MXA’S WEEKEND NEWS ROUND-UP: WHEN ONE DOOR CLOSES ANOTHER DOOR OPENS

• IS THE 2021 HONDA CRF450 WORKS EDITION CYLINDER HEAD, PORTED? POLISHED? OR WHAT?

The stock 2021 Honda CRF450 cylinder head is on the left and the CRF450 Works Edition head is on the right. See any differences? Look very closely.

Ever since Honda released the first CRF450 Works Edition in 2019, there has been a lot of confusion about what exactly differentiates a Works Edition cylinder head from a stocker. Some of the misinformation was caused by journalists mistaking the word “polished” for “ported” and using it interchangeability, even though the 2019 Honda CRF450WE was neither polished nor ported. But the bulk of the confusion has fallen directly at the feet of Honda. A quick perusal of their 2021 CRF450 Works Edition tech bulletins, features lists and press releases were sprinkled with contradictions. Here is a quick sample.

Honda’s wrote on different occasions in 2021 that the Works Edition “has a unique cylinder head with factory hand-polished ports for refined power characteristics.” And that, “The CRF450RWE gets some exclusive porting touches and engraving.” And finally, that the 2021 Honda CRF450 Works Edition’s upgrades “include a special hand-ported cylinder head.”

It is confusing and contradictory and we felt that the matter was settled when MXA tore down our 2019 CRF450 Works Edition engine to discover that the 2019 cylinder head was, “neither ported nor polished.”  But in 2021, with three official, but conflicting, press release versions of the CRF450 Works Edition cylinder head mods, we decided to tear it down again and shoot photos of what was done to the 2021 cylinder head. Here are the answers:

(1) Hand-polished ports. Nothing is polished in the Honda CRF450 Works Edition cylinder head. The phrase “factory hand-polished ports” make you conjured up images of a mirror-like finish on the inside of the ports, intake tract and exhaust passage. You can look at the photo above of the stock CRF450 head (left) and the Works Edition head (right) and see that nothing has been polished.

(2) Special hand-ported cylinder head. In a unique spin, the 2021 CRF450 Works Edition cylinder is closer to having “porting touches” than a “hand-ported cylinder head.”  That said, Honda may have told three different versions of what was done to the head, but at least it has been touched by a porting tool (which was in someone’s hand, making it hand-ported). However, there are no significant dimensional changes to the ports or their passages—which is by definition the gist of a port job. Instead, Honda touched up the lip between the valve seat and the cast aluminum cylinder to smooth the fuel’s transition into the combustion chamber and out of the combustion chamber. If you look closely at the Works Edition cylinder head below, you can see the marks in the aluminum where they matched the valve seats to the head casting.

Look closely at the intake pockets on the Works Edition head and you can see the marks where Honda matched the botttom edge of the valve seats to the cast aluminum cylinder. This is a good mod because it smooths out the air flow and eliminates the bump where the valve seat doesn’t line up perfectly with the head. The exhaust ‘s valve seat is also matched, but it is less important because the flow is from the valve seats out.

In short, Honda did hand-port the 2021 CRF450 Works Edition cylinder, but it comes miles short of the head porting done by engine builders like Pro Circuit, Twisted Development or XPR Motorsports.

• PICKUP TRUCK OF THE YEAR: 1963 HONDA T360 MINI PICKUP TRUCK

Honda has been the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer since 1959, reaching a production of 400 million units per year. They are also the world’s largest manufacturer of internal combustion engines — 14 million a year. They may be a massive automobile powerhouse in 2020, but their first production automobile was a lot less impressive. In 1963 Honda made the T360 mini pick-up truck. It was powered by a 356cc, double-overhead-cam, four-cylinder engine that was mid-mounted under the truck’s bench seat. The engine generated 30 horsepower at a very high 8500 rpm. Production ran from 1963 to 1968 with 108,920 T360s being manufactured. Every one of them was painted blue. The T360 was followed a few months later by Honda’s first actual automobile, S500 sports car, which was chain-driven.

