My 2008 CRF450X
My last trail bike was stolen 7 years ago. Since then I have been lucky enough to enjoy trail riding on the race bikes after the events. This has been an awesome experience, but now it is time to shell out some of my own cash and purchase a bike I can call my own. My choice of bike is a 2008 CRF450X. During last years Australian Safari, two standard CRF450X's made the entire distance from Kunnunurra to Perth with no problems at all (that is, if you don't count crash damage!). I checked the valve clearance every second night and not one shim was changed!
My CRF was purchased from Sydney City Motorcycles at 14 Blaxland Road Campbelltown NSW. If you are after a great deal on a Honda, give them a call on 02 46263000.
I now get a chance to set the bike up the way I want. I have started this section of my website to share with you what I have done to my bike and how it is holding up. As a service manager and race mechanic, I get to see a lot of modifications and accessories on bikes. I hear the feedback from customers, riders and Australia's top racers. There are a lot of "trick" components out there, but I have chosen a few things to fit to my bike, based on the fact that I work with Grabbo, but don't ride like him! I only want to fit parts that suit my style of riding (trail and adventure) and serve a purpose, no just look pretty. I like to support good quality, Australian made products where possible.
Scroll down the page to see what has been added to the bike. To find out how the bike is surviving life in the bush...CLICK HERE
Please note, prices may vary, but were correct at the time they were posted on the site in 2008.
Click on any image to enlarge.
What?: Barkbusters are the name everyone associates with hand guards. These have an alloy body, covered by a plastic guard.
Why?: Barkbusters not only protect your hands, they offer crash protection to levers. The plastic covers also offer some protection from wind chill on those cold transport sections of your ride.
How Much?: If you buy a CRF450X or CRF250X, they are free! You even get CRF written across them.
Where?: Barkbusters are stocked by most good bike shops. You can find out more at www.barkbusters.net
Fitting?: Barkbusters are pretty easy to fit. Cutting the right hand grip and throttle tube is the tricky part. I use a grip cutter and Unibit for a very neat finish. Take your time and make sure the throttle tube or grip is not restricted by the guards. A spot of loctite on the front bolt is a good idea too.
Verdict?: I know some guys hate hand guards, or prefer the plastic only version. For me, I am used to the solid style alloy ones and have never had a problem with them. I like the added hand protection when the trees are too close to the track. Barkbusters also sell the plastic only version, so check out their website. They are excellent quality, fit well and look great.
What?: Whipps Alloy Bash Plate. Made in Australia.
Why?: I have been using Whipps Alloy Bash Plates since I started off road riding. I have seen and heard of too many heart breaking and wallet breaking stories of rocks smashing crank cases to ignore the benefits of a good quality bash plate. If you ride in the bush, you know you can come across anything, and if it all goes wrong, it's a long walk home.
How Much?: This bash plate to suit the CRF450X is $199.00 Much cheaper than a set of crank cases. It will take much more punishment than you think. I have seen some massive gouges in the bottom of Whipps Alloy Bash Plates with no engine damage. If only you could calculate how much money it has saved you!
Where?: Check your local bike shop for Whipps products. If you can't find it there, contact them direct at firstname.lastname@example.org You can also check out their website at www.whipps.com.au The boys at Whipps have been manufacturing Quality bike products in Australia since 1992.
Fitting?: You can't get a bash plate that goes on easier than this one. Just remove the plastic engine cover and slip the bash plate into position. The back hooks around the frame and one bolt secures it at the front. Although the instructions suggest loctite on the bolt, I also added some lockwire to make sure.
Verdict?: Personally I would not ride in the Aussie bush with out a bash plate of some sort. I like riding in remote areas, but I also like coming home! The only down side is the noise. All bash plates will reverberate engine noise back up toward you, even though they are rubber damped. However you won't take long to get used to the different engine noise. It is a small price to pay for protection. So far I have not tested it out with a big hit, but I plan on avoiding that if possible!
What?: Pivot Pegz. Stainless Steel Pivoting foot pegs made in Australia
Why?: I had read so many good things about these pegs, I just had to give them a go. I was not disappointed. They not only look trick, they work! It felt a bit weird for the first ten minutes, then I forgot all about them. The pivoting action when braking or changing gears reminded me of my road bike, where your foot pivots around the smaller, round footpeg easily, but still provides grip for your boots. They are slightly larger than my standard pegs, and offer better grip.
