bike in this test that runs absolutely
fine as it’s sold, and it’s whisper quiet.
The low-end power, in particular, is
excellent. The bike pulls well off the
bottom without any glitches or hesita-
tions. When we lament the passing of
legitimate off-road 450 four-strokes,
this is what we miss. The Honda 450X
is much, much easier to ride at low
speed than any of the current 450
motocross bikes. The power deliv-
ery is smooth, and it doesn’t hiccup
or backfire despite being emissions
compliant. First gear is much lower
than that of a motocross bike too.
The Honda’s five-speed gearbox is
well thought out with fairly even spac-
ing. Unfortunately, the motor goes
flat as the revs climb. That’s where
you pay the price for the restrictions.
The power that seems so promising
when you first open the throttle simply
doesn’t build and acceleration suffers.
The bike will only pull top gear on a
hard, level surface.
Overall handling has always been
this bike’s strong point. The frame
is very similar to that of the 2008
CRF450R, a bike many people still
consider to be one of the best motocrossers ever made. It’s stable and
reasonably agile. In the case of the
X, its weight is its biggest enemy. It
weighs 259 pounds without fuel. By
the standards of 2005, this was great
for a four-stroke. Today, we know
better. If you wanted to shave off a
few pounds, you might remove the
kickstarter or, conversely, you could
disable the electric starter and remove
the battery and starter motor. Either
move offers very limited gains.