Honda CRF450L Snowbike?

Jan 16, 2020
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Currently right now i own a '15 summit x. I try to make a trip or two out west every year for an extended period of riding (7-10 days) other than that our overnight trips are to the UP of michigan (no its not the same).

In the last year I have welcomed a new little one to our family and competitive curling has started to ramp up - so time to get out and ride isnt exactly there anymore as much as it was. Last year I skipped going out west, and this year it might be the same (it aint over however). So paying the insurance on the sled is starting to become questionable now having used it so very little.

Ive road motorcycles since i was 18 (now 32). I have had my fair share of CBR's, R6, dirt bikes (CRs, YZFs). Never got big into dirt biking on trails or track as it was always private property riding was easiest.

So you have my backstory and why this is coming up. I have been on a snow bike twice (not long but enough to get a feel and understanding). Ive done some research over the past year and got the basics. 450s sound like the best powerhouse... short track maybe is more suitable for what am looking to do. So i have an idea brewing.

Picture perfect world... own a street legal dual purpose bike. One that allows me to ride to work (15 mile commute), hit a buddies property if I should need it, and (what brings me here) jump on snow in the winter. Enter the 2019 Honda CRF450L.

Now i know what your saying - "guy your not the first" and i apologize if this is beating a dead horse.

From what I gathered - the 2019 CRF450L bone stock makes 39whp and about 28 ft. lbs. (honda pretty much took its CRF450X and tweaked stuff to be street legal).
So HP's.... little low vs a CRF450R or a YZF450 (those come in at low 50s hp). The KTM 500 EXC-F from what i see is about 40? and the WRF450F is at about 41 (per the youtube videos I have seen).

So its needs some mods... No problem! My 4runner hasnt been stock since the day I brought it home.

New exhaust, vortex ecu, twin air filter, smog delete kit... dynos now show about 44-45whp and 33 ft lbs on the CRF450L (So were getting better).

Similar to what these guys did: https://www.snowbikeworld.com/2018/01/2017-2018-ktm-500-mods-husky-501

I dont need to climb and have a screaming beast... but I dont want to give up my sled to say "crap why did i do this?!?!" I am sure some of you can agree - with my wife when the toys gone... she gone! Hard to convince her to let me buy something else. (Warning for those who arent married :p )

So where am I going?

I see WRF450f run snowbike kits... (those have about 44hps), I see this ktm 500 dual sport run a snowbike kit (with some simple mods)... Does anyone know or have any information regarding slapping a snowbike kit on a crf450L?

Open season to call me a moron and rip me a new one i guess... I can take it.

Simple answer is just buy a CRF450R or some strict dirt bike without restrictions but I would never get enough use out of "just a dirt bike" to justify it.

Thanks in advance and appreciate any feedback.
 

wwillf01

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Honestly your 450l will run the same hp of the mx bikes we have at altitude here at 9k... so anything works...if you start snowbiking more than road biking then you might want to change. I would not dump a bunch of money in it because when you do that you can just buy a used mx bike...

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Jan 16, 2020
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Honestly your 450l will run the same hp of the mx bikes we have at altitude here at 9k... so anything works...if you start snowbiking more than road biking then you might want to change. I would not dump a bunch of money in it because when you do that you can just buy a used mx bike...

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Just curious - not challenging you or anything. How do you figure that if the 450L makes less HP than a MX at higher elevation it will make the same? Just trying to understand the reasoning behind it :)
 
Dec 20, 2007
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I think he is saying a 450L will make about the same power near sea level as an MX bike would make at 9,000 ft

Since he is riding the UP mostly the loss of power would be tolerable

IMO, the KTM 500 EXC/FE501S is a better bike. Take the reeds out of the airbox, replace or gut the muffler, and retune. Similar to what www.ktmandhusky.com is doing. I would do that for street and snow since I'm assuming no emission testing of motorcycles where you are.
 
Jan 16, 2020
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Price difference between the 500 exc f and the 450L at this moment is almost 2k... Not saying its not worth it. From what I can find 2019 500excf makes about 41 wrhp and 29 ft lbs? vs 39hp/28 ft lbs.

My thought was saving the 2k opting for the 450L could be applied to the snow bike kit. But it is something I will consider!!!



