Honda CRF450R 2017 Bike Review

Reviews  |  22 September 2017

Honda CRF450R 2017 Bike Review main image

Honda CRF450R 2017 MXstore Bike Review

The 2017 Honda CRF450R was as hotly anticipated as Ken Roczen's return to Supercross for the 2018 season when it first launched, and there's one simple reason that you know it was a raging success - the 2018 CRF450R is virtually identical. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? The 2018 model features an electric start straight out of the box, whereas on the 2017 model it needed to be purchased as an additional accessory. Other than that, these things are almost the same bike. And man, what a bike it is! We might be a little biased here at MXstore purely because of the colour of it, but this bike was one of the most fun playtoys we have ever got our hands on.

The first thing we noticed when we got our hands on this thing was the shape of it; the bike looked mean. Not mean like your missus making you keep your bike in the back shed instead of the main garage, mean like an F-22 fighter jet. The aerodynamics and shaping of the whole bike look insane, and the story gets even better when you jump on the thing. The streamlined design is amazing, and the slimmed down fuel tank and radiator shrouds mean you can comfortably fit the thing between your legs. The seat is fairly comfortable, and the overall ergonomics of the bike feel good as a first impression. 

Of course, sitting on the bike is one thing, but riding it is the one you want to hear about. We chucked one of our fresh RTECH Plastics Kits on it and a custom MXstore graphics kit on it, then headed out the track to see what the Honda could do.

MXstore Project Bike 3 MXstore Project Bike 4 MXstore Project Bike 5

The first thing we noticed was the power. Honda have claimed that the all new HRC designed engine has an 11% overall power boost over the previous CRF450R model, and we weren't doubting when we first it the track. The bottom end seemed especially responsive with a huge increase in torque and throttle response, making coming out of corners on the gas a breeze. The top end certainly wasn't shy either, and we didn't take long to find top gear down the back straight and open her up. We were hugely impressed, to say the least, with the new engine on the 450.

The streamlined design we spoke of earlier got put to the test, and it passed with flying colours, improving cornering abilities and allowing for a better feel of the bike when you're in the air and on the ground. The titanium fuel tank helps by lowering the overall weight of the bike and centralising the mass, whilst still maintaining the same fuel capacity as previous models. The lighter and stronger tank performs its function admirably and is certainly a nice addition to the new bike.

The 2017 CRF450R saw Honda make a return back to a spring fork, and while we could sit here and debate the air fork vs spring fork argument for a year, the spring fork certainly works with this new CRF450R. The suspension is one of the key factors for us in determining how good a bike really is, and the Showa 49mm forks work wonders for the front end in the 450, with the overall balance of the bike pretty much spot on. The rear feels similar to the front, making coming out of corners a lot easier than we have previously experienced. The suspension as a whole works extremely well together, making the bike very user friendly no matter what your experience level.

Check out our 2017 CRF450R in action in the Fly Racing 2018 video below to see for yourself just how good the bike performs.

The seat height has also been raised from previous models, giving you the feeling that you're actually sitting on top of the bike, which is great for handling and overall positioning whilst you're riding. It's a move that most manufacturers are making with their newest racing models, and we certainly love the feel compared to older models where you're almost sitting inside the bike rather than on top it. 

The overall ergonomics of the bike have it feeling a lot lighter and more maneuverable than any bike we can ever remember riding. If you're a fan of throwing the bike around in the air then you're definitely in luck with the CRF. The bodywork is designed well to ensure you're not catching your boots or knee braces on anything while you're riding, and we certainly didn't have any issues with it out on the track.

The only downsides we'd consider would be the slight difficulty in starting the bike whilst in gear (we stalled a couple of times, no big deal). We also thought the stock Renthal 7/8" bars were an odd choice rather than oversized fat bars. On a race inclined bike such as this, a stronger oversized set of bars should be equipped.

MXstore Project Bike 1

The Verdict

The 2017 Honda CRF450R was reimagined, the first "from the ground up" redesign coming from Honda in over eight years. And as far as we're concerned, they came up with one of the best damn dirt bikes we've ever ridden. Sure, our MXstore test riders are no superstars, but we've been around bikes long enough to know when a dirt bike is a winner. The new HRC designed engine packed a punch, with the 11% overall power boost more than noticeable when you hit the track. The thing is, they managed to achieve this whilst ensuring the bike isn't difficult to ride. Honda have absolutely nailed "user-friendly power".

And while the CRF450R is already a weapon straight out of the crate, we thought it'd be fun to see what you can turn one of these beasts into. Check out Project Bike page to see what we got up to!

MXstore Honda CRF450R Project Bike



ENGINE TYPE 449.7cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke
BORE x STROKE 96.0 x 62.1mm
INDUCTION Programmed fuel-injection system (PGM-FI); 46mm throttle bore
IGNITION Full transistorized ignition
TRANSMISSION Constant-mesh 5-speed return
FINAL DRIVE 520 chain; 13T/49T
VALVE TRAIN Unicam® OHC, four-valve; 10.0mm intake, steel; 8.8mm exhaust, steel
FRONT SUSPENSION 49mm fully adjustable leading-axle inverted telescopic Showa coil-spring fork; 12.0 in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION Pro-Link swingarm system; fully adjustable Showa single shock; 12.4 in. travel
FRONT BRAKES Single 260mm hydraulic disc
REAR BRAKES Single 240mm hydraulic disc
FRONT TIRES Dunlop Geomax MX3S 80/100-21 55M with tube
REAR TIRES Dunlop Geomax MX3S 120/80-19 55M with tube
TRAIL 116.0mm (4.6 in.)
SEAT HEIGHT 96.01 cm.
WHEELBASE 148.08 cm.