Posts Tagged ‘Kawasaki’
March 2nd, 2009 • Comments My Thoughts
Tags: Austin Stroupe, bikes, Chad Reed, Chris Blose, Davi Millsaps, Factor Connection, Honda, James Stewart, Jason Lawrence, Kawasaki, Pro Circuit, Ryan Villopoto, supercross, Suzuki, Trey Canard, Troy Lee Designs, Yamaha
Everyone loves looking at professional Motocross and Supercross bikes. They are the trickest and most advanced bikes in the world, and it is inspiring as a rider to look at the incredible bikes ridden by my favorite pro racers.
It is easy to miss the number of incredible bike set ups in the midst of Supercross races, controversies and penalties. That’s why I have rounded up the 8 most inspiring Professional Supercross Bike Setups, enjoy!
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-Photo by ProCircuit.com.
If you’ve been following AMA Motocross and Supercross for any period of time whatsoever, you have surely hear of the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki Lites team. Run by Mitch Payton and the rest of the Pro Circuit crew, the team has had incredibly stellar results since its inception and has dominated AMA Pro Racing for many years.
The question many Supercross and Motocross spectators are left asking is, how do they do it? How can the Pro Circuit team take a traditionally mediocre rider and turn them into a superstar? The number of careers this team has turned around is amazing. Here are the secrets behind their operation and how they manage to churn out champion after champion.
Technologically Advanced Motocross Bikes
-Photo by Paul Buckley.
Pro Circuit is by far the largest, most successful and most technologically advanced motor modification shop in the pro pits. They know how to make bikes go fast, and they know how to do some effectively and reliably. A testament to this is the fact that they provide exhaust systems for Factory Connection Honda, Monster Energy Kawasaki, Makita Suzuki. These relationships allow them to produce some of the best exhaust systems and allows them to learn the ins and outs of how to get the most power out of every type of bike. In addition, they build motors for Factory Connection Honda and for their own team which provides them with the knowledge of what it takes to make motors go fast and last in Supercross and Motocross.
More importantly, however, they have been building Kawasaki motors for their own team since 1993. This long term relationship with Kawasaki provides them with incredible knowledge of how Kawasaki motors work and how exactly to make Kawasaki motors go blazing fast. They have been building KX250fs since 2004 meaning they have more experience than anyone in making kawasaki four strokes go fast.
What does this mean for the riders? Essentially it means that every rider on Team Pro Circuit is on the absolute best equipment, and they know it. Granted, all factory equipment is top notch, but Monster Energy Pro Circuit bikes are just above the standard. This gives riders the confidence that they have the best bikes and that everything other riders can do, they can do. If someone on another team hits a certain rhythm section, the riders on Pro Circuit bikes know that they have the ability to do it. This confidence is not empty, either. They are backed by powerful and well handling bikes which allow them to ride at incredible speeds.
The incredible speed of the Pro Circuit bikes sky rockets riders to the front of the pack and allows them to turn slow, awkward and unusual lines and rhythms into surprisingly fast, smooth and ultimately race winning routes.
In House Development and R&D
-Photo by Guy B.
Because Pro Circuit is a full fledged modification shop, they have the technology, machinery, and knowledge to produce a full fleet of aftermarket parts for their race team. This always them to produce almost every on their race bikes, in-house. While this may seem like a close-minded approach to running a race team, in fact it is one of the most beneficial factors to the Pro Circuit team.
This approach to race team parts allows Team Pro Circuit to ensure absolute perfectionism on their race bikes. In doing everything themselves, it gives the Pro Circuit team the ability to make sure every part, nut, and bolt is absolutely perfect, and allows them to completely eliminate mistakes in the race bike building process. by eliminating middle-men in the products and services used in their race bikes, they can lower costs and maximize performance. It allows them to reduce the number of mechanical failures due to mistakes by people of other companies.
This in house development also allows them to be more experimental in their modifications as they do not have to wait for a 3rd party to do their porting or to machine pieces for them. If they want a certain part, they can have it made and ready to be used in hours.
However, this approach does occasionally backfire. Like at Southwick in 2004 when almost all of the Pro Circuit Kawasaki 250f motors failed due to a decision made by Mitch Payton to use an experimental metal in their pistons. While this decision clearly hurt those riders on that day, overall this risk reward ratio has clearly benefitted the team as a whole in the past 15 years.
History of Excellence
-Photo by Paul Buckley.
Team Pro Circuit is notoriously fast, relentless and aggressive. Just the sight of their rig in the pits inspires fear into the hearts of their competitors. This reputation is not in vain, either. It is the direct result of years of successful riders and over 22 AMA Championships. The team almost always fields successful riders and not being a top contender on a Pro Circuit bike is extremely rare.
This reputation helps their riders in two ways. Fi
rst of all, it gives them incredible confidence. Any rider lining up with a PC bike between their legs knows that they are on the best team in the AMA pits and that everyone else on the line knows this. Riding a Pro Circuit bike gives riders of any ability a sense of belonging and a sense of entitlement to the podium. When you ride a Pro Circuit bike, you ride fast, and you get results. No exceptions.
