WE TEST 2009 HONDA CRF450 EXHAUST SYSTEMS: DR.D, Pro Circuit, FMF, Yoshimura, Vance & Hines And Stock Get The Dyno, Sound And Powerband Treatment

September 19, 2009
Comments off
1437 Views
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditmail

SEARCHING FOR THE ULTIMATE 2009 HONDA CRF450 EXHAUST SYSTEM:

WE TEST SIX CRF450 SYSTEMS AND YOU ALREADY OWN ONE OF THEM

   Regardless of what pioneering exhaust pipe builder Thomas Jefferson may have said from his Monticello workshop?all pipes are not created equal. Luckily, neither are the taste buds of all motocross racers, especially when it comes to favored powerbands. And while this may have the look and feel of a 2009 Honda CRF450 exhaust pipe shootout?it is nothing of the sort.

   The MXA wrecking crew took its time during this test. We did test sessions with different skill level riders with each exhaust system. We raced with each exhaust system. We dynoed each exhaust system (on the same dyno at the same temperature and within a two-hour window to avoid weather variables). We sound tested each exhaust system (using the new 2009 AMA/FIM sound standards). And we bloodied our knuckles by installing and removing the CRF450 exhaust systems over 60 times during the testing period.

   During the course of our testing, we discovered that the needs and demands of different skill levels sought different powerbands. The favorite pipe of the Pro test riders wasn’t always the first choice of the Novices, while the Vet racers seemed to seek the middle ground. Thus, you have to have an inner dialogue with yourself about what you really want out of an aftermarket exhaust.

   These are our caveats: We tested the exhaust systems as they were sent to us. We didn’t add inserts to make the pipes quieter (and they all can be made to meet the AMA standards with inserts). We didn’t put more hours on one pipe than another before sound testing them. We never let test riders talk to each other during test sessions and, in fact, we conducted most of the round-robin tests with one rider at a time. We didn’t weigh the pipes (they are all lighter than stock and, as a rule, titanium pipes are lighter than the stainless steel pipes).

These are our results. The best 2009 Honda CRF450 pipe for you is in here?-find it.


STOCK HONDA CRF450 EXHAUST SYSTEM

   For all of its unique design features, highlighted by the snake head pipe and resonance chamber in front of the muffler, the stock CRF450 is neither powerful nor quiet. It is at its best from 5000 rpm to 7500 rpm. On the plus side, none of the aftermarket pipes showed any significant advantage over the stock pipe in the lower ranges of the powerband. Conversely, after 7500 rpm, every aftermarket pipe romped the stock pipe. From 8600 rpm on up, the stock CRF450 power profile is flat, and its best work has already been done. It will rev to 11,300 rpm, but it is basically like driving a Hyundai into a head wind after 8600 rpm.

   There wasn’t a single aftermarket pipe in this test that didn’t produce more horsepower, produce it for longer and reach its peak at a much more desirable rpm.

MXA TEST RIDER COMMENTS
   “Power picks up crisply at a fairly low rpm.”
   “The stock pipe revs freely on top, but is very flat and not very fast up there.”
   “The CRF450 pipe’s best trait is the rock ?em, sock ?em hit just off idle. Its worst trait is the rock ?em, sock ‘em hit just off idle.”
   “It’s at its best from the low-to-mid, but after that it just makes noise.”
   “It is rider friendly, but best suited to Novice and Vet riders.”
   “The best trait of the stock CRF450 exhaust system is a parlor trick. It hits very hard down low, which fools you into thinking that the bike is a powerhouse. It is, down low where you don’t need it, but not anywhere else.”

WHAT ARE THE STOCK DYNO NUMBERS?
   A dyno produces cold, hard, statistical facts?not always the same as seat-of-the-pants facts. The MXA wrecking crew ran each CRF450 exhaust system on the dyno and analyzed the numbers. Here are the stock CRF450 numbers.
   rpm             horsepower
   6000           37.2
   7000           45.3
   8000           50.7
   9000           51.4
   10,000        48.7
   11,000        48.3

WHAT IS THE STOCK PEAK HORSEPOWER?
   The stock exhaust pipe produced 51.70 horsepower at 8600 rpm. In our original dyno tests, the CRF450 only made 50.25 horsepower, but those dyno runs were done in the late summer at 84 degrees. These pipes were dynoed at 65 degrees. The colder air produced more horsepower. Since all of the pipes in this test were dynoed on the same day and at the same temperature, the results are all relative to each other.

