin-spar frame is 14 ounces lighter than the
2008 frame. The spar’s cross section
has been reduced from 70mm by 27mm
to 66mm by 26mm.
front wheel. This front axle to crankshaft measurement is called the “front center,” and the shorter the front center the more agile the chassis at turn-in. For 2009, the CRF450’s front center has been reduced by 15mm. ( 2) The swingarm is 18mm longer than in 2008 (which moves the weight bias forward). ( 3) The 2009 twin-spar frame is 14 ounces lighter than the 2008 frame. The spar’s cross section has been reduced from 70mm by 27mm to 66mm by 26mm. ( 4) The steering tube has been moved back 10mm. ( 5) Fork offset has been reduced from 22mm to 20mm (fork offset in 2007 was 24mm). Trail is now 114.2mm ( 4. 5 inches). Last year it was 111. 4 mm ( 4. 3 inches). ( 6) The frame’s head angle has been steepened from 26. 76 degrees to 26. 52 degrees. ( 7) The new radiator shrouds are narrower to aid rider move- ment, and the seat base has been lowered to reduce overall height (without reducing the thickness of the seat foam). Q: WHAT DO ALL THOSE FRAME NUMBERS MEAN?