MAY 2012 / MOTOCROSS ACTION 109
The expensive Ti CRFStuff pegs are very lightweight. The
inexpensive Acerbis protectors keep the pivots clear.
FMF’s Factory 4.1 is a full-race muffler with flexibility. It
has a removable spark arrestor for U.S. Forestry areas.
a pink-poodle delivery now; it was all pit bull back in 2009. The answer is mellower mapping and a more restrictive exhaust. The pinhole muffler had to go. I chose an FMF PowerBomb header and Factory 4.1 exhaust system for several reasons. I knew that it would not only increase overall power, but give the bike some hit. I chose the PowerBomb head pipe over the MegaBomb to achieve a quicker-revving powerband. Lastly, FMF’s new spark arrestor system makes it easy for me to head to I- 5 MX, a forest ser- vice-controlled track close to the MXA headquarters.
STEP FOUR: I WANTED MORE POWER OUT
OF THE CRF450, BUT I WANTED
TO KEEP THE ENGINE MODS SIMPLE. I
DIDN,T WANT TO COMPROMISE
DURABILITY OR HAVE TO BUY RACE GAS.
Step four: I wanted more power out of the CRF450, but I wanted to keep the engine mods simple. I didn’t want to compromise durability or have to buy race gas, so I shied away from increasing compression. Sending out the cylinder head for porting would have been more money and wrench turning for less power improvement in comparison with just slipping in a camshaft. I decided to limit my internal engine mods to a HotCams camshaft— having tried one with good results in our 2010 CRF450. This is an especially cost-effective option, because the Honda only has one cam to replace. For $300, you can choose among six different Builder Series CRF450 HotCams; for $270, you can choose Stage 1, 2 or 3 cams (all designed to optimize power at different parts of the powerband). With a DOHC engine, you’d have to spend twice the money, or settle for an intake or exhaust camshaft only. I went with the Stage 2 camshaft, which is designed to offer the same power as the stocker up to 6000 rpm and an overall improvement from 6000 rpm to the rev limit.
STEP FIVE: MY FINAL STEP WAS TO
REMAP THE IGNITION. MXA HAS THE
MAPPING TOOLS AND SOFTWARE, BUT I
DECIDED TO LET TOKYOMODS DO THE
MAPPING FOR ME.
Step five: My final step was to remap the ignition. MXA has the mapping tools and software, but I decided to let Tokyomods do the mapping for me. I thought that $75 seemed pretty steep for a couple megabytes of data, but it was a lot cheaper and easier than buying the $350 Honda programming tool and heading out to the track with my laptop for a few hours of map tinkering.
STEP SIX: TO ME, THE HONDA,S FRONT
WHEEL SEEMS TUCKED BACK SO FAR; IT
FEELS LIKE RIDING A UNICYCLE.
Step six: To me, the Honda’s front wheel seems tucked back so far; it feels like riding a unicycle some- times. So after handling the power, it was time to address the suspension and chassis. The best mod to combat that feeling on a 2009–2011 CRF450 is a longer link arm, but Honda got smart and spec’d a longer link for 2012. I considered ordering a set of 24mm offset Applied triple clamps. I have tested them before, and I know that they help, but Honda’s strangely configured handling is too extreme to be fixed with simple bolt-ons. It costs a lot of money to make chassis mods that don’t totally fix the twitchiness. No matter what, you still have to get used to it, so I decided to focus all of my attention on dialing in the suspension. As an MXA editor, I’ve been lucky to meet many clever suspension guys. One of the standouts is Jeremy Wilkey of MX-Tech. He’s not just a re-valver, he’s an innovator. Plus, he’s super enthusiastic, a straight shooter and loves to ride. So I broke out the MXA suspension case and shipped my forks and shocks to MX-Tech’s West Coast office in Phoenix, Arizona.