Honda has been exceptionally busy lately, what with unveiling four brand new bikes – the CB650F and CBR650F and the CTX1300 AND CTX1300 DELUXE. On top of those, Honda have also pulled the curtain on their latest Dakar Bike, which is a rather large improvement over the older model and will compete in the most prestigious and toughest off road motorcycle race in the world.
If you’re into extreme off-road events, or if you live in the country side and need a bike that isn’t going to get bogged down in a pile of mud, Honda’s Dakar bikes (or, in the case of a field, the CRF450X) have always been great. This year, though, Honda have worked hard to release a bike that has been enhanced in almost every way.
So, what’s new with the 2014 Dakar bike?
The Honda CRF450 Dakar Rally bike has, like its predecessors, been developed for harsh terrain. It has retained the previous generations PGM-FI electronic fuel-injection system, which has been proven to be extremely durable in even the harshest conditions, but other than that, everything has been improved.
The Dakar Bike is still based on the commercial CRF450X endurance bike (available at Grantham Honda), but it features more power, better aerodynamic performance, durability, weather proofing, and maintenance requirements are also said to be slightly lower, leaving teams and riders to concentrate on the track ahead. Honda will be hoping that this new bike will bring them rally success, after they used last year as a little bit of a test to develop the ultimate racing package – Honda had a rather long 24-year absence from the Dakar before January 2013.
Of course, they think they’ve achieved the ultimate racing package with their new bike.
Team HRC have announced their 2014 Dakar racers – Helder Rodrigues (Portugal, 34), Sam Sunderland (United Kingdom, 24), Javier Pizzolito (Argentina, 33), Joan Barreda (Spain, 29), and Paulo Goncalves (Portugal, 34).
Honda have openly stated their intent to win the Dakar Rally, which would be a huge achievement, taking into account their absence from the rally scene for years. According to Honda, HRC’s Katsumi Yamazaki will serve as the Team Director with Martino Bianchi as General Manager of TEAM HRC, who has 30 years experience in the off road racing scene. In addition, TEAM HRC is made up of approximately 30 staff members who have rich experience with rally raids and off-road races.
The five racers chosen to compete in the Dakar Rally have the confidence of Honda, so let’s wish them well on the big stage.
The new Dakar Bike will get its first taste of rallying in the Morocco Rally starting from the 13th of October — it is expected to do rather well.