We now have the 2023 CRF450RWE and we’ve been dodging the storms to get some time on it. It’s a special edition of the CRF450R–actually, another special edition. There are several. In addition to the standard model, which sells for $9599, there’s a 50th Anniversary edition with retro cosmetics for $9899. Then there’s the CRF450R-S, which is essentially a 2022 model. That sells for $8799. The Works Edition is a team replica with a long list of upgrades and graphics that are a tribute to the HRC works team and Chase Sexton. It carries a price of $12,399. By the way, Honda doesn’t officially call it the Sexton Replica. We do.

Our first day on the Honda CRF450RWE was cut short by yet another wave of the Pineapple Express.

This is the fifth year for the Honda CRF450RWE and by far, the 2023 standard model is the best starting point for an all-out pro-level racer. For 2023 it got a new frame, although the differences are subtle. Flex characteristics were altered without significant changes to overall geometry. In the motor, the intake ports were reshaped, the throttle body was downsized and the cam profile was redesigned. The Showa suspension got new valving at both ends. In the rear, the shock spring was increased from 54 N/mm to 56. All those changes affect both the standard model and the Works Edition. In addition to all that, the RWE gets:

  • Head work
  • Yoshimura exhaust with stainless steel header
  • Hinson clutch cover
  • Hinson basket
  • New mapping
  • Throttle Jockey seat cover
  • HRC graphics
  • Twin Air filter element
  • DID gold chain
  • Renthal Kevlar grips
  • Anodized triple clamps
  • DID LT-X rims
  • Red valve cover
  • Laser engraved logo
  • Kashima & Ti Nitride for the fork and shock shaft
  • The shock and fork have valving that is further updated from the standard 2023 model in order to work with the low-friction coatings.
The Honda Works Edition sells for $13,199.

We already know that the 2023 standard edition made impressive gains in manageability. The smaller throttle body and the new cam for 2023 changed everything. The motor gained massive low-end torque. Below 7500 rpm, it was the dyno champ of our 2023 motocross shootout. Nothing came close. After that, it packed up and went home. In peak power, it gave away almost 4 horsepower to the KTM, Husky and Yamaha.
The Works Edition regains about half of that peak-power deficit without losing anything down low. It’s still a bottom-to-mid range powerhouse, but now the drop on top is much less noticeable. If you get into a bar-to-bar drag race with a KTM, the 450RWE can go all the way to the rev limiter and have a fighting chance. The usable powerband is actually broader than it’s been in years.

Pete Murray on the 2023 CRF450RWE.

Despite the kinder, gentler power delivery, the Honda is still a demanding motorcycle. It’s quick-steering and a little hyperactive. That’s a trait that long time Honda riders love but others have a hard time coming to terms with. It can wear you out. This isn’t a stability issue; the CRF has no issues with headshake or anything scary that happens at speed. It’s more about that moment when you initiate the turn. The Honda can cut it sharper than you might want, so be ready.
The suspension is closer to the mark than ever. The stiffer rear shock spring this year is a step in the right direction. There’s less chassis movement than before, and it does an okay job with small chop and square edges. The Works Edition has a different feel from the standard one, but not that different. The fork is a little cushier without being overlay active. It’s still not the best suspension set up for really rough tracks, but it’s better. The bar is getting higher all the time in the suspension world. We like this bike a lot and can’t wait for things to dry out so we can get more time on it. The full test will be in the June, 2023 print edition of Dirt Bike.


The Wiseco Two-Stroke World Championship is coming to Glen Helen on April 8th. It’s happening on a Saturday this year to give us all Easter day off. Dirt Bike Magazine will be hosting a live feed of the Open Pro race on our Youtube channel. Mark Tilley has been named to co-host the event, and it will feature both motos plus features and interviews. Put it on the calendar!



The NGPC series had a successful live feed of round four at Glen Helen, too. The next one will be during the Pro class of tthe rond at 29 Palms on April 2. Check it out!


If you have a long drive in front of you and need to know about the 2023 250 motocross bikes, tune into the official Dirt Bike podcast. After you listen to the audio version of our 250 shootout, you can claim a discount on your print subscription with the secret code that only true insiders get.

The Wild Bore is in the books after last weekend.  It was round 2 of the GNCC series at Hog Waller ATV Resort and Campground in Florida. The runout was 1,017 bikes.


Wild Boar XC1 Bike
Benjamin Kelley (KTM)
Steward Baylor (KTM)
Craig DeLong (HQV)
Wild Boar XC1 ATV
Brycen Neal (YAM)
Hunter Hart (YAM)
Cole Richardson (YAM)

XC2 250 Pro:
Ryder Lafferty (GAS)
Liam Draper (YAM)
Lyndon Snodgrass (KAW)
XC3 Winner: Toby Cleveland (YAM)
WXC Winner: Korie Steede (KTM)


We’re still a little high on Daytona from last week. In case you wanted to look at the record book of the longest running motocross or supercross race in America here it is:

1971: Gunnar Lindstrom (250 class) Bryan Kenney (500).
1972: Jimmy Weinert (250) Mark Blackwell (500)
1973: Bob Grossi (250) Pierre Karsmakers (500).
1974: Pierre Karsmakers (250) Roger Decoster (500)
1975: Jimmy Ellis (250) Steve Stackable (500)
1976: Tony DiStefano
1977: Bob Hannah
1978: Marty Tripes
1979: Jimmy Weinert
1980: Rex Staten
1981: Darrell Shultz
1982: Darrell Shultz
1983: Bob Hannah
1984: David Bailey
1985: Bob Hannah
1986: Rick Johnson
1987: Rick Ryan
1988: Rick Johnson
1989: Jeff Stanton
1990: Jeff Stanton
1991: Jeff Stanton
1992: Jeff Stanton
1993: Mike Kiedrowski
1994: Mike Kiedrowski
1995: Mike Kiedrowski
1996: Jeremy McGrath
1997: Jeff Emig
1998: Jeremy McGrath
1999: Jeremy McGrath
2000: Ricky Carmichael
2001: Ricky Carmichael
2002: Ricky Carmichael
2003: Ricky Carmichael
2004: Chad Reed
2005: Chad Reed
2006: Ricky Carmichael
2007: James Stewart
2008: Kevin Windham
2009: Chad Reed
2010: Ryan Villopoto
2011: Ryan Villopoto
2012: James Stewart
2013: Ryan Villopoto
2014: Ryan Villopoto
2015: Ryan Dungey
2016: Eli Tomac
2017: Eli Tomac
2018: Justin Brayton
2019: Eli Tomac
2020: Eli Tomac
2021: Eli Tomac
2022: Eli Tomac
2023: Eli Tomac


That’s all for this week!

–Ron Lawson



Comments are closed.