Head shake on 04 450

Hey all,

I just upgraded from a yz426 to an 04yz 450. I love the bike, it is a huge difference from the 426, great bike but heavy. Anyway, I get head shake when accelerating over some rough stuff or when landing into some rough spots. I have only been on the bike for a couple of rides, and am not riding it agressivley, not jumping some of the larger jumps that I was used to hitting on the 426. The suspension was set and revalved for an agressive B rider that weighed only 145lbs and I am not so agressive and weigh about 180.

The springs are softer than stock, would this cause the head shake? I am not completely comfortable with the bike yet and it is hard to adjust the settings when I am not being agressive. Mostly MX.

Adjusted the sag, and slowed the rebound a couple of clicks, the top of forks are near the top of triple clamp. Where should I start?

Since the bike is new to you I would set all the clickers to 10 or 12 out and start from there. If the springs are soft you may need to go out more on the rebound but usually head shake is caused by to much compression damping.

The lower spring rates may also be allowing the fork to compress too much, steepening the head angle. You say it happens during acceleration, though, so the fork should be rather more extended. Either way, you'll probably want a set of stock springs, which should be easy to find, and right for your weight.

Getting the rear to work right can eliminate the back skipping out of track over the whoops, too, which can head help stabilize a nervous front end. Spring rates will be important there, as well.

Thanks for the help. I will give the stock springs a try.


also check the steering stem bearing play, sometimes those get loose real fast. will definetely cause headshake. just check to see how easily the wheel turns side to side by itself when the bikes front end is off the ground. there should be some gentle tension there. you don't want it just flopping back and forth, thats too loose. my buddy had an 05 450that he hated because of the headshake, this was the culprit,now it's all he rides.


It does not flop, but much looser than my 426 was. I went out 2 clicks on the fork rebound and one on the compression. It was better, it did deaden the action a bit. I hit some rough stuff today, it is still skitish.

you might try just loosening the upper triple clamp bolt, then turning the lower spanner nut like a quarter of a turn, then tighten the upper nut and see it that helps. don't crank the lower spanner nut too tight as when you tighten the top one it will tighten everything up. had to find this out by trial and error on my 06. cant hurt as long as it's not already real tight. give it a shot. also where did you ride today? sounds like watkins if it was rough.

Yeah, I was out at watkins. Definately some hard pack, but they ripped it some and threw out some water. The head shake is worse when the front end gets a little light. I dont jump the big table, so I usually land about 3/4 over and then on the throttle, it is really bumpy before the downside, as I crest the downside the front gets light and hits the nastiness it is real bad there. My hands are getting sore from the death grip when I hit that stuff.

it definetely gets rough out there during the week, i bailed on the jump after the big table on sunday, they had just put more water down to make it real slick and i hit the jump at a different angle then hit a hole on top, that was all she wrote.

I know that spot. I went out sunday as well. It gets slick when they put water on the hard pack.

Get a Scott's steering dampener. I ride my 400 wfo in the desert most of the time and it completely eliminated that headshake problem.

I put the stock springs back in, and the headshake was almost completely gone. I still need to dial everything in but it was much, much better. Thanks for the help.

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