Photos: Honda CRF 450 Dakar X tests Tunisia

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These photos were snapped as Team Honda Europe’s five rider team put in a test session in the Tunisian desert in preparation for the 2011 Dakar. The Honda CRF 450 Dakar X has been modified with a carbon/Kevlar seat unit/subframe that contains the rear fuel tank, giving the bike 9.2 gallons of fuel storage; a large front fairing; larger front fender; stronger wheels; and a skid plate that contains a water reservoir. A larger alternator copes with the increased demand from xenon spot lamps and all the added instrumentation. Like all other teams, the Hondas have now been crated and shipped to Buenos Aires in preparation for the 14-day race’s start on January 1.

  • BMW11GS

    I miss the old bruiser’s of dakar bikes, like Gaston Raiher’s BMW or yellow suzuki DR big looking thing. These 450 converted dirtbikes just dont get me mechanically excited because they appear cobbled together to “look” rally rather than being purpose built for just such an event.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      They’re purpose built, it’s just that modern machinery is more fitting the purpose and they just need to add some fuel capacity and electronics to compete. But yeah, I miss the crazy ’80s Dakar bikes too.

  • Holden

    Grant, Wes,
    Now that you’ve gone to a subscription model, can you please host photos elsewhere? My employer blocks Flickr. Everything from Flickr. Don’t know why, and there’s nothing I can do about it. But it means I can’t view HfL galleries when I’m fucking around at lunchtime. (Only time I read HfL at work, wink, wink.)

    Please, please, pretty please stop using Flickr and put the photos on your server.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Hey Holden, I’m sorry to hear that. Unfortunately, flickr gives us many capabilities that hosting ourselves doesn’t and it makes the viewing experience much better for those that don’t work for Scrooge McDuck (faster load times, etc). Flickr hosted images are a major part of what’s now quite a hugely complicated website and they’re not something we could simply switch off easily even if we wanted to.

      Have you tried bringing FireFox to work on a USB stick and using that to browse the internet? Don’t load FF onto your computer, just open it on the USB drive. Alternatively, more fulfilling jobs await.

  • Deltablues

    I am trying to think which cartoon character that Honda with the unpainted fairing resembles.

  • Pete

    Hey any aftermarket suppliers,

    Please make a conversion kit so you can make your stock XR650 into a Dakar Bike. Include fairing, electrical, gas tank, suspension upgrades. Thanks.

    • DoctorNine

      No kidding. This is what I want, not some pig heavy 1200cc monster.