This debate possibly has no correct answer but for the average vet NOV/INT track rider (vet pros excluded) do you feel a 250F or a 450 is a better all around bike? Most 40 year olds prefer the 450 it seems although they just lug them around the track. The new 250Fs are pretty dang fast.
Of course there's the orange 350 but let's leave that bike and smokers out for the sake of debate. What say you?
You are asking the wrong question, Vince. Imagine if I asked you how many interceptions you thought Tony Romo would throw this season? I could answer by saying, "All of them," but the real question I should be asking is, "Why is Tony Romo still the Cowboys’ starting QB?" You see what I mean? The proper bike has more to do with your weight and intended use than anything else, so what do you weigh? My opinion is that for somebody riding on a motocross track, 175 pounds is probably the cutoff for a 250F. Anything heavier than that and the 450 is likely a better option. If you are just cruising down trails or through tight, wooded sections, however, you may still like a 250F. Sand dunes? Don't waste your time on a 250F at Glamis or your nearest sand hills. Popping mad wheelies through the streets of major metropolitan areas? It seems like 250Fs are the bike of choice for that activity. Two-strokes are the perfect bike for those nostalgic fans, electric bikes are the way to go for vegan hippies who want to reduce their carbon footprint, and the 350—or any KTM for that matter—is what you want when you lack the hip flexor mobility to kickstart a bike. There's a perfect bike for everybody. Make your selection, and then find a forum and start talking trash on everyone who disagrees with what you bought. I guess that's what we do these days.
I heard a quote from Tony Alessi a few years ago that really made sense. He was talking about the importance of a good start and how it’s the only place on the track you can pass 39 riders at once. Since Mike is the hole shot king it goes without saying that they are practicing what they preach. With that being said, why are top riders like Reed and Bagget, just to name a few, so bad at hole shots? I can’t believe they are not practicing starts during the week. But week in, week out, over the course of years, they still suck. Knowing that Dungey and Martin are getting holeshots every week and you will never catch them with the usual 15th place start, you’d think they would get help in this area. It just boggles my mind that some racers of that caliber are so bad at it.
Saying that Reed and Baggett are "bad" at starts is a bit harsh. Both of them are champions, so they've managed to get a couple good starts over the course of their careers. Maybe they should spend more time working on their starts, but you and I aren't there to see how much time they dedicate to that. Also, remember that they are lining up with a gate full of professionals who ALL work on their starts every week. It isn't like Baggett shows up to a local race at Glen Helen and gets beat to the first turn by Jody Weisel. He may not have a bunch of oversized holeshot checks in his garage, but he certainly doesn't suck off the line either. When I am coaching somebody or teaching a class, I like to ask riders how important they think the start is in relation to their overall finish. Most guy will say it's 60 percent to 80 percent of the race, in terms of their results, particularly at an amateur level where the motos are shorter. Then I ask, "So, do you currently spend 60 percent to 80 percent of your time at the track working on starts?" To that I get some headshakes and a few emphatic "Nos" coming from the group. I'm not suggesting you spend most of your day at the track burning up your clutch doing starts, but starts should definitely be a priority in your practice schedule. I think Mike Alessi and Tony Alessi realize how much easier it is to do well when you start up front and they make that part of the race a priority during practice. I've seen lot of guys burn lap after lap at the track, and at the very end of the day they'll do a few half-assed starts and then call it a day and load up. If that’s your routine, you'll probably be starting in the middle of the pack on the weekends.
Pondering the thoughts about dedication to this sport; training of this great sport seems to at the top of all aspects. Individuals have to have strength, endurance, mental capacity and heart. I will never question someone whom rides a dirtbike. What I have to question is the Trainer himself. One particular trainer seems to be at the top of the heap, Aldon Baker has created a legacy for building champions. But, on another note about Aldon is his style. I wonder if how aggressive he trains each individual is the driving force behind the early departure of the great RC, the massive fall of James "the fastest man on the planet" Stewart and now the situation of what is RV2 next plan. Aldon has the tenacity to make a person better, but does it come at the cost of riding motocross for the love. Wondering if you think if Aldon Baker could find a better balance in his training program would we see our favorite riders ride longer because the love of the sport never leaves, or will we keep seeing greats rise to the top gain championships then leave because they have become burnt out on the training.
Baker catches a lot of heat for "burning out" his riders. He and Carmichael ended their relationship on a bit of a sour note, and it seemed like RC thought Aldon should have protected him a little more near the end of his career. Ryan Villopoto seems like he is fried, and though he has never said it directly, he has implied that the workload is crushing down in Florida. There is no question that Baker's program is tough, and there is no room for excuses or people who aren't willing to work. But his record speaks for itself. Yes, he's had the very best riders in the sport, but he's won championships almost every single year he's worked with these guys. And when James Stewart or Ryan Dungey decided to part ways with him, they didn't win as much. Coincidence? Because of the intensity during the week, there is no doubt the careers of Carmichael and Villopoto are shorter than if they had trained less. But they probably wouldn't have been as successful. So, would you rather dominate for a shorter period of time and retire sooner, or win less and ride longer? I'll tell you this: I wish Baker were around back when I was racing and I had the foresight [and money] to sign up with him and camp out in Florida. You can always get a bike and ride for fun after you're done racing. How you spend your racing years determines whether or not you'll have the money to buy one. Aldon's best response to the people doubting his program is to quietly point to the scoreboard.
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