Hinson Steel Clutch Basket - Dirt Rider Magazine

I've typically liked adding a flywheel weight to certain bikes to calm their power delivery and give them a smoother pull. Also, so I don't lose throttle response, I am pretty picky about the weight of the flywheel. I have not found a more suitable flywheel weight on a CRF450X than stock for some reason, but I still wanted a smoother power delivery, especially on the 2008 and 2009 bikes.Enter the Hinson steel clutch basket. Almost two pounds heavier than stock and made from precision-machined steel, it is nearly bulletproof and impervious to wear on the ears like the standard aluminum baskets can be. Mechanically, you do have to drill out the rivets, remove the gear from the back of the stock clutch and install it on the Hinson basket. And Hinson recommends using its cushions, especially if your bike has a lot of time on it, as the stock Honda damping cushions tend to wear. This process and removing and installing the clutch can take some mechanical know-how and tools, but it isn't much more than a two-hour job with the excellent, included instructions.Another bonus of having the sleeker steel basket in place is that it can be removed from the engine by only opening the easy-access clutch cover whereas the stock basket requires removing the entire right sidecover. Yes, you have to take off the whole sidecover the first time.Installed, you don't really feel the clutch right off the bat as you would a flywheel weight. It is more subtle than that. It doesn't seem to affect the throttle response one bit, but it does smooth the power in all the right ways. It tones down hit when you crack the throttle, and you feel less of each power stroke when you're really chugging the motor. Plus, the bike is definitely less reluctant to stall. Overall, it is just smoother and I know the bike was getting better traction and not spinning as much no matter the throttle position.The inside of the basket lets more oil flow through the clutch, and we've put over a year of abuse on ours and the plates didn't need replacing. Yes, the clutch basket is in its second bike now; it migrated from our 2008 to our 2009 since we liked it so much.Obviously, there was no wear on the steel basket and even our cushions were still good, though Hinson suggests replacing them every year. The $264 ($294 with cushions) basket is a bit pricier than just a flywheel, but it's doing double the duty so it is easily worth it for the rider looking for a smoother, yet not sluggish power delivery. And if you're into physics, the added weight is spinning slower so it doesn't have as much of an affect on the handling of the bike; an issue you can have with heavier flywheel weights.It's available for most 450s and the Honda CRF250R and X. The only bad thing is you can't see how good this clutch is working. --Jimmy Lewis