Kawasaki has made its return to off-road racing in 2019 with its backing of Babbitt’s/Monster Power/Kawasaki teammates Josh Strang and Jordan Ashburn within the GNCC and Full Fuel Dash Enduro sequence. Strang and Ashburn have been constantly quick thus far this season, and it’s clear from the workforce’s presence that it intends on difficult for championships. On the opening spherical of the Full Fuel Dash Enduro Sequence in Gaston, South Carolina, we spoke with Strang’s mechanic, Joey Mauer, concerning the inside workings of his KX450.
The engine is generally inventory, together with the piston and valves. The exhaust system is by Professional Circuit and the clutch elements are from Hinson Racing. In line with Mauer, apart from that, the engine is inventory. For Strang, Mauer modified the gearing and swapped out the 19-inch rear wheel for an 18-inch.
“Went up one tooth within the rear and put an 18-inch wheel on it,” Mauer mentioned. “The inventory motor is superior. All people retains asking, ‘It’s a motocross bike—how do you get away with it in off-road?’ Mitch [Payton’s] exhaust system smooths the ability out and makes it a bit bit longer, however it makes it actually clean and straightforward to trip. If you happen to’re a motocross man and also you wish to hammer it and the factor to take off, you possibly can clutch it. You are able to do no matter you need, however it’s a pleasant roll-on energy. There’s quite a bit, so that you simply give it much less gasoline.”
So far as the ignition, there are three maps—Gentle, Normal, and Aggressive. Strang makes use of the usual map at most races. “The Aggressive is aggressive,” Mauer provided. “It’s a giant step [up from standard]. The Gentle is possibly like for the Snowshoe GNCC or one thing. We’re working towards stuff like that [and are] already desirous about settings for that race. For races the place we all know it’s going to be exhausting and slick, we might go to a Gentle setting. It’s a pleasant and straightforward tune. It’s only a plug—you plug it in and plug one other one out. It’s superior. You’re not altering the entire mapping, simply form of retarding the ignition or advancing it. That’s mainly what it’s doing.”
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Mauer builds the engines at Fred Andrews’ store and leaves the suspension work to Professional Circuit. “We do all of our personal engine work; the one factor we do at Professional Circuit is suspension,” Mauer talked about. “We don’t do suspension, however we [build] the engines and chassis. Most individuals know that [Jim “Bones” Bacon] retired [from Pro Circuit] and Adam Walters has stepped in to do the suspension work in his absence,” Mauer mentioned. “Adam was once at Showa and he really did Josh’s stuff when he rode Suzukis, so Adam and Josh form of have a bit little bit of a relationship already. Bones remains to be concerned. Most individuals don’t know, however he’s nonetheless there, simply [doing] behind-the-scenes stuff.”
The workforce makes use of Xtrig triple clamps with a normal offset. In line with Mauer, Strang’s management setup is fairly commonplace.
“Josh runs a reasonably low bar, fairly straight,” Mauer informed us. “He runs a Renthal 821 bend. He’s fairly regular [as far as] setup [and is similar to] most riders. Most guys need their bars straight. They don’t need the sweep or something. He’s a reasonably pure setting, actually. Nothing loopy [and] nothing irregular. Lever top, bar top—all that’s form of regular.”
The 2019 Kawasaki KX450 comes with a 270mm entrance brake rotor, which Strang and Ashburn choose to make use of, however use a smaller dimension rear rotor than inventory.
“We had been going to attempt a 260mm entrance rotor, however Josh and Jordan really received used to the 270mm rotor and love them,” Mauer mentioned. “It’s plenty of braking energy and so they don’t have to make use of the brakes so exhausting. The [stock rear rotor] is a 250mm rotor, so we downsized that a bit. Primarily simply because for off-road, we’re anxious about ruts and stuff. We went all the way down to a 240mm rotor for the rear.”
Mauer informed us the inventory Nissin brakes are superior and that Strang has had points together with his rear brakes getting scorching on earlier bikes he has ridden, so Mauer retains an eye fixed on them as a precaution.
“The [Nissin brakes] don’t overheat that dangerous,” he mentioned. “The whole lot’s fairly good with them, in order that’s not a difficulty. Nothing in opposition to Brembo; they work nice, however I feel they get scorching. I do know the KTMs and Husqvarnas run a small [rear] rotor. They’ve a 220mm, whereas Josh is working a 240mm. It’s an even bigger rotor, so it cools higher. If we now have a difficulty, we’ll go as much as a 250mm, however I feel we’re going to be high quality with the 240mm.”
The workforce makes use of D.I.D rims, Mitas tires, SRT mousses, IMS gas tanks, and Acerbis hand guards.
“The SRT mousses have a pleasant, smooth really feel,” Mauer provided. “Typically with mousses, you battle with them, however the guys appear to essentially like them. Each Josh and Jordan are new to Mitas tires. They love them [and have given us] good suggestions on them. We’re working IMS tanks for GNCC, and are working their pegs and [other items] now too. The hand guards are Acerbis. Each guys run hand guards and neither one among them wish to run bark busters. It looks as if that’s a factor that’s going away from off-road. For us mechanics, it form of sucks as a result of the fellows can break stuff.”
So far as private preferences, Mauer informed us that Josh runs only a tiny little bit of play in his throttle cable, whereas his clutch and brake are commonplace. The radiators and hoses are all inventory. “The one factor we do is run a crimped hose connector as an alternative of a hose clamp or something like that,” Mauer mentioned.
The workforce gave Strang a bone-stock KX450 originally of the yr, and added elements and made changes from there.
“We put triple clamps on it as a result of we will transfer the bars in numerous spots, and that’s what we had been going to race with too,” Mauer talked about. “The offset of the handlebar mounts are a bit totally different than inventory, in order that was the most important purpose to place that on the bike. We put inventory suspension on with [different] springs, and we put in a Professional Circuit exhaust. Apart from that, the bike was bone inventory and he instantly fell in love with it. He mentioned he’s by no means ridden a inventory bike earlier than; he’s at all times simply received a racebike.”