Closer Look at Factory Motocross & Supercross Bikes

Mar. 17, 2010 By Dan Paris

I’ve been to lots of motocross and enduro races over the years, spending most of my time wandering the pits and drooling over the factory team race bikes. The biggest thing that separates factory bikes from the ones you and I ride isn’t unobtanium, titanium or noseeum. It’s attention to detail, especially in the areas of crash protection and rider ergonomics. Here’s a quick walk through the pits of the Toronto round of the AMA Supercross Series, the FIM World Enduro Championship and the Canadian National Motocross Series.

A factory mechanic’s work is never done. Everything is checked and re-checked. Attention to detail is unreal on the factory supercross bikes.

Things like the pulse chamber on this titanium Akrapovic exhaust header have gone a long way to reducing the flatulent sound of four-stroke thunder.

FIM Sound check. Noise levels keep getting lower. Yes, you can cheat, but I’m not telling you how to do it. There are tons of exhaust systems out there now that are relatively quiet, as long as the packing is kept fresh.

This swampy pit area is not the place you want to be dealing with any sort of repair. Going nuts with the pressure washer is a good way to get the mud off, but it’s also a good way to trash your bike by forcing muck into bearings and seals. Unless you have the budget of a factory motocross team, be careful with that magic wand!

The inside of the factory semis is surgically clean, and here’s why: open-heart surgery is not something you want to deal with on race day.


Not just for off-road anymore: Pat Revard installs a GPR steering damper on Marco Dube’s KTM in preparation for a gnarly sand track.

Factory riders go through normal clutches like crazy. I have noticed Rekluse automatic clutches on a large number of factory motocross bikes this season and last. For the motocross crowd, the Rekluse is like a new secret weapon.

Rider comfort is everything. In an era where most riders on 450s are using saddles with a step or cut down section it was weird to see a bike with a built up saddle in the Toronto pits.

Yawn. Not everyone is stoked to hang out in Supercross pits.

David Knight fights to change a tire at the end of the day. Foam tubes, tire balls, heavy-duty tubes and tubeless systems can be a pain, but they sure beat getting flats.


Happy Halloween. The jury is still out on the orange spokes.

Back in 2004 I built this RM125 for Enduro racing. I used input from Rodney Smith, who had raced 125s at the ISDE several times. For the tightly forested and relatively flat terrain in my area this bike was a weapon of the highest order. I wish I never sold it.

Which brings us to Kyle Chisolm. The YZ450F he raced at the Toronto Supercross was the best-prepped machine I’ve seen. We can all learn from it.

From the cut-down saddle to the giant skid plate, Chisolm’s Yamaha bristled with attention to detail yet shied away from goofy anodized moto-bling. Sensible modifications and prep were evident everywhere on this bike.

Another look at the Carpet Fiber coal shovel. Notice the radiators have fine mesh in front of the scoops to help shed mud and protect them from roost damage. The side panels are covered in clear grip tape.


A close up of what used to be Chisolm’s screen door. I can just imagine a cat hanging from this thing.

Nearly every opening is jammed with foam to keep out mud and rocks. The pedal also has a brake snake.

More foam, plus some trimming of the skid plate so it can’t catch on Chisolm’s boot.

Flexible flyer: Just about every bike in the pits used some form of unbreakable levers.

Guy Giroux rode factory BMW Canada G450X to 4th overall in the 2009 Canadian Enduro Championship, topping it off with a podium finish at the Montreal Endurocross in front of 60,000 people. I have this exact bike in my garage now, destined to become the next project bike! Newsletter
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