Q: FIRST AND FOREMOST, IS THE 2011 CRF450 BETTER THAN THE 2010 CRF450? A: That depends on your definition of “better.” Honda made some changes for 2011 that, on paper, should have made a significant difference, but on the track there is some question about whether they were worth the effort. Q: WHAT CHANGES DID HONDA MAKE TO THE 2011 CRF450? A: Here are the six areas that Honda focused on for the new model year. (1) The jumbo-sized 50mm throttle body has been reduced to 46mm in an attempt to improve low-end power and lessen the tendency to flame out (when the vacuum isn’t able to overcome the bore size). ( 2) The front forks feature a new cartridge rod cylinder. It is lighter and has a few dimension changes that only a suspension guru would notice. The valving has been changed very slightly for a plusher feel. ( 3) Honda installed a new shock linkage (arms and bellcranks) that offers “improved control and increased rear wheel traction.” The shock itself has one shim that is different from the 2010 shock spec. ( 4) The HPSD steering damper’s body has been increased by 4mm (from 20mm to 24mm) to help calm down the front end. ( 5) The muffler is 100mm longer and has a 26mm core instead of last year’s 36mm core. It meets the AMA’s 94 dB sound limit easily at 90.1 dB and almost passes the FIM’s two-meter-max test at 115. 5 dB. ( 6) EFI map. The programmable ECU module has been reprogrammed to work with the restrictive muffler and downsized throttle body.