The idea of bolting on the minimum legally required equipment to turn a full-on motocrosser into a street-legal machine has always been appealing.
Now Honda has done the job for us, using the CRF450R as the basis for the new CRF450L.
Where the smaller CRF250L combines off-road style with a fully road-spec engine from the old CBR250R, the new CRF450L’s motor is directly derived from the CRF450R competition bike.
It is detuned to add longevity and meet emissions rules, and Honda says it can run for 32,000km before it needs a major service, which we assume is an internal inspection.
While that might all sound good, the modifications take their toll on the performance, at least on paper. Honda claims a peak power of 18.4kW, which is not much more than the smaller capacity CRF250L achieves; the smaller bike makes 18.2kW, despite not having a competition-bred engine.
However, the 450 does better on the torque front, managing 32Nm against the 250’s 22.6Nm, and it’s more than 15kg lighter.
The aluminium frame is derived from the CRF450R, along with the 49mm Showa fork and a matching monoshock. Brakes are a 260mm wave disc with a two-pot caliper at the front. An 18-inch rear wheel allows enduro tyres to fit – the full-on CRF450R motocrosser has a 19-incher.
Making the ’crosser road legal has hiked the weight to 130.8kg wet, about 20kg more than a CRF450R.
By Ben Purvis