2018 ktm sxf450 FE advice

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7/19/2018 5:26 AM

So far I have 17 hours on my FE and have been riding the best I ever have. There is a slight annoying issue that i have noticed though. When coming into smaller braking bumps or rough sections as the track breaks down the bike does not track very well. The last two seasons I was on a 2016 kx450f which I could charge through rough sections easily.

What would be the fix for this? I was planning on getting the suspension revalved over the winter.

Would adding the ride engineering/showa steering stabilizer/bracket assist with this? Maybe send the forks out now to get revalved? I am 31 years old and 155 pounds. I took 3rd overall in +25b/c and 5th overall in +30b/c in the last local race.

What say you vital experts? Any advice would be much appreciated!
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7/19/2018 6:06 AM

Run a bit more sag or move your forks down in the triple clamps...

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Tomac and/or Anderson for 2020.....

7/19/2018 6:09 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/19/2018 6:26 AM

Not a Vital expert here, so take it with a grain of salt.

Sounds like we're fairly similar in ability, weight and age. I'm 30 and 153 lbs. I was having a similar feeling to what you are describing on a 17 TC250 with similar suspension and had Factory Connection take care of the fork and shock before the riding season started this year.

I have to say that what they did is really confidence inspiring. I am able to charge into that small chop with a lot more confidence now as the bike is tracking much better. I'm not just trying to sell you to have FC take care of it, it really does feel a lot better all around the track. I have less harsh of a feeling to the hands and the rear of the bike is tracking very nicely in and out of braking and accel bumps.

Personally, I wouldn't jump right to getting a steering stabilizer and would get the suspension done and see if that helps, first.

I had FC do the Performance Kit, Revalve and update on my 17. In the rear I had them revalve and kept the piston setup and did not convert to bladder this time. I currently run around 138-140 PSI on the forks and 104-105mm of sag.

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7/19/2018 6:22 AM

There are a ton of variables.
On throttle or off?
Forks or shock?
Have you serviced the suspension?
Springs?
With that many hours in both the shock & forks the fluids will break down and changes dampening.
150 lb probably could use lighter shock. On my FE the previous 140 lb A rider ran lighter springs.
What pressures are you running in shock and forks? Have you changed pressure settings in forks?

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7/19/2018 6:33 AM

alexk417 wrote:

Not a Vital expert here, so take it with a grain of salt.

Sounds like we're fairly similar in ability, weight and age. I'm ...more

Alex, thanks for the quick reply!

I have researched the FC performance kit and revalve a little bit. That does seem like the route I should take. I was hoping to push that off until the winter but it seems like something I want done sooner than later.

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7/19/2018 6:38 AM

lumpy790 wrote:

There are a ton of variables.
On throttle or off?
Forks or shock?
Have you serviced the suspension?
Springs?
With that many ...more

The issue I seem to have is when I am off the throttle.

I have not serviced the suspension yet.

I also do think that I need the lighter 42 n/mm shock spring. I am able to get the 104 mm of sag out of the 45 n/mm spring but there is barely any spring tension when the bike is on the stand.

I currently have been running the fork pressure at 150 psi and have not really played with that too much.

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7/19/2018 7:24 AM

SK523 wrote:

The issue I seem to have is when I am off the throttle.

I have not serviced the suspension yet.

I also do think that I need ...more

What's your height and weight? Free sag? Type of riding? Age? Happen to know the preload on the spring? Sag between 105-110mm and fork height 2mm. Revalve would be best but that's a good jump off point.

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7/19/2018 7:47 AM

lumpy790 wrote:

There are a ton of variables.
On throttle or off?
Forks or shock?
Have you serviced the suspension?
Springs?
With that many ...more

SK523 wrote:

The issue I seem to have is when I am off the throttle.

I have not serviced the suspension yet.

I also do think that I need ...more

Pool-eh wrote:

What's your height and weight? Free sag? Type of riding? Age? Happen to know the preload on the spring? Sag between 105-110mm ...more

I am 31 years old 5' 11" and weigh 150 - 155 pounds without gear on. I seem to have around mid to upper pack B class speed.
Using the motool digital scale my free sag is around 45 mm and the sag is set to 104 mm. I do not know the spring preload but it is not very much. The forks are set at the 2nd line down which I believe would be 2 mm down from the top.
I ride only motocross on mainly clayish hard pack tracks.
It does seem like a revalve might be the answer.

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7/19/2018 10:19 AM

The Stock linkage will give riders weird sag numbers even with the right spring rate. Look into the N2Dirt linkage knuckle. It will allow you to use a stiffer spring and gives the rear end a better movement with more progression.

