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2017 CRF450R - Chasing Unicorns

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A few things that I've done to mine that have really improved on the bike (for me at least):

1) I replaced the stock 1.1 radiator cap with the 1.8 Tusk with temperature gauge. Since I have not lost a drop of coolant. Prior I tried either a 1.4 or a 1.6 and although it reduced the coolant lost it was still significant to warrant going to the 1.8. Nice to have the temp gauge. It was 104 yesterday when I was riding and the bike was getting into the high of the yellow zone but never hit red, didn't loose any coolant.

2) Herky-jerky off the low end: Changed the 49 tooth for a 50 tooth and that much improved throttle response in the low gears. I never use 1st, not even on my 250, not even in the pits. It's an MX bike - who needs 1st!

3) Wonky feeling of the stock clutch: I ddn't want to invest (yet) in the Hinson clutch since it is about $1200. A mod recommended by MXA was to dump the judder spring and judder plate for a full size clutch plate. I did this after using the bike for about 38 hours so the judder spring had already wore a groove in the steel plate next to it so that had to be replaced as well. MXA also recommended heavy duty clutch springs but when I put those in it (3 stock, 3 HD), the pull on the clutch was way too hard. I went back to just stock springs. I also noticed that the clutch cable stay had a lot of flex to it. That got replace with a billet one from Hinson. Although I still don't feel like the feeling of the clutch pull is perfect, it is very much improved so that I can live with it at least for now. IMO the billet clutch cable stay is a must-have.

4) Rear suspension: I bumped up one rate on the shock spring and since I went with Diverse Spring I had a choice to a little less than the Honda OEM stiffer spring or a little more. I went with a little less. The spring felt fine but suspension just felt harsh if I cased a jump. Rebound was set to 7 clicks and I didn't like being that low; definitely did not want to go lower and going to an even stiffer spring concerned me. LS Compression was set to 14 clicks and HS was 3-5/8 turns. Suspension while cornering felt great, just did not take hard hits with the plushness I was looking for. I pondered going with Race Tech Gold Valves. I decided to give 7w shock fluid a try. I also went with the Ride Engineering Pull Rods. Reportedly they are 1mm longer and lower the rear end about 5mm. The pull rods are said to make the bike stay settled exiting turns (keeping it more squatted). Prior the shock and the forks seemed to have battles with each other exiting turns causing the bike to lerch forward and backward a bit. I just rode yesterday with these changes. The lerching is gone, gone, gone. The harshness felt on hard landings is gone, gone, gone. Rebound feels more controlled. All the good cornering/turning aspects are still there. The rear end suspension now feels so very plush.

I still don't have the forks figured out quite yet. I went up one rate on the springs. Like the shock I feel like I don't want any more rebound. I just feel like they dive through the mid stroke too fast on harder landings in particular front wheel first - that happened at the sand track and the front tucked = not fun. I think I'm going to try a heavier weight oil there as well; currently using 5w. If that does not resolve it I'll try going up one more spring rate.

A lot of these things, and more, are suggested by MXA, Racer-X and Keefer. Figured I'd just report on my experiences with what I tried. I probably try the other suggestions later on but first I need to deal with the forks. If I get the forks handling as nicely as the shock I'll be happy as a pig-in-mud.

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Adding a 20 to the mid valve would cure that mid stroke BS. Or simply closing the float a touch. I just did a 17, and other than the float being bigger than what I personally like, the rest of the stack was almost identical to what I ended up at on my Gen 2 bike. And I think the High speed adjust stack is too soft.

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