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2023 Honda CRF450R 50th Anniversary Dirt Motorcycle Review Specs

Being at the top of your class might provide some unexpected challenges, such as more scrutiny for any perceived shortcomings. Honda is not just a major player in the motorcycle industry but also a globally renowned name. There’s no denying Honda’s status as an industry leader, even though most of the world’s almost 8 billion residents are more likely to recognize a Honda Super Cub than a CRF450R. The power sports section is where I spend most of my money since I race motocross. The last time I considered dropping cash on a brand-new CRF was two years ago. Honda’s CRF450R is receiving several upgrades in 2023, including a new color option that could change your mind. Find out the detailed review of the 2023 Honda CRF450R 50th Anniversary Dirt Motorcycle’s price and specification.

2023 Honda CRF450R 50th Anniversary Dirt Motorcycle

2023 Honda CRF450R 50th Anniversary Dirt Motorcycle – Features and Specs


There may not be many external differences between the 2023 and 2022 power plants, but much work has gone into making them more efficient and reliable. Throttle bodies are now smaller in diameter, going from 46mm to 44mm. Combining a shorter intake tube and a longer funnel modifies the flow properties. To boost low-end torque, a new cam profile was developed. A revised inner pipe and heat-treated design can improve the exhaust’s longevity.

In practical terms, what do these alterations entail? Honda managed to mellow down the engine’s personality while keeping some of the most potent torque in its class. In 2018, we discussed the 2022 Honda CRF450R’s aggressive demeanor and loud engine. This year, though, the dog’s yapping has been subdued. Even though it has the same 13/49 gearing and 13.5:1 compression ratio, riding the ’23 is much more fun.

When in motion, the new CRF450R is quite similar to riding a 2022 CRF450R with 13/48 gearing; however, it has greater middle torque, a smoother beginning, and a far more race-able engine profile. Turning performance is enhanced by the softer and more consistent response to small throttle openings, which would have unsettled the previous model. The ECU remapping is more consistent in its newfound clarity. The combination of the revised intake and the larger 44mm throttle body seems to have done wonders for an already competitive package, even if no ECU upgrades were mentioned in the press materials.

2023 Honda CRF450R 50th Anniversary Dirt Motorcycle

Three years of experience with the Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC), Engine Mode Select Button (EMSB), and Engine Stop Button (ESB) have shed light on the unit’s operation. Mode 2 (smooth) and mode 3 (aggressive) are still options for different track conditions, but I’ve been breaking in the bike in mode 1 (average). The blue light stands out, and the amount of flashes indicates the active mode.

I expected to dislike the new bike because of the lack of torque control since I am a die-hard lover of HSTC in mode 1. This green light is very noticeable and stays on while in use. The start button is still the primary method of activating HRC Launch Control; for a further explanation of the three available modes, see the handbook. There isn’t much time left until Dirt Rider’s 450cc Motocross Shootout in 2023. Therefore you shouldn’t race this bike. I haven’t tried it out yet since I haven’t got the opportunity.

I can’t speak from personal experience, but I’ve heard that giving the unit a thorough pressure cleaning may cause many difficulties, especially with the electricity. Ken Roczen and Chase Sexton, riders for Team Honda HRC, have limited-function buttons of an earlier design on the left side of their handlebars.


Whether it was the American testing division, the Japanese, or Trey Canard, whoever was responsible for the revised suspension settings, they deserve a massive round of applause! After five hours of riding over three different Southern California tracks, our test unit has significantly improved over 2022’s offerings.

The front fork has also been upgraded, and although it still has a spring rate of 5.0 Nm and an oil height of 387 mL, the difference is striking. Much more constant and progressive in operation, making it much more comfortable for the typical rider. The 2023 setting will be more agreeable to most riders than the harder 2022 one.

In 2023, adjustments were made to the Pro-Link rear suspension as well. In 2021 and 2022, several riders upgraded their Showa shocks by increasing the spring rate from 54 Nm to 56 Nm. I weigh 180 pounds, so the improved balance and elimination of 2022’s inconsistent performance under high loads are welcome changes.

To this point, I have not deviated too far from the recommended settings: if you weigh between 170 and 190 pounds, which is about average for 450cc pilots, try a sag of 104 to 105mm and see how it feels. Fork and shock low-speed compression is often adjusted out one or two clicks from factory settings on brand-new motorcycles since the oil is at its thickest and the internals have not yet seen significant heat cycling or oil flow. The fork and shock settings on my ’23 CRF450R were already so close that I didn’t feel like messing with them. On day three, when riding a course with several jumps, I found that increasing the fork compression by two clicks (from ten to eight clicks out) provided the sensation I was seeking.

