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Compare the '02 CRF450R with later models

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I've been offered a pretty sweat deal on a '02 CRF450R. How does it compare to the '03-'05?

Anything in particular I should be taking an extra careful look at when I check it out? Known problems?

What upgrades should I look into? Must have's and sweet bling-bling - any suggestions?

Appreciate a quick answer, guys!

/pezon

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It kinda depends on your skill level and where you will ride it. If you are a desert racer, you might like the steering geometry of the 02. If you ride moto or tight trails, you'll probably want 20MM triple clamps to quicken up the steering. With 20MM clamps, my 02 handled about as well as my stock 04 did, but it still didn't like to lean into corners as well as my stock 06 does. The 02 feels wider between your legs than the 05 and 06 models; however, most of my novice-level riding buddies can't tell any difference in overall performance between my 02, 04 and 06.

One problem with the 02 was a poor airbox seal, partly due to a flexy subframe. A $50 reinforcement plate will fix it, but some riders simply gobbed silicone around all the seams to solve the problem. Solving Rubik's Cube is easier than removing the air filter from an 02. The 06 is much more compliant.

Some riders had valve problems with the 02, but considering the sheer volume of CRFs sold and leaky airbox, its reasonable that some would have problems. The most recent poll here shows only 5% of "supposed" CRF owners not recommending the bike to others. FWIW, my 02 went well over 150 hours without a problem. It sold with the original spark plug in it.

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The 02 was a pretty good bike, BUT compared to a 05, and now the 06 Its not even close!! If you are a serious rider and like to run up front, go with a new model, but if you are a casual rider that races a few time a year, Then the 02 will be just fine.. Be careful though, you can stick major cash into a bike and it is still only worth the going rate, a year from now you might want the newer model for performance reasons, and loose out big..Been there and done that! Troy 140

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I have an 02 that I bought used, and it's a great bike. I knoticed that it had the aftermarket airbox seal on it, and that made me feel comfortable, because dirt contacting your valves is what could cause a valve problem. I have put alot of hours on my bike, and have not yet had to even adjust my valves. As for the new models I have no idea, everybody I know that has a honda 450, has an 02. They haven't had any problems either. Also if you are in california, and want to ride year round you need the 02 for the green sticker.

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Thanks for all the advice.

No, I'm not riding in California - pretty far from it actually. Sweden. So riding all year round means riding on snow and ice during winter. It can be done, and a lot of people do it, I suppose.

But that's another story.

I think I have a pretty good idea what to look for now. Thanks, guys.

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Hi Guys, I bought a 02 off a mate about 6 omnths back. It's a brilliant bike, will all the necessary mods for the desert.

Regarding the airbox, what do i have to look for to find out if it's been modified? Anyone got any pics??

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I bought my '02 back in april of '02. I've still got it and ride it regularly. Last year I had the valve issues, so I tore it all down and replaced the valves with the RHC kit and put an '04 piston in while it was apart. Other than that I've put brakes and tires on it regularly, so in 4 seasons I don't consider it a troublesome bike by any means.

I never rode the '03 or '04, but I can comment on the '05. My buddy is an expert level racer and let me ride his stock (except suspension) '05. My impresson is that my bike has more lowend (could be the gearing, I run 13/51, he was running stock 13/48). When my bike wanted to sign off on top, his kept pulling. But for me, that didn't matter because I'm a mid-range rider so massive top end doesn't attract me. My bike actually cornered better than his. It felt like I was sitting on my bike while sitting "in" his bike. I could cut underneath better with mine, but hold sweepers better with his.

I shouldn't comment on suspension, because he had his professionally done, and I do mine myself. But I couldn't ride his suspension. I felt very uneasy about hitting any semi-big jumps because it was far too stiff and would deflect way to easily. He even commented on how much better mine was.

What I learned doesn't make the '05 worse than the '02 but should illustrate that bike setup is really the most important factor. I've set up my '02 to MY specs and I can run much faster laps on it and feel more comfortable on it than my buddy's '05. With a little time and setup I could get the '05 to my level, but I really didn't see any huge improvements that made me hungry for the newer bike. Instead I was sort of awestruck at how well mine still performs against newer bikes...at least for me.

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The '02 Bike Has a Green Sticker for California You can ride all year. The '03 Has the Red Sticker Issue.

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