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.
Diving into the deep blue sea of factory Yamaha, this edition of Drool-Worthy spotlights Chad Reed's YZ450F and Aaron Plessinger's YZ250F. Yamaha has a strong history when it comes to racing dirt bikes, and the re-acquisition of Chad Reed along with the reincarnation of their 450 factory race effort last year was a huge stride for the brand after a few "off" years. Running the series as team Monster Energy/Yamalube/Chaparral/Yamaha Financial Services/Yamaha, rookie Cooper Webb joins the squad as Chad's protégé and has plenty of accolades to his own name in the small bore class.
In the 250 classes, the Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha team has been a front-running team as of the past few years. Leading their championship efforts has been the aforementioned Cooper Webb, but their strong team of Aaron Plessinger, Dan Reardon, Mitchell Harrison, and Colt Nichols enter the year ready for battle. We snapped some photos of Reed's YZ450F and Plessinger's YZ250F, so you can stare at them for as long as you'd like!
Photos by Mike Emery | @emeryphoto
Widely regarded as an ace veteran tester, there isn't one part on Chad Reed's bike that he doesn't want on it. Judging by his podium finish in Phoenix, we're guessing the team is pretty happy with where they're at on setup.
Xtrig Clamps hold Renthal twinwall bars, with mapping options on the right side switch. One missing switch? Chad's beloved electric start button! Him and the team ended up ditching the start sytem through pre-season testing due to a few different reasons – one key factor being weight.
On the left side of the bars you'll find the master cylinder for the Rinaldi Racing /Yamaha hydraulic clutch system they run.
The business end of the hydraulic clutch.
Engine development is done in-house, using plenty of GYTR goodies mixed in ith an equal amount of unobtanium from factory Yamaha.
What's inside of Chad's KYB AOSS forks? Trust us, they'll never tell. On top is a PSF1 cap that adds to the tunability. Good suspension makes Chad happy.
The rear binder on Chad's bike is guarded by carbon, and surrounded by titanium bolts. It's the little things.
Full titanium systems by Pro Circuit are the exhaust of choice for the team, and look as good as they perform.
Intersting fact about Reed's machine? He prefers stock pegs, modified to be razor sharp. Finally, a part you can make yourself! Good luck sourcing the billet titanium peg mounts, though.
Moving on to Aaron Plessinger's bike, the Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha platform has proven to be a race winner.
Shiny and powerful, Yamaha's engine builders use both GYTR components and power delivery through the Rekluse TorqDrive system.
Unlike the 450 bikes, the team runs FMF pipes as they are partnered with the iconic brand. Note the writing on the mount – A1, SD, A2 – to keep track of how many races the pipe has gone through.
Far from many of the other factory bikes, the Star bikes utilize stock components like the caliper and line, but clamp onto an oversized Braking rotor.
On the opposite side of the brake is this custom carbon fiber lower guard.
KYB air forks hold up the front end of Plessinger's bike, matched to a KYB rear shock.
Kite hubs laced to Excel rims make up the rollers, and spec Dunlop tires find the traction on the track.
Yes, these titanium Raptor pegs are sharp.