Ping chimes in on what people really care about in bike shootouts, MTB tubeless for moto, and transitioning from pro to 'retirement.'


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


I was just reading a previous "Ask Ping" column and your answer contained maybe the zillionth reference to bike shootouts I think I've seen to date, and it got me thinking.  Being one of those average consumer/racers who, after 40 years of riding still doesn't care that the "2021 Huskatoom has a new framus valve angled 3.276 degrees further down from the 2020 model for better air-speed telemetry," has there ever been an actual shootout that compares the current crop of dirt scoots to the actual types of terrains the different regions of the country offers, and which ones fair best, in stock form, in each kind of terrain?  Seems to me this would be the kind of thing most of us av/coms would appreciate more than hearing about bore and stroke; that just seems a little bit TMI, know what I mean?

But then again, what do I know?  I'm just a knucklehead from NJ and my governor thinks I should know better.
(still) PO'ed in NJ



To my knowledge, there has never been a test that traveled the country to ride in different climates and terrain; it’s a logistical and fiscal nightmare to do so. We do have a good variation of tracks and soil out here and, when done right, you can get a good feel for what the bikes will do in any conditions. One thing I’ve learned about shootouts in the sixteen years I’ve worked in the motorcycle media business: You’ll never make everybody happy. If you use pro riders, which I believe can read the characteristics of a bike far better than a novice rider, novice riders will complain that there wasn’t a test rider that represented them. If you use young guys, the old guys say they can’t relate. If you don’t include enough technical information, people complain. If we include too much technical information, people complain. We are a fickle bunch, collectively, or at least we come across that way in comments sections and forums. I try to keep it pretty simple and explain the changes that were made, followed by my impression of what those changes did. We will be following that up with Race Spec videos on bikes receiving major changes that will give you tips and starting points to help you with setup. Our 450 shootout is scheduled for next week and we’ll be testing at two very different tracks with a wide variety of test riders. Check back next week!



Just wanted to post my comment from the peanut gallery about Zacho's front flat. I use this in my front tubes, (Stans Sealant) rear is usually mousse.  I don't race motocross and I don't jump - so what am I getting at? I put a rock into my front tire on this ride, (see attachments) and was able to complete the ride and actually continue to ride on the same tube. Well now I have to see how long this stuff will keep air in my tire.  Not suggesting this a solution for pro motocross, but maybe the everyday guy can avoid an annoying pinch flat and keep the wheels rolling for a nice day on the trail




I’m very familiar with Stans… it’s what I use in my tubeless mountain bike tires. I haven’t heard of this product being used in motocross tubes, but it makes perfect sense. It’s difficult to see how big the cut was on your tube from that photo, but I’m impressed that it plugged it and allowed you to finish. The problem is that you have to remove the valve stem to squeeze it into the tube, which eliminates this as a mid-moto alternative to changing a wheel. Mechanics could add this to tubes prophylactically prior to the race, but it does dry up, so they would have to do it each weekend. Thanks for sharing!



Going through old whiskey throttle podcasts and listening to yours when I had a thought. I know you’re not one hundred percent pumped on exactly how your racing career went, but it made you who you are today. With that, on behalf of easily tens of thousands of us in the sport, you have made us very happily entertained for years and years!

So, Thank You for being you!
Not to mention you’re a firefighter 👍
A very thankful Canadian 



Thanks for saying that; I do appreciate it. One of the things that I’ve learned after interviewing all these racers is that all of them have races or championships that they feel like they should have won. Even Ricky Carmichael, who won a stunning percentage of the title chases he competed in, wishes he could get a mulligan on a series or two. As competitors, we want to win every championship and every race we line up for, but that simply isn’t reality. The sport’s best grew up doing a lot of winning at a local and amateur level. However, once they make the transition to pro racing, wins are very hard to come by (RC and MC notwithstanding). 

As you mentioned, the truly important thing is how you manage the disappointments and how successful you are at making the transition to life after racing. With 30 being the average retirement age from professional racing, there are still a lot of years left on the clock for us. I was fortunate to have a skillset that allowed me to make a transition into media, which softened the blow of retirement. From there, I just knew I needed to find something I was passionate about and then apply the same work ethic I did in racing to my new endeavor. I hope that at least a few current racers hear that and, once they’ve closed the book on their racing careers, find a new calling and chase after it with the same zeal they have for moto. 

Again, thank you for supporting my various projects, including my work here at Vital MX.


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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