The Honda CRF450X is a pretty good motorcycle straight out of the box. Every time it’s been entered in the Baja races, it’s won its class—and Honda has pitched it as “perhaps the best off-roader ever built.” But Philadelphia engineer Steve Christini reckons he can go one better. For $6895, he’ll sell you a CRF450X with a mechanical two-wheel-drive system that delivers power to the front wheel, using a series of chains and shafts. Even better, very little hp is lost: there are no energy-sapping hydraulics involved.
According to Christini, “You can easily conquer the gnarliest hills, ruts, mud, roots, and logs … The Christini AWD system also dramatically improves cornering and straight-line stability on all surfaces. The system makes the motorcycle noticeably easier to ride and substantially reduces rider fatigue, allowing you to ride faster for longer periods of time.”
I’m no expert on the intricacies of off-road riding, but the logic stacks up. As with some 4WD cars, power is transferred to the front only when the rear loses traction, or the front skids. “The front-to-rear power ratio is adjustable with a simple sprocket adjustment,” says Christini. “This allows for nearly unlimited fine-tuning of the AWD system to suit riding conditions and personal riding preference.”
Christini’s system adds just 15 lbs (6.8 kg) of additional weight, which should have a negligible impact on straight performance. And if you’re a really hardcore motocrosser, Christini can build you a more race-oriented model with a Gas Gas 300 engine and other high-end competition goodies for around $8995.