2006 YZ450F - how to get this bike to corner?

51 replies to this topic
  • GHILL28

Posted December 04, 2011 - 07:26 PM


Just picked up this 06 450 bike for track riding. I know it's a little oversprung for me, but I honestly like that for the track. Valved for track trails for the previous owner. Other than that, it's pretty stock as far as the handling goes. Fork height is at the first line down I think. MX51 tires, 90 front/120 rear.

It's hard to keep the front end knifing through ruts, especially if I'm on the gas at all. It'll want to climb up the side of a berm without some major steering input.

I have a YZ250 as my trail bike and just threw a Rekluse E-axle on it yesterday. Before, it shared the same lazy cornering characteristics, even with the sag at 100mm and the forks at the second line down, although much more manageable than the 450. I can whip that 250 around like nobodys business with or without the modified offset, but this 450 feels like trying to steer an aircraft carrier in comparison. I plan on putting the second E-axle I bought on this 450, but is there anything else I could do to get this thing to carve through corners?

Aside from that I actually love the bike. Good aggressive power to the motor and jumps nice and predictable.

  • grayracer513

Posted December 05, 2011 - 07:45 AM


Setup-wise, it's extremely important that the bike NOT be over sprung for your weight because that will prevent the front end from compressing enough on corner entry.

Once the springs are right, run the rear sag at 95, and bring the forks up to the second line. Move the bars up and forward a ways, get way forward on the bike, and initiate the corner by leaning the bike more than by turning the front end. It takes a bit of a knack, but it can be done. My son makes it look easy.

  • Mr. Neutron

Posted December 05, 2011 - 07:57 PM


Have to go with what Grayracer513, plus maybe this:

Set the sag to the minimum, drop the triple clamps down on the forks (or raise the forks up in the triple clamps-however you prefer to verbalize it...) like GR513 mentioned above, corner with your nuts on the gas cap, and steering with the rear end seems to work best for me, when I can do it consistently......

I haven't found any one tire, for Me, that I'd say works best for corners. They're all somewhat of a compromise...... I'd like to try a bike with aftermarket triple clamps with a different offset, but I'd probably be inclined to still think they're not the answer....... :lol:


Edited by Diesel Goober, December 06, 2011 - 09:06 AM.
clarify a point, & correct a misspelling.....

  • MxSkater86

Posted December 05, 2011 - 08:29 PM


If your chain adjusters are really far back you could possibly take a link out of the chain to move the rear wheel closer...every little thing helps. I run a set of RG3 22.5mm offset clamps on my 450 and I love them. They make it feel less like a tank around the track lol

  • grayracer513

Posted December 05, 2011 - 09:50 PM


Set the sag to the minimum,

That means less sag, or a higher ride height. That's what the 95mm suggestion I made was based on.

If your chain adjusters are really far back you could possibly take a link out of the chain to move the rear wheel closer...

That would actually work against you in this case. Running the rear wheel as far back as practical puts more weight on the front, which helps the cause.

  • GHILL28

Posted December 06, 2011 - 12:09 AM


That means less sag, or a higher ride height. That's what the 95mm suggestion I made was based on.

That would actually work against you in this case. Running the rear wheel as far back as practical puts more weight on the front, which helps the cause.

I do this on my 250 (full length swingarm setting), partially for this reason, and partially for stability/desert use. Been wanting to try a smidge shorter for singletrack purposes on that bike though.

I have it set fairly neutral on the 450.

Is there a bar bend or anything that people seem to prefer on these bikes? I have noticed that the YZ bends seem to place riders elbows inwards a little more than other bikes like KTM's. Wonder if a flatter bar profile would help.

  • Mr. Neutron

Posted December 06, 2011 - 09:12 AM


Grayracer513, sorry about not being clear above here. I kinda wanted to kinda re-state what you'd said, in agreement with ya, about running the least amount of sag.... And then again, re-state the importance of the weight forward technique...... Combined with some throttle steering, when possible.....

GHill, I'm trying some "KTM bend" Flexx bars out now. I think they may sorta help do what you're thinking. My elbows seem to be in a little better position with these 10 degree mx bend bars from Fasstco. I need to get some more seat time with these bars, but so far, they sure seem to make my arthritic left wrist a much happier left wrist...... :lol: I'm not too certain about helping out in the corners yet, though......


  • Ga426owner

Posted December 06, 2011 - 09:12 AM


What 06s still dont turn....NO WAY!

  • cowboyona426

Posted December 06, 2011 - 10:13 AM


What 06s still dont turn....NO WAY!

Alas, 5 years later and the turning still sucketh.

  • Mr. Neutron

Posted January 03, 2012 - 09:21 AM


Well, I I'm hoping someone with some practical experience here might help out. I feel like I gave some bad advice to GHILL about "steering with the throttle" above here....... :lol:

I rode a "semi-muddy" event this weekend. Track started out sorta sloppy for my race (2nd race of the day), but the wind, and riders, all pretty much splashed the majority of the mud off, and made for fair dirt conditions. For the NW anyways, hee hee.....

