Big Red has finally gone and done it. After years of begging, we’re going to get a Honda CRF450L dual sport.
First, a bit of background: At the moment, Honda brings the CRF250L and CRF250 Rally into Canada, but that’s it for street-legal dual sport bikes. The long-running XR650L hasn’t been imported for a couple years now, and even when it was being brought in, a lot of Honda fans were asking for something in between that brutish 650-class dinosaur and the mild 250s.
Now, it seems those riders are going to make like Goldilocks and get a dual sport bike that’s just right. The CRF450L broke cover out in California, and the early information we’ve received looks interesting.
The most important number is the curb weight, and from what we’ve seen, the CRF450L should be about 131 kg. That’s pretty low for a middleweight duallie; by comparison, the Suzuki DR-Z400S is rated at 144 kg.
That light weight is partially made possible by an aluminum frame, titanium fuel tank (two-gallon capacity) and a lithium-ion battery.
Honda hasn’t announced horsepower or torque numbers yet, but the CRF450L will have a liquid-cooled SOHC four-valve single-cylinder 450 cc motor, supposedly similar to the CRF450R. The L model will be tuned for reliability, and therefore won’t make as much power as its dirt-only relatives, but it’s still expected to have decent output.
The CRF450L will have a six-speed gearbox and EFI, of course.
Front and rear suspension is from Showa, and fully-adjustable. Braking comes from a 260 mm disc up front, with two-piston caliper; there’s a single-piston caliper and 240 mm disc in back. There’s been no talk of ABS, but with European safety rules requiring it on all cycles in the near future, we may see it announced yet.
Lighting is LED all-round. Seat height is 942 mm, the front wheel is a 21-incher, and the rear wheel is an 18-incher.
Now here’s the tough part: We’re seeing a $10,399 US MSRP, which works out to almost $13,400 CAD. That’s a lot of money, and proof that Honda doesn’t see this bike in the role of affordable everyman’s tool like the XR650L and other 650-class thumpers. Instead, that price tag and the bike’s spec sheet seem to indicate this machine is intended to challenge Husqvarna, KTM, Beta and other high-end trail bikes. It’s too bad, but we’ve seen the end of big thumpers coming for a long time now, and at least Honda is thinking outside the 250 class in the dual sport world.
We have not seen official Canadian specs, pricing, arrival date or other information for the CRF450L, but we will share it with you when we do.
Check out all the pics that go with this story!