YZ450F GYTR Tall Seat

Yamaha has an accessory division called GYTR and when it comes to accessories for your YZ they have tons to offer. I wasn't quite happy with the “pocket” feel that the stock 2020 YZ450F seat has to it once the foam is broken in, but managed to stumble across the Yamaha Accessories tall seat while out testing one day. I am usually not a fan of taller seats, but being that I wasn't completely happy with stock seat, I managed to steal one from the Yamaha R&D guys to try and came away actually impressed. The GYTR taller seat (part number BR9-F47C0-V0-00) is 3/4 inch taller through the middle of the seat and comes complete with seat base, foam, and gripper seat cover. 


Once the stock YZ450F foam is broken down (around 15 engine hours) it can feel like you’re riding in the bike too much instead of on top of it and that can make the rider triangle feel uncomfortable for riders 5’11 and up. Installing the GYTR taller seat helped with the rider triangle feel for me when sitting. The seat wasn’t so tall through the middle where I felt like I was too high above the machine, but instead had a firmer feel than stock and enough height to help my form on the bike. I am fan of the Yamaha stock bar bend, but with the stock seat it can almost make the bar bend seem too high at times because of that pocket feel. With the taller seat it puts me into a more neutral/attack position coming into corners, which forces my arms to stay bent, instead of dropping down and relaxing too much. 


The transition from sitting to standing is better and requires less effort under throttle. Seat bouncing is needed at times, but when you’re taller (and old), it’s tough to get off your ass to soak up a jump immediately out of a corner. Having just that little bit of extra foam in the middle of the seat makes it easier for me to get off my ass because I don’t have so far to travel to stand. Yes, 3/4 of an inch doesn’t seem like a lot, but it actually makes a difference. In fact I think a 1/2 an inch would have been enough, but I am not hating on the flatter profile of the 3/4 inch height. I had a couple other testers try this seat that were shorter than me (5’9-5’10) and they even thought it was better for them. The gripper cover that comes stock on the GYTR tall seat is as good as the stock seat, but if it was me, I would be looking into getting a GUTS ribbed cover for increased traction while rolling the throttle on out of corners. GUTS seat covers are made well and last.  

To me a $129.99 for a complete seat is worth it for a roomier rider triangle feel as well as making it easier to be in the attack position while riding. You can check the seat out here:|42&f=2020|141&ls=yamaha-motor-company

Dunlop MX53 Tire Review

Dunlop recently introduced their new MX53 intermediate to hard terrain tires last week to the media at Perris Raceway. I was excited about the new tire from Dunlop because quite frankly there hasn't been an intermediate to hard terrain tire that I have been over the moon about in a very long time. I usually am stuck with running a soft to intermediate tire at most tracks, but that always isn't the best decision once second motos roll around. I have been able to ride with the new Dunlop MX53 tires at more than five different tracks, with several types of soil, over the span of seven days. I have put almost 10 engine hours on the tires as well as experimented with air pressure settings. Here is what I know about the new Dunlop MX53 tires.


Tread Pattern (From Dunlop):

Front Tire: Dunlop has introduced a horseshoe shaped cluster of knobs to the front tire of the MX53. This horseshoe pattern acts as a giant claw to dig into the ground in order to try and give the rider more traction on hard-packed terrain as well as maximize braking grip. This bold new pattern features hollowed out portions of the center of the tread. The hollow area of this horseshoe cluster results in less stiffness in the center of the tire, in order to give riders better feedback and more compliance. The MX53 also has a taller profile than the previous MX52, providing gentler handling, a higher lean angle and better maneuverability. Additionally, each of the blocks are 1 mm higher than the MX52. This extra height is crucial in allowing the MX53 to perform better in intermediate terrains than the MX52 ever did.


Rear Tire: The rear tire enhancements include a reemergence of Dunlop’s Tornado Wave block distribution. The staggered placement of the rear tire blocks provide a more linear land ratio for a better ride compliance. The consistent placement of knobs along the shoulder of the tire increases confidence at greater lean angles. However, the interior blocks have more separation, which allows loose soil from softer terrains to clear the spaces more easily, while also exposing more surface area of the knobs to the dirt when more traction is needed for harder surfaces 

Progressive Cornering Block Technology:

Dunlop’s patented Progressive Cornering Block Technology has become an industry standard. A smaller block within the traditional knob, commonly known as Block-In-A-Block, has been incorporated into Dunlop’s rear off-road tires for many generations of tire patterns. Dunlop continues to raise the bar by evolving this traditional block into altered shapes to increase durability and tire performance. 

Block-In-A-Block: The new Geomax MX53 now also features Dunlop’s patented Block-In-A-Block technology on the front tire, which allows enhanced flex on each knob resulting in ultimate grip and even more biting edges. The tie bars connecting the base of the knobs add heightened durability to enhance performance in harder terrains. The individual flex of each knob improves linear tracking and aids in steering, as the block can now flex around various terrain elements. 

