Photos by Brendan Lutes
Assisted by Christie Oliver
Second to the actual racing, the most exciting aspect of the first round of any season are the new factory bikes. None have touched the dirt yet and all of them are prepped meticulously by each rider’s mechanic and team. Every year, we make a point to cruise the pits of Anaheim I to capture some of the factory machines before they hit the stadium dirt, get scratched, and become used. And this year, we managed to pack our studio lights around the A1 pits, photographing a true factory bike from every one of the five manufacturers--Yamaha, KTM, Honda, Kawasaki, and Suzuki. This post consists of numerous pages, so sit back, relax, and be sure you protect your keyboard from drool. Enjoy!
FACTORY RED BULL KTM
For 2014, the Red Bull KTM machines received a new graphic scheme along with new settings that the team undoubtable discovered during the off-season. We managed to shoot photos of both Ryan Dungey’s KTM 450SX-F and Dean Ferris’ 250SX-F.
FACTORY MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI
Both Ryan Villopoto and Jake Weimer ride nearly the exact same KX450F. On the surface, both bikes look very similar to last year’s aside from new graphics and green accents rather than blue.
ROCKSTAR ENERGY RACING KTM
The Rockstar Energy Racing KTM team is supported by Factory KTM and have all the same resources available to them as Dungey, Roczen, and the rest of the team. In addition to numerous trick parts on the bike Ivan Tedesco also had the WP Air Shock mounted on his bike for practice. Dungey ran the unit at one round last year, but had a major malfunction during his qualifying race, forcing him to ride the LCQ. Reportedly, the team has fixed the previous issues and are further developing the shock, as evidenced by the bikes that it was on at A1.
FACTORY YOSHIMURA SUZUKI
In now his second full season aboard a Yoshimura Suzuki, James Stewart is beginning to get everything dialed in. The bike’s set up is relatively standard with no crazy innovations or additions to speak of. After extensive testing, James is now running the Showa Triple Air Fork with easily some of the brightest fork tubes in the pits. The color isn’t just for looks, though, it is actually a coating that helps reduce stiction and improve fork action.
TEAM HONDA MUSCLE MILK
Even though Trey Canard is missing the first few rounds due to a broken arm in the off-season, both his bike and Justin Barcia’s were present at Anaheim I for us to take photos of them. Both bikes are remarkably similar, however, one major difference we noticed was that Barcia elects to run Renthal’s Fatbar while Canard runs the crossbar-equipped Twinwall.
Arguably some of the trickest looking bikes in the pits each and every year are the JGRMX/Toyota/N-Fab/Yamaha machines. With the latest generation of the YZ450F, though, the team had to do extensive testing during the off-season in order to get up to speed on chassis, suspension, and engine settings.