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MXA PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: ARAI VX-PRO4 HELMETS
The brand new Arai VX-Pro4 evolved from the much-loved VX-Pro3 model and just as with every Arai helmet, the basic and simple organic shell shape is based on the R75 shape concept. The absence of exaggerated edges or protrusions on the shell should not be mistaken for a lack of imagination. It’s a visual demonstration of our commitment to maintaining the integrity of the shell with real-world impact performance. The retail price is $739.95. For more information on Arai helmets go to www.araiamericas.com.
Arai is the only company offering multiple interior-fit shapes to better address the infinite variety of riders’ head shapes and sizes. No one pays more attention to the subtle variations and infinite possibilities of the human head shape than Arai. Why? Because it’s the secret to getting the best comfort and fit. For more than three decades, Arai has pioneered different shapes – and even different proportions within those shapes – in our various helmet models, working to offer a better fit for more people.
Arai’s Hyper Ridge Construction circles around the shell and acts as a shock absorber like an automobile bumper, which improves shell strength around the bottom opening of the helmet and mitigates the spread of cracks in the shell in the event of an impact.
Each hand-built Arai helmet shell incorporates a continuous curve radius of at least 75mm, making our shells round, smooth and strong. There are no exaggerated protrusions or hard sharp angles in the shell. This aspect is a foundational basis for Arai shells, which we call R75. This R75 characteristic describes a shell shape that is rounder and smoother, which is better suited to deal with the unpredictable nature of impacts coming from any direction
Shells developed by Arai are made using Super Fiber. Super Fiber has 30 percent more strength than conventional fiberglass, and is six times more expensive compared to other, similar fibers. Only Arai uses Super Fiber for its helmets.
MXA TECH SPEC: FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE 2020 YAMAHA YZ450F
(1) Ergos. The 2020 Yamaha YZ450F has the worst ergonomics of all the 2020 450 motocross bikes. It is wide, tall, bulky and heavy. And, that doesn’t take into account that it weighs 15 pounds more than the lightest bike in its class. The MXA wrecking crew focused on two areas to make the YZ450F more comfortable:
Handlebar position. For some reason, probably because Yamaha’s in-house test rider Travis Preston has long arms, Yamaha moved the handlebars 16.5mm farther forward. Yamaha wanted to get the rider farther forward on the bike, but the width of the gas tank nullifies this. The majority of MXA test riders thought the bar setup was awkward when sitting and lessened their ability to get added leverage on the bars when there were pitch issues. We put the bar mounts back to where they were last year (in the back hole with the bar mounts rotated forward).
The seat. With the stock seat, you feel like you are sitting in a hole—an unpadded hole. How unpadded? In 2019, Yamaha YZ450F increased the foam density by 16 percent. Guess what? They increased it by 10 percent more in 2020. Anyone betting on another 10 percent in 2021? For our taller test riders, we ran a 20mm-taller GYTR seat (and we put the handlebars back to the stock 16.5-inches farther-forward position). This setup helped lessen the cramped footpeg-to-saddle height for tall riders; however, short riders hated this mod because the bars lifted their arms up. And with the tall seat, they couldn’t touch the ground.
(2) Maps. Yamaha has a dedicated button on the clutch side of the handlebars that allows the rider to switch between the stock map and a performance map (the performance map will be indicated by the button lighting up). As a bonus, you can change maps on the fly. If you do nothing, then both maps will have the identical stock map, regardless of the light. Yamaha is the only brand that allows you to change maps with your smartphone. The fuel and ignition maps have 16 programmable boxes, and you can change the fuel in 2-percent increments and advance/retard the ignition in 1-degree increments. Most MXA test riders preferred the TP-3 (Travis Preston) map over the stocker or the other pre-programmed maps on the Yamaha app. The Preston map (above) took away the jerkiness at low throttle settings and produced a much smoother overall powerband.
(3) Air filter. We hate the 2019–’20 Yamaha YZ450F airbox and air filter design. Yamaha uses a flat piece of foam that lies on top of the backfire screen like a piece of toast. Every time the engine pulses, which can be 10,000 times a minute, the air filter vibrates against the wire screen. The constant pulsing and suction dries up the air filter oil and eventually sucks dirt through the dry spot in the foam. There are two fixes.
First, run a Twin Air YZ450F air filter (part number 152221). It features a much thicker foam filter plus a plug-in, top-hat style spacer that lifts the Twin Air filter off the backfire screen to lessen the repetitive pounding against the screen.
Second, Twin Air offers the best fix in the form of its Power Flow kit. It includes a new airbox sealing ring (that eliminates the backfire screen), aluminum cage (that goes inside the air filter instead of on top of it) and dome-shaped air filter (that replaces the piece of toast). If you don’t replace the stock air filter with the Twin Air design, be sure to check it constantly. If you see a white circle in the center of the air filter, re-oil the filter immediately.
