Ping weighs in on the KX450, tips and tricks for vintage racing, and who's the fastest test rider and why it doesn't matter.

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Hey Ping,

I watch a lot of your bike reviews and shootout stuff. You talk a good bit about how you like a little bit of extra sag in your bikes. What is your opinion on the lowering links in the linkage? I’m sure you have tried one over the years. Also, you are a big advocate of the new kx 450, I recently got a 21’ KX 450 and am loving it. I’ve heard that the chain guard and chain rollers wear out very quickly. Less than 5 hours and the stock chain already has the death rattle. If it were your bike what simple parts would you go ahead and buy in anticipation of them wearing out quickly? 

Thank you



I’m a big fan of longer link arms on most bikes. Because I do like my sag on the deeper side, a longer link arm allows me to drop the rear end of the bike without running obscene sag numbers. By lowering the back, I get kicked less by the rear end on bumps or sharp jumps, and I feel like it gives me a little more straight-line stability because I’m taking some of the weight off the front end. The downside is that you can make turning more difficult, so you have to be sure to balance it with clicker settings and even fork location in the clamps. Regarding the KX450, I would look into TM Design Works for sliders and rollers. They make durable replacement products for that machine that will last longer and cost you less. 



I know you get to ride all the cool new bikes but do you ever dabble in any vintage racing for fun? I am 37 years old and planning on going to my first vintage class gp race this weekend at High Point and was wondering if you had any tips, tricks, etc for a rookie looking to try it out for the first time? I will be riding my 1973 Rickman and just plan on going for the fun more than the result. Thanks for any wisdom you could provide to a newb like me.




I have done some vintage racing and I love it! I’ve ridden old Maico’s, 1970’s Yamahas and even a Monark 125, which made as much raw horsepower as my electric toothbrush. While I don’t get the same rush of nostalgia as some of the more, ahem, seasoned riders, I have a huge amount of respect for the technological advancements that have been made over the years. I also have nothing but reverence for the men who raced those old iron war horses at a professional level; those guys didn’t eat soy and have emotional breakdowns like many of today’s young males. I have some tips for you to get you started on the right track. First, don’t break the bike. You so much as look at some of these older bikes wrong and they’ll spring an oil leak like a 1960’s Cadillac. Bring the bike off the ground more than a few inches and you risk breaking wheels, snapping frames and cracking your wrists or ankles from the ensuing landing. Oh, and don’t plan on stopping when you apply the brakes. One of the biggest issues with old bikes is getting them slowed down. Leave a little more real estate between you and corners when you chop the throttle, or else you’re going to leave a Joe-shaped hole in whatever barriers that line the outside of the track. Outside of that, just have a good time. The vibe at vintage races is so much better than anywhere else. If you’re there to have fun and enjoy the sport with like minded folks, you’re going to love it. Good luck!



I saw a post on Vital about the new CRF450 and somebody asked who the fastest test rider was. I think they said Pat Foster, followed by Mosiman. Do you agree with that? Have you ever raced them heads-up? It doesn’t really matter, I suppose, but I thought it was worth asking. Great review, by the way… bike looks sexy!

Double Dee


Double Dee,

Of all the things people could be talking about in regards to the new Honda, I find it pure comedy that they go there, as if it matters. Look, I’m 45 years-old and I haven’t pushed my pace over 90% in a long time, which is precisely why I haven’t been hurt since I quit racing professionally. I think I was probably the quickest test rider years ago when I first started testing, but there is no replacement for youth and I ran out of that at least a decade ago. Mosiman would kick all of our asses, if I had to bet, because he’s twenty years younger. He’s also a great kid and he does a really nice job of getting his thoughts across eloquently, which is much more important in this line of work. My opinion is that testing doesn’t require blazing speed, but rather a feel for the bike and an understanding of what it’s doing well, what it does poorly, and how to fix the latter.

 But, if you want to get technical, I guess we could always check the archives to see who has the most supercross/motocross wins and podiums in professional racing and use that as a benchmark? Let me know what you find out.



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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