The Block-In-A-Block technology in the rear tire incorporates the Diamond Block design that was introduced with great success on the MX33. The diamond shape of this altered knob increases the surface area of the block, enhancing stability and slide control. Two additional angles increase the number of biting edges to dig into the dirt. The updated Block-In-A-Block shape has also been added to the rear tire along the shoulder. This wider knob provides a steady base to maximize traction along the outer edge of the tire’s surface.The compound for the MX53 tires has a higher number of molecular polymer particles. This results in a higher fracture strength, meaning more durability. Dunlop has also added more fine carbon particles. The carbon par-ticles are responsible for grip.

Construction: In the construction process of the MX53, Dunlop has added Advanced Apex Design technology. This component of the tire’s construction is present in both the front and rear tire. The Apex of the tire previously consisted of a small strip of material wrapped around the apex of the bead. By extending this apex further into the tire’s natural construction, Dunlop is able to increase ride compliance by spreading the forces of weight on the tire across the breadth of the profile. Distributing the force in this manner increases bump absorption and allows more flex and better ride compliance. Incorporating this element strikes a perfect balance between a plush ride and a firm feel. 


On The Track: I managed to ride five different types of tracks and I will be completely honest here; I came away with a more positive outlook on these tires than after the first day of testing, at Perris Raceway. As you may or may not know I am a front end steering type of rider and I am not a fan of the Dunlop MX33 or MX52 front tires at alI. I am a picky SOB when it comes to front tires!! I was forced to purchase any remaining MX3S front tires that were available and mix matched my way around Southern California with different front to back tread patterns. 

The Dunlop MX53 front tire impressed me on the first day of testing, but it wasn't until after day two (at Glen Helen) that I realized that I could actually like an intermediate to hard terrain front tire better than a soft terrain front. The MX53 front tire lean angle traction inspires confidence in terrain that is anywhere between soft-hard pack. In pure sand conditions the front end is a little loose feeling on entrance of corners, but if the track is still fresh in the morning with tilled up loam, the front tire tracks very well. I can predict where the side of the MX53 will break loose, how much I am able to lean through corners, and that feeling never waivers throughout the course of any day. Unlike the other MX33/52 compounds where they washed unexpectedly on initial lean, the MX53 bites and give the rider predictability. Another positive aspect to the MX53 is lack of front tire sliding when braking. Grabbing a handful of front brake (lean angle or straight line) into a corner leaves the rider with a sensation of a more contact patch feel that is wider than any other Dunlop I have tried to date (especially on lean angle braking).

Flat corners (while on throttle) or medium lean angle sweepers gives me a more secure/planted feel than a MX33 or MX52 and doesn't leave me with a feel of washing the front end out. As much as I love the MX3S front tire, even that tire isn't as good in this area of the track. The carcass of the front MX53 tire also has enough cushion to where it doesn't make your front end feel harsh on braking bumps like the MX33 can do at times on intermediate/hard pack tracks. For as much time as I have on the front tire the reliability also seems to be better than the MX3S, but I will continue to put more time on the tire to see where its “breaking” point is. The overall integrity/feel of the tire still remains intact with almost 10 hours on it. The only real negative I have found to this tire is the air pressure setting is crucial, so running a 13.5 air pressure setting is the number you will need to achieve. Going higher in air pressure will leave you with less lean angle grip on dry/wet slick surfaces and going lower will leave you with a carcass that is extremely soft feeling on braking bumps. 

dunlop mx53-7244.jpg

I am not as picky when it comes to a rear tire, but the MX53 rear tire has a narrower “terrain window” than the front tire. However, it’s still impressive on intermediate-hard terrain, it just doesn’t have much forward bite or tracking when the track has deep sand sections. If the track is softer in nature the rear tire doesn't bite into the ground as good as the front does, so if you're a rear end steering rider you may want to stick with a MX33 in softer stuff. The MX53 has a comfortable carcass feel on square edge and braking bumps, but just know 13.5 or even 14 psi is recommended. I tried Dunlop’s recommendation of 12.5, but found myself feeling the tire squish too much on the rim on acceleration bumps. When it comes to entering shallow hard pack ruts I have yet to feel anything better than a MX53 in this area of the track. The rear end tracks into the ruts superbly with a positive lean angle and lets you get on the gas earlier because the rear end of the bike feels planted sooner. Another area I gave the MX53 high marks was under braking. When braking into corners there was much less slide with the MX53 than the MX33 and that really helps when you’re asking your motorcycle for traction/bite when diving hard into a corner.

If you're a rear end steering rider, having a rear tire that slides a little more under braking might be better for you, so look into a MX33 if you’re that type of rider. Just like the front tire, being on the gas while under a medium lean angle suits the MX53 rear tire. The contact patch that the rear tire lays down for you is better than any other intermediate to hard pack terrain tire I have tried as well as allows for a more controlled scrub up faces of dry/hard pack jumps. The rear end will not want to wash as quickly up the faces of jump when leaning, which can allow for a lower trajectory. With almost 10 hours on the rear tire, its performance hasn't dwindled a huge amount and is consistent enough for me to continue to put time on it. 

On wet/slick track conditions (think hard pack with water on top) the MX53 front/rear tires fling sticky mud out from in between the knobs well enough for me to be fairly aggressive, but just note that I have yet to find a production tire that works extremely well in that type of condition. Overall, these Dunlop MX53 tires have changed my outlook on running an intermediate to hard terrain tire on a wide variety of tracks. Having a tire that is consistent enough to run in the early morning motos as well as the late afternoon motos is tough to do, but Dunlop has done a good job with providing us a tire that is capable of doing this. 

