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Did I make a huge mistake with a 450???


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A little background, I got a great deal on a low hour, super clean 2008 CRF450. I'm 44 and out of shape, so I thought this would be a great way to get me back into shape if I started racing for the first time at this late age.๐Ÿคฃ Nice going stupid, this is not the bike to learn to race on.๐Ÿ‘ I'm used to big HP machines, I drag race snowmobiles and the current one makes about 270 HP on nitrous. I figured I could handle a little over 50 HP. This thing is kicking my butt. I'm only 5'4", and I can't really touch the ground. I ordered special low seat for it so I can fit on it better. I get so tired after a few slow laps, I can't hang on with the arm pump and start making mistakes. My question after all this is, what can I do to make this bike easier to ride? I was thinking of going a up a tooth or two on the rear sprocket so I can ride easier in 2nd gear. I've stalled it a few times in slow corners not carrying enough speed and first gear makes the bike too responsive and I get in more trouble in whoops or close jumps. I was also thinking of getting a heavier flywheel as I have read this may help. Should I just suck it up and quit being a wimp, or step down to a 250 two or 4-stroke? I'm not as sore as I first was, but I don't feel like I'm progressing at all on this thing after a few weeks of practice. Any advice or help with the bike? I hate to sell this bike, it's in too nice of shape, I doubt I will find another like this one if I have to trade it on something smaller.

Edited by looneytune
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You're going to get just shy of a hundred TT'ers telling you what to do so I'll keep it short. The 450 is a beast no matter what brand it is. I see so many people buying 450's and there are only a few that can ride one to its full potential. I am not a teacher by any means but I would get a 250 four stroke if I was you. I am a 2 smoker by choice but I have owned 4 strokes and they are easy to learn on. If you don't want to drop down just stay off the track and just get comfortable on the bike before you go banging berms and hitting jumps. See what the bike does play riding and you in turn will not be overwhelmed by the bike.

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My plan was to go to the local track and just practice on the open practice weeknight. Maybe race near late summer if I feel I have progressed enough. They have a track especially for beginners. My friends keep dragging me to tracks I have no business being on yet saying the only way I will learn is to ride and practice. Which I will agree to a point. There really isn't any trails around here so I'm out in my backyard just fooling around, which is helping some. I can handle the power in my yard, but it gets intimidating on the track with jumps and whoops, especially when I get tired. Would cutting the bars a little help or make it harder to turn? My arms are so short, they just feel extra wide compared to a friend's KTM which fit me much better. That bike felt small compared to mine.

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Shave the seat and put a lowering link on it. You can do both for under $200. I'm not short (5' 11'') but I dropped my bike down (CR250) and it made all the difference in the world. I'm 35 and just getting back into the swing of things as well and I was regretting getting such a beast to get back into things as well. I'm also 210# so now that I've been back riding for a couple months I'm glad to have all the extra power to carry me around though :-)

I started doing high reps of leg thrusts on my total gym and it made a ton of difference in my riding as well. Now all the rest of the old timers tell me they don't understand how I can ride for as long as I do and for me it's b/c I quite holding on w/ my arms once knew I could touch the ground and b/c I've conditioned to legs for all the standing/sitting/standing.

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I wouldnt cut the bars but maybe try a different bend of bar. When you get your new seat you should get some foam and build a bump or step into it. It will help keep you on yur seat when hammering it out of corners and put less stress on your arms sense you dont have to hold on as hard. Being shorter, suspension would be a big thing for you. I would buy softer springs and try raising your forks around 10-14mm up from the top of the triple clamps. this will help lower the center of gravity and not want to wash out as bad either. More than anything just keep working out, physical fitness is a huge part of it. Im 5'10" and was 250lb's when I started riding again after a 4 year gap of owning a bike. After about 8 months of riding im down to about 215lb's and am still losing and that is the biggest difference in the world! Took me about 6 months before I could do more then a couple laps on a track without dieing!

