MXA TEAM TESTED: RIDE ENGINEERING 2023 CRF450 TRIPLE CLAMPS
WHAT IS IT? Historically, the Honda CRF450s have been twitchy. For 2023, Honda made frame changes to help balance the chassis, but it is still difficult to find comfort on this bike. In response, Ride Engineering designed a 23.5mm offset triple clamp to calm down the Honda CRF450’s handling.
WHAT’S IT COST? $649.90 (triple clamps), $104.95 (bar mounts).
CONTACT? www.ride-engineering.com or (949) 722-8354.
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Ride Engineering 23.5mm offset triple clamps for 2021–2023 CRF450s and 2022–2023 CRF250s.
(1) Concept. The CNC-machined, 2024-grade aluminum triple clamps utilize the popular Xtrig-split design to get a better purchase on the fork tubes. This combination increases flex and improves bump comfort. Additionally, by switching from the stock 22mm offset to the pushed-forward, 23.5 setting, the wheelbase is lengthened to create more stability.
(2) Stock Performance. Our test riders were struggling with the handling of the stock CRF450. They could turn the CRF450 on a dime, but it was too sensitive. With the stock 22mm forged triple clamps, the test riders resorted to sliding the forks down in the triple clamps until they were flush while dropping the race sag to 107mm to weight the rear end, kick out the head angle and add more straight-line stability.
The stock setup is great on a smooth track, but the optimum performance window is small. When the track gets rough, it takes a lot of focus to ride fast on the CRF450. Every test rider mentioned that the CRF450 often has a mind of its own when it comes to what course to take at speed over rough ground.
(3) Ride Engineering performance. We tested the Ride Engineering clamps on our 2023 CRF450 with stock suspension settings. On the track, the Ride Engineering clamps were a change for the better. The chassis felt more settled. The split triple clamps allowed the suspension to do its job better in acceleration and braking bumps. The consistency of the bike was greatly improved. Plus, each test rider noted that the CRF450 was more predictable at speed over rough ground.
(4) Bar mounts. Although the stock bar mounts fit directly into the Ride Engineering triple clamps, Ride offers an upgraded bar mount that provides two different mounting positions. In the forward position, they are 12.5mm in front of the stem, and in the rear position, they are 6mm ahead, which suits shorter riders. They also have an optional offset mount that brings the bars 15.5mm ahead of the stem. Additionally, Ride Engineering’s eight-bolt handlebar clamping system ensures that nothing will ever come loose.
(5) Extra parts. Ride Engineering offers 5mm and 10mm spacers for riders who want to raise the bars. Ride triple clamps come with new 10mm pinch bolts, but they don’t come with the 32mm steering stem nut; however, if you want to swap out your stock steering stem nut for a fresh one, Ride Engineering sells them for $34.95. Additionally, while the stock triple clamps have a front brake cable routing clip, the Ride Engineering clamps don’t, but they do provide a plastic cable guide that has to be screwed into the front number plate.
(6) Fitment. The Ride Engineering 23.5mm offset split triple clamps are available in red or black for the 2021–2023 Honda CRF450, CRF450 Works Edition and CRF450RX cross-country bike. They also fit on the 2022–2023 Honda CRF250 and CRF250RX.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? No complaints.
MXA RATING: The key benefits of the Ride Engineering 23.5mm offset clamps are consistency, confidence and comfort. The Honda needs more help than just triple clamps, but this a step in the right direction—and the 2023 CRF450 needs direction control.