I would like to be able to take the crf450L if i got it with a snow bike kit out west if i could... Or am I going to run into a world of hurt if I do that with the loss in power from elevation....
 

RmK8oo

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The 450L weighs just over 50lbs more than the KTM 500. An unrestricted, open intake and open exhaust with a good ECU on a 17-19 500 should put down a HP # in the mid 50's. The 2020 500's are making even more then that. The Huskys and the KTMs are a higher price tag, but you have to take into consideration what you're getting, WP suspension, Brembo or Magura brakes etc. I'm not saying that Honda isn't a good bike, because it is a great bike. I just don't see a 450L snow bike running with an unrestricted 500 snow bike. The 50lb weight gain alone is a huge disadvantage right from the git go. My .02. At the end of the day it probably won't matter what bike/kit you're on , as long as you make it to the mountain and are out doing all your buddy's on sleds while laughing inside your helmet!
 
Jan 16, 2020
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hahaha! exactly.

My biggest fear is just not having enough hp. I watch videos of WR450s with timbersleds and they seem to do pretty good.

Id like to be able to know when i goose it - shell move.

Think of it as a 600 vs 800 sled. Yeah 600 are quick but an 800 is just night and day difference... is that how the 450L will be vs not having that KTM or Husky?

Again i appreciate everyones responses! Im really the only one out of the group to adventure into this.
 

RmK8oo

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There isn't a bike out there that makes enough power!!! Especially after coming from a sled. Snow biking is a totally different experience compared to riding a sled. You won't be looking to pull a big hill up on the pipe at 8k RPM like you would on a sled, instead you'll be looking to pull some crazy side hill line up through some tight timber above a creek bed that you'd never attempt on a sled. You'll absolutely dread getting on the trail with a bike, any hard pack just sucks on a bike. You won't beat entirely beat down at the end of a good day either. I do miss my sled every once in a while, but not often.
Forgot to mention, building a snow bike is not a cheap venture especially if you want it to be reliable. To the OP, starting the build with a brand new bike is going to get expensive quick, even when buying a used snow bike kit.
 
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wwillf01

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hahaha! exactly.

My biggest fear is just not having enough hp. I watch videos of WR450s with timbersleds and they seem to do pretty good.

Id like to be able to know when i goose it - shell move.

Think of it as a 600 vs 800 sled. Yeah 600 are quick but an 800 is just night and day difference... is that how the 450L will be vs not having that KTM or Husky?

Again i appreciate everyones responses! Im really the only one out of the group to adventure into this.
Something like that and have the ability to go to 12000 rpm instead of 8000 rpm is pretty big... long rpms make for better line choices.. but hp makes everything better...

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wwillf01

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Just curious - not challenging you or anything. How do you figure that if the 450L makes less HP than a MX at higher elevation it will make the same? Just trying to understand the reasoning behind it :)
I was saying at sea level the 450l is close to the mx bikes we ride at altitude here in Utah... around 10k is where we are riding ..

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jrlastofthebreed

It seemed like a good idea at the time
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Im a honda guy but i would not put make a L into a snowbike. It weighs to much. You can make an X street legal. (check your state but both mine are in Idaho) One even has turn signals lol. WR is going to be about the same. Never been on a KTM but they are very popular but ive heard more expensive to buy and work on? But better? If it was me I would put street tires and lights on a CRF450x or RX before i messed with an L
 
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Just look for a used KTM 500 EXC and be done with it. It will be the best option everywhere, trail, street and snow bike. Its a six speed, you can put a motard wheel set on it, its factory street legal so no hasels getting plates etc. We all started out with the "I can do this cheap honey" idea, but it just won't do anything well basically it will be a four season turd. You will end up doing it twice which in the end costs more. Honda advertises the L at 289 lbs. That's just waaay too much weight to hide in any season.
 
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Jaynelson

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Straight goods there is no reason to buy a 450l over a 500exc for dual sport or snow bike purposes. I sell and have ridden both. Even a 350exc has more jam than a 450l, and the Ktm‘s adapt better to cold weather. I would do a 350exc for snow before a 450l...the 450l motor is just too soft to be fun in the snow. Lots of deals to be had on non current KTM‘s these days, should be able to get close ish in price.
 
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