Test and previews Thu 01 November 2018

Honda CRF 450 rally Special Edition

The idea of making my own motorcycle was borne in March 2017 after I participated in the Dakar 2017 Paraguay – Bolivia – Argentina race on an official HRC Honda CRF 450 rally, where I stepped up to the podium with the Italian flag around my neck as best Italian placement in the race.Two months after I got home, I was longing to go back but riding my own motorcycle.
So, starting from a Honda CRF 450 R I began equipping it for the first international rally (Merzouga 2017). Specifically:

1st step
• 4 off 29-liter aluminum tanks
• Tool-holding tower (MST) with all the tools: 2 speedocaps, 1 trip, 1 road book, 2 controllers
• Low exhaust LM
• Fork plates MST
• Steering damper
• Sump guard with 3-liter aluminum water container
• Wider Geco footpegs
• Rear wheel with flexible coupling COBRA

Having achieved a good level, I decided to further modify it after the second international race, the “Panafrica” September 2017.

2nd step
• Oversize radiators
• Cooling fan
• Front braking circuit 270 NEWFREN

Even if I was aware that it wasn’t 100% ready and reliable, I recklessly enrolled in the 2018 Africa race without expecting any result but after the first stages I realized I was very competitive always finishing in the top 5 and I could aspire to something more. Thanks to my stubbornness I won one stage and ranked 2nd in some others.
At that point I was very pleased but I still wasn’t 100% satisfied, so I decided to go for the

3rd step
• 29-liter tanks and carbon fiber airbox with new aesthetic very close to the official one
• Carbon fiber sump guard with toolbox

I got to the final step at the Panafrica 2018 held in September where I came in sixth overall after four months of inactivity due to an injury during the Greece Hellas rally in May 2018; this result went beyond my expectations but the greatest satisfaction is reaching a 100% reliability with the last but important definitive modifications

4th step
• Oil cooler
• Additional oil filter
• 1.7 kg oil capacity
• Oversized radiators
• Water capacity increased by 1 liter
• Oversize cooling fan

My next goal is to finish the Africa Eco race even if I’m tempted to participate in the Dakar in Peru since I trust my bike and have confidence in its potential.

The objective of this personal and ambitious project was, first of all, the personal satisfaction of having made, tested, modified, improved and achieved my own performing motorcycle, then the possibility of replicating these changes for racers who wish to prepare their bikes for these international rallies spending 40% less than my competitors, as well as of offering a support and spare parts service in races. Therefore, the next goal is to create an International rally team even for overseas races, but I will tell you about this in my next article.

Enjoy the test!

Text and Tester: Simone Agazzi
Photos and video: Nicolas Conti

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