The Honda CRF450X is all-new this year, and we had the opportunity to test it this past October in the Mojave Desert of Southern California. Prior to the bike’s overhaul in 2019, the CRF450X remained largely the same from when it was first introduced in 2005. The CRF450X has been the most successful bike in Baja with 11 Baja 1000 victories and another nine wins in the Baja 500.
Project bike builder Jay Clark purchased a 2007 Honda CRF450X off of Craigslist with the goal of making it as fast and as strong as an R model by using several parts from a variety of different companies. We rode it at an off-road riding area in Southern California after some rain and were impressed with how a bike more than a decade old performed with some aftermarket components and proper tuning.
The main modifications done to the CRF450X were cutting the airbox open to allow more airflow and cutting the pink wire on the ECU. According to Clark, the pink wire retards the ignition about three degrees and cutting it is an easy way to make the bike faster. Additionally, the backfire screen was removed, a smog elimination kit was installed, and the odometer was taken off with the R model front axle installed in its place. Listed at the bottom of the article are the jetting specifications along with the full list of parts Clark used on the build.
The first thing we noticed when riding Clark’s creation was how quickly it revved. Because of this, we found ourselves shifting quickly on fast straightaways. Due to the bike’s plentiful amount of torque, we were able to leave it in third gear in most corners as it had more than enough grunt to comfortably pull it. This enabled us to avoid quickly pulling through second gear and having to shift to third immediately coming out of corners.
The Factory Connection-massaged suspension components worked well. The fork maintained a plush feel, even on slap-down landings, while the shock stayed planted in slower and high-speed situations alike. The CRF450X was built to dominate Baja, so it understandably favors straight line stability. We were also impressed with how well it cornered too. Overall, Clark did a great job of bringing this more-than-a-decade-old bike back to life. The amount of power the bike has is comparable to most current year 450cc off-road motorcycles, but with a more sudden delivery that’s not as linear or controllable as a fuel-injected bike. The suspension performance allowed for a comfortable and predictable ride, and the plethora of aftermarket goodies made it look great as well.
- 48 pilot
- 42 leak
- 160 main
- Stock needle with 1mm shim underneath in the middle clip
- 2 turns out on fuel screw