As a side note, we used a leftover, Twin Air, rivet-on, humpback, airbox cover from the 2018 YZ450F Power Flow kit to double the air volume of our 2020 YZ450F airbox—and gained several horsepower.
(4) Gearing. In 2018 the YZ450F gear revved out too quickly, only to be met by a sluggish third gear. So, MXA switched the stock 13/48-tooth gearing for a lower 13/49 combination. We liked the gear ratios a lot better because they made third gear more accessible. When the 2019 model was released, lo and behold, Yamaha had adopted MXA’s “add one tooth on the rear” solution. The 2020 YZ450F still has the 13/49, and it is about perfect.
(5) Weight. At 238 pounds, the 2020 Yamaha YZ450F is 3 pounds lighter than the very heavy Suzuki RM-Z450 but 15 pounds heavier than the 450 class’ lightweight champion, the 223-pound KTM 450SXF. You can’t do much about the majority of the bulk, but you would be well-served to focus on the unsprung weight. The first thing to look for is lighter tires than the stock Dunlop MX33 tires.
BREAKING NEWS: GRANDS PRIX OF RUSSIA, LATVIA, ITALY & FRANCE GET NEW DATES—MXGP SCHEDULE SCRAMBLED
Yesterday we printed the news that the 2020 French Motocross Grand Prix could not be held on its June 28th date under orders from French president Emmanuel Macron, who banned all mass public events until mid-July in France (which includes delays for the Tour De France and the French Formula 1 Grand Prix). We also said that the June 7 Russian Grand Prix was “iffy,” and that when these events were rescheduled they would shuffle the current MXGP schedule. Well, 24 hours later, the MXGP organizers have come out with a new race schedule. It’s been shuffled!
The MXGP organizers said, “Due to the global situation of the Covid-19 pandemic, further changes have been made in order to ensure the health and safety of the staff, teams, riders and fans. Infront Moto Racing alongside with the FIM, FIM Europe and the local organisers are working hard to preserve as much of the 2020 FIM Motocross World Championship calendar as possible.” Here are the new changes and a revised MXGP schedule.
(1) French GP: There is no new date for the French Grand Prix, but it will not be on June 28, 2020. MXGP is still looking for a date and have no plans to cancel the French GP.
(2) Russian Grand Prix: The Russian Grand Prix was scheduled for June 7, 2020, at Orlyonok, but has now been moved to July 5, which was on the schedule as the date of the Italian Grand Prix in Maggiora.
(3) Latvian Grand Prix: The Latvian Grand Prix will move from June 14 to July 12 in Kegums (July 12 has been an open date from when the first 2020 MXGP schedule was announced).
(4) Italian Grand Prix (Maggiora). The Maggiora round of the 2020 MXGP schedule will be moved for a second time; first from April to July 5 and now to July 19.
(5) Italian Grand Prix (Trentino): The second Italian MXGP in Trentino was scheduled for July 19, but has been moved to October 4, 2020, to make room for Maggiora to take the July 19 date. Having three rounds in Italy is a little excessive for what is supposed to be a “World” Championship, but Italy will get GPs at Maggiora on July 19, Imola on September 20 and Trentino on October 4 .
(6) Motocross des Nations: The date of the Motocross des Nations remains on September 27, 2020, which means that there could be as many of seven World Championships rounds to be held after the 2020 MXDN—plus the USA will most likely still be racing the remaining rounds of the 2020 AMA Supercross Championship and will not field a team (meaning that only European-based Americans would be available for the Team USA and they would probably not get AMA or industry funding).
THE LATEST 2020 WORLD MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
Mar. 1…Matterley, Great Britain (Held)
Mar. 8…Valkenswaard, Holland (Held)
July 5…Russia, Orlyonok,
July 12…Kegums, Latvia
July 19…Maggiora, Italy
July 26…Loket, Czech Republic
Aug. 2…Lommel, Belgium
Aug. 9…Teutschenthal, Germany
Aug. 16…Uddevalla, Sweden
Aug. 23…KymiRing, Finland
Sept. 6.…Afyonkarahisar, Turkey
Sept. 13…Shanghai, China
Sept. 20…Imola, Italy
Oct. 4…Trentino, Italy
Oct. 11..Arroyomolinos, Spain
Oct. 18…Agueda, Portgual
Nov. 1…Jakarta, Indonesia
Nov. 8…TBA, Indonesia
Nov. 22…Neuquen, Argentina
TBA…St. Jean d’Angely, France
MXA TEAM TESTED: DR.D 2019-2020 YAMAHA YZ250F EXHAUST SYSTEM
WHAT IS IT? The MXA test crew liked the improvements that the Yamaha engineers made to the 2019-2020 YZ250F engine. It got a new straighter exhaust port, higher lift cams, higher compression ratio, 44mm Mikuni throttle body, larger clutch plates, reconfigured engine angle, repositioned radiators and the electric-starter motor was moved rearward. The end result of the 2019 engine mods was more power from 10,700 rpm through the top end. The previous 2018 engine was strong on the bottom and in the middle, but was relatively flat from 10,000 rpm to 12,800 rpm. The 2019 engine is a top-end powerplant that plays in KTM’s high-rpm bailiwick, but gives up bottom and mid from off-idle all the way to 10,000 rpm to the 2018 YZ250F. The DR.D 2019-2020 YZ250F pipe does not focus on where the YZ250F is strong; it tries to fix where it is weak. Plus, it does it for lower cost than the competition. Good plan.
