2009 CRF 450 Suspension Best Practices

I was wondering if 09 owners are willing to talk about their suspension experience with their bike? I am struggling to sort out the quirks with the bike in stock form and I am wondering what is working for other people? I would like to develop a list of "Suspension Best Practices" for the 09 so that we all might benefit from the collective brain trust here. :lol:

I see there are some "home grown" solutions that people are mentioning. For example, switch to stiffer spring rates, drop the forks a touch, run 115mm of race sag and add .2 oz of oil to the forks. Has anyone used any of these with success? In my case I dropped the forks what little they would safely go and I didn't feel any difference in handling. I am a 39 year old, 185lb Amateur switching from years of off-road racing to motocross. My bike is beating me up, and just when I think I have quirk resolved another reveals itself.

I have also read threads about after market suspension work by several different companies. If you have had work done, give us your honest opinion on what did and did not work? Did you consider the result to be worth the expense? I have had conversations with a few local riders who have had work done and they didn't seem particularly satisfied.

Thanks for your help.

Just got my Enzo stuff back in today. I will let you know how it goes.

Just got my Enzo stuff back in today. I will let you know how it goes.

Can you be more specific about what Enzo did to your hardware?

Can you tell us more about yourself (height, weight, riding ability & type of racing)?

I hope this turns out to be helpful to all of us riding an 09.

I have been working with my suspension for the last couple of months. Weather has slowed me down as far as "testing". I ride harescrambles and am only interested in making my bike work well in the woods. Spring rates seem to be more crucial on this bike than any other as far as the handeling. RG3 did a revalve for the woods and I stayed with the stock spring rates by their recomendation. Didnt like it at all. Way to harsh in the rocks and the front end seemed to both push in certain situations but yet It would still knife on me as well. Wierd I know. Sag at 105 Sent it back and they revalved again. Much better but not great. I switched to a 5.2 shock spring and that seemed to help. Sag still set at 105 and static still high in my opinion at 45 making me think I could go with a softer spring yet. The front still does not feel planted in turns and Im sure its because the forks arent setteling into the turns. Im waiting for some 4.4 fork springs and I think that is going to be the ticket. Its surprising to me sensitive this bike is to proper spring rates. Maybe its just me but Ive certainly been guilty in the past of just making the springs I have work good enough but not so this time. Any comments would be appreciated. Got my ass kicked last weekend worse than I have in years. Help:)

have you thought about doing something like thedogger has suggested in his sticky on re-valving?

It seems like suspension setup is so specific to the individual rider, their abilities, and the terrain they are on... meaning no one setup will work for you as you ride different terrain, and your ability level changes.

This is probably why many people aren't totally satisfied even after they spend the big bucks on having someone re-valve, and re-spring their stuff.

I think the key is learning to listen to the bike and knowing how to translate that into the correct modification to your suspension parts... Something that takes practice to get perfect, which could be pretty expensive to keep paying a shop to do. Of course the right setup is a must.

but yeah... keep the comments coming, as I'd also love to hear what others are doing. Is anyone pleased with the stock suspension? If so what terrain, weight, and ability level are you?

I think there are enough of us communicating here to share some sound information. If we specify our type of riding and some other basics it may helps us put things in the proper perspective.

Perhaps some of the suspension wizards and gurus could impart some wisdom upon us? :worthy:

I imagine most of us, withstanding cost, would love to purchase some after-market replacements that people covet. Of course, if you are raising a family, as I am, you want to be as frugal as you can. A revalve and massaging is more manageable, but justifying an additional $1K or more after dumping $7K into a new bike is difficult. :lol: I have not heard much about the home grown solutions, but I have read of them as mentioned in my initial post.