Forecasting Questions: Before my email inbox blows up with MX53 questions, let me answer some that may come through the pipeline. 

Kris, what do you like better? The MX3S or MX53? As of right now I can stand here and say for California tracks I would like to run the MX53 tires 9 months out of the year. If we get a lot of rain and the tracks are soft I will run a MX3S front and MX33 rear. If you’re an east coaster and ride soft conditions I would run a MX3S front and a MX11 rear. 

Kris, what about durability? Will these knobs chunk off? At the 10 hour mark these MX53 knobs haven't chunked off. The MX3S knobs have chunked on me around this time, but you have to know what type of tire buyer you are. Are you a performance or durability based tire purchaser? It is extremely difficult to get both of these into one tire. For me I would rather take a 10-12 hour tire that has excellent grip than a 20 hour tire that has low grip/high. However, not everyone is like me, so if you’re a weekend warrior and do not care about performance as much, but want more durability, then you might want to look into a cheaper tire manufacturer price bracket. 

Kris, what sizes do the MX53 tires come in? Dunlop offers the MX53 for all size bike ranging from 50cc-450cc including 18 inch sizes for you off-road guys. 

If you have any more questions about the Dunlop MX53 tires or even the MX3S front tire that is making its way back into production, please feel free to email at


Tusk Impact Wheelset (2019 Yamaha YZ450F)

Mounting up some hubs/wheels is one of the first aftermarket modifications riders do to their ride. Do all dirt bikes need aftermarket wheels/hubs? No they don’t, but some can benefit from a beefier wheelset (like the Honda CRF250/450R and Yamaha YZ250/450F), so we decided to try the Tusk Impact wheelset and put some abuse on them to see if they really are a great purchase for your used or new steed. 


Yes, this test took a while, but we have put numerous hours on these wheels to see how they would hold up, because quite frankly we don’t want to push something on you if it’s a P.O.S. Tusk’s aluminum hubs are forged from 6061 T-6 aluminum, not cast, and CNC-machined for a quality fit. The Tusk hubs come with high-quality bearings, seals and hard anodized wheel spacers. We have over power washed these areas to see how they have held up and we were surprised that we didn't encounter any issues while testing. The rims are anodized and made from 7075-T6 aluminum. They aren’t the more popular D.I.D. or Takasago rims, but come from a Tusk supplier. The spokes are 3024 stainless steel and are heavier than other spoke choices (more on that in a minute). Tusk wheels come completely assembled and will interchange with the stock OEM wheel components, which is very seamless and nice for the consumer. 


Tusk’s Yamaha hubs are anodized blue, but aren't quite that “deep blue” we see on other hubs, which isn't a bad thing, but took sometime to get used to. The hub color is more of a light baby blue that offsets the black rims nicely. Tusk offers all of the colors of the manufacturer carousel so DO NOT worry they have every color for your ride. Yes, the Tusk wheelset is heavier than the standard OEM wheelset on the YZ450F, but if you’re reading this test I assume that weight isn't an issue for you. If you’re looking for a lower cost hub/rim than you shouldn't be looking at weight numbers, but we will give you the difference anyway. The Tusk front wheelset weighs in at 7 pounds 14 ounces and the stock OEM front wheelset weighs in at 7 pounds 11 ounces. NOT A HUGE DIFFERENCE! The Tusk rear wheelset weighs in at 11 pounds 9 ounces and the stock OEM rear wheelset comes in at 10 pounds 10 ounces. NOT THAT HUGE OF A DIFFERENCE. 


So how do they work on the track? Installing aftermarket wheelsets can change a bike’s character on the track. Some wheelsets can make a bike feel rigid and stiff, especially on slap down landings and on braking bumps. I DO NOT use Excel A-60 rims/Talon hubs because of the rigidity on square edge and braking bumps. These hubs immediately change any bikes handing character. The Tusk hub/rims are only slightly more rigid feeling than that of the stock Yamaha hubs/rims and DO NOT give me that harsh feeling on the track. Yes, it’s slightly firmer than the OEM hub/rims, but they aren’t so stiff that I wanted to take them off ASAP. If you’re purchasing these, give yourself a couple rides to adjust to them, but I am sure you will get acquainted fairly quickly. If they do feel slightly harsher than your stock wheelset try speeding up your rebound on your fork and shock 1-2 clicks to see if that helps. Trust me, it helps in almost every condition with stiffer wheelsets. This allows the wheel to follow the ground better and absorb some of that new found firmness of the hub/rim. 





So how did they hold up? Look… You can count on two things… I am a hard ass when it comes to wheels and clutches. These Tusk hubs/wheels have held up surprisingly well for a lower price point wheelset. The spokes needed to be checked after every ride for the first couple weeks of riding, but after that I didn't have to fuss with them that much. You especially need to keep an eye on the spokes closest to the rim lock, so if you’re lazy (which some of you are) and you don’t want to go around the complete wheel, use the first few spokes as a guide to judge if the others might be loose. In other words if the ones closest to the rim lock are loose then check the whole damn wheel! After almost 30 hours the rim did get a couple whoops in them, but nothing that warranted me to get a new wheel laced up. You know that feeling (when you’re in the air) and your wheel is bouncing around because it has a couple good whacks to it? Yeah, that feeling never happened to me over the course of this test. Good news! The anodizing will fade over time so be forewarned that if you use harsh chemicals like Simple Green or 409 to wash your machine, the hubs will discolor somewhat. I usually use Bike Wash from Blud Lubricants or Slick Products because they are less harsh on our bikes. 

