CAN THE CARBURETED,
COMPETE WITH FUEL-INJECTED, ALUMINUM-FRAMED 450S?
Yes. You can see
the proof at races
around the country and
around the world. The
truth is, fuel injection
and aluminum frames
have advantages, and
so do carburetion
and steel frames.
Fuel injection and
aluminum frames tend
to be more expensive
than carburetion and
steel frames, but not
better in every way.
offers more precise,
but it is more complex. Aluminum
frames can offer some strength and
weight advantages, but the differences
are small, and years of racing hasn’t
shown aluminum frames to be
superior to the Honda’s steel frame.
HOW DOES COST COMPARE?
When it comes to racing 450s,
the Honda 450R is by far the least
expensive route to racing-level 450
performance, but you can’t simply
compare prices. The Honda costs
$7799, but it is a woods-width
machine in a basic level of trim.
The most similar 450s, Kawasaki
KFX450R and Can-Am’s DS 450 base
model aren’t available for 2015.
The only other woods-width
competition quad is Can-Am’s DS 450
X xc. It’s $9099, but it comes with
ITP Holeshot XC tires and beadlock
wheels, nerf bars, bumpers, a taller
anti-vibe steering stem and aluminum
handlebars. The other racing 450s—
Yamaha’s $8799 YFZ450R and
Can-Am’s $9799 DS 450 X mx—are
motocross-width models. Adding
the shocks, wider A-arms and axle
to convert the Honda to motocross
width costs $1600 to $2000.
WHAT MAKES THE POWER?
The Honda has a single-overhead-cam (SOHC) four-valve engine, but it’s
different than other SOHC designs.
The cam operates the intake valves
directly and the exhaust valves with
rocker arms. The engine cases are
unusual too. Separate oil supplies
for the engine and transmission keep
debris from the clutch and transmission
from contaminating the engine oil.
A 40mm Keihin FCR carburetor
HOW FAST IS IT?
feeds the engine. Unlike fuel-injected
quads, you need to use the choke for
cold starts and rejet the carb for top
performance at extreme elevations.
It’s seriously fast, right from the
showroom floor. Only highly skilled
riders can fully use all the Honda’s
power and acceleration. Very few
trail or dune conditions require more
performance, and the 450R has
enough power for entry-level racing.
Modifications can turn the Honda
into a monster fast enough for
top pros in any form of racing.
HOW IS THE POWER DELIVERY?
The Honda’s power builds quickly
and hits hard, and it keeps pulling at
high revs. Skilled, aggressive riders
can have a blast trail riding or duning
with the Honda, and the power is
perfect for motocross. When you
a lower price
than other 450
directly and the
with rocker arms.
and power on the
are on the same
level as fuel-injected 450s.
The basic steel
aren’t as sweet
as the aluminum
bars and better
parking brakes on