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Winter project - A home built "works bike"

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I am in my 45th year of motocross and decided to build the perfect bike for my very last ride before finally hanging up the old kidney belt.  My very first Honda CR series MX bile was a 1974 CR125 and for my last ride I decided to go Honda again.  However I wasn’t interested in the twin-piped, air-forked, point plastic on the 2013’s and picked up a new leftover 2012 CRF450. I knew about all its flaws in stock form, but fixable with some money and i think the best looking, lightest 450F MX bike since their inception. Growing up I was always intrigued by the HRC/ RC Honda works bikes reinforced by living near the Honda track in Japan for 15 vears, so I decided to build my own HRC theme bike.  Whenever I was around a full works bike in Japan, 3 things always caught my eye.. the Kashima coated suspension, the handmade titanium foot pegs, and the Titanium shock spring.  I wanted the same for this build.

The new bike still only has 3.5 hours on it per the Works Connection hour meter.

 

Let me know what you think!

 

Suspension mods:  Paul Bruno from RG3 New Jersey worked with me to do an upgrade on their Diamond Kit.  Both the forks and shock body were sent to Japan for Kashima coating and the fork tubes and shock shaft were DLC-coated.  Lowering stiction was a major goal so SKF fork and shock seals were used along with a low friction piston band in the shock. The fork got the Kayaba “works” outdoor spring perches and the rear suspension is helped by a Merge Racing knuckle. The rear shock also got “works” aluminum preload rings with bearings to prevent spring torsion and an increased volume bladder cap.  Paul also re-valved both ends.  He was great to work with and really went out of his way to deliver what I wanted. I highly recommend RG3 New Jersey. The steering damper was re-valved by Factory Connection to help with the cornering feel.

 

Engine mods:  FMF 4.1 RCT exhaust, Injectioneering throttle body mods, air filter back fire screen removed, HRC injector mod, Simon choke mod, Split stream valve cover vent rerouting kit, and Tokyo Mods fuel and ignition mapping.   I also added a Moto Tassinari Air4orce airboot with the long velocity stack.  The clutch was replaced by a Framebreaker hard anodized 6-spring clutch set up and the pull is assisted by a Works Connection Pro perch. The rear sprocket was changed to 49 teeth to  help the engine do its job.  The CRF450 runs hot so I added a Boyesen Super Cooler water pump, CV4 Y-hoses that eliminate the restrictive fittings, and a higher pressure CV4 radiator cap. There are 2 parts in this list that deserve honorable mention.. The Framebreaker 6-spring clutch kit and the Injectioneering throttle body mod.  I cooked the stock clutch the first time I rode the bike, but the Framebreaker clutch has a great feel and is going strong.  Jason at Framebreaker Racing has lots of great advice to offer on CRFs, too.  Wade at Injectioneering was great to work with, got my throttle body back quickly and the mod really makes the bike pull lower and smoother off the bottom, makes the bike easier to start, and seems to have cured the flame outs I was experiencing when cracking open the throttle at low rpm.  Highly recommended!  The bike is quite strong from bottom to mid with these mods and really improved the throttle response which is important to me.  After I try the above mods out a little more, I plan to add a Hot Cams Stage 2 camshaft to give it a little more on top.

 

Lightweight parts: There is about $1000 worth of Mettec titanium bolts and carbon fiber parts on the bike. These are not very cost effective mods… I probably eliminated more weight for free just by removing the surprisingly heavy air filter backfire screen than with the $1000 worth of lightweight parts. I was going to shed another 1.5-2 pounds with a titanium shock spring, but a few suspension tuners talked me out of it.

 

Brakes: The front got the CRF Stuff 280mm big brake stuff used by the Geico Honda team. This is really nice stuff and I highly recommend.  I also got their oversized Cycra disc guard and special brackets to mount.

