Looks like the brilliant minds at Honda have pulled their heads out and are finally offering a 450cc dual sport. The 2019 CFR450L looks to be the real deal. A factory street legal 450cc dual sport with fuel injection and a SIX SPEED TRANNY! What does this mean? and why did it take so long?
With Hondas excellent track record of building reliable bikes with incredible value, there’s no doubt the CRF450L will be dominating a huge share of the dual sport market. Now that Honda has raised the bar, it will be exciting to see how the other three Japanese manufactures react. The 2019 CRF450L will undoubtably mean a new DRZ400 or RMZ 450s is on the way.
Following this move by Honda, nothing less than a fuel injected 6 speed lightweight dual sport will be acceptable. I love the idea of programmable fuel system mapping. Being able to switch ride modes on the fly when your covering diverse terrain or conserving fuel while hiway ridding would be great. Plugged pilot jets and lousy performance due to altitude change won’t be missed either. And a six speed trans! I know we all want that!!
As far as the reason why the big four have taken so long to bring a 450 DS to market, well… that all depends on who you ask. Some say it’s the difficult emission restrictions. I really don’t think the big Japanese companies would have any trouble designing a system around the current emmision standards, I mean Volkswagon was able to make a clean diesel right? I think it comes down to money, and after seeing sales from the smaller guys like KTM and Beta picking up, Honda couldn’t resist. Now the remaining three of the big four are going to be playing catch up.
The DRZ400 has been sitting in it’s niche spot as a low cost, mid sized, dual sport for nearly two decades, so we have to ask ourselves…
Will Suzuki keep the DRZ400 around as a low cost alternative?
Will Honda try and drive another nail into the DRZ’s coffin by offering a CRF450 supermoto?
These are going to be exciting times in the mid sized dual sport market!
Cheers!- to the future generation of 450cc Japanese dual sports!!