How could it have taken so long? For years—decades, really—cross-country riders created the bikes they needed by adding fuel capacity, flywheel mass, skid plates, revised gearing, pipes, and even lighting to motocross bikes. Or they took another path by bringing a softly tuned dual-sport bike up to snuff. Along with other dirt-bike makers, Honda decided to fill the need in 2005 with the 449cc Unicam single-powered CRF450X. Carbureted, bottled-up feeling, and less than satisfactory in stock form, it’s finally been replaced by a new fuel-injected version for 2019.
The CRF450X’s thorough revamp includes a new aluminum twin-spar frame, wide-ratio six-speed transmission, progressive steering damper and, thankfully, fuel injection. The fuel tank carries a little more than 2 gallons, a reasonable amount of fuel for several hours’ riding, and both head- and taillights are included for trail safety and in case you want to tackle Rattlesnake Gulch after dark. One note: Although obviously inspired by the CRF450R motocrosser, the CRF450X is not presented by Honda as a racer. For that line of work, consult the CRF450RX.
Likes: That Honda has reinvested in the CRF450X, especially with EFI!
Dislikes: Marginal fuel capacity for confident long-distance forays
Verdict: Motocross technology for trail riders