The 2017 CRF450 exhibits some head shake. You can reinstall
the HPSD damper. The mounts are there, but not the damper.
We switched from the stock 54 N/m shock spring to a 56 N/m
spring. If you weigh over 170 pounds, this works great.
We did suffer considerable head-shake at speed, but this
was largely caused by the soft front fork springs, which
allowed the front to drop. This drop steepened the head
angle and brought on unwanted oscillation. Stiffening the
front fork springs lessened this; however, if you still feel
that the 2017 CRF450 is unstable at high speeds or across
rough ground, you can reinstall the HPSD from last year’s
bike. The mounting points are included on the 2017 bike,
although the damper isn’t.
The 2017 CRF450 has a stinkbug stance, which has
been a common trait since 2009. We put the race sag at
107mm and slid the fork legs up in the clamps by 2.5mm.
This lowered the overall bike height while maintaining the
DON’T SHAKE YOUR HEAD SHOCK IT TO ME
same frame geometry. Had we just lowered the rear, it
would have kicked the head angle out and slackened the
geometry. The 2017 CRF450 has the most sensitive fore/
aft balance that we have ever encountered. Any change
to the shock seriously affected the forks. Additionally, the
shock’s high-speed damping was already so far out that
it only offered the ability to slow it down. The rear end
moved up and down too much and tended to wallow in
consecutive bumps. We switched from the stock 54 N/m
shock spring to a stiffer 56 N/m shock spring. This was a
big plus for riders over 170 pounds. Riders lighter than that
can keep the stock shock spring. Stiffening up the rear end
made the stock shock feel more stable in the rough. Pro,
Intermediate and Vet riders ran the exact same low-speed
compression ( 17 clicks out) and rebound ( 7 clicks out) set-
tings. High-speed compression varied from 3. 75 turns out
to 3. 5 turns out.