The 2022 Honda CRF450R Powerful Dirt Bike has undergone minor updates each year, but the company is planning a generational transition in 2021. However, the vast red rocket will perform better if the updated suspension and ECU settings are implemented. It was predicted that “with enhanced ECU tuning and a suspension revalve, this bike may ascend in the overall standings” of the 2021 450 Motocross Shootout. We’re crossing our fingers that Honda makes these changes to the 2022 model so we can see whether and how high it can fly. How well does the modernized CRF450R perform?
Honestly, I was a little worried when they told me I had to spend 10 hours on the 2022 machine before our 450 Motocross Shootout. Borrowing bikes can be rugged, and I didn’t like riding Honda’s premier motocrosser last year. 2021 had a lot going for it—a powerful engine, a well-balanced chassis, and some pretty red, white, and blue accents—but it also had a few problems with the suspension setup and the engine control unit (ECU) that couldn’t be fixed without extensive modification. Riding the 2022 CRF450R, I can confidently say that it has evolved and is now competitive with other 450 motocross bikes.
2022 Honda CRF450R Powerful Dirt Bike – Features and Specs
The CRF450R’s engine package is the only part worth praising. You’d be fooled into thinking it was included in the bike’s original design. Only the pickiest riders would seek an even better ride than the 2021 model’s improved mapping provides. The right hand had been highly connected to the bog, which has disappeared. Because there is so much power at my disposal, I never have to fan the clutch while leaving turns on this bike. Once you twist that wrist, you better be ready to go because the delivery is perfect.
Who among you has ridden a Honda CR500R? The 2022 Honda CRF450R is a modern open-class beast with plenty of power and character. The Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) does a superb job of taming the bark, which is why many test riders found themselves riding the bike almost exclusively in high gear. Do not hesitate to go back to the manual if you are unsure about the intended use of a specific button. When it comes to the Engine Mode Select Button (EMSB), Big Red has opted to install it on the handlebars and utilize it for many functions.
In addition to the default “normal” (1) map, you may also choose among “smooth” (2) and “aggressive” (3) maps (3). Assisting with the start is still possible if the ECU is programmed with HRC Launch Control. Allan Brown, another Dirt Rider tester, and I had different opinions on the optimal terrain and TC setting. I stayed with the standard map one and no TC whereas Allan went for the more complex and contentious map 3 with TC level 3.
Although the red riders have been working on better suspension settings for 2022, they are not yet at their optimal level. Concerns about excessive dive or a low front end are no longer existent thanks to the Showa 49mm coil-spring fork’s improved performance over the previous model year. If anything, the new settings make the bike too tricky for the average rider to handle. The shock is well-made, and even little modifications provide perceptible differences in how the vehicle rides. Adjusting the CRF450R is a matter of doing so one setting at a time. Although 2021’s defaults may have been enough, Honda is constantly innovating, so the total comfort level may still be lacking.
Allan puts it best when he says, “it may be very tricky to mix comfortable suspension settings with such a powerful engine and hyper-responsive chassis” when referring to the CRF450R. There is no such thing as a “fire-breathing” racebike without a reliable suspension. We hope that Honda’s trajectory remains upward until 2023 and beyond.
It’s fascinating since Allan and I utilized different suspension settings on our test days. To improve front-end comfort, I decided to reduce compression during break-in, when the oil is less viscous. As a result, the front end might shift lower in the stroke and go farther than the standard. The zip-tie method is a straightforward means of calculating travel frequency: Wrapping a slim one around the bottom fork tube of a brakeless bike’s frame is a great way to keep track of where in the stroke you are at your lowest point (right side).
Since I wouldn’t have time to drop the fork oil height for the 2022 shootout testing, I decided that going softer was the best choice. To help the bike break in, I progressively raised the fork compression by a small amount: Subtle changes significantly affect this branch. When I tried making adjustments by clicking just once on one side at a time, the resulting modifications were sometimes barely a fraction of a click.
The shock sag set at 105mm was a good starting point. For even tighter corners or to deliberately impose more weight on the front end, 102-104mm baselines may be better compared to the 106-108mm ones I tried on speedier outdoor circuits. Due to the rear-end sensitive nature of the Honda chassis, I often use high-speed compression damping in conjunction with sag settings to fine-tune the rear ride height. Before focusing on the front, it’s essential to address the shock by doing sag and free sag tests.
Because of this, Allan has decided to try out the following ranges of values. To make the ride more comfortable, he adjusted the fork’s rebound and left the compression at its factory level. CRF’s low 7.5mm fork height contributed to its excellent front-to-rear balance and responsive handling. As a result of increasing the shock’s high-speed compression setting, he could keep up a solid forward drive with less rear-end wallowing. Please specify which of our baselines you would want to test if you decide to do so.
The CRF450R’s chassis feel was improved by gear-high riding assist, which also helped to moderate the bike’s power output. Riding in a higher gear than average may make a bike more stable, allowing you to skim over bumps without snagging the chassis. Allan defines the CRF chassis by its two main characteristics, acceleration, and braking. Modifications may be made to either the braking or the acceleration characteristics to improve their performance. The difficulty is to turn the corner while pressing them together.
When it comes to navigating curves, Honda shines. The CRF450R’s innate tendency to drop the front end into corners makes it capable of taking any inside line. The CRF450R seems to have a front-end bias, but don’t let that fool you; it’s got serious power over the whole rev range. Allan claims the bike can turn more sharply than any other 450 on the track, rewarding riders who use proper technique. But it’s still the one that’s least lenient on slip-ups.
Once the rider adjusts the suspension to their liking, the handling is adequate but not mind-blowing. In a moto, the CRF450R takes your total concentration because it is responsive. If you’ve got the money to handle it, the CRF chassis will give you a rock-solid, connected sensation, but it usually comes at the expense of compliance and comfort. Kawasaki’s KX450 and Yamaha’s YZ450F are more potent than the red bike in this regard; the main difference is that their aluminum frames don’t feel quite as stiff. As the Honda chassis benefits more than any other 450 motorbikes, CRF450R owners of all generations should try various engine bolt/hanger torque settings.
2022 Honda CRF450R Powerful Dirt Bike – Price
The new 2022 Honda CRF450R Powerful Dirt Motorcycle is available at $9,599 only.
2022 Honda CRF450R Powerful Dirt Bike – Technical Specifications
|Engine:||SOHC, liquid-cooled single-cylinder|
|Bore x Stroke:||96.0 x 62.1mm|
|Fuel System:||EFI w/ 46mm throttle body|
|Clutch:||Wet, multi-plate, hydraulic actuation|
|Front Suspension:||Showa 49mm coil-spring fork, compression damping and rebound damping adjustable; 12.2 inches of travel|
|Rear Suspension:||Showa shock, spring preload, high-/low-speed compression damping, and rebound damping adjustable; 12.4 inches of travel|
|Front Brake:||Nissin 2-piston caliper, 260mm disc|
|Rear Brake:||Nissin 1-piston caliper, 240mm disc|
|Tires, Front/Rear:||Dunlop Geomax MX33; 80/100-21 / 120/80-19|
|Ground Clearance:||13.2 in.|
|Claimed Seat Height:||38.0 in.|
|Fuel Capacity:||1.7 gal.|