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MXA TEAM TESTED: RIDE ENGINEERING 20MM OFFSET YZ450F CLAMPS

June 7, 2014
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WHAT IS IT? Ride Engineering specializes in making triple clamps and shock links. On the all-new 2014 Yamaha YZ450F, the MXA wrecking crew decided to test Ride Engineering’s 20mm offset triple clamps.

WHAT’S IT COST? $479.90 (triple clamps), $89.95 (bar mounts), $9.95 (brake-line guide).

CONTACT? www.ride-engineering.com or (800) 805-1516.

WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Ride Engineering 20mm offset YZ450F triple clamps.

(1) Problem. The 2014 Yamaha YZ450F is the newest bike on the block, but its overall feel is altogether different from the previous generation. To improve handling, Yamaha’s engineers moved the engine 10mm forward, lowered the radiators, decreased trail and steepened the head angle. The goal was to eradicate the dreaded front-end looseness on the 2013 YZ450F and sharpen handling. Unfortunately, though improved, the 2014 model still exhibits a fair amount of looseness at turn in.

(2) Solutions. The MXA wrecking crew discovered several solutions that improve the YZ450F handling. They are, in order of importance, a longer shock linkage, 5mm more race sag, stronger front brake, better front tire and moving the handlebar position to suit your tastes. Next on MXA’s hit list was changing the triple clamp offset.

(3) Offset. The 2014 YZ450F has 22mm of offset. We wanted to see whether 20mm offset triple clamps would be helpful. The main goal was to move the engine a smidgen forward while increasing trail on the front forks.

(4) Installation. Ride Engineering’s 20mm triple clamps went on with ease, thanks to the installed lower steering-stem bearing. We sprang for Ride’s eight-bolt bar mounts, as they have proven effective against the handlebars twisting in a crash. Note that you’ll need to purchase the plastic brake-line guide ($9.95), since the lower clamp does not have a mounting post machined into the aluminum.

(5) Performance. The Ride Engineering triple clamps made a difference to the handling characteristics of the YZ450F. It was easy to feel the broader contact patch, thanks to the increased trail. We did notice a fair amount of headshake on high-speed tracks, so we tried different fork heights. Ultimately, we set the Kayaba SSS forks flush in the top clamp to 5mm up, depending on the track. Unfortunately, though the Ride Engineering clamps reduced the front-end looseness at turn in, the sensation was not totally eliminated.

WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? The Ride Engineering YZ450F clamps make a difference, but not a big enough difference to erase the YZ450F’s loose sensation.

3-STARS

If you own a 2014 Yamaha YZ450F and aren’t happy with the handling, look into the Ride Engineering 20mm offset clamps. Unfortunately, they aren’t the end-all solution to the YZ450F’s disconcerting feel.

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