outfitted his bike with the new Dunlop GeoMax MX51 tires. In the accoutrement department, Kyle’s personal touches were very subtle. Amazingly, Kyle’s triple clamps not only had the stock offset, but they were off-the-showroom-floor stock clamps. The only triple-clamp mod on Kyle’s CRF450 was SixSixOne handlebar mounts. He selected Tag handlebars and sprock- ets. The bars and gearing mimicked the stock setup (in bar height and number of teeth). An RK chain replaced the pitiful stock Honda unit, while ARC supplied the folding levers to mount on the Tag bars. There was a Filtron air filter (coated in Kal-Guard foam filter oil), Tag grips and Kal-Guard graphics. TEST RIDE: A BIKE FOR THE MASSES Right off the bat, every MXA test rider liked Kyle’s setup. No surprise, since we have tested a bevy of Kyle’s race bikes over the years and always found his machines to be among the few pro bikes that actually work well in the hands of normal folks. But the best thing about riding Kyle’s bikes has always been the suspension. From Ultracross through a portion of his Moto XXX days, Kyle ran Clark Jones’ Noleen suspension—which is famous for its plushness. Obviously, Kyle carried his preference for a fluid feel over to his Factory Connection setup, because it was sweet. The revalved forks and shock tracked straight and held the nervous 2009 CRF450 chassis steady across rough ground. Very good stuff (and not just for pros). Every MXA test rider feels that the CRF450 needs to be flatter, more balanced and less stink buggy. Thanks to the longer Factory Connection shock linkage, Kyle’s bike sat at the proper stance. The power wasn’t overly impres- sive, but its breadth was appreciated. Not only did the extra boost in ponies delivered by the FMF exhaust help the CRF450 be more rideable,
WE RIDE KYLE LEWIS’ HONDA CRF450
Factory Connection revalved Kyle’s Kayaba forks for his speed and weight, while
QTM/Brembo supplied the incredibly powerful oversize front rotor. Good stuff.
THE POWER WASN’T OVERLY IMPRESSIVE, BUT ITS BREADTH WAS APPRECIATED