It seems like forever ago that EFI technology took over from
carburetors. The power of the old carbureted bikes is
remarkable. Yes, we had to deal with jetting issues, but the
powerband was sweet.
Surprisingly, six years later the 2008 CRF450 is still
competitive with the new technology of the bikes today.
Although the 2008 CRF450 only weighs a few pounds more
than the current CRFs, on the track it was a different story.
The bike felt like a tank compared to the new CRFs.
the track and have joyous memories of the impeccable 2008
Honda CRF450 come flooding back.
The first thing our testers noticed when they hit the
track was the heavy feeling of the bike compared to the
newer-generation CRF450 models, which are lighter and
more aggressive with their cab-forward chassis. Even though
the weight difference between old and new was just a few
pounds, it was noticeable. Equally noticeable was how much
more stable the 2008 chassis felt in the rough. It tracked
incredibly straight and wasn’t twitchy like the newer models.
But, in the air and at the entrance of corners, it felt like a
tank (perhaps an Abrams M1).
We also noticed the raw, unbridled power of the
carbureted bike. Don’t let anyone tell you that fuel-injected
bikes have more hop-up potential than carbureted bikes. Our
2008 CRF450 was scary fast compared to a 2014 CRF450.
The power was explosive, with more than enough bottom
and midrange grunt to satisfy our Pro-level testers. Yes, the
engine still signed off a little too early, but it had the torque
and horsepower to pull the next gear, no matter how soon
Back in 2008, the CRF450 Showa forks had a reputation for
being harsh. Knowing this in advance, thanks to seven years
of history, our primary goal was to smooth out the harshness.
Mike Battista met us at Glen Helen to dial in the settings.
The track was beat up and rough—perfect for suspension
testing. Battista had an excellent initial fork setting. The
forks were progressive and soaked up the bumps quite well.
But, the MXA test riders weren’t so enchanted by the shock
setting. The rear end had a tendency to kick like a spooked
horse. Fortunately, MB1 had a quick fix. We lessened the
sag and stiffened the high-speed compression. These
changes allowed the bike to ride higher in the stroke and
stay as straight as a whistle.
Did we like what this old dog had to offer? Absolutely.
Could you win on this bike today? You bet. It may be true
that you can’t relive the past, but we wish we could, because
we miss the explosiveness of the old carbureted bikes. Not
as crisp as EFI bikes, carbureted bikes have the magic ability
to produce not just the right amount of power, but that little
extra bit when you need it. The 2008 CRF450 is old
technology, but it proves that newer isn’t always better. ❏
MXA’S 2008 HONDA CRF450 SUPPLIERS
Rocky Mountain: www.rockymountainatvmc.com
or (800) 336-5437
Cylinder Works: www.cylinder-works.com or
Hot Cams: www.hotcamsinc.com or (515) 402-8200
Hot Rods: www.hotrodsproducts.com
or (515) 402-8100
FMF Racing: www.fmfracing.com or (310) 631-4363
Cycra Racing: www.cycraracing.com or (740) 929-0188
CV4: www.cv4.net or (800) 874-1223
Renthal: www.renthal.com or (877) 736-8425
Applied: www.appliedrace.com or (800) 853-0555
Dunlop Tire: www.dunlopmotorcycle.com
or (800) 845-8378
DeCal Works: www.decalmx.com or (815) 784-4000
Moto Seat: www.motoseat.com or (951) 258-5229
Works Connection: www.worksconnection.com
or (800) 895-8292
Hinson: www.hinsonracing.com or (909) 946-2942
Tusk: www.tuskoffroad.com or (800) 336-5437
Faster USA: www.fasterusa.com or (951) 600-7048
MB1 Suspension: www.mb1suspension.com or