I like a bike that turns on the front wheel the way the latest-generation YZ450F handles. And lowering the back of a bike is not usually the first path I choose in adjusting the ride height of my bike. But one thing I have learned is that if I want improved stability without losing much in the turning, there is a smart way to do it—use a lowering link. That way, I can run my shock preload stiffer and keep the bike turning where I want it, but the bike rides a little lower in the back making it more stable overall.
The Ride Engineering link is bolt-on ready, assembled with bearings and seals, and it takes all of about 10 minutes to swap links. This drops the back of the YZ-F about 10mm, and we didn’t even readjust the sag. Our sag was still 100mm (Ride Engineering recommends 102–110, which we tried but found was too low even with the stock link, for us), but the back of the bike became a little lower. On the track you could easily feel the difference, mostly in that the front end was staying straight a lot easier on the choppy straights. It felt like the bike was hooking up just a little better and nothing much happened to the turning; for sure it didn’t get lazy, like if we had dropped the sag down to achieve the same feeling. This also keeps the bike planted-feeling and not wallowy. Our pickiest riders did feel it took just a little more effort in the bar to start the turn. The change is subtle but effective. It was like a suspension revalve in a lot of ways, but we really like the stock setup of the YZ-F to begin with. The Star Racing and Motoconcepts Yamaha race teams run this link and so can you for $224.59. - Jimmy Lewis