We don’t like it. Yes, it works, but without expensive maintenance it won’t work for long. If you have the money to feed it clutch plates at regular intervals, it will work well, but clutch-for-clutch the 2009 clutch is not as reliable as the 2008 clutch. In our opinion, this is a step backwards for clutch users and abusers and not a good value for consumers. On a side note, when the clutch on a fuel-injected bike starts slipping, the danger of flame out goes up. Why? If the clutch doesn’t engage fully in a corner when pulled in, the bike will chug at low speed. Chugging is a large part of the flame-out picture (and when a clutch slips, a high idle speed cannot stop chugging). MXA has provided you with several clutch solutions, but to make the nay sayers happy, we want to leave you with this advice: The easiest fix for the CRF450 clutch is to just not use it. For more info about 2009 Honda CRF450 clutches, contact Hinson Racing at www.hinsonracing.com or at (909) 946-2942. ;
THE ULTIMATE PRIVATEER SOLUTION The ultimate solution for MXA’s CRF450 clutch woes was to install a special Hinson six-spring clutch. We used a Hinson pressure plate, Hinson basket and Hinson inner hub (plus assorted Hinson hardware). This turned our new 2009 four-spring clutch into an exact replica of last year's six-spring clutch. That worked wonders because it addressed all of the issues. Now you might be wondering why you can't just take last year's stock six-spring 2008 Honda CRF450 clutch and stick it in the 2009 engine to replace the four-spring clucth. The reason you can't is because it won't fit. The 2009 clutch has a different spline size than the 2008 clutch. STEEL HAS ITS ADVOCATES In the process of testing a series of Honda clutch fixes, we decided to test Hinson’s unique steel clutch basket. CNC-machined out of a billet of solid steel, the Hinson steel basket weighs 2-1/2 pounds more than the stock cast aluminum basket. We had our doubts about what effect this weight would have on the power curve of the 2009 CRF450, but since the CRF450 has so much low-end power on tap, we were hopeful that it would be beneficial. Hinson makes the steel clutch basket for riders who never want to worry about the life-span of their clutch baskets. The steel basket is extremely wear resistant, has oil ports to help lubricate the plates and improves clutch performance because of its stiction-free tangs.
WHAT DO WE REALLY THINK ABOUT THE STOCK CRF450 CLUTCH?
The question wasn’t about clutch performance, because we expected an improvement in feel and action with the steel basket. The uncertainty centered around what the heavy basket would do to throttle response and power output. Amazingly, most MXA test riders liked the feel. At the worst, they felt that the heavy bas- ket took the edge off of the harsher parts of the power- band and slowed the rev down in the midrange, but overall it wasn’t much of an issue. Perhaps, because of the direction of rotation of the clutch, it operates more as a giant counterbalancer than as a flywheel weight; it had none of the attributes of a heavy flywheel. At $294.99, the CNC-machined steel Hinson basket costs $30 more than the high-tech Akadized aluminum basket. On a positive note, the Hinson six-spring clutch can be installed by just changing the stock pressure plate and inner hub. The Hinson inner hub and pressure plate can be used with the stock CRF450 clutch basket (be sure and inspect the stock basket for notching). Or, you can order a complete Hinson six-spring clutch kit (basket, inner hub, springs and pressure plate). Obviously, this fix is for riders who feel the need to improve the 2009 Honda CRF450 at all costs.