HONDA CRF450L (2019 - on) Review

Highlights

  • Road-ready off-roader
  • Legendary Honda build quality
  • Charming single-cylinder engine

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Power: 25 bhp
Seat height: Tall (37.0 in / 940 mm)
Weight: Low (288 lbs / 131 kg)

Prices

New £9,469
Used £8,000

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
3 out of 5 (3/5)

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.

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 & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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 quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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 rivals

Next up: Equipment
2 out of 5 (2/5)

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.

Equipment

3 out of 5 (3/5)

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. 

Specs

Engine size 449cc
Engine type 4-stroke, single cylinder, unicam
Frame type 2280mm x 825mm x 1,260mm
Fuel capacity 7.6 litres
Seat height 940mm
Bike weight 131kg
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 £73
Annual service cost -
New price £9,469
Used price £8,000
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term 2 years

Top speed & performance

Max power 25 bhp
Max torque 23.6 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 110 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 2019 - Honda CRF450L launched

Other versions

  • Honda CRF450R
  • Honda CRF450RX

Owners' reviews for the HONDA CRF450L (2019 - on)

1 owner has reviewed their HONDA CRF450L (2019 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your HONDA CRF450L (2019 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Engine: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Reliability & build quality: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Value vs rivals: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Equipment: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
4 out of 5 Real off-roader but with usable real-world road manners
08 August 2021 by Timbiketoo

Year: 2019

If you're looking for a reliable, capable, proper off-roader, but not for the race track, and you can find one at a sensible price (I paid about 35% less than ticket price for a year-old, unridden one), then this is a great bike. HAS to have the power-up kit installed - but it's free from Honda and is easy to fit yourself. I added a better bash plate, throw-over bags, Polisport hand guards, and the bigger IMS tank and use it as an adventure/tourer/forest-track blaster. Did a lot of east European TET on it without breaking a sweat. It travels off road at about twice the average speed of a big ADV bike, and I'm not a particularly skilled rider, no track experience. When you drop it, it's very easy to pick up. Would like to upgrade the seat one day, but the price is still too high for me, so for now bit sore after a hard day's riding - nothing too bad though. Still MUCH more fun to tour on this and have some proper fun on the off-road bits than plodding around on a 250 kg ADV.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Suspension is excellent. Brakes have good feel, plenty of power. Very easy to ride fast off-road. Surprisingly fun on the tarmac too because it's so light and agile (just have realistic expectations).

Engine 4 out of 5

engine is very good - smoother than a track bike, not as smooth as a twin ADV. I've not had any problems with stalling, snatchy delivery, etc. like some people have said. Maybe I'm just a better rider than them ;)

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

I treat it quite roughly but 100% reliable so far

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

oil and filter change is 10 mins and costs almost nothing. valves are a bit of a faff with shims, but so far hasn't needed any adjustment anyway - I think the quoted service intervals are a bit anal, maybe more for people who thrash them on a track? If you ride fairly gently (for a dirt bike), I'm sure you could double the interval - especially if touring, I wouldn't panic to get it done every 1000 km (just my opinion).

Equipment 4 out of 5

doesn't really have anything - it's a proper dirt bike. Stock tyres are ok for tracks etc. and pretty good on the road, but something more aggressive means more fun on the dirt, obvs.

Buying experience: isn't this bike discontinued now? Anyway, I think it's worth every penny, even at full price, because there isn't anything else like it, and the quality is fantastic. If you can get a good deal on one, then it's the bargain of the decade.

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