I knew there were some fellow geeks around here.
Oh, as if you didn't know that before!
You're such a... geek!
How've you been?
I haven't been on much for a while until lately - life is getting in the way...
Your weight bias numbers don't surprise me. When I had the 03 CRF450 and 03 YZ450, I always wanted to do the same with them but never got around to it before I sold them.
I always suspected that the CRF had its lighter steering feel due to it having less weight on the front end. Everyone moaned about how the YZF felt to heavy compared to the CRF, but I loved how planted the YZF felt in the corners. The CRF could never be trusted. Every time I would start to get comfortable on it, I would be pushing it in the corners when it would suddenly push across one and scare me to death.
After much fiddling, I came to the conclusion that it didn't have enough weight on the front end. A couple of years later, Honda
tilts the engine forward a bit to... put more weight on the front wheel.
I know a lot of people like the light steering feel but I'm starting to believe that some of the manufacturers are doing what you found with your scales: skewing the weight bias rearward to make the heavier thumpers "feel" lighter - but at the cost of handling.
Gray - I believe you've got an 03 and 06 YZ450. Any chance we can get you to check the bias on them to see if it might be contributing to the less-planted front wheel on the aluminum chassis?
Another experience: I rode a friend's 250 XCF several months ago in some extremely sloppy and slippery
goop. The bike would initiate a turn very quickly, almost too quickly, while threading trees. When we came out of the woods onto some roads that looked like they were covered with 4-6" of black pudding, I got a bit concerned. I thought the quick turning bike would be nervous and skittish in the slime
and put me on my head.
Surprise - it felt like the bike was bolted to the ground. I started looking for ruts to criss-cross to convince myself that I couldn't fall down if I wanted to. A remarkably stable bike.
When I got back on my 250X, the front end was nervous and twitchy feeling - like it didn't have enough weight on it to plant the front wheel.
Your findings confirm my suspicions as to why.
Hope all is well.