Honda’s 2022 CRF450R has been the focus of our testing this week. This bike was the biggest news of last year when it hit. It was bad timing for Honda, however, because much of the final testing was cut short by the Covid-19 shutdown. As a result, the bike arrived with final settings for mapping and suspension that weren’t quite right. In most other ways, the bike was phenomenal. It was fast and light. The hydraulic clutch was excellent. It turned well, stopped well and was immediately comfortable for virtually everyone.
The 2022 version has updated EFI mapping and changes to suspension valving. The mapping was available last year as an update. There was also a recall to replace the drive chain. The suspension valving is new, but the springs are unchanged. Last year, just about everyone preferred the optional 56 Nm rear spring (one step stiffer than standard). The Honda still has a big array of electronic options to alter the power delivery. There are three maps available through the handlebar-mounted multi switch; standard (one flash of the blue light), mild (two flashes) and aggressive (three flashes). Additionally, there are three levels of traction control and three levels of launch control.
The first thing you need to understand about the 2022 model is that all the maps are usable this year. Before, only the standard map worked well, and it still had an occasional glitch. The bike is still crazy powerful, so the option of a usable mild map is a plus for most riders. Traction control is usable as well, but don’t expect miracles. There are some tracks and some conditions where it’s beneficial. The Honda has a mid-range power surge that hits strong and hard, so even if you think you’re hooking up, chances are that you’re giving something away to wheelspin. In super loose dirt, though, traction control can make the bike feel choked up. It turns out that using wheel spin is a normal riding technique that we all develop.
We love the way the Honda turns. Always have. It’s light and easy to steer. You also get the feeling that the bike is lighter than anything else on the market. It is lighter than any 450s from Japan (233 pounds without fuel on our scale), but before you get too impressed, you should know that the 2022 KTM 450SX-F is a full 10 pounds lighter.
We are going to put our 2022 model to the ultimate test next week. Justin Jones is going to ride it in the final two rounds of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Series. To do that, he will make virtually no changes to the motor. The suspension will be stiffened up considerably. We still feel that the optional rear spring is enough for most riders, but Justin will go several steps beyond that. The test will appear in the December 2021 print edition of Dirt Bike Magazine.
VIRGINIA CITY GP
The Virginia City GP is on schedule to run on October 23. This time it seems likely to actually happen, although in these times, you never know. Entries will open next week, so you want in, log on and get your starting position. You can register for the 50th annual Virginia City GP here.
RED STICKER NEWS
A hearing was held on California Senate Bill 227 yesterday. This is the latest chapter in the on-going California Red-Sticker issue. It will reinstate registration for closed-course off-road vehicles, although there is still nothing firm on how it will affect access to state-held lands. The bill moved incrementally forward, and is held in submission on the committee for Water, Parks and Wildlife. One of the best explanations of what’s happening with this issue was put together by Dirt Bike contributor Jean Turner, and can be viewed below.
HOW TO WATCH THE IRONMAN NATIONAL MX
The good news is that both motos of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross at Craffordville, Indiana will be live tomorrow–no tape delay. As we’ve seen before, the first motos of the 450 and 250 classes will be on MAV TV, and second motos will be on NBC Sports Network. We will also have live results right here as soon as they are available.
ISDE TO START MONDAY
The ISDE will actually happen this year! In fact it starts Monday and team USA is still the defending champion in both the World Trophy and Woman’s Trophy classes. The World Trophy Team includes Taylor Robert, the 2016 ISDE overall winner and three-time class winner; 2015 ISDE overall winner Ryan Sipes on a GASGAS EC 300 TPI; Layne Michael on a Yamaha YZ450F and newcomer Johnny Girroir on a GASGAS EC 250F. The 2021 U.S. Junior World Trophy Team, made up of riders age 23 and younger includes Dante Oliveira, who will be headlining the team’s efforts aboard the KTM 450 XC-F. Austin Walton will join him on the Husqvarna FX 450, as well as Cody Barnes, aboard a Honda CRF250R. Brandy Richards leads the defending Women’s World Trophy Team Champions into the week with a strong outlook as she enters her third year aboard the KTM 350 XC-F. Rachel Gutish, who is also no stranger to the ISDE, joins the team aboard the Husqvarna FX 350, alongside first-timer Britney Gallegos on a Husqvarna FX 250. There will be daily coverage right here at dirtbikemagazine.com.
VINTAGE MOTORCYCLE DAYS
The American Motorcyclist Association has announced that the 30th installment of its annual celebration of vintage motorcycles will be July 22-24, 2022, at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. “AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days is getting better every year, and this past summer’s event was no exception,” said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. “We expect the 2022 event to keep the momentum going with even more riding, racing and fun at our three-day festival of all things vintage motorcycling.”
AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days is organized and promoted by the American Motorcyclist Association to raise funds for the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps fund the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame’s mission to promote the heritage of motorcycling in America. To receive updates about AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, sign up for the AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days e-newsletter at https://americanmotorcyclist.com/ama-vintage-motorcycle-days-e-news-sign-up-2/, follow the official event Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AMAVintageMotorcycleDays and keep an eye on https://www.amavintagemotorcycledays.com.
See you next week!