Well I rode the new 450 CRF............not this year!

16 replies to this topic
  • Ga426owner

Posted November 03, 2001 - 04:04 PM


let me just say this: the most trick looking bike I ever rode, absolutely beautiful craftmanship. Reality: the power reminded me of my 98 XR400 with the power-up kit I installed. It was deceptively fast, once it got going. The suspension was stiff & out of balance due to being new, but better than any honda suspension from past. I could not tell much difference in the weight once being ridden/in the air. It flew nice. The thing handled like crap. All out of wack - front end pushed no matter what. It is no way as fast or has the hit that my 01 426 has. My good friend, former 00 426 owner, has bought one & is trying to get used to it. He stalls it a lot, & he is a 4 stroke "B" racer. It is very different than the 426, in the way it feels just riding it. I like decompression braking, it has tons of advantages in approaching apex's/corners - the honda has very little. The ergonomics of the feel of the bike are very cramped for me. I am 5'11'' The honda is thinner - nice to get your boots up higher against the radiator schrouds, it corners - but it still pushes out almost every time. I beat 2 of them today in 250C & +35 classes for 2 1st place trophies.(this is very rare for me)
I know there is a lot of hype for this bike. I will keep what works best for me, my 01426 with a modified "right fork & shock suspension", Awesome explosive throttle response now from correct BK mod - Thanks Mark & a Wave Rotor up front to slow down. In my opinion, Honda has some catching up to do. Yamaha needs built in decompression release & lighter weight. I hate magazine articles - they are too biased, but look at MXA's comments in this months issue....almost the same experience I had.

  • MikeOK

Posted November 03, 2001 - 04:38 PM


Ooooooh David- you better hope the guys over on the CRF side don't get wind of this, they have their panties in a wad over the bad review that MXA gave their bike. You should go over to their side and read it, it's like someone slapped their momma's! I heard the same thing you said from a guy at the track last weekend...

  • Flyhigh

Posted November 03, 2001 - 04:55 PM


I dont know what bike you rode, but the one i have is great! it handles fine, has a great hit, and can flat out fly past the 2 strokes i have rode with. I think for the first 4 stroke motocrosser from honda, this bike is excellent! maybe the bike you rode just had some problems.

  • motoman393

Posted November 03, 2001 - 05:06 PM


Hey Ga426,

I too got a ride on a CR450 last weekend. The bike is probably the best looking bike on the market IMHO! But looks arent everything. I have ridden a buddies KTM 520 alot too and from what I have gathered from riding all three of these bikes is: they are all very nice/ fast and competitive bikes!

The CR450 is a blend between the 426 and the 520 in the engine department. The 450 doesnt have the hit of the 426 (yet it still is very fast) but it is not as smooth as the 520. The handling of the 450 was average...but it vibrated more than my 426 (I think it is due to the aluminum frame)! It also has engine braking...some of the mags said that it didnt, and you could chop the throttle on the face of a jump. Well you could chop the throttle on the face of a jump (like a 2 stroke) but you would immediately face plant into the next berm LOL!

Does the 450 feel lighter than the 426?
IMHO I dont think it does! It for sure feels slimmer ergonomically and is more cramped than my 426 (for a 6' tall rider)

Is the 450 faster than the 426
After doing about 10 drag races down long straight aways...they are so close it is ridiculous! The 426 gained about 2 bike lengths from the start and stayed there through 5th gear (this 450 was also well broken in, had about 60 hrs on it already...because the guy rides everyday)!

I personally do not think the Honda is any better than a 426, just different! I prefer the snap and grunt of the 426 but others like the smoothness of the 450 and 520! I could go just as fast on any of the 3 bikes but I LOVE the YZ's engine! Dont get me wrong I am not knocking the 450 in any way (in fact I think my Dad should get one...since it is a smoother bike) But I just love the snap of the 426 (because it is like a 2 stroke!) This is just my opinion so hopefully I didnt offend any CRF or KTM owners! Later,


  • therapture

Posted November 03, 2001 - 05:30 PM


Jeesh...hate to see articles like that...

It all boils down to PERSONAL PREFERENCE, and what works for you.

I just got back in to MX after a 4 year layoff, and bought a well maintained '00 426 and love it! I also have ridden my buddies new 450, and it is fast as well. We dragged them, and like the other guy said, they are so close in power as to be a non-factor on the track. They DO run differently, the 426 has more midrange hit, but the CRF is like a turbocharged electric motor, very very smooth and easy to ride.
I prefer the YZF, because I am a large rider (240lbs, 6'3") and the longer pilot compartment and engine hit appeal to me.