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7/19/2018 10:38 AM

If it’s off the throttle and since you’re improving. Before you spend any money, evaluate whether you are at the top of the revs for the gear your in, if so, shift up a gear and see if that eliminates the scattered tracking.

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7/19/2018 11:02 AM

Is it a headshake or a stability issue? I had a Honda that would headshake like a mother****er. Softening the compression helped some. You can run additional sag or change your fork offset (sliding the forks down or different clamps) but it'll also hurt cornering.

If it's a stability issue, a general rule of thumb is to extend the wheelbase via fork offset or sliding the rear wheel back

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7/19/2018 11:14 AM

BroFoSho wrote:

Is it a headshake or a stability issue? I had a Honda that would headshake like a mother****er. Softening the compression ...more

I believe it is more of a head shake issue. It's like the front end is deflecting off of the smaller braking bumps when I come in hot and start applying the front brake.
I will try going a few clicks softer on the compression for the next time I go ride.

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7/19/2018 1:29 PM

SK523 wrote:

I believe it is more of a head shake issue. It's like the front end is deflecting off of the smaller braking bumps when I come ...more

Try sag at 110. The 42nm/4.3kg spring should be what you need based on height weight and all that

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7/19/2018 2:45 PM

SK523 wrote:

I believe it is more of a head shake issue. It's like the front end is deflecting off of the smaller braking bumps when I come ...more

Sounds to me like you may need to soften the fork. Try less air pressure. If you go to Race Tech's website, you can put in your bike and personal info and they will suggest an air pressure for your weight and riding ability. I'd start there first. Same with the shock. If your spring is too stiff for your weight and ability, swap it out for the right one.

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7/19/2018 3:59 PM

lumpy790 wrote:

There are a ton of variables.
On throttle or off?
Forks or shock?
Have you serviced the suspension?
Springs?
With that many ...more

SK523 wrote:

The issue I seem to have is when I am off the throttle.

I have not serviced the suspension yet.

I also do think that I need ...more

I run 144 and I weigh 180, try running less air pressure. Are you getting full travel at 150lbs.?

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7/19/2018 4:05 PM
Edited Date/Time: 7/19/2018 4:05 PM

BroFoSho wrote:

Is it a headshake or a stability issue? I had a Honda that would headshake like a mother****er. Softening the compression ...more

SK523 wrote:

I believe it is more of a head shake issue. It's like the front end is deflecting off of the smaller braking bumps when I come ...more

Squirrelings wrote:

Sounds to me like you may need to soften the fork. Try less air pressure. If you go to Race Tech's website, you can put in ...more

I second less pressure on the fork. I think you should try a much lower setting like 135 ish. Motocross Action had a excelllent article on getting the air pressure correct in these forks. When I got my 16' FE I thought the AER's sucked. That article changed everything about the bike for me.

I just picked up a 19' two days ago. Hope I can dial it in the same way. Good Luck

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7/19/2018 4:28 PM

BroFoSho wrote:

Is it a headshake or a stability issue? I had a Honda that would headshake like a mother****er. Softening the compression ...more

SK523 wrote:

I believe it is more of a head shake issue. It's like the front end is deflecting off of the smaller braking bumps when I come ...more

Pool-eh wrote:

Try sag at 110. The 42nm/4.3kg spring should be what you need based on height weight and all that

Ok I ordered the correct 42 n/m spring. I should be able to get alittle more sag with that.

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7/19/2018 4:33 PM
Edited Date/Time: 7/19/2018 4:33 PM

SK523 wrote:

I believe it is more of a head shake issue. It's like the front end is deflecting off of the smaller braking bumps when I come ...more

Squirrelings wrote:

Sounds to me like you may need to soften the fork. Try less air pressure. If you go to Race Tech's website, you can put in ...more

atrdrvr7 wrote:

I second less pressure on the fork. I think you should try a much lower setting like 135 ish. Motocross Action had a ...more

Sounds like I have been running the pressure way too high. I just kind of accepted that my 150 psi setting was working fine because I had really struggled with the forks on the Kawasaki I came off of.

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7/19/2018 4:44 PM

Also, people might cringe at this. But I always run my steering stem bearings pretty snug. Meaning when on the stand they will not flop over, even if you tilt. No I don't have bearing failures or premature wear. But I sure can notice headshake wise when they are "less tight". Been doing this since the 90s.

Of course running a steering stabilizers and proper bearing adjustment is a better option. But a little extra on the adjustment will make a difference.

