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Ping talks about the best kit/bike combo for 2021, the trickest part on any of his race bikes, and if modern stock 125s are on par with the pro machines of his past.

@PING

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

Ping,

There are countless reasons why the opening round of supercross is so fun to watch, but there is one where I would like your opinion/pick. One of my favorite parts of round one is seeing the new look of the bikes and gear. I think Factory GasGas wins this award with flying colors. The red bike with blue accents pays homage to the old factory Hondas, which I think were some of the best-looking bikes ever made. Combine that with Barcia's clean all red gear and mullet hair out of the back of the helmet. Bam Bam looked straight outta '87. Who do you think wins the 2021 AMA best looking championship?

- Seth

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Seth,

It’s hard to argue with that. I mean, they really should have the best-looking setup since they are a design company… that’s what they do! Troy and Maki have an incredible eye for what looks good together or what trends are becoming popular. I prefer the cleaner look with solid block and simple lines, which is what their gear and graphics have going on at the moment. The cool thing is that I’m sure they’ll uncork some super crazy gear at some point in the season and, while it may look schizophrenic hanging on a rack, it will look good on a rider. Like I said, they have an eye for it. Now, the hair out the back is all JB, but I’d hardly call that a mullet. To be a proper Kentucky waterfall, you need to have it tightened up in the front, maybe even some straight bangs that you cut with tin snips and a cereal bowl. Barcia’s wig looks more like Spicoli’s from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, or if David Beckham had a shorter, younger little brother who was a vegan. Anyway, I don’t know who’s going to win this title; honesty, I don’t think anybody would bet much money that they do either… but you can hand the title of best-looking setup to Justin and the TLD guys right now. 

- PING


Ping,

In all your years of racing, what was the trickest part you ever had on your race bike and why was it developed?

- Joe Sprocket

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Joe,

I’ve had lots of little parts that were cool; carbon fiber, titanium, magnesium, and parts made from any combination of those. But the one thing that always impressed me most was a hand-made cone pipe. Whether it was Mike Hooker or Hoppo at Pro Circuit, Bill or Jeff at Bill’s Pipes, or a factory version from Japan, you had to respect the time and effort it took to build just one of those things. It would literally take an entire day just to weld it together once you did all the equations and measured all the pieces! I remember Pro Circuit bringing a pipe to the test track that they were all excited about. On the dyno it looked great and they had been building it for several days. It was a work of art that, unfortunately, didn’t work. It was terrible on the track. I kept riding laps because I didn’t want to have to come in and tell them that I didn’t like it. When they did get it right though, we all fought over who got the actual cone pipe and who got the stamped version, because the cone pipe looked so bad ass. Anyway, most of the parts I liked were more for cosmetic purposes, not performance. But, like they say: If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you ride good. If you ride good, you do good. Bring on the trick parts.

- PING


Ping, 

Random question, how would one of your PC race bikes from the 90’s compare to a current 125, or 150?

- Flatliner

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Flatliner, 

I would say they probably made a little more power than a stock bike today, but I don’t think they handled as well as a modern bike in stock trim. The Yamaha YZ125, for example, is incredible right out of the box; the Kawasaki’s of that era were not. My last 125 race bike was from 2003, and that’s really when development on two-strokes stopped advancing. Yes, the stock KTM/Husky/GasGas is faster than the stock bikes from back then. But I have a YZ125 that has a Pro Circuit motor and exhaust on it and it’s almost as fast as any race bike I had, and much faster than a stock 125 of any brand. I think the peak for 125 development was right around 2000 to 2002; my 2000 Suzuki RM125 and 2002 KTM 125 SX were probably the quickest two 125 race bikes I ever had, including the Pro Circuit bikes from 1995-1997. Like I said, all the brands were still improving every year at that point. Slowest race bike? My 1998 FMF/Honda made as much horsepower as a vacuum cleaner. And not a good vacuum like a Kirby or a Dyson. If you go to Wal Mart and find the cheapest model that will barely pull lint off the floor, that’s about an apples-to-apples comparison. It handled great, but when you’re going that slow you could be riding a lawn mower and it would seem like it handled well. The 150 is a completely different bike; it’s amazing what that extra 25cc’s does to the torque and horsepower numbers. It’s too bad we can’t get all the manufacturers to bring back 150cc two-stroke racing… that would be amazing. Thanks for the question… have a great weekend!

- 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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