But to say the CRF sucks is totally ridiculous....LOL And I would LOVE to see your XR400 with powerup kit even attempt to run with the CRF...LOL....rider skill being equal of course.

After all, one of the top riders (read : pro) could hop on a 1990 CR125, clapped out and junky, and smoke 99% of any local riders butt any day of the week...

The RIDER is the largest factor in any moderm MX'er, simple and easy to understand.

[ November 03, 2001: Message edited by: therapture ]

  • MX_Tuner

Posted November 04, 2001 - 03:08 AM


Funny how a good controversy gets things going.

First of all, Dave's XR 400 was no ordinary XR. It was set up like no other. It was beautiful for the woods but woudl also do moto quite well for a pure 100% woods bike. Great motor, too. Srtong all the way through. The power up kit was by no means the only mod done to it. It would flat haul ass.

Second, I trust Dave's opinion to be unbiased more than I do 99% of all the other riders I meet. The fact the 450 owner was having as much trouble as he was is a big indicator as to what others may experience. He was a, as Dave said, previous 426 owner who was quite meticulous with his bike and set up. I had done a good bit of work to his 426 and know how particular he is to the whole package.

I haven't ridden a 450 yet. I'm dying to. But from all indications, it just ain't living up to the hype. Not sayign it isn't a grat bike, but it isn't revolutionizing 4 stroke racing.

MX (still wearing my blue underwear) Tuner

  • faketree

Posted November 04, 2001 - 04:49 AM


I must respectfully disagree with GA426Owner, I have a 01 426 (it's for sale) and just purchased a CRF450. The Honda is a better bike in a couple of areas, first is starting, no manual decompression, no drill, just kick it and go. As far as weight, the Honda feels much lighter, especially when flying over jumps. As far as cornering, I felt that the Honda would corner much tighter than the Yamaha. Suspension is probably the best stock Honda since the 87 CR's. Don't get me wrong, the Yamaha is a great bike but to say that the Honda handled like crap is not true. Of course I may be biased, my experience is based on picking the bike up on Friday, breaking it in on Saturday, and racing it on Sunday. Results, 1st in +40 Expert and 2nd in +35 Expert.

  • Ga426owner

Posted November 04, 2001 - 06:04 AM


It is funny how a thread can take on new meaning from 5 or 6 postreplies. I never said the Honda sux or is a piece of crap, although the handling & front end characteristics of major push do bother me. Yep, my YZF's have had push issues, that have been corrected by proper fork set-up which is different for each rider. The CRF would not change due to any fork position in the triple clamp. MXA is bold to say the motor is in the frame in the wrong place/position & the steering geometry is all off. This bothers me about magazine biased BS. As I said, the CRF is the trickest looking bike that I ever rode, the starting & automatic decompression, & weight are issues Yamaha needs to catch up on. And finally, yes the CRF motor is very XR like. But is this a bad thing? I think that it is just different.

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  • Scott_in_KC

Posted November 04, 2001 - 09:32 AM


I heard the Yamaha still had better seat foam. Not saying it does for sure, but I for one am down with seat foam!! :)

  • MikeOK

Posted November 04, 2001 - 03:11 PM


seat foam yes let's see if they can match the foam! The buncha dang sissies...

  • Kirtwell

Posted November 06, 2001 - 04:27 AM


I ride and race an 01' 426. I've been reading all of the debate between the 426 and the 450. I rode the new Red machine myself a few weeks ago and here's my 2 cents...if you guys don't mind.

The Honda looks great...no doubt about that.
The noticeable thing right off was the thinner feel and the weight. The 450 really does feel lighter. Like a CR250R.

I started the bike first kick. Everyone laughed cause it took me all after noon the first day on my 426 to get the start sequence down.

I rode the 450 on my track and it snapped when you twisted the throttle. Alot like my 426 but the engine reved a little faster. More like a 2 stroke. The front brakes felt a little stronger than my 426 did new.

The front suspension on the Honda was unusually stiff. I mean break your wrist stiff (something not right there). I figured it just needed to be broke in or in need of some adjustments.

Drag race time: (I'm and excellent starter)so my friends say...LOL

Note: Both bikes started off in 2nd.

1st drag: Dead even start, 450 pulled one wheel in 3rd, 426 made it up in 4th and was pulling past the 450, ran out of track. Dam!

