One of our biggest pet peeves about the new 2009 Honda CRF450R has to do with the clutch. Not the action or durability, mind you (our test bike has over 50 hours on the stock clutch), but rather the stiff feel it has at the lever. Instead of feeling buttery smooth and light like last year’s CRF450R, it’s more like the gnarly CR500R two-strokes of yesteryear.

That’s where the new Elite Perch from Works Connection comes in. With a slightly different pivot point and greater leverage than the stock perch, the quickest way to relieve arm pump for new Honda riders is to install one of these babies. With the Elite Perch installed, our CRF450R enjoys a buttery smooth feel at the clutch lever. We’ve had one of the newest versions (with a black lever) installed on our bike for several weeks now, and have come to absolutely adore the product.

The entire perch assembly is made of billet aluminum, and the on-the-fly adjuster features four large, gnurled nubs that are easy to feel and adjust while riding. In contrast to other on-the-fly adjuster wheels with more elaborate designs, the Works Connection unit offers deliberate clicks that are easy to detect when you are on the go. The nylon sleeve that the perch mounts over allows the assembly to rotate on the handlebars in the event of a crash. Care must be taken to properly tighten the perch so that this feature works: too loose and the perch can move while you are riding, but too much will render the nylon sleeve pointless. We have crashed with the Elite Perch installed and found that it does indeed rotate on the bars, eliminating the need for fancy hinged levers.

We did succeed in bending our lever, though, but it was not on the motocross track. Our art director Dave got a little overzealous with Swap’s Honda-powered powerwasher and blasted the CRF450R off its stand. The lever came into contact with the pavement with an impact that would be impossible to duplicate while riding, and the tip of it was transformed into a curly french fry. Because the Elite Perch lever is carved from billet Alcoa aluminum, it has a tendency to bend and not to snap. Miraculously, with the help of two large box-end wrenches, we were able to restore the lever to near-original condition. Another great feature about the levers is the triple-bearing pivot. With three seperate bearings in the pivot point of the lever, it has a very-and we mean very-precise feel with zero up and down slop. We’re sure that the bearings are also partially responsible for the softer, smoother feel at the lever.

Works Connection was one of the first players in the high-end aftermarket clutch perch market, and it continues to lead the way with quality, good looks, and function.

The Elite Perch is available in either red or blue anodizing, with either black or silver levers. Hot start versions cost $179.95, while non-hot start versions are $139.95.

Call 530/642-9488 or visit