2023 Honda CRF450R Guide

2023 Honda CRF450R

2023 Honda CRF450R 2023 Honda CRF450R 2023 Honda CRF450R 2023 Honda CRF450R


Introducing the 2023 Honda CRF450R…

The CRF450R’s technical updates include a narrower intake-port shape and longer intake funnel, revised cam profile and smaller throttle body diameter, resulting in smooth power delivery and increased torque, improving acceleration out of corners. The frame’s rigidity has been optimized by increasing material thickness in strategic locations and the use of steel engine mounts (replacing aluminum) helps improve front-end traction. A higher-rate shock spring and revised fork settings complement the rigidity-optimized frame without introducing harshness. To enhance strength and reduce noise, the muffler body is constructed from heat-treated aluminum, and a new inner-pipe design is used.

For 2023, Honda also offers a 50th Anniversary Edition of the model, featuring a livery reminiscent of the legendary ’80s CRs that ruled AMA Motocross and Supercross. Easily recognizable to fans of that era, this version features a blue seat cover, white number plates, gold rims, gold handlebar, gray-metallic triple clamp and special graphics.

Perhaps more than any manufacturer, Honda is synonymous with motocross, which is understandable considering the brand’s rich history in the sport. For half a century, Honda CR and CRF models have performed at the elite level, with legendary riders delivering a huge collection of National and World Championships. The legacy that started with Gary Jones’s original, 1973 CRF250M Elsinore leads directly to the current pinnacle of motocross technology and performance – the modern-day CRF Performance line, campaigned by Team Honda HRC riders Chase Sexton, Ken Roczen and Jett and Hunter Lawrence. For 2023, Honda celebrates that heritage by offering a 50th Anniversary Edition of the model, featuring a livery reminiscent of the legendary ’80s CRs that ruled AMA Motocross and Supercross. Both the standard version and the 50th Anniversary Edition feature important engine upgrades to improve corner-exit acceleration, as well as chassis updates to improve handling.




2023 Honda CRF450R Totalmotorcycle.com Key Features

Base Features

  • 450cc liquid-cooled Unicam single-cylinder engine
  • Fuel injection
  • Electric starter
  • Hydraulic clutch
  • Titanium fuel tank
  • Light twin-spar aluminum frame
  • Close-ratio five-speed transmission
  • HRC Launch control
  • Selectable engine modes



The year is 1973. Secretariat wins the Triple Crown, and construction of the Sears Tower is nearing completion in Chicago. The sport of motocross is all the rage in the United States, and Honda is eager to get in on the fun with its first dedicated motocross bike.

Founded just 14 years ago, but already having transformed the U.S. motorcycle industry, the company’s American subsidiary plays a major role in the new project. Large Project Leader Kazuhiro Okimoto is based at Honda Motor’s Japanese headquarters, but he and U.S. R&D man George Ethridge remain in close contact throughout. The bike – the CR250M Elsinore – is even named after the Southern California Grand Prix made famous in On Any Sunday (which premiered in 1971), and it boasts 7.1 inches of front-suspension travel, weighs a paltry 214 pounds and has a 248 cc two-stroke engine that produces 28 horsepower. Its retail price is $1,145, but the magazine tests defend the lofty sum: “A production motocrosser that is more ‘works’ like in power and components than any machine to date,” raves Cycle News, and Dirt Bike enthuses, “It’s difficult to write a test on a motorcycle that has so little wrong, and so much right.”

Honda enters the AMA Motocross National Championship’s sophomore season and enlists the help of a young, motorcycle-mad family from Hacienda Heights, a half-hour east of Downtown Los Angeles. Don Jones is the team manager, and sons Dewayne and Gary are riders, along with a 16-year-old phenom named Marty Tripes. Even mother Melinda is involved, sewing the riders’ now-iconic red, white and blue jerseys and (to address rider complaints of glare from the bikes’ polished-aluminum fuel tanks) providing the forest-green sewing-machine paint that is used to add a less-reflective stripe.

Gary Jones gives Honda its first AMA Motocross National victory at the May 13 opener in Hialeah, Florida. He goes on to take a total of eight overall wins, with Tripes adding two, and on September 9 in New Orleans, Gary wraps up Honda’s first AMA Motocross National Championship.

The next year, Honda follows up with a 123 cc version, the CR125M Elsinore, which touts 20 horsepower and weighs just 180 pounds. In fact, whereas the 250 has an aluminum tank and rear sprocket, Honda uses steel for those parts on the 125 in order to stay over the FIM minimum weight of 176 pounds. “The little Honda two-popper will consistently outride most any bike,” Cycle News says. “At the same time, there is no sacrifice in precision.”

With a retail price of $749, the 125 sells even better than the 250, and a hot new Team Honda phenom named Marty Smith races it to the inaugural AMA 125 National Motocross Championship in 1974, repeats in ’75, then rides a works Type II RC400 Honda to the 1977 AMA 500 National Motocross Championship. Honda’s American motocross program becomes so successful that in 1979, the CR250R Elsinore becomes the first Honda vehicle of any type to be produced in the U.S., at the Marysville, Ohio, plant (preceding the first U.S.-manufactured Honda automobile by three years).

An exciting new motocross variation called supercross is now dazzling stadium crowds across the country and pushing U.S. riders – previously a step behind their European counterparts – to new levels. Now under the direction of Dave Arnold and Roger De Coster, the American Team Honda motocross project begins to dominate ’80s motocross and supercross. In 1981, an all-Honda Team USA travels to Germany and Belgium and takes America’s first Motocross des Nations and Trophee des Nations wins, with riders Donnie Hansen, Danny LaPorte, Johnny O’Mara and Chuck Sun. The following year, Hansen delivers Honda’s first indoor AMA crown, and another all-Honda lineup – this time with O’Mara joined by David Bailey, Danny Chandler and Jim Gibson – again sweeps the Motocross and Trophee des Nations, in Switzerland.

Over the course of five decades since Jones’s initial title, Honda will produce a long list of successful motocross models, including a transition to four-strokes beginning with the 2002 CRF450R. During this time, riders like Sun, O’Mara, Ron Lechien, Bailey, Darrell Schultz, Micky Dymond, Rick Johnson, Jeff Stanton, Jean-Michel Bayle, Mike Kiedrowski, Doug Henry, Steve Lamson, Jeremy McGrath and Ricky Carmichael and, in 2021, a teenage Australian named Jett Lawrence, add a long list of AMA Supercross and Motocross National Championships, while their overseas counterparts do likewise in the FIM Motocross World Championship.

In 2022, Honda celebrates its motocross heritage by introducing a special 50th Anniversary Edition of the 2023 CRF450R.



Honda Celebrates 50 Years of Motocross With 2023 CRF450R

50th Anniversary Edition version honors 1980s CR models
CRF450R, RWE and RX receive significant engine and chassis updates

Celebrating five decades of elite motocross heritage, Honda today unveiled the latest edition of its flagship motocross bike, the 2023 CRF450R, during a media event. Held on the eve of the opening 2023 AMA Pro Motocross round at Fox Raceway, the function featured the entire Team Honda HRC lineup – Ken Roczen, Chase Sexton, Hunter Lawrence and Jett Lawrence – as well as Honda legends from the past, including champions Gary Jones, Johnny O’Mara, Rick Johnson and Trey Canard, as well as former Team Manager Dave Arnold.

Introduced 50 years after the debut of the 1973 CR250M Elsinore – Honda’s original motocross machine – the 2023 CRF450R receives key engine updates and chassis revisions targeted at enhancing corner-exit acceleration and improving handling. In addition, a 50th Anniversary Edition is offered, honoring Honda’s motocross heritage with a special livery evoking the iconic CR models that dominated 1980s AMA Supercross and Motocross.

Honda’s success in motocross started with the aforementioned 1973 CR250M Elsinore, which Jones piloted to Honda’s first AMA Motocross Championship. In the half-century since, additional titles have been delivered by a long list of champions including Marty Smith, Chuck Sun, Johnny O’Mara, Ron Lechien, David Bailey, Darrell Schultz, Micky Dymond, Rick Johnson, Jeff Stanton, Jean-Michel Bayle, Mike Kiedrowski, Doug Henry, Steve Lamson, Jeremy McGrath and Ricky Carmichael, culminating in current Team HRC rider Jett Lawrence delivering the 2021 AMA Pro Motocross 250 crown, as well as the 2022 AMA Supercross 250SX West Region title. These renowned riders have played an integral role in the development and innovation of CR and CRF motocross bikes, while cementing Honda’s legendary status in the sport. Originally introduced in 2002, the CRF450R continues Honda’s tradition of race-driven innovation by incorporating feedback from Team Honda HRC riders.