The CRF450R’s chassis and handling will inspire unprecedented faith in its riders by 2023. At racing speeds, the 2022 model was thrilling to ride, but every action had to be taken in a split second. Inexperienced and veteran riders both found this feeling unsettling. By switching from aluminum to steel engine hangers, not only has frame rigidity been upgraded, but chassis comfort has also been enhanced.

Honda thickened the aluminum in the front hinge from 4 to 6 millimeters. The upper shock mount was also upgraded, going from 4mm to 6mm thick. These modifications are supposed to increase stability and dampening by allowing the front and rear suspension parts to move without binding. Honda’s engineers have made several excellent improvements so I won’t be disputing them.

2023 Honda CRF450R 50th Anniversary Dirt Motorcycle

Inside lines will not challenge the 2023 Honda, as its renowned agility and precision in turning remain unchanged. Fork height adjustment is a frequent track-side solution for riders seeking more stability. On National-level circuits like Glen Helen Raceway, I gradually lowered the fork in the triple clamps to improve strength. When riding at Glen Helen and Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park, where third and fourth-gear speeds are often quicker, I found that sitting flush with the fork height was the most comfortable and efficient posture. Perris Raceway, which is more of a second and third-gear circuit, was just about perfect for a 2mm tire.

Fork height adjustment is a free handling technique that can be repeated reliably from track to track so long as the correct pinch bolt torques are used. New Honda owners may utilize the “Setting Record Sheet” on pages 3-19 of the 2023 CRF450R/RX/RWE Competition Handbook to keep track of their adjustments.

The CRF450R has been one of the leanest motorcycles in its class since 2021. The red rider still has the best ergonomics in its class since nothing has changed. The Renthal Fatbar 839-bend handlebar is a popular choice because of its ergonomic design, and the 50th Anniversary Edition’s gold and blue accents look even better in person. The braking system is an integral part of the vehicle’s handling, and the 30mm/27mm front caliper design and 260mm front rotor on my Honda are fantastic.

Standard specifications for the bike’s Dunlop Geomax MX33 tires are 80/100-21 up front and 120/80-19 out back. The Geomax MX3S front tire (yes, Dunlop still produces them!) is my personal favorite, and I want to put it through its paces on the ’23 CRF450R after the conclusion of the shootout. It was a performance upgrade we made on our 2022 Long Haul test bike, but we recognize that the stock Geomax MX33s are perfect enough for most riders and road conditions.

Riding Pleasure

It’s hard to know how bike sales would have changed for Big Red if the current generation of the CRF450R had been released in 2021 instead of its predecessor. The 2023 Honda CRF450R is a much more polished version of a bike that many people already adore.

The 50th Anniversary Edition is the cherry on top; it’s the most visually appealing motorcycle I’ve seen in a long time. For someone like me who appreciates Honda’s legendary past, the $300 premium above the base hue is a no-brainer. It is the first bike in a long time that has had me consider emptying my savings account to purchase one.

I’d like to thank American Honda Motor Co., Glen Helen Raceway, Ryan Dudek, Drey Dircks, Danny Gonzalez, and Don Dudek for their help with the bike’s first setup and the technical briefing.

2023 Honda CRF450R 50th Anniversary Dirt Motorcycle – Price

The new 2023 Honda CRF450R 50th Anniversary Dirt Motorcycle is available at $9,599 only.

2023 Honda CRF450R 50th Anniversary Dirt Motorcycle – Technical Specifications


Engine Type 450cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder
Bore & Stroke 96 mm x 62.1 mm
Compression Ratio 13.5:1
Valve Train Unicam SOHC; 4 valves-per-cylinder
Induction Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI), 46 mm of downdraft throttle body

Drive Train

Transmission Close-ratio 5-speed
Final Drive #520 Chain, 13T/49T

2023 Honda CRF450R 50th Anniversary Dirt Motorcycle

Chassis Suspension Brakes

Front Suspension 49 mm of inverted Showa fork including 13-position rebound & 15-position compression-damping adjustability; 12.2-inch travel
Rear Suspension Pro-Link Showa single shock including adjustable spring preload, 11-position rebound, and six-position high- and low-speed compression-damping adjustability; 12.4-inch travel
Front Brake Single 260 mm disc including twin-piston caliper
Rear Brake Single 240 mm of disc
Front Tire Dunlop MX33 80/100-21
Rear Tire Dunlop MX33 120/80-19


Wheelbase 58.3 inches
Rake (Caster Angle) 27.1°
Trail 4.5 inches
Seat Height 38 inches
Ground Clearance 13.2 inches
Fuel Capacity 1.7 gallons
Curb Weight 245 pounds


Available Colors Red

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