 

Miscellaneous parts: There are a number of HRC parts on the bike including brake master cylinder covers, brake line brackets and a set of HRC triple clamps that are a bit lighter than stock.  The handlebars were raised 6mm.  I was able to get a hold of Martin Racing/ Team Honda in Europe to get a pair of their foot pegs and brackets and carbon fiber chain guide. These are true works parts.. the foot pegs are sharp, beautiful, and very expensive! The foot pegs are relocated 5mm up and 5mm back. A 5mm longer Hammerhead billet shift pedal  was added as the stock one is a little short.  There is a smattering of other parts from Zeta, MX Bonz, IRP Billet (Thanks Ian!), Lightspeed, CRF Stuff, Hinson and a few other companies.

 

It was a great winter project.  The snow has just melted and she is ready to go.  Another mod I am considering is a Rekluse clutch for the sole purpose of setting it up to reduce engine braking.

 

Let me know your thoughts on the above build.

 

mike

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Edited by Tokyo_Tiddler
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Good work! Looks ace.

Careful with the pegs, they are boot wreckers. I have a set on my 2013, I have actually filed the points Off now.

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Nice work,

sounds like you have everything wrong with the 9-12 covered

some additional bits.

 

if you still have any handling quarrels with it.

try to remove a link from the chain so you can slam the rear wheel forwards (honda moved the motor 1/2" forwards and lengthened the swinger 3/4" so the bike is a bit forwards biased) so you can undo some of this yourself.

 

on my bike i run an adige aptc clutch.  its a really awesome slipper clutch that uses tiny springs and has a clutch pull that even makes hydraulic clutches feel brutally difficult.  the aptc clutch works like a champ and is easily adjusted for engine braking amount (4 settings) in about as fast as you can pull off a clutch cover and remove 3 bolts.

 

also that honda steering dampner is junk

a scotts works 1000000000000 times better, for des, moto, st, moto i set it real light.

 

btw im crazy jealous of your suspension.  and that merge knucle is the way to go!

 

also it would be bad assssss if you put excel a60s with dubya kite butted spokes on polished stock hubs (lightest wheels you can build $$$$)

i will when i destroy my rear wheel.

 

also you should order a 3$ crf450 x shift drum detente spring some of this generation (mine included) had some transmission problem where it would spit out of a gear 3 or 5 untill it would bend the shift fork and shift shaft and dent the shift drum.

the 3$ crf450x spring is stiffer and can help prevent this problem. its really easy to put in.

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Very nice !   I'm a fan of the 09-12 models & feel with just a few mods become an excellent worthy mx machine.   I did a similar build with an 03 CR250r as a home works replica bike after seeing RC's 02 & 03 bikes in the mx hangtown pits.   

Might do a similar project to a 10 model after seeing your build.     Digging the red rear fender..   

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I was looking at hubs and wheels but had trouble finding anything that wasnt heavier than the stock wheels.  I was looking first at the Red or Mag collored Talon hubs and silver DID LT-X rims and found out they were heavier than stock. then I found the TCR hubs and was going to go with red ones and the light LT-X rims. The TCR hubs are really the only ones lighter than stock, still strong and allow you to se the stock wheel spacer and such, but then I found out that TCR stopped making their own hubs for public sale. I am now looking at the SM PRO hubs and rims with Bulldog spokes. I am not seing a big advantage to going with the new wheels so I am in no rush. The stock wheels are still brand new.  The A60 rims are nice but heavier and only come in black. The black rims look nice new but quickly look like crap so will stay with the silver rims.

 

Thanks for the tip on the shift Detent spring.

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Very nice !   I'm a fan of the 09-12 models & feel with just a few mods become an excellent worthy mx machine.   I did a similar build with an 03 CR250r as a home works replica bike after seeing RC's 02 & 03 bikes in the mx hangtown pits.   

Might do a similar project to a 10 model after seeing your build.     Digging the red rear fender..   

 

Agree.. I feel it is a great machine that had some serious issues holding it back in stock form. Once fixed, it is actually a better machine. I think Windham and Reed felt that way about their 09-12 CRF450 machines until forced to ride the 2013's.

