Honda is seriously getting into the off-road motorcycle racing world with the GNCC-ready 2017 Honda CRF450RX. Based heavily on the all-new 2017 Honda CRF450R supercross and motocross racer, the CRF450RX has some important modifications to make it ready for cross-country racing.To read about all the technical information of the CRF450RX, visit our 2017 Honda CRF450R story—the chassis and motor are the same on both bikes, and we go into detail explaining them. Instead of repeating ourselves, these 10 Fast Facts will focus on what makes the 2017 Honda CRF450RX different from the CRF450R.
Electric starting is standard on the 2017 Honda CRF450RX. On the 450R, electric start is an optional kit. Honda simply installs that kit on the CRF450RX for you, and includes a battery. If you run the battery down, don’t worry; the CRF450RX has a kickstarter, too.
The 2017 Honda CRF450RX gets an 18-inch rear wheel. That’s a must, of course, and Honda got it right.
There are different tires on the CRF450RX. The Dunlop Geomax MX3S tires are perfect for motocross, but the Dunlop Geomax AT81s are what you want off-road. The AT81 front is 10mm wider on the CRF450RX, while the rear 18-inch AT81 has a higher profile to compensate for the smaller rim.
Honda retuned the motor to give the CRF450RX more tractability. Although there’s nothing like the bark of asupercross bike, a more tractable motor makes sense in the tight confines of single track, and the physical demands of hours-long races. In addition to being more tractable, the 2017 Honda CRF450RX engine also has a smoother delivery.
The CRF450RX gets softer suspension settings. Although the fully adjustable suspension units are the same, including the coil-spring/oil forks, the CRF450RX has less rebound damping, plus a lighter shock spring. Travel on the rear shock is decreased by a tenth of an inch.
The fuel tank on the 2017 CRF450RX is off-road spec. The 1.6-gallon titanium unit on the CRF450R works on closed courses, but it’s too small and fragile for the rigors of GNCC racing. So, Honda put a plastic 2.2-gallon tank on the CRF450RX for increased range and durability.
Final gearing is lower on the CRF450rX. For technical riding, and to compensate for the additional 18 pounds (wet) on the CRF450X, the 2017 Honda CRF450RX is geared down slightly. It’s not much, but the rear sprocket goes up from 49 teeth on the R to 50 teeth on the RX.
The cylinder hangers on the CRF450RX are stiffer. To handle the hard knocks of off-road riding and the additional weight of the larger plastic fuel tank, the cylinder hangers have additional rigidity.
There’s a kickstand. You don’t need one for supercross, but we’re glad the CRF450RX has a forged aluminum kickstand. It swings up high and out of the way when not in use, and it’s easily removed if you don’t need it.
You’ll have to wait two extra months to get the 2017 CRF450RX. While the 450R will be available in October, you can’t get the 450RX until December. We hope to get one a bit sooner for testing.
2017 Honda CRF450RX Specs
Motor: SOHC 4-valve single
Bore x stroke: 96.0 x 62.1mm
Compression ratio: 13.5:1
Induction: PGM-FI w/ 46mm throttle body
Starting: Electric and kick
Transmission: Constant-mesh five-speed
Final drive: 520 chain
Front suspension: Fully adjustable inverted 49mm Showa coil-spring/oil fork; 12.0 inches of travel
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This week, in the first segment Editor Don Williams talks to us about the new Kawasaki Versys 650 LT. It’s the middleweight ADV style machine that uses the same 650 parallel twin motor as the Ninja 650, so it’s an excellent performer in a user-friendly, good looking package.
In the second segment, I chat with one of my dearest industry friends—now retired Honda PR executive, Jon Seidel. Jon’s fascinating career spans some 30 years with Big Red, and gave him some great experiences with some incredible machines. I was fortunate enough to be invited on many of the press launches that he organized. His new project is documenting and saving many of the old archives from years gone by—and incidentally, if you have anything that may be of value to the project, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll pass it all on to Jon.
So on that note, from all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!