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Silver Surfer: A Honda street tracker from Black Cycles

Silver Surfer: A Honda CRF450X street tracker from Black Cycles
The Honda CRF450X will go down in history as one of the marque’s greatest hits. Originally derived from the hardcore CRF450R motocrosser, it’s one of the best enduro bikes money can buy.

It has dominated the Baja 1000 and 500 desert races, and just this year Ricky Brabec piloted a rally-spec CRF450 to Dakar victory. So one thing is certain: the CRF excels off-piste.

Silver Surfer: A Honda CRF450X street tracker from Black Cycles
Noel Muller at Black Cycles in Brisbane, Australia was well aware of the CRF450X’s dirt bike pedigree when he picked up a 2007 model. But that didn’t stop him from wondering what it would be like as a street bike. After all, 48 hp and a dry weight of just 250 pounds (113 kilos) makes for a very respectable power-to-weight ratio.

Noel’s initial plan for the CRF was pretty basic: “Renew all plastics and lower it… a lot!”

Silver Surfer: A Honda CRF450X street tracker from Black Cycles
So that’s exactly what he did. The forks went off to local specialist XXX Rated Suspension and the rear end to Gazi Suspension, and both came back 200 mm shorter. Then the Honda’s knobby tires were switched out for more versatile rubber.

That’s when things got weird. Noel installed fresh plastics and a new LED headlight—but he also fitted clip-on bars, turning the CRF into some sort of bizarre ‘cafe cross.’

Silver Surfer: A Honda CRF450X street tracker from Black Cycles
He put the bike up for sale and posted it to Instagram, where responses were…um…polarized. It ultimately didn’t sell, so Noel decided that a full street tracker makeover was in order.

The suspension mods were already spot on, but that huge 21” front wheel had to go. So an 18” rim was laced to the front hub to match the stock 18” rear, with both now shod in 90% on-road, 10% off-road Avon Trailrider tires.

Silver Surfer: A Honda CRF450X street tracker from Black Cycles
Next, Black Cycles ditched all the plastics, the seat, the fuel tank, the air-box and, yes, those clip-ons. In their place, Noel fabricated a slim aluminum tank and a new seat pan.

It’s a radical departure from the CRF’s sharp OEM panels, with a fluid transition from the front half of the frame into the seat. There’s a new subframe too, capped off with an integrated LED taillight.

Silver Surfer: A Honda CRF450X street tracker from Black Cycles
Up front, the crew added new risers, tapered bars, an Acewell speedo and a beefy 7” LED headlight. Lower down, you’ll find a really neat pair of hand-made fork protectors that morph into front fender brackets.

There are neat little touches all over this Honda. With the radiator and its mounting points now exposed, Noel fabricated a pair of better-looking brackets. And he built a license plate and turn signal bracket to sit behind the back wheel.

Silver Surfer: A Honda CRF450X street tracker from Black Cycles
Andrew Stagg, whose Yamaha MT-07 topped our ‘Bikes of the Year‘ list recently, works out of Black Cycles too. He handled all the aluminum welding on this project, and built the exhaust header, terminating it in a muffler that Noel had already bought.

The CRF450X also wears burly foot pegs from Pro Moto Billet in the US, a new sprocket cover and a plate to protect your heel from the chain.

Silver Surfer: A Honda CRF450X street tracker from Black Cycles
Noel has kept the finishes on this CRF delightfully simple… and striking. The tank’s been polished, and even the forks have been stripped of their original gold finish. As for the seat, Carman’s Auto Upholstery wrapped it in a most unusual ‘chrome’ vinyl that Noel had laying around, waiting for the right build.

All of the red bits act as accents. There’s the obvious stuff like the bars, risers and gas cap, but Black Cycles have taken the theme further. They’ve also installed red radiator hoses, painted the inside of the headlight bucket red, and added small anodized caps all over the place.

Silver Surfer: A Honda CRF450X street tracker from Black Cycles
We usually shudder at the idea of red anodizing, but it’s been tastefully executed here and works a treat. And the CRF450X now has the right lines and proportions to match its slammed stance.

It’s for sale again, and we’re betting it’ll be a hit this time around.

Black Cycles Facebook | Instagram | Images by Alexander Mena

Silver Surfer: A Honda CRF450X street tracker from Black Cycles

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