RG3 Suspension '08 Kawasaki KX450F Revalve - Dirt Rider Magazine

Reality is that bikes aren't designed for 210-pound intermediates. Like most stock bikes, my '08 KX450F was ill-equipped to work as designed with all 210 pounds of Estes on its back. When you consider the amazing horsepower that a stock 450 makes, spending money on suspension is arguably the smartest way to improve your bike and make it more fun to ride, especially if you're significantly over or under the ballpark 160-170 pounds the bike was designed to handle. While my stock KX-F worked well enough on flat, choppy tracks, it used too much travel when I really started to push, especially on faster tracks with larger jumps. Bottoming was also an issue, especially out back. It was time for some outside help.It took only a phone call to RG3 and I was in business. I pleaded repeatedly for them not to set it up too stiff based on my weight/skill as I ride smoothly and prefer a plush feel (I'm willing to trade some bottoming for it). Turnaround time was less than a week. RG3 installed stiffer springs front and rear, its proprietary Smart Valve in each fork leg, refreshed seals and fluids, etc. Cost was $899.35, plus tax and shipping. The prices break down like this: Revalve fork $224.95; revalve shock $224.95; Torco fluids $29.50; KYB Smart Valves $199.95; 0.48kg/mm fork springs $110.00; 5.7kg/mm shock spring $110.00.The Smart Valves push the cost higher compared to some other companies, but in my opinion they offer some real benefits.After letting the new shock spring settle in, I adjusted the sag to the recommended height and went riding. I tested on several tracks with conditions from outdoor style to jump-filled. The overall balance of the bike felt spot-on from the start and surprisingly plush compared to other suspension I've tested for heavier riders. The recommended settings were right in the ballpark, requiring only a click or two in either direction depending on track conditions. The bike does exactly what I was hoping it would: strike a near-perfect balance of bump-compliance with increased ability to resist bottoming on larger doubles, tabletops and the like. And a huge bonus (considering what I paid for this bike) is that it's easily plush enough for the occasional trail/desert ride.I had the opportunity to ride a stock '08 back to back with my KX-F, and the RG3-equipped Kawi was significantly more composed feeling. It took the big hits better and was more plush in chop. Going beyond that, the impact that properly sprung/valved suspension can have in the handling department is remarkable. The bike is more stable at speed, settles into corners better, stays composed in ruts and is less tiring to ride than the stocker. If you think I was pleased with the work RG3 did, you're right.