2nd drag: Dead even start, 450 pulled half wheel in 3rd and maintained that gap through 4th. Uh oh?

3rd drag: Dead even start..I blistered my clutch to 3rd and launched past the 450 half a tire...lol...and maintained the lead to 4th.

So I win...LOL

Guys forget the Hype...these bike are dead even IMHO. I like the 426 feel and won't change to a Honda. It boiles down to what color you like the best. I like blue.

  • Chris_Slade

Posted November 06, 2001 - 12:03 PM


Why does everyone hype the starting of teh 450? Yeah it starts one kick. BIG DEAL. KTM did that two years ago......still does. I have yet to have my 520 have a problem. I have even held the throttle wide open for 15 seconds, just to prove it to some people. Do that on your 426's....and my carb squirts for as long as I have the throttle twisted, not for a .3 second span. (mabey dirty I am told, I dunno, it works, I leave it!)
No drill, just a plain old kick, (even a half hearted one), and she fires up. I have no fears of her not starting for me, Honda didn't do anything special in that aspect. Infact, Yamaha is in the stone age as far as starting goes. Need a special starting drill, ha!


Seriously though, why does everyone only compare the 426 to the 450? No one ever mentions the KTM's, despite a KTM holeshoting almost every pro race, and finishing rather well, considering they had a privateer on the bike....
I would say KTM is just as much a comparison bike as the 426. I didn't see Ferry popping any holeshots.

  • motoman393

Posted November 06, 2001 - 03:18 PM


Seriously though, why does everyone only compare the 426 to the 450? No one ever mentions the KTM's, despite a KTM holeshoting almost every pro race, and finishing rather well, considering they had a privateer on the bike....
I would say KTM is just as much a comparison bike as the 426. I didn't see Ferry popping any holeshots.

Chris Slade,

I sure would hope the 520 would beat a 426 or 450 out of the gate! I mean come on the 520 (actually around 508cc) has a 82cc/58cc advantage over the 426/450 and it SHOULD beat the YZ and CRf out of the gate! I think no one is really comparing the 520 to the YZ/CRF because of this...and the 520 will be illegal in the 250cc class as of 03'! This is due to the AMA putting a limit on bikes over 450cc in the 250 class! Do I hear an open class returning (that would be cool)? Dont get me wrong but I like the 520 (I have ridden the 520 personally alot)...but I think these few things is what is keeping the 520 from being objectively compared to the 426 and 450! You act like you bleed KTM orange or something LOL :)


  • Chris_Slade

Posted November 06, 2001 - 06:21 PM


Fortunately, I have not had the chance to bleed since I got the 520!! :) It's kept me on-board. *knock knock* But, I don't doubt it would be orange though, I'm in love!

Even regardless of the displacement, what about the starting? Everyone just seems so flaberghasted that the CRF starts one kick, no drill!

I could only hope the open class would return....but I doubt that will ever happen. :D

As far as the CC displacement goes as well....we ALL can shut our mouths, as Carmichaels 250, and Windhams 250 kicked a 520, 450, and 426, right?
ANYWAY, I'm not out to cause trouble or to have people think I'm some sort of idiot....just wanting to know why, thats all!

  • BK14MX

Posted November 09, 2001 - 03:29 AM


You sure got them stirred up with that review!!
Maybe you should have posted it in the CRF forum for some real fun!!!!! I havent gotten to ride one yet, considering how well both our bikes handle, riding a BONE stock one is very difficult to judge, but I trust your judgements.

Had a blast at International!!!! That is until
my rear brake line popped like a grape, at least it didnt happen when I needed it badly. Whats the story for this weekend????? Give me a shout, later.

  • BK14MX

Posted November 09, 2001 - 03:33 AM


One more thing about the "HARD" starting 426, Guys, never more than one kick, hot or cold. Ofcourse, it doesnt have automatic Decomm, which is pretty cool, but i have no trouble starting it, ever!!!! It does however need a diet, leave the power alone, its awesome.

  • Hawaii-Rider

Posted November 11, 2001 - 09:55 PM


This thread is a hoot.......
A whole bunch of things are obvious though....
you all need to get leid (Hawaii speak) :D
Dont get enough fresh air.....
Helmets are WAY too tight :D
And you dont have enough to do........
and for that last one, I envy you all........

and as my mom always said"Quit Yapping and Just go Ride the Things.! !

Its all good

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