I enjoy your humorous column.
I have noticed that, especially in motocross, the bikes seem to all be set up with much more rear suspension sag than what is called for (about 4") in the owner’s manual. Is this because of the special suspension they all sport, or are the manuals wrong, or is it just my bad eyesight?
Keep up the good writing......and your day job also.......
I don’t have an official answer for you from the manufacturers but I’ll give you my thoughts. While 100mm is the old school number for sag measurement, that’s kind of like greasing the rim of your air filter before you install it—not relevant anymore. Race teams have been cutting subframes for years to drop the back end of their bikes and regularly running sag numbers that are larger than the manufacturer recommendation. Why the manuals haven’t caught up I’m not sure. The important part of sag is balance and you can get there by adjusting sag numbers, moving forks in the clamps or adjusting high-speed compression. Depending on the bike, all three can come into play. Check out our Dialed In videos for a good starting point or check with companies like Pro Circuit, Race Tech, Factory Connection, RG3, etc to get good starting points.
What's the deal with the price of bikes? I know the subject has probably been beaten to death but I work with metal quite a bit, Machinist & welding, and the amount of material cost to produce a bike, my guess is under a $1000. With all the modern day robotics, it can't be that much labor involved. If we paid the equal amount of money per pound for a car verses MX bike, you wouldn't be able to buy a car for less than $100,000, that's not counting labor. If you factor that in you would be closer to $200,000. It's not technology of an MX Bike that makes it cost more, because cars have way more stuff going on than bike. You wouldn't pay $150,000 for a Prius would you?
Interesting stuff, for sure. On one hand I think the cost of bikes has gotten too high for our primary demographic to afford; I’m genuinely worried about the grass roots of our sport. However, if you consider the cost of a mountain bike (a high-end brand and model can be between $6,000 and $10,000) it makes a dirt bike seem like a cheap alternative. And there is more metal hardware in my daughter’s braces right now than on a cross-country hard tail. And what other motorsport can you compete at the very highest level with very few modifications from a stock unit? I don’t know what goes into the cost of a dirt bike in terms of development and marketing but I know when you’re paying Ken Roczen millions of dollars that money has to be recouped somehow, and that’s a lot of CRFs you have to move to break even. Anyway, we can’t go backwards in terms of technology so I guess we can either look at cheaper forms of racing (vintage, two-stroke, etc) or leverage the house and go big. Either way, I wouldn’t be caught dead in a Prius.
It sure seems like the JGR team has the ability to sign top level riders, why can’t they achieve some success. They have a few moto wins, but it seems like they have some troubles getting over the hump. Many top name pros have gone through the JGR camp with not a lot of success. JGR is a big name, is it budget? Talent? Tuning? Factory support? Any thoughts on this?
I think there has been some platform issues at times with the early Yamaha and I think it has just been a case of wrong riders at the wrong time. Justin Barcia just hasn’t performed as well as we all thought he would. James Stewart was fast at times but he spent more time cartwheeling than Gabby Douglas after an eight ball of cocaine. Just to be clear, I had to Google that name because I don’t know the first thing about gymnastics. Either way, I think the JGR boys are doing all the right things, they just need a championship caliber rider in his prime. In order to do that they are going to need to pull their wallet out and fork out mucho dinero … and probably some American money too.
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