So is the Tusk Wheelset worst it? If you’re looking for another set of wheels that you can take to the track (in case of a flat) for a spare, want a set of practice wheels, or just looking to freshen up your older machine with some bling, the Tusk Wheelset is a great choice. Are these the wheels that I would take to a Supercross? Not necessarily, but for 98% of us they are plenty strong enough. For $549.99 a set, this Tusk wheelset is a really good choice for the working man that loves to go rip on the weekends, wants to look cool, or maybe just wants a back up set so he doesn't have to change a tube/tire at the track between motos. 

I also understand that some people on my social media page say they have had bad luck with these wheels. I understand there is an exception to every evaluation, but I have put in a ton of hard hours on these and have seen zero failures on my end. This doesn't mean that this product is 100% bulletproof, but I would have zero issues riding with these wheels and or recommending these to all of you. If you have any questions about this test or product please feel free to email me at You can order the Tusk wheelset at and choose from an array of sizes and colors

X-Trig Rocs Pro Clamps (2019 Honda CRF450R)

I have been getting ready for the first two AMA outdoor nationals and knew that I was going to be running an aftermarket triple clamps and those clamps would be X-Trig. Since my practice bike was my test bike, I thought it would be beneficial to get a set of X-Trig clamps to ride/test with to make sure I could get the “feel” of an aftermarket triple clamp, since I am so used to riding with the stock clamps on the 2019 Honda CRF450R. Like I have spoken about before, it’s tough to find aftermarket triple clamps that perform better than stock these days. So much R&D is involved (at the OEM level) in making a triple clamp that flexes enough, but also has enough rigidity to aid the machine under load/through corners as well. With the triple clamp flex character so important to each specific chassis (on all motocross bikes) sometimes it’s tough to find anyone that can make a “comfortable” set of aftermarket triple clamps. Why do you need aftermarket triple clamps? Well sometimes it’s just for looks with some riders, but there are occasions where you might want another offset to help you get more stability or a sharper turning character out of your machine. In this case I was simply wanting to make sure that I wouldn't be trading comfort for stiffness on the Honda CRF450R somewhat finicky chassis setting.


Enter X-trig’s ROCS Tech Triple Clamps and PHDS Mounts. “ROCS” stands for “Revolutionary Opposing Clamp System”. The ROCS clamp allows for precise alignment of the fork tube with opposing clamping surface patterns, the stiffness of the steering stem is specifically tuned to the respective motorcycle model, the steering-head bearing is already mounted on the shaft tube for convenience, a special fork slot and clamping area for precise fork operation, precise clamping with special screws for low torque specs, OEM attachments can be mounted without auxiliary material, and flexibility that is adapted to the fork with anodizing in the technical factory OEM look. The difference between the ROCS “Tech” and the ROCS “Pro” is the “Tech” uses a standard offset with a pressed shaft tube. The “Pro” has two offsets you can choose from by simply adjusting the shaft tube (or steering stem). I felt it would be beneficial to try another offset with the Honda CRF450R for testing purposes, so I went with the ROCS Pro clamps. 

The PHDS (Progressive Handlebar Dampening System) is a system supported by elastomers designed to absorb engine and chassis vibrations. The system also dampens the forces acting on the handlebar in a horizontal and vertical direction, maintaining steering precision. The handlebar can be adjusted in 12 different positions when the PHDS is mounted. The Honda vibrates more in the handlebar area than any other 450 aluminum framed motocross bike, so this is something that I feel the Honda needs, in my opinion. 

Installation of the ROCS clamp is fairly straight forward (with the pressed shaft tube). All you need to do is grease up the steering head bearing and slide the bottom clamp up in the head tube of the frame. All of the front fender mounting points and even the OEM hour meter bolts up the same way with the X-trig clamps. Super clean! Mounting up the PHDS bar mounts is a little tricky as the mounts themselves have a lot of moving parts, so make sure to read the instructions to ensure proper mounting. Technical Touch offers optional PHDS bar mount elastomers that come in soft or firm, but I chose to run the stock medium style elastomers, which seem to be just fine for motocross conditions. 


I am super picky about bar positioning, shocking I know, so I went with the mounting hole closest to me (when sitting on bike) on the triple clamp with the PHDS mounts forward. This handlebar position gave me a +1 mm bar position (forward from stock), which I preferred as the stock Honda rider triangle is just fine for my 6’0 frame. The PHDS bar mount itself is the same height as the stock bar mount, which also was good for me and I mated the clamp/mount with a Pro Taper EVO SX RACE handlebar. Having so many positions available for the rider is definitely a huge positive for adjustability with these ROCS clamps. If you feel like you need a higher PHDS handlebar mount, X-trig also offers spacers to go under the PHDS mounting system. You can pick from 3mm, 5mm, and 10mm spacers.


