( 2) Acclimate. As much as I hate to say it, you have to acclimate to riding the 2010 Honda CRF450. Face it, the CRF450 is different. Unless you have the dinero to build a new frame, it will never be very stable. In short, I changed my riding style to work with its quirks. ( 3) Free fixes. Although a lot of CRF450 mods are expensive, there are plenty of cheap things that you can do to get more stability. I slide the forks up and down depending on the track con- ditions. I run a couple mil- limeters more race sag to bal- ance out the chassis. I stiffen up the forks a little beyond the comfort zone to calm the brake dive down. I even tried moving the rear wheel as far back as possible, but all that did was move more weight forward—and that is not something the CRF450 needs. ( 4) Shock linkage. Many people think that aftermarket shock linkages have some- thing to do with the rear sus- pension. They don’t! It’s not for the shock; it’s for the chassis. Trying to run excessive sag or less high-speed compression to drop the rear is a bad tradeoff. It essen- tially ruins the shock’s performance in an attempt to level out the chassis. By changing to a Pro Circuit, Factory Connection or Ride Engineering linkage, you lower the chassis in the rear (which provides a lot more options in front and rear balance). The linkage is cake you can eat. ( 5) Stiffer fork springs. The 2010 has a bit firmer valving in the forks, but this is just a Band-Aid fix. If you want to race, as opposed to play ride, you will need stiffer fork springs. ( 6) Revalve. Getting the suspension dialed in is a big confidence booster. Finding a company (especially a local one) that will work with you to get the setup you want is a treasure. I selected Factory Connection because I had tested their Honda suspension on several pro riders’ bikes. They do good work. Best of all, they worked with me through multiple revalves and spring changes to get exactly what I was looking for. ( 7) Triple clamps. Opinions vary on this subject, but I’ve tried 22mm clamps and 24mm clamps and didn’t think the improvement justified the cost (of the two different offsets, I had the best luck with 24mm). I run the stock OEM 20mm offset on the 2010. ( 8) Steering damper. In my philosophy book, adding a hydraulic door hinge to the front end is a sign that WHEN A MANUFACTURER COMES OUT WITH A TOTALLY NEW BIKE, THERE ARE ALWAYS BUGS, BUT THE 2009 HONDA HAD ENOUGH TO JUSTIFY CALLING AN EXTERMINATOR.
LIVING with the HONDA CRF450
Different offset triple clamps are
often touted, but the best chassis
mod is a longer linkage arm like Pro
Circuit’s. It helps the handling by
balancing out the front and rear of