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Tested: 5 modifications I like to make to my YZ450F before going racing

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MX Vice’s Tester, Brad Wheeler, Shares His Thoughts

Since picking up my YZ450F back in November I have been waiting under bated breath for the chance to race it. Practicing is all well and good, but nothing gets the blood pumping more than lining up at the start with 39 other racers.


Words: Brad Wheeler | Lead Image: Supplied


The lack of racing got me thinking, what are some of the things that I would like to do to the bike before I go to my first race on the BluCru. I have logged around 10-15 hours on the bike now and feel I have established a solid base setting and something I can build on moving forward. With that being said here are 5 modifications I will be making before my first race, which is looking like early March time.

I wasn’t going to do these in any particular order but I think it will be more beneficial for you all if I go from most important to least important, in my opinion.  

1) A genuine Yamaha holeshot device:

More often than not if you look down the starting line at any level of racing you will see bikes with a holeshot device. The point of the device is to preload the front fork. This does several things. It makes the bike lower to the ground, meaning you have a lower centre of mass and more control getting off the line. Secondly, it allows you to get more weight over the front of the bike, meaning you can hit the power harder and not have to worry as much about going into a wheelie. Finally, it also increases balance. Being lower to the ground you can touch the floor more comfortably. 

I have used several different brands in my time, from cheaper to more expensive and I have found that if the OEM makes their own, that is the way to go. In this instance, the Yamaha one is easy to install and simple to use. The clamp opens right up so no need to remove the fork leg. It also has a big button making it easy to engage if you are trying to set your own device. In my opinion, if you are serious about racing, a holeshot device is an absolute must.

TIP: The buttons can work themselves loose over time on any brand of device so be sure to check them regularly.  

2) ProGrip 799 ultra soft grips: 

It’s no secret that Japanese standard grips are not built with comfort in mind. They will most likely outlast any aftermarket grip on the market, but I’m looking for a bit more out of my grip. 

If you’re doing qualifying and 5 motos over the course of a weekend you’re looking at around 120-150 minutes of riding. That’s a lot of holding on. So I want a grip that is kind to my hands and also makes it easier to hold on.

Step forward Pro Grip 799 ultra soft. I have used this grip for as long as I can remember, all the way back to 50cc days. The grip is incredibly comfy and almost moulds to the shape of your hand. Don’t get me wrong, one little slide off and you can kiss the end of the grip goodbye, but that is the price you sometimes have to pay to have a comfier ride. Rather than spending thousands on suspension, try a softer grip first. You’d be amazed at the difference it can make.

3) GYTR factory racing seat cover: 

For me, this really only applies to 450s. My Yamaha 450 is a rocket ship and pulls like an express train. This is great when my arms are fresh and I can hold myself forward, but as fatigue sets in, the sheer torque of the motorcycle pushes me back towards the rear of the seat. 

The standard seat is relatively grippy and as stock seat covers go, is one of the better ones. However, the GYTR factor seat cover has 5 ribs up the seat which aid in keeping you up the front of the bike. The material of the cover itself is stickier than the stock seat cover.  

Other seat covers are available, GUTS does several different varieties of gripper seats but the GYTR is similar to the factory cover that Jago Geerts and Maxime Renaux use, and who doesn’t want to look factory?  

4) Raptor RME013 edge titanium footpegs: 

Footpegs can often be something that people overlook. They’re one of the points of contact between yourself and your machine yet get neglected. Standard footpegs have come a long way from the breadsticks they used to stand on back in the 80s. Even so, the increased grip and strength you get with the Raptor titanium peg is second to none.  

The peg bites into your boot making it virtually impossible to slip off of it. Titanium is not only lighter than steel but is also stronger. Over time the areas under stress on a steel peg become weak and are likely to fracture. However, with titanium, it would take a long time and an incredible amount of force to crack a titanium peg.  

I’m not sure if I am supposed to say this but Star Racing Monster Energy Yamaha actually BUY these pegs for their race bikes. That’s right, Eli Tomac, Cooper Webb, Justin Cooper and the other 36 250 riders they have all use Raptor titanium footpegs.  

Another plus is that the RME013 model doesn’t have the middle section you see on most pegs. This stops mud from getting jammed in there. Raptor also offers a variety of different offset pegs which is something we will be playing around with throughout the year.  

