Tech Hotline

CRF450 shock: Don't remove everything to get the CRF450 shock off, just loosen the subframe.

Full load: Get on it hard.

SETUP: HOW 9 TO FIX A 2004 RM250

Dear MXA, „v I bought a used 2004 Suzuki RM250 two-stroke. Can you help me set it up?

Yes. Here is what we did back in 2004:

Gearing: Leave it alone. It's perfect.

Fork settings: The stock spring rate is acceptable for most skill levels. We ran the compression on 10 and the rebound on 13.

Shock settings: We loved this shock. Set the low-speed compression on 10, high-speed at 1-3/4 turns out and the rebound on 12.

Jetting: We had to lean out the RM250 by two mainjet sizes. We ran a 162 main, 48 pilot and optional NEDJ needle (in the second clip from the top).

CRF450 shock: Don't remove everything to get the CRF450 shock off, just loosen the subframe.


Dear MXA,

How do you get the shock off of a 2009 Honda CRF450 without having to pull the sub-frame and disconnect all the wires and air boot (which I cannot get back on)?

We hate changing the shock on the 2009 CRF450, but the simplest trick is to remove the back portion of the exhaust, remove the sub-frame bolts, and push the subframe from the right side of the bike to the left. This provides enough room to wiggle the shock out without removing the wires or undoing the air boot.

[email protected]

Groovy: Notches are bad.


Dear MXA,

I have a 2006 Honda CRF450 with 86 hours on the stock clutch. The pull at the lever is not what it used to be. I have no problem with the clutch slipping, but it is harder to pull than it used to be. Where does my problem lie?

Getting a stock Honda clutch basket to last for three years is admirable. Your clutch basket is notched. The notching is why your clutch feels stiff. When you pull the clutch lever in, the tangs on the clutch plates catch in the grooves and get stuck. In a pinch you can file the grooves off, but it will only be a temporary fix because you will give the tangs more clearance, which will make them bang harder against the clutch basket (perhaps breaking the basket). You need a new clutch basket.

Math equation: Protective gear helps up to a point, but racers often exceed the limits.


Dear MXA,

I suffered a spiral fracture of my ankle. I was wearing Tech 7s, but I wasn't wearing my knee guards. I now wear Tech 10s and knee guards. It looks like knee braces would support your leg from the shin to the thigh to prevent twisting-type lower leg injuries. Would they?

First and foremost, you need to understand several things:

(1) Your ankle injury was a singular event. Perhaps it was caused by the way you crashed, the lack of knee guards or just the luck of the draw. It could be a simple matter of a force so great that nothing, not Tech 10s, knee guards, knee braces or a suit of armor, could have prevented it.

(2) Knee braces don't prevent broken bones (especially the ankle). They are designed to limit extension and twisting. And if you think about it, they aren't actually capable of preventing either of those actions, because your leg in a knee brace is like an olive in a jar. The jar may be solid, but the olives can still be bruised.

(3) Knee braces can help prevent knee injuries (below the catastrophic level). They can take a blow that could hyperextend a knee or twist it and lessen it to the extent that it will do no harm (or less harm). Do they eliminate all knee injuries? No.

So the answer to your question is, yes, knee braces can help prevent a large number of knee-related injuries (although not all of them). What you are getting for your money isn't protection against injury, but peace of mind. This is worth a lot, because once you know that some level of additional protection is available, you will always second guess yourself should you get injured without wearing it.

Press intro: Joel Robert jumps through a Martini banner back in 1970.


Dear MXA,

Back in the day, I used to see riders with jerseys and T-shirts with the word "Martini." What did that mean?

Martini Racing is the name under which various motor racing teams raced when sponsored by the Martini & Rossi distillery that produces Martini vermouth. Martini's sponsorship program began in 1968 and included Joel Robert.

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