“Honda is synonymous with motocross, and that’s a direct result of our dedication to the sport for the past five decades, as well as the invaluable contributions of top riders – from Gary Jones in 1973 to Jett Lawrence in 2022,” said Brandon Wilson, American Honda Manager of Sports & Experiential. “The 2023 CRF450R is worthy of that heritage, and the 50th Anniversary Edition pays tribute in a way that we’re sure will be appreciated by motocross enthusiasts. We look forward to current and future Honda champions continuing to grow our motocross legacy.”

For 2023, The CRF450R’s engine and chassis updates also carry over to the premium CRF450RWE and the closed-course off-road-focused CRF450RX, raced by the SLR Honda and JCR Honda teams in the NGPC and WORCS competition.

While Honda celebrates 50 years of motocross heritage with the 2023 CRF450R, the rest of Honda’s popular CRF Performance lineup, including the CRF450R-S, CRF450X, CRF450RL, CRF250R, CRF250RX and CRF150R, continues to deliver industry-leading performance and reliability.



2023 Honda CRF450R Totalmotorcycle.com Features and Benefits


  • To celebrate the milestone of Honda producing motocross models, an available 50th Anniversary Edition features graphics and colors that are a nod to the CR models that dominated 1980s AMA Supercross and Motocross. This version features a blue seat cover, white number plates, gold rims, gold handlebar, gray-metallic triple clamps and special graphics.
  • Narrower intake-port shape and longer intake funnel, for improved engine response and torque, resulting in improved acceleration on corner exits.
  • Cam profile is changed, further increasing torque.
  • Throttle body diameter is reduced from 46 mm to 44 mm, for smoother power deliver at low speeds.
  • Frame rigidity optimized by increasing material thickness at front joint and at upper shock mount, enabling freer functioning of front and rear suspension.
  • Engine hangers changed from aluminum to steel, to match frame changes and improve front traction.
  • Because changes to frame rigidity allow freer suspension movement, shock’s spring rate is increased without introducing harshness.
  • Fork setting changed to match rear suspension and ensure front/rear balance.
  • Muffler is quieter thanks to change of inner-pipe design. Switch to heat-treated aluminum for the muffler body increases strength without increasing overall weight.
  • Radiator shroud graphics feature new HRC logo.


The CRF450R engine boasts exceptional bottom-end and midrange power and torque, making for a linear delivery that is strong but manageable, even as the rider tires, while peak power is also very good. A five-hole piston oil jet and dual 12 mm drum scavenge pump manage lubrication.

Cylinder Head: The design of the Unicam® cylinder head, with the decompressor system’s counterweight on the left end of the camshaft, contributes to combustion stability in the extremely low rpm range and for a strong-but-manageable power delivery on corner exits, for example, as well as resistance to stalling. For 2023, engineers followed the direction of Team Honda HRC by updating the cam profile for better low-end torque. As before, the cylinder head cover is magnesium, with a thin-wall design for weight savings.

Intake: The CRF450R features a downdraft intake design that delivers strong, efficient power, and a large air boot (4.1 liters on the clean side of the air filter) achieves in strong torque at low rpm. Following feedback from HRC, the throttle body has a smaller diameter (44 mm instead of 46), for smoother power delivery at low speed. In addition, the intake port has a narrower shape, while the air funnel is longer, a combination that results in increased low-end torque and improved throttle response. The air box is accessed with the removal of a single side-panel bolt. The 60º fuel-injector angle enables the spray to reach all the way to the back of the butterfly, thus cooling the upstream side of the intake path for maximum intake efficiency and torque feel.

Exhaust: The engine’s exhaust port is centrally located, has an oval shape and is very straight, optimizing exhaust efficiency and torque characteristics. With the engine’s central exhaust-port location, the exhaust header and muffler are positioned close to the vehicle’s centerline for a slim profile, contributing to freedom of movement for the rider. For 2023, the muffler has a new inner-pipe design to reduce noise without affecting power or weight (the entire system weighs 8.5 pounds). In addition, the muffler body is now made from a new aluminum material called A6061-T6, which is five times more resistant to impacts. As before, two resonators (one after the front U-bend and another at the upstream end of the muffler) boost power and reduce noise.

Clutch: The clutch is hydraulically actuated and has eight plates and a large volume for good durability with minimal slippage and light lever pull.

Electronics: A gear-position sensor allows the use of three specific ignition maps for first and second, third and fourth, and fifth gears. There are options for Standard, Smooth and Aggressive ignition maps, selectable via an all-new handlebar-mounted switch, enabling simple tuning depending on rider preference or course conditions.

In addition, Honda Selectable Torque Control offers three levels of intervention. HSTC monitors rpm spikes and responds by temporarily reducing torque by retarding ignition timing and controlling PGM-FI to aid rear traction. The three different modes differ in drive-management level, for differing riding conditions or rider preferences:

  • Mode 1: The system intervenes most lightly and waits the longest to do so—useful for reducing wheel-spin and maintaining control in tight corners.
  • Mode 2: A midpoint between modes 1 and 3 in terms of how quickly and assertively the system intervenes.
  • Mode 3: The system intervenes most quickly and assertively, which helps in conditions that are slippery or muddy.

The CRF450R’s handlebar-mounted switch allows selection between three modes, depending on conditions and rider preference. The HSTC system can also be switched off completely.

HRC Launch Control provides the best option for a strong start and also has three modes to choose from:

  • Level 1: 9,500 rpm, for high-traction conditions and/or advanced riders
  • Level 2: 8,500 rpm, for high-traction conditions and/or average riders
  • Level 3: 8,250 rpm, for slippery conditions and/or novice riders

The Engine Mode Select Button (EMSB) alters the engine’s characteristics and three maps are available to suit riding conditions or rider preference:

  • Mode 1: Standard
  • Mode 2: Smooth
  • Mode 3: Aggressive


The motorcycle’s heavier components are positioned centrally and as low as possible for precise cornering without sacrificing high-speed tracking, and to achieve minimal squat under acceleration and negligible pitching during hard braking. For 2023, updates to the suspension settings and frame improve stability and turning.

Frame / Swingarm / Subframe: The frame uses narrow main spars and features optimized reinforcement ribbing on the backside of the pivot plate, contributing to the low frame weight of just 18.5 pounds. For 2023, frame rigidity has been optimized by increasing the thickness of the aluminum material at the front joint, from 4 mm to 6 mm. Similarly, the material at the upper shock mount has been increased from 4 mm to 6 mm. These changes allow the front and rear suspension components to move more freely and avoid binding, improving stability and bump absorption. In addition, the engine hangers are now made from steel instead of aluminum, a switch that works with the revised frame rigidity to improve front traction.

As before, the subframe features a simple design that weighs just 2.0 pounds. The swingarm is narrow, providing good clearance in ruts, with rigidity tuned to maximize rear traction and cornering.

Suspension: As before, the Pro-Link® rear-suspension system uses a Showa shock absorber with adjusters on the right side and an ultra-light steel shock spring. Because of the updates to the frame rigidity, the shock now moves more freely, which allowed the switch to a stiffer spring rate (from 54N/mm to 56N/mm) without introducing harshness. Hold-up is improved as a result, for better performance in ruts.

Front suspension comprises a 49 mm inverted Showa® coil-spring fork and a gas-liquid separation structure. For 2023, the fork setting has been updated to the changes to the shock, for proper front-rear balance. The upper and lower triple clamps are designed to offer a good rigidity balance for optimum handling and feel through corners.

Wheels: Black D.I.D rims deliver durable performance and good looks. Petal-style brake rotors disperse heat, and a low-expansion front brake hose gives strong feel and consistent stopping power. The CRF450R comes with Dunlop’s excellent Geomax MX33 tires, generally considered to be the industry standard for soft to intermediate terrain. Developed with the help of top motocross pros, MX33s feature technologies that deliver superior grip, slide control, bump absorption and durability.


To celebrate Honda’s five-decade legacy of producing top-level motocross models, the 2023 CRF450R is available in a 50th Anniversary Edition version that features a look reminiscent of the RC and CR machines that dominated AMA Supercross and Motocross in the 1980s. On this version, the seat cover is blue, the front and side number plates are white, the rims and handlebar are gold, the triple clamp is gray-metallic, and there are special graphics.

As before, both versions of the CRF450R have slim bodywork, with a smooth junction of the radiator shroud and side panel, facilitating rider movement and cornering. Each radiator shroud is produced in a single piece instead of two separate parts, and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) were used to design air-outlet vents in the shrouds. The radiator grills optimize the number of fins and their angle, maximizing cooling performance.

The seat base has rearward-facing tongues and front-located mounting tabs, easing installation, and using acceleration forces to keep the seat securely in place. The 1.7 gallon fuel tank is made of lightweight titanium.

Only eight fasteners are used to secure all of the main bodywork components—both radiator shrouds, both side panels and the seat, and all of the bolts for the main bodywork parts have 8 mm heads, simplifying maintenance.

A single switch cluster addresses several functions: engine stop, ride-modes and Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC). The starter and HRC launch control are on the right side of the Renthal® Fatbar® handlebar. There are two locations for the handlebar clamp, and the clamp can be turned 180º; as a result, four different mounting positions are possible, through a range of 26 mm.