How Much?: These quality pegs retail for $220.00 Next time you bend or break your standard pegs, check a price, as sometimes one standard peg can be as much as a pair of these! The pivoting action is something you need to feel to appreciate. Everything from the packaging to the finish of the pegs says "Quality".
Where?: Check with your local bike shop for Pivot Pegz, or contact them direct at email@example.com for your nearest stockist. If you want to find out more about these pegs, visit www.pivotpegz.net
Fitting?: Pivot Pegz are pretty easy to fit. They come with full instructions as well as new split pins. If you need to remove the rear brake lever to gain access to the footpeg pivot bolt (as I did with my CRF), make sure you remove the safety clip at the end of the bolt first. A dab of loctite on the pivot bolt thread will also help it stay in place. Don't forget to grease the pivoting surface of the lever bolt.
Verdict?: I was not sure if I should fit these to my bike or place them on my desk. They look so new and shiny, I don't want to see them scratched up after sliding down a rocky hill. My first ride with them was in the mud (thanks G1) and they felt great. I noticed the pivoting action for the first few minutes, then my concentration returned to the track ahead and I forgot all about them. At the end of the ride I was impressed. They even washed up well and still look trick.
What?: Cycle Gear Radiator Guards. Laser cut aluminium guards made in Australia.
Why?: Most dirt bikes these days are water cooled. This presents a whole list of potential problems while out riding. The radiator cores are relatively soft and can easily be damaged from rocks, roost or the odd tree branch. Then there is the damage caused by crashing. Radiator guards not only offer superior core protection, they can also brace the body of the radiator and offer protection to the upper and lower tanks.
How Much?: These Cycle Gear radiator guards retail for $330.00 The guards are laser cut and look great. Everything you need to fit them is in the pack. If you have had to replace a radiator, you will know how expensive they can be. Radiators can be professionally repaired by a few select people as well, but again this is not cheap.
Where?: Cycle Gear radiator guards are distributed by Whipps Alloy Products. If your local shop does not stock them, contact Graham at firstname.lastname@example.org You can also check out their website at www.whipps.com.au The boys at Whipps have been manufacturing Quality bike products in Australia since 1992.
Fitting?: The guards come with everything you need to fit them and a full instruction list. Taking off the front mud guard is suggested, and it does make life much easier. For the CRF450X, a small tab is supplied to lower the horn. They even supply a genuine Honda spacer in the CRF kit, ready to replace one that is removed. I used a dab of loctite on the front plate screws to make sure they stay put. Only one hole needed a little touch up to line up. With manufacturing tolerances of the bike and guard to consider, this is quite acceptable.
Verdict?: Radiator guards are like knee braces. They might seem like extra weight and overkill....that is until you have that big one. I hate riding bikes without guards fitted. I have seen radiators damaged badly, just by a simple fall to the side, in the wrong area. Rocks tend to emerge when your bike is heading toward the ground. These particular guards look awesome as far as protection goes. They cover the tanks well and the brace looks like it will take a fair hit before you bend anything. If you like trail and adventure riding, I would definitely recommend them as you don't want to be miles from nowhere trying to patch up a damaged radiator. So far I have not fully tested the guards in a crash, and I hope I don't get the chance in the near future!
What?: VSM Grip heaters, complete with Hi/Lo switch.
Why?: I first used a set of VSM Grip Heaters 12 years ago on my TTR250. I did several long distance rides and they easily paid for themselves. One ride was a six day ride from Sydney to Wilsons Promontory and the other was a six day ride from Sydney to Brisbane through the bush. Both were unassisted and only three bikes in total. When you get caught in the rain, or freezing snowy weather, these help you warm and in control of your bike.
How Much?: The VSM Grip Heaters retail for $59.00 The best thing about them, is they mount to the bars and your existing grips fit over the top. Therefore you can replace your grips at anytime and not have to fit new heaters.
Where?: Vince Strang Motorcycles is the importer of these grip heaters. If you need a set, contact Vince on 02 67210610 or email him at email@example.com You can also check out the VSM website at www.vincestrangmotorcycles.com.au and see how Josh Strang is going overseas!
Fitting?: Ok....I have not had time to fit them yet. With the upcoming Safari and other work commitments, it may be another few weeks before I get around to it. In the past I have had no problem fitting them. Just remember to fit them to a positive wire after the ignition switch, so you don't accidently leave them on and flatten your battery.
