2019 Honda CRF450L First Look | All-New Dual Sport Motorcycle
Those of us at Ultimate Motorcycling, along with everyone else who loves riding in the dirt, have been hectoring the Japanese manufacturers to build a high-performance dual-sport motorcycle. Those demands have gone unheeded until now.The 2019 Honda CRF450L looks to be exactly what the editors ordered. Let’s take a look at this all-new model that is based on the all-new Honda CRF450X dirt bike, which itself is based on the latest Honda CRF450R motocrosser!
1. The 2019 Honda CRF450L hits the scales at well under 300 pounds with its two-gallon titanium fuel tank filled with high test. For comparison, that means the street-legal CRF450L weighs just 14 pounds more than the emissions-friendly off-road CRF450X and only 42 pounds more than the CRF450R supercross racer. That is absolutely impressive, and bodes well for the CRF450L’s performance off-road, as well as on pavement.2. The 2019 Honda CRF450L’s chassis and motor are slightly modified versions of the new CRF450R motocross racer. We’re used to seeing compromised frame and suspension, in addition to a motor that is either outdated or vaguely related to the top performers off-road. In the case of the CRF450L, Honda didn’t cut corners and went straight to the same parts bin used by the racing motorcycles.3. Many of the changes to make the CRF450L are replicated transformation of the CRF450R the CRF450X.Check out our 2019 Honda CRF450X First Look story to find out how the motorcycle differs from the full-on racers—the differences are fewer than you would expect. You still get high-end adjustable Showa suspension, an aluminum frame, and the potent Unicam powerplant.4. To go from an off-road bike to a street-legal motorcycle did require a number of changes. The 2019 Honda CRF450L gets different ECU settings for cleaner running, a more restrictive airbox to quiet things down, various emissions-controlling doo-dads, a fan for the thermostat-controlled high-capacity radiators, a more powerful AC generator for the streetable LED lighting, a stronger lithium-ion battery, rubber-damped steel sprockets, thicker case covers to deaden noise, a dedicated box for electronics, mirrors, switchgear, DOT-legal IRC rubber, and oddly enough, urethane injected into the swingarm to make it quieter. All that adds just 14 pounds to the CRF450L—amazing.5. Although the CRF450L won’t have the power of the uncorked CRF450R, it does have the motor architecture. We will have an immediate interest in seeing what sort of personalization we can do to get the motor to perform to our liking. We can’t predict how the CRF450L motor will run, and we have high expectations based on Honda’s engineering reputation, but more power will always be welcome.6. We admit it—we’re enthusiastic about the 2019 Honda CRF450L. The Europeans—KTM, Husqvarna, and Beta—have had it too easy in the hard-core dual-sport market. The 2019 Honda CRF450L is a shot right across the bow of the Euros. We can’t wait to see how accurate Honda’s aim is.7. Be patient—the 2019 Honda CRF450L won’t be available until September. Also, the flagship Japanese dual-sporter has a five-figure price tag. The MSRP is $10,399.
KTM Super ADV R + Lightning Motorcycles’ Richard Hatfield
byMotos and Friends by Ultimate Motorcycle
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Motos and Friends—the weekly Podcast brought to you by the editorial team at Ultimate Motorcycling. My name is Arthur Coldwells.
In this week’s first segment, Editor Don Williams rides KTM’s new 1290 Super Adventure R. This hardcore ADV bike is big, powerful, and a true expert-level machine. Interestingly, it has multiple points of adjustment within its highly capable electronics package, and Don discovered several big surprises where the bike changed personality completely. His is an intriguing look at one of the most capable off road ADV bikes on the market today.
In the second segment, I chat with Richard Hatfield, CEO of Lightning motorcycles. This silicon valley based manufacturer was founded in 2006, and having racked up several notable race victories (including Pikes Peak in 2013 with the late Carlin Dunne on board) Lightning have certainly dominated in racing terms. In another first, Lightning has just announced a new rapid-charging battery technology that may well bring electric motorcycles into becoming real-world, practical transport.
So from all of us here at Motos & Friends… we hope you enjoy this episode!