First Look - 50th Anniversary 2023 Honda CRF450R, CRF450R-WE, CRF250R and More! 2

Learn all you need to know about Honda's 50th anniversary range of 2023 CRF motocross models.

First Look - 50th Anniversary 2023 Honda CRF450R, CRF450R-WE, CRF250R and More!

Honda has released their latest motocross model range, the 2023 lineup holds a special distinction as Honda Powersport's 50th year of motocross models! For this occasion, there's a host of updates to the CRF450R and CRF450R-WE along with a special edition model to commemorate the occasion. Scroll down to learn more.


When Honda introduced the first CR250M Elsinore fifty years ago, we changed motocross forever. And for 2023, we’re launching three new ways for you to dominate on the track: the CRF450R, the CRF450RWE, and the limited edition 50th Anniversary 450R trim. Updates include changes to the intake tract to give the engine more low- and midrange torque – giving you faster corner exits and the ability to pull taller gears. The updated chassis is more robust at key points, resulting in better stability, optimized suspension performance, and improved handling. There’s even a new, stronger muffler.

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And here’s the biggest news: To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Honda Elsinore, we’re producing a special, limited run of the CRF450R complete with blue seat, gold handlebar and rims, commemorative graphics, and more.Finally, there’s also our CRF450RWE (WE for Works Edition). It gets all the 2023 improvements plus special touches like a new, exclusive Yoshimura exhaust, Twin Air filter, Throttle Jockey seat cover, Hinson clutch basket and cover, premium DID DirtStar LT-X rims, Kashima and titanium oxide-coated fork, a red cylinder head cover, and hands-on touches like special cylinder-head porting.

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We’ve put 50 years of know-how into our latest 450Rs. Choose your model, and let the winning commence.

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The frame’s rigidity has been optimized by increasing material thickness in strategic locations and the use of steel engine mounts (replacing aluminum) helps improve front-end traction. A higher-rate shock spring and revised fork settings complement the rigidity-optimized frame without introducing harshness. To enhance strength and reduce noise, the muffler body is constructed from heat-treated aluminum and a new inner-pipe design is used.

For 2023, Honda also offers a 50th Anniversary Edition of the model, featuring a livery reminiscent of the legendary 1980s CRs that ruled American motocross and supercross. Easily recognizable to fans of that era, this version features a blue seat cover, white number plates, gold rims, gold handlebar, gray-metallic triple clamp and special graphics.

The CRF450R will new available from July at $9599, with the CRF450R 50th Anniversary Edition arriving in September and priced at $9899.

There will once again be a CRF450RWE (Works Edition), including a stainless-steel Yoshimura exhaust, hand-polished cylinder ports, Hinson clutch basket and cover, Throttle Jockey seat cover and graphics, D.I.D DirtStar LT-X rims and DM2 gold chain, coated fork tubes, fork legs and shock 18 mm shock shaft, gray metallic triple clamps, Renthal Kevlar grips and dedicated ignition mapping. It arrives in September at $12,399.

Interestingly, at $9899 and available from October, the CRF450R-S has been upgraded in order with the latest generation and is based upon the current 2022 model CRF450R.

Honda has also uncovered the 2023 Honda CRF250R. Noted for its exceptional handling thanks in part to a narrow layout and low weight, strong acceleration achieved through notable torque and low- to mid-range power and endurance over race distance, the current platform was used by Team Honda HRC’s Jett Lawrence to capture this year’s 250SX East championship. Available from June at $8199.

 

PERFORMANCE

EXCLUSIVE WORKS EDITION

Simply stated, the best of the best. The CRF450RWE Works Edition includes all the standard CRF450R features, but also gets a special hand-ported cylinder head; Hinson clutch basket and cover; Twin Air filter, Throttle Jockey graphics and seat cover; upgraded DID DirtStar LT-X rims; an exclusive Yoshimura exhaust system including a titanium midpipe and muffler; titanium oxide-coated lower fork legs; revalved suspension; an RK gold chain; special ECU settings; and black triple clamps. Available in extremely limited numbers.

450cc UNICAM ENGINE

Honda Unicam cylinder heads combine the best of single- and double-overhead-cam designs. The configuration contributes to a compact engine that saves weight over a comparable dual-overhead-camshaft motor and also permits a narrow included valve angle. This flattens the combustion chamber to facilitate ignition flame propagation, allowing a high compression ratio. Since less space is taken up in the cylinder head, the camshaft sits lower in the head for a more compact engine and a lower center of gravity.

