Cycle World recently reviewed Honda’s new do-it-all dirt bike, the CRF450RX. You can read the article here. I found the opening paragraphs of the review to be particularly interesting.
“Has there been a better time to be an off-road rider? Gone are the days of morbidly overweight, underpowered, and stone-age-tech bikes that plagued us for decades. Instead, we’re offered up some truly impressive options. One of the bikes on that list is the 2020 Honda CRF450RX, which is cut from the same cloth as Honda’s flagship motocrosser—the CRF450R. The most notable change made to the bike for 2020 is the addition of Honda’s Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) system—also known as traction control.
Billed as a “do-it-all” motorcycle, the CRF450RX takes Honda’s proven CRF450R platform and specs it with some off-road bits like an oversize fuel tank, 18-inch rear wheel, and an oh-so-convenient kickstand to place it firmly between the no-compromises, track-only CRF450R and the headlight-equipped, more mild-mannered CRF450X. What this results in is a bike that Honda hopes appeals to the large majority of riders who not only spin laps at the motocross track, but ride just as often at local OHV areas and enter a couple of races a year in either MX or off-road.”
These two paragraphs spawned two competing thoughts in my mind.
- I’m really glad that we are finally seeing new, versatile dirt bikes for off-road riders. The CRF450RX is not focused on a single sport (such as motocross) but is suitable for the vast number of riders out there that ride a mix of dirt.
- It seems that the only time magazine articles ever really point out the main shortcomings of any particular motorcycle is when that motorcycle is replaced by a newer bike. Reviews generally tout the awesomeness of whatever bike they are currently reviewing (just look at their praise for the CRF450RX). However, when a new model shows up a year or three later, then the reviewers finally tell you what was wrong with the bike they formerly gushed over. The excerpt above is a good example of what I’m talking about. In past reviews, the magazines have reviewed the bikes that this article is calling “morbidly overweight, underpowered, and stone-age tch” but did not use the same frank language when reviewing those bikes. Only now, with the release of the new CRF450RX, are they telling you that the old bikes were really not all that great. The lesson is that you might want to take any magazine review with a grain of salt because you probably aren’t getting a completely candid story.
Anyway, at the end of the day, new bikes and more choices are a good thing and I’m glad we have a new, modern dirt bike from Honda.