So what did the X-trig ROCS Tech Triple Clamp and PHDS handlebar mounts do on the track? My goal for this test was to not gain front end rigidity, get a more precise front end feel through corners, without getting deflection on hard pack/rough straights. Basically trying to NOT get a harsher ride on the Honda, tough to do right? The good news is that this is exactly what I found with the X-trig ROCS Tech/PHDS system, but there is some fine print that I want to fill you in on. The X-trig ROCS Tech clamp on the CRF450R provided enough flex and doesn’t feel like it negatively affected front end bump absorption, but was also stiff enough to give me a positive front wheel feel through flat corners. The ROCS Tech clamp is most noticeable when diving deep into a rut where there is a huge load put on the front end, forced by the rider. The chassis positivity through this area is better than the stock clamps. The stock clamps has a tendency to flex too much and give the rider a wiggle immediately off throttle (on deeply tilled tracks or soft dirt) or give the rider an unsettled (dive) when dropping into a long/deep rut (this sensation can only be felt mostly by faster or heavier riders). The X-trig ROCS Tech clamp gives the front end less wallow (firmer) and more cornering stability (without upsetting chassis balance). Straight line stability is as good as stock and front end bump absorption is only minimally stiffer feeling on braking bumps/square edge. 

Optional Setting: I have tried the ROCS “Tech” with the pressed steering stem shaft as well and that set up is a little firmer of a feel as well as provided a little more rigidity (I found out this when I went to ride my race bike, which has the “Tech” installed). The differences are small, but I did feel it nonetheless. Going to a 24mm offset on the ROCS “Pro” helped the Honda settle down on faster tracks. Running the fork up 4mm with a 24mm offset really helped calm this chassis down for 2:00PM motos (AKA ROUGH TRACKS). The 24mm offset did affect the Honda’s turn in capabilities and made it feel slightly heaver through corners. If you’re looking to slow the chassis down on faster tracks try going to the 24mm offset, 105mm’s of sag, and the fork up 4mm. 

The PHDS mounts do not vibrate nearly as much as the OEM rubber mounted bar mounts. The PHDS bar mounts flex as good as stock with the standard elastomers (up and down), but dampen vibration noticeably better around the track (especially at higher RPM’s). Slap down landings are improved slightly and front end positivity (entrance into corners) are as good as an OEM feel. Simply put, the vibration characteristics the PHDS mounts provide are well worth their weight in gold. I use “weight” because they are heavier than stock ones by quite a bit, but I will gladly take some extra ounces over vibration any day. 

The cost of the X-trig ROCS Tech Triple Clamps and PHDS handlebar mounts are $900.00. The cost is more expensive than other triple clamps out on the market by a couple hundred bucks. However, there are only two triple clamps that I have tested, that to me, are as good or better than stock. If you're looking to get a set of clamps for the temperamental Honda CRF450R “vibes” pick up some front end cornering stability, get an optional offset, and even improve the looks of your Honda, X-trig has some really nice clamps and handlebar mounts available for your red motocross machine. You can check out and purchase all of the X-trig products over at   

If you have any questions about this test please feel free to email me at

Pro Circuit Ti-6 Pro Titanium Muffer System

The 2019 Yamaha YZ450F won the Keefer Inc. Testing shootout this year because it has all tangibles that are needed to let a rider go fast on the track with the least amount of work. I am a fan of the stock muffler system on the 2019 YZ450F, but was looking for a full system to help me lose some weight and gain a little more mid range pulling power without sacrificing low end delivery, that the stock system does so well. I went to Pro Circuit to seek out Mitch Payton and see if he would give me a Ti-6 Pro Titanium System to try out. I managed to walk out with a system, but missed out on the opportunity to speak with Mitch. He probably doesn't even know who the hell I am, but I appreciate that he got me a system to test out. I haven't tested that much Pro Circuit products in 2018, but our next couple project builds will have some PC products on board or 2019. 


The Pro Circuit Ti-6 Pro full system was created for professional racers competing in a series such as AMA Supercross or AMA Motocross to ensure they pass AMA/FIM sound regulations. The Ti-6 Pro Titanium Exhaust System is constructed of titanium throughout the head pipe, mid pipe, and canister while the end-cap is carbon fiber. I wanted the “Pro” system because I have learned that loud mufflers are not the best mufflers for power feeling on the track and sometimes putting an insert in “some” mufflers actually helps power delivery.


Installation of the PC system was painless to install (for Yamaha standards), but always make sure to install the headpipe on the cylinder head studs and then connect the mid pipe. Once the mid pipe is slipped onto the headpipe you can begin to tighten the headpipe nuts. This assures that the mid pipe doesn't bind and is free. 