NEW INTAKE TRACT, THROTTLE BODY, AND CAM TIMING

To help boost the CRF450R’s low-and midrange power delivery, for 2023 we’ve made changes to the intake tract and throttle body to boost intake-mixture speed. New ECU settings, ignition maps, and cam timing using less overlap are all inspired by our factory HRC racebikes, and all work together to help you get on the gas sooner and roost out of corners faster and harder.

AUTOMATIC DECOMPRESSION SYSTEM

You can’t see this unless you take the engine apart, but you’ll notice it on the track. Last year our engineers redesigned the auto decompression hardware, and also moved it from the right side of the cam to the left. The result is less stalling at extreme low RPM (think deep into a turn without downshifting) as well as better rideability.

CENTRAL-PORT CYLINDER HEAD

The 2023 CRF450R features a special cylinder head. Its biggest feature: an oval-shaped centralized exhaust port. Together with the single-muffler exhaust, it boosts power from 5000 rpm up, and increases exhaust efficiency. Plus, the CRF450RWE gets some exclusive porting touches and engraving. The cylinder head cover is red too, so it really stands out.

TITANIUM INTAKE VALVES

Lightweight titanium intake valves cut down on reciprocating mass and permit the use of smaller valve springs, reducing overall engine height.

FUEL INJECTION SYSTEM

By installing the CRF450R’s fuel injector at a 60-degree angle, the injector sprays fuel all the way back to the throttle butterfly. The engine gets a cooler, denser fuel charge for more power and better torque. It’s little details like this that put the CRF450R up front.

DOWNDRAFT FUEL INJECTION

The CRF450R features a downdraft intake tract and FI body to help increase both power and fuel-metering precision. It’s part of the reason the CRF450R offers such explosive power and massive torque, especially out of the starting gate and in the critical first 100 feet of the race to the first turn.

DOUBLE-SPRAY INJECTOR SETTINGS

The CRF450R’s fuel-injection system sprays twice per intake cycle. That helps increase fuel atomization without adding the weight or complexity of a second injector. The better fuel atomization means more power in the midrange and on overrev—you’ll feel it the first time you race.

DUNLOP MX33 TIRES

These are the tires of choice for serious MX racers right now, so naturally, we fit the best to the 2023 CRF450R. The Dunlops hook up in a wide variety of conditions, and help you put the CRF450R’s improved cornering performance to the ground.

CYLINDER HEAD LAYOUT

The CRF450R uses our latest finger-follower rocker design. The Unicam cylinder head remains one of the most efficient in the MX world, giving you the design and performance of a double-overhead-cam layout but the compactness of a single-overhead-cam design.

13.5:1 COMPRESSION RATIO

Honda engineering at its best: The CRF450R’s cylinder head features a highly refined combustion-chamber shape and generous squish area, allowing an impressive 13.5:1 compression ratio for superior efficiency and power.

SKID PLATE

A factory skid plate is light and offers the engine and lower-frame protection that a racer demands.

HANDLING

LIGHT NARROW FRAME

Great handling starts with a superior frame, and that’s one place where the CRF450R chassis puts you out front. First, it’s light—over a pound and a half lighter than the previous generation’s. By making the frame’s main spars narrow, we save weight, but more importantly we make the chassis more responsive by fine-tuning the lateral rigidity. The result is a bike that gets into, around, and out of corners faster.

NEW ENGINE HANGERS

For 2023, we’ve made the cylinder-head engine hangers stronger and stiffer, and made the frame thicker where the hangers attach. The whole assembly is more rigid now, to enhance handling.

NEW SUSPENSION MOUNTING POINTS

More robust suspension mounting points this year enhance chassis and suspension stability. When the suspension works better, the chassis works better, and you get better drive and handling everywhere.

NARROW SWINGARM

Designed in conjunction with the frame, by using narrower main members (just like the frame uses narrower main spars), we’ve matched the swingarm’s lateral rigidity to the rest of the chassis. What you get is a balanced, fully integrated approach to frame stiffness, letting you get around corners faster and with better feel.

LIGHTWEIGHT SUBFRAME

The CRF450R subframe is nearly three-quarters of a pound lighter than the last generation’s part. We’ve simplified its construction too.

SEALED BATTERY BOX

Three key features you should know about: The battery box sits low, for improved center of gravity. Second, it’s also easy to service. And third, it’s water-tight, so there's less to worry about when racing in wet conditions.

FRONT SUSPENSION

We’ve changed the suspension settings on the 2023 CRF450R, fine-tuning them for better damping and handling. And note the axle holding fixtures at the bottom of each fork leg—they help increase rigidity, and enhance steering precision and suspension performance.

