Ten Things About The 2019 Honda CRF450R And CRF450RWE
Honda invited the media out last Wednesday and Thursday to take the 2019 Honda CRF450R and CRF450RWE out for a test spin. However, I had a couple of Keefer Inc.Testing test riders attend the event as I was in Colorado on vacation. Since I have had some time on both machines even before the 2019 Honda media launch, I thought I would give you a rundown on what each bike is like to ride and some specifics of both.
1-The 2019 Honda CRF450R engine sees a revised cylinder head with a focus on the exhaust port and a new header pipe. The header pipe diameter has been increased as well as overall length to the muffler, all in trying to get more power across the rpm range. Honda also updated the selectable EFI map selections (standard-1/smooth-2/aggressive-3) for better use of power delivery in specific conditions, as well as selectable HRC launch control modes.
2-The 2019 CRF450R’s Next-Gen twin spar aluminum frame positions the rear shock’s mounting point lower, opening up the airbox area and contributing to a lower center of gravity. Honda also took some rigidity out of the sub-frame to help with rear wheel traction and comfort. The new swingarm design is lighter and provides appropriate rigidity communication to the rest of the bike, resulting in a much more compliant feel (more on that below).
3-Other important improvements to the 2019 Honda CRF450R is a Renthal Fatbar that is attached to a new top triple clamp (offers 4 different handlebar mount positions), updated front brake caliper, and last but not least… BLACK WHEELS! Boom! Yes! Everyone should be happy-happy-joy-joy now right?
4-For 2019 Honda released their first ever WE or “Works Edition” motorcycle. At first glance the 2019 CRF450RWE looks a lot like Ken Roczen’s factory race bike. The “WE” utilizes the 2019 CRF450R as a base, but features a handful of upgrades like the Ken Roczen replica graphic kit, a hand ported cylinder head with an engraved “CRF450R Works Edition” stamp, Yoshimura slip on exhaust and more aggressive ECU settings. Other upgrades include: Kashima and titanium nitride coated forks, “super finished” and a titanium nitrate coated shock shaft, valving settings, DID LT-X rims, RK gold chain, black triple clamps and a Throttle Jockey gripper seat cover.
5-So how is the engine Keefer? The engine on the 2019 CRF450R rolls on smoother than the 2018, but still has plenty of excitement coming out of corners. You will find a noticeable difference (with the 2019) in the CRF450R’s mid to top end power. It is longer than that of its older brother and lets you make your shifts later. The 2019 CRF450R can be left in second and third gears longer than the 2018, which lets you work slightly smarter not harder. If you’re looking for a little more snap head on over to map 3 and enjoy the newfound harder hit than you had in map 1. Map 2 should be used only if you’re scared of map 1 and map 3. Last year’s engine character was snappy and fun, but lacked some length in it’s pull. For 2019 Honda found some length (insert your own joke here)!
6-The CRF450RWE’s engine has more of a free revving feel to it than the 2019 CRF450R and feels more connected to the ground when under acceleration. In layman’s terms it is even smoother down low than the CRF450R, but pulls better than the “R” through mid to top. Yes, the “RWE” is stronger and pulls longer than the “R”. To me it’s not a huge difference, but it is noticeable. Here’s a little inside tip. Roczen and Seely’s engines are so smooth down low and pull insanely far through mid to top end. Honda put some of that “feel” into the CRF450RWE engine.
7-To me the biggest change to the 2019 CRF450R is its chassis character on the track. You can have the fastest engine in the world, but it isn’t going to mean anything if the bike can’t handle right? The rigidity balance is so much better for 2019 as the frame’s bump compliance is more rider friendly. The 2018 felt harsh when the track got hard packed and choppy, but the 2019 frame feels like it flexes much better and gives the rider more confidence on fast straight line parts of the track. Not only only on straights, but this frame character helps the rider come into the corner harder because it feels less twitchy. The 2019 CRF450R is almost two pounds lighter than the 2018 and to me I can feel the weight loss through mid corner. Initial lean feels slightly slower compared to the 2018 model, but once inside the rut/corner, getting in and out feels slightly easier. I will gladly take more stability/less rigidity and get a slightly slower initial lean out of a Honda any day. I am sure most riders will appreciate this newfound compliance out of both red machines.
8-The suspension on the “R” has slightly more comfort than that of the “RWE”. The CRF450R feels a little softer and more forgiving on small chatter/bumps while the CRF450RWE invites the rider to be more aggressive and charge into them. This doesn’t mean that the CRF450RWE is harsh, but just has a stiffer feel to it. I feel larger sized riders (185-200 pounds) will appreciate the RWE’s suspension more than the lighter riders.
9- Hallelujah Honda has a Renthal Fatbar like we mentioned earlier. Not only do they have a 1-1/8 sized handlebar, but the bend is actually great in stock form. It’s 802mm in length and has a lower bend, which fits the Honda’s ergos so much better than the older 971 7/8 Renthal handlebar. It also feels like there is less vibration coming from the Fatbar compared to the 7/8 bend, so that is nice as well!
10-Here are a couple questions I get asked all the time that maybe I can answer for you all right now!
Is it worth getting a 2019 Honda CRF450R (compared to a 2018)? Yes, to me it’s absolutely worth getting a 2019 versus a new 2018. The chassis alone is worth the price of admission, especially if you’re a Honda lover. The increased pulling power and black rims are another reason to get the 2019 Honda CRF450R.
Keefer is the 2019 CRF450RWE worth the extra money compared to the 2019 CRF450R? If I was buying a bike, I would go with the 2019 CRF450R model. Why? I like how the power delivery is made just a little more on the CRF450R than the CRF450RWE. I love the free revving feel of the CRF450RWE, but I like the bottom end snap that I get with the “R”.
I am looking forward to riding more tracks with both of these machines to see how much versatility the new 2019 Honda’s have. If you want to hear more information about both machines click on the the “Keefer Tested Podcast” tab right here on pulpmx.com.