Giant paws: Honda made its grips 3mm longer for 2009. That
might not sound like much, but it is noticeable.
Sound: The muffler may be trick, but it is loud. The new AMA
standard is 94dB. The 2009 CRF450 belted out 97dB.
Roulette: The triple clamp offset for 2009 is 20mm. They had
to change the offset when they steepened the head angle.
Snake pipe: Two-stroke pipes were routed like this for
decades. This routing allows for a more compact design.
Q: DOES THE CRF450’S EFI SYSTEM SUFFER FROM FLAME-OUT? A: Yes, but it is manageable. Flame-out is when the engine quits suddenly at low rpm. We first noticed flame- out on last year’s fuel-injected Suzuki RM-Z450. Fuel injection does not seem to handle throttle chop as efficiently as a carb. The easiest solution to flame-out is to turn the EFI’s idle screw two or three clicks counterclockwise. This will pick up the idle speed. Q: HOW MUCH HORSEPOWER DOES THE CRF450 MAKE? A: It makes 50. 25 horsepower. How does that com- pare to other 450’s? Well, it has more power than the YZ450F ( 49. 5) and less than the Suzuki RM-Z450 ( 51. 4). On the other end of the spectrum, it is three-and-one-half horses down to the KTM 450SXF ( 53. 98). Q: WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF THE 2009 CRF450’S POWERBAND? A: The throttle response is awesome. At the very instant of rotating the throttle, the CRF450 jumps for- ward. It almost lurches into action. The bike seems to want you to blip the throttle, play with power settings, and meter the delivery to suit the terrain. From low-to- mid it was a blast to ride. Its best surge came very low in the rpm range. For some test riders it was too jerky off the bottom, but faster test riders rarely cared about response in the first 1/8th turn. Q: WHAT IS THE WORST PART OF THE 2009 CRF450’S POWERBAND? A: The 2009 CRF450 is flat on top. It doesn’t sign off like the Suzuki RM-Z450; instead it hangs from 8200 rpm until the rev limiter kicks in at 11,300 rpm. What does that mean? Once the CRF450 reaches 8200 rpm, where it makes its peak horsepower, it stays at that horsepower for the next 3000 rpm. This is the flattest top-end power- band we have ever ridden. Amazingly, that long flat section isn’t a deal-breaker, but it’s not a trait that we would put at the top of our wish list. We can live with it because it hangs at peak, as opposed to hanging somewhere over the top. Q: IS THE 2009 CRF450 FASTER THAN THE 2008 CRF450? A: No. It’s quicker and more responsive off the bot- tom. The 2009 CRF450 jumps to attention with more power and torque from 5000 rpm to 7200 rpm. It’s very strong from low to mid. However, after 7200 rpm, the 2008 CRF450 engine leaves the 2009 mill in its dust. At peak horsepower the 2008 bike pumps out over two horsepower more than the 2009 model (and holds that advantage across the meat of the powerband, from 7200 to 10,000 rpm). Head-to-head with a talented rider in the saddle, the 2008 CRF450 is faster and has better situated power for Intermediate-and-up racers. Q: WHAT IS THE MOST ACCURATE ASSESS- MENT OF THE 2009 CRF450 POWERBAND? A: It has the greatest two-thirds of a powerband ever made. Most test riders felt that they could go faster,