(09) RACE TEST
Mr. Fix-it: The best trait of the CRF450 is its instanteous throttle response. The worst trait is its stinkbug handling.
( 2) Radiator shrouds. We broke them. Our knees, especially with knee braces, would crack the plastic on both sides. Several test riders got their knee braces caught under the shrouds, locking them to the bike. ( 3) Left side panel. This is a first for us, but the small size of the left side panel wouldn’t block roost in deep berms. Dirt would fly straight up and land in our pants. ( 4) Starting. The Honda starts, but it isn’t an easy starter. It needs a full kick to light the fire...and we mean from the very top. ( 5) Sound. We expected that the new exhaust system, which includes a resonance chamber that is hidden in the front part of the muffler body, would be quieter than 97dB. The AMA limit for 2009 is 94db, and the CRF450 isn’t close. ( 6) Oil window. Removing the oil window from the CRF is a mistake. With so little oil in the engine, because of Honda’s dual-chamber lubrication system, making it harder for the rider to check the oil level will result in more bikes blowing up. We want the window back. ( 7) Transmission. We don’t think the new low-to-mid powerband is in sync with the old gearbox ratios. ( 8) Wiring harness. In our opinion, the fuel injection wiring shouldn’t be hanging out in the breeze. It is going to be compromised at mud races. ( 9) Shifting. There has been some type of dimensional change in the relationship of the footpeg to the shift lever (although nothing was revealed by measurements). Test riders complained about stiff shifting and said that they thought that they weren’t getting as much boot under the shifter as on the 2008 model. ( 10) Clutch. Last year’s clutch used six springs; this year’s clutch uses four springs. We don’t understand the change (except from a weight-savings point of view). From a mechanical point of view, six equally spaced light clutch springs should provide more equal pressure across the surface than four stiffer springs that are spaced far- ther part. Our only clutch-related problem was that when the clutch starts to slip, the chance of flame-out goes way up because the engine can’t be disengaged fully in tight turns. At the first sign of slippage, replace the clutch plates. ( 11) Kayaba. From 2002 until 2007, the MXA crew felt that Showa had put their star-crossed past behind them. The harsh and spiky 2008 Showa forks proved that your