Ricky Brabec returns to the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia as the defending champion. In 2020, Brabec became the first American to win the Dakar Rally, and the Honda CRF450 Rally broke KTM’s win streak of 18 victories in the Dakar Rally. Let’s take a look at the motorcycle that he will be bringing to the starting line on January 2 in Jeddah.
Keep in mind that the 2021 Honda CRF450 Rally is a works bike. Honda tells us that it is as trick as Marc Márquez’ RC213V. There are plenty of secrets lurking behind the plastic, carbon fiber, and aluminum.
It’s easy to think the CRF450 Rally is based on the CRF450R platform—it is not. Right away, you’ll notice two things about the motor. The CRF450 Rally has a DOHC motor, while the CRF450R uses Honda’s single-cam Unicam design. Plus, the bore and stroke on the Rally bike are different. The bore on the CRF450 Rally is one millimeter larger, and the stroke is 1.3mm shorter.
Honda claims 60 peak horsepower from the Rally motor. It runs a Termignoni muffler after a Goshi.
That’s a 6-speed transmission on the Rally. The CRF450R and the CRF450RX use a 5-speed transmission. However, you will find a 6-speed on the CRF450X and CRF450RL. The clutch is an FCC unit from Japan.
The 2021 Honda CRF450 Rally uses Showa suspension. While the front suspension travel on the Rally is the same as the R, the Rally has 0.4 inches less wheel travel than the R.
With high speed, the Rally has a larger front brake. The Rally’s disc is 300mm in diameter, compared to just 260mm on the CRF450R.
There are two plastic fuel tanks on the CRF450 Rally. They carry 9.2 gallons of fuel. The 450R motocrosser has a titanium fuel tank with a capacity of 1.7 gallons.
The Rally uses beefy Michelin Desert Race tires mounted on heavy-duty D.I.D DirtStar ST-X rims.
Although you can buy a 2021 Honda CRF450RWE Works Edition motocrosser for $12,380, there’s nothing on the Honda showroom floor that’s anything like the 2021 Honda CRF450 Rally at any price. If you want to ride the Rally in competition, your name has to be Ricky Brabec, Nacho Cornejo, Kevin Benavides, or Joan Barreda.