system from Hinson, their steel clutch basket and a flywheel weight.
Suspension: We wanted an easier way to adjust the air
pressure, and we looked at cost-effective suspension
mods like KYB/Graeme Borough Suspension and Seal
Ergonomics: We tested the X-Trig modular triple
clamps with multiple adjustments, cushioning and the
ability to handle a big bar. We also tested their quick-adjust preload system.
Miscellaneous: And finally, we tested a myriad of other
upgrades like brake pads, clutch perches, grips, bars,
gearing, chains and air filters.
2013 HONDA CRF
The Honda CRF450R is a Jekyll-and-Hyde machine. We like the light weight, easy starting, plush fork, nimble
handling and smooth powerband, but there are glitches
that hurt the overall versatility and performance of the
bike. The clutch pull and engagement are definite weak-nesses. Dialing in the air fork is a hassle of titanic proportions. The cockpit is tight, and because of the air-fork-valve positioning, you really can’t install a fat bar or move
the bars forward with a new triple clamp. If you do, you
can’t access the valves to check or adjust the pressure.
The 2013 CRF450R’s powerband is pedestrian. Yes,
it’s smooth and easy to manage, but it lacks mid and top
zest and is geared too tall. Also, the lack of proper
clutch feel makes it way too easy to stall, flame or conk
out when you over-hammer the rear brake and forget to
cover the clutch quickly enough.
To remedy these flaws, we focused our Honda
CRF450R product tests on the following areas.
Power: We looked at aftermarket exhaust systems
from FMF, Yoshimura, Pro Circuit and DR.D.
Clutch: We tested a new cable routing and clutch-arm
Living with the 450R and anointing it
Probably the biggest evaluation came in the four exhaust systems that were track-tested. Hinson also spent considerable
effort with us in trying to dial in the clutch, and both X-Trig
and KYB brought in ergonomic updates and serviceability.
But not everything went smoothly, so read on.