Yamaha Motorcycle tests
WHAT IS IT? A brand-new generation of Pro Taper triple clamps for the 2010 Yamaha YZ450F.
WHAT’S IT COST? $439.95 (top and bottom clamps with stem), $99.95 (bar mounts).
CONTACT? www.protaper.com or (951) 736-5369.
WHAT STANDS OUT?
Here’s a list of things that stand out with Pro Taper’s 4.3 triple clamps.
For the design of their new 4.3 triple clamps, Pro Taper took a close look at Suzuki’s works clamps. They CNC-machined the clamps from 6061-billet aluminum. The design is stronger close to the stem and bearing surface, but more flexible toward the clamping surface. Further helping flex are the rounded edges and beveled steering stem.
There are four handlebar mounting positions—thanks to reversible mounts and two mounting locations. There are two optional handlebar mounts (standard and oversized). In the future, Pro Taper plans to offer more handlebar mount options, including a taller version.
The 4.3’s come with the steering stem and lower bearing already pressed into the bottom clamp. All you need to do is pack the bearings with grease and bolt them on.
Pro Taper’s first run of Yamaha YZ450F 4.3 clamps come in an offset that is very close to stock, depending on your bike brand. Their offset numbers are as follows: Honda—20mm, Yamaha—22.5mm, Kawasaki—22mm and Suzuki—21.5mm. We understand the Kawasaki, Suzuki and Honda offset numbers, but the 22.5mm Yamaha offset is only one-half millimeter from the stock 22mm YZ units (and is a throwback number to the days of 25mm Yamaha offsets).
Here are the highlights of the Pro Taper 4.3 triple clamps: (a) The forks didn’t slip or let the front wheel get tweaked in crashes (and we had a few). (b) The half-millimeter offset difference was not significant. In truth, no MXA test rider even noticed it. One of the main reasons for consumers to purchase aftermarket clamps is to get offsets that help the handling (as with the 22mm Kawasaki clamps), but the one-half millimeter difference makes no difference. (c) The included steering stem may raise the initial price, but it’s money well spent and eliminates a major headache.
To avoid any variances in anodized coloring and hassles about whether the clamps match the bike exactly, Pro Taper decided on silver anodizing. Additionally, nicks and pock marks won’t show up as easily on the silver.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK?
We had two quibbles.
We don’t want to wait for different offset options. We want to mess with geometry right away. At least with the stock offset, you don’t go the wrong way.
(2) Handlebar mounts.
A Benjamin seems like a lot for bar mounts.
As far as design, machining and quality issues go, the Pro Taper 4.3 triple clamp is an excellent product, but without 20mm, 22mm or 24mm offset choices, it isn’t really filling a major need in the YZ450F triple-clamp arena.