THE APRIL MXA IS HERE: INSIDE IS THE BUELL 450 GRIFFON, MXA 450 SHOOTOUT & THE BETA MOTOCROSS TWO-STROKE

What’s in the newest issue of MXA? How about a thorough 20-page 450 Shootout with all seven 2021 450s, plus there accurate weights, prices and dyno charts. We also test the 2021 Beta 300RX motocross-specific two-stroke and the 2021 Gas Gas MC 250F. We take our 2021 Kawasaki KX450X to the Lake Havasu WORCS and ride Mike Alessi’s Yamaha YZ134. And those are just the bike tests! We also have an in depth interview with Dave Osterman about hopscotching though almost every team on the AMA Pro circuit and a Classic Iron on the Rickman Bultaco and how 24 of the 95 Rickman Bultacos made ended up being black marketed to America by Bud Ekins.

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• MXA PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: POLISPORT GOLD AND BLUE “METAL FLOW” KTM PLASTIC

If your goal is to turn some heads and stand out, these new kits are the ones for you. Polisport has releases new plastic kits for KTM SX and SXF models that include these two new exclusive colors. This bike features gold “Metal Flow” on the front and blue “Metal Flow” on the back.

Polisports Gold “Metal Flow” Kits will transform the front number plate, front fender and fork guards on your bike to a never before seen color.

The rest of the new Polisport plastic kit can be completed in black plastic or Blue “Metal Flow.” See your local dealer to order.

• WHO’S WHO IN THE SUPERCROSS ZOO? AFTER SATURDAY’S RACE THE SUPERCROSS SERIES PUTS TEXAS IN ITS REAR VIEW MIRROR

Cooper Webb won Arlington 1 , 2 and 3  and has a 15 points over Ken Roczen.  Webb has won 6 of the 12 race so far in 2021.

2021 AMA 450 SUPERCROSS POINTS STANDINGS
(After 12 of 17 races)
1. Cooper Webb (KTM)…275
2. Ken Roczen (Hon)…260
3. Eli Tomac (Kaw)…234
4. Justin Barcia (Gas)…214
5. Aaron Plessinger (Yam)…183
6. Malcolm Stewart (Yam)…179
7. Jason Anderson (Hus)…171
8. Dylan Ferrandis (Yam)…153
9.Joey Savatgy (KTM)…138
10. Marvin Musquin (KTM)…136

Hunter Lawrence won last week, wore the Red Plate as the points leader, butend up losing first place in the points and dropped back to third in the 250 West stadings, but only by 6 points.

2021 AMA 250 WEST SUPERCROSS POINTS STANDINGS
(After 5 of 9 races)
1. Justin Cooper (Yam)…108
2. Cameron McAdoo (Kaw)…106
3. Hunter Lawrence (Hon)…102
4. Jalek Swoll (Hus)…93
5. Garrett Marchbanks (Yam)…93
6. Seth Hammaker (Kaw)…88
7. Chris Blose (Gas)…68
8. Kyle Peters (Hon)…63
9. Coty Schock (Hon)…57
10. Nate Thrasher (Yam)…56

Colt Nichols leads the 250 East by 8 points over teammate Christian Craig. The 250 East doesn’t race again until April 24 in Salt Lake City.

2021 AMA 250 EAST SUPERCROSS POINTS STANDINGS
(After 7 of 9 races)
1. Colt Nichols (Yam)…166
2. Christian Craig (Yam)…158
3. Jo Shimoda (Kaw)…138
4. Jett Lawrence (Hon)…128
5. Josh Osby (Hon)…103
6. Michael Mosiman (Gas)…97
7. Mitchell Oldenburg (Hon)…91
8. Josh Varize (KTM)…81
9. Thomas Do (KTM)…74
10. Grant Harlan (Hon)…71

2021 AMA SUPERCROSS WINNERS AT A GLANCE

Cooper Webb, here with mechanic Carlos Rivera, has been amazing so far. He never gives up, keeps charging and has won 6 of the 12 races so far

