Harsh forks

Hi I have just bought a 2004 WR450 and I'm working through a few settings which I hope you guys might be able to help with.

The front forks feel a bit harsh I'm running 18 clicks comp and around 6 on the rebound and I think the spring is stock ( i'm 12 stone ).At slow speeds they feel too hard off road and if you pick up the pace you can almost feel a sort of stutter effect in the action.

I have stripped then down and replace the bushes and seals and refilled them with new 5wt oil .I had to replace the head set bearings and there does not feel like there is any movement in them.

I set the oil hight as per work shop manual but is it worth changing this.

The rear feels fine but he front feel very unsettled I sold a KTM450 to get this bike and off road I 'm not sure if it is is even close to it. I had hoped that it would feel more stable .

Thanks for any advice in this.


For your weight the stock springs are probably ok as long as you are not hitting it real hard. If you already replaced the bushings and bearings than I would guess you are probably getting some binding. Maybe they are not installed correctly in the triple clamps.

It could be a mid-stroke spike during compression and then not enough rebound.

Are the triple clamp bolts torqued properly, too?

Make sure your forks are running parrallel with one another, and that the triple clamp bolts aren't overtightened. Of course, the stock suspension is known for being alittle unbalanced in regards to damping. Maniac

Thanks for all the input I have zeroed ( set to the top of the yokes ) the forks to day and noticed that one of the air vent screws was loose on one leg ,I have yet to try it out but hope to give it a go next week .


Your clicker adjustments are way out of their effective range. You need to be somewhere been 8-12 out on rebound and 8-14 out on compression. If this setting range doesn't work, its a sure sign you need a spring or revalve to best suit your riding.

The base valve in these forks has a spring that weakens fairly quickly and creates a harsh action. I could never tune this out with clicker settings. The front end always felt a little unpredictable and deflected off rocks like crazy. If you're mechanically adept enough to replace bushings and seals you can install a Phase 4 revalve kit in your forks. Best thing I did to my bike. I no longer feel beat up after a ride. Give Smart Performance a call.

Jono, It's good that the forks are each set at the same height, but they also must be parrallel with one another in regards to there travel. This involves having a nicely lubed front axle and leaving the axle pinch bolts loose, but not the axle nut. Take the bike off the stand, push the front suspension as deep as possible into it's stoke as you can a couple of times. This will help align both forks parrallel with another as long as the axle is able to "float" inside those lower pinch bolts and find center. Then tighten everything down and take it for a spin and see if it's any better. This is where I'd start first, as it doesn't cost anything!!! Maniac

I am also a WR450F rider with the exact same concerns... it's not even as good as my DRZ (mushy but at least predictable)

the WR seems to be a bad combination of slow speed mushy, and high speed harsh...

I'll grab some info from this thread and take a look

~Sorry for the delay in getting back to you all but I have been too busy riding the WR now the forks are sorted.

All I did was go back to a stock setting , the last owner's setting were way out for me , he had dropped the forks in the yokes by around 10mm , off all the bikes I have ridden this one is effected the most by this .

Now It's back to stock setting it rides like a dream.Dare I say it's way better that my old KTM450exc the WR feels much more placed and solid off road just, just what I wanted.

Thanks for all you help


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