The Big News Is On The Street.
If you were waiting for the all-new CRF450R then you’ll be waiting another year. Unless Honda’s trend of selling works bikes on a limited basis continues. But that may take another year anyways. Like the Factory CRF450R Rally Racer and the just announced $184,000 RC213V-S that seems to be the big announcement for 2016. The street kitted Moto GP racer is powered by a 999cc 90-degree V4 engine with titanium connecting rods and a sand-cast aluminum crankcase and is available by registering on a special web site as well as committing to a special set of ownership requirements.
Honda’s updates for the 2016 CRF450R are very minimal and aimed at improving handling and traction. For better stability the fork is 5mm longer, while the rear suspension rides through a new link. As is the trend the rear shock spring is a rate softer than last year and the valving is altered as well. The big change to the chassis is the diameter of the chain roller has being reduced by 4mm to 34mm. Priced $175,301 less than the RCV, the CRF will run you $8,699 and it will be available in July.
The 2016 CRF250R receives similar front for length changed but a more focused engine update. To boost power (or more likely throttle response and excitement) are higher compression ratio via a new piston shape, increased cam lift, new valve springs, and updates to the cylinder-head porting and connecting-rod shape. The air-intake tube is altered while the exhaust system gets larger outlet diameters for improved breathing. The header-pipe has a resonator for a claimed improved power output but it is likely more for sound regulations. There are the required updates to the fuel-injection mapping and the radiators are enlarged for improved cooling. Do not forget the details–the chain-roller diameter has been reduced from 38mm to 34. The CRF will retail for $7,599 and be available in September.
What is out there but not talked about is the engine inside the current Dakar rally bike. It is not a Uni-Cam design and was developed because additional power was needed reliably, we suspect some of the head and valve train features from the RC213V could be present. The street version has a conventional spring design where the factory MotoGP racer is pneumatic. But this would be an all-new motor and likely the tipping point of Honda deciding to go the electric-start route. But none of the Japanese manufacturers have chased KTM down that path yet and all are acting very conservative with their motocross offerings for 2016.