Venue                                                                       450                                    250
Jan. 16 (Sat)…Houston, TX…………….Justin Barcia…………….Christian Craig
Jan. 19 (Tues)….Houston, TX………….Eli Tomac………………….Jett Lawrence
Jan. 23 (Sat)…Houston, TX…………….Cooper Webb…………..Colt Nichols
Jan. 30 (Sat)…Indianapolis, IN……….Ken Roczen………………Colt Nichols
Feb. 2 (Tues)….Indianapolis, IN……..Ken Roczen………………Colt Nichols
Feb. 6 (Sat)…Indianapolis, IN…………Ken Roczen………………Christian Craig
Feb. 13 (Sat)…Orlando, FL……………..Cooper Webb………….Jett Lawrence
Feb. 20 (Sat)…Orlando, FL……………..Cooper Webb………….Justin Cooper
Mar. 6 (Sat)…Daytona Beach, FL…..Eli Tomac…………………..Cameron McAdoo
Mar. 13 (Sat)…Arlington, TX………….Cooper Webb…………..Seth Hammaker
Mar. 16 (Tues)… Arlington, TX……….Cooper Webb…………..Hunter Lawrence
Mar. 20 (Sat)…Arlington, TX………….Cooper Webb…………..Justin Cooper
Mar. 27 (Sat)…No race
Apr. 3 (Sat)…No race
Apr. 10 (Sat)…Atlanta, GA……………….
Apr. 13 (Tues)…Atlanta, GA…………….
Apr. 17 (Sat)…Atlanta, GA………………
Apr. 24 (Sat)…Salt Lake City, UT…….
May 1 (Sat)…Salt Lake City, UT………
450 points leader…Cooper Webb
250 East points leader…Colt Nichols
250 West points leader…Justin Cooper

• 2021 GLEN HELEN TT SCRAMBLES RACING SCHEDULE: NEXT RACE MARCH 28

For more information send email to [email protected]

MXA TEAM TESTED: MOTOOL SLACKER V4 BLUETOOTH SAG SCALE

The Motool Slacker V4 digital sag scale was created to help riders get more comfort and performance out of their motorcycles by helping them check their sag in an easier and quicker way. The amount of free sag and race sag your bike has directly correlates with its balance on the track. Motool has been producing Slacker digital suspension tuners since 2012. The V4 is the fourth-generation tuner and the first with Bluetooth accessibility for smartphones and the option to purchase a wireless remote that allows you to check your sag all by yourself (without help).

The Motool Slacker digital sag scale was created as an innovative replacement for the old-school, ruler-type sag sticks. All you had to do was turn the power on, hook the 32-inch cable to your fender, zero out the scale and have your buddy read your race sag off the screen (the original Slacker also came with a digital remote that was plugged into the Slacker unit so that you could read your own sag while sitting on your bike). The updates on the new Slacker V4 Bluetooth model simplify the task of checking your sag by making it a one-person job instead of a two-person job. Previously, if you wanted to check the sag on your Slacker scale by yourself, you had to plug the digital remote reader into the scale and dangle the wire from the handlebars to the rear wheel. Now, with Bluetooth capabilities, the remote is wireless. Plus, if you forget your remote at home or you’d prefer not to spend extra money on it, you can view your sag measurements on your smartphone.

Previously, checking your sag required you to sit on the bike and have another person measure the amount of sag at the rear fender. To utilize the Bluetooth capabilities and check your sag by yourself, we recommend balancing on your bike by holding onto the top frame of an E-Z UP or by resting your arm on a truck. For accurate readings, make sure that your bike is on flat ground and your arm is only being used for balance and not to hold any of your weight.

The Motool Service Assistant app is available to download for free on Apple and Android devices. It turns your smartphone into a virtual remote display, giving you real-time readings on your sag measurements. Simply connect via Bluetooth from your smartphone to the app like you would when connecting your phone to the stereo in your vehicle. Additionally, the app provides a space for you to record measurements and keep notes on multiple bikes and their suspension settings.

If you don’t want to bother with a smartphone, Motool has answered MXA’s wishes and updated its remote LCD display with new wireless capabilities. Using the remote is the simplest way to measure sag by yourself in the garage late at night.

The new V4 Slacker comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. If your bike doesn’t handle better after adjusting your sag with the Slacker V4 digital suspension tuner, you can return it, no questions asked. Plus, it comes with a two-year warranty if you have any structural issues with the Slacker.

DIGITS? $159.99 (main unit only), $189.99 (Slacker V4 + wireless remote display)www.motool.com or (800) 741-7702.

MXA RATING: The Motool Slacker V4 digital suspension tuner will be your new best friend. It was created by racers for racers. Riders should check their sag at regular intervals to compensate for slop on the shock’s spring and internal valving. Being able to do it yourself means that you can do it whenever you like. 