WHAT IS THE STOCK EXHAUST’S DURATION ABOVE 50 HORSEPOWER?
   As a measure of the quality of the overall powerband,
MXA uses our dyno runs to determine when the CRF450 cracks 50 horsepower and how long it stays above the half-century mark (in rpm). The stock Honda pipe breaks 50 horsepower at 7800 rpm and stays there until 9600. That is an 1800 rpm range. The 1800 rpm range above 50 horsepower is the baseline setting for the effectiveness of the CRF450 powerband.

WHAT’S IT COST? $977.47.

WHO DO I CONTACT? Your local Honda dealer.


DR.D HONDA CRF450 EXHAUST SYSTEM

   The DR.D pipe has no advantage over the stock CRF450 pipe from 5000 rpm to 7800 rpm on the dyno. On the track, however, it feels more lively as the power climbs into the midrange. Once the power crosses from the middle into the top-end, the DR.D pipe pulls away from the stock CRF450 pipe with ease. To most test riders, the DR.D pipe felt like the pipe that Honda should have built for the 2009 CRF450 (more peak horsepower, broader duration and the same good bottom). Best of all, for riders who love the way their CRF450 feels off the showroom floor, the DR.D exhaust keeps that same character, but beefs up power delivery to more competitive levels.

   It doesn’t peak higher than the stock pipe, but it pulls with more force across the same range. Its best trait was that it didn’t change the personality of the CRF450?it just snapped up the output.

MXA TEST RIDER COMMENTS
   “It doesn’t give away any of the CRF450’s good bottom, but enhances the middle and pulls further.”
   “It makes more power than the stock pipe in the middle and carries it further into the top than the stock pipe.”
   “It has a very tractable feel that makes it easy to use.”
   “The DR.D pipe keeps all the good traits of the stock pipe and adds more horsepower and a longer pull.”
   “A good pipe for everybody but Pros.”
   “This pipe adds power where it is needed without losing the true-to-life feel that makes a 2009 CRF450 a Honda.”
   “Of all the pipes, the DR.D exhaust didn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. It felt like the stocker on steroids.”

WHAT ARE THE STOCK DYNO NUMBERS?
    A dyno produces cold, hard, statistical facts?not always the same as seat-of-the-pants facts. The MXA wrecking crew ran each CRF450 exhaust on the dyno and analyzed the numbers. Here are DR.D’s numbers (with the stock CRF horsepower in parentheses).
   rpm              horsepower
   6000            36.7 (37.2 stock)
   7000            44.6 (45.3 stock)
   8000            51.3 (50.7 stock)
   9000            53.0 (51.4 stock)
   10,000         50.3 (48.7 stock)
   11,000         48.3 (48.3 stock)

WHAT IS THE DR.D’S PEAK HORSEPOWER?
   The DR.D exhaust produced 53.24 horsepower at 8600 rpm. This is the same peak rpm as the stock CRF450 exhaust pipe, but with 1.44 more horsepower than the stocker.

WHAT IS THE DR.D EXHAUST’S DURATION ABOVE 50 HORSEPOWER?
   As a measure of the quality of the overall powerband,
MXA uses our dyno runs to determine when the CRF450 cracks 50 horsepower and how long it stays above the half-century mark (in rpm). The DR.D exhaust pipe breaks 50 horsepower at 7700 rpm and stays there until 10,300 rpm. For comparison, the DR.D pipe stays in the meat of the 50 horsepower range for 800 rpm longer than the stock exhaust. The DR.D pipe has a 2600 rpm range in the 50-horsepower pocket.

WHAT’S IT COST? $879.95 (Ti/carbon), $779.95 (Ti/Ti), $679.95 (stainless/carbon), $549.95 (stainless/Al).

WHO DO I CONTACT? www.dubachracing.com or (951) 808-1114.



