Rider: Christian Craig
Date: May 27th, 2017
Location: Glen Helen National
TWO-STROKE SPOTLIGHT: CHRIS BARROW’S HONDA CR500AF
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COLT NICHOLS SIGNS WITH TEAM HONDA HRC
- Oklahoma native earned the 2021 AMA Supercross 250SX East title
- Nichols will campaign the 2023 AMA Supercross series aboard a CRF450RWE
Press Release: American Honda confirmed today that Colt Nichols will ride with Team Honda HRC in the 2023 AMA Supercross series. Nichols joins Chase Sexton on the factory squad’s premier-class effort aboard a CRF450RWE, with Hunter and Jett Lawrence campaigning the regional 250 classes for the indoor series.
A native of Muskogee, Oklahoma, Nichols has enjoyed many successes as a 250 rider, with highlights including four AMA Supercross 250SX victories and the 2021 250SX East Region title. Now 28, and with eight years of valuable experience at the 250 level, Nichols is ready to step up to the 450 division, and the opening at Team Honda HRC was an attractive destination.
“First and foremost, I’m just thankful and blessed for this opportunity to come about,” Nichols said. “It seemed like a longshot at first, and now for it to actually be real, I couldn’t be happier to be joining such a prestigious team and be on a factory Honda. I’ve always wanted to ride for this team, and they carry a very large and awesome legacy. I hope I can contribute to that, get some good results and help the team in any way I can. Moving to the 450 class and racing the best guys in the world will be fun and very challenging, but I’ve got a great teammate to learn from. I’m really excited to get to work and get this thing going.”
“We’re very happy to welcome Colt to Team Honda HRC,” said Brandon Wilson, Manager of Sports & Experiential at American Honda. “During our selection process, not a single person had a bad word to say about him. He’s an incredibly talented rider and also just a nice person that we know will be great fit in the team. All of our current riders like Colt and liked the direction. With Colt being good friends with our official test rider Trey Canard, we think there will be a positive energy with everyone, which will lead to great results for the team. We’re happy to give him the 450 opportunity he deserves, and we’re all looking forward to A1.”
MXA / MOTO / TRIVIA
MXPERTS // WHY DO YOU NEED TO CHANGE SPARK PLUGS MORE ON TWO-STROKES THAN FOUR-STROKES?
I worry about the spark plug on my Honda CRF450. I have never given a passing thought to changing it, yet on my 2007 Honda CR250 two-stroke, I changed it all the time. What’s the deal?
Spark plugs on a two-stroke were subject to oil contamination and carbon build up as excess premix oil turned into charred carbon. Four-strokes don’t have this problem, but their plugs still wear out, mostly from gap erosion. What is gap erosion? The spark jumps the gap from the sharpest edge of the plug’s electrode to the opposing sharp edge of the ground strap. Unfortunately, every time the plug fires, it eats away at the electrode and ground strap. When the sharp edge is worn down, it becomes harder for the spark to jump the gap. So, it moves to the next closest sharp edge, which is, of course, farther away. As that edge gets eaten away, the spark has to jump to a new location. The erosion of the sharp edges is hard to see, but it exists. The center electrode will round before the ground strap. If your bike’s fuel/air mixture, timing and carburetion are correct, your spark plug should last until the electrode’s edges are rounded off. We would change to a new plug every six months.
MARVIN MUSQUIN JOINS O’NEAL FOR THE 2023 SEASON
TESTED // 2023 HUSQVARNA FC250
2023 BETA RACE EDITIONS
The racing pedigree of the Race Editions is evident in a number of ways including:
- Quick release front axle pull: Red anodized alloy lever for quick removal of the front axle during tire swaps. (Not included on the 300 RX)
- Reinforced handguards: The new handguards, designed and manufactured in-house by Beta, feature a two-component material mold, in red and blue, which not only gives the bike a racing look but also a larger size overall for improved protection.
- Metzeler tires: known for their off-road performance as well as a long-lasting compound, the tires are an added benefit for all riders. (Michelin Starcross on 300 RX)
- Billet aluminum foot pegs: extra wide with stainless steel gripper pins provide the rider with a strong, yet light platform.
- Rear sprocket with anodized aluminum core and steel teeth by ZF: the light weight of aluminum with the added wear from the steel outer ring. This sprocket is sold as an accessory on most models however comes standard with each Race Edition.
- Dedicated blue gripper seat: anti-slip cover and built-in pouch offering unparalleled grip, comfort, and looks.
- Anodized black shift lever and rear brake pedal: a nice added touch to the Race Editions.
- Billet gearbox oil filler cap, engine oil filler cap & oil filter cap anodized red aluminum.
- Chain tensioners in red billet aluminum.
- New Racing graphics with red and blue wheel decals. (Blue rims on the RX Model)
- Billet Aluminum Foot Pegs & Rear Suspension Linkage
- Metzeler Tires & ZF Anodized Aluminum Core/Steel Teeth Sprocket
- 48 mm Kayaba AOS closed cartridge spring fork: on the suspension front, the 2023 retains the closed cartridge fork by KYB. This product has been continuously honed through collaboration between Beta and Kayaba, giving shape to a highly specialized component that maximizes the performance of Race Edition models. Anodized internal parts and the new treatments administered to the materials minimize sliding friction, while adjustable compression and rebound damping let each rider find the perfect customization of the settings. Beta engineers have recalibrated the setting so that the fork works optimally in synergy with the new rear shock.
