Q: WHAT IS THE EFFECT OF THE SIX CHANGES HONDA MADE FOR 2011? A: To tell the truth, none of the changes seemed to bring about the kind of significant improvement that Honda CRF450 owners wanted. On the plus side, the bike is much quieter and the powerband is easier to use. On the negative side, the handling and suspension are about the same. Q: HOW FAST IS THE 2011 CRF450? A: Rather than break the bad news in one short, sweet sentence, we’d rather say that the new powerband is well modulated, very tractable and blessed with a metered throttle response. Want a translation? The power off the bottom isn’t herky-jerky like it was in 2009, but it also produces a non-hit, casual, no-rush style of thrust. Because it revs slower and with a more pedestrian power delivery, the overall powerband feels like it is broader than it was. In truth, the engine still goes flat in the midrange (actually, the 2011 flattens out about 300 rpm before the 2010 CRF450 did), but makes up for it by revving about 300 rpm more on over-rev. Q: HOW CAN IT GO FLAT EARLIER, BUT REV FARTHER? A: The Honda CRF450 has what the MXA test riders call a “Sprinter” powerband. The nomenclature refers to the profile of a Sprinter van—the front of the van slopes up sharply and then is flat across the top. That is how the CRF450 runs. It makes very good horsepower, albeit without much personality, from 5000 rpm until 7700 rpm. Then from 7800 rpm until it signs off at 11,300 rpm, it doesn’t gain any power. In essence, the horse- power it makes at 8000 rpm is the same as the horse- power it makes at 9000, 10,000 and 11,000 rpm. For 2011, it is flat across the top, but compared to where the 2010 model signed off, the 2011 goes 300 rpm farther. Q: HOW DOES THE 2011 CRF450 RUN ON THE DYNO? A: The 2011 CRF450 makes 1.1 horsepower more than the 2010 CRF450, but pumps out 2. 21 horsepower less than the 2011 KX450F, 2. 25 horsepower less than the 2011 RM-Z450, 1.95 horsepower less than the 2011 KTM 450SXF and 0.60 horsepower less than the 2011 YZ450F. Q: WHAT DOES THE 2011 CRF450 POWERBAND FEEL LIKE ON THE TRACK? A: “Mellow” is the first word that comes to mind. It has a very electric power delivery. The hit is muted, but
CRF450 2011 Honda CRF450: The 2009 CRF450 powerband was barky and flat. The 2010 CRF450 powerband was smooth and
flat. The 52 horsepower 2011
powerband is mellow and flat.
There is a theme here.