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2011 CRF450 very unhappy.

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We just a bought a new 2011 CRF450 for Lakewood Regional qualifier. First ride very unhappy, switched out the mapping box with the 2009 CRF450 that had been remapped by Eddie Sisneros and removed the back screen made a big difference. Up one tooth on the rear and ordering a MRD Exhaust...........The handling is terrible. My son races in the 250A and 450A, he prefers the stinkbug feel that the 2009 had, I don't know even where to start with this thing. The front end seems to dive and then just disappear to the point the front washes out. Any help or ideas appreciated, he weighs 160lbs. Time is running out Regional qualifier in 2 weeks.......Worse case scenario we swap all the suspension from the 2009 to the 2011 for the race. Every Honda we have owned has been great, simple fixes with springs, oil height and viscosity but this thing flat out sucks.....

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We just a bought a new 2011 CRF450 for Lakewood Regional qualifier. First ride very unhappy, switched out the mapping box with the 2009 CRF450 that had been remapped by Eddie Sisneros and removed the back screen made a big difference. Up one tooth on the rear and ordering a MRD Exhaust...........The handling is terrible. My son races in the 250A and 450A, he prefers the stinkbug feel that the 2009 had, I don't know even where to start with this thing. The front end seems to dive and then just disappear to the point the front washes out. Any help or ideas appreciated, he weighs 160lbs. Time is running out Regional qualifier in 2 weeks.......Worse case scenario we swap all the suspension from the 2009 to the 2011 for the race. Every Honda we have owned has been great, simple fixes with springs, oil height and viscosity but this thing flat out sucks.....

with the new hondas i know Factory connection has a great setting they do for them, they can change the angle and everything for the front (they did it on my brothers '10 crf250) and an extended dogbone for the linkage works well too

extended link

http://www.btosports.com/p/FCLINKCRF45009

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I would help to know what you've done if anything to the suspension on the 11'

Some of the handling from the 09 to the 11 is going to be different because of the chassis attitude differences.

The frame is the same. The link is different and I believe the shock might be a different length.

You should be able to put all the 09 stuff onto the 11 but at that point all you've got is an 09 with an 11' engine.

Not sure what the goal here is...

kinda surprised by the marked improvement on the 11 with the 09 map. The 09 has a 50mm throttle body and the 11 has a 46. Pretty big difference there.

The 11's sounds like it needs more low speed damping in the fork, or at least heavier springs.

Other than the front diving, is there another issue with the front? Where did you guys set the sag? If its too tall, you'll put too much weight on the front and it'll do exactly what you're describing.

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For a pro the hondas CAN NOT BE RACED stock.

The forks are set up for a beginner and the shock on the 09 was decent for a pro but on the 11 all the changes have made it more an intermediate setting.

Most of the FC stuff I have seen HAS NOT been good at addressing the front end mushy setting many pro's hate.

PC and ENZO are the best for pro settings on that bike of the "big" companies IMHO...

I run a suspension business - so my 2 cents is find a good reputable local company - and they will get you dialed (preferably someone who is at the regional in case tweaks are needed)

Honda is "smart" now in selling bikes that cater to the majority of riders out there...where as the 08 hondas were basically pro race ready out of the box...it's a big shift for honda - but it makes sense from a business sense.

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WE have not done anything to it yet......Today I will start with stiffening the compression in the Forks......Sounds like to me the Fork springs are way too soft and the valving in the front seems way too plush. I am not a mechanic, I am a Paramedic but I am usually pretty accurate on my thoughts.........I read somewhere that the front springs are way off. 0.50 is recommended for the 160lb racer any suggestions with that setting on the fork springs? I can get it revalved locally by a Race Tech mechanic. I have not set the sag yet, I have also heard that the front tire needs to be changed out.

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Sounds like your kid is pretty fast so the forks are probably way too soft. I'd start by bumping up the fork spring rate to 0.48 kg/mm and adding 355cc of fork oil. 12 clicks out on compression. Rebound 8 clicks out.

The stock rear settings should be pretty close. Run 105mm of sag.

Edited by CamP

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I'd run at minimum .50's - and dont let the race tech guy convince you otherwise...

EVERY SINGLE honda 450 (and 250 with new chassis) for a pro I have ended up WAY over what is normal for fork spring rates.

On a 170 pound local pro on his 250 we are running .50's - with MUCH stiffer valving than stock up front.

Started out at .46's...and worked up over time to .50s...and its the best suspension he has owned ever...

I got a chance to see a factory pro's honda practice bike's suspension - .52s rider was 175 no gear - with UBER stiff valving (he was top 5 nationals that year - so his valving not apply to mere mortals)

His shock was very normal.

Step one: Stiffer forks springs - by a lot - I suggest .50-.52s

Step Two: Different MID VALVE - not the base valve. The 11's actually have a stiffer mid than before - but it's somewhat harsh feeling for many - and still blows through the stroke.

Step Three: TESTING!

On the rear shocks have been running and 3mm INTERNAL lowering spacer (not a link I think it makes it worse) and 105-108mm sag. This lowers it about 14mm at the fender. The 11's have changed a little in this area - and I dont have enough testing yet to say FOR SURE lower it this much...but most people dont mind it yet.

Also on the shocks, we are trying to create a lower amount of low speed damping - but not via more bleed in all cases. Often a very early cross over/transition shim in the stack works great.

Make sure the rear static sag is correct when race sag is set (on this bike it's better to see 25mm static than 40mm static) - if you are too much static sag - lower rear spring rate accordingly to be on lighter end of spring spectrum.

All that and the bike works well.

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I was reading your post with interest, then I read you are slagging the bike's stock suspension and you have not even set the sag yet?? really???

In order to properly diagnose and evaluate a bike's performance, you MUST at minimum correctly dial in your sag (do this FIRST to see how close the stock spring rate is for your application) then, if the spring rate is correct, then you can start spinning clickers to see if you can get it where you want it. If that does not work, a revalve will be required.

I have a hard time reading about a crap handling bike when the author admits they have not even attempted the most basic suspension set up and invested 5 minutes in setting the sag before testing.

You will continue to chase your tail and get poor results, unless you do the basics correctly. The problem is often not the bike in these situations.... it is the dude attacking the poor helpless bike with wrenches.

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We just a bought a new 2011 CRF450 for Lakewood Regional qualifier. First ride very unhappy, switched out the mapping box with the 2009 CRF450 that had been remapped by Eddie Sisneros and removed the back screen made a big difference. Up one tooth on the rear and ordering a MRD Exhaust...........The handling is terrible. My son races in the 250A and 450A, he prefers the stinkbug feel that the 2009 had, I don't know even where to start with this thing. The front end seems to dive and then just disappear to the point the front washes out. Any help or ideas appreciated, he weighs 160lbs. Time is running out Regional qualifier in 2 weeks.......Worse case scenario we swap all the suspension from the 2009 to the 2011 for the race. Every Honda we have owned has been great, simple fixes with springs, oil height and viscosity but this thing flat out sucks.....

Interesting sort of the same but different:

We just upgraded from an 09 to an 11. My son rides both 250A and 450A and is 160 - 165 in street clothes. He rode the 11 stock once and never wanted to ride the 09 again. His comments were it was just better at everything.

Our 09 is fully revalved front and rear from FC. We run .48 springs against their recommendation in front and run the oem spring in the rear and do not run the rear lowering link again against their recommendation. This is just the way he feels he likes it best. We run the rear sag around 102-105. And for him the bike works well. The biggest problem with the 09 is the amount of tire rubber on the bottom of the fenders. Id prefer the rubber stay on the tires.

I sent the 11 suspension to FC with specific instructions that I wanted the forks returned with .48's again, and the same revalve as the 09 because we thought we had that bike finally working. The forks were returned with the OEM springs. When I questioned them they said to just try it and that they had some new valve settings.

They were right it was miles better than the 09 we thought we had working pretty well. And their working with the softer springs. They have some new valve settings and are constantly updating their settings. which is good for guys like us.

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The sag was at 90mm, changed it to 105mm much better, front end still pushing a little, changing out front tire now. Thanks guys.

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Changed out the tire to a MX51 and softened out the fork compression, much much better. When I am watching him ride he is using the full stroke of the forks and shock. Soaks up the bumps nice but still washes out slightly, it may be because our track is so dry and sandy. No rain since September.

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The sag was at 90mm, changed it to 105mm much better, front end still pushing a little, changing out front tire now. Thanks guys.

I knew it didn't have enough sag. If you can add some fork oil to the outers its probably going to help, and if you can push the fork down in the triple, that will probably help a little too. Ultimately you'll want to get the suspension redone.

Dont try to solve the front end problem with a tire though. You should be able to get the front to work better with setup.

You could mess with the pressure though too.

What pressures are you running in the front tire?

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He says the bike is hard to get in to neutral, any other riders have the same issue? I am going to do the clutch thing this week removing the jutter spring.

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He says the bike is hard to get in to neutral, any other riders have the same issue? I am going to do the clutch thing this week removing the jutter spring.

Probably the clutch cable, has he tried adjusting it?

My 09 cable would stretch so fast it had to be tightened every ride.

Went to the hydraulic and havn't touched it since.

If the 11 still has the metal 90 degree bend at the case, it needs to go, that pos makes way too much friction.

Not sayin it fixes everything, but it's a huge improvement.

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On the 2009 we are running a lighter shock and front fork springs. Is the valving that much different this year? I will try adding some oil to the front forks, I read somewhere to add 25 cc. We are running 14PSI in the front and its sandy as heck. I know when I was racing in the desert I was running 12PSI, that might be part of the problem. I told him we need to try it out on a wet track and not my sandy track at the house.

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Most likely he is having a hard time finding neutral because the clutch is not fully disengaging because on the 11's because of the stupid judder spring system they added, the lever has to damn near be brought all the way back to the handle bar for it to fully disengage no matter how much you adjust the cable. I did as others suggested and took out the 2 judder spring washers and thin friction clutch plate in the back of the clutch pack of all the steel/friction plates and replaced it with one stock 11 friction plate and it made the clutch release position further away from the bar like it was on my 08 CRF450. Before that I had to grab the clutch lever and basically pull it all the way in till it touched the bar. Give it a try!

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Taking the two judder's out and the thin plate and replacing with a stock fiber plate made it way better.

Also added Hinson springs, made it more like my 06 clutch.

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For anybody looking for an EASY way of lowering the back end further ...

The Michelin M12 XC tire is about a 5 mm lower profile (drop rear another 5 mm) than a comparable 110/90/19 other brand tire.

I don't run this tire and am not endorsing it (as I have an 08 CRF), but have measured it side by side with Geomax brands and M404's and its profile is slimmer.:smirk: I have run this tire before as well, but I don't like the lowering effect on my 08.

For those STILL wanting the back lower, it might be worth it ... as to whether you like the tire or not, you can formulate your own opinion on that :smirk:

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