Update - they have since been fitted to the bike and work well. You would think they won't get much of a work out now summer is on it's way.....then you hear the weather man reporting on the snow falls in November! Nice to know they are there just in case.
Verdict?: Yes, I know, everyone gives you a hard time for having heated grips. These are usually the guys who line up to feel the warmth coming from your grips on a frosty morning, or when you pull up for a break as the weather closes in and night starts to fall. They are not something you need everyday but when you do, you can't thank yourself enough for fitting them. In my years of trail and adventure riding, I have been caught out many times with bad weather, lost riders, late nights or cold early mornings. Finally I will be riding my own bike.....fitted with heated grips...mmm
What?: Safari Fuel Tank, Australian made - 14lt
Why?: For the type of riding I enjoy, the standard 7.3lt fuel tank is no where near enough fuel. Hitting reserve after 70 or 80km, might mean a long walk if no fuel is near by. Safari Tanks, by R&V Aqualine Industries are Australian made for harsh Australian conditions. My first involvement with Safari Tanks was in 2002, after all our fuel tanks failed (to some degree) during the 2001 Safari in the Northern Territory. They have since proven themselves to withstand extreme riding conditions, as well as surviving some crashes of huge proportions, during the Safari. They are now forging a world wide reputation for a quality product.
How Much?: The 14lt tank I chose to use on my CRF is $399. There are other sizes available and of course the price varies accordingly. The tank is available in black, but I like to see the fuel level in the translucent white tank. Due to a fuel tank change on the 2008 model CRF, the shrouds have changed as well. Therefore you will need to fit 2007 model radiator shrouds if you put this tank on a 2008 CRF.
Where?: Contact your local bike shop and ask for a Safari Tank. You can also contact Safari Tanks direct on (03) 57295556. Check out all the other tank options and other bike models covered, at www.safaritanks.com . Any enquires can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Fitting?: This particular tank is too easy...if you can remove and replace your existing tank, you won't have any trouble with this one. All you need to do is swap over the fuel strainer and fuel tap off the original tank. To fit onto the 2008 model, you also need a front mount and damper. These can either be purchased with the fuel tank, or from your Honda dealer. As mentioned earlier, I also had to fit radiator shrouds off a 2007 model. Just remember not to use loctite on any of the bolts. If you are worried about them falling out, either use silicon to hold them, or lock wire.
Verdict?: A great product at a reasonable price. These tanks are built tough and can survive every day abuse as well as some awesome crashes. I prefer adventure riding and trail riding, so an increase in fuel range is a must in this vast country. The tank fitted easily onto the bike and looks great. I prefer the translucent white tank to keep an eye on the fuel level, when discovering new tracks in unfamiliar territory. Only question now is.....do I need a 21lt tank for those trips out to Condo and beyond?
What?: Force Accessories Billet Clutch Covers, Australian made
Why?: The standard clutch cover is made of magnesium. Nice and light to keep weight down. This works well and is more than strong enough for normal use. However, riders like me, do crash occasionally. One such crash resulted in the rear brake lever almost punching its way through the cover. As you can see by the internal shot of the original cover, it started to splinter, despite the outside still being in tact and not leaking oil. It nearly ended my ride! The hard anodized cover from Force Accessories is made from billet aluminum. It is still light but incredibly strong, ready for my next soil sample!
How Much?: The CRF clutch cover retails for $195 at the time of writing and comes with a small Force logo on it. If you would prefer your own logo or name/race number, contact Force, who can Lazer etch your request into the cover for a small fee.
Where?: Contact your local bike shop and ask for Force Accessories. You can also contact Force Accessories direct on (03)8710 4141. Check out all the products and other bike models covered, at www.forceaccessories.com.au Any enquires can be sent via email to email@example.com
Fitting?: This is a quality product that fits like genuine. Nothing needs modifying, and it simply bolts on in place of the original. If you can't change this over in 5min, there is something wrong! It is best to replace the sealing O ring with a new one, and the Force cover even has the little indentations in the O ring groove to hold the O ring in place while you fit it. Very nice.
Verdict?: Top quality at a great price. The option of having your own individual cover, laser etched with your name/logo/number sets this apart from anything else on the market. The hard anodizing will still wear off with mud/boot contact but lasts very well. Mind you, the original cover looks pretty second hand after one muddy ride!