TUNED TRIPLE CLAMPS

The CRF450R is a perfectly matched package. With the frame and swingarm featuring an optimized lateral stiffness, and the fork legs featuring a stiff, solid-feel axle fixture, we joined the two with equally refined upper and lower triple clamps. Working in concert, they help improve and balance total rigidity, responsiveness and turning performance.

REAR SUSPENSION

The CRF450R’s frame design lets us fit a special rear shock. We optimized its shape to match the frame, and gave it special revised settings for 2023 to improve handling and ride. The shocks valving resets fast for better response. In addition, it features a special steel spring that cuts weight without cutting performance. With the RWE, you get additional special A-Kit shock tuning and valving.

SHOWA SPRING FORK

The 49mm Showa fork features a conventional spring design that helps increase the CRF450R’s front-suspension precision, handling and feel. The spring rate provides better bottoming resistance and improved handling. Plus, on the CRF450RWE, the inner rod has a special Kashima coating, and the outer tubes feature a titanium oxide coating.

SINGLE-PIPE EXHAUST

Along with the single-muffler exhaust, the CRF450R naturally uses a single-pipe header. It routes close to the center of the bike, and its light overall construction helps improve weight distribution.

SINGLE-MUFFLER EXHAUST

New this year, we made the CRF450R muffler stronger, by using a new outer shell. We also changed the inner pipe construction. Even with these improvements, it still weighs the same. The CRF450RWE’s exhaust is another premium item. It uses a stainless header along with a titanium midpipe and muffler, made specially for us by Yoshimura. Super light and super trick, the exhaust tucks away for better ergonomics too.

HYDRAULIC CLUTCH

The CRF450R features the first hydraulically actuated dirtbike clutch we’ve offered outside of our works bikes. Made by Nissin, it’s the same design as in our Grand Prix MX machines, and performs better than third-party conversions. You get a clutch-lever pull that’s ten percent lighter at its peak, even though it’s paired with an eight-plate clutch. Plus, you’ll never have to worry about making a clutch-cable adjustment, even during the longest events.

EXCLUSIVE HINSON CLUTCH BASKET

The CRF450RWE gets a premium clutch basket made by Hinson, and a tasty Hinson clutch cover to top it all off.

EIGHT-PLATE CLUTCH ASSEMBLY

While the CRF450R’s hydraulic clutch gets all the attention, make sure you pay attention to the clutch assembly itself. The bike uses an eight-plate design to improve durability and hookup. That means 85 percent less slip at peak horsepower, and 27 percent more total torque transmission through the clutch pack over a seven-plate clutch. Even the spring is super strong for better lockup, but thanks to the hydraulic actuation, clutch-lever pull is lighter.

HRC LAUNCH CONTROL

We’re talking about a special ECU program here: push the button to select the mode, hold the throttle open, release the clutch, and the CRF450R will do the rest, launching you into the first turn with a big advantage. It turns your bike into a holeshot-seeking machine!

Honda SELECTABLE TORQUE CONTROL (HSTC)

The button on the handlebar by the clutch perch activates our Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC). You can choose from one of three settings to perfectly dial your bike in depending on how much traction is available.

ENGINE MODE SELECT BUTTON

This simple handlebar-mounted button lets you dial in engine power delivery character with a push of your thumb. Choose between Standard, Smooth and Aggressive, depending on track conditions.

COMPACT FUEL PUMP

No detail is too small for our engineers—especially if they can make it smaller and lighter. That’s why we even made the CRF450R’s fuel pump super compact and super light. Why carry around any extra weight when you don’t have too?

ONE-PIECE RADIATOR SHROUDS

Using computer-aided Computational Fluid Dynamics, our engineers fine-tuned the CRF450R’s radiator shrouds to increase cooling. You can see that they’re a one-piece design, but more important, they promote better cooling for more consistent power, longer into a race, especially when you’re really on the gas and working the engine hard.

REAR BRAKE PADS

Brakes are for more than just stopping: they help you set up the bike in turns and jumps. Which is why we pay so much attention to detail like brake pads. They’re designed to last longer and give you more stopping power—a real win/win to help you win.

260mm FRONT BRAKE

The CRF450R’s large front-brake disc measures a whopping 260mm. You get great brake feel and a pattern that cuts down on weight. Front and rear brake-disc guards are part of the package too.

TITANIUM FUEL TANK

Grams and performance count, and the CRF450R uses a titanium fuel tank. Light and strong, it maintains the same capacity as our previous plastic unit, while freeing up more space and helping to centralize fuel mass.

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