 

Here is a few pics of my 2001 CR250 I shipped back from Japan. It has a few HRC parts and the Showa works fork kit. Best biike I have ever ridden so I have kept it all these years.

 

mike

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Edited by Tokyo_Tiddler
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I was looking at hubs and wheels but had trouble finding anything that wasnt heavier than the stock wheels.  I was looking first at the Red or Mag collored Talon hubs and silver DID LT-X rims and found out they were heavier than stock. then I found the TCR hubs and was going to go with red ones and the light LT-X rims. The TCR hubs are really the only ones lighter than stock, still strong and allow you to se the stock wheel spacer and such, but then I found out that TCR stopped making their own hubs for public sale. I am now looking at the SM PRO hubs and rims with Bulldog spokes. I am not seing a big advantage to going with the new wheels so I am in no rush. The stock wheels are still brand new.  The A60 rims are nice but heavier and only come in black. The black rims look nice new but quickly look like crap so will stay with the silver rims.

 

Thanks for the tip on the shift Detent spring.

 

 

is the a60 actually heavier??? whaaattt. thought they weighed about the same.

then the LT-X would be the way to go.

 

I think the bull dogs are silly overkill they are heavier than stock

the Kite spokes are butted they start off thicker and thin out in the middle.

in the bicycle industry any non butted spoke is junk.

also tcr will still polish stock hubs up for you i think.

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Agree.. I feel it is a great machine that had some serious issues holding it back in stock form. Once fixed, it is actually a better machine. I think Windham and Reed felt that way about their 09-12 CRF450 machines until forced to ride the 2013's.

 

Here is a few pics of my 2001 CR250 I shipped back from Japan. It has a few HRC parts and the Showa works fork kit. Bets biike I have ever ridden so I have kept it all these years.

 

mike

 

that bike is awesome id like to take it for a spin!

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I really liked that year of Honda. Yours looks sweet, with all that money why didn't you get a high compression piston, and some head work? And why stop riding now, go until you can't get a leg over the bike.

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I really liked that year of Honda. Yours looks sweet, with all that money why didn't you get a high compression piston, and some head work? And why stop riding now, go until you can't get a leg over the bike.

 

I will be 55 years old this year. I just reduced my weight from 190 to 160lbs (old collge weight) to get into shape for riding again. It is a dangerous sport and there are 2 reasons why I am taking the risk one more time.. I really wanted a 2012 CRF450 and one last chance to spend some time with the kids before they leave the nest.

 

Engine is still brand new and not even fully broken in yet.  I may do the piston and porting next year, but I will not go higher than 13:1 as I do not want to have to chase race gas which is not available in many places around here and the portiing will move the power band up a bit in the rpm range (so wont the cam) while the tracks I ride have a lot of jumps out of corners and almost no long straights so the power I need is bottom to mid rather than a WFO blaster. I figure I have about 56-56.5 horsepower now which is plently. The thought of 62 easy to use horsepower is nice but not needed and I dont race that much anymore.. just an occassional over 50 vet race.

Edited by Tokyo_Tiddler

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Very nice, you did an excellent job!!!

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I am in my 45th year of motocross and decided to build the perfect bike for my very last ride before finally hanging up the old kidney belt.  My very first Honda CR series MX bile was a 1974 CR125 and for my last ride I decided to go Honda again.  However I wasn’t interested in the twin-piped, air-forked, point plastic on the 2013’s and picked up a new leftover 2012 CRF450. I knew about all its flaws in stock form, but fixable with some money and i think the best looking, lightest 450F MX bike since their inception. Growing up I was always intrigued by the HRC/ RC Honda works bikes reinforced by living near the Honda track in Japan for 15 vears, so I decided to build my own HRC theme bike.  Whenever I was around a full works bike in Japan, 3 things always caught my eye.. the Kashima coated suspension, the handmade titanium foot pegs, and the Titanium shock spring.  I wanted the same for this build.

The new bike still only has 3.5 hours on it per the Works Connection hour meter.

 

Let me know what you think!

