2004 Honda CR85R Review

You are probably familiar with Honda’s excellent reputation.  They strive for excellence in everything they build, and their dirt bikes are no exception.  Instead of jumping the gun on every new trend, Honda seems to prefer taking their time to refine and perfect their design before introducing something new to the market.  More often than not, it is worth the wait.

Case in point, the 2004 CR85R.  For years, the big-bore four-stroke class was dominated by Yamaha and their CRF450R, with several substantial wins its first year.  When Honda later introduced their CR85R, it surprised a lot of people by making almost as much noise as the Yamaha had when it hit the scene.

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Kawasaki originally raised the bar with their 85cc models in 2001, with other makers quickly following suit.  Honda, however, wisely did not jump on the bandwagon immediately, even with riders clamoring for them do to so.  Instead, they stuck with their CR80 models through 2003.  In 2004, the CR85R arrived on the scene and became widely recognized as a class leader.  As a stock model, a lot of riders thought it ran better than many of its competitors which included additional options.

In real-world use, the 2004 CR85R proves fast and agile.  Top end power is especially impressive, and the smooth clutch with close-ratio 6-speed transmission doesn’t disappoint.  Lever actuation is smooth, making shifts easier and safer for young riders.

With an original price tag of under $3,000, this bike is a great value.  It boasts a 1-cylinder, water-cooled, single 2-stroke engine with transverse mounting.  It has an 85cc displacement and 25.83 horsepower @ 12,000 rpm.  The cable-operated clutch is wet multi-disc, and the bore x stroke is 1.87 x 1.88 inches.  The throttle is cable operated as well, with variable Reed valve and chain final drive.

The wheel base of 49.1, seat height of 32.8 and curb weight of 176.5 make the CR85R maneuverable for younger riders.  The single cradle steel frame supports a cartridge suspension in the front and mono-shock/swingarm in the rear.  The power to weight ratio is .24 KW/lb (4.21 lbs/HP), and fuel capacity is 1.4 gal.

If you’re looking for great performance and handling at an affordable price, consider the 2004 Honda CR85R.


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