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fairchildscaleMXA’s Fairchild.

When we ran a photo on MXA’s Facebook page of Jody weighing our 2017 CRF450 to see how much it weighs with the electric starter kit installed, it generated a 172 comments—three of them made fun of MXA’s scale. The readers said, “So that’s those MXA precision scales I’ve read about all these years!” Or “Jody, I to am a fan of the tried and true methods. But I think we can update the Ole grain scale for a digital.” And, “Not sure if I trust that scale.” We appreciate all the comments, good and bad, but we have tried digital scales and found that the “tried and true method” was the most accurate.

When you are weighing heavy objects, like motocross bikes, and need an accurate weight the best scale to use is an old-school graduated beam floor scale. A graduated beam scale uses counter weighs to accurately measure the total weight via a series of levers. You might note that when you go to your doctor, he has you stand on a Detecto graduated beam scale because the medical field wants an accurate weight every time you show up (without the fade of spring scales or the inconsistency of strain-gauge digital scales}. If you want to test the accuracy of your digital bathroom scale, step on it before you head to your next doctor’s appointment and then compare that weight to the doctor’s graduated beam Detecto. The digital will be off by a couple pounds.

MXA uses the Rolls-Royce of mechanical graduated beam scales — a Fairchild scale. Yes, it is old fashioned and actually old, but even though it is not wi-fi equipped, MXA’s scale can accurately weigh up to 1000 pounds. It works by placing an object on the platform and adding weights to the balance beam (the sliding balance scale can weigh up to 100 pounds, while MXA has a 500 pound, two 200 pound and a 100 pound counter weights (which are used in combination to get the balance beam to center itself). For motocross bikes, we used one 200 pound weight and the sliding scale (we deduct the weight of the bike stand to get the total weight).We have weighed offroad four-strokes that have exceeded 300 pounds.

There is no mystery to a scale that was invented in 1830 and used by the U.S. Post Office. The weight is accurate (because mechanical scales do not drift much over time—and we check our scale by weighing free weights from Jody’s gym—which he doesn’t use anymore). Plus they can be recalibrated with hand tools. The big downside of a mechanical graduated beam scale is that it is expensive. MXA’s American-made Fairchild scale would cost close to $1000 to buy today if you could find one of equal solid construction—and that modern version would be a knock-off made in China. Luckily, our Fairchild was bought years ago, when a dollar went farther.

This is modern Fairchild Graduated Beam Scale. It’s made in China.

As for weighing the bikes, we drain the fuel out of the gas tank, following the lead of both the AMA and FIM. Weighing bikes with fuel in the tank tells you more about the weight of fuel than that of the machine—and punishes bikes that offers two gallon gas tanks instead of 1.5 gallon tanks (which is a 3 pound difference). Oh yeah, the electric start 2017 Honda CRF450 weighs between 240 and 243 pounds depending on what battery you use.


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