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Member Tested: Factory Connection Suspension Revalve

June 01, 2014

Effective And Money Well Spent

By Burton Lavens

Suspension is one of the most overlooked modifications. Riders instead opt for horsepower-chasing mods, which often just highlight poor suspension setup.

After getting a new 2014 Honda CRF450R last fall, I proceeded to ride it stock on my local motocross track, adjusting sag (I settled on 105 mm) and feeling out the suspension. 

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get the suspension where I wanted with simple clicker adjustments. The stock front air forks were plush on initial travel with 34 psi of air (35 psi is stock), but as the fork progressed into the mid-stroke, things got harsh quickly. The stock shock was not too bad, a little harsh on acceleration chop, but overall it performed well.

Still, it could be better. Enter Factory Connection. I told them what I wanted over the phone, they sent me an empty shipping box, I sent them my suspension, and I waited. About two weeks later, the box was back at my doorstep. 

My first real evaluation was at Monster Mountain MX in Alabama. Within a lap, I could tell that the midstroke harshness was gone in the forks and the shock was much better. Resetting the sag to exactly 105mm brought even better performance. The shock dropped into ruts and soaked up chop well. I would describe the shock as “dead” feeling: nothing too fast happening, no glaring faults, just a shock that got the job done in every aspect. 

On the forks, I started to blow through the travel when flat landing. I went to 35 psi from 34.5 psi and went two clicks out on compression damping.

It seemed better but not perfect. I came back in and went with Factory Connection’s recommended setting. It was much better. With any bike on any track, that magical perfect setting is always a work in progress, but the Factory Connection suspension made the search easier.

Overall, the suspension was a big improvement. As with all suspension (stock and revalved), don’t be afraid to make changes. It’s the only way you will be able to get it dialed in and know what works and what doesn’t. Factory Connection is good stuff. It’s effective and money well spent.—Burton Lavens

Burton Lavens is an independent AMA Member Tester.

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