05 CRF450X

05 CRF450X

CRF450X>   What's New   Features   First ride report   Full test   Desert report   Jetting fixes   Suspension fixes

2005 Honda CRF450X
- First Ride Report -

Below: Readers Questions Answered | Specifications | Feature Photos
Video: 1. Intro video 2.2meg .wmv | 2. Trail Video (1.9meg .wmv)
3A, 3B 2005 CRF450X - the video! New video (2-8-05, 13meg, mpeg)  (low band 1.5meg wmv)
We wish we could give you these videos in greater detail, but the files are already huge.
Please download these to your hard drive and play them from there.

If you're snowed in and can't ride, you need to watch this video.

OK, we didn't have this kind of beaty to photograph. Honda photo from Oregon.

First Ride Report (1-25-05)
It's big news, even bigger than last years release of the Honda CRF250X - the first CRF "R" based off-road mount from Honda. The difference this time around is this is a large bore machine, with the power and speed hard-core enthusiasts demand. What's more, this bike is based on what could easily be the most incredible dirt bike of all time - the CRF450R.

We slept with our moose riding gear on for about a month as we eagerly awaited Honda's national press intro where we would finally be able to ride the bike. Well it's come and we've ridden it. Now we can take our riding gear off as we await the arrival of our test bike.

Maybe you've been following things here on MN, as we asked our valued viewers what they wanted to know about this bike -  before we ever rode it. The response, and questions, have been great. This kept us focused on what matters to you - thank you! (you can see some of these questions below) Want to learn more - read on.

How is it? Well, excellent. But let's look at what this bike is before we talk about how it works. First of all the off-road X is based on the motocross R, but it is dramatically different. This is the point we, as well as Honda, want to get across most. In addition, it's important to know many of the components used on the 450X have been beefed up to better survive the rigors of off-road competition.

Additional changes from the CRF450R
  • Larger main bearings
  • Increased oil capacity
  • Smaller and lighter weight starter motor from 250X (6 ounces.)
  • New cylinder
  • New head
  • Heavier flywheel
  • Different fork offset
  • Wider engine (16mm)
  • Smaller valves
  • Narrow clutch (to compensate for the wider engine cases)

As with the 250X, Honda took the R and changed everything that didn't meet their off-road expectations. This resulted in almost every part of the bike being changed. The 449cc liquid-cooled four-valve engine only shares the piston and rings with the R model - that's it. The engine cases are new to accommodate the electric starting, the radiators are taller as well as deeper, the 5-speed wide-ratio transmission features different gearing including a lower first gear and a taller fifth. The 71-pound powerplant does retain the two separate oil chambers, one for the clutch and transmission and one for the crank, piston and valve train. The exhaust system is completely different, with a longer and more narrow header pipe for enhanced low end torque. The muffler is somewhat compact, heavy, and very quiet. In fact, the 450X sounds virtually identical to the 250X.

That's not all the 450X shares with the 250X, as many of the features are the same. Renthal bars, a quick access air box, electric start, an 18-inch rear wheel (wider on the 450X), headlight, LED tail light (with a longer wire), and a front disc guard. The seat looks identical but has what is said to be a more comfortable shape. Some of the body work has changed, some is the same. The rear fender has been changed to incorporate the electronics in one area, and the coolant overflow tank has been moved from under the rear fender to in front of the engine behind the plastic guard. We're still trying to figure this change out. The new location is less vulnerable, but raises the question why there?

The suspension components have been developed specifically for the 450X. The shock is valved differently and is less progressive than the 450R. The fork shares parts with the 250X but has different tapers (for flex and feel) specific to this model. Though the frame used on the 450X looks familiar, it only shares the main spar with the R model. Everything other part of the frame is specific to the X. If you haven't figured it out, this is no modified R, it's a new X.

OK, here's what everyone wants to know, what's it like to ride? Though the new bike feels a little like the R model, it feels more like a stiffly sprung 250X - that is until you let out the smooth clutch and twist the throttle. Though it's quiet, this is no choked up compromise bike, as the 450X rips in stock trim. It feels faster than KTM's 05 450EXC, though only our future comparison testing will reveal the complete story. Let it be known the 450X is a wheelie machine capable of lofting the front wheel just about anywhere (it's lots of fun). The possible negative here is that the X has a bit more of a point and shoot powerband than you'd expect from Honda. This is wonderful on fire roads where the X covers ground rapidly and in a confidence inspiring manner.

The new 450X isn't without a low first gear or more low end grunt than the R, but the bike does stall too easily in nasty tight conditions. It feels as if there just isn't enough flywheel weight to keep the mil turning over in slow going situations. If we're lucky a jetting change will improve this condition. The bike isn't without low end grunt off idle - it just sometime signs off unexpectedly.

What the newest X has in spades is light and precise steering. We rode over tight trails that had recently been flooded, leaving deep ruts. The X instilled confidence as it steered around these obstacles in first rate fashion. The suspension worked well on these trails as well. We looked for deep whoops to further test the suspension but just couldn't find anything to accommodate this. The full story on the suspension will have to wait for further testing.