But I had a heckuva time making my bike turn in the deeper, sloppier turns, and most of the wet turns in general. I've taken the advice above (rider sag at 95mm, triple clamps dropped down around 5-6mm. Front tire is a Michelin Starcross MS3, in pretty decent shape. I ran 11 lbs. of pressure, in anticipation of a much muddier course. Rear is a Bridgestone M404 or 403; I forget which is the rear for that species of rubber. I have a TUbliss setup for the back, and ran only 7.5 lbs. of pressure, again expecting more slop than there was.

Nuts on the tank, and trying to be aggressive (steering with the back wheel) worked well for the first 2 laps. After that, the track developed deeper ruts in the wet spots, and it seemed as if no cornering technique was a good one! :smirk: As long as I was on the throttle, the bike didn't feel too bad. But when ya needed to slow down, and steer with the front wheel, it was REALLY sketchy..... :bonk:

This bike corners well enough on dry tracks. I've been riding enough indoors this past month to know that, but I also know it doesn't corner as well as my buddy's KTM350 SXF. I'm wondering if maybe there may be something to the 22-24mm offset triple clamps for '06?????



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  • YamaLink

Posted January 04, 2012 - 06:16 AM


It just sounds like pure nasty conditions that would've given most riders fits even on 'better' turning YZFs. How'd you finish that slickfest?

  • Mr. Neutron

Posted January 04, 2012 - 09:31 AM


It just sounds like pure nasty conditions that would've given most riders fits even on 'better' turning YZFs. How'd you finish that slickfest?

Being 55 yrs. old, I ride the 40+ Am. class. I finished 17th outta 29 in my class, and with 147 other riders on the line for the start (2 or more other classes), 60th overall. Could've/should've been a few places better, but for me, not bad. :bonk:

Having had a day or two to sit & think about it, to be able to look at lap times & such after those got posted, and after re-reading many articles & threads about poor turning Yamahas, I probably need to focus more on these points: 1) Get in better shape, 2) Double check EVERYTHING about my bike setup (sag, &etc.), 3) Ride more in the mud, & 4) Move to a drier climate...... :lol: :lol: :smirk:

I plan on keeping this bike for awhile, & I like most everything about it, other than how it turns. Probably the worst thing I've done is ride other friend's bikes (RMZ 250 Suzuki, Yamaha YZ250F, and the KTM 350 SXF) that do turn well. I wouldn't realistically expect to have the bike turn like, say, a 2004 RM250 Suzi, but something slightly better would really be neat.... It does do acceptably well in the dry terrain. But boy, it was a handful at times in the mud Sunday..... If triple clamps make a noticeable improvement, I'd possibly try to cough up the dough for that. Just not 100 % certain how much I'd notice 1mm's worth of trail increase from triples....

Are Rekluse adjustable e-axles fairly rigid, and possibly worth that investment?

Would sure be nice to hear from folks that have bought, used, and lived with aftermarket triple clamps, what offset they use, and if they feel it's worth it... Same for the E-axle.....

GHILL28, have you came up with anything to help your bike steer any better? Sorry if I've hijacked your thread here. Was sorta hoping something might come out that will benefit both of us, or even more folks. Steering with the throttle does work on these bikes, but at 55, I no longer have the aggressiveness I used to have to make that viable, I guess...... At least not in some muddy situations....


Edited by Diesel Goober, January 04, 2012 - 01:21 PM.
spelling corrections & stuff.....

  • grayracer513

Posted January 04, 2012 - 01:27 PM


4) Move to a drier climate......

If my experience is a guide, it won't help.

Some days it feels like the front end is sliding around on a trash can lid. :smirk:

Rekluse no longer sells the E-Axle, BTW.

I ran a set of 23mm (vs. 25mm stock) clamps on my '03. I liked some things about how it worked but overall, I took them off. That has no bearing on the '06, exactly, but I think it shows that small changes can make a big difference, that they amount to a trade off of one thing for another sometimes, and that not everyone will like what they do.

  • Mr. Neutron

Posted January 04, 2012 - 04:04 PM


Jimmie/Diesel Goober said:

4) Move to a drier climate......

If my experience is a guide, it won't help.

Some days it feels like the front end is sliding around on a trash can lid. :lol:

Grayracer, You can be a real Dream Squasher sometimes, hee hee...... :lol: :lol:

Naw, I think I'm going to just work on getting in better riding shape, and modifying my technique, rather than spending $$$ for now. I've been racing & riding long enough to know that the majority of my "situations" I have while riding are normally "Operator Error". I'm afraid I may be guilty of looking for a magic handling pill, when gettin' my weight as far forward on the tank as I can may be more of what's called for here. Geez, when I look back to some of the junk I rode & raced in the early 70s, I dunno how I could conceivably even THINK about whining about this bike..... :bonk:

My lap times from Sunday's hare scrambles won't have Kurt Casselli worried. But they are somewhat telling. At about the half-way point (1/2 hour into the hour long ride), I began to get tired, and make mistakes. Prior to that, I was noticing "minor" cornering glitches, but nothing I couldn't beat. Then I got tired.... I'm afraid I'm possibly blaming my bike for this, and know better than to do that..... :lol:

