First Look | 2021 Honda CRF450R
Not going to lie, we cannot believe this bike is actually here. First announced as the race bike for Team HRC riders Tim Gajser and Mitch Evans in the MXGP series, the CRF450R featured an all-new engine and chassis design that had many eager to see if that would come on the 2021 production model. The COVID crisis has loomed over all aspects of motorcycling and made a redesigned CRF450R seem unlikely, but nope, it’s real and will be at dealerships in the coming weeks. If one bike wasn’t enough, Honda has applied the new tech to all models in their full-size CRF450 line, including the off-road machines. Read on to see the specs of the all-new motorcycles.
Nearly two decades after its introduction to the motocross world, Honda’s CRF450R begins a new chapter for 2021, this latest version inspired by a “Razor Sharp Cornering” design philosophy. Already the industry’s top-selling motocross model along with its exclusive CRF450RWE sibling, the CRF450R is guided by three main goals for 2021: improved power (particularly on corner exits), improved handling and more consistent lap times over the course of a tough moto.
Honda’s lightened, latest-generation twin-spar aluminum frame headlines the update list, with changes that reduce lateral rigidity for improved cornering performance and stability. Out back, a new swingarm improves rear traction. The Unicam® engine features updates to the decompression system, intake and exhaust (including a switch from two mufflers to one), resulting in improved low- and midrange performance and a narrower layout. A stouter clutch with hydraulic activation is new, delivering reduced slip and a lighter lever pull for more consistent performance. The new bodywork and seat offer a slimmer, smoother rider interface, as well as simplified maintenance.
“Having already earned a place on the list of all-time successful Honda models, the CRF450R continues to demonstrate Honda’s commitment to winning,” said Lee Edmunds, Senior Manager of Powersports Marketing at American Honda. “With its emphasis on cornering performance, we’re confident that the all-new 2021 model will help Red Riders write their own names in the record books with dominant performances from gate drop to checkered flag.”
Each of the CRF450R’s updates is transferred to the closed-course off-road-focused CRF450RX and the high-spec CRF450RWE motocross machine, which in addition to its already illustrious list of trick parts, features a Twin Air air filter plus Hinson clutch basket and cover for 2021. Benefiting dramatically from the reduced weight and increased attention to low-end power delivery, the CRF450RX adds off-road-focused features and, new for 2021, handguards. The CRF450X, which has amassed an incredible 13 Baja 1000 wins, returns alongside the renamed CRF450RL dual-sport bike, both models adding handguards and updated graphics to an already proven formula.
While the focus is on the all-new 2021 CRF450R, Honda is happy to announce that it will continue to offer the 2020 CRF450R—the production version of the factory machine raced by Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen and Justin Brayton this season. Available at a permanent price reduction and made possible through an additional production run, the model is a standout option for customers seeking high performance and a good value.
2021 HONDA CRF450R
The industry’s benchmark motocross machine, Honda’s CRF450R has amassed an impressive collection of awards and titles over the years. Rather than rest on its laurels, Honda has gone back to the drawing board for the 2021 model year, endowing the legendary machine with updates aimed at improved power, handling and consistency, with a focus on “Razor Sharp Cornering.” Drawing on lessons learned from Honda Racing Corporation’s global race program, including Team Honda HRC’s AMA Supercross and Motocross efforts, the 2021 CRF450R features engine updates focused on low- to midrange performance, a newly designed chassis with revised rigidity and a slimmer overall package. The combination yields a machine that performs at a high level for the duration of a tough moto.
2021 HONDA CRF450RWE
For motocross enthusiasts who demand the absolute best when it comes to performance, the premium CRF450RWE (“Works Edition”) benefits from the same improvements as the 2021 CRF450R, plus a long list of elite-level updates based on the machines in the Team Honda HRC factory race shop. As with the CRF450R, this model is endowed with important updates aimed at improving power, handling and consistency and—befitting its status as the clear benchmark when it comes to lap times—it boasts additional features aimed at refining power, suspension performance and aesthetics. New for 2021, the CRF450RWE now comes standard with a Hinson clutch basket and cover, as well as a Twin Air air filter.
2021 HONDA CRF450RX
Ridden by Phoenix Racing Honda, SLR Honda and JCR Honda at the national-championship level, the CRF450RX is well-suited for closed-course off-road competition such as GNCC, WORCS and NGPC. For the 2021 model year, it’s better than ever, getting the same important performance upgrades as the motocross-focused CRF450R and retaining off-road-specific features like dedicated ECU and suspension settings, an 18-inch rear wheel and an aluminum side stand. New for 2021, the CRF450RX comes standard with handguards and a revised 2.1 gallon fuel tank that narrows the bike width at the radiator shrouds. The combination yields a race machine that’s ready to chase arrows and ribbon along trails from coast to coast.
2021 HONDA CRF450X
When it comes to motorcycle racing in Baja, “dominant” doesn’t quite do justice to Honda’s record. Twenty-two of the last 23 victories in the legendary Baja 1000 have gone to Honda, including SLR Honda’s convincing 2019 win, and 13 of those belong to the CRF450X. Not only does it rule desert racing, but the CRF450X is a great trail bike thanks in part to its 50-state year-round off-road-legal status. With off-road appropriate features like a side stand, 18-inch rear wheel, headlight, sealed chain and six-speed transmission, the bike is ready for desert expanses or tight woods. Sharing similar styling updates as its CRF Performance Line counterparts, the 2021 CRF450X features all-new graphics and handguards.
2020 HONDA CRF450R
While many off-road riders demand the latest technology, a number of customers see value as a top priority, though still not willing to make a big sacrifice in terms of performance. By creating the all-new 2021 CRF450R and making an additional production run of 2020 units that will be available at a permanent price reduction, Honda is able to address the needs of both groups. The same platform raced by Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen and Justin Brayton in the 2020 AMA Supercross series, the 2020 CRF450R features proven performance alongside electronic rider aids like Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC), which maximizes rear-tire hookup to keep all of the Unicam® engine’s horsepower driving the bike and rider forward.