In addition, the history of the Pro Circuit team helps the riders by making them appear faster, and possibly even more talented to their competitors. From a riders point of view, trying to hold off a rider on a Pro Circuit bike, is an extremely daunting task. Just knowing that the rider behind you impressed the infamous Mitch Payton enough to earn a spot on the Pro Circuit team tells you as a rider that they have serious skills on a motocross bike, and are on the equipment to put them to good use. As a rider, it is extremely difficult to muster up the confidence to hold off a Pro Circuit rider
Expect Excellence and Excellence Will Follow
-Photo by Paul Buckley.
Due to the history of the Pro Circuit team, the riders are simply expected to do good. There is absolutely no exceptions to this rule. Mitch Payton expects his riders to be the best, and he gets what he wants. This aspect of the Pro Circuit team benefits riders by motivating them to train day in and day out, with no exception.
When you are expected to do well, it is extremely easy to get motivated to work hard and try your best. Similarly, when your expectations are low, your results will probably be low as well. This is one of the reasons Pro Circuit riders do so well. They are motivated by their teams, and the public’s expectations of them. They have no other excuses to do bad, other than their own actions. If they don't perform, every knows it is 100% because they failed to prepare. They cannot blame the bike, the team, or the atmosphere. Team Pro Circuit has perfected 75% of their riders programs. The last 25% is up to them, and because they are held to such high standards, they are motivated to live up to the expectations.
Surrounding the Riders With Good People
-Photo by Guy B.
We have seen recently in the latest Jason Lawrence debacle that surrounding yourself with good people and making good choices can have a huge effect on your racing. Surrounding yourself with good people who act as a good influence on your racing is crucial to your training and racing. A good support base not only helps motivate you, but also help to bring you up when your feeling down. Let's face it, no when is 100% every time they ride. We all have bad days, and having a strong support can help bring you up from these slumps. It's hard to stay motivated after a few bad races, but a helpful group of supporters can make this much easier.
Pro Circuit, makes this even more possible by their riders. All the riders on the team are good people, the mechanics educated, focused, and skilled, and the rest of the crew is trained and know exactly what their job is and how to do it in the best way possible. This strong support group helps the Pro Circuit riders to make good choices, and provides them with the support they need when they are down and out. This support lifts the Pro Circuit riders up after every moto and helps motivate them to come back swinging each week to support their strong supportive group.
Mitch Payton is a Recruiting Genius
-Photo by Guy B.
Granted, the Pro Circuit team is an amazing environment for professional riders. However, the truth is that not every one could be turned into a hero simply by riding for the Pro Circuit team. Mitch Payton knows a good rider when he sees one, and he doesn't necessarily base his choices solely off speed. He knows when he sees potential to be a leader and a winner. These smart recruiting tactics allow the Pro Circuit team to take a group of mediocre riders and use their advantages to propel the riders to the front of the Lites class. Without these tactics, the entire Pro Circuit infrastructure would be wasted on riders with no potential. Thankfully, Mitch Payton's incredibly keen eye for talented riders stops this from happening.
Could this System Work for Everyone?
No. While the entire Pro Circuit ecosystem is incredible at turning mediocre professionals into leaders on the Lites class, there is no way this same system could work for amateur riders. The whole idea of excellent equipment, menacing reputation, and a strong support group is entirely wasted if the riders talent isn't there. Talent, speed, and skill is still the number one contributing factor in the success of professional motocross racers, and a rider lacking these qualities will not last long in the pro ranks.
Mitch Payton has built an incredible team with his Pro Circuit racing squad. They have shockingly fast bikes, are preceded by an intimidating reputation and follow through with Earth-shattering results. The Pro Circuit team is by far the most successful AMA Lites team in recent history, and with the strong base that has been built up in the past 18 years, they will continue to dominate the AMA Lites class for many more years to come.
The 2009 motocross bikes are here, and they look great! The “Big 5″ have made a lot of changes to make this years bikes the best ever. However, 5 innovations within the industry have struck me as the coolest and most interesting.
Electronic Fuel Injection
-Photo from DirtRider.com.
Obviously, Electronic Fuel Injection (EFi) is one of the biggest new features of 2009. This has been in testing for a few years, but 2009 is the first in which the majority of motocross 450s will be EFI based. Form my point of view, EFI is almost entirely a step in the right direction. Not only does it produce soother, more consistent power in various weather conditions and locations in the power-band, but it also eliminates the troublesome and sometimes even dangerous low end bog that four strokes experiences sometimes. The one downside is that EFI adds some foreign technological complexity that mechanics experienced with carburetors may be confused by. Hopefully, however, the EFI systems should work good out of the box and not need a lot of after market tuning. Overall, I believe that EFI is a great transition for the sport of motocross and will provide us with better performing bikes for years to come. The auto industry has not looked back since switching to EFI and I doubt motocross will.