Since I test so many different parts on so many different bikes, I thought I would produce an article that gives you a few aftermarket parts that actually work. Over the next few months you can find, “Parts That I Have Tried, That Work, articles on all different types of bikes right here! I have been riding the crap out of the new 2023 Yamaha YZ450F so here is the first installment.
X-Trig Rocs Clamps:
What is odd is that I stumbled across this as I had a set of X-Trig ROCS clamps for my 2022 YZ450F and I assumed that it would feel a little more rigid on the 23 chassis, like it did on the 2022, especially since the 2023 frame is stiffer feeling than last year’s YZ450F. I kept the 22mm offset that comes on the Yamaha YZ450F initially, but also tested the 20mm offset option as well (ROCS does have two offset options). By simply turning the stem, you can change your offset to a 20mm if you feel like you need more weight on the front end. If you’re coming off of a 2022 YZ450F you will feel like the front end is lighter feeling and taller so going to a 20mm offset may help you and although I liked the 20mm offset at some tracks, I ultimately stuck with the standard 22mm offset purely based on the fact I wanted/needed straight line stability on faster tracks like we have here in So. Cal.
The new 23 chassis is much better in corners so the 23 YZ450F can afford to lose a little lean angle progress in order to gain some straight line stability, unlike last year where the 22 chassis needed better front wheel traction. So what does the X-Trig ROCS triple clamp do to the new chassis for me? Simply put, I got a more of a positive front end without the light, hunt and peck front end feeling that I got with the stock clamp and 7mm fork height set up. Unlike last year when I tried the ROCS on the 22 chassis, I didn’t get a huge gain in harshness on bump absorption feel (on the 23). The ROCS clamp on the 23 YZ450F only gave me a slightly firmer feel on bump absorption but I really liked the way the clamp helped the slight twitch when I chopped the throttle to enter corners (at speed). The ROCS gave me a more planted front end feel on initial de-cel and allowed me a more precise lean angle feel in area three of corners.
So what is the trade off Keefer? The trade off was a slightly firmer slap down feel off jumps, but to me the ROCS clamp gave some needed stability right where I needed it from the YZ450F (Initial de-cel, while setting up for corners). The PHDS mounts that come with the ROCS system is 2mm taller than the stock YZ mounts and the closest bar mount setting you’ll find to stock is the PHDS mounts in the second hole facing back. This setting gives you +2.5mm further forward setting than the stock positioning (back hole, mount facing forward) that the Yamaha YZ450F comes. The quality of the damping that the PHDS mounts have, is also felt on square edges as well as slap down landings. Sure, the ROCS clamp itself is a little firmer feeling on straight line bump absorption but the PHDS mounts help with the flex through the Pro Taper EVO handlebars that I use. The juice is worth the squeeze to me this year on clamps. I will be trying some other brands as well soon, so stay tuned!
FMF 4.1 Muffler System:
I will say this right now… There is nothing wrong with the stock system that comes on the 2023 YZ450F, but soome of you DO NOT want a stock muffler. The headpipe and mid pipe are different than the 2022 machine so FMF went to work and built a system that helps that mid range hit that the 23 YZ450F has. Unlike last year, where the YZ450F was touchy down low (on low rpm), the 23 YZ450F has a smoother low end/low rpm build but the mid range comes on hard and can take you by surprise when you start to get fatigued. You can tone it down via Yamaha Power Tuner with the Control Torque Map (https://www.keeferinctesting.com/2023-yamaha-yz450f-optional-power-tuner-maps/) but the FMF makes the ramp up to the mid range a little smoother. It’s like the FMF 4.1 system fills in the gap between the bottom to mid range. Compared to the stock power, the FMF 4.1 system gives you a smoother low end power with more of a liner feel and kills the mid range hit a little where it can be easier to control coming out of corners. You might be saying to yourself, “it sounds like the FMF 4.1 system makes the 2023 YZ450F slower” and you would be technically correct, but it shifts the power in areas that makes the Yamaha more rideable for us mere mortals that purchased this fire breathing machine. Second gear roll on is more manageable to my throttle hand and the 4.1 system does have more connectivity to the rear wheel than the stock muffler and revs out just as far with more of friendlier pull into third gear. You will not be getting more lugability with the 4.1 system but going up to a 50 tooth rear sprocket can help you run third gear more in corners with this FMF 4.1 system. You also will be losing a little over 1.5 pounds with this system so for you guys that are counting calories can rejoice on the diet you just purchased.
WC Elite Clutch Perch w/ Honda Lever Ratio:
The stock Yamaha perch/lever is not bad by any means but I do like a slightly different leverage ratio and the Honda ratio has a little more linear feel to it than the stock Yamaha ratio. Enter Works Connection and their Elite Clutch Perch and black Honda lever (P/N 16-865). This combo gives the rider a better lever feel as well as a longer window for clutch engagement which helps my starts. The WC Honda lever ratio helps the Yamaha from being to “grabby” when the rider is slipping the clutch. It also helped save clutch plate life as well by a couple hours. I am a clutch dragger as I modulate my power via clutch (instead of shutting off throttle when wheelie out of corner I drag clutch to keep front end down), not throttle hand so this leverage ratio helps with this area/portion of my riding. Use the code KEEFER20 if you decide to order over on worksconnection.com.
Pro Taper EVO Handlebars:
You may think the Yamaha comes with a Pro Taper handlebar but it doesn’t. Yamaha uses a different vendor for their bar as the stock bar is a 5mm thick outer diameter wall versus a 4mm outer wall like the EVO Pro Taper bar. To get a little added comfort out of your Yamaha chassis as well as a more dampened slap down feel, go with the Pro Taper EVO handlebar. I use the SX RACE bend as it mimics the stock bend which is great for my 5’11 sized mutant looking frame.
Brembo Master Cylinder Mod:
If you haven’t tried this on the new Yamaha yet and you are unhappy with your front brake feel, do yourself a favor and click the link here: