For most folks the holidays are filled with cheer, but for Philthy Phil Nicoletti, this festive period is nothing more than an excuse to channel his inner, and outer, Ebenezer Scrooge. This week the orneriest man in motocross gives unfettered advice on dire topics like deathcross, goggle giveaways, and the growing cost of racing.
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I know riding a 450 on a motocross track is one thing, but how long did it take for you to get used to riding a 450 in supercross? We’ve got Jorge Prado jumpin’ straight into the 450 class (I hope he does good enough that he comes back the next year) and then team Honda is fielding a team of rookies. I know there’s a fair bit of hype surrounding the Lawrence brothers but is there any realistic chance they win a championship first year, or is the 450 that hard to ride on a supercross track that it’ll still take a few years to get used to? Also are you on the 450 or the 250 this year?
Hoping to see the lights on the front of your bike in 2024!
Man, 450SX is a steep learning curve. When I jumped up to the 450 class in 2013, I F$$$$$$ STRUGGLED. I struggled because I didn’t have much of a 250 Supercross career. I had like 18 total races and nine of them came from the 2010 west coast regional series. So, when I signed on a 450 team, I was still very green. By the way, when I say I "signed" I meanI rode for free and had $1,000 per diem for travel to the races. I missed the first six main events and I was at rock bottom. I was putting in tons and tons of time, and would just fumble. But as soon as I made that first one, it was game on and we turned shit around. But a 450 rookie on a factory team has much different resources. They already have a lot of time and knowledge. The biggest thing is doubling the amount of races for the SX series. 450SX is a different beast! It is, in my opinion, much, much easier to ride a 250 in supercross. Timing things on a 250 is easier and so are the whoops. Whoops on a 450 are a different animal. It’s why a solid suspension and chassis guy are key. Do I think a rookie can win a 450 SX championship? Hell yea. Jettson could most definitely win it. Hunter will most definitely be in the mix. But I’m not counting out Eli and Webb. They are just different animals over a whole 17-race season. As far as myself, I’ll be on a 250 again in SX and a 450 in MX. It hurts me for SMX, but I’m too old to handle 17 SX races and 11 nationals. Also, I refuse just to do SX and give up MX. MX blood runs deep in me and I love that grind on a Saturday in the summer.
Congrats on the Racer X cover, well deserved, you grinder. I picked up the commemorative 100% Jettson goggle kit as a gift for my nephew, then headed over to Factory Ride for a gift for myself and couldn’t find a Filthy celebratory goggle kit for your SMX performance. What gives?
100% and Jettson do a good job with their goggle marketing and making it appealing to kids. We actually have talked about it with Factory Ride and doing a collaboration on some goggle stuff. It’d be pretty badass to be able to do that. Obviously, it’s a no brainer and Jett has one helluva following for the kids who want sprinkles on their goggles, but it’s a double-edge sword. You really have to push that certain goggle and wear it 24/7. I’m actually not a fan of constantly wearing the same thing. Actually, I hate it! I like to be able to wear the company’s different colors and designs. That’s the truth too, regardless of making money on my own goggle with the company. But who knows, maybe in the future we will see where it goes. Just gotta be able to love the inventory, because there's a chance a whole lot of it would be sitting around for a long time.
Generally speaking, is our sport dangerously close to being priced out of reach of median-wage earners? Such folks are being pounded (pun intended) economically by rising prices and comparatively stagnant wages and salaries. Could we reach a point where participants by the thousands throw in the towel and find a new hobby? Other than cutting both taxes and money/credit creation (inflation) or (Oh, the Humanity!) going back to 2-strokes, what can be done?
I think our sport is close to being priced out of reach for the average Joe. Back when I was on a KX60 in 1996-97 it cost $2,300. Nowadays a KTM 65 costs $5500. A Factory Edition KTM 450 costs $12k? There is no way a family with a median US house income can afford our sport. To have multiple bikes, parts, entry fees, riding apparel, etc., it’s absolutely crazy. For my own personal self, if I was an average Joe and doing it on my own with one bike, riding four days a week like normal, I would have a $12k bike destroyed in two months. In two months that bike would be hammered the f$$$ out and be junk. Especially riding it outdoors....But then you look at the prices of bicycles and it makes me wonder, what in the hell!!!??? How do you spend $12,000 on a bicycle that you have to pedal and has electric shifting with a carbon fiber frame?!!!! Shit is absolutely crazy to me. Bicycles that don't come with engines can cost nearly as much as a motocross bike, and people buy them!
But that bicycle can last a few years, where the dirt bike is junk in two months. I don’t know what the hourly rate would be for me to ride a dirt bike, but it would be quite expensive.
So, when I see a kid not trying while riding a dirt bike and just wearing the bike out for no reason, I’m okay with the parents ripping them a new one. Parents are spending more time and money per hour than their hourly wage watching their kid piss off all day. I’m not good at math, but there has to be some sort of equation for the price/hours/wage that makes financial sense. My dad always told me, if you’re just wearing the bike out, then get the hell off it. Wise words from Senior!