I just read the statement on not letting electric motorcycles compete at a national level. Everyone says there's no way to test the Alta, and comparing it to other machines, it would have to compete against in either the 250 or 450 class. My question is, has anyone put on of these on a dyno? Why not get the six latest stock 250cc MX bikes and the Alta and throw them on a dyno? If the Alta makes outrageous horsepower or tons of torque, throw it against the 450s. If the Alta is lagging against the 250s, then why not let them run and it will make Alta up their game? I guess I don't get it and it seems simple to me.
Thanks for your service! I have grown to really enjoy your column and enjoy your tests.
Steve in Iowa
They’ve had them on a dyno plenty of times already. Alta has published that their Redshift MXR makes approximately 50 HP at the rear wheel. That’s more than any stock 250F currently makes, and the Alta’s torque numbers blow a gas engine’s numbers out of the water as well. But it makes the power in a different way, as weird as that sounds.
When you factor in the additional weight of the Alta and the way the power is delivered, it is most closely comparable to a 250F, which was Alta’s goal when they started. The problem isn’t where the bike fits in now as much as where will it fit in after another five years of development…or what about five years after that? Look how far it’s come in the past three years. If they throw it in the 250 class now and battery technology continues to advance at its current pace, electric bikes could make the 250F obsolete the same way 250Fs killed 125cc two-strokes. That was a huge mistake and one that is still costing the motocross industry as a whole.
I understand why they don’t want to jump the gun on the electric bike classifying issue, but I am a little confused as to why they didn’t grant them temporary eligibility to race in Open classes. Open means open to anything, right? This would have allowed Alta to get some race experience as a company and let racers around the country get a look at what electric bikes are all about. You can bet your sweet ass every single manufacturer has an electric powered prototype in Japan and they don’t want Alta getting too far ahead of the curve. You can piss and moan about it all you want but electric bikes are coming…quietly, and with lots of torque.
I’m just curious why everyone preaches to “ride on the balls of your feet?” What is the benefit to having the peg on the balls of your feet compared to the center of your foot? I’m sure by now we have all seen the video on Instagram of the guy’s toes touching his shin when he comes up short on a jump. Wouldn’t being centered on the peg have kept this from happening? The knee can absorb lateral compression vertically better that the ankle, right? Also, some boot manufacturers make a replacement for the center of some of their boots, so what is right?
This is a common principle in any sport; standing on the balls of your feet is an active position that allows you to move/react quicker than if you are standing flat-footed. A simple test is to stand flat-footed and have your buddy push you over. Once you pick yourself up, have him do it again with you on the balls of your feet. You’ll notice that you can catch yourself much quicker and easier, and you’ll also notice that your buddy really enjoys shoving you over. Want another? See how high you can jump from a flat-footed position, and then try it again where you come off the balls of your feet. The results of that one are funny.
Another moto-specific reason is that when you are on the balls of your feet, you have the ability to press down on each one of the pegs to help with balance and steering. You can press down on one foot and control the bike using your feet to lean the bike either way. Standing on your arches, you have zero ability to do that. This is one of the single biggest things you can do technically to improve your control of your bike. That video link is pretty bad, but he was almost on his toes and he let his weight get back on the bike, which contributed to him kicking himself in the shin with his toes. Alpinestars have a device built into their boot that doesn’t allow your ankle to bend that far, so if you’re worried about that happening to you, check out their Tech 10s…then go practice staying off your arches.
I've kissed your ass enough in all of my other emails, so this time, I get to just ask the questions!
Since I have fully accepted my fate of a desk jockey and will never have the opportunity to race a National, I want to know the difference of the track I race on the weekends versus what the pros run.
I've always heard how different the track shapes up during a National compared to a local race, but what is the real difference? How much of a difference is there and what are the main differences?
Thanks, and welcome to our side.
The differences stem from track prep and from the lines that pro riders build compared to amateur racers. The tracks are watered heavily days before the events and then ripped extremely deep to get the moisture turned into the soil. This type of prep makes the soil softer and keeps track crews from having to water so much throughout the day. If a track gets dry and hard-packed and then the crews soak it with water, it turns into a skating rink, which sucks when you are inches from 39 other riders trying to navigate through bumps, jumps, and ruts with mud all over your goggles. The soft soil allows multiple lines to build and corners to rut/berm up early in the day and bumps to form…big bumps.
The other difference is the way pros ride. Lines will tend to sweep from outside to inside more than amateurs, and ruts will follow through a turn and out of it instead of making a tight hook at the exit like amateur tracks develop. This is simply a function of carrying more speed through the turn and being able to carve a turn more consistently than amateurs. Also, pro races only have 250s and 450s, whereas amateur races run everything from minis to vintage bikes to—gasp!—quads. Yes, some folks still show up to motocross tracks with quads. These are the same folks whose kids are eating Tide Pods like Halloween candy and snorting condoms up their noses for kicks, as far as I can tell.
Depending on where you live and your commitment to learning the truth, go to your closest pro National and check it out. If you stay long enough after it’s over, you may even get to walk out on the track and inspect it for yourself. Either way, you can see from the fence line that it is a nasty, technical circuit that isn’t for the timid or unskilled. (Or quads.)
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