In the past, if you wanted a street-legal and off-road motorcycle from Honda, your choice was limited to either the CRF250L, or the CRF1000L – more popularly known as the Africa Twin. But that is about to change with the introduction of the CRF450L in international markets, to fill that gap.
Based on the CRF450R motocross bike, the ‘L’ features mirrors, LED lights, an electric starter, and license plates; allowing you to use the motorcycle on the roads. Cycle parts are in the form of a 49mm Showa fork up front, and a shock of the same make at the rear, mounted through Honda’s Pro-Link design. Wire-spoke wheels (21-inch front/18-inch rear) and disc brakes are offered at both ends. The handlebar is a seven- or eight-inch Renthal unit, finished in black. The extremely high 940mm seat height is typical of a dirt bike.
Engine architecture is similar to the 450R, with a 12 percent increase in crank mass and a new three-ring piston design. The motor puts out 25hp in the CRF450L with a six-speed transmission and chain to transfer the power to the rear wheel. The road bike also features a slightly different clutch design, for reduced lever effort, along with a lithium-ion battery to keep weight to a minimum. As a result of this, the CRF450L tips the scales at 131kg, fully fuelled and ready to ride.
While the chances of this bike making it to India are next to none, this model fills a long-standing void in Honda’s international dirt bike line-up; and the CRF450L will be an important member in the Japanese automaker's portfolio for 2019.