PRO CIRCUIT TI-4R CRF450 EXHAUST SYSTEM

   The Pro Circuit Ti-4R has the most daring powerband of all MXA’s tested exhaust systems. Pro Circuit was more than willing to give away some of the barky low-end to produce an easier-to-ride low-to-mid transition that turns into an incredibly long pull through the top end. It is definitely a “pro pipe.” It trades low-end for mid-and-up (and most MXA test riders thought that the trade was a smart move). The power pulls harder and higher into the midrange before it peaks (at almost 55 horsepower), and then it keeps churning out competitive power all the way to the rev limiter. On the dyno, the Pro Circuit Ti-4R was the horsepower king. Although it isn’t possible, the Pro Circuit pipe feels like the rev limiter was raised an extra 1000 rpm.

   This is the first generation of Pro Circuit pipes to use their works-type welded titanium end cap and sturdier CNC-machined aluminum bracket. It is also one of only two pipes in this test to meet the AMA/FIM 94dB sound limits (without having to resort to a reducer cone).

MXA TEST RIDER COMMENTS
   “Far and away this is the most pro-like exhaust. It revs the highest, pulls the furthest and is the quickest on top.”
   “The Pro Circuit pipe gives away a little bottom and trades it for mid-and-up power. I liked that because the hit down low was too barky before.”
   “Probably not the best pipe for a Vet or Novice, because it hits high and hard, but definitely the best pipe for an Intermediate or Pro.”
   “The mellower low-end makes the CRF450 easier to get out of corners, while the extra top means you never have to shift. It seems to be the most flexible in power, because the big hit down low is replaced by a long pull on top.”

WHAT ARE THE STOCK DYNO NUMBERS?
   A dyno produces cold, hard, statistical facts?not always the same as seat-of-the-pants facts. The MXA wrecking crew ran each CRF450 exhaust on the dyno and analyzed the numbers. Here are Pro Circuit’s numbers (with the stock CRF horsepower in parentheses).
   rpm               horsepower
   6000            36.3 (37.2 stock)
   7000            44.5 (45.3 stock)
   8000            51.6 (50.7 stock)
   9000            54.8 (51.4 stock)
   10,000         53.0 (48.7 stock)
   11,000         50.4 (48.3 stock)

WHAT IS THE PRO CIRCUIT’S PEAK HORSEPOWER?
   The Pro Circuit Ti-4R exhaust produced 54.94 horsepower at 9100 rpm. This is 500 rpm higher than the stock CRF450 exhaust pipe, but with 3.24 more horsepower than the stocker.

WHAT IS THE PRO CIRCUIT EXHAUST’S DURATION ABOVE 50 HORSEPOWER?
   As a measure of the quality of the overall powerband, MXA uses our dyno runs to determine when the CRF450 cracks 50 horsepower and how long it stays above the half-century mark (in rpm). The Pro Circuit Ti-4R exhaust pipe breaks 50 horsepower at 7700 rpm and stays there until 11,000. The Pro Circuit pipe stays in the meat of the 50 horsepower range for 2500 rpm longer than the stock exhaust. The Pro Circuit pipe has a 3300 rpm range.

WHAT’S IT COST? $999.95 (Ti-4R), $949.95 (Ti-GP), $779.95 (T-4).

WHO DO I CONTACT? www.procircuit.com or (951) 738-8050.


VANCE & HINES XCR CRF450 EXHAUST SYSTEM

   Social responsibility is a double-edged sword. Doing good work has its price. Vance & Hines took the newly mandated AMA/FIM 94dB sound limits to heart and built the quietest full-race CRF450 exhaust system we have tested. You can make other exhaust systems as quiet as the XCR, but you would have to use a reducer cone (with a reduction in power also). The XCR was five decibels quieter than some pipes in this test and at least .6 decibels quieter than the next quietest pipe (and only two of the six exhaust systems in this test would be legal at an AMA National?and the stocker isn’t one of them). What is the price for being sound conscious? You have to give up peak horsepower and some low-to-mid power to knock off decibels.

   Vance & Hines should be commended: They built a pipe that is two decibels quieter than stock, yet still makes more horsepower (from 7400 rpm to sign-off) than the stock CRF450 exhaust. Kudos.