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I feel like my '08 is way tall at 5' 11" so I can't even imagine what it must be like at 5' 4".

The first thing I would do is check the race and static sag and make sure it's sprung correctly for your weight. I'm sure you'll need the lower seat and lowering link but that would be a good thing to check regardless.

As far as the handlebars go, if you're not comfortable with their width by now, I'd cut them down a bit. I'd start with maybe 1/2" per side and see how that feels. Obviously, you could start by measuring the width of your friends KTM.

Wouldn't hurt you at all to add a tooth to the rear.

Best of luck. ๐Ÿ‘

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I did raise the forks almost as much as I can without hitting the bars. Rear sag is correct for my weight, but I haven't checked the static sag. I have a feeling I'm going to need a heavier spring at 190 lbs. I ordered a custom low SBG step seat for it and they recommended cutting the rear subframe 4mm to lower the bike a bit. They said that's a common thing for shorter pro riders. I'd really like to trade down, but I have a feeling I'm going to lose on my end because the bike is so nice. I better get in the gym and start really working at it I guess.

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Here's my deal. I have been riding on the street forever but haven't been on dirtbikes for 20 years. At age 44 I bought a KTM 250 2-smoke and got hurt. I downsized to a KTM 250 4-stroke and rode my butt off on it. After a year of racing I took home a 3rd in a 40C class. Last year I traded up for a CRF250X and modded most of it to an "R". I was able to go faster slowly by making the bike faster with mods; cam, flywheel, suspension etc...... I got my first win and got several 2nd's and 3rd's. So this year I just moved up to a CRF450R and have been out on practice days twice so far and LOVE IT!!! I can't wait to see how I fair against the 40C riders this year and hope to be in the B class in 2011. I will be 47 in June and this is my 3rd season racing.

Good luck in what you decide, but take care of your knees. Mine were getting sore so I wear knee braces now and it helps a lot.

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Don't spend any money on a fly wheel. I rode a 250 2 stoke before I go my first 450 and It took me a long time to keep it from staling but you will get it. idle your bike up a bit until you get use to the lugeness(not real word) If you learn how to throttle your clutch on a 450 they can really pull well. Stick with it and have fun. this is how my first races on my 450 went. Holeshot..... stall.... start... pull through the pack 2nd maybe 1st..... stall. that happened for probably 3 or 4 races but I stuck to it and now love it.

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I'm 44 and know exactly what your goin through. You would love a 250f but I know you would like to make the 450 work. some things you can get to make a huge difference...

get yourself a G-2 throttle cam system (about $90 bucks), it comes with the tube and 3 cams. 1 stock, a slow roll cam and a slower roll cam, the cam pulls less throttle cable in the beginning of the turn and makes up for it later if wanted. really makes it feel like less motor and cams can be changed in about 5 min.

Another would be a +15oz. steahly flywheel weight. the 17 takes mods, so go with the 15. smothes the snap of the motor.

Retarding the timing would also tame it more but not sure how to do that on the 08, PM Eddie Sisneros (TT jetting expert) and he can answer that one for sure.

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SDG seat is a good start but IMO I would spend the $$ and get your suspension revalved and sprung for your weight and riding ability. You will be surprised how much longer and faster you can ride with your suspension dialed in.

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i didnt start riding untilll i was 35 and i had a cr 250 for a year then got a 06 450 and started racing local tracks.it was ugly at first at the track they called me lawn dart cause i would always wreck ,had know idea what i was doing .i just kept riding and racing and soon i was winning .i would race 3 classes a weekend .when i won the over all for season i decided to take it easy had many bad close calls and almost forty now .

the 450 no longer kicks my ass and i love it.

i you want to race just ride ride ride....and get up on that tank in the coners...

i also watched gary semices three day riding school a hundred times...,

get your suspenion set up right i had race tech vavles put in mine and the easiest way to stop stalling is a reckluse clutch .

