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02'-04' vs 05'-08'. What's the better desert bike?

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I have read of course that the 05'+ wins hands down on an MX track. But as far as desert use which one is better? Things like Stability at speed,headshake,ergos are more of a concern. Precise handling not as much.

Buying a new bike soon and need to make the decision.

FWIW I had a decent amount of seat time on an 03' years ago and loved it....best bike I have ever ridden. Didnt think it was possible to get any better...can it?

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My experiences on the Honda 450s are with a 2005 CRF450X and my current 2002 CRF450R. Although slightly heavier, the 450X was much better in the handling department but I do not feel it was as stable at speed (65mph+) as my 02 450R, that is until the Scotts dampner was installed on the 05. I ride WFO desert, mountain trails and dunes year round so green sticker was very important for me. The dunes is the only place I would take the 02 over the 05 with the longer wheel base and more aggressive tuning the 02 flat out rips. Overall though I was happier with the hanlding, features and feel of the 05 450X.

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My experiences on the Honda 450s are with a 2005 CRF450X and my current 2002 CRF450R. Although slightly heavier, the 450X was much better in the handling department but I do not feel it was as stable at speed (65mph+) as my 02 450R, that is until the Scotts dampner was installed on the 05. I ride WFO desert, mountain trails and dunes year round so green sticker was very important for me. The dunes is the only place I would take the 02 over the 05 with the longer wheel base and more aggressive tuning the 02 flat out rips. Overall though I was happier with the hanlding, features and feel of the 05 450X.

Interesting...im coming off an 07' WR450 right now and i hate the way it handles alot of it due to the weight..and the 450X is similar..as far as piggish weight and detuned power. Does the 450x share the same frame as the 450r?

2002 for the green sticker is something I am considering as well...not sure if I want to sacrifice going that old...plus people seem to think they are worth more from what I am seeing.

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I am pretty sure the 05 X and R have different frames, at least the rake since the R has 1/2in more wheelbase. The 02 R is close to, if not, over 1in longer than the 05's.

I rode a WR450 for a short time during a trail ride while I had 450X and didnt get comfortable although I did not play with suspension clickers as it was not my bike. My 450X was "uncorked" so sluggish was not in the vocabulary and blew the stock WR away.

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The 2002 is an awesome desert bike. It has a nice open cockpit, it has a fantastic powerband (it think the Honda team uses 2002 450R cams in its race bikes), and it is a green sticker bike.

You must have a skidplate (Moose Racing is good) so you don't trash your frame or crack open your engine.

Of course, you need to get the suspension done (Clean Racing makes the CRF450R suspension heaven in the desert terrain).

My 2002 has had 20mm offset triple clamps as long as I have owned it, most of that time was without a stabilizer. It handles great, and I have never had any headshake whatsoever with or without the stabilizer. The stabilizer does make it nicer in sand washes, and through the jumbly rocks.

As with all CRF450Rs, a heavy flywheel makes it so much better in the desert.

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I sold my 07 CRF450X and bought a 06 CRF450R. The 450X had a pipe, carb mods, air box mods, ect., it was a sweet bike, a little heavy, but overall an awesome desert bike.

My 06 R is set up for desert,MX,dunes,forest and it ripps up anything it comes across. Very sweet desert bike. BY FAR the baddest bike I have ever owned or rode! :smashpc:

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I have both generations of bikes and I don't feel that one is really any better than the other in high-speed situations. The '05 up definitely turn better, but they exhibit the same stability at speed IMHO.

The '02-04 bikes you sort of sit "in" and the handlebars feel like ape-hangers if you ride one back-to-back with an 05-08 model.

Buy the cleanest one you can afford, stick a stabilizer on it and go!

FYI I have a GPR stablizer on my '07 that I am planning to get rid of if you end up with that generation of bike. I'm not going to do much more riding so I'm putting my bikes back to showroom stock...

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Thanks for the replies. I ended up picking up a really clean 04' this weekend. Stock plastics and suspension which I wanted..all original except the bars and exhaust..which are good things. Looking at the normal wear points this thing has barely been ridden. Only thing it really needs is a new throttle tube..and an oil change. Already have my desert tank on order.

I think either way 02-04 vs 05-07 would be a step up from my WR450. I may pick up an 07' in a couple years when you can pick up the non-clapped out ones for as cheap to compare.

The '02-04 bikes you sort of sit "in" and the handlebars feel like ape-hangers if you ride one back-to-back with an 05-08 model.

Buy the cleanest one you can afford, stick a stabilizer on it and go!

I have heard this as well from a few other people. I am pretty sure I prefer the "sit in" type feel...but who knows.

Also never had a steering stabilizer on any bike..been riding desert for...24 yrs now. Is it worth it?

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Also never had a steering stabilizer on any bike..been riding desert for...24 yrs now. Is it worth it?

Stabalizer is worth every penny. Scotts or GPR are the way to go. I had a Scotts on the 05 450X and currently running the GPR with remote adjust on my 02 450R. I was more pleased with the quality of the Scotts unit but the remote adjust feature on the GPR is a plus as well as their policy of rebuiling it for free (just have to pay shipping).

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I had a Scotts on my '04 bike and the GPR on my '07. I rode MX only and liked them both equally. I think some guys who ride trails/single track prefer one over the other. If I had to buy another one I would buy the GPR though. One knob. :smashpc:

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