MXA TEST RIDER COMMENTS
   “This is the quietest racing pipe on the market. It is eery how soothing a quiet bike can be.”
   “Super easy to ride, very smooth transition through the powerband, and a nice steady pull from low-to-mid.”
   “You gotta give to get, and it’s no secret that to make a bike this quiet you have to trade some punch. This pipe made a good trade, because it is still stronger than stock and significantly quieter.”
   “The Vance & Hines XCR has a mellow feel that makes it perfect for riders below Intermediate level. It is almost electric (in a good way).”
   “I’m surprised that it could be this quiet and still feel like a race pipe. If you care about noise, this is a bolt-on solution.”

WHAT ARE THE STOCK DYNO NUMBERS?
   A dyno produces cold, hard, statistical facts?not always the same as seat-of-the-pants facts. The
MXA wrecking crew ran each CRF450 exhaust on the dyno and analyzed the numbers. Here are Vance & Hines’ numbers (with the stock CRF horsepower in parentheses).
   rpm                  horsepower
   6000                36.7 (37.2 stock)
   7000                44.4 (45.3 stock)
   8000                51.3 (50.7 stock)
   9000                53.0 (51.4 stock)
   10,000            50.7 (48.7 stock)
   11,000            48.7 (48.3 stock)

WHAT IS THE VANCE & HINES’ PEAK HORSEPOWER?
   The Vance & Hines XCR exhaust produced 53.08 horsepower at 8800 rpm. This is 200 rpm higher than the stock CRF450 exhaust pipe, but with 1.38 more horsepower than the stocker.

WHAT IS THE VANCE & HINES EXHAUST’S DURATION ABOVE 50 HORSEPOWER?
   As a measure of the quality of the overall powerband,
MXA uses our dyno runs to determine when the CRF450 cracks 50 horsepower and how long it stays above the half-century mark (in rpm). The Vance & Hines XCR exhaust pipe breaks 50 horsepower at 7800 rpm and stays there until 10,200. The Vance & Hines pipe stays in the meat of the 50 horsepower range for 700 rpm longer than the stock exhaust. The Vance & Hines XCR pipe has a 2500 rpm range.

WHAT’S IT COST? $849.95 (TiPro), $499.95 (stainless/Al).

WHO DO I CONTACT? www.vanceandhines.com or (3562) 921-7461.



FMF FACTORY 4.1 CRF450 EXHAUST SYSTEM

   Of all the pipes offered for the 2009 CRF450, the FMF Factory 4.1 with MegaBomb head pipe produced the most tractable power. It felt the torquiest and revved at the most manageable rate (not too fast and not too slow). Peak horsepower on the Factory 4.1 was great, and it had one of the longest usable power pockets (as measured by the amount of time the engine stays above 50 horsepower). Its most unique features were a very large resonance chamber built in front of the muffler (that mimicked the stock resonance chamber), stainless steel head pipe (even on the titanium models) and the MegaBomb head pipe (which is another resonance chamber).

MXA TEST RIDER COMMENTS
   “This was the torquiest of the exhaust pipes. It was strong throughout the range and not revvy or barky. The power was smooth.”
   “The FMF pipe maximized the low-end thrust and slowed down the revs through the middle to produce the longest pulling power. The metered power output seemed to last longer than any other pipe’s.”
   “This isn’t the fastest feeling exhaust, because it focuses more energy into the ground than into seat-of-the-pants sensations. It hooks up in a very controlled and manageable manner.”
   “Itmakes more power than the stock pipe in the middle and carries farther into the top.”
   “This is a good all-around pipe for anyone from Beginner to Expert. All the aftermarket pipes rev to the 11,300 rpm rev limiter, but the FMF pipe seems to ride the torque curve more than the horsepower curve. This is especially good on hard dirt or tricky off-camber
sections.”

WHAT ARE THE STOCK DYNO NUMBERS?
   A dyno produces cold, hard, statistical facts?not always the same as seat-of-the-pants facts. The
MXA wrecking crew ran each CRF450 exhaust on the dyno and analyzed the numbers. Here are FMF’s numbers (with the stock CRF horsepower in parentheses).
   rpm                 horsepower
   6000              37.0 (37.2 stock)
   7000              45.3 (45.3 stock)
   8000              52.1 (50.7 stock)
   9000              53.6 (51.4 stock)
   10,000           52.4 (48.7 stock)
   11,000           50.4 (48.3 stock)

WHAT IS THE FMF’S PEAK HORSEPOWER?
   The FMF Factory 4.1 exhaust produced 54.38 horsepower at 9500 rpm. This is 900 rpm higher than the stock CRF450 exhaust pipe, and with 2.68 more horsepower than the stocker.

