Today marks Stage 2 of the 2021 Dakar Rally, which means that the field is starting to separate a bit through the timed special stages. The day was a fruitful expedition for the Honda boys, with Joan Barreda leading the pack, with Ricky Brabec in close pursuit.
That’s good news for HRC, as the Japanese brand hopes to defend its historic #1 plate from last year, which Brabec won by upsetting KTM’s 18-year winning streak at the iconic rally-raid.
Helping Brabec & Co. challenge for victory is the 2021 Honda CRF450 Rally – an off-road racing platform that has evolved over multiple years of development into a proper dirt bike weapon.
Built using a single-cylinder 450cc engine (per the Dakar Rally rules), the Honda CRF450 Rally is a true race bike. Honda claims over 60hp from the engine, which is surely a pessimistic reading.
Reliability is perhaps more important than outright power when it comes to the Dakar Rally, however. That being said, it has taken HRC several seasons now to find the right balance between performance and endurance.
Finally piecing together the machine, riders, and team structure it takes to win at the Dakar Rally, Honda is a true contender for the 2021 mantle. As such, keep your eyes on Ricky Brabec and Joan Barreda this year.
Technical Specs of the 2021 Honda CRF450 Rally:
|Type||Liquid cooled single cylinder DOHC|
|Bore x stroke||97.0 x 60.8 mm|
|Output||Over 45 kW|
|Type||Aluminium twin tube|
|Fuel tank||Front + rear (plastic)|
|Total fuel capacity||34,7 litres|
|Front fork||Showa. Type invert, travel 310 mm|
|Rear suspension||Showa. Single tube, travel 305 mm|
|Front||ø300 2 pot|
|Rear||ø240 1 pot|