So how does this sucker feel out on the track? The exhaust note on the Pro Circuit Ti-6 Pro is not near as loud or weird sounding as the Ti-6 or T6. The exhaust note on the “Pro” is deeper and slightly quieter, which I personally like more. The power delivery is slightly smoother down low, but only on throttle opening. At 0-5% throttle position there is a slightly softer RPM response, which I didn't mind on nasty, dry, choppy tracks in Southern California. If I needed more bottom I simply ran a more aggressive map and that helped the “pop” I was looking for out of corners. I usually ran the TP 2.0 map with the Pro Circuit system and it made me happy with the amount of smooth roll on power I had. The rear wheel definitely feels connected to my throttle hand and in comparison the PC system has more bottom end power than that of the Akrapovic that I tested a couple months ago. The mid-range is where I wanted more power out of the Yamaha and this is where exactly the PC system delivers. The meat of the Ti-6 Pro’s power out of corners and accelerating down the next straight is much better than stock. I am able to use second and third gears longer with the PC system (compared to stock) and even though the low RPM response is slightly softer than the stock system, the mid-range RPM response is much more instant. Mid- range RPM response is crisp and makes the Yamaha feel “lighter” when trying to hop over square edge choppy areas of the track when accelerating. Top end pulling power is as good as stock as the PC Ti-6 Pro doesn’t pull harder up top, but the PC system does have slightly more over-rev. I am able to be slightly lazier with my shifting and can decide to shift later after each corner. 

I was impressed how the Pro Circuit Ti-6 Pro delivered and spread out its power and to me made the Yamaha even more fun to ride. If that is possible? The PC Ti-6 Pro Titanium System runs $1,064.95 and is available over at I will be doing a 2019 Yamaha YZ450F Muffler Shootout Podcast in the very near future, so if you want to hear how it stacks up against its competitors listen and subscribe to the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC Keefer Tested Podcast right now. 

If you have any questions about this test please feel free to email me at


GUTS Racing Firm Seat Foam And Gripper GR1 Seat Cover 


If there is one area that the 2018-2019 Yamaha YZ250F/450F is lacking in, it would have to be the seat foam/seat cover area. Yamaha firmed up the seat foam for 2019, but to me it just wasn't enough for my skinny ass. If you have a Kardashian butt it might be ok, but for us skinnier riders we need a foam that doesn't sink into the fuel tank when slamming into corners. While I was searching for a firmer foam, I thought why not get a seat cover that has some ribs on it, in order to keep my but in place when coming out of corners as well! 

So I called up Andy over at GUTS Racing and he sent me their standard firm foam (not Phantom foam) and GR1 ribbed seat cover with extra padding sewn into the sides of the seat cover. Guts offers many different styles of covers and foam densities so make sure to check out for all of their offerings. Swapping out seat foam isn’t that hard, it just takes patience and some trial and error to get the new cover on the seat. The foam shape is pretty much identical to the stock foam and went on the seat base without issue. The seat cover went on without much of a fuss either, but there might be a little extra material that you may have to trim once all of the staples are in.


So when you think of the words “hard” or “firm” you may think of uncomfortable right? Well in this case you would be wrong. The “firm” GUTS foam is just what the doctor ordered, especially when I am slamming into corners. The stock 2019 YZ450F foam is a little better (than the 2018 foam), but lacks density on the sides where my butt is forcing the foam down. With the GUTS firm foam the density is harder in the middle of the foam, but also on the sides of the foam where you need it (especially when riding aggressively). Your butt is not always placed directly in the middle of the seat when you're riding, so why just make the middle part of the foam firm? GUTS thought of this because all of us riders need to have a firm feel on each side of the foam as well. The GUTS Racing foam provides the correct amount of density so I am not pushing my tushy through the foam and into the plastic of the fuel cell. My butt bone thanks you GUTS Racing! 

The GR1 GUTS Ribbed Seat Cover is unique because of the extra padding that is sewn into the cover on each side. Since the Yamaha seat is designed so thin near the middle portion and on the sides, I felt like I could use a little extra padding when working the sides of the seat through flat corners. Not only did I feel like the extra foam on the sides helped me through flat corners with the slightly wider nature of the seat cover (due to the foam inserts), but it helped me grip the Yamaha better with my legs. Not to go full Ryno on you, but using your legs is crucial to going fast on a motorcycle. Gripping the machine with your legs is sometimes overlooked to an amateur rider, so with these extra foam inserts inputted into the seat cover, it really helps me grip the side of the Yamaha when I am getting tired. It may not be the most attractive looking cover (due to its width), but it sure does do what its supposed to do. The ribbed portion of the seat cover also keeps me in place, but the gripper material isn't so gnarly that it is chaffing my ass on long test days. Some gripper materials out there are so aggressive that you can only ride one full day on it before you have to have your wife rub chamois cream on your ass. 

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If you own  2018-2019 Yamaha YZ250F/450F do yourself a favor and get a GUTS Racing firm seat foam and ribbed GR1 cover. Your ass can thank me later. The GUTS Racing standard height/firm seat foam will run you $89.90 and the ribbed GR1 seat cover with foam inserts on each side will cost you $149.90.     

