GOING FROM FLUFFY TO DEZ ADEPT
Flow torque wing was installed to smooth out the power
from 0–1/2 throttle, making it easier to control. Before the
test, Fastheads (located in St. George, along with Flexx
bars, Ride Life Graphics and Dick’s Racing) installed a
new Vertex piston to freshen the top end. After playing
with mapping, Dick went back to stock, feeling it provided
the right feel for the smooth, long power that they wanted.
The next test was figuring out gearing. A 13/50 Dirt Tricks
combo worked out to 92 mph, while a 14/50 mating put
the top speed over 100. Choosing the proper numbers
would depend on the venue.
Dick began testing the FX suspension in desert conditions, and it became clear there was work to do. Dick and
Skyler both felt that the FX was a good platform for average riders, but Skyler being a top H&H racer meant that
the fork was way too soft for fast whoops, which unloaded
the rear end, causing loss of drive. This is a bad condition for a guy who is skimming the tops of whoops in
fifth gear. The forks were re-valved to be plusher at high
speed, and stiffer springs were installed. Additionally, the
rebound damping was altered to match the stiffer coils and
prevent packing in successive bumps. Low-friction seals
and scrapers were added to keep the forks responsive at
high speed. Dick felt that the air-bleed screws were difficult to get to, so Works Connection push-button bleeders
replaced the screws.
IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS
Out back the shock was also too soft, causing it to ride
too deep in the stroke to have enough available travel to
tackle the next big bump. Like the fork, the shock was re-valved to be plusher and more controlled on big hits while
the rebound was matched to a stiffer rear spring.
Both Dick and Skyler felt that the engine had plenty of
power, so their sole goal was to enhance it and not dam-
age the smooth flow. They did not want bark or a big hit
but wanted the ability to short-shift, carry a tall gear and
keep the suspension relaxed. This was accomplished
with a full-titanium FMF 4.1 exhaust fit with a MegaBomb
header. The system is lighter by 2 pounds and improves
roll-on power and middle flow of boost. In addition, a Quad
The stock brake pedal and shift lever were replaced
with stronger standard-length Hammerhead Designs units
that were billet CNC-machined. Dick is a big believer in
the Hinson Momentum steel clutch kit. Dick says that the
stocker won’t survive under the abuse of national desert
races, and the Hinson unit, although pricey, improves the
flow of power and holds up under duress. CV4 radiator
hoses were added for improved durability—and because
they look good. To spin the engine faster when starting and
to save weight, a Shorai battery replaced the stock unit.
The cockpit setup is super important for rider comfort.
Skyler uses a 10-degree moto Flexx bar because it lessens
the impact to his hands and it’s super strong. Mounted
to the bars are A’ME half-waffle grips and Fastway Flak
Shield handguards. Naturally, a desert racer needs a steer-
ing damper, and Skyler prefers the Fastway System 5. It
features five separate adjustments that help him dial it in
easily for various condi-
tions. He also chose
levers, because they
are forged rather than
cast and are stronger.
DICK’S RACING | YAMAHA YZ450X
Performance enhancements were focused on the FMF exhaust ( www.fmfracing.com) and a Quad Flow Torque Wing
( www.thunderproducts.com), and they provided more meat to the powerband. A big IMS tank is mandatory, as are
the protection for the cases and rear rotor. A Seat Concepts saddle is a plus, as is the suspension mods for Dick’s.
By stiffening both ends considerably and then valving them to retain plushness yet firm up so it won’t squat made
a huge difference in the feel of the machine. Now you can hammer tough terrain and it still feels quite plush.