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I was told about this modification earlier this year (we will keep his name anonomous), however when I heard about it, I didn’t think much of it. Once I thought about where the 2023 YZ450F isn’t great, I decided why not try it because you’re only as good as what you try. This is not a spectacular mod on paper but it does actually work pretty dang good. I simply purchased an aluminum unthreaded spacer (13mm OD, 5mm long for M6 screw size, but you will have to drill out for standard M8 bolt) and put them through my bottom triple clamp bolts (as shown) with a torque spec of 16N/m. I went back and forth with torque specs and you can as well, but the range would be anywhere between 15-18N/m depending on how much bite you want from your front tire. So what does this small mod do? Putting the small spacer through your bottom triple clamp bolts gives me more front wheel traction (on lean angle) and a little better bump absorption feel on sharp de-cel bumps. I went back and forth several times (with no spacer and spacer) at a few different tracks before I decided to put this out there and (to me) the difference is noticeable enough to warrant telling you all.
The 2023 Yamaha YZ450F front end does feel light in area 2-3 of shallow ruts here in Southern California and I was looking for more front end feel specifically in this area. I also wanted a more planted front end feel when chopping throttle when setting up for corners. This is what this mod does for me. It gives me more front tire contact patch feeling on lean angle. Before the spacer mod, I was always concerned about opening up my corners (going wide and angling across the track to get into a rut) because I felt my front end wanted to push or deflect as I was setting up for my corner while on throttle. Before this mod I was forced to go straighter into corners to prevent from riding on the side of my tire (on acceleration). I guess there are other racing teams doing this same mod a slightly different way, but this is more of a poor mans way of getting the same feel. The picture shown is the 13mm OD M6 spacer size so drilling out the spacer slightly to accept the M8 bolt size looks best on the bike.
I ordered these spacers through McMaster-Carr and I think it could be worth a try for you 2023 Yamaha YZ450F owners. I have not tried this mod with aftermarket triple clamps yet but I have been running stock clamps/stock 22mm offset as it offers me the best results on west coast style conditions (hard pack or square edge). If I was riding more east coast style dirt, aftermarket triple clamps would be my go to for more steering precision, but this small mod gives me the freedom of having that steering feel of aftermarket clamps (like X-Trig) without spending the money.
Any questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org