Honda Sets Fire to the Lightweight Adventure Market with Announcement of the new 2019 CRF450L

Normally a bike spawned from a dirt machine wouldn’t get us too excited. Yeah, they can be fun, but most of the time dirt bikes aren’t exactly great for road duties – if they even come with a number plate. But for 2019 Honda has peaked our interest, with the announcement overnight of the 2019 CRF450L.

If you’re into lightweight adventure bikes or Dual Sports as some might call them, you’ll probably know of Honda’s entries into the 250 segment, the CRF250L and the fantastic looking CRF250L Rally. While both bikes make fantastic entry level commuters come adventure bikes, they don’t exactly light a fire under you when you twist the throttle.

Since the introduction of the CRF250L in 2013, riders have been clamouring for a 450 version based off Honda’s fire breathing MotoX machines, and now it seems they are ready to give us what we want in the form of the CRF450L.

While there is no word just yet on whether we’ll also be getting a 450 Rally, the specs on the CRF450L read pretty damn well.

The layout and overall appearance of the CRF450L’s engine is nearly identical to the new CRF450X with some modifications to make the L street legal and more appropriate for street riding.

The compression ratio is dropped from the MotoX machines 13.5:1 to a lower 12.0:1 for the CRF450L, as well as new cam profile and timing to give the L a more controllable powerband off road.

Since it will be seeing both road and dirt duties, Honda have given the 450L its own 6-speed gearbox. This is sure to make longer rides out on the road a less buzzy, more enjoyable experience.

Sadly when it comes to exhaust the 450L doesn’t get the twin outlet exhaust of the other Honda dirt models, which is a shame as they look awesome, but should mean owners will be able to put a great sounding pipe on the 450L without huge cost.

A big complaint from riders of the CRF250L models is the lack of suspension adjustability, with both bikes suffering from soft squishy suspenders. The CRF450L gets the full beans treatment with 49mm, fully adjustable coil-spring Showa fork and a fully adjustable, Pro-Link system Showa shock out back.

Unlike the 250 models as well, Honda have given the 450L an aluminium frame, which should mean that weight is kept down, while the subframe is specific to the L and designed to better handle carrying luggage and tools.

The only potential problem we think we’ve found with the CRF450L is its fuel tank, which is reportedly only 7.5-litres. That said, it is made of lightweight titanium, which is pretty cool.

Topping everything off is a full suite of LED lighting and a simple Enduro style speedo unit.

BRM has reached out to Honda Motorbikes NZ importers Blue Wing Honda for more info on the CRF450L, including when we should see the model make its way to our roads. We’ll update this story as soon as we know further details.

Til then, watch the video that announced Honda’s revamped CRF lineup for 2019, with special appearance by “old man” Ken Roczen.