5) GYTR Akrapovic Full Exhaust System: 

The final modification that I will be making before I go racing is the addition of a GYTR  Akrapovic. For me, this is the lowest priority of the 5. Riding a YZ450F, I am not looking for more power, and the ability to move the power around with an exhaust system has been bypassed by the tuner apps available these days. 

That being said, it still has its perks. The GYTR Akrapovic (which I’m almost 100% the same as the Akrapovic Evolution system) weighs 0.85 kgs less than the standard system.  Titanium is also a stronger and more durable material, so will be less prone to cracks in weak spots like welded joints. 

This is Yamaha’s recommended after-market pipe of choice, so you know it is going to work well with the engine. Even if it isn’t more hit you are looking for, it is always nice to have your machine running smoother and sounding a little more factory than your buddies.  

Last but not least, and this cannot be understated, just how awesome the system looks. I truly believe there is something in the whole “look good, feel good” saying. I know if I pull up to the track and I have fresh gear and my bikes looking good, I am already in a positive mindset heading to the line. And as we know motocross is just as mental as it is physical.  

These 5 modifications are not gospel. What works for me, may not work for you. But, I have been racing for 22 years and my experience has taught me that these are the 5 things that make the biggest difference to myself. If you have any questions about the  

above products drop me an email at [email protected] and I will assist in any way I can.  

Tested and written by Brad Wheeler

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Features

AMA Supercross St. Louis – The Track

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We are already at round twelve of the AMA Supercross Championship and this weekend we are racing at St. Louis.  Below you can get an idea of the track for this Saturday!

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Features

Stat Attack: Indianapolis Supercross Review

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With the tenth round of AMA Supercross in the books, statistics maestro Paul Pearcy has provided MX Vice with some brilliant numbers to tuck into from what was a great night of action. Enjoy

250 Class

Qualifying

  • Top 3
  1. Max Anstie: 49.492
  2. Tom Vialle: 49.492; (Max got top spot because his time came in the first session, while Tom’s time came in the second session)
  3. Pierce Brown: 49.719

LCQ

  • Top 3
  1. Jeremy Martin
  2. Ryder Floyd
  3. Hardy Munoz
  • Laps Led
  1. Jeremy Martin: 5
  2. Hardy Munoz: 2
  • Fastest Lap Times
  1. Jeremy Martin: 52.413
  2. Preston Boespflug: 53.150
  3. Gage Linville: 53.549
  • Best Average Lap Times
  1. Jeremy Martin: 53.655
  2. Preston Boespflug: 54.259
  3. Ryder Floyd: 54.373

Race 1

  • Top 3
  1. Cameron Mcadoo
  2. Haiden Deegan
  3. Seth Hammaker
  • Laps Led
  1. Cameron Mcadoo: 12
  2. Daxton Bennick: 1
  • Fastest Lap Times
  1. Haiden Deegan: 49.561
  2. Tom Vialle: 49.660
  3. Cameron Mcadoo: 49.854
  • Best Average Lap Times
  1. Cameron Mcadoo: 50.830
  2. Haiden Deegan: 51.086
  3. Seth Hammaker: 51.907
  • Most Consistent Lap Times (Least difference between fastest and slowest lap times)
  1. Preston Boespflug: 2.970
  2. Cameron Mcadoo: 3.184
  3. Jalek Swoll: 3.287

Race 2

  • Top 3
  1. Haiden Deegan
  2. Cameron Mcadoo
  3. Tom Vialle
  • Laps Led
  1. Haiden Deegan: 12
  2. Jalek Swoll: 1
  • Fastest Lap Times
  1. Haiden Deegan: 49.493
  2. Tom Vialle: 50.690
  3. Pierce Brown: 50.868
  • Best Average Lap Times
  1. Haiden Deegan: 51.522
  2. Cameron Mcadoo: 52.214
  3. Tom Vialle: 52.580
  • Most Consistent Lap Times (Least difference between fastest and slowest lap times)
  1. Jeremy Hand: 2.040
  2. Coty Schock: 2.315
  3. Max Anstie: 2.634

