September 9, 2008 Honda's CRF450R motocross bike has been hugely successful since its launch in 2002 - and although the bike is already recognized as the class leader, it's receiving a kitchen-sink included upgrade for 2009. Lighter, quicker, more powerful and with even tighter mass centralization for quick handling, the 2009 CRF450R also sports a Honda first - battery-free, programmable fuel injection that raises output power and control while dramatically reducing fuel consumption. Out of the box, Honda says it's two seconds faster around a supercross track than this year's bike.
The class-dominating CRF450R didn't need major updates to keep it ahead of the motocross/supercross pack, but Honda has built a completely new bike from the engine outward for 2009 that offers even higher levels of performance.
Most noticeably, the 450cc 4-stroke single cylinder engine now features programmable fuel injection, which gives the rider pinpoint control over even higher levels of power - 56 horsepower is what Honda's claiming. The system also drastically reduced fuel consumption, to the point where Honda have downsized the tank by a liter and a half without the bike losing any range from the previous model.
The fuel injection system is powered by a new battery-free AC generator, and uses gear position, throttle position, coolant temperature, intake air pressure and temperature sensors to decide how much fuel to use in a given circumstance. Racers will appreciate the US$350 HRC settings kit, which allows simple, quick and precise reprogramming of the injection to set the bike up for optimal performance on particular tracks.
An entirely new chassis is slimmer and lighter than the old one, with better aerodynamics and a longer swingarm to help the rear shock deliver better traction on the gas. Just about everything on the bike has been redesigned for light weight, and mass centralization - with a few nods to easy servicing, like the easily removable air filter, and the ability to remove the cylinder with the engine still in the chassis.
The suspension is all new from Kayaba - not Showa. Forks are fully adjustable 48mm KYB Air-Oil-Separate units with 12.2 inches of travel, and the shock is a 50mm unit, adjustable for preload, high and low speed compression, and rebound damping. It offers 12.6 inches of travel.
Honda is claiming the 2009 CRF450R has proven itself an instant 2 seconds a lap faster around its sandy supercross test track than the current model. It takes off faster, turns easier and goes quicker than the already dominant previous model, and it uses less petrol. Now that's progress!
Check out the very tasty photos in the gallery, or read on for full specifications.
New for 2009
- New lightweight, batteryless fuel injection/ignition system delivers enhanced performance, a wider, higher power range and improved power delivery, as well as kick-start capability.
- New fuel injection indicator integrated with engine stop switch shows pre-race conditions of the fuel injection system for Motocross racers. The concept of an indicator for a pre-ride check is a first for motocross. (Honda first!)
- New fuel injection system features automatic settings that deliver the same engine character and driveability in differing altitudes.
- Improved fuel consumption enables tank capacity to be decreased (by 1.5L), thus facilitating more weight savings.
- New cam link type decompressor reduces weight by integrating decompressor and camshaft.
- New thin-walled crank case casting reduces wall thickness to 2.0mm and achieves a weight reduction of 200g. (Honda first!)
- New plastic fuel pump module attached to bottom face of plastic fuel tank responds directly to fuel pressure and is placed to concentrate mass on motorcycle’s centre of gravity. (Honda first!)
- Rev limit increased 180 rpm.
- Large-diameter throttle body (50mm) delivers more power and enhanced performance across the entire range.
- Oil capacity decreased by 0.1 litres to allow for a lighter and more compact engine configuration.
- New HRC settings kit, developed from HRC’s long years of experience in racing technology, provides an easy-to-use programming system with precise data for setting up the machine to meet all race situations. Ignition timing and fuel mapping settings can be uploaded by connecting the motorcycle to a computer and following simple step-by-step instructions. The system radically simplifies the setup process and will make tuning accessible to a broader range of riders.
- New steering damper re-valved for more linear damping with new design front fork.
- New 5th generation frame is manufactured by casting rather than forging of two components, resulting in a weight reduction of 410g and increased lateral and torsional stiffness (4% lateral; 6% torsional) for optional strength and excellent response to rider input.
- New frame shape is slimmer overall with rounded lower parts providing 1mm more ground clearance.
- Revolutionary Ergonomics Design includes a more open and ‘easy’ ride position. Flatter seat to tank area allows the rider to move from front to rear more easily. New profile is also smoother and narrower from radiator shroud to air box to side panel, giving a smoother ride.
- New exhaust header design from the left side of the cylinder head exhaust port achieves optimal pipe length for the new fuel-injected engine. It also enables placement of the titanium muffler 115mm forward compared to the previous model, and contributes to mass centralisation.
- New, KYB rear damper and bigger (48mm) KYB front fork give better stroke feel, action & control for a plush overall feel and improved bump impact.
- New longer swingarm and new, wider rear tyre contribute better acceleration and traction.
- New design grips feature longer tapered cushions and deep pre-cut wire grooves for tighter, slip-free wire grip.
- New brake disc shape contributes 65g weight reduction (front 37g; rear 28g).
- New seat with newly textured side surface contributes to better grip.
- Improved clutch action gives smoother up and down shifting, decreases rider fatigue and increases control.
- New dimensions with centre of gravity moved lower and longer swingarm give good front traction feeling and improve acceleration.