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7/19/2018 4:53 PM

Throw me in the boat with the rest of the people who say lower your fork pressure. Seems awful high for your weight. Run it as low as you can without bottoming constantly. Some disagree with this but that where I have had the best luck wit the AER on harder tracks. On softer tracks I do bump it up some to keep it a bit higher in the stroke, but on harder tracks I run it softer. My worthless opinion...or at least as worthless as most others here

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7/19/2018 7:17 PM

136psi, 12 out and 12 out. 160lb vet intermediate.

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7/20/2018 3:27 AM

My son is similar in size and ability, he is 145 in street clothes. We revalved our suspension and added new pistons. Bike is at 21.7hrs now. We are running the stock rear spring. With our new valving I am running 145psi in the forks. It cleaned up a lot of what it sounds like you are describing. We are running the forks at the 2nd line. We plan to go do some testing in the next couple of weeks and I gotta feeling we are going to settle on the 3rd line and between 142 and 145psi... A few mm in the front and the rear makes a big difference on this bike.

I had him ride the stock setup for a little over 10 hours before we upgraded the suspension, that way he would really know the difference between stock and the new setup. We were running the stock settings and with his low weight he was still bottoming the front and the rear with suggested fork pressure and 105 sag.



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2020 YZ450F
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7/20/2018 6:31 AM

Markee wrote:

Also, people might cringe at this. But I always run my steering stem bearings pretty snug. Meaning when on the stand they will ...more

I do the same, always have.

Lower your fork pressure. I am 180lbs and probably of similar speed and run 143. 102mm sag. Static sag and preload have never meant anything to me.... 12 out of compression. 10 out on rebound.....Do not remember my shock settings. People ride my bike all the time and love it. The faster you go, the better it gets.

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Tomac and/or Anderson for 2020.....

7/20/2018 6:43 AM

Markee wrote:

Also, people might cringe at this. But I always run my steering stem bearings pretty snug. Meaning when on the stand they will ...more

BobPA wrote:

I do the same, always have.

Lower your fork pressure. I am 180lbs and probably of similar speed and run 143. 102mm sag. ...more

Hoping to get out this sunday to test and ride. I will definitely try a lower fork pressure. Mother nature might not cooperate with my plans though. I had tightened the stem bearings a little bit about 6 - 8 rides ago but it seems like they are a little loose again already...

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7/20/2018 7:05 AM

Markee wrote:

Also, people might cringe at this. But I always run my steering stem bearings pretty snug. Meaning when on the stand they will ...more

Good advise!

I Started doing the snug stealing bearings on a 1984 CR500 that shook its head like a wet dog!. On a stand with the front wheel in the air It still turns easy but if you flick the bars and let go so it goes all the way to the stop it will bounce back just a little but not all the way. Manual has torques specks for the bearing setting and I always went just a little more then tighten the top clamp and for tubes.

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7/20/2018 7:09 AM

Markee wrote:

Also, people might cringe at this. But I always run my steering stem bearings pretty snug. Meaning when on the stand they will ...more

BobPA wrote:

I do the same, always have.

Lower your fork pressure. I am 180lbs and probably of similar speed and run 143. 102mm sag. ...more

SK523 wrote:

Hoping to get out this sunday to test and ride. I will definitely try a lower fork pressure. Mother nature might not cooperate ...more

IF you have not already do it ..... Good idea to grease everything so you know it is working smoothly.

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7/20/2018 7:50 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/21/2018 6:10 AM

At 155lbs, I'd like to see you down around 128-132 psi. 18 and 18 compression and rebound. Forks at the 2nd or even 3rd line up in the clamps. Shock, I'm using the stock rear spring so you're going to need the lighter 4.2. 105 sag, 15 comp, 12 rebound and 2 turns out on the H/S comp. I'm 200lbs vet expert and on the handful of occasions where I've run my stock AER's I found the best settings for me around 138-142 psi and all of the settings above are what I run on my 18 FE450 and my bike works awesome, tracks straight and handles awesome and has zero headshake.

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7/23/2018 12:06 PM

*UPDATE* Mother nature had me second guessing if I would be able to go riding. I ended up going to Byron motorsports park in northern Illinois for the first time. The track has a similar clay/hard pack dirt that I am used to from my local track.

I set the fork pressure to 146 psi. This was the only thing that I changed on the bike. It took a few laps to get used to the extra travel I was feeling from the front end. I was also able to get the forks to bottom once or twice while I was still figuring out the jumps in the first few laps.

The 3rd, 4th, and 5th motos I put in were awesome. The track was getting pretty rough but the bike was tracking through the braking bumps and acceleration chop much much nicer! I did not have to focus so much on keeping the bike in line and could charge much easier.

Thanks vital crew for all of the suggestions! I will continue testing and figuring out what works for me!
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P.S. To whoever decided to thumbs down the guys that took the time to help me in this thread... You need to take that negativity somewhere else!

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