Q: FIRST AND FOREMOST, IS THE 2016 CRF450
BETTER THAN THE 2015 CRF450?
A: One thing you can’t accuse the 2016 Honda of is
being a Bold New Graphics bike. BNG wasn’t on Honda’s
agenda for 2016. And that agenda was very lean with only
six changes to separate the 2016 model from the 2015. And
none of those changes are going to make the bells of St.
Mary’s start ringing in celebration.
Q: WHAT WERE THE SIX CHANGES THAT
HONDA MADE TO THE 2016 CRF450?
A: The 2016 Honda CRF450 had six minor changes
made to the suspension package—if you count the 4mm
smaller chain roller chain as a suspension mod.
(1) Fork length. Honda lengthened the forks by 5mm.
This was done to slacken the head angle of the frame
without having to invest in a new chassis. The longer forks
will allow for more stability at speed.
( 2) Shock linkage. The 2016 CRF450 gets a new
rising-rate linkage. Well, it isn’t exactly new. The 2016
CRF450 gets the rising-rate linkage from the 2015 Honda
CRF250. Nothing odd about this, because from 2009 to 2012
Honda changed the shock linkage three times (softer in
2010, stiffer in 2011 and softer again in 2013). This year it is
stiffer initially and softer at the end of the stroke.
( 3) Chain roller. The diameter of the chain roller has
been reduced by 4mm to 34mm. By altering the size of the
chain roller, Honda’s engineers are able to control brake
torque when the bottom chain run is taut. Not surprisingly,
Honda had downsized the chain roller to 38mm just three
years ago before downsizing it again this year.
( 4) Suspension clickers. The forks and shock are both
re-valved, albeit slightly, with both getting stiffer low-speed
damping. Additionally, back in 2015, the shock and fork
clickers had four clicks per rotation. For 2016 they have
eight clicks per rotation, which essentially doubles the
number of settings by halving the difference of each click.
( 5) Footpeg brackets. Over the last few years the
Honda footpegs could get clogged with mud and lock into
the upright position. While the footpegs are unchanged for
2016, the bracket they mount to has been redesigned with a
scraper to help clear mud out of the pivot area. These new
brackets will retrofit on 2013 to 2015 CRFs.
( 6) Brake line. Although we couldn’t tell the difference
and Honda had no tech info on what was changed, the
front brake hose has a new part number.
Q: WHERE IS THE HONDA CRF450 AT IN ITS
A: When the recession hit in 2008, the Japanese
manufacturers retreated and became entrenched in their
traditional four-year development plans. That meant that