WHAT’S IT COST? $659.95 (stainless/aluminum canister/magnesium end cap), $912.95 (stainless steel/carbon canister/magnesium end cap).
CONTACT? www.dubachracing.com or (951) 808-1114 or (877) 382-2241.
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the 2019-2020 Yamaha YZ250F DR.D Racing exhaust.
(1) DR.D NS-4 pipe. The YZ250F pipe is the best-selling exhaust in the DR.D lineup. It is lighter than the stock exhaust and comes with durable 304 stainless steel tubing. With its welded construction (no springs), lightweight magnesium end cap, removable bolts (not rivets) at the outlet cap and a stepped perforated core for increased durability, the DR.D 2019-2020 Yamaha YZ250F exhaust system is set apart from the exhaust-pipe crowd by its simplicity and low cost.
(2) DR.D power. Since Doug Dubach was the Yamaha test rider assigned to babysit the Yamaha YZ250F from prototype to production bike, he has more laps on the YZ250F than anyone on the planet. Doug is unique in that he doesn’t build a pipe with the idea of just chasing peak power and calling it a day. He prefers to spend time in the saddle and put the power where it does the most good. Because Doug took the time to ride and race the 2019-2020 Yamaha YZ250F, he knows exactly what the bike needs from an exhaust pipe. The DR.D Racing exhaust system did not change the high-rpm YZ250F into a midrange monster. Instead, it pumped up the existing YZ250F powerband from low to mid without changing the top-end hook. The added power from the DR.D exhaust helps get the bike out of the corners quicker, through the gears smoother and makes the transitional power more usable.
(3) Track testing. On the track, test riders reported that with the DR.D racing pipe, they could accelerate out of corners quicker. Best of all, it produced a better powerband because it kept what the YZ250F had but filled in what it didn’t have.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? Be sure to coat the slip-fit at the mid-pipe with anti-slip compound to help it come apart after the first use.
MXA RATING: This isn’t a dyno-queen exhaust system. This is a pipe for the working man built by the man responsible for the YZ250F in the first place. It delivers power where it can be used but without altering the character of the stock powerband.
MXA PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: MOTION PRO GASKET SCRAPER
When performing engine maintenance, replacing gaskets is required. Aged gasket material or adhesives can be stubborn and hard to remove without potential damage to the mating engine component surfaces. The Gasket Scraper is equipped to handle this task with ease, the ergonomic billet aluminum handle paired with precision slant cut blades provides users a comfortable approach for removing gasket material. The included brass blade helps eliminate gouging or cutting into precision engine surfaces. Brass is softer than aluminum, eliminating the concern of potential component damage.
Brass blade included safely removes paper gaskets from aluminum engine cases
Steel blade included for difficult to remove paper gaskets
Narrow, angled blades designed specifically for small, thin engine cases
Convenient blade storage in handle
Ergonomic billet aluminum handle
Replacement blades available
$29.99—www.motionpro.com or (650) 594-9600.
REVISED & UPDATED 2020 WORCS OFF-ROAD SCHEDULE
Although the WORCS Off-Road series completed their first two rounds back in January and February, the rest of their 2020 race schedule has been moved back and the dates and places altered. For example, the May 3rd Lake Havasu round has been moved to May 31st. The April 9th Blythe round moved to October 25th; The July 19th Prineville, Oregon, round has been canceled; The September 20th Glen Helen round stays the same (But it would be a doubleheader); The May 31st Mesquite, Nevada, round is now on October 10th; And, finally the November 15th Primm, Nevada, round was been moved back to December 6th.
Obviously, many of these dates are subject to change based on local and federal health mandates. For more information go to www.worcsracing.com
REVISED 2020 WORCS OFF-ROAD CHAMPIONSHIP
Jan. 26…Primm, NV (Held)
Feb. 23…Taft, CA (Held)
May 31…Mesquite, NV
June 14…Las Vegas, NV
Sept. 20…Glen Helen, CA
Sept. 27…Cahuilla Creek, CA
Oct. 25…Blythe, CA
Nov. 15 …Primm, NV
Dec. 6…Havasu, AZ
HAVE YOU SEEN THE MAY 2020 ISSUE OF MXA? THE BEST OF AMERICAN MOTOCROSS
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THE BIKE TESTS INSIDE THE MAY ISSUE OF MXA
GLEN HELEN TO HOLD WEEKLY GIVE-AWAYS UNTIL THE RACETRACK CAN BE OPENED
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