First Impression | 2019 Honda CRF450R Works Edition

Photos by Mike Emery

An exciting addition to the CRF line-up is the introduction of the CRF450R "Works Edition". The "WE" is a premium offering that’s based on the standard model with significant style and performance influence from the HRC Honda Race Team.

From a performance standpoint, the "WE" offers a hand-ported cylinder head aimed at improving torque between 5,000-6,000 rpm with a special "Works Edition" stamp on the head. The ECU settings have been revised to complement the cylinder modifications, as have the launch control settings influenced by Ken Roczen's preferred starting modes. Yoshimura titanium slip-on mufflers with carbon fiber caps add some bling, save weight, and help clean up the power throughout the curve. Kashima coating on the fork tubes fills surface micro-pores which reduces stiction while titanium-nitride coated fork legs and shock shaft offer plush, smooth action.

The factory look is achieved with the addition of the Throttle Jockey Team HRC seat cover, Team graphics with Ken Roczen's familiar #94, black top and bottom triple clamps, and gold chain.

Although the performance differences were not immense, we could certainly feel some variation to the standard model. The throttle response on the WE is crisp right off the bottom and the engine seems to rev more freely throughout the power curve. However, we felt that the cylinder porting and associated ECU adjustments may have sacrificed a little torque at the very bottom of the power curve. Our guys all agreed that the standard model offered more grunt down low right out of the corners before the performance of the "WE" surpassed the standard model throughout the rest of the curve. We chose to ride in Map 3 most of the time, as it offered the best hit down low while still exceeding the great mid-range and top-end offered by the standard model.

Although the internal settings of the suspension are the same, the slick feel of the Kashima and titanium-nitride coatings make the suspension feel softer on both ends, but to a higher degree in the rear. The action was smooth and plush, but also seemed to flow through the stroke with less effort requiring us to add a few extra clicks of compression to increase the bottoming resistance. Some of our guys felt a little more oil in the forks would maintain the smooth feel but offer the improved bottoming resistance we were looking for. Overall, the WE is a stunning machine that offers the look and performance gains most customers are likely looking for in a new bike – kudos to Honda for the effort!