Race 3

  • Top 3
  1. Tom Vialle
  2. Pierce Brown
  3. Cameron Mcadoo
  • Laps Led
  1. Tom Vialle: 13
  • Fastest Lap Times
  1. Tom Vialle: 49.844
  2. Chance Hymas: 50.020
  3. Cameron Mcadoo: 50.175
  • Best Average Lap Times
  1. Tom Vialle: 51.493
  2. Pierce Brown: 51.563
  3. Haiden Deegan: 51.892
  • Most Consistent Lap Times (Least difference between fastest and slowest lap times)
  1. Marshal Weltin: 1.984
  2. Seth Hammaker: 1.997
  3. Nick Romano: 2.233

Overall

  • Top 3
  1. Cameron Mcadoo; (1st win of the season, 80% podium rate this year)
  2. Tom Vialle; (80% podium rate this year)
  3. Haiden Deegan; (40% podium rate this season)
  • Laps Led
  1. Tom Vialle: 13; (Tom is now tied with Austin Forkner for most laps led this season at 37.  34% of total laps raced)
  2. Cameron Mcadoo: 12
  3. Haiden Deegan: 12
  4. Jalek Swoll: 1
  5. Daxton Bennick: 1
  • Best First Lap Position Average
  1. Tom Vialle: 3rd 
  2. Cameron Mcadoo: 3.333
  3. Jalek Swoll: 4th 

Points

  • Top 10
  1. Cameron Mcadoo: 98
  2. Tom Vialle: 96
  3. Pierce Brown: 87
  4. Haiden Deegan: 82
  5. Coty Schock: 79
  6. Seth Hammaker: 72
  7. Daxton Bennick: 71
  8. Max Anstie: 62
  9. Chance Hymas: 60
  10. Jalek Swoll: 58

450 Class

Qualifying

  • Top 3
  1. Jett Lawrence: 48.523
  2. Eli Tomac: 48.554
  3. Cooper Webb: 48.568; (The difference between 1st and 3rd was .045 seconds.)

LCQ

  • Top 3
  1. Kyle Chisholm
  2. Justin Starling
  3. Devin Simonson
  • Laps Led
  1. Kyle Chisholm: 7
  • Fastest Lap Times
  1. Ty Masterpool: 52.415
  2. Kyle Chisholm: 52.810
  3. Freddie Noren: 53.248
  • Best Average Lap Times
  1. Kyle Chisholm: 54.223
  2. Ryan Breece: 54.271
  3. Freddie Noren: 54.390

Race 1

  • Top 3
  1. Jett Lawrence
  2. Ken Roczen
  3. Chase Sexton
  • Laps Led
  1. Jett Lawrence: 10
  2. Ken Roczen: 6
  • Fastest Lap Times
  1. Jett Lawrence: 48.639
  2. Ken Roczen: 49.225
  3. Cooper Webb: 49.581
  • Best Average Lap Times
  1. Jett Lawrence: 51.023
  2. Cooper Webb: 51.383
  3. Ken Roczen: 51.402
  • Most Consistent Lap Times (Least difference between fastest and slowest lap times)
  1. Aaron Plessinger: 2.774
  2. Eli Tomac: 3.095
  3. Chase Sexton: 3.785

Race 2

  • Top 3
  1. Jett Lawrence
  2. Ken Roczen
  3. Chase Sexton
  • Laps Led
  1. Jett Lawrence: 10
  2. Ken Roczen: 6
  • Fastest Lap Times
  1. Jett Lawrence: 49.499
  2. Ken Roczen: 49.713
  3. Chase Sexton: 49.849
  • Best Average Lap Times
  1. Jett Lawrence: 50.735
  2. Chase Sexton: 50.884
  3. Ken Roczen: 50.908 (That’s a difference of .173 in average lap times over 16 laps)
  • Most Consistent Lap Times (Least difference between fastest and slowest lap times)
  1. Ken Roczen: 2.537
  2. Malcolm Stewart: 2.641
  3. Chase Sexton: 2.676

