WHAT IS IT? FCP Racing is a Southern California-based company that specializes in making titanium motor mounts and head stays for most brands of modern race bikes. MXA tested the handmade titanium plates on our 2019 Suzuki RM-Z450 because it has an overly stiff feel to its aluminum chassis. The works Suzukis of the JGR team have run a wide variety of stays for the last two years, claiming they improve the feel of the bike.
WHAT’S IT COST? $399.00 (two head stays, two motor mounts and required bolts).
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the FCP Racing motor mounts and head stays.
(1) The idea. Changing head stays and motor mounts is not a pie-in-the-sky crackpot idea. It is an oft-used tuning tip, used by every motorcycle manufacturer. Take Yamaha as an example. In 2015, Yamaha went from aluminum motor mounts to steel motor mounts. In 2016, Yamaha made the head stays stiffer. In 2018, they changed to aluminum head stays and moved them lower on the cylinder and reshaped the new aluminum motor mounts. So, it should come as no surprise that on the 2020 YZ450F’s previous 8mm-thick steel motor mounts were replaced 8mm-thick aluminum motor mounts, while the head stays went from 9.5mm aluminum plates to 6mm steel plates.
What about Honda? The 2017 CRF450 chassis got all new head stays and motor mount compare to 2016, but serious racers switched to the softer CRF450X heads stays. For the 2018 model year, the CRF450 got thinner and flexier head stays. The head stays were narrowed to feed a more resilient feel into the aluminum chassis.
So, if you doubt the legitimacy of aftermarket head stays, please note that every factory test rider has spent days testing a wide variety of head stays, looking for the perfect balance.
(2) Fitment. The FCP Racing front motor mounts are a lot slimmer than the standard mounts. When you purchase the FCP Racing RM-Z 450 kit, it comes with a shorter bolt that runs through the motor mounts and the front of the engine. The stock bolt will not work, as it is too long and does not have enough threads to tighten the nut. When installing the front motor mounts, the curved part of the mount faces the front of the bike and the flat part goes on the bottom. This is a crucial step in ensuring that you get the best performance out of these mounts. The top head stays went on without a hitch and lined up perfectly. Be sure to torque the motor mounts to 26 pound-feet on the frame and 49 pound-feet on the engine. The head stays should be torqued to 26 pound-feet on the frame and 40.5 pound-feet on the head.
(3) FCP design. These mounts are made from CNC-machined titanium with holes in them designed to give the RM-Z 450 the right amount of flex in the chassis, improving the resilience that it lacks in stock trim.
(4) On-track performance. One thing that MXA test riders know is that different head stays and motor mounts make a major difference in how a frame feels. It’s all a matter of getting the proper structural stiffness out of the stays and mounts. FCP originally built soft, medium and stiff head stays, but through testing they were able to narrow it down to the level of stiffness that everyone liked. The difference these mounts made was felt as soon as we took the bike off the stand and started it. How so? These mounts reduced the amount of vibration when the bike was idling. On the track, the high-speed stability was improved because the RM-Z450 didn’t feel like a ping-pong ball in the rough. Bump absorption at the front wheel was plusher, and the chassis felt more balanced when hitting large braking bumps.
(5) Do they break. There was a video made by a rider and an industry insider that claimed that the rider DNF’ed the World Vet Championship because his FCP head stays broke. The video got some play, but it was not true. Yamaha confirmed that the rider suffered a major engine failure (which accounted for his DNF) and FCP’s Kris Palm said that neither the head stays nor motor mounts broke, and he had the parts to prove it. The two are lucky not to have been sued.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? Price. Just under $400 is a good chunk of change to spend on motor mounts unless you can identify the problem you are trying to fix.
MXA RATING: The FCP Racing titanium mounts made a noticeable difference on our RM-Z450. They softened up the feel of the chassis, made the bike easier to ride and were a good addition to the RM-Z450.