Suspension Review: Long Read

2007 WR450:

- stock motor, uncorked, JD jet, Twobrothers full exhaust with DR D quiet tip.

- Tall Guts seat, BRP 1.25" bar risers, stock bars.


- 260 lbs, 6'3".

- former amateur desert racer (1979-1983)

- former Observed Trials rider

- two destroyed shoulders, one knee, and no exercise or riding from 1984-


- have owned 7 bikes since then.

Stock: Handled great, nice a balanced, but my weight kept the front and rear too low in the stroke. Rough downhills were .very interesting. Clickers near max on the front.

Springs: went to .48/6.0 springs to get it up in the stroke. This helped a lot for slow speed stuff, giving me lots of smooth travel. However, that affect it had on rebound was disastrous. Even with all clickers at full 'hard', the bike was still a pogo stick for me. Handled much worse over 25mph.

As you might have read previous, I had a 2003 WR450 with Smart Performance suspension upgrades done to it, that I didn't like, but did not have the time to address with Dave J: I was offered too large a sum for the bike not to turn it down (plated), so I sold it. As it turns out, there might have been a mistake done to the suspension, or a failed part, or something weird, but in any case the forks were so very stiff, even at clickers at full 'soft'. And yes, I like my suspension plush, but when I say stiff, I mean my 24 year old track-riding KX450 neighbor wouldn't ride it anymore after two laps around my local 'track'.

Smart Performance: Dave offered to take some of the 'sting' out of doing my new '07, so I took him up on it. It was because of the problems I had with the last bike. We went a level up on the fork upgrade, as the newer forks are able to do this.

- Phase 4 upgrade to the forks (for '06-'11)

- Updated KYB fork seals

- Re-build and re-valve the shock

- 2010 YZ bumper on the shock

- 215.VM2.K5 oil front and rear

Just to be clear, this was not a 'freebie' from Dave, and I don't work for Dave, and I have never even met Dave in person. I have spent hours on the phone and in email with him over the two bikes. He is like no other suspension tuning company I have every dealt with (ESP, Enzo, FC, AS Racing, Al Baker, etc). In a good way...


Initially: Rear is fantastic, but wallowy. Front defects, won't follow a line, and makes me lean forward to hang on.

Clicker changes: Fork compression: from a delivered 8 out to 12 out

Fork Rebound: from a delivered 8 out to a 11 out

Rear compression: no change

Rear rebound: no change

Sag: 115mm, per Dave

Forks: 5mm up in clamps, per Dave

New results:

- Well what can I say. It's like a new bike. No thinking, just riding.

Rear and front work together, and I can now hold a line into a corner, change my body position to match the corner and throttle, and the bike just hooks up. Sitting is not longer a chore at speed, and everything is just more relaxed.

- The main difference felt is that bike now feels isolated from the ground, but still with full contact. No more 'oh-oh' feelings because the ground is too rough, or the speed is too high. I no longer ride all that fast anymore, but I like to do fast 'thing's all the time. The problem with that is your suspension has to be very well set up to be able to ride at a relaxed pace and a relaxed speed, and then still be able to go 'WFO' when you want to, without that full tilt pucker up feeling you get when you know there is trouble coming. Painful trouble.

Part of the enjoyment I get from motorcycles is getting them to work as well as possible for my riding style. It's a real challenging and frustrating road sometimes. I am lucky enough to afford a nice bike, and Dave is nice enough to provide his services at about half of what others charge, so I could not pass it up.

The best part is I know there is more benefit to receive from this suspension with a little more testing, to make riding even more enjoyable.

Where I test/play with my bikes before going out to the Desert:







Edited by Krannie

Yep...we screwed up on the 03. I wish we had the chance to get back into it.

Sounds like the 07 is working well so thanks for the update and detailed review.

Attached is a copy of Krannie's buildsheet if anyone wants to make any comparison to their PHASE 4 install.

Advice and additional recommendations always welcomed. :thumbsup:

Kranhold 07 WR450F.pdf

Road my local 'track' again today.

The bike is now too fast for the track! Well, for me anyway.

Seriously, I'm just not able to ride it as fast as it can go on this track for any length of time. It's too tight and rough, and the next speed up is getting hairy.......lot's of very steep drop aways and corners on the edge of cliffs.

I over jumped three of the drop-a-ways today, multiple times, and saw God for a second.

The track is just not set up for the increased speeds the bike can now handle. The bike feels so good it's hard to let off. I can't believe how much easier it is to ride. I used to be able to do 4 clean and fast laps on the '03 before feeling it, now I can go 15 at the same speed I did on the '03. Or go faster on the '07.

Still need to work on the rear, as it 'see-saws' a bit, and the front is still 'skipping' over small rapid bumps.

Probably one click harder on both in the rear, and two clicks less on the front rebound.

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