Our riders shared a modified XR400 as we tested along the trail. What became very obvious is the new 450X doesn't like to prod along the trail at what we'll call XR cruising speeds. It wants to stretch its legs and run. In fact, the X felt better the faster we rode it. Once you get your rhythm going the X rips on the trail. The flat seat/tank combo (only a widening of the shrouds way up front is present) doesn't impede your movement on the bike at all.

What we do know at this point is that the X is faster than any bike this quiet should be, it steers extremely well, has smooth clutch action, shift incredibly, and is comfortable and quite natural to ride. The brakes also work well. They should, as they are the same units as used on the 450R, 250R and 250X.

Our readers are hounding us to get this first story up so I'll stop writing and post it. Be sure to check out the new spec charts below with information on competing models. I assure you there is more to come here on Motorsports-Network, so tell a friend. As we post more videos please download them and play them from your hard drive rather than repeatedly watching them from our server - it kills us. I have to go, our test bike just showed up.

Bill Wolf


What do you want to know most about the bike? (Our fingers are getting tired)
Motorsports-Network CRF450X Questions
We will have a test bike shortly after our first ride, and we'll take it to Soboba and pound it! Aafter that we'll get a long term bike to test new accessories with. We'll report on it all right here - tell a friend!

Some of the great questions we received - and now the answers here!
It's 3am and we rode the bike today ..... well technically it was yesterday.
It will take some time to get the many things we are working on up
- so check back often.
CRF450X Quick Video - See it, hear it! (2 meg mpg - we wanted to get it out fast)


MSRP: $6,999
In dealers this March
Dry Weight: 250 pounds
  • What is the power delivery like?
    * Decent low-end, and a whopping mid and top-end. This quiet bike is stinking fast! More of a point and shoot power delivery - maybe the last thing you'd expect from Honda.
  • Does the bike feel really heavy and just too powerful for woods riding?
    * No! It never feels heavy, the weight is really low and not an issue - we rode in some really nasty situations and have no complaint on weight. Regarding woods riding - you'll have to read our summary.
  • How well does the lighting work?
    * Just as the 250X, which is to say OK. The problem is that the light doesn't run off the battery - so when the revs drop, like when you stop along the trail, the light dims to nothing. It was brighter than the 05 KTM 450 EXC we have. That blew out in 100 feet.
  • How does the bike handle?
    * If you have ridden the 250X, the 450X is almost the same with mundo power! Steers very light and neutral. Don't have the full story on suspension yet - that will have to wait for our soon to start full test.
  • How low is first gear, for crawling and how tall is fifth for hauling on fast roads?
    * First is low and crawls good - but not great. (more on this in our story) Top gear is very tall, we couldn't open it up during our first ride. This thing rips on fire roads - very fast there.
  • What is the maintenance schedule? (the 250X scared some potential buyers)
    * Certainly a lot more than an XR, this thing is a competition bike. We'll share more in our story.
  • Can you remove the electric starter?
    * No! Unless you know what you are doing and feel like machining covers. Honda has no provisions for this.
  • Does the 450X have the same maintenance schedule as the 250X?* Pretty much.
  • What kind of top speed can you get?
    There was nowhere to safely do this, but we were ready with GPS. We'll do this for our full test. We estimate it to be a good number.
  • How is the bike for different levels of riders?
    * The bike is actually very easy to ride - you feel comfortable on it almost immediately. The only concern is that lower level riders don't need this kind of power - and certainly could have trouble with it.
  • What is the bikes REAL weight? (you guys aren't very trusting)
    * Honda's numbers, 250 pounds dry.
  • What does the bike sound like?
    * When we first started our bike we thought somebody slipped us a 250X - they sound exactly alike!

Feature Photos

This main spar is the only part of the frame that is the same as the R. Every other piece is new. New sub frame to carry the extra weight of exhaust, battery and electrics. All new head for the X.
Still uses Ti valves.
The engine looks like the R, but it's not! The only shared parts are the piston and rings! Really. Stock muffler is quiet and quiet heavy. Spark arrestor included.
Quick access door from 250X. Uses exact same filter. Disc brake cover included.
Same ancient speedo as the old XRs. No quick reset either.
Same brakes as the R, different gearing and chain. Shock with different valving and linkage ratios. All custom fit for off-road use. Same headlight as 250X, nothing to write home about other than light weight.

