I am writing to you in regards to the recent 2008 YZ450F build Racer X did.
I think we've all been there: you have a sort-of older bike and you don't know what to do… sell and buy a new one or refurbish the old steed and keep it going because it’s good enough for what you use it for. I recently went through this myself and decided to sell old and buy new.
I couldn't help but feel the cost stuck into the 2008 YZ was more than it was worth. To be fair, you do state that you may have went a little overboard on the build from what was necessary to just get it back in good running condition again, so I acknowledge that.
All too often I see builds that have various companies listed all over it, what parts were used, and where to buy them. Sometimes I see prices, but most often it is just product and supplier listed. Never do you see a grand total. I myself am a design engineer at a major on-road motorcycle OEM here in the states and I get hounded every day on why I make the decisions I do; mainly revolving around cost and the benefit it provides (or lack thereof). So I'm going to play the role of boss and you can be me for a bit. I added up all the parts and services that went into that bike and found the total to be around $5,500. Let’s just say that bike, running, has a value of $1,800~$2,000 (I think that's being conservative enough) so your total value is now upwards of $7,500. I'll bet you can find a nice new carryover model for just that, or not much more. Brand new, EFI, the whole deal.
Now, some parts may be unnecessary, but for the most part let’s be real: in order to get a used bike in good condition most will need what was put into the yz. Maybe not all (plastics, graphics, radiator hose, etc.). So that finally leads me to my point: I wish there was more technical detail or justification to these reviews/builds rather than, we threw a whole bunch of parts at it, these are the companies, and here's a quick blurp about what we think of it on the track. I'd like to see why you do what you did and what was the result. Example: were the linkage bearings excessively worn so they needed to be replaced or were they just installed for preventive measures? Worth it? Not worth it? I think a lot of people in similar situations would love this advice so they make a wise choice based off your loss or benefit. Maybe state here is how much it would have cost us at average retail prices and here is what we'd do differently if given another chance. Since I'm sure all the parts are free/donated it would be nice to give a worth it/ not worth it opinion while still being sensitive to the companies that were gracious enough to support the project.
Sorry for the long rant. I tried to summarize as best I could but my manager and I both agree that is something I need to improve on...
- Too much extra time on a Friday
Thanks for giving your boss the finger for a while on a Friday and writing in. I understand your concerns. There are certainly parts on that bike that you don’t need to replace to get your bike freshened up and running well again. But if we just replaced the engine parts and then shot photos of a beat up, ugly ass Yamaha with scratched plastic, bent bars, and a bald tire we would look like stupid idiots. Would you watch that? No. So, we go above and beyond to showcase some of our partner’s hard parts and to make the bike look good for images and video.
The problem with giving advice on what’s worth it and what isn’t is that each bike is different. Just because the linkage bearings on our bike are bad doesn’t mean yours will be. Maybe we ride in the mud all the time and you don’t go out unless it’s 75 and sunny. That isn’t the case because it doesn’t rain here in this bizarre strip of land on the West Coast, but you get my point. We may try to list parts costs but if folks are really interested they can click on the links and look it up.
I realize that we aren’t going to please everybody with these projects and there is no shortage of suggestions for us about how to improve them. And we take all the suggestions we get and put them to use. Heck, last month’s suggestions made amazing confetti at my daughter’s birthday party after I shredded them. So keep those complaints coming! I’ll need something to cover the floor with if I get a new puppy or something.
I love your segment man. It's nice to read the opinion of someone in the know regarding mx issues but, possibly even better, I find your stance on everyday issues a refreshing change from the left-steering, sinking, decrepit ship that the rest of the world's media are first class passengers on.
My question: do you think R&D on factory race bikes actually makes a big difference to the consumer version in coming years? For instance, could I buy a current 450 and jump in the old Delorean back to say 2008 and have something that would be on par with what James Stewart or Chad Reed had? Or is the gap between factory and consumer bikes much closer than that?
Thanks for your time!
P.S. I made my Kawi into a little ping tribute, I think the 101 looks great, hope you like it!
I love the tribute bike but that is copyright infringement and you can expect a letter from my attorney. I’m open to cash settlements to stay out of court.
The R&D done by race teams is the primary influence on the direction the manufacturers move with regards to production bikes. Chassis changes, engine modifications, gearing, and any other fine tuning that improve a race bike will find its way to production eventually. The change could come the following year or it could take a few years but they always try to keep moving forward.
As far as 450s are concerned I would say that there is a 10-year gap, give or take a couple years, between the factory bikes and production. What I mean is that if Cole Seely had his choice between a 2007 factory Honda race bike or a stock 2017 model, he would probably go with the stock ’17 bike. Obviously if Cole was given the third option of a private screening of The Fast and the Furious 8 hosted by Vin Diesel he would go that route, but we’re keeping his options limited for the purposes of this example. I speaking in generalities as well, stock suspension isn’t going to work as well as works suspension that is set up specifically for you, even if it is 10 years old. I think you get the idea. Thanks for writing and don’t make that #101 look bad out on the track.
About 10 years ago my wife and I were at a Chili's eating supper (In the south "supper" is the evening meal, "dinner" is the noon meal) when I looked up and standing at the doorway was the GOAT. My man crush kicked in and I was grinning like a possum eating persimmons (also a southern thing). I couldn't contain myself! I got up from my seat, walked over, shook his hand and told him that I wished him good luck in his next race. As badly as I was wanting an autograph or further conversation, I didn't want to draw attention to him so I left it at that and sat back down. He was escorted to his table and no one else even looked up. To this day I regret not asking for an autograph although in my heart it felt wrong at the time. Any thoughts or recommendations if the opportunity presents itself again? Anyhoo, I look forward to your column and if you see Chanel West Coast give my regards.
You blew it. You might never see Ricky gain, unless you live in Tallahassee or work at a marina in Destin. Look, a professional motocross racer isn’t famous like signers, actors, and stick and ball athletes are. Justin Bieber can’t step outside the confines of his house without being mauled by reporters, paparazzi and fans. Kevin Hart would have a mob of people asking for autographs and pictures if he showed up at a Chili’s somewhere. My guess is Ricky, Reed, or Roczen could work the hostess stand at Chili’s for an entire shift and only have a couple people know who they are. In fact, a couple years ago I was doing some Christmas shopping in the mall and I ran into Stefan Everts. He was in town doing some PR with KTM at the time and getting ready for the first supercross race. We chatted for a few minutes and as I walked away I laughed because one of the greatest motocross racers of all time can casually stroll through a mall and probably not get recognized by more than a couple folks.
Anyway, most racers are more than happy to take a picture or sign an autograph as long as they aren’t in the middle of something work or family related. Even approaching him at “supper” time wouldn’t bother him. Be polite and respectful but don’t hesitate to approach your favorite rider; it’s always nice to hear that people respect what you’ve done.