best handeling 06-09

I am looking to buy a 06-09 yz 450. I searched and don't see much about this. I think these bikes are all pretty close [correct me if I am wrong}. Which bike handles the best? What are the major differences? I really like the neutral handeling of yz,s, But like a front end that sticks.

Owned 06 and now own 09. I really liked my stock 06 but the 09' with geomax 31 front and 51 rear handles better than my 06. The bike lays into the corner better and sticks well if properly set up. Braking and acceleration bumps seem smoother and power to ground seems better but this may be due to the reduced power. The 2 main differences between these bikes IMO are the unsprung weight loss on the 09 vs 06-08', and the approx 5HP reduction in power due mainly to the junk shorty 09 pipe and the different exhaust cam.

Is there any geometry differences? How much weight came of the 09 from a 06-08?

I think the steering stem was shortened by 5 mm in `08.

I think the steering stem was shortened by 5 mm in `08.

It was, but that has no effect on geometry or handling whatsoever.

The listed steering geometry is so slightly different that it would be surprising if it had any effect at all, and just letting your rear sag vary from spec would change it more than that:

'08 head angle: 26.9/trail: 115.2mm

'06: 27/115.6mm

The two handle pretty much the same, although the later ones do have a more refined feel to them. Suspension work, suspension setup, control setup (bar selection, etc.), tire selection, and riding style all play a part in the overall picture.

The 08-09 models seem to handle the best. Beyond the tiny steering head geometry changes made, the forks were shortened for 08-09, and the frame was modified to flex slightly differently. This is claimed to be the biggest reason for the handling differences from the 06-07 models, but I can't really comment one way or the other on that.

...the forks were shortened for 08-09, ...
On that particular point, just to clarify what was actually done, the change to the fork length was to accommodate the change to the steering head. The head was shortened 5mm as part of the modifications done to the frame, and the fork is shorter overall by the same 5mm. The length of the fork from the clamps down to the axle therefore remains the same.

I think they increased the shock length by 1.5mm for '08 also.

As was noted earlier there are no major changes from '06, just refinements, but they all combiine for a noticeably better turning bike by '08.

Do you guys suppose that 09 swingarm did anything? I'm dying to waste the money adding one to my bike.

I became a huge proponent of the YZ450F starting in 08 especially it's settled manners in turns. I was like "this thing is a 250F with a really large big bore kit." That's how confident I felt on it.

It all depends on the money you want to spend...

Of course if money is no object then get a new 09 (freaking great deals on them now) and throw a little extra money at it to dial it in to your liking (suspension, bars, seat, tires, etc.)...Or just get the 2010, and ride it stock!

If you want to save some dough, get one of the older models that has already been modded...I absolutely love my 07 set up the way it is, and the best rider I let try it out was pissed he just bought a new CR because he liked my YZ so much better...

The only better handling 450 I've ever ridden was another 07 YZ450F set up almost exactly like mine, but it has LOTS of money into the suspension, and a drd radiator lowering kit...Even though I haven't ridden an 09, I can guarantee you that his bike handles insanely better than a stock 09...

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