It could be argued that the lack of an electric start on his KX450 contributed to Eli Tomac snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in the recently wrapped up Monster Energy Supercross Championship. After being dominant the whole season he dropped his bike in the penultimate round while in the lead. He had to kick for what seemed like an age and then found himself almost at the back of the field.

KTM and Husqvarna have had electric start fitted to their MX models for several years and now it seems the other brands are realising what a clear advantage this is as Honda has announced that the 2018 CRF450R will be equipped with electric start as standard, an invaluable aid both for convenience and for saving precious lap time after mid-race mishaps. The electric starter will be powered by an ultra lightweight lithium ion battery, and the removal of the kickstart lever offsets some of the weight of the added components. Front and rear suspension settings have been fine-tuned for more agile handling.

2018 CRF450R with magic button

2018 CRF450R with magic button

These changes build on the solid base of the 2017 version of the CRF450R, which was the first ‘from the ground up’ redesign of the model for eight years, with new chassis geometry, low centre of gravity and race-ready 49mm Showa steel spring front fork. Under the development theme of ‘Absolute Holeshot’, HRC-derived know how added 11% more top-end power – and more torque throughout the rev range – on the all-new 2017 model.

The new CRF450RX enduro machine, featuring enduro-spec suspension, PGM-FI and EMSB (Engine Mode Select Button) mapping, 8.5 litre fuel tank, 18 in rear wheel, electric starter and sidestand. For 2018, a switch to a lithium ion battery for the electric starter saves 600 grams of weight high up on the machine.

2018 CRF450RX (Enduro)

2018 CRF450RX (Enduro)

Both the new CRF450R and CRF450RX will be in dealerships across Europe in the summer 2017.