- New plastic body parts with slim, aggressive styling allow rider to move easily and feature new Honda Racing inspired colours and graphics. Engine/Drivetrain
- Powerful advanced 4-stroke 4-valve Unicam engine churns out 41.5kW of power at 8,500rpm and 50.3Nm of torque at 7,000rpm. Power is produced across a broader rpm-band for smoother, easier operation.
- Liquid-cooled 449cm³ Unicam engine pumps out nearly 92.4kW per litre while retaining its legendary simplicity and dependability.
- Innovative Unicam valve train provides both the light weight of a compact single-cam drive and an optimum combustion chamber shape for maximum power at all engine speeds.
- Unicam valve train features a single carburized camshaft directly actuating two 36mm titanium intake valves. The new cam link type decompressor executes valve-lifting by causing the plunger that is built into the camshaft to push the rocker arm on one side. This contributes to the overall compactness and light weight of the design by integrating decompressor and camshaft weight.
- Lightweight titanium intake valves permit use of smaller valve springs and reduce overall engine height. Intake valve design has been revised for better mass centralization.
- Forged slipper piston is lighter than conventional designs, for quick-revving response while maintaining excellent cylinder sealing and high-rpm power.
- Lightweight Ni-SiC cylinder lining ensures cooler and quieter operation for extended engine life.
- Auto decompression and hot restart system make starting easy in all conditions.
- Twin-sump lubrication system separates oil supply to crankshaft, piston and valve train from clutch and transmission. This ensures a steady supply of cool oil to the clutch, eliminates clutch and transmission material contamination of the engine oil, and reduces the amount of circulating oil along with the oil pump size.
- New exhaust layout achieves lower weight and maximum mass centralisation.
- Gear-driven balancer reduces vibration while also driving the water pump.
- Eight-plate clutch provides ample surface area to handle the engine’s massive torque, while carefully matched clutch springs provide a light feel at the lever.
- Entire engine assembly weighs only 27.1kg, 1.8kg less than that powering the 2008 model. Back to Top Chassis/Suspension
- Low mass centralisation gives a highly controlled ride feel and makes jumping and manoeuvring in the air easier.
- Compact and slim chassis cross-section combines with new ergonomics for a smoother, easier ride. The area between seat and fuel tank is flat, and the fuel tank cap size reduced, making it easier for the rider to move along the seat.
- New rear frame design incorporates easier underseat access to air filter.
- Front and rear wheels feature HRC Works-type aluminium spoke nipples for reduced unsprung weight.
- Front wheel features new stiffer axle collar, providing excellent rigidity.
- Rear axle wall thickness is reduced (from 2.5 to 2.2 mm) to save 38g of weight, while axle collar is strengthened for better rigidity.
- Lightweight, and compliant 48mm inverted fork. Front fork outer-tubes receive Kashima coating for low-friction operation. Fork offers 310mm of suspension stroke, and 16-step rebound and 18-step compression damping adjustability.
- New, fully adjustable rear damper with 320mm of wheel travel, 18-step low-speed and 1.5-turn high-speed compression and 20-step rebound damping.
- Large 50mm-diameter rear damper cushion provides consistent performance under demanding riding conditions.
- Compact dual-piston front brake calliper designed for light weight.
- HRC Works-type rear brake system integrates the rear master cylinder and fluid reservoir, eliminating conventional external reservoir and hose.
- Link-type front brake master cylinder provides strong braking control in combination with a lightweight brake rotor.
- Large, Works-style 240mm front and rear disc brake rotors.
- Frame design allows large air intake ducts in the sidecovers, enabling significant air flow in the mid and upper-rpm ranges.
- Unique lightweight and compact Honda Progressive Steering Damper (HPSD) developed by Team Honda for improved cornering ability and reduced rider fatigue. HPSD features a compact and rugged hydraulic damper attached between the steering head and the lower triple-clamp to augment more aggressive steering characteristics and assist straight-line handling. The damper’s progressive damping action smoothly increases with handlebar deflection, which produces very natural steering characteristics and feel.
- Rider ergonomics are optimised by adapting the handlebar, seat and footpeg height to place the rider’s legs at the narrowest cross-section of the frame for improved comfort and handling feel.
- Brake pedal and shift lever designed to complement the riding position. Brake pedal features optimised ratio to match integrated rear-brake master cylinder design.
- Wide, cleated stainless steel footpegs are self-cleaning, corrosion-resistant, provide excellent grip and fold for extra ground clearance.
- Rear brake pedal and shift lever made of lightweight aluminium.
- Adjustable front brake lever for maximum control.
- Quick-adjust clutch perch for easy cable adjustment.
- Aluminium Renthal 971 bend handlebar rubber mounted to reduce rider fatigue and improve comfort.
- Handlebar holders provide two different mounting positions to match rider preference.
- Pirelli MIDSOFT 32 tyres provide improved traction and cornering feel.
- Front disc brake cover helps protect rotor and calliper from damage.
- Removable rear sub-frame allows easy maintenance.
- Washable, two-stage foam air filter for optimal engine protection and easy maintenance.
- Re-packable titanium silencer for maximum performance and minimal noise.
- Comfortable, durable controls and high-quality fasteners.
- Stainless steel clutch cable for long-life operation.