HONDA CRF450L (2019 - on) Review
- Road-ready off-roader
- Legendary Honda build quality
- Charming single-cylinder engine
At a glance
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Honda CRF450L follows on from the success of the Honda CRF250L and the Honda CRF250 Rally. It's based on the company's flagship off-road-only motocross bike the Honda CRF450R, so the 450L has off-road pedigree running deep through its veins, but that is not where its true calling lies.
- Related: How about an electric CRF?
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Motocross-derived enduro bikes can be a royal pain, but Honda say they’ve worked hard to ensure the CRF450L is a genuinely capable all-rounder.
The six-speed gearbox, spread of torque and power, reduced compression ratio and cush-drive damped rear wheel are all aimed at the hobby enduro rider rather than those who want a ‘crosser with lights. Still, oil services come every 600 miles, and it’ll need a full rebuild at 20,000 miles.
Honda CRF450 family explained
It's a family of off-road-ready bikes built around a 450cc single-cylinder engine. There are three models - the full road-legal CRF450L we're riding here, the Honda CRF450R motocross bike and the CRF450RX enduro racer.
Watch: Honda CRF450L video review on MCN
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Heading into the launch in 2018 and a look at the specs, the expectation was for this to be a soft, lazy trail bike, but in reality it’s a lot more capable than expected, with performance nudging 450 enduro bike territory. The extra 18mm wheel base means it feels planted and stable whether blasting along fast tracks or over bumps, but little has been lost in terms of agility. Navigating through steep down hills weaving through trees was an easy and predictable experience with the bike retaining good balance.
On the occasions where we got to ride it like an enduro bike rather than a trail bike, it is surprisingly capable. Yes you can feel the extra weight which makes it slightly more physical but it can be ridden at a brisk pace, with the lack of power actually contributing to the easy going and useable character of the bike.
EngineNext up: Reliability
Despite the lack of outright bhp, the strong torque figure makes it an engaging and entertaining ride. It’ll burble along in first, second or third gear, but is also happy to be revved.
When seeing the spec sheet of the 450L many thought that there had been a mistake on the bhp figure. Honda claim 24bhp, which is practically the same as the 250L and around 20bhp less than you would expect from a modern 450cc single. But there is no mistake, to increase service intervals and meet strict Euro4 regulations 24bhp is all you have.
But before you lose interest and dismiss it as a non-starter, torque is a respectable 23.6ft/lb which is significantly higher than the Honda CRF250L and is key to its real world performance and living with it day-to-day.
There is a heavier crank with a 13% more inertia and this along with revised fuel injection and valve timing makes for smoother – less intimidating power delivery. Compression is down to 12:1 from 13.5:1 of the MX model.
It's also incredibly quiet which is a huge bonus for UK green laning. Another bonus is the six speed gear box, with 6th gear acting like an overdrive for road work giving the potential to sit comfortably at 70mph.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
It’s typical Honda, built to last and good quality. The LED lights offer a weight saving over traditional equipment but it still weighs in at 130kg which is significantly heavier than the MX model.
Service intervals are just under 20,000 miles for a full engine strip down and 600 miles for an oil, oil filter and air filter change, which are good compared to a competition MX bike where things are measured in hours, but still not really long enough for a committed trail rider or around the world adventurer.
We don't currently have any owners' reviews of the Honda CRF450L.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
With a claimed 67mpg, obviously depending on the type of riding and terrain the CRF has a theoretical tank range of 110 miles thanks to its larger 7.2l fuel tank.
In terms of value for money, at the time of release the CRF450L was priced at £9,469 you really have to want one. In fact as a package it’s highly capable, enjoyable to ride and oozes Honda’s trademark quality. The only elephant in the room is the price.
Given that the CRF450L is based on the proven Honda CRF450R MX version the spec is high with good quality fully adjustable suspension and brakes. The clear dash is concise and easy to read and the LED lights, indicators and mirrors feel part of the package – not after thoughts. The speedometer, horn, brake-light switch and mirrors all meet legal requirements.
Honda CRF450L styling
This 2019 Honda enduro bike includes the durable film-insert graphics and stream lined bodywork which comes from the new-gen CRF-R model directive. Also included in the same styling is the rear mudguard, side panels, bash plate and a larger radiator volume and electric fan are hidden by svelte side shrouds.
|Engine type||4-stroke, single cylinder, unicam|
|Frame type||2280mm x 825mm x 1,260mm|
|Fuel capacity||7.6 litres|
|Front suspension||49mm Showa USD forks, 305mm travel|
|Rear suspension||Showa Monoshock with Honda Pro-link system, 300mm travel|
|Front brake||260mm wave single disk|
|Rear brake||240mm wave single disk|
|Front tyre size||80/100-21|
|Rear tyre size||120/80-18|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||£69|
|Annual service cost||-|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||2 years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||25 bhp|
|Max torque||23.6 ft-lb|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||110 miles|
Model history & versions
- 2019 - Honda CRF450L launched
- Honda CRF450R
- Honda CRF450RX
Owners' reviews for the HONDA CRF450L (2019 - on)
No owners have yet reviewed the HONDA CRF450L (2019 - on).