Rare Cristini 450DS Dual Sport all-wheel drive auctioned
Unlike the automotive world, all-wheel drive models are rare in motorcycles. The Rokon Trail Breaker has been a great all-wheel-drive utility bike for decades, but never mass adopted. Suzuki’s Nuda concept featured dual-shaft drives, but unfortunately it never made it onto the production line. However, Cristini All-Wheel Drive Motorcycles has put all its strengths on technology and its AWD 450DS is definitely worth a visit.
To the untrained eye, Cristini’s flagship dual sport looks like any street-approved off-road motorcycle. The 13-inch ground clearance is generous, and the plastics match the style of most off-road machines. The twin-spar aluminum frame houses a liquid-cooled 450cc single-cylinder engine derived from Honda’s CRF450X. For this reason, Cristini owners can bolt Honda OEM parts directly to the Cristini platform. Despite all these similarities, one thing stands out on the 450DS: front-wheel drive.
While the system is low-key, Cristini packs a lot of tech into a few square feet. From chain to bevel through gear transmission, the system takes power from the secondary countershaft and sends it to the front wheel. After a series of chain and shaft drives under the triple clamps, the front axle gearbox transfers power to the front hub. However, the front-wheel drive is not always active.
If the rear loses grip or the front begins to slip, the system kicks in to help maintain the bike’s course and rider feel. The rest of the time, the front hub is coasting. Ingenious features like the telescoping drive shafts at the fork provide 12 inches of travel, allowing the system to handle the rigors of off-road riding. Despite all the gears, shafts and chains, Cristini’s AWD mechanism only adds 12 pounds to the dual sport and uses 0.1 horsepower.
For those interested in the Cristini AWD 450DS, a 2015 unit is currently on sale at GSA Auctions. While mileage is unknown and the six-year-old dual sport may need repairs, AWD motorcycles are not easy to find.