Ride Engineering's 2019 Honda CRF450RWE Triple Clamp 

Matt Sirevaag is your average dirt bike fanatic. He works overtime just so he can purchase extra “goodies” for his 2019 Honda CRF450R. He is only “allowed” (you married guys out there know what I am saying) to buy stuff for his bike if he makes extra cash. Matt works side jobs and puts in OT just so he can get his bike just the way he likes it. To me this is a real world test because of the test rider that has written it.    -KK

Matt Sirevaag is your average dirt bike fanatic. He works overtime just so he can purchase extra “goodies” for his 2019 Honda CRF450R. He is only “allowed” (you married guys out there know what I am saying) to buy stuff for his bike if he makes extra cash. Matt works side jobs and puts in OT just so he can get his bike just the way he likes it. To me this is a real world test because of the test rider that has written it. -KK

I am just the average nine to fiver and weekend warrior. I get up at 4AM, go to work, and think about dirt bikes (probably like most other riders out there). I walk through the race pits, drool over the factory machines, and wish I could just have one piece of eye candy that graces the factory riders machines. This is where Ride Engineering decided to give their CRF450R clamp that factory Honda like touch. They took their CRF450R clamp, moved the logos, and anodized them cherry red just like Ken Roczen’s factory machine. The Ride Engineering factory 450RWE triple clamp retains the stock 22mm offset that comes on 17-19 CRF450’s and can be used in conjunction with the stock bar mounts or Ride Engineering’s one piece bar mount.

Ride Engineering worked to try and make this Honda triple clamp retain the stock clamp characteristics (flex/rigidity balance). They also used 2024 aluminum, which is the same alloy aluminum that a lot of the factory teams use for their clamps. Just to add to the factory flare we put the new clamp on the scale and it weighed in at 7.9oz. lighter than the OEM clamp! The 450WE clamp fits both the previous 48mm and the new 49mm Showa forks. It also fits 2013-2019 Honda CRF450R, 2017-2019 CRF450RX, 2014-2019 CRF250R and let’s not forget the 2019 CRF450RWE. This is not Ride Engineering’s first rodeo as they have been building triple clamps with different offsets to help change the character of motocross machines for years. 


Installation was a breeze as any novice mechanic can handle this job with a little time in the garage. I would suggest using the owner’s manual as torque specs are always crucial when it comes to suspension components. The torque spec on Keefer’s 2019 CRF450R test bike is: (upper pinch bolt 16 lb-ft, lower pinch bolts 15 lb-ft, and steering stem nut 80 lb-ft). As I hit Sunrise MX on my usual Saturday track day, I was not only excited to ride after a long work week, but I was hoping one of my favorite aspects of the new Honda (front end feel) was not gone. To my delight it was really hard to pick apart any huge differences between the two clamps on the track. As I put down my 30+2 lap moto (Thank you Kris Keefer! Yes, that is sarcasm) the Honda retained that front end feel that I loved with the stock clamp, but I did notice two small differences after I put more time on them. The Ride Engineering clamp does make the front end “turn in” slightly easier and also gives me a little firmer front end feel on hard pack square edge. This wasn't a drastic difference, but it is something I noticed after a few hours on the clamps. I am a heavier guy at over 200 pounds so a little firmer feel wasn't a deal breaker for me. I am the type of rider that is very sensitive to vibration or any unwanted feed back through the bars so I was pleased that I didn't get any increased vibration. Ride-Engineering utilizes the stock rubber’s for their bar mounts and this helps retain that OEM comfort while adding cushion over some other solid mounted bar mounts I tried last time. If you’re a vet rider and are looking for more comfort, make sure your bar mounts are rubber mounted! The Honda’s cornering manners were kept in tact, but with just a little more positive lean in, I did notice that the bar position was slightly more comfortable which I discovered most on deeply tilled up tracks/soil. The Ride Engineering clamp only has one location to mount the bars, but I did notice that the bar position was slightly more comfortable. The mounting position on the Ride Engineering clamps locates the bars three millimeters forward over the OEM mounting location. If you don’t like this bar location you can always turn around the stock bar mounts to pull the bars back.


As you can tell the Ride Engineering CRF450RWE triple clamp is more of a factory look than a clamp that gives more performance. Having said that Ride Engineering does offer different offset triple clamps for the Honda CRF450R that come in 20mm, 21mm, and stock 22mm offsets. They also come in a black or red colorway. These other offset sizes are not the “450RWE” clamps and will have a Ride Engineering logo on the side. On a side note; try to keep the Ride Engineering colored triple clamps covered up from the bright sun. Too much sun (like sitting in the pits for an extended period of time) will fade the color a little. I simply put a towel over my bars to help shade the triple clamps as much as I can. The CRF450RWE clamp includes the top clamp, bottom clamp, pressed in stem, and lower bearing and it retails for $549.90. You can check out all of Ride’s accessories over at and take a look at what they have to offer for your trusty steed.