- Kayaba C46 Shock: The main change as far as the suspension of the RR Race Editions and the 300 RX models is the first ever use of a KYB rear shock, specifically designed and manufactured for Beta’s 2 and 4-stroke RR Racing and RX models. The new shock’s hydraulic setting can be fully customized by adjusting the external compression (both high and low speed) and rebound settings. The joint research of Kayaba engineers and Beta Italy’s R&D department in Florence led to the development of a shock that is particularly effective in enhancing the Rideability of the bike under all conditions. KYB shocks are seen as a gold standard in the racing scene in terms of their ability to absorb big square-edged hits while at the same time, providing a supple ride over the smaller, lower speed bumps. on the RX Models.
Enhancing the overall performance of the 4-stroke models, Traction control is featured with every 4-Stroke Race Edition model. The Traction Control function can be engaged at any time from the button on the control panel just above the gas filler. As both the TC function and engine map selection function are controlled from this panel, it has two control buttons and two separate indicator LEDs for the two functions. This system alters the ignition to slow down the rear wheel speed in slippery situations.
To save weight, all 2 Stroke Race Edition and 300 RX models are set up to run premix however oil injection can be added as an accessory item to the Race Editions.
ENGINE // 200 & 300 MODELS
In the previous model year, Beta made some changes to the power unit to enhance the performance of the 200 and 300 Race Edition models, these changes have been retained for 2023. The 200 cc and 300 cc engines, therefore, differ from the basic models in the following respects:
- 300 Race: Compared to the RR models, the cylinder of the 300 cc engine now features a modified exhaust and transfer port geometry and a different cylinder head, combined with a differently calibrated power valve. The cylinder head, different from standard both in terms of modified flow geometry and combustion chamber geometry, ensures a higher compression ratio, resulting in a substantial increase in performance. To better manage the increased power output of the engine, the power valve has also been modified, changing the internal spring and adjustment system to ensure full-bodied and readily accessible power delivery throughout the rev range. Different ignition timing completes the package.
- 300 RX: The RX engine is unique to this model only, with a 72mm x 72mm bore and stroke, smaller crankshaft, combined with a larger 38mm Keihin carburetor for maximum performance required in Moto conditions.
- 200 Race: The 200 cc engine also retains a different cylinder head to the standard version, as well as a single, stiffer power valve, instead of the two used in the RR. All this contributes to increasing power at mid to high engine speeds.
Developed for the USA market, the 300 RX continues to send shockwaves through the motocross market. An engine package that Motocross Action magazine quoted as “The closest sound to a factory bike that you can buy”, the 300 offers open-class racers a bike that is very light weight yet comes with an electric start. A vet-class weapon or also an ideal hard-core off-road race bike, the RX is built for competition!
- 125 Race: $8,999.00
- 350 Race: $10,999.00
- 200 Race: $9,799.00
- 390 Race: $11,099.00
- 250 Race: $10,199.00
- 430 Race: $11,199.00
- 300 Race: $10,399.00
- 480 Race: $11,299.00
- 300 RX: $9,399.00
*plus a $439.00 destination fee. Not included are professional dealer setup, taxes, license, or other required fees.
FORGOTTEN BIKES: TREY CANARD’S 2010 GEICO HONDA CRF250
QUOTE OF THE WEEK // ELI TOMAC ON RACING THE WSX OPENER IN CARDIFF
“To be honest I started off a little bit slow and Ken rode really well in that heat race and in the Superpole I just never manned up for the quad, to be straight up. That thing was a big nope. I was going to stay with the triple-single and it ended up working out. All three mains were a little bit different; obviously I got the gift from Ken in the first and then had to make a couple of passes in the second, but I think the most technical part of the night was the dirt: it was tough, very hard pack. I actually almost fell in the third, near the mechanics in that last left-hander. But overall I just enjoyed the whole schedule and the racing. Coming in here I thought that the eight and 12-lap races were going to be a little short, but that wasn’t easy and it obviously showcased some good racing and I had a lot of fun doing it. The World Supercross Championship is real: it was a real Supercross and nothing was second level with it, it was all first class and it was great to see the big crowd here. It was really cool to see the stadium filled up. To be honest I was looking at it thinking this is a big stadium but I think we filled it pretty well.”
MXA MOTO TIP // SOMETIMES SOFT IS STIFF
Forks that are too soft dive excessively under deceleration and ride on the firmest part of the fork’s damping system. This makes them feel stiff. When the rider notices how stiff his forks feel, he naturally turns the clickers out to soften the forks. This obviously makes the situation worse. Forks that are too soft feel stiff — when in reality, they need to be stiffer to feel softer. Repeat that three times.
MXA’S JOSH MOSIMAN GASGAS EAST MIKE ALESSI ON A 125cc STRAIGHT-UP!
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CLASSIC PHOTO: RYAN HUGHES
MOTO TRIVIA ANSWER: Bob “Hurricane” Hannah circa 1985 on a factory Honda CR250.