There are three ignition maps accessible via the switch
on the left side of the handlebars—stock (one blue flash
that repeats three times), mellow (two blue flashes that
repeat three times) and aggressive (three blue flashes that
repeat three times). You can cycle through the three maps
by pressing the button and holding it for one second (be
sure the idle-adjuster knob is pushed in or the maps won’t
change). Every MXA test rider chose to run the stock map
(one blue flash). There is no Launch Control button.
You can remap your 2017 Honda CRF450 with Honda’s
PGM-FI tuning kit. This kit, which includes software and a
plug-in wiring module, allows a rider to use an IBM com-
puter to alter multiple cells in both the fuel and ignition
maps. In essence, the new software overwrites the ECU’s
base maps and can alter the percentage of fuel delivered,
and advance or retard the ignition timing (1 degree at a
time). The problem for the average rider is that the PGM-FI
tuning kit is expensive to buy and complicated to use. Plus,
as Honda updates it from year to year, you need new soft-
ware almost annually. So, in most cases, reprogramming
the 2017 Honda CRF450 map is best left to your dealer or
local hop-up shop.
We went straight to the source and had Honda’s test
department meet us at the track to allow us to test 10 different maps. We had three test riders with varying degrees
of skill—from Pro to Vet—ride the bike. In this blind test,
all three riders chose the exact same map combinations.
We have included a screenshot of both the ignition and
fuel maps that we are running to show you the direction
to go. You will note that we didn’t change any of the cells
in the fuel map and concentrated mostly on retarding the
ignition map. ❏
This is the ignition map that we tested with Honda’s R&D department. If you expected the ignition maps to be seriously
advanced, you will be shocked to see that we advance a few of the CRF450’s 96 cells, but for the most part we retarded the
ignition—enough to activate the red warning code (which we ignored).
Honda’s PGM-FI programming tool is much more complicated than Yamaha’s plug-and-play nine-cell Power Tuner. The Honda
system has 96 cells that offer a very broad range of adjustment (with a dizzying variety of choices). Above is the fuel map that
we ran on our 2017 Honda CRF450. Note that we didn’t change a single cell.