If you ride a dirt bike, you’re almost guaranteed to want to know how fast it goes. It’s innate in us. As dirt bike riders, we need to know how fast our machines go. In this case, we’ll be talking about the top speed of a CRF450R (do you know what CRF stands for?).
What is the top speed of a CRF450R?
Honda was one of the first brands to popularize off-road motorcycles, what we know today as dirt bikes.
Today, you don’t usually think of Honda as having the fastest machines. Honda is more commonly known for its reliability.
That said, Honda’s professional riders, specifically the Lawrence brothers and Chase Sexton, have been proving otherwise over the past few years.
The top speed of a CRF450R is about 80-90 mph.
That said, there are a few things that have a big impact on this CRF450R top speed number.
Here’s our CRF450R at the dealership on the day we took it home:
What impacts the CRF450R top speed?
As dirt bike riders, it’s inherent in our nature to want to know how fast our vehicles go. Really, most motorheads want to know how fast their vehicles go, whether it’s cars, trucks, snowmobiles, or something else.
That said, it can be pretty difficult to know the true top speed of a dirt bike. The reason for that is that there are so many variables that go into determining the top speed.
Let’s look at some of the items that impact the top speed of a CRF450R.
Modifications and after-market parts are the items that impact the top speed of CRF450R the most. If your CRF450R has engine work and a pipe, that’s not comparable to a stock CRF450R.
The top speed of a stock CRF450R will be significantly less than the top speed of a CRF450R with a bunch of work done to it.
The more work that’s done to the bike, the more the top speeds are going to differ.
You might be thinking, “okay, that makes sense, but what is the top speed of a CRF450R before I make any mods to it?”
If that’s what you’re wondering, it’s a bit easier to answer, but there are still more variables to consider, such as gearing, riding conditions, the rider, and more.
The item that has the second largest impact on the CRF450R top speed is the bike’s gearing.
For those unfamiliar, gearing refers to the size of the front and rear sprockets, specifically the relationship between the two.
Riders choose different gearing based on the conditions they’re riding in. If the rider is racing supercross, they generally want more acceleration (known as more bottom end). To do this, they’d use a smaller front sprocket or a larger rear sprocket. This is a low gear ratio.
If the rider is racing motocross, they may want more top speed (known as top end). To do this, the rider would use a larger front sprocket or a smaller rear sprocket, which is a higher gear ratio.
This may sound like a small thing, but it has a huge impact on the top speed of a CRF450R (any dirt bike, really). Depending on the gearing changes, it can increase or decrease the CRF450R top speed by more than 10 mph.
That would be a big change, but it is possible.
Another item that can impact the CRF450R top speed is the riding conditions. This can be the location where you’re riding and the conditions of what you’re riding on.
For the location, are you riding at sea level or thousands of feet above elevation? Generally, dirt bikes produce more power closer to sea level than at high levels of elevation. Of course, this will impact the top speed of a CRF450R.
If you’re riding in Colorado, thousands of feet above sea level, your CRF450R top speed is going to be lower than if you’re riding on the coasts of the US at sea level.
Also, for the location, are you riding in the woods, on a motocross track, or on a paved road? Are there hills or is it flat?
If you’re riding in the woods, your CRF 450 top speed might be limited by trees or other obstacles. If you’re on a motocross track, you can only go so fast while maintaining control and staying within the course.
This type of location consideration also impacts the conditions of what you’re riding on. If you’re riding on a flat paved road your Honda CRF450R top speed is going to be entirely different than if you’re riding on a tight, sandy racetrack.
Who is riding the bike is also going to impact the CRF 450 top speed. This has an impact on the top speed for two reasons: 1) their size/weight, and 2) their ability.
First, let’s consider the rider’s size and weight. Someone who weighs 450 pounds is not going to be able to go as fast on the bike as someone who weighs 150 pounds. The top speed of a CRF450R is going to go down the heavier the rider is.
Also, someone who is a skilled rider can likely get the Honda CRF 450 top speed to be a bit higher than someone who is brand new to riding. A rider who can quickly and smoothly shift through the gears can hit a higher top speed on a CRF450R than someone who is just learning how to use a clutch.
Take Honda’s factory rider Jett Lawrence as an example. Not only is he just 150 pounds, but he is also very skilled. The top speed of a CRF450R with Jett Lawrence riding it is likely quite a bit higher than someone who is just starting to ride and weighs 300 pounds.
Year of CRF450R
The year of your bike also has an impact on the CRF450R top speed because of technological advancements.
Four-stroke technology has come a long way over the years. Older four-stroke models don’t have the same technology in the engines that new four-strokes do.
Therefore, a 2005 CRF450R top speed is likely going to be quite a bit less than a 2022 CRF450R top speed, or any older year model compared to a newer model.
Other than just the technological advancements and improvements to the engine, different year bikes also have different stock gearing. Some years have the same gearing, but some are different.
The stock gearing of the bike can change the CRF 450 top speed.
Other Items Impacting Top Speed of a CRF450R
A few other items that will impact the top speed of a CRF450R are the condition of the bike, riding weather, and how the top speed is being recorded.
A bike that hasn’t had maintenance kept up on it or has issues and isn’t running properly won’t be able to reach the peak top speed that the bike is capable of. The top speed of CRF450R that is maintained very well and running perfectly will be faster than that of a bike that is not taken care of and running like crap.
Similar to location, the weather you’re riding in can have an impact on the CRF 450 top speed. If you’re riding in the rain, causing the pavement to be wet, the top speed is likely going to be lower than it otherwise could be.
Also, the temperature you’re riding in can impact the top speed of your bike because it can impact how the bike is running. The newer CRF450R is fuel-injected, so this likely isn’t an issue, but for older models or other bikes that are carbureted, they might not run right in cold or humid temperatures, which would lower the bike’s top speed.
The final item we’ll mention that can impact the CRF450 top speed is how the top speed is being recorded.
Technically, this doesn’t change the top speed the bike is actually going – it only changes what you record it as. If you record a bike as going 50 but it’s really doing 75, that doesn’t mean the bike did 50. It did 75, you just recorded it inaccurately. I digress…
If you are recording the top speed of a CRF450R with an onboard GPS, that’s likely going to be more accurate than someone pointing a speed gauge at you as you go by.
Checkered Flag on the CRF450R Top Speed
When it comes down to it, most people just want to know how fast their bike is capable of going. All the mods and items covered above are important and impact how fast their bike goes, but, most people would be satisfied with simply knowing how fast, in general, their bike is. In that case, the top speed of a CRF450R is about 80-90 mph.
If the CRF450R is a bit too big or too fast for you, but you’re looking for something similar, check out the CRF250R.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Top Speed of a CRF450R
A 2022 CRF450R has about 53.8 HP.
No, the Honda CRF450R is not street legal stock. However, the CRF450L model is street legal stock.
The Honda CRF450R got fuel injection in 2009.
The CRF450L model will go about 90 mph.
The CRF450L is the CRF that is road legal.
A CRF450R weighs about 244 pounds wet. This can vary slightly depending on the bike’s year.
Yes, the newer CRF450R has electric start.
The Honda 450 went fuel injected in 2009.