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MXA TEAM TESTED: RACE TECH YZ450F SUSPENSION MODS

September 17, 2014
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WHAT IS IT? Race Tech offers a complete suspension package for the Kayaba SSS suspension on the Yamaha YZ450F.

WHAT’S IT COST? $794.92.

CONTACT? www.racetech.com or (951) 279-6655.

WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Race Tech Yamaha YZ450F suspension modifications.

(1) Stock. It’s no secret that MXA test riders love Kayaba SSS suspension. For 2014, Yamaha stiffened the spring rates and damping characteristics to cater to heavier and faster riders. The bulk of the MXA wrecking crew like the 2014 YZ450F suspension settings, but they aren’t nearly as supple as the settings found on previous models. Low-speed damping on the forks is too stiff for riders under 180 pounds or for those who tend to be a bit shy about using the throttle. Yamaha’s stiffer shock spring and damping caused us to tweak the race sag and high-speed compression and rebound to compensate for smaller or slower test riders.

(2) Modifications. After delving into the stock components, Race Tech determined that the mid-valve was too tight, which created harshness in the mid-stroke. They changed the float on the mid-valve and did a complete re-valve. The goal was to make the forks plusher initially while still controlling bottoming. They also noticed that the fork and shock-spring coils had open ends, which changed the preload. They installed their own springs. With the shock, Race Tech focused on creating a plush feel initially while giving more control over major impacts.

(3) Performance. Race Tech dialed in our YZ450F suspension for a 180-pound Vet Intermediate. This is important to note if you race Supercross or weigh 145 pounds; however, we are sure that the Race Tech mods will satisfy the needs of a wide variety of speeds and styles. We found comfort in the plush feel of the suspension at low speeds without sacrificing bottoming resistance.

(4) Price. Don’t let the sticker price shock you. Our total cost was nearly $800, but you don’t necessarily need every component to find satisfaction. You could have the forks re-valved for as little as $160 and the shock for around $275. We spent extra money on new fork and shock springs.

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WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? We have two complaints. (1) The price. But as we already stated, there are ways to get around spending $800 on a full service if you are willing to be realistic. (2) Even though the suspension mods balanced the chassis, the YZ450F’s handling was still imprecise at turn-in.

MXA RATING

4-STARS
Race Tech did a commendable job of dialing in the YZ450F suspension for our exact needs. We would recommend Race Tech’s workmanship to any YZ450F owner.

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