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get yourself a G-2 throttle cam system (about $90 bucks), it comes with the tube and 3 cams. 1 stock, a slow roll cam and a slower roll cam, the cam pulls less throttle cable in the beginning of the turn and makes up for it later if wanted. really makes it feel like less motor and cams can be changed in about 5 min.

sure.

I was joking today with a friend that I needed a throttle that I could adjust like our R/C cars with a "throttle exponential" setting that lets you slow down the initial throttle input. Maybe this is something I could try cheaply. I don't want to stick a lot of money into this thing if I'm going to sell or trade it for something smaller.๐Ÿ‘

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WOW.... sounds like there are alot of guys out there like me. I"m 34 and just bought a NEW 2009 CRF450r after being without a dirtbike since I was 20. I'm a big time snowmobiler and figure this would be a great way to keep in shape for snowmobiling. I ride the sled off trail, which 15 minutes of that equals 300 miles of flat, groomed trails. Kicking around a 450lb sled in 4 ft of powder is a workout. Do that for a weekend and you're worn out. I joined a gym last winter because all my buddies ride Arctic Cats and them things are pretty heavy when stuck. Just withing a short time I went from 210 lbs to 180, so things have been going well there. I hope this bike helps continue that. I also ride a CBR F4i, so its not like I've totally been sitting on the couch the last 14 yrs.

Back when I rode, I could ride pretty good. But I know things have changed and I gotta ease back into it. Plan on riding more trails this 1st, getting used to this beast. Next, as others, maybe hit a few weekday practice nights at the local track. Maybe at somepoint late summer maybe try a real race. Thing that most intimidating is the big jumps. I used to get some air back in the day, but I was 16 and stupid ๐Ÿ‘.

As the bike is now, it's too tall for me (I'm 5-7) and its hard to kick over because I gotta lean to the other side to stand. I have only had it out once, so I wanna get some more time on it to break in the suspension before I make any adjustments. I was hopeing I could just adjust the sag by turning the large nuts out on the rear spring? When I sit on it now, the bike don't squat an inch.

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practice practice practice! ur probably not gripping with ur legs thats y ur gettin arm pump. a heavy flywheel will smooth it out a lot, that would be something to consider

This is great advice! Figure out how to ride by using your legs to squeeze the center of the bike!

NO MATTER what you do make sure to get the bike at least springed for your weight! This makes a HUGE difference!

Beyond that, make sure you ride tracks that work on your turning and not your jumping skills first! You will never be able to comfortably do jumps until you solve your arm pump issues first

Joe

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Here is another bit of advice. DO NOT TRY TO GO AS FAST AS YOU CAN RIGHT NOW! Ride as comfortably as you can right now and keep it smooth. When you get comfortable with that pick up the pace. Ride so you can do 10 laps at a wack without getting arm pump. When you can do that go a little faster. I raced with arm pump for years and I could go pretty fast for 3 laps and then I would get arm pump and be like a beginner the rest of the race.

Arm pump is the biggest problem most riders have and if you can conquer that, you will get better each and ever time you ride.

Squeeze with your knees!

Joe

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I think I need to take a step back and wait until the easier practice track opens up and learn how to ride better. That was my original plan. I'm just anxious to ride it, but I'm probably not helping myself trying to ride on muddy tracks with jumps too much for my skill level at this point. I know the arm pump is coming from the death grip I have on the bars, I just can't seem to relax. I think the springs are probably correct for my fat a$$, but I hate to spend a ton on suspension work at this point. I'm out of money and still not sure if I need all this power. I bought the 450 because it was a great deal and figured it might be cheaper to maintain since I wouldn't be pushing the motor nearly as hard trying to haul me around. I have a possible trade straight up for a 05 CR250 smoker that is brand new, but I think I lose on that deal. Once I ride that 05, it isn't worth as much as my used 08. I love the sound of the 4 stroke, but coming from sleds, I have way more experience with 2-stroke motors. Just wondering if the less weight of the CR250 would be easier for a midget to get around on.

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