02 crf450r suspension.

Hey guys. I'm looking for some info on what you guys think I should do about the suspension on my 2002 crf450r. I'm 5'9" and weigh 195lbs. I am a novice/junior rider. When I got the bike, although I found it to have really good suspension, it seems to be a little soft. MXA magazine suggested that going to .49's in the forks and 5.6 shock spring would be all I need to do to make the suspension stiffer. After looking up the Race Tech website and talking to a local suspension shop, both of them said that I would be better using the stock springs and revalving the suspension. I thought that I would like to try and revalve the suspension myself with a Race Tech gold valve kit for the forks and shock. The kit suggests changing the midvalve for a checkvalve, but after reading the comments on this site, it sounds to me like this is not a good idea. My first thought was to just change the compression valving to race tech specs without installing the check valve. Will this make the settings softer or harder? Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

if it is a little soft there are cheaper fixes than valving if you are casin your stuff eveywhere than maybe at your weight and ability you should be able to work that out with the stock stuff i will see my susp. guy tomm. 1-7 see if i can get some exacts for you

Here's my current stock suspension set-up. Forks: comp set at 2, rebound set at 9. Shock: hs stock setting, ls 10, rebound 10. I've tried running suspension settings that MXA recommended for the bike stock, but they recommended crazy soft setting for the fork in the 15-18 range. My biggest complaint is that the forks seem to hang down and wallow upon landing from a jump. I haven't experimented with the oil height on the forks yet, but I think I will try the pvc pipe trick and see if that would improve the last part of the stroke, as the forks seem to bottom really easily. I had a 2000 yamaha 426 and a revalved 98 yz 250 that did not exhibit these characteristics. Right now, I'm scared to do a lot of the bigger jumps that I used to do with my yamahas because it just blows through the stroke too quickly. I don't really have many complaints with the shock, but that's probably because I'm concentrating on the forks. I would like to try the storm link though.

The race tech stuff is good for what it is intended to; learning to understand the concept of mx suspension. That being said, I don't believe it is your best bet for performance. They recommend to disable the midvalve to a checkvalve to make their valving easy and convenient for them to make their setup easily transferrable from one brand to the other without much testing for them. But, the truth is; there are substantial gains to be had with proper midvalve tuning. Your CRF needs much work in the midvalve department and you should select a suspension tuner that does work on the midvalve also. There are quite few good ones. I know for having seen them work on my bike, MX-tech does extensive work on the midvalve and even machines part of it on a lathe. Remember, Honda stock valving must be handled by the head toilet scrubber, or worse. They don't know what they're doing...

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      One of the most common calls we get here at the shop is “how do you recommend I go about tuning my suspension?” Good question! The second most common call is “I started turning clickers on the front/back/bottom/top etc. and now I don’t know what I did, help!” The amount of improvement you can gain from proper suspension setup is significant, if you go about it in the right way.
      Look at it this way: if you are 6ft. tall and get in your truck after your 5 ft. 3in. wife just drove it, the first thing you are going to do is adjust the seat/steering wheel, etc. for your size. The same thing goes for your bike’s suspension-last week we had (3) 2010 bikes in the shop for revalves at the same time. Identical models, one guy was a 150lbs. pro racing MX, the next guy was a “B” level GNCC racer and weighed 220, and the third guy was a 180lbs. trail rider. Same bike, three totally different setups!
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