I have only ridden indoors so far this year, as there is still ice and snow here in the Northeastern U.S. My race sag is the recommended 105 mm and each time I ride I am increasing compression and rebound damping because I am becoming more comfortable with motocross. My front end feels soft, especially when I pick up the pace and land off of medium to large jumps. The rear seems to hit a critical mass where it feels like it is riding a little high in the back when I crank up compression and I begin to top out over jumps. I am uncertain if the shock spring rate is an issue, but I am sensing that the fork spring rate is.

check your spring rate at the race tech web site... they have a spring calculator there based on your weight, riding terrain and ability.

yeah, race tech is suggesting the 5.2 and 4.4 for me. I think it will be right.

.... Perhaps some of the suspension wizards and gurus could impart some wisdom upon us?.....

Most of the suspension gurus hang out in the suspension forum. You might want to post something there.

I realize that, but I am hoping for something model specific. I am happy to hear what they say, but I would really like to hear from 09 owners.

If this doesn't pan out I will try my luck there.

Thanks for the suggestion.

yeah, race tech is suggesting the 5.2 and 4.4 for me. I think it will be right.

with this bike go for a 5.0 shock spring and .46 fork springs.:p

PR2 revalved both of ours and mine needed heavier springs front and rear. we both feel our bikes are well balanced and plush. we ride mx and ax. PR2 got it right the first time for us and they are reasonable. hope this helps. jim.

I am 75kg, I have 5.0 shock spring and 0.44 fork springs with a revalve and it is the best suspension I have ever had.

I am 190 lbs, 37 yrs old and ride and race motocross in south florida in sandy soils. I dropped the forks added 10 cc front fork oil, sag 106. You mention it is beating you up. Where are you feeling this the most? Where are your clickers set at. You might want to slow the rebound down a bit. An A rider friend of mine just got his back from factory connection and had the works done on it springs and valves and loves it.

I am 190 lbs, 37 yrs old and ride and race motocross in south florida in sandy soils. I dropped the forks added 10 cc front fork oil, sag 106. You mention it is beating you up. Where are you feeling this the most? Where are your clickers set at. You might want to slow the rebound down a bit. An A rider friend of mine just got his back from factory connection and had the works done on it springs and valves and loves it.

Did you have some success with the oil addition and the stock springs? I see the manual recommends going to heavier springs before adding oil.

In my case, I believe that forks are the culprit. Medium to large jumps and they bottom hard. I suspect the first thing to do is get the .46 fork springs.

Has anyone tried the Pro Circuit Rear Suspension Linkage Arms? I understand this is a solution to the "tail high" or the "stink bug" cliche.

If you want to make the forks plusher, get the recommended front fork springs, for motocross, for your weight, and install softer ICO springs. Plushness galore.

I ride mx & off-road often and I love this set up. I still ride high in the stroke, via the spring and when I bang into a rock or root, it literally tracks right over the top of them like a tank. You can get the softer ICO springs from Factory Connection.

As far as the shock is concerned, I got the correct spring for my weight, for motocross and have loved it since day one. Sag is @ 108, it works good in the woods, desert and on the track.

No valving done whatsoever and I love my suspension now. I won't lie though, before the ICO springs, it was a deflective beast.

If you want to make the forks plusher, get the recommended front fork springs, for motocross, for your weight, and install softer ICO springs. Plushness galore.

What is your weight? You went with the .44 springs in the front?

While I weigh 185 I don't dare go any softer. I believe I will try the .48 springs. I raced off-road for years and recently decided to try motocross. I prefered soft for the woods, my experience so far is that soft will not work for me in the new setting.


I weigh 185 and and ride moto. The stock suspension was ok but the forks were harsh and the suspension overall faded bad when it got hot.

I had MB1 do my suspension. They put 49's in the front and left the back spring stock. They also revalved the front and rear. I am running the sag at 108mm and raise or lower the forks to suite track styles (stadium/tight or outdoor). The MB1 works great and I would do it again. I have had a lot of people comment on how plush the MB1's felt on the big hits. Also, the harder I ride the bettter they work.

my 09 forks are harsh but the shock works very well i had front revaled twice but the shock was good the first time.

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