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The Most Common Honda CRF450 Problems Owners Face

If you love dirt bikes and motocross racing, there’s a good chance you either own or––wish you do––a Honda CRF450 dirt bike. It’s one of the best motocross motorcycle options out there. Both the racing CRF450R and the CRF450X, even the pavement-oriented CRF450L are popular choices for riders who love to take things off the pavement. If you are thinking about buying a used Honda CRF450 or are having a hiccup with one that’s already in your garage, you might want to check out this rundown of the most common Honda CRF450 problems owners face.

2020 Honda CRF450R
2020 Honda CRF450R | Honda

Is the Honda CRF450 a good bike?

Yes. It’s a great bike. In fact, Honda manufactures great bikes for a wide range of powersports. Motocross is just one vein of expertise that the Honda racing family claims in its repertoire. But not every Honda CRF450 rider has experienced sunshine and rainbows the whole time.

No matter how good your motocross motorcycle is, you’ll probably run into issues sooner or later. So what are we dealing with here? What are the most common CRF450 problems owners face?

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Owners don’t seem to deal with a lot of problems

A bit of forum browsing reveals that these bikes, in general, don’t have that many problems. The most common complaints are for valve issues. Apparently, some owners feel they need to adjust their valves far too often. Then again, others say that if you are thinking about buying a used Honda CRF450 and the current owner says they’ve adjusted the valves beware.

2020 Honda CRF450R dirt bike Handlebars
2020 Honda CRF450R Handlebars | Honda

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On this forum, one owner says “valve adjustments are not a required maintenance item for titanium valves.” There are a number of CRF450 riders out there that switch out their valves for stainless steel. Either way, if you read through CRF forum threads you’ll find a lot of discussion about the valves.

Some Honda CRF450 owners discuss the difference between the titanium and stainless steel valves. Some think that stainless steel is better because it allows for more valve adjustment. They claim that a lack of adjustment to the valves can “beat up the block.” Others appreciate the low maintenance titanium systems.

Honda CRF450 valve adjustments on YouTube

There are several advice and tutorial videos on YouTube for valve work on the Honda CRF450 as well. Going by the number of videos detailing how to do Honda CRF450 valve adjustments, it looks like it’s safe to say that the model years from 2002 – 2008 deal with this issue quite a bit. So what do you do?

It’s important to find a mechanic who has worked with these bikes and addressed this specific problem before. Although a mechanically minded rider could likely watch a YouTube video and figure it out for themselves, some people may not want to. Not everyone has the time or experience to feel confident with a DIY fix.

Honda CRF450 problems

Another problem that people seem to deal with is cracking of the frame. Some even experience large cracks in their engine. But one thing to keep in mind is that these bikes get ridden hard. Most that can handle a bike like the Honda CRF450L, CRF450R, or CRF450X will test its limits regularly.

Jumps, steep grades, and rough terrain can do a number on a motocross motorcycle. Even taking into account the fact that it’s what they are designed for, it’s easy to conclude that riders are just not tender with these bikes. What’s the fun in that? Still, the overall verdict is that if you handle the expected maintenance and address your Honda CRF450 problems as they arise rather than leaving them and allowing them to become bigger issues, this is a bike that’s widely respected for its durability as well as reliability.