 

Suspension mods:  Paul Bruno from RG3 New Jersey worked with me to do an upgrade on their Diamond Kit.  Both the forks and shock body were sent to Japan for Kashima coating and the fork tubes and shock shaft were DLC-coated.  Lowering stiction was a major goal so SKF fork and shock seals were used along with a low friction piston band in the shock. The fork got the Kayaba “works” outdoor spring perches and the rear suspension is helped by a Merge Racing knuckle. The rear shock also got “works” aluminum preload rings with bearings to prevent spring torsion and an increased volume bladder cap.  Paul also re-valved both ends.  He was great to work with and really went out of his way to deliver what I wanted. I highly recommend RG3 New Jersey. The steering damper was re-valved by Factory Connection to help with the cornering feel.

 

Engine mods:  FMF 4.1 RCT exhaust, Injectioneering throttle body mods, air filter back fire screen removed, HRC injector mod, Simon choke mod, Split stream valve cover vent rerouting kit, and Tokyo Mods fuel and ignition mapping.   I also added a Moto Tassinari Air4orce airboot with the long velocity stack.  The clutch was replaced by a Framebreaker hard anodized 6-spring clutch set up and the pull is assisted by a Works Connection Pro perch. The rear sprocket was changed to 49 teeth to  help the engine do its job.  The CRF450 runs hot so I added a Boyesen Super Cooler water pump, CV4 Y-hoses that eliminate the restrictive fittings, and a higher pressure CV4 radiator cap. There are 2 parts in this list that deserve honorable mention.. The Framebreaker 6-spring clutch kit and the Injectioneering throttle body mod.  I cooked the stock clutch the first time I rode the bike, but the Framebreaker clutch has a great feel and is going strong.  Jason at Framebreaker Racing has lots of great advice to offer on CRFs, too.  Wade at Injectioneering was great to work with, got my throttle body back quickly and the mod really makes the bike pull lower and smoother off the bottom, makes the bike easier to start, and seems to have cured the flame outs I was experiencing when cracking open the throttle at low rpm.  Highly recommended!  The bike is quite strong from bottom to mid with these mods and really improved the throttle response which is important to me.  After I try the above mods out a little more, I plan to add a Hot Cams Stage 2 camshaft to give it a little more on top.

 

Lightweight parts: There is about $1000 worth of Mettec titanium bolts and carbon fiber parts on the bike. These are not very cost effective mods… I probably eliminated more weight for free just by removing the surprisingly heavy air filter backfire screen than with the $1000 worth of lightweight parts. I was going to shed another 1.5-2 pounds with a titanium shock spring, but a few suspension tuners talked me out of it.

 

Brakes: The front got the CRF Stuff 280mm big brake stuff used by the Geico Honda team. This is really nice stuff and I highly recommend.  I also got their oversized Cycra disc guard and special brackets to mount.

 

Miscellaneous parts: There are a number of HRC parts on the bike including brake master cylinder covers, brake line brackets and a set of HRC triple clamps that are a bit lighter than stock.  The handlebars were raised 6mm.  I was able to get a hold of Martin Racing/ Team Honda in Europe to get a pair of their foot pegs and brackets and carbon fiber chain guide. These are true works parts.. the foot pegs are sharp, beautiful, and very expensive! The foot pegs are relocated 5mm up and 5mm back. A 5mm longer Hammerhead billet shift pedal  was added as the stock one is a little short.  There is a smattering of other parts from Zeta, MX Bonz, IRP Billet (Thanks Ian!), Lightspeed, CRF Stuff, Hinson and a few other companies.

 

It was a great winter project.  The snow has just melted and she is ready to go.  Another mod I am considering is a Rekluse clutch for the sole purpose of setting it up to reduce engine braking.

 

Let me know your thoughts on the above build.

 

mike

Great job buddy! It is going to hurt to dirty her up.

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Wow awesome job but I am surprised you didn't go farther with graphics like factory honda would, but over all flawless execution!

