While the motorcycle world were in a whirl of excitement over the much awaited launch of the production versions of the Yamaha T7 Tenere and the KTM 790 Adventure at the EICMA show, Honda used the occasion to slip in a rather beautiful and arguably more adventure-ready concept bike. The Honda CRF450L Rally is based on the bigger brother of the 250L the CRF450L which was launched at the start of October, and initial impressions of the new bike were overwhelmingly positive. It’s stunning!
The CRF450L Rally is fully fitted out with a plastics kit that echoes the look of the CRF250L Rally and features a fantastic looking underslung Termignoni exhaust system just like full-on rally bikes. The fuel tank is much larger than the stock 450L , there’s a sexy looking instrument and navigation tower behind the headlight and predictably there’s a generous smattering of carbon fibre, anodised and billet components. It’s a long way from the 450 Rally that the Honda pro riders use for the likes of the Dakar, but it’s still a very purposeful looking machine.
READY TO RACE?
What was noticeable on the Honda compared to the seemingly endless stream of prototypes from Yamaha and KTM prior to the eventual launch of their new adventure bikes, was just how production ready the CRF450L Rally Concept looked. From the mirrors and the indicators lifted straight from the stock bike to the Renthal Fatbars, Acerbis Handguards and the sexy new frame guards protecting the lower part of the bike’s aluminium perimeter frame, not to mention some serious off-road rubber, this looked like a bike you could fire up and head straight out on the rough stuff.
You could even take a packed lunch in the dinky little storage box where the stock end can once lived …
Although only a concept at this stage, manufacturer’s often use the big bike shows to guage public reaction to a possible future production machine and with a great response from the punters and press at EICMA then this bike might just make the showrooms. This could be an adventure bike that could actually handle serious off-road …
The only fly in the KY for the 450 Rally compared to the 250 Rally could be the price point. At present, the smaller bike and the adventurised model are at a pocket friendly price of around £5,000, but with the stock 450L going for an eye-watering £9,500 it’s hard to see how a higher spec Rally model would come in below £10,000 and could easily be north of £11,000.
At this price, the 450L Rally would be within spitting distance of the Honda Africa Twin and many might question the logic of purchasing the smaller bike with it’s smaller service intervals and reduced road going prowess.
But for pure off-road, the 450L Rally looks to have it’s bigger brother knocked into a copped hat – it looks smaller, lighter and far more rider friendly.
Here’s a little video from the guys at DriveMag Riders, both enthusing about the new Honda.
So what do you reckon – is the CRF450L Rally killer or filler? Let us know your thoughts …