Some people say a modern 450
can’t use more power. Not us
Mark Tilley goes into horsepower shock.
It took him hours to stop holding his
It’s not all about lap times. It’s not all about efficiency, science or physics. When it comes to dirt bikes, it’s about what puts a big, silly
grin on your face, and for us, that’s usually horsepower. Meet Goliath.
This is a big-bore Honda CRF450R. It has a 3mm-larger piston in a
Cylinder Works top end that brings it to 478cc. We like to call it a
Honda 480 because we remember the old days when that was the bike
to have. Kids, look it up.
Goliath might not sound that big, but it is. In these days of highly
efficient motocross motors, providing a little extra displacement is like
setting an engine free. We actually agree with the school of thought
that says most riders can’t use the power that a stock 450 produces
today, but that’s not the whole story. It doesn’t mean that we can’t
enjoy a good, arm-stretching power overdose once in a while. The
CRF480 satisfies our darkest, Neanderthal cravings.
This bike was built for a real-world rider who just wants to have fun
on weekends, but he didn’t have a death wish. The big-bore kit was
just one item in a long list of modifications, and not all of them were
aimed at more power. Some helped tame the beast. The engine got
a Vortex ignition so we could quickly and easily try different engine
specs. It also got a Hot Cams Stage 2 camshaft and a beautiful FMF
Factory 4.1 titanium/carbon fiber pipe with a Megabomb head pipe.
The chassis got an oversized front brake and Factory Connection
suspension. It wasn’t an especially cheap project, but it wasn’t as
expensive as you might think. All of the parts were obtained from
Rocky Mountain ATV/MC at deep discounts. The cylinder kit, for
example, cost $539.99, whereas full retail is $659.99. Same goes for
the camshaft: $215.99 versus $269.95. Some of the parts were Rocky
Mountain’s in-house brand, Tusk. An entire wheelset was $550. Most
other brands are well over $1000.