After the massive changes that came with the 2021 CRF450 range Honda could have taken it easy for 2022 with a simple “bold new graphics” approach, but instead Big Red is delivering further small refinements to its big-bore MXer and Cross-Country machines.
While the chassis and engine remain the same physical units that debuted in this year’s models, the new 2022 models of the CRF450R and CRF450X both receive updates in terms of ECU settings designed to smooth out power delivery, as well as an overhaul of damping for the Showa supplied suspension, with both bikes going for a stiffer setup than the 2021 models.
Honda says the re-valve was undertaken to improve the balance between front and rear, and overall control.
Let’s start by looking at the suspension changes for the CRF450R.
The CRF450R utilises a Showa 49mm USD coil spring AF2 fork, which based on the ‘factory’ unit supplied to MX race teams in the Japanese championship. Through the 21YM update the fork received 5mm more stroke, to 310mm, and increased rigidity for its axle clamps. For 22YM the low-speed shim-stack has been re-valved to generate firmer settings for both compression and rebound damping. Oil volume reduces 8cc to 380cc and there are now 13 adjustment positions (rather than 15) for rebound with 15 for compression, as before.
A complete re-valve of the Showa MKE AF2 rear shock’s low-mid- and high-speed shim stack delivers a firmer overall setting for compression damping. There are now 11 adjustment positions for rebound (from the 8 of the previous iteration) and 6 for high and low-speed compression (from 12). Oil volume increases 1cc to 422cc.
Over on the cross-country machine, the changes are just as nuanced.
For 22YM the CRF450RX’s chassis is unchanged aside from internal adjustments to the front and rear Showa suspension. The aim for the 22YM evolution is to deliver noticeably improved ‘hold up’ – raising the compression damping ride height of the stroke front and rear in use – optimising balance between the front and rear of the machine.
All suspension settings are specific to the CRF450RX, given the wider variety of terrain and conditions the bike will cover compared to the pure MX machine. Like the R model, the RX uses the same Showa 49mm USD coil spring AG2 fork.
For 2022, the RX also gets the its the low-speed shim-stack re-valved for firmer settings for both compression and rebound damping as well as the same drop in oil volume. The adjustment settings have also been altered, with there now being 13 adjustment positions (rather than 14) for rebound with 14 for compression.
Out back the Showa MKE AF2 rear shock’s low-mid- and high-speed shim stack has also been altered. There are now 13 adjustment positions for rebound (from the 10 of the previous iteration) and 7 for low-speed compression.