To celebrate 50 years since Honda’s first production motocross motorcycle—the 1973 Honda CR250M Elsinore—the company has produced the 2023 Honda CRF450R 50th Anniversary Edition. Honda brought together past Honda-mounted AMA Motocross National Champions Gary Jones (1973), Johnny O’Mara (1983), Rick Johnson (1986-8), and Trey Canard (2010), along with former team manager Dave Arnold for the unveiling of the updated CRF450R with anniversary livery on the eve of the opening round of the 2022 AMA Motocross Championship Series.The 2023 Honda CRF450R 50th Anniversary Edition shares the same updates that will be implemented in the new CRF450R, CRF450RWE, and CRF450RX racers. Let’s go over those, plus what makes the 50th Anniversary Edition stand out.
The motor has been worked over to produce power more smoothly and an added dollop of torque. Honda says the updates include a longer intake funnel, 2mm-narrower throttle body, narrower intake port shape, and a new cam profile.
The muffler has been beefed up. The inner pipe is a new design, and it sits inside a heat-treated aluminum body. In addition to being more durable, Honda also claims it is quieter.
Honda has changed the thickness of the frame in unspecific amounts and locations. According to Honda, this optimized the frame’s rigidity.
The new engine mounts are steel, replacing aluminum mounts. Honda tells us this improves traction at the front end.
With the revised frame rigidity and new motor mounts come complementary changes to the Showa suspension. The fork gets new settings, and the shock’s spring rate increases.
Honda tapped into the 1980s for the 50th Anniversary Edition’s styling cues. Sure, Honda could have gone with 1973 styling, baring the 2023’s titanium tank and giving it a green stripe along the top and the iconic yellow Honda wing on the tank, plus green number plates, but the company is pretty set on red these days. So, we get a blue seat, white number plates, gold D.I.D DirtStar rims, gold Renthal handlebar, dark-gray triple clamps, and a 50th Anniversary sticker on the front number plate.
Be patient if you want the 2023 Honda CRF450R 50th Anniversary Edition. It won’t be available until September, which is when you can expect delivery of the factory-enhanced 2023 CRF450RWE. Those in a hurry can get the standard CRF450R in July. Expect to pay a $300 premium for the 50th Anniversary Edition compared to the functionally identical standard CRF450R.
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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 email@example.com 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!