Matthew Sirevaag 205lb Novice

Full Time Electrician/Husband/Father/Dirt Bike Fanatic

Maxxis Maxxcross MX ST Tire Review



I am not going to sit here and blow smoke up your asses and tell you I was a big fan of the previous generation Maxxis Maxxcross tires. They didn't provide consistent lean angle grip and had problems with side knob chunking way too soon in my opinion. Fast forward to the summer of 2019 and Maxxis has introduced a brand new performance tire that was developed with “The King” Jeremy McGrath exclusively for us die hard moto guys called the Maxxcross MX ST. The ST features an all new tread pattern designed to optimize traction while giving the rider more confidence and predictability in intermediate to soft soil, an all new compound and a lighter pliable carcass. At first glance it almost looks like a Pirelli Scorpion MX32 tread pattern design with a slightly different side wall. I ran a set of 80/100-21 and 110/90-19’s MX ST’s for almost ten engine hours and wanted to compare these new MX ST’s with the older Maxxis Maxxcross design as well as sprinkle in some comparisons with other big name brands. We tested the Maxxis tire on our 2018 Honda CRF450R test bike and came away these findings: 




I found that the first thing that impressed me was that the Maxxis Maxxcross MX ST rear tire offers great forward bite (traction) under acceleration in intermediate/soft terrain through ruts and coming out of corners. The Maxxis side knob design works well under lean angle and traction is one of the MX ST’s (rear tire) strong suits, as the rider is able to get on the throttle sooner (while leaning) without washing out. You are also able to start your lean sooner (than any other Maxxis tire I have tried in the past) while coming into a corner and the MX ST remains planted to the ground. Braking predictability is also increased as it gives the rider confidence to pivot and throttle out of flat corners without much hesitation. Previous Maxxis tire compounds would step out (or wash out) on you once you completed your braking and were back on the throttle, but the MX ST lets you pivot/lean under throttle through flat corners adequately. One complaint I had is that when the track surface was freshly watered/slightly hard, I couldn’t get as much predicability from the rear tire as I wanted. It gave me a pushing or loose feeling rear end until the track tacked up somewhat. Running the correct air pressure in the MX ST tires is crucial as I found the happy setting at 13 psi for most conditions. The softer nature of the MX ST carcass flexes and absorbs bigger bumps/square edges much better than the previous generation tire, which is great news for us older riders out there. MORE COMFORT!  When you get a hard carcass feeling tire like the previous generation Maxxis Maxxcross you will notice your machine will deflect and feel harsh on braking bumps and acceleration chop, but the new design doesn’t feel anything like this. I did notice around the 8 hour mark that the Maxxis rear tire performance gets less predictable and feels much like a worn Dunlop MX3s tire, which to me is to be expected, but nonetheless needs to be noted. The Maxxis MX ST rear tire loses most of that “predictability” (when 8 hours old) on lean angle (coming into corners), which causes the rear end to wash out easier. Kudos to Maxxis for making a rear tire that doesn’t chunk before the 10 hour mark. I have chunked some Dunlop MX3S tires before the ten hour mark (under normal intermediate terrain), but as of right now the Maxxis rubber hasn’t broken apart . If you are using the MX ST rear tire on pure sand, the lifespan of the tire goes up exponentially, so just know this. Also note that if you’re using this tire in hard pack conditions the compound/knob will wear much sooner. This is by far the best rear tire Maxxis has put out to date and I assume we can thank Jeremy McGrath for some of that right? 




I am a picky SOB when it comes to front tires! The Maxxis MX ST directional front tire is so much better for front-end feel and lean angle traction, especially over the older Maxxcross versions in EVERY condition. The MX ST front tire actually can now bite not only in soft soil, but also in looser hard pack soil as well. The MX ST is not as grabby on lean angle as a Pirelli MX32 or Dunlop MX3S, but it can be somewhat grabby if you're not used to it and can cause some oversteer, in softer conditions (on de-cel). The MX ST front tire will accommodate the moderate front end steering rider and is able to be leaned into corners fairly aggressively. The contact patch feel on lean angle is much wider on the MX ST than a Bridgestone 403 and has enough lean angle performance to be compared to a Dunlop MX33. Did I ride them back to back? No, I didn't, but I have spent enough time on all kinds of tires to know that the MX ST is in the ballpark now at least. Previous generation Maxxis front tires were NOT even in the conversation, but now we can at least put them in the mix with the other “big four” (Dunlop, Pirelli, Bridgestone, Michelin). Acceleration on lean angle traction (on the MX ST) is not quite as predictable as it is on de-cel however. If accelerating on a fast sweeper, the front tire does want to “hunt and peck” somewhat. What is “hunt and peck”? Hunt and peck is a testing term we use when the tire feels like it is moving underneath you and doesn't feel planted. Off-throttle planted sensation is great, but on-throttle sensation, I notice the front tire moves around and deflects a little more than I would like. When the track had just been freshly watered (similar to the rear tire) and was slick on top (think of the second moto in late afternoon at a Southern California type of track) the MX ST also loses a little predictability. This kind of condition would give the front end a vague feel (pushing sensation) as the bike would have a tendency to slide the front-end through flat corners more. I found that going up slightly in air pressure helps this out tremendously and gives the front end less push. The best recommend air pressure is 13.5 psi as you can feel the tire roll if you get into the 12-13 psi range. Yes, going up 0.5 psi does help! The wear of the MX ST front tire is also much better and hasn't shown signs of chunking yet, which is also another improvement for the Maxxis brand. 




Maxxis has improved their premiere motocross tire exponentially! This is the most improved motocross tire for 2018 and can be a serious option for the motocross consumer. The MSRP on the front is $120.00 and the rear goes for $140.00 and comes in an 12,14,16,17,18,19,21 inch sizes. I will be continuing to put more time on these and will be doing a side by comparison on the Maxxis MX ST to the other “big four” in the coming weeks.