The 2023 Honda CRF450RX is Honda’s version of the closed-course cross-country racer, meaning it’s purpose-built for western-style off-road racing like WORCS and NGPC. All of the manufacturers offer something in this category and for the most part, they adhere to the same formula: you start with a motocross bike, soften the suspension, put on an 18-inch rear wheel, more fuel capacity and a kickstand, then bolt on a few items like handguards and a skidplate. Honda went a little further by developing specific off-road maps–three of them, in fact, but the bike is still very competition oriented. For 2023, it received many of the same upgrades that the latest CRF450R motocross bike got. That includes a smaller throttle body, a narrower intake-port shape, a longer intake funnel and a new cam profile. The frame has the same basic dimensions, but material thickness has been increased in several locations to alter flex characteristics. Along the same line, steel engine mounts replace the aluminum ones. The suspension valving has been revised as well and the muffler is new. Join us at Chocolate Mountain Ranch near El Cajon California as we get our first opportunity to ride the new Honda.