2023 Honda CRF450R – Totalmotorcycle.com USA Specifications/Technical Details
US MSRP Price: from $9599 USD
Canada MSRP Price: $ 11099 CDN
Europe/UK MSRP Price: £ See Dealer GBP (On The Road inc 20% Vat)

Type 449.8 cc liquid-cooled 10º single-cylinder four-stroke
Valve Train Unicam® OHC, four-valve; 38 mm intake, titanium; 31 mm exhaust, steel
Bore x Stroke 96.0 mm x 62.1 mm
Compression Ratio 13.5:1
Induction Programmed fuel-injection system (PGM-FI); 44 mm throttle bore
Ignition Full transistorized ignition
Starter Push-button electric starter
Transmission Constant-mesh 5-speed; manual
Clutch Multiplate wet, hydraulically actuated (6 springs, 8 plates)
Final Drive #520 chain; 13T/49T
Front 49 mm fully adjustable leading-axle inverted telescopic Showa coil-spring fork w/ 12.2 in. travel
Rear Pro-Link system; fully adjustable Showa single shock w/ 12.4 in. wheel travel
Front 2-piston caliper (30mm, 27mm) hydraulic; single 260mm disc
Rear 1-piston caliper hydraulic; single 240mm disc
Front Dunlop Geomax MX33 80/100-21 w/ tube
Rear Dunlop Geomax MX33 120/80-19 w/ tube
Rake (Caster Angle) 27.1°
Trail 114 mm (4.48 in.)
Length 85.9 in.
Width 32.6 in.
Height 49.9 in.
Ground Clearance 13.2 in.
Seat Height 38.0 in
Wheelbase 58.3 in.
Fuel Capacity 1.7 gal.
Color Red
Curb Weight* 245 lbs.


2023 Honda CRF450R – Totalmotorcycle.com Canada Specifications/Technical Details

Engine & Drivetrain
Engine type Liquid-cooled single-cylinder
Displacement 449 cc
Bore & stroke 96 mm x 62.1 mm
Compression ratio 13.5:1
Valve train Unicam, 4 valves
Fuel delivery PGM-FI electronic fuel injection with 44 mm throttle bore
Transmission Five-speed
Final drive #520 chain; 13T/49T
Chassis & Suspension
Front suspension 49 mm inverted Showa fork with rebound and compression damping adjustability;
273 mm (10.7 in) travel.
Rear suspension Pro-Link® system; fully adjustable Showa single shock; 315 mm (12.4 in) travel
Dimensions & Additional Information
Tires Front: 80/100 – 21
Rear: 120/80 – 19
Brakes Front: 260 mm disc
Rear: 240 mm disc
Ground clearance 336 mm (13.2 in)
Seat height 965 mm (38 in)
Wheelbase 1,481 mm (58.3 in)
Curb weight 111 kg (244 lb.)
Fuel capacity 6.3 litres
Colour Extreme Red
Warranty No warrranty



2023 Honda CRF450R – Totalmotorcycle.com European Specifications/Technical Details


Bore × Stroke (mm) 96.0mm x 62.1mm
Carburation CDI Electronic Fuel injection
Compression Ratio 13.5 : 1
Engine Displacement (cc) 449.7cc
Engine Type Liquid-cooled 4-stroke single cylinder uni-cam
Starter Electric
Oil Capacity (Litres) 1.25 Litres

Brakes Front Single 260mm disk
Brakes Rear Single 240mm disk
Suspension Front Showa 49mm USD fork
Suspension Rear Showa monoshock using Honda Pro-Link
Tyres Front Dunlop MX33F
Tyre Size Front 80/100-21-51M
Tyre Size Rear 120/80-19-63M
Tyres Rear Dunlop MX33
Wheels Front Aluminium spoke
Wheels Rear Aluminium spoke
Dimensions and Weights

Caster Angle 27.7°
Dimensions (L×W×H) (mm) 2,183mm x 827mm x 1,267mm
Frame type Aluminium twin tube
Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres) 6.3 litres
Ground Clearance (mm) 336mm
Kerb Weight (kg) 105.8kg
Seat Height (mm) 965mm
Trail (mm) 113.9mm
Wheelbase (mm) 1,481mm

Clutch Wet type multi-plate
Final Drive Chain
Transmission Type Constant mesh, 5-speed manual


Manufacturer Specifications and appearance are subject to change without prior notice on Total Motorcycle (TMW).

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