Ask Ping

July 6, 2007 10:55am | by:

Hey Ping,
That's really great that you got to ride the new '08 YZF so early to tell us about it. The only problem was, you didn't actually tell us anything about RIDING it. Yeah, I know about the footpegs, higher compression, white plastic, and so on and so forth... How did it actually run? Does it turn now? Suspension performance? Anything? And what's up with that new track in Riverside? Is it any good? Up here in NorCal we're hurtin' for tracks. We'll drive three and half hours to go to Zaca Station or even five hours to go to Gorman. You guys down south wouldn't believe what we pay $25 to ride on up here!
Rich Dandolo

Dear Rich,

2008 YZ250F

photo: Ping

The new bike introductions are just that:  introductions. Their purpose is to let you know what is changed on them from the previous model year along with a few photos of the new machine. I mean, I don’t care what kind of bike you ride; when they are new they all feel great. So, there is no point in us trying to compare the bike to others until we have them all lined up side-by-side at the end of the summer for our shootout. At the shootout we will pick them apart and describe what each bike does and doesn’t do well, so please just stay tuned.
     As far as that track in Riverside is concerned, it is great. Check out for more info. Sorry to hear about your riding conditions up there. Good tracks are in short supply all over the country these days, brother. I feel your pain.

Hey Ping, I'm always looking for ways to make my bike lighter to get that 4-stroke down closer to the old 2-stroke weight. I've been considering something and wanted to hear your opinion before I try it: Helium.  I am thinking of using helium in my tires.   This should lighten the bike up because it will be trying to float like a gaudy birthday balloon.   What pressure do you think I should run? The higher the pressure, the more helium; the more helium, the lighter the bike!   
      You might even be able to clear LaRocco's leap with the help of helium.    And think of the fun the mechanics could have.
Thanks Ping !
Jeff Blascoe

Dear Jeff,

Sorry, Bill Nye the Science Guy, but I think you might be a little off the mark on that one. Hey, maybe I’ll just sprinkle myself with a little pixie dust and float around the track like Tinkerbell.
     The problem with your theory is that you would need tires and tubes the size of the Hindenburg in order for helium to have any effect on the weight of the bike. Good mechanics actually use nitrogen instead of air because the pressure fluctuates less, but never helium. The only thing helium is good for is inhaling so that you can talk like you just took a blow to the crotch. (You should try that though; it’s awesome.)

Dear Ping:
While attending High Point this year I noticed the track was outlined with yellow Acerbis "spears." What's up with that? We have Asterisk knee braces, Leatt Neck Braces and spears to impale you when you fall on the side of track? I was very concerned about this after reading about Red Bud's Amy Ritchie who said, "My brother-in-law spent three days putting out those yellow track markers, and they are lined up to perfection! I just hope they aren?t ripped out by the time people get here Sunday to see them [/laughs/]."
     Shouldn't they have rounded the tops? I know you are very safety conscious so I figured who better to ask than Ping!

Dear George,

Those “spears” are made of a very flexible plastic and they were specifically created to replace the wooden stakes that used to mark most courses. With the slightest pressure those little yellow stakes bend right to the ground. They are one of the better safety improvements made to racetracks in a long time. The wooden spikes that used to be the norm, well, those things could possibly impale you, but only if you came straight down on one that was already broken off would you wound up pulling a wooden spear out of your body like a bloody scene from 300. Now if they could just find a way of getting the air conditioners running at some of these outdoor tracks, they would be perfect.

Dear Racer X,
This has nothing to do with you but since you guys are a little more connected I thought I would pass on my thoughts. I just got home from riding and turned on Speed TV to watch Red Bud. You know the Fourth of July race—the Fourth of July where we got our independence from England!  And what do I hear but an English commentator. I could never get through watching the GPs on TV as those guys can even make Stephen Everts sound sterile and boring.
     With Ricky leaving these commentators need to step it up. Maybe they can bring Ping back. He actually started hitting his stride only a few races in. Actually, Ricky himself was better than most of the others. Fortunately, Red Bud was an awesome race. But, again, with Rick leaving, they better figure out something to keep the viewership up otherwise moto is going to get bumped back to 3 in the morning and replaced by ping pong.
     On another more positive note, Racer X is great. Actually pass this onto Ping, he has the balls to get the word out.

Dear ?,

Thanks for the letter. And thanks for your support of my testicles. You know, I never even considered the nationalistic sacrilege of putting a British commentator on the television program during an American fourth of July motorsports event. But I think you might be right. Someone should lose their job over this, maybe worse! As The Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland would say, “Off with their heads!”
     The sad truth is that I actually enjoyed the vocal stylings of that English gentleman. It was like I was watching a motocross version of the Tour de France but without the EPO. I thought it was bloody brilliant! (That last sentence must be read in a British accent). Regardless of who is behind the wheel (or microphone) things are going to get bland starting at Unadilla. With RC gone, the Lites class is going to be far and away the best racing of the weekend. Maybe we can get them to cut to Erin every few minutes in a bikini doing some type of America’s Got Talent act. She could be juggling in one scene, break dancing in another or even just getting sprayed by the water truck as it goes by. Who wouldn’t stay tuned for more of that action?