Drool-Worthy | Factory Honda

An Inside Look at Honda's Race Bikes

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There are a few things that we as moto fans simply can't get enough of. Sure, the racing action and insanely talented riders are the main attraction when the gate drops – but what about the machinery these top-level talents are racing on? Uncountable hours of R&D, full teams dedicated to the development of new parts, top-secret internal details that you couldn't pay to see, and all of the exotic materials you could think of are only part of the draw. We love all of the details, and wanted to showcase all this beauty to you. Welcome to Drool-Worthy, in-depth looks at each of the six major manufacturer’s factory 450 and 250 race efforts.

Based on history alone, it would be an understatement to say that Team Honda HRC is iconic. Through 42 years of racing (currently embarked on their 43rd) team Honda HRC has seen 28 premier class titles, and that’s not even counting it’s efforts in the small-bore class. They also introduced a brand new model in 2017 that turned heads alone with its massive overall changes. With the acquisition of Ken Roczen this year, their hopes to regain a premier class Supercross championship were higher than ever. Unfortunately three rounds in Ken Roczen’s title run came to a quick halt when he his the deck in the main in a brutal get-off. Teammate Cole Seely is still charging on, and grabbed his first podium at Anaheim Two keeping the 450 team’s efforts all in.

On the 250 side of the race effort, longtime top-tier team GEICO Honda sends a five rider team of rookie Chase Sexton, Jimmy Decotis, Christian Craig, RJ Hampshire, and Jeremy Martin and has certainly earned Honda’s backing. With championship-proven assets, GEICO Honda looks to add more hardware to the trophy shelf in 2017. We stopped by both Team Honda HRC and GEICO Honda for some photos and details of each machine.

Photos by Mike Emery | @emeryphoto

All new. Honda’s 2017 CRF450R had almost as much hype as the guys riding it coming into the new year, but this particular CRF450R is tuned just a little bit further than stock!

This factory Nissan billet front brake caliper is a thing of beauty, and works as good as it looks.

Although the stock CRF450R comes equipped with Showa spring forks, Ken opts to use the factory KYB air fork option that the team has developed in recent years. Another piece to note is the stock titanium fuel tank, which is much more modest than Team HRC’s beautiful custom tanks they run in the MXGP series.

A closer look at the heart of the beast. That cool color inside cover on the power plant? Magnesium.

More details, including the titanium Yoshimura exhaust. Notice the start button at the top of this photo? That’s there as a backup if the main start switch on the handlebar gets broken off in a tip-over.

Tucked away is the starter motor, which is available to the public as an add-on for around $800 total.

These factory machines leave no detail overlooked, and this solid rear brake master cylinder is proof as the window is removed so the chance of breaking it and losing the rear brake is impossible.

Adding both Ken Roczen and Cole Seely’s logo’s onto their hubs are a nice personalized touch.

The back side of the bike features dual titanium Yoshimura mufflers with carbon fiber end caps.

More personalized touches, and note the placement of the starter switch being in a spot that’s least likely to be hit in a tip-over as well.

Ken’s shock is also KYB, and you can be sure they don’t divulge any details of settings when it comes to suspension!

Jeremy Martin’s 2017 GEICO Honda CRF450R entered the new year with some rad new looks, as the team is always known to have great looking (and performing) machines.

Part of the looks come from their team sponsor Cycra, who provides these Powerflow plastic kits that look as cool as they perform.

Nothing is overlooked, and this safety wire at the steering stem is just one place you’ll find safeguarded like this. Note the KYB spring forks that Jeremy chooses to run after taking a liking to them during testing.

 Shhhhhh….keep quiet please. Foam is added in key places to help with the stringent sound testing in the pits.

More foam behind these carbon fiber Yoshimura mufflers…

You can be sure that Factory Connection has plenty of options for their KYB rear shock settings.

This red Pro Taper sprocket adds a nice touch to the rear of the bike.

More front blake bling.

GEICO Honda has developed many of their goodies in house, and also have Honda to lean on for any factory bits. Note the engine hangars that have the hole we originally saw on the 450 bikes last year. This aids in chassis flex and feel of the motorcycle.

While some of these linkage pieces appear stock, trust that they aren’t.

The other side of the power plant, complete with their custom GEICO Hinson clutch cover.

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