If a brand didn’t win last year’s shootout and didn’t make any significant changes to this year’s bike, the writing is on the wall. Honda is lucky in one aspect—2014 was not a year for major changes on four of the five bikes in this comparison. Only the Yamaha YZ450F engineers pulled the trigger on a remake. You don’t need a trig degree to see that nobody moves up if they didn’t make any significant changes; however, they can go down if another brand steps up. The reality of the Honda CRF450’s lot in life is that it is slow. One bike always makes the most horsepower and one always makes the least. The Honda is the latter, not the former. Not only is the CRF450 down on power, but it is way down on powerband breadth. It makes great low-end power but signs off at 8600 rpm. It still revs after 8600, but it doesn’t go anywhere if you don’t shift at peak. All that said, this is a super-easy bike to ride. Why wouldn’t it be? It is mellow, pleasant and laid back—just what you’re looking for in a nanny, but not necessarily in a high-end race bike. HORSEPOWER? 51. 97 horsepower at 8600 rpm. DOWNSIDES? This bike is slow. Yes, it does have a nice powerband and is easy to use, but that’s like a blind date that is described as “funny” and “nice.” No matter how you cut it, giving up three, four, five and six horsepower to the competition means that there are places on the track where niceness isn’t going to cut the mustard. THE WORD? As an overall package, the 2014 CRF450 is just a warmed-up version of last year’s bike. It finished fourth last year because it beat out the weird-handling 2013 YZ450F. This year, the YZ450F leapfrogged over it.