@PING

@PING is brought to you by Troy Lee Designs, Eks Brand, and VP Racing Fuels.

Dear Mr Pingree,

I wanted to write to you to say thank you for your contributions via WTS and your “@Ping” section on VitalMX.

(Background or Front end chatter)
I moved to Scotland from South Africa in 2005, with only £20 in my pocket, and through hard work I was eventually able to achieve more than I ever would have imagined. I grew up in working class town in a separated home in Souf Affrika (insert GL’s voice here) and things were pretty tough. My father always promised to buy me a dirt bike as a kid but he never delivered. When I was about 12 my parents separated and things got ugly. Fast forward 20 something years and I eventually got my first MX bike a couple years ago and I now get to fulfil a childhood dream. Enter SX, AMA outdoors some MXGP and here’s where you come in!

(The bit about you and what your contribution means: not brought to you by Yamaha, Method wheels or anyone other than me really?!) 
The learning curve for Moto has been steep and with the help of Youtube, some of the Scottish MX community, your contributions included here too, I have been able to reclaim some of my childhood and grow as a man. Every time I am out on the bike it reminds me that hard work pays off and it makes me feel happier than any other sport I participate in. It reminds me of my humble upbringing and the rewarding hard work that’s required to get me to the track(s). My father passed away 5 years ago, we had our differences but we both had a massive appreciation for two-wheeled motorsports, and I think he would have been happy to see me riding moto despite the odds and our differences, it might have even brought us closer again but enough about that.

Moto is much more to me than riding a bike. It is the materialisation that a kid from a broken home, faced with financial difficulties, having to move home every other year etc... can overcome the odds and that hard work will pay off. Moto is the fulfilment of a childhood dream and a new escape from family, study, work and politics. Moto has provided me with new friendships that are otherwise hard to form when I too live and work in a very progressively liberal town that undermines individual liberty, frowns upon hard work, and looks for government handouts. I don’t want to get into politics here but I think you and I would likely agree on way more than we would disagree on. 

Your story about the change of career later in life has helped me through hard times in my psychology degree, which I’m about to complete as a mature student despite working, having a family and a mortgage and all that fun stuff too. 

(The End I swear)
Your time is precious so I’ll wrap it up. Thank you for your contribution to Moto, it is highly appreciated. Your contributions (along with those from GL) via WTS and Vital Mx (without GL) have helped me on and off the bike. Please share this with GL too if that isn’t too much to ask of you. You both have made a positive impact on my life and I hope this lands with the well-meaning intention that it is written. I’m not religious, and I appreciate that you are, so I hope it means something to you when I say, “May God bless you and your loved ones.” (Isn’t it crazy that someone with a different view on religion can appreciate someone who does have religious views in 2020 and that this is even a thing!!!)

Wishing you all the best with your future endeavours and thanking you for your sacrifice and service to your community as a first responder. Thank you Mr. Pingree (and GL if it ever gets to him).

"We can’t control the outcome but we can control the effort" – Larry Elder

Kind Regards
Carl

Dean Wilson riding for Team Scotland

Carl,

That’s an amazing story and I’m so glad you took a minute to send this to me. I have all the respect in the world for folks who come from very under-privileged backgrounds and succeed by way of hard work. I’m sorry to hear about your dad, but I’m guessing he would enjoy seeing you ride. With all the insanity and distraction these days, it’s great to hear an uplifting story like yours. I wish you all the best in your education, your career, and your family, and maybe someday we can meet up and ride a few laps together. 

P.S.- Larry Elder is a legend… nice pull.

Cheers
- PING 


Dear Ping:

Two-part question: What are the fundamental differences between the factory bikes used in MXGP and the American counterparts for the same brand? And I’m curious to know if our guys, when they go out to race Motocross of Nations, why don’t they pick a European factory bike over the ones they use here? 

Tony 

Desalle's machine would probably feel super weird to Tomac or Cianciarulo.

Tony,

The fundamental difference is that we have a production rule and they don’t. That means that while our teams have to use production frames, swingarms, airboxes, and engine cases, they can basically do whatever they want. Having that freedom allows them to build their own products or use factory parts that can significantly improve the performance of the bike. We also have rules in the 250 class that limit suspension components and they do not. 

I assume that our guys don’t ride their bikes for a couple reasons. First of all, you can’t just hop on a bike you’ve never ridden and race at that level; they stick with the settings they’ve come up with all year long. Also, their settings are so different from what we use in the States (much softer suspension and smoother power), I doubt our guys would like it even if they had time to test and adjust settings. Second, I don’t think the GP teams have enough extra parts and bikes to accommodate all the American riders, especially if there were a couple US riders on the same brand. I think it’s best to “dance with the one that brought you,” as it were. Starting in 2021, I guess, since there is no MXoN this year.

- PING


Hey Ping,

What a great test you did on the star Racing Yamaha YZ 2T, and I also really like the test you did on the 2002 steel frame YZ 250. I’m also building up a 2003 YZ 250 and It was very interesting how you mentioned the flex in the steel frame… do you think maybe the big four may have given up on steel frame development way too soon? What’s your thoughts on it?

Thanks.
Neil

Would the Japanese OEMs ever go back to steel frames?

Neil,

Thanks! We just got into some really interesting conversation with Chad Reed about the steel framed Yamahas in his era, and he had some intriguing feedback. Check out part two of our Whiskey Throttle Show with Reedy when it comes out to listen. I guess when it comes to steel VS aluminum you have to decide what you’re after. If pure performance is the goal, I think you get a better feel out of a steel frame. The flex allows the bike to turn easier, feels plusher in harsh chop, and generally gets better traction. Oh, and the weight savings is significant as well, which is why the KTM/Husky/GasGas is so much lighter than the Japanese brands. However, there is little you can do to keep a steel frame from flexing and, as such, the geometry of the bike will change over time until it eventually cracks or breaks. As an amateur I was always welding frames, and as a pro the race teams would gusset them and still only get a few months out of them before we needed a new one. The aluminum frame is much more durable in the long run, but does give up some performance. If you’re a novice rider you aren’t going to feel the difference enough for it to matter though, so it’s really a non-issue. Personally, I’m waiting for the next gen frame that will be made out of wood. Maybe a nice alder or maple? I want something that says, “Hey, I’m all for helping the environment and shit, but I still want to go fast.” Maybe pine is the timber that makes that statement? I don’t know, I’ll have to do more research. Add some linseed oil to your toolbox and you’re off to the races. And if you do snap your bike in half on a triple jump you can always tear the bike down and have a nice campfire, using the splintered frame as kindling, while you decide whether or not you need to go to the hospital for the inevitable swelling and pain. I’ll keep you updated on my research. 

- PING

Do you have burning questions that need answering? E-mail Ping at ping@vitalmx.com. Want more? Click the @PING tag below to quickly find all the previous columns.

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