Race 3

  • Top 3
  1. Jett Lawrence
  2. Chase Sexton 
  3. Ken Roczen
  • Laps Led
  1. Ken Roczen: 10
  2. Jett Lawrence: 6
  • Fastest Lap Times
  1. Ken Roczen: 49.131
  2. Chase Sexton: 49.284
  3. Jett Lawrence: 49.314
  • Best Average Lap Times
  1. Jett Lawrence: 50.477
  2. Chase Sexton: 50.483
  3. Cooper Webb: 50.594; (That’s a difference of .117 in average lap times over 16 laps)
  • Most Consistent Lap Times (Least difference between fastest and slowest lap times)
  1. Chase Sexton: 2.528
  2. Cooper Webb: 2.885
  3. Jason Anderson: 3.079

Overall

  • Top 3
  1. Jett Lawrence; (The only other person to have a perfect sweep at a triple crown was Ken Roczen in 2020 also on a Honda.  Jett has now won 50% of the races this season, with a 60% podium rate)
  2. Ken Roczen; (Ken has a 50% podium rate this year)
  3. Chase Sexton; (Chase has a 50% podium rate this year)
  • Laps Led
  1. Jett Lawrence: 26; (Jett now has 130 laps led, 50.7% of total laps)
  2. Ken Roczen: 22; (Ken has the second most laps led at 49, Just 19% of total laps)
  • Best First Lap Position Average
  1. Ken Roczen: 1st 
  2. Jett Lawrence: 2nd 
  3. Jason Anderson: 4th 

Points

  • Top 10
  1. Jett Lawrence: 210
  2. Cooper Webb: 189
  3. Chase Sexton: 185
  4. Ken Roczen: 175
  5. Eli Tomac: 174
  6. Jason Anderson: 165
  7. Aaron Plessinger: 162
  8. Justin Cooper: 120
  9. Justin Barcia: 109
  10. Dylan Ferrandis: 107

Lead Image: HRC

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British MX Nationals

Thank you. It’s been a hell of a ride.

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Since buying back MX Vice in November 2019, it has been challenging. One of those crystal balls would have been handy for navigating some problematic situations. Who would have thought COVID-19 would be a thing?

Those who follow MX Vice know we started from nothing but an idea. A fan who loved the sport created a Facebook page, website, and social media presence that would become disruptive. It has made numerous talented media people who were allowed to run with it for over thirteen years. Being in the UK/Europe has always been difficult; I’ve always believed that if we were a US media company, we would have been embraced and appreciated for our work ethic and the content we produce. We always cast one eye over the US in Europe, and you can’t blame the top European riders for doing the same.

MX Vice has always tried to give people a voice, especially the riders who are not in the limelight and the teams that put so much into the sport. We love people’s passion and sacrifice to improve and challenge themselves. That, for me, was the natural pull, not the money but the passion and sacrifice. We all know we would not be in motocross if it were about the money. I always considered MX Vice the media version of Steve Dixon’s team in MXGP (which I have a huge amount of respect for), where we have always tried to challenge without the factory budgets.

We knew it would be tough this year with so many businesses and brands cutting marketing budgets and reducing costs; this was never going to be good for us. We have just had two incredible months of stats, with January and February bringing in over 1 million people to the website, which is quite bittersweet. As much as the funds are low, so is my energy and health. COVID impacted me more than I could ever envisaged. My health has deteriorated ever since I caught COVID; my immune system is not in a great place, and when I try and work to the standard I set myself, my body breaks on me, and it takes me days to recover. Ed Stratmann has been a revelation since he took the editorial reigns and has pushed MX Vice to new heights, which is incredible given the lack of resources he has had to work with and support from myself. I have been missing from the podcast show to reduce my time, as I am now self-employed and working for two companies to pay the bills.

Every journey ends, and that’s not what we want. Over the past 13 years, we have given it everything, leaving no stone unturned. We’re proud of how we have disrupted, challenged decisions, held organisations accountable, and illuminated incredible stories.

We will have an auction for signed shirts donated by riders, podcast equipment, and memorabilia to pay off the invoices of some contributors. If, however, you want to see MX Vice continue, you can donate here: https://ko-fi.com/mxvice or purchase a shirt or memorabilia. If we meet our target of £25,000, which is currently outstanding to run this year, then Ed and I will continue. However, we fully expect this won’t happen due to the large sum required.

It’s hard out there at the moment. Take care of your health and family, and never lose your passion for the most fantastic sport in the world.

Burf.

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