Larger Photo | Huge Photo Download | Feature List | Engine | Chassis | Specs

Features & Benefits



Additional Features

2005 Model Specifications

Model 2005 Honda CRF450X 2005 Honda
05 Honda
05 KTM 450 EXC 05 Yamaha WR450
Engine Type: 449cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder 4-stroke 449cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder 4-stroke 249cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder 4-stroke 447.92cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder 4-stroke 449cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder 4-stroke
Bore and Stroke: 96mm x 62mm 96mm x 62.1mm 78mm x 52.2mm 89mm x 72mm 95mm x 63.4mm
Compression Ratio: 12.0:1 12.0:1 12.5:1 11:1 12.3:1
Valve Train: Unicam; four-valve Unicam; four-valve Unicam; four-valve 4-valve, OHC 5-valve, DOHC
Carburetion: Keihin 40mm FCR flat-slide with throttle position sensor (TPS) Keihin 40mm FCR flat-slide with throttle position sensor (TPS) Keihin 37mm flat-slide (FCR) with throttle position sensor (TPS) Keihin MX FCR 39mm Keihin FCR 39mm flat-slide with throttle position sensor
Ignition: CD with electronic advance and lighting coil CD with electronic advance Solid-state CD with electronic advance and lighting coil Digital Digital
Starting: Electric & kick Kick Electric & kick   Electric & kick Electric & kick
Transmission: Wide-ratio 5-speed Close-ratio 5-speed Wide-ratio 5-speed Wide-ratio 6-speed Wide-ratio 5-speed
Final Drive: #520 T-ring-sealed chain; 13T/51T #520 chain; 13T/48T #520 T-ring-sealed chain; 13T/49T N/A #520 chain
Suspension: Front: 47mm inverted Showa cartridge fork with 16-position rebound and 16-position compression damping adjustability; 12.4 inches travel
Rear: Pro-Link Showa single shock with adjustable spring preload, 17-position rebound damping adjustability, and compression damping adjustment separated into low-speed (13 positions) and high-speed (3.5 turns); 12.4 inches travel
Front: 47mm inverted Showa cartridge fork with 16-position rebound and 16-position compression damping adjustability; 12.4 inches travel
Rear: Pro-Link Showa single shock with adjustable spring preload, 17-position rebound damping adjustability, and compression damping adjustment separated into low-speed (13 positions) and high-speed (3.5 turns); 12.4 inches travel
Front: 47mm inverted Showa cartridge fork with 16-position rebound and 16-position compression damping adjustability; 12.4 inches travel
Rear: Pro-Link Showa single shock with spring preload, 17-position rebound damping adjustability, and compression damping adjustment separated into low-speed (13 positions) and high-speed (3.5 turns); 12.4 inches travel
(less progressive linkage, diff. settings and springs)
Front: WP-USD 48mm, 11.81 inches of travel (completely adjustable)
Rear: WP-PSD shock, 13.19 inches of travel (completely adjustable except for high speed compression)
Front: 48mm Kayaba inverted telescopic fork w/adjustable compression and rebound damping; 11.8" travel
Rear: Kayaba single shock w/adjustable preload, compression and rebound damping & separate hi/lo-speed compression adjuster; 12.0" travel
Model 2005 Honda CRF450X 2005 Honda
05 Honda
05 KTM 450 EXC 05 Yamaha WR450
Brakes: Front: Single 240mm disc with twin-piston caliper
Rear: Single 240mm disc
Front: Single 240mm disc with twin-piston caliper
Rear: Single 240mm disc
Front: Single 240mm disc with twin-piston caliper
Rear: Single 240mm disc
Front: Single 260mm disc
Rear: Single 220mm disc
Front: Single 250mm disc
Rear: Single 245mm disc
Tires: Front: 80/100-21
Rear: 110/100-18
Front: 80/100-21
Rear: 110/90-19
Front: 80/100-21
Rear: 110/100-18
Front: 90/90-21
Rear: 140/80-18
Front: 80/100-21
Rear: 110/100-18
Wheelbase: 58.2 inches 58.7 inches 58.6 inches 58.31 inches 58.46 inches
Rake (Caster Angle): 27.28ç 26.79ç 27.48° N/A N/A
Trail: 112.8mm (4.4 inches) 109.4mm (4.3 inches) 120.3 mm (4.7 inches) 112mm (4.41 inches) N/A
Seat Height: 37.9 inches 37.6 inches 37.9 inches 36.42 inches 38.0 inches
Ground Clearance: 13.7 inches 13.4 inches 14.2 inches 14.96 inches 14.57 inches
Dry Weight:
250 pounds, CA about 1 pound more 218.5 pounds 228.0 pounds, CA about 1 pound more 250.3 pounds (wet with no gas) 244 pounds
Fuel Capacity: 2.27 gallons (good for a claimed 50+ miles at race speeds) 1.9 gallons 2.2 gallons 2.11 gallons 2.1 gallons
Color: Red Red Red Orange Blue
MSRP (USA) $6,999 The price has been raised to $7,199.
(don't ask us!)
 $6,899 $6,199 The price has been raised to $6,399.
(don't ask us!)
$7,299 $6,599

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Honda 2005 Off-Road Machine Pricing

Model Name

2005 Model


Suggested Retail Price*

XR650R XR650R Red

$6,299 (raised $200)

CRF450X CRF450X5 Red
$7,199 (raised $200)
CRF250X CRF250X5 Red
$6,399 (raised $200)
CRF230F CRF230F5 Red
$3,599 (raised $100)
CRF150F CRF150F5 Red
$3,099 (raised $100)
CRF100F CRF100F5 Red
$2,319 (raised $70)
CRF80F CRF80F5 Red
$2,019 (raised $70)
CRF70F CRF70F5 Red
$1,599 (raised $50)
CRF50F CRF50F5 Red
$1,299 (raised $50)

CRF250X | 2005 RF450R | 2005 CRF250R

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