2010 bike with the new software program, we figured we would simply put a 2009 black box into our 2010 bike. It worked. The downside was that we simply turned the 2010 Honda CRF450 into a 2009 CRF450. No big deal. We used last year’s software to put in the map we ran on the older model. ( 3) Mapping. Not everybody has access to last year’s black box, so I spent a lot of time trying to duplicate the 2009 feel by playing with ignition and fuel settings on the 2010 bike. I was able to cross-reference my new 2010 maps with the old 2009 maps. I made progress with different advanced timing and leaner or richer maps, but I was never able to get the fast and aggressive feel of the 2009 black box. As an MXA test rider, I’m always jumping from one bike to another. I often race two or three different bikes at the same race. Luckily, I’m not picky about lever position or other picayune things. However, there are a couple of bike interface issues that make a big difference for me. Here’s what I changed on the Honda CRF450. (1) Footpegs. Honda must have a million old footpegs in a warehouse in Japan, because they refuse to update them. The stockers collect mud and don’t grip boots very well. Pro Taper’s pegs resist mud jamming in the pivot, (although on a deep rut day I still run Acerbis footpeg protectors) and offer 5mm lower, slightly arched platforms. ( 2) Handlebars. I’m 6’ 2”, so taller handlebars make standing up much more comfortable for me. Tag Metals’ CR-Hi bend offers the same dimensions as the stock Renthal bars, but with more rise and sweep, which means less hunching and less sitting down over bumps. Incidentally, the Tag bars are much cheaper than a Tempurpedic or a chiropractor. ( 3) Brakes. The OEM Honda brakes are as good as they ever were, but unfortunately they aren’t at the top of the class anymore (KTM’s are). The front gets mushy, and the small rear pads fade. An oversized rotor is the ultimate setup, but I prefer to keep the stock rotor and upgrade to a Galfer braided steel brake line. This is a notable improvement, and with fresh fluid and a clean rotor, performance is more than satisfactory. The best solution for the rear is simply to bleed and clean often. Different fluid and gimmicky reservoir extenders and such don’t do much to prevent fade. ( 4) Graphics. DeCal Works T- 7 semi-custom job makes the bike unique—nobody else has these graphics. The wrecking crew spent a lot of time getting the bike where I want it, but I don’t want the bike to show those hours. ( 5) Hour meter. Keeping on top of oil changes, clutch maintenance and brake inspection is more important on the Honda than other bikes. I installed a TTO digital tachometer and hour meter. It’s small, has cool mounting options, and remembers peak rpm. ( 6) Front tire. Having a predictable front tire is important. I have been enjoying the Dunlop MX31 when there is roostable dirt on the track. If I showed up to the racetrack and was assigned by MXA to race a bone-stock 2010 Honda CRF450, I would do it—but I wouldn’t like it. This bike rolled off the assembly line with a lot of work left to be done. After two years of testing, I found that with the right mods, the 2010 Honda CRF450 can be the right bike. ;
Pro Taper’s footpegs are arched
across the top and come with different height platforms. MXA runs
the minus 5mm platforms.