Rider Number: 5930
Rider Name: Jimmie Newton
Class: 40+ AM
O/A Position: 60
Class Position: 17
Laps: 6

Elapsed Time: Lap Time: M.P.H.
00:09:18 00:09:18 25.81
00:17:47 00:08:29 28.29
00:26:40 00:08:53 27.02
00:36:57 00:10:17 23.34
00:45:38 00:08:41 27.64
00:55:33 00:09:55 24.2
Averages: 00:09:16 26.05

I crashed on my 4th lap, which burned some time on that lap. Got cross-rutted at the entrance to a turn, and bit it, then got ran over by guys behind me. There were 148 riders out on the approx. 6 mile long track, so you were always racing with someone.... Laps #3 & #5 had some minor "Lock-up-my-back-brake/don't-cover-the-clutch/kill-the-engine" moments. :smirk: Lap #6's near 10 minute time was from sitting in line at the finish for a minute or more, waiting to be scanned...... Everyone had to deal with that, so no biggie. I heard of some riders sitting there longer than that..... Like I said above, things went well until I got a little tired. Then, I would've liked a more "forgiving" turning bike, but who knows? even then I probably could've screwed things up...... :lol:

Given the info above, and the GoPro video, I'm gonna say that probably the majority of what I wish I could blame on the bike was MY fault here. like I said above though, IF a set of triples makes a noticeable difference, I'd be inclined to think about them. Especially in situations where you simply can't be on the throttle, due to whatever reasons. Otherwise, I'm gonna blame myself here, and try to ride/exercise more.


  • GHILL28

Posted February 26, 2012 - 08:00 AM


As an update, I have gotten the correct springs and sag on the bike for my weight (5.5kg rear, 0.47kg front - stockers basically). While the bike does track through chopped corners better, the tight turning characteristics of the bike are still awful. 100mm rear sag, forks at the first line.

I'm thinking a large part of the handling issues on the Yamaha's are the HEIGHT of the bike. I have been doing a bunch of experimenting with the sag on my YZ 2 stroke, and found it cornered the best with 125mm of sag, just because the thing was so low. On paper, these bikes sit over an inch higher at the pegs than any of the other 450's AND have a degree sharper steering angle.

The steering issue is getting bad enough, especially on the 450, that I'm thinking about selling it for something else. I feel like it would be sort of a waste though since there's so much else that I do like about the bike, and there's a high chance I'd run into other more serious issues with something like an '06-'08 CRF.

Who has experience running a Yamalink on these bikes? For an '06 YZ450F that link will lower the rear 1.6" - would that be excessive? I'm sure there's some kind of a trade-off with those links either in handling or suspension quality. Anyone with experience with one?

  • DC_Excitement

Posted February 26, 2012 - 10:05 AM


when i had my 06's i had to put the offset clamps on and it made a great improvement for me, my buddy had the same bike and we are around the same size and he rode it with the new calmps, he went home and ordered a set.

i loved the bikes reliability and straight line stability, but its messed up that you need a 500$ set of clamps to make it turn diecent. should have been addressed before the release

  • 2grimjim

Posted February 26, 2012 - 10:10 AM


The two biggest problems why the '06 (and '07 to some degree) doesn't like to turn are, too much spring preload built into the forks at the factory, and too much low speed comprsion damping.

The first can only be fixed by machining a new groove (about 10mm higher) in the cartidge for the retainer ring that the the spring seat rides against. The other is just simply replacing the compression spring (the little 4' spring) in the cartridge with a lighter one.

  • GHILL28

Posted February 26, 2012 - 10:24 AM


I have a Rekluse E-Axle in the front with a -2 offset, so it's effectively a 23mm clamp offset. It's an improvement, but hardly a solution.

The suspension was revalved for a fat man when I got the bike, so I just re-sprung it. You can tell how a bike sits through a corner with the correct springrate if the damping is sorta in the right range (which it is after some adjustment). I don't know what ICS springs are in it, but I'm inclined to believe that the main spring in the front has a bit too much preload based on how much I had to compress the stanchion to thread on the footnut. I'll investigate that a bit further.

The reliability is the big kicker that has me most hesitant to look elsewhere for bikes. This cornering issue has got to get figured out though. Cornering on any kind bike has always been my strength, and this bike is seriously holding that back.

  • 2grimjim

Posted February 26, 2012 - 10:43 AM


The preload is really the biggest problem, it's really too much for the weight of the bike. I weigh 180 lbs and when I was first experimenting with this problem, I had the best cornering with a .42 kg/mm fork spring. WAY too soft but cornering was impressive improvement. After I relocated the spring seat I'm running a .50 kg/mm and it still corners good as with the .42 spring.

  • GHILL28

Posted February 26, 2012 - 11:04 AM


You weigh 180# and run a .50 up front?? Damn...

I can easily machine in a new groove for the spring at work. I'll give that a try. 10mm is the magic number?

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