WHAT IS THE FMF EXHAUST’S DURATION ABOVE 50 HORSEPOWER?
   As a measure of the quality of the overall powerband,
MXA uses our dyno runs to determine when the CRF450 cracks 50 horsepower and how long it stays above the half-century mark (in rpm). The FMF Factory 4.1 exhaust pipe breaks 50 horsepower at 7700 rpm and stays there until 11,000. The FMF Factory 4.1 pipe stays in the meat of the 50 horsepower range for 2500 rpm longer than the stock exhaust. The FMF pipe has a 3300 rpm range.

WHAT’S IT COST? $949.95 (carbon 4.1 w/MegaBomb), $849.99 (Ti 4.1 w/MegaBomb).

WHO DO I CONTACT? www.fmfracing.com or (310) 631-4363.


YOSHIMURA RS-4 CRF450 EXHAUST SYSTEM

   The RS-4 should be checked for steroids. It delivers more power at almost every rpm on the curve than the stock pipe and has an aggressive powerband that is strong enough to pull the next tallest gear. It has a usable powerband that is highlighted by crisp delivery, instant throttle response and no dips in the curve. Yoshimura should be commended for its workmanship, because the RS-4 is a thing of beauty. Perfect welds, incredible metal work and a dainty look. Yoshimura’s CRF450-like resonance chamber puts the stocker to shame in looks. On the other side of the coin, the RS-4 was very loud, and that fact was made all the more evident by the extremely short muffler (it can be bought in a 94dB model?thanks to an insert).

   All the pluses and minuses aside, Yoshimura’s connections to Team Honda have obviously paid off in the horsepower department.

MXA TEST RIDER COMMENTS
   “The RS-4 has awesome power for carrying your momentum. It’s good off the bottom, crisp in the middle and super fast in the mid-to-top transition.”
   “The midrange was the best part of the powerband with this pipe. It had the flexibility to go above or below the sweet spot without breaking a sweat.”
   “The reason the midrange felt so good was because the RS-4 allowed the engine to pull for at least an extra 1000 rpm before peaking out.”
   “Are my ears bleeding? This is the loudest pipe by far. That tiny little muffler is not much of a muffler at all.”
   “Every skill level would like this pipe. It covers all the bases, makes excellent horsepower and does it in the right place.”

WHAT ARE THE STOCK DYNO NUMBERS?
   A dyno produces cold, hard, statistical facts?not always the same as seat-of-the-pants facts. The
MXA wrecking crew ran each CRF450 exhaust on the dyno and analyzed the numbers. Here are Yoshimura’s numbers (with the stock CRF horsepower in parentheses).
   rpm                 horsepower
   6000              37.0 (37.2 stock)
   7000              45.3 (45.3 stock)
   8000              52.1 (50.7 stock)
   9000              53.6 (51.4 stock)
   10,000           52.4 (48.7 stock)
   11,000           50.4 (48.3 stock)

WHAT IS THE YOSHIMURA’S PEAK HORSEPOWER?
   The Yoshimura exhaust produced 54.34 horsepower at 9400 rpm. This is 800 rpm higher than the stock CRF450 exhaust pipe, and with 2.64 more horsepower than the stocker.

WHAT IS THE YOSHIMURA EXHAUST’S DURATION ABOVE 50 HORSEPOWER?
   As a measure of the quality of the overall powerband,
MXA uses our dyno runs to determine when the CRF450 cracks 50 horsepower and how long it stays above the half-century mark (in rpm). The Yoshimura RS-4 exhaust pipe breaks 50 horsepower at 7800 rpm and stays there until 10,900. The RS-4 pipe stays in the meat of the 50 horsepower range for 2300 rpm longer than the stock exhaust. The Yoshimura pipe has a 3100 rpm range.

WHAT’S IT COST? $895.00 (Ti/Carbon), $845.00 (Ti/Ti), $595.00 (Stainless/Al).

WHO DO I CONTACT? www.yoshimura-rd.com or (800) 634-9166.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditmail

Comments are closed.