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I will be 55 years old this year. I just reduced my weight from 190 to 160lbs (old collge weight) to get into shape for riding again. It is a dangerous sport and there are 2 reasons why I am taking the risk one more time.. I really wanted a 2012 CRF450 and one last chance to spend some time with the kids before they leave the nest.

 

Engine is still brand new and not even fully broken in yet.  I may do the piston and porting next year, but I will not go higher than 13:1 as I do not want to have to chase race gas which is not available in many places around here and the portiing will move the power band up a bit in the rpm range (so wont the cam) while the tracks I ride have a lot of jumps out of corners and almost no long straights so the power I need is bottom to mid rather than a WFO blaster. I figure I have about 56-56.5 horsepower now which is plently. The thought of 62 easy to use horsepower is nice but not needed and I dont race that much anymore.. just an occassional over 50 vet race.

 

55? Dude, you are a spring chicken. lol. I just turned 52 and started racing again. It's been 30+ years or so since I saw a starting gate. My son started racing a local Friday night MX series and about half way through the series I got one of those "hey dad, you should try racing again" - so I did. Butterflies and all, worse now than before it seems. Raced my ass off. Got my clock cleaned by 17-22 year olds. That's ok. But I ended up in an epic battle with a guy and we did that both motos. We talked after the finish of moto 2 and he says "my first race in 30 years!!"  I said "Me too" lol. We had a great time.

 

Anyways, my point to your 55 - I found (and joined) a club called OTHG aka Over The Hill Gang out here in California. (not sure where you are located) but they have classes for every age group over 30.   There are a few 70+ riders out there! They also break the classes down beginner through master/expert. You have to do 2 evaluation races before they will place you in the appropriate skill level class. It's a hoot.

 

BTW, I just picked up a '12 CRF450R. Now transitioning from my '05 CRF450R.

 

Oh, and nice '12 you built! Now get out there and get some dirt on your bike and Keep it Roostin'

 

 

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Edited by tahoemike00
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Wow awesome job but I am surprised you didn't go farther with graphics like factory honda would, but over all flawless execution!

If you look at Trey Canard's 2012 CRF450 factory bike, you will see it was very simple and clean, which I like.  I have some pics of 2010-2012 Japan HRC 450s and their graphics are quite simple, too.

Edited by Tokyo_Tiddler
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55? Dude, you are a spring chicken. lol. I just turned 52 and started racing again. It's been 30+ years or so since I saw a starting gate. My son started racing a local Friday night MX series and about half way through the series I got one of those "hey dad, you should try racing again" - so I did. Butterflies and all, worse now than before it seems. Raced my ass off. Got my clock cleaned by 17-22 year olds. That's ok. But I ended up in an epic battle with a guy and we did that both motos. We talked after the finish of moto 2 and he says "my first race in 30 years!!"  I said "Me too" lol. We had a great time.

 

Anyways, my point to your 55 - I found (and joined) a club called OTHG aka Over The Hill Gang out here in California. (not sure where you are located) but they have classes for every age group over 30.   There are a few 70+ riders out there! They also break the classes down beginner through master/expert. You have to do 2 evaluation races before they will place you in the appropriate skill level class. It's a hoot.

 

BTW, I just picked up a '12 CRF450R. Now transitioning from my '05 CRF450R.

 

Oh, and nice '12 you built! Now get out there and get some dirt on your bike and Keep it Roostin'

 

You hang in there, too, Buddy!  It hasnt been 30 years since I last saw a starting gate.. more like 6 years but I have a Peter Pan complex and I expect to everything at 55 that I was doing at 15. The 2012 is a nice bike once you address the issues and the lightest 450 out there.

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It's a beautiful ride my friend. Only suggestions I would add are:

Think technology seat foam. Honda is using it and it is cheaper weight savings.

A coke bottle swing arm from Karl Landrus. I love the old HRC works bikes with the weld done the middle of the arm.

Magnesium hubs. There was a shop in Florida that was producing mag hubs and swing arms for the crf, but is can't remember their name

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