*Originally printed in our September issue, this beautiful GEICO Honda was too beautiful not to throw up for you here online. Leave us a comment with what bike and mechanic you’d like for us to shoot next!
Photos by Mike Emery | @emeryphoto
GEICO Honda's Adam Snyder
Hometown: Brushton, NY
Years Wrenching: 8
Rider: Tristan Charboneau
Past Riders: Dalton Myers, Shawn Rife, Matt Bisceglia, Malcolm Stewart
Growing up on the East Coast, Adam Snyder's path to championship success started off like many who find a love of two wheels. Mechanically inclined, Adam grew up tinkering on bikes with his father, and his first real crash course in wrenching came in the form of a used Suzuki RM125 that essentially exploded on its first ride. A new top-end and a few other electrical repairs later, Snyder had essentially started his mechanical career without even realizing it. He enrolled at MMI in Florida after high school, and from there the plan was always simple. "I had no intentions of working in a motorcycle dealership," he says with a laugh. "I only wanted to work for a race team." After 81 weeks of schooling, Snyder completed his education at MMI and hit the races with Dalton Myers as his race mechanic to learn the ropes of professional wrenching.
Snyder and Myers parted ways a couple years later, and following a few unanswered e-mails to Rick Zielfelder and the crew at Factory Connection/GEICO Honda in hopes they might be looking for a mechanic to add to the team, Snyder began searching for a more solid income. He applied for a job at a local paper mill, temporarily hanging up the wrenches, but he boldly told his new boss when he started, "The only way I'm going to leave here is if GEICO Honda calls me up and offers me a job." Four or five months later that exact call came through, and off he went, much to his boss' disappointment. After recently winning the 2016 250SX East Championship with Malcolm Stewart, it's obvious he made the right choice with his career. With Stewart opting to sit out of the rest of 2016 to focus on his 450-class debut, GEICO brought on Tristan Charboneau and teamed the now-experienced mechanic up with the fast new rookie. We visited the race shop and picked Snyder's brain on the details of Charboneau's GEICO Honda rocket ship.
Engine/Mapping: Everything is pretty much done in-house on our engines. The team builds them week in and week out for four riders, including the spares. We never have issues, and they're always very fast. Christian Kibby comes up with numerous mapping options, and they'll all get tested during the week. The general consensus from the riders is all the same—they like the package that delivers the most power!
Brakes: We use a completely stock rear brake setup, and Tristan is extremely hard on that. He's gotten that rear brake hotter than anyone else on the team has! In the front we run a full works system from the master cylinder down to the caliper, and a Moto Stuff 270-mm front rotor. For brake pads, stock is always the best. The front brake was a little bit gnarly for him at first, and I had to mellow that out a little by moving the brake lever in so the pull wasn't as powerful.
Suspension: We run KYB air forks, and we've been running them for a couple years. Our in-house Factory Connection suspension guys always work with KYB and factory Honda to come up with settings, and it's an ever-evolving thing. Tristan is running a similar suspension setting to the rest of the team, but they all obviously run different spring rates for the different sized riders.
R&D: In the past we'd run external engine oil coolers for the outdoor races, but lately we haven't after plenty of testing. The team did an oil analysis with AMSOIL where they didn't find any oil breakdown at those race temperatures, so they saw no need for the coolers. It was also one more thing hanging off the motorcycle that could break. It's like trying to live by the phrase "Keep it simple, stupid." Honda does a really good job of making a bike that's a solid base for us to do what we need to do.
Small Details: Tristan runs a lower-bend Pro Taper bar, and we helped Pro Taper develop a grip that's called the one-third waffle that works really well. For wheels, we run works Honda hubs and D.I.D hoops. Yoshimura makes all of our exhausts systems, which are carbon fiber in Supercross and titanium for the outdoors. The fuel tanks are carbon fiber, which is a really trick piece that allows for more fuel capacity. Another small detail you wouldn't notice is that we cut the excess sheathing off the cables to save that small amount of extra weight. There are a lot of small modifications to the stock components, but the most factory pieces on the bike are internal and we can't show you those!