TEN THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MXA BIKE TESTS
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(1) 72,059. Using result from a recent year’s worth of bike tests, between the MXA staffers and a few freelance contributors, our photographers hit the trigger 72,059 times to capture the content for 12 issues of Motocross Action Magazine. That constitutes 576 gigabytes of data (which is more memory than Neil Armstrong’s moon lander had) that is stored and backed up on MXA’s servers. Only 1/45th of those photos actually made it into the magazine.
(2) 1636. Through 12 issues of Motocross Action Magazine, in a typical year only 1636 photos were used in the magazine out of the 72,059 that were snapped by our photographers. It’s not that our photographers use the spray-and-pray method of shooting; it’s just that they make sure to get every possible angle. When we sit down to lay out the next issue, some shots just work better than others.
(3) 66. On average, the MXA wrecking crew tests and writes full reviews on 66 different machines a year. That averages out to 5.5 bikes per month. Out of those 66 bikes, eight were full-factory bikes such as Cooper Webb’s outdoor YZ250F, Jason Anderson’s Supercross FC450 and Junya Takenaka’s full-works RM-Z250WS. Twenty-three were project bikes that either MXA built or someone built for us. Within the year, we tested all of that year’s new model bikes as well as some of the next year’s bikes at the end of the year for a total number of 35 new model bike tests. Not bad for a year’s worth of work.
(4) 19. We took the 66 bikes we tested and rode them on 19 different racetracks scattered around the country, with a few being in Europe or Japan. We test and ride different tracks because you do. This helps us understand how bikes run and handle in different terrain, weather and altitudes.
(5) 72. For each bike MXA tests, an action shoot takes place with one of our photo riders for the magazine. If you haven’t noticed, the test riders wear a new set of gear for each shoot. That adds up to 66 new sets of gear in a year. Not only is the gear new, we virtually never run the same color gear twice. So, why did we write the number 72 at the start of this paragraph? The other 6 sets of gear were used for product tests.
(6) 35. MXA is in the business of testing the best and worst products on the market. In an average year the wrecking crew tests 35 different exhaust systems on an assortment of different bikes and in pipe shootouts. Some were good, others great and a few horrible. For many of the different test pipes, the wrecking crew had a hand in the development process — by rejecting prototype pipes until they were redesigned.
(7) 27. There was once a time when the must popular boot colors were black and white. Since black doesn’t photograph well, MXA almost always uses white boots. Not many companies made more than the two colors anyway. In the last few years, however, boot companies such as Gaerne, Fox, Alpinestars, Fly and Sidi have broken the mold of the plain Jane white-and-black boots by offering bold and bright colors. So, instead of just having one or two pairs of white boots from each company, we went through a total of 27 different boots of all different color ways in 2015.
(8) 17. Although there are hundreds of orange helmets in the MXA arsenal, the majority of them are retired to the upper shelves of Jody’s barn. We don’t use a helmet after it has been crashed, but replace it with a new one. Right now, our new helmet stock is 16 size mediums and 1 size small (for our minicycle test rider) in rotation (to fit the MXA mold, you must have a medium-size head). We have multiples of each helmet, although we rotate them to keep them looking fresh for photos.
(9) 59. For each photo shoot, we want our riders to look their best. Not only do they wear new gear, but for each shoot they have a new set of goggles as well. Last year, our testers used 59 pairs of goggles for photo shoots only. If the goggle still looked new after a single use, we used it again, but never for a third time.
(10) 936. With all the riding that the wrecking crew does, we go through a lot of gas. On average, we burn through 18 gallons of gas per week for test session (and even more for weekly racing). Our test gas usage equals 936 gallons per year. The majority of the gas we use is 91 octane, although in some of the project bikes and two-strokes we run either straight race gas or a 50/50 blend of race gas and pump gas to keep the bikes running smoothly. If we need race fuel for a test bike, we use VP Racing Fuel for consistency.
Helmet photo: Jon Ortner