@PING 3

Ping talks about moto guys racing off-road, clearing up misunderstandings with steering geometry, and what happens to factory bikes and parts after the race season is over.

@PING

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

Hey Ping,

I live just outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee where for many years I enjoyed racing a variety of tracks within an hour or so from home. Sadly, MX tracks in this area have gone away like toilet paper in a pandemic. However, last year I entered my 55-year-old body into my first Hare scramble along with my 14-year-old son. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were over 500 riders at that race, many of whom are older than me. The people were as nice as anyone you would want to meet and the atmosphere was exciting. It’s safe to say that off-road racing is alive and well. I’ve always touted pro MX racers as the elite athletes that they are, but that two-hour hare scramble stomped my ass like nothing I’ve ever done on a dirt bike. My legs cramped so bad afterwards that they nearly pulled me underneath a Cracker Barrel dining room booth. GNCC pros must be iron men. Anyway, it was the most fun I’ve ever had while taking a complete butt whipping. For some demented reason, I keep going back for more. I’m just wondering if you’ve ever raced a cross country race, or something similar? If not, I’d recommend you put it on your bucket list, I doubt you’d be disappointed.  Just make sure you eat a lot of bananas and hydrate like hell the week prior. Stay safe out there and keep up the good work on The Whiskey Throttle Show. 

DC

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DC,

Man, I love seeing this kind of thing. Yes, I’ve done my share of off-road events, including a GNCC at Palatka, Florida and a WORCS race at Lake Havasu. Both events left me completely exhausted, dehydrated and riddled with blisters on my hands. What’s not to love?! I was racing in the pro class each time and, to quote one of my favorite movies, “I was out of my depth, Donnie.”  I suppose there are folks who like the dust and rocks, but I don’t really find those conditions fun, and that’s all we have here in the southwest. I can imagine the off-road courses in Tennessee are a little better than what we have here. Regardless, I love hearing that your passion for riding has been stoked and that you’re out there doing it with your son; what a cool bunch of memories you two are making. One thing I learned from the races I did is to make sure you have a good electrolyte drink in your hydration pack… and don’t forget to keep sipping it! Robb Beams has some amazing products designed specifically for longer endurance events and I highly recommend them (coachrobb.com). Good luck and stay above the Cracker Barrel tables!

- PING


Hey ping, 

Man, you really help my Moto world go round. I’m so thankful for your videos on bike setup, your @ping column, & Whiskey Throttle Show. My question is about guiding the non-factory populous about offset. We hear 20, 22,24mm, front position clamps turned backwards vs rear position clamps turned forwards, etc. “offset.” What does this mean for the weekend warrior and why does it matter? What does each position do? Thanks for your outstanding input (kissy face Emoji implanted here)! 

Thanks
JL

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JL,

Thanks for supporting all of my moto endeavors; it is much appreciated. Offset refers to triple clamp location, and that is completely different from bar mount position, which is the other thing I think you’re referring to. Many stock bikes are now coming with clamps that have a forward and rear mounting position. You can also rotate the clamps and get four positions instead of just the two. This is only changing the position of the handlebars as it relates to the front of the bike. This is to accommodate a larger range of riders with varying preferences for handlebar mounting position. Typically, larger riders want them forward to give themselves more room in the rider compartment, smaller riders like them back so they aren’t reaching forward for the bars. 

Offset refers to the position of the clamps in relation to the head tube. In other words, the entire fork will be moved forward or backward, depending on the offset of the clamps. So, less offset, going from 22mm to 24mm, increases trail (think distance between the front and rear tire patch… it’s actually the gap between the front tire and the steering axis, but that’s more complex) and should improve stability and slow down steering characteristics. Head angle and rake are different equations that also factor into steering/handling/stability, but offset is the simplest to change. More offset, conversely, will make the bike more responsive, quicker turning and more active at speed. There are many equations when designