With bike costs inching ever higher with each year, it is now much more common to see an eight to ten year old bike at track thanks to proper maintenance. But, with the addition of valves, cams, and springs, many now slack on upkeep from intimidation of the array of parts or the fee of a dealership mechanic. The result can be a failure that is more costly than the bike itself is worth. It is possible to get the same amount of life that was common in the past when every bike ran premix from a four stroke, but to do so requires a watchful eye and a rigorous routine of looking after. A perfect example of this is in Jay Clark's 2009 Honda CRF450R. Clark, a motor mastermind from Perris, CA, has racked up over 180 hours aboard his shop bike but it has remained reliable thanks to proper oil changes and valve inspections. Still, the bike was rough around the edges after so much saddle time, so Clark and we attempted to bring the trusty thumper back to its once pristine condition.
Pulling the motor out of the chassis was first on the list, and with it removed, the process of a complete overhaul began. With the engine dismantled, we saw that the cylinder was still within proper clearance and free of damage but that the valves and springs were due to be replaced, a common repair. Because the bike was a number of years old, it had already seen a number of aftermarket additions, including a Hot Cams Stage Two kit, which was installed soon after Clark took delivery. This modification increased the mid and top end range, an area that the tamer 2009 power plant was anemic in. A Hot Rods complete crank and main bearing set replaced the tired OEM parts and gave the bike an extended life. The Honda's fuel injection system was sent to Injectioneering, where it received minor adjustments and a proper cleaning. A Stainless Steel FMF Racing system helped distribute the power evenly across the spectrum but at a much lower price than a titanium unit.
The barren frame's seals and bearings were then inspected and those that were deemed "acceptable" were re-greased. The steering stem and its bearings were the only parts that failed to meet the grade and Clark replaced them with components from Pivot Works. The drive train showed the affects of the four stroke's power and were replaced with a full system from Renthal, which included the front and rear sprockets as well a chain. Both ends of the suspension had been previously revalved by MB1, but the standard forty-hour lifespan of the fluids had passed. Once the refreshed forks and shock were delivered, the assembly began.
Since 2007, Honda has contained the power output of the mighty 450. Many stated that the 2009 model was restricted almost too much and left them searching for more performance. Clark agreed with this idea and a Cylinder Works 477cc piston and cylinder kit was added to the list of parts. The kit, which included a Vertex fored piston and Cometic gaskets, gave the motor a healthy dose of power that remained steady and responsive, thanks to the modified fuel injection system. With these additions, it was obvious that the bike was better suited for faster riders on open layouts, as it became a handful in tight sections. The suspension gave the bike a planted and secure feel as it absorbed every bump and obstacle without distress.
Clark's 2009 Honda showed that a tired bike can regain it's long passed "new" feeling and remain competitive for years to come. The additions of the bored engine, plastics, and aluminum accessories were not necessary but played a key role in giving the bike a second life. Consumable items, including the tires, brakes, and handlebars should never be overlooked and require replacement at the first signs of damage or fatigue. Aside from assembling the motor, which was outsourced to Parapros Racing, the project was quite simple and should be a yearly task for every rider. Keeping the small, yet vital parts of your machine in proper working order will keep your bike race ready.
+3mm Big bore Cylinder Kit 477cc – $649.95
Includes Forged Vertex Piston and Cometic Top-End gasket kit
Complete Crankshaft (stock stroke) – $319.95
Main Bearings and Seals – $55.95
Stage Two Cam (no springs required) 2009-12 CRF450R – $269.95
Bottom End Engine Gasket Kit – $82.62
Top End Gasket Kit – $89.38
Stainless Steel Megabomb Header – $274.99
Powercore 4 Muffler – $449.95
Throttle Body Modifications – Call for Price
OEM Valves and Springs – $334.95
Air Filter – $29.95
Formed Silicone Coolant Hoses – $198.98
Motor Assembly – Call for Price
Front and Rear Sprocket (Stock Gearing) – $90.90
R1 Works Chain – $81.95
Fat Bars – $89.95
Dual compound grips – $19.95
Front & Rear Brake Pads – $69.90
Steering Stem Bearing Kit – $49.95
Front and Rear Wheel Bearings – $54.90
MX 71 Front 90/100-21 – $116.99
MX 51 Rear 120/80-19 – $69.99
Semi-Custom Graphics Kit – $69.95
Pre-Printed Number Plates Backgrounds – $199.95
Elite Perch – $149.95
Front Brake Cap – $27.50
Rear Brake Cap – $24.95
Plastic Kit – $149.95
Front Number Plate – $29.95
Custom Cool Seat Cover – $39.95
Hinson Clutch Components
Inner Hub/Pressure Plate Kit – $499.95
Billet Clutch Basket – $314.99
Fiber and Steel Plates – $168.90
Replaced Fluids and Seals – $200 plus parts