• MXA TESTS HAIDEN “DANGER BOY” DEEGAN’S KTM 112 TWO-STROKE

2021 AMA SUPERCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP IS UP TO ROUND 13 (BUT FIRST A TWO-WEEK BREAK)

2021 AMA SUPERCROSS TV SCHEDULE: NO NEW SHOW UNTIL APRIL 10 IN ATLANTA

*Same-day delay, ^ Taped coverage, All times Eastern

MXA FIRST RIDE VIDEO: 2021-1/2 HUSQVARNA FC450 ROCKSTAR EDITION

MXA FIRST RIDE VIDEO: 2021-1/2 KTM 450SXF FACTORY EDITION

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KEEPING TRACK OF THE 2021 RACE SCHEDULES


The 2021 Supercross series has two weeks off before heading to a triple header (Saturday/Tuesday/Saturday) at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

REVISED 2021 AMA SUPERCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP (UPDATED)
Jan. 16 (Saturday)…Houston, TX
Jan. 19 (Tuesday)….Houston, TX
Jan. 23 (Saturday)…Houston, TX
Jan. 30 (Saturday)…Indianapolis, IN
Feb. 2 (Tuesday)….Indianapolis, IN
Feb. 6 (Saturday)…Indianapolis, IN
Feb. 13 (Saturday)…Orlando, FL
Feb. 20 (Saturday)…Orlando, FL
Mar. 6 (Saturday)…Daytona Beach, FL
Mar. 13 (Saturday)…Arlington, TX
Mar. 16 (Tuesday)… Arlington, TX
Mar. 20 (Saturday)…Arlington, TX
Apr.10 (Saturday)…Atlanta, GA
Apr.13 (Tuesday)…Atlanta, GA
Apr.17 (Saturday)…Atlanta, GA
Apr. 24 (Saturday)…Salt Lake City, UT
May 1 (Saturday)…Salt Lake City, UT

2021 AMA KICKER ARENACROSS CHAMPIONSHIP
Jan. 8…….Starkville, MS
Jan. 9…….Starkville, MS
Jan. 15…….Lubbock, TX
Jan. 16…….Lubbock, TV
Jan. 22…….Guthrie, OK
Jan. 23…….Guthrie, OK
Jan. 29…….Denver, CO
Jan. 30…….Denver, CO
Feb. 5…….Tampa, Fl
Feb. 6…….Tampa, Fl
Mar. 5…….Amarillo, TX
Mar. 6…….Amarillo, TX

2021 AMA NATIONAL MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP
May 29…Pala, CA
Jun 5…Thunder Valley, CO
June 19…Mt. Morris, PA
June 26…Southwick, MA
July 3…Red Bud, MI
July 17….Millville, MN
July 24….Washougal, WA
Aug. 14…Unadilla, NY
Aug. 21…Budds Creek, MD
Aug. 28…Crawfordsville, IN
Sept. 4…Pala, CA
Sept.11…Hangtown, CA

2021 PROVISIONAL GRAND PRIX SCHEDULE (REVISED)
May 23…Oss, Holland,
Jun. 13…Orlyonok, Russia
Jun. 20…Kegums, Latvia
Jul. 4…Borobudur, Java
Jul. 11…Semarang, Indonesia
Jul. 25…Locket, Czech Republic
Aug. 1…Lommel, Belgium
Aug 8…Uddevall, Sweden
Aug. 22…KimiRing, Finland
Aug. 29…Igora, Russia
Sep. 12…Afyonkarahisar, Turkey
Sep. 19…TBA
Oct. 3…Teutschenthal, Germany
Oct. 10…St. Jean d’Angely, France
Oct. 17…Intu Xanadu, Spain
Oct. 24…Agueda, Portugal
Oct. 31…TBA, Italy
Nov. 7…TBA, China
Nov. 21…TBA, Argentina

2021 SCOTTISH NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Mar. 27/28…Tain
Apr. 24/25…Duns
May 15/16..Lochgilphead
Jun. 26/27..Reserve date
Jul. 10… Doune (Youth)
Jul. 17…Doune (Adult )
Aug. 14/15…Rhynie
Sept. 4/5…Desertmartin, Northern Ireland

2021 AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Apr. 11…Wonthaggi, VIC
May 2 …Canberra, ACT
May 30…Gillman, SA
Jun. 27…Maitland, NSW
Jul. 25…Wodonga, VIC
Aug. 9…TBA, QLD
Aug. 14….Coolum, QLD
Aug. 14….Coolum, QLD

