slackening the head angle are not stated goals. It is done to bring the front and rear suspension into harmony. To compensate for the soft forks, the rear has to be lowered. Once you stiffen the front forks, go to 105mm of sag. Q: WHAT MODS WOULD BENEFIT THE 2010 CRF450 THE MOST? A: We have a few suggestions for Honda CRF450 owners: (1) Forks: Replace the stock 0.46 fork springs with stiffer 0.48 kg/mm springs. ( 2) Shock linkage: We run a 146mm-long Pro Circuit shock linkage. It replaces the stock 144mm linkage and lowers the rear of the bike by 10mm to help flatten out the bike’s attitude. ( 3) Shock spring: Many shock tuners shorten the stock CRF450 shock by 3mm to help bring the chassis into balance, but if you run the Pro Circuit link, this isn’t necessary. Riders under 175 pounds might be well advised to go down one rate on the shock spring. ( 4) Gearing: Unless you like to drone from gear to gear, switch the stock 13/48 gearing to 13/49. ( 5) Reprogram the ECU: Unfortunately, without the Honda’s $350 PGM-FI tool (plus an IBM PC-compatible computer and 12-volt battery), you won’t be able to find the power that Honda removed for 2010. If you have the tool, you can, by a process of trial and error, get close to your favorite setting from last year, since this is the identical engine from last year (with a different map). ( 6) Exhaust pipes: The 2010 Honda CRF450 has a pure low-to-mid powerband (and although it will rev to 11,200 rpm, it is not a high-rpm engine). It makes its best power from 6000 to 8200 rpm. It peaks at a rather average 50. 90 horsepower. After 8000 rpm, it does not make any additional horsepower. It hangs. What the CRF450 needs more than anything else is some power from 8200 to 9500 rpm. The quickest and simplest way to get this is with an aftermarket exhaust system. ( 7) Flywheel weight: We had great luck with a 17-ounce Steahly flywheel weight. It reduced flame-out and spread the power out.
( 8) Injectioneering butterfly: We had the butterfly in our fuel injector’s throttle body modified and gained a significant improvement in throttle response from idle to one-quarter throttle (without the bark). Q: WHAT DID WE HATE? A: The hate list: (1) Sound. The 2010 Honda CRF450 is 3. 3 dB louder than the 2010 KTM 450SXF (and paradoxically, the KTM makes three more horsepower). ( 2) Oil window. We love oil windows. We hate dip- sticks. ( 3) Gearing. We don’t think the low-to-mid powerband is in sync with the gear- box ratios. ( 4) Clutch. Yikes! This is barely a clutch. With only four clutch springs, the CRF450 clutch has the life span of a Gypsy moth. The first thing we did was install a set of super- stiff Hinson clutch springs, but if you are serious, you will want to swap to a complete six-spring Hinson clutch. ( 5) Brakes. Lose the disc guards front and rear. They don’t help the brakes fight off fade from over- heating. ( 6) Fork springs. Soft forks don’t just affect the suspension, they ruin the handling. Q: WHAT DID WE LIKE? A: The like list: (1) Kayaba shock. Honda made some smart and useful changes to the 2010 shock. ( 2) Weight. Our CRF450 weighed 226.5 pounds (dry). That is ten pounds lighter than almost any bike in the class. ( 3) Hand hold. Honda’s double-walled rear fender is a comfy place to grab hold of. Other brands should take note of the fact that their bikes have to be picked up, too. ( 4) HPSD. We never liked the HPSD steering damper on the old chassis, but the 2009-10 frame needs it. Q: WHAT DO WE REALLY THINK? A: The 2010 Honda CRF450 is a known quantity. The vast reservoir of hop-up knowledge out there means that anyone who buys a 2010 CRF450 will have a wealth of information available about how to get the most out of the bike. If you take full advantage of the experience of others, you will be pleasantly surprised. Ignore it at your own risk. ; Clip: You can reprogram the ignition without removing the tank.