Test Track: Park4MX
The highly anticipated Honda is here in Aus with bikes just about to roll off the Dealer floor. Thanks to our good friends at Penrite Honda Racing we were given the chance to get out on this bike and give it an initial shakedown. We all know the great new features on this bike, and if you don’t head over to any US magazine test or website to get a full insight of the stacked changes to this all new 2021 Honda CRF450R.
With our Social feed getting slammed with ‘How does it feel?’ lets get straight to it. The bike is slim and light weight. It feels as it looks. The new thin spar alloy frame gives a lightweight look visually. The ergonomics are spot on. The handlebars, foot pegs and seat all feel as before and make it super easy to get comfy on. Honda was always spot on here.
Honda Lengthened the forks 5mm for 2021. The forks are set at 5mm fork height oem. We felt this bike turned in great almost too great and sometimes would produce an oversteer on fast sweepers so we quickly moved the forks 2.5mm further down to allow less aggressive turn in and better cornering on fast turns. Slightly harder to turn in on very slow tight corners but hugely improved on the fast turns, with a much safer feeling.
The fork action dives under hard braking. It feels overall a little soft but also a little harsh initially for our VET moto speed at park 4 mx, especially noticeable with the small chatter on the hard pack sections. We needed better hold up with softer feeling.
We adjusted the rebound out 2 clicks for better hold up under brakes, this also made it a lot plusher in our hands across high speed chop. After this improved feeling we now adjusted comp out 3 clicks to soften it initially. Straight up we were scared to do this change as it was a touch divey already. With the fork height and rebound helping the fork stay up in the stroke we could now open out the compression clicker just a little.
Running on the stock shock on this hard pack track we opened the rebound out 2 clicks for improved drive out of the turns. This helped with drive accross the bigger accelaration bumps. For light riders <80kg or larger bumps or downhills, we would have left this as oem.
We adjusted the high speed out ½ a turn, it was better across the sharp bumps, but the shock was feeling softer the more laps we rode. We settled half way with 1/4 turn out from oem. We will adjust the internal valving at the shop with an aim to achieve a plusher feeling with more hold up throughout the week.
Overall - A great bike with confidence inspiring potential. Like all bikes it is hard to be perfect for everyone off the showroom floor. With a focus on front to rear balance for each rider in setup, this bike will out perform the 2020 model in every way. The engine is great oem, the new hydraulic clutch is super soft and easy to use! Sure we picked every negative out of the suspension but thats kind of our job. We left park4mx exited about this new Honda CRF450R. We cant wiat to get into the R&D this week and get it set for our rider weight, speed and local AUS conditions.
A huge thanks to Honda Racing Aus , Penrite Honda Racing, Cheyne Boyd (park4mx) and Yarrive Konsky for this opprtunity. We had fun today!!
Our best laps today were on the settings below:
Highspeed – Out 1/4 of a turn
Comp – oem
Rebound – out 2 clicks for the hard surface on the track
Fork height – changed to 2.5mm
Comp – out 3 clicks
Rebound – out 2 clicks