2021 ADAC GERMAN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Apr. 18…Dreetz
May 16…Moggers
Jun. 6…Reutlingen
Jul. 3…Bielstein
Jul. 18…Tensfeld
Sep. 5…Princely Drehna
Sep. 9…Gaildorf

2021 MOTOCROSS DES NATIONS
Sep. 26…Imola is out—new site TBA

2021 PARIS SUPERCROSS
Nov. 6-7…Paris, France

MXA’S FIRST RIDE ON THE 2021 HONDA CRF450 WORKS EDITION

MXA GOES INSIDE CHASE SEXTON’S FACTORY HONDA CRF450

• MXA PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: COOL LIDS FROM 6D HELMETS

ATR-2 Helo Red/White/Blue—$695.00

ATR-2 Danger Boy Matte Black—$695.00

ATR-2 Core Red/Black—$695.00

  ATR-1 Pace Orange/Blue/White—$495.00

ATR-1 Pace Red/White/Blue—$495.00

ATR-1 Switch Orange/Grey—$495.00

To see more 6D helmets go to www.6dhelmets.com

MXA AD OF THE WEEK: THE HIGH VOLTAGE FLAK JAK


The HRP Flak Jak was on of the most popular chest protector in the 1980s and 1980s. It feature suspended netting under the shoulder cups with ar cells pads. And it came in a wide variety of colors, none more electrifying than 1993’s translucent electric yellow, electric blue, electric purple and electric green version. Steve Lamson was the model. HRP stood for Hannah Racing Products.

• MXA PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: WP XPLOR PRO AIR FORK COMBINES CONE VALVES AND AIR FOR OFF-ROAD USE

WP has announce the launch of the new WP XPLOR Pro Air Fork. The split system, equipped with a combination of WP AER technology, Cone Valve technology and closed-cartridge construction redefines the personal limits of any ambitious enduro fanatic and allows the perfect balance between extremely robust damping performance and the lightness and agility that is crucial for the perfect run to the podium.


With the new WP XPLOR Pro air fork, short-term changes in the track and other conditions are no problem. The air fork enables any adjustment of the air pressure directly at the AER fork leg for even big changes in driving dynamics on the trail or deep in the middle of nowhere. The fine tuning is performed by using easy and quickly accessible adjusters for compression and rebound.


Developed and proven in professional enduro sports, the XPLOR Pro air fork shines with WP Cone Valve technology and WP closed-cartridge design, which not only leads to unique response at high speeds, but also guarantees a constant damping performance with high puncture resistance after strong impacts.


The XPLOR Pro air fork will be available for the following motorcycles: KTM XC-W (125-300), KTM EXC/XCF-W (250-500), Husqvarna TE (150, 250, 300), Husqvarna FE (250, 350, 450, 501), GasGas EC (250, 300) and GasGas EC-F (250, 350). The new fork is available now for $499. To learn more go to www.wp-suspension.com.

MXA MOTO CHALLENGE QUIZ: WE WERE ALL YOUNG ONCE

Can you name this racer? He was a minicycle star in the 1970s with his own product line. When he turned Pro he was a top ten rider in the 125 Nationals, with 16 top five finishes.  He was sixth in the 1983 125 National, fourth in the 1984 125 Nationals and fourth in the 1985 125 Nationals. His one-and-only AMA National win was in the 125 class at Washougal in 1985.  Can you name him? Answer at the bottom of the page.

• THIS SATURDAY NIGHT’S ARLINGTON 3 TRACK LAYOUT

2021 FIM WORLD MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP STARTS ON MAY 23

2021 AMA NATIONAL MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP STARTS ON MAY 29

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Photos:  Honda, Jody Weisel, KTM, GasGas, Yamaha, Brian Converse, 6D, Polisport, MXA

QUIZ ANSWER: A.J. Whiting. Known for his logo of an Ace and Jack playing cards. A.J. won the 1985 Washougal 125 National when the factory teams pulled all of their factory riders from the 125 and 500 classes to focus on trying to win the 250 National Championship—leaving the Washougal National wide open for A.J. Whiting in the 125 class and Eric Eaton in the 500 class.

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