Ask Ping!

Ask Ping!

April 13, 2012 10:20am

Good Afternoon Ping,

Friday morning before a recent Supercross the local CBS TV station ran a few live cut-ins from the stadium during their local morning show.

In one of the segments the reporter on the scene mentioned the cost of the bikes was upwards of $80,000 dollars each.  Now, I know the price of 4-strokes has gone up but that seems a tad high.  (We don’t need to get the 2-Stroke faithful any more riled up than they already are.)  The folks riding during the press event were primarily 250f riders and the Motoconcepts 450 guys.

In your past experience managing the TLD Racing team, is the $80,000 dollar remark an accurate statement?  I realize there’s a lot of labor involved with development, testing and the cost of the mechanics, etc. but $80,000 seems bit high, especially for the lites teams.

Just wondering,



Dear Mitch,

Don’t feel bad for wondering about this because like a lot of things the truth gets twisted around. Let’s break it down: The bike costs about $8000 to start with, though the race teams don’t pay for them. They add on exhaust systems, cams, valves, pistons, ignitions, one-off doodads, kit or works suspension and five grand in titanium bolts. Some of the parts get coated or cryogenically treated to reduce friction and there is cost in that. But keep in mind many of the hard parts are given to the teams free of charge as sponsorship product. Those are the hard costs and they don’t come even close to $80K. But if you want to get crazy and add on the salary for the mechanic who built the bike, the cans of contact cleaner he used to build it, the rent on the building he put it together in and the cost of his black skateboard shoes you could probably work up a number in that ballpark. Hey, I could ramp up the cost on just about anything if I wanted to. How much does it cost you to take a dump? Well, let’s start with the cost of the food I ate 12 to 24 hours earlier, the toilet paper I bought, the gas I used in my car to get the gas and toilet paper, the depreciation on said vehicle, the water bill from the subsequent flush, etc, etc. All of a sudden I’m coming out of pocket several hundred dollars every time I take a plop.

You could ballpark the cost of a race bike if you really sat down and scratched it out. It’s not $80K. The media lied to you… and that is indeed shocking.



Dear Ping,

I follow most of your and Racer X's columns and pod casts. I'm deployed to Kuwait right now and ya'll keep my buddies and me over here in touch with all the goings on in the SX/MX world. Thanks to all of you for that, a lot.  I'm from Florida and used to work at Dade City MX before I singed up so I really appreciate all the updates on riders and behind the scene things, especially when you talk to and about all the locals like J Thomas, Stewart, Chisholm, Reed, Goerke, and others.  I learn a lot especially about the new bikes as ya'll go into detail about how this ones power or suspension is better for different terrains or tracks.  And how good the factory guys can make each bike work or sometimes not work.  But to finally get to my question, how about me, the average, adult, C class, mid pack, weekend practice track rider? With all the changes and updates, what bike is tailored for me?  The one that I can just buy, slap some tires on, maybe a pipe, go ride and feel like a hero?  Do they make such a bike?  Or is it time to sell all my gear and invest in an Xbox 360?





  • And you should too.
Dear Steve,

Thank you for your service, Steve. Triples and whoops are neat but what you guys are doing over there and around the world is gnarly stuff. I’m glad you enjoy the magazine and our web content and it’s great to hear you are keeping up on it from over there. There is absolutely a bike for you. Let me make sure I have my facts straight: It sounds like you want a bike that is fun, dependable, easy to work on and affordable. Depending on your size the simple answer is either a 125 or a 250 two-stroke. They are a blast to ride, you can pick a clean one up for under $2,000, they are easy to work on and you will feel like a hero twisting the throttle on one. If you aren’t racing competitively you don’t need to buy a brand new bike. X Box is for nerds who can’t go out and actually ride so put those plans on hold. Good luck, Steve. Make it home safely and soon.




Dear David,

James Stewart has not looked the same ever since he left Kawasaki. In 2009 he was fast and he still beat Reed on the Yamaha but his style seemed to change. You don't see the crazy scrubs these days, probably because he's on the ground half the time. Anyways, you've probably heard those rumors about Stewie leaving JGR. I believe that if that is true it will be the best option for him. He needs to get off that Yamaha. What do you think? You think that the Yamaha has completely changed his style and going back to ride on a Kawasaki would be the best thing for him?


Patrick O'Connor



  • These are easy to find
Dear Patrick,

On a scale of 1 to puking your guts out in a Dublin pub just how Irish are you? Sorry, but I saw your name and read your entire letter in a heavy Irish accent. What’s the problem with James Stewart? This seems to be a common and unanswered question lately. He’s the only one who really knows what’s going on under his helmet but I’ll give my two pennies just for gits and shiggles. First, I would say that his riding style does not agree with that bike. He rides way over the front end and the way the Yamaha chassis works doesn’t jive with that. That has led to a crap-load of crashes. And not just corner tip-overs either [although he’s had plenty of those], I’m talking about end-over-end, smear you into the ground like a toddler wiping a booger under the dinner table crashes. You can only dust yourself off so many times before you start to roll off the throttle a bit. Do you really want me to break out my analogy of touching a hot stove again? That means his confidence is low and that right there is the definitive end game in this sport. Much like a hot girl showing up to a party and seeing another girl in the same exact dress, James doesn’t feel pretty anymore. He is a defenseless inmate who has run out of cigarettes with which to barter. He’s a surly prostitute in fishnet stockings who lost a tooth in a back alley fistfight and he’s lost his ability to…uh, you know, I’m not even sure where I was headed with that one. The bottom line is that James needs a fresh start on a different brand of motorcycle if he wants to lug his career out of the gutter, in my opinion. Then again, what the hell do I know?