Tips from the Factory: MXGP mechanics speak
A second instalment of tips and advice direct from the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team for ways to safeguard your offroad bike.
Australian Wayne Banks spanners for current FIM MX2 World Championship leader Pauls Jonass and so memorably clinched the 2014 crown by taking good care of Jordi Tixier’s works KTM 250 SX-F. On a visit to the factory workshop in Munderfing recently we cornered the likeable mechanic to give us three tips that readers and riders could use for their own motorcycles from his experience in Grand Prix …
1) Handlebars in good nick
Whether you are using Renthal bars like the Red Bull guys or another brand then the padding on the cross section can often be one of the parts on the front end of the bike that gets truly battered. A solution? Get the tape out.
“The bar pad material is quite hard so they break quite easily when hit by rocks or roost when you are following someone in a race,” says Banks. “So what we do is put duct tape on the reverse side which seems to improve its strength and durability. It certainly helps when the track is stony. The new material from Renthal is better and far more resistant so we don’t need to do this any more but for sure people on older bikes or running older bars might find this handy.”
2) Faster sprocket changes
Speed is everything in racing and the Motocross mechs found that filing the rear axle tension point allowed swifter gearing changes at key times.
“We modify the rear axle,” Banks explains. “It helps mostly when the riders want to quickly change gearing and you find yourself in the pit lane or in other circumstances where you have to move fast. If the rider wants to switch by one tooth bigger or smaller we can turn the axle 180 degrees and it is ready to go. We don’t have to adjust the chain and the rider can get back on the track as quick as possible. It should be machined quite well; it needs to be square and flat. I have no idea why the production model is bigger like that!”
3) Extra wheel security
MXGP pushes the limits of motorcycle technology with demanding tracks and conditions. Banks takes the precaution of adding a small safety net to Jonass’ wheels.
“We zip-tie the spokes front and rear so if they break then they hopefully stay in the same position and do not fly around and get caught in the disc or the fork. In the sand and with big, hard, flat landings from jumps the spokes are highly stressed. So we do this to all the wheels. To be honest we hardly break any wheels during the season; the Kite product and Excel rims are really good. However we have broken spokes before and in one case I was lucky that they did not jam the rear wheel and the cable ties helped. I’d seen this being used in the paddock before and thought it was a good idea. We always want to ‘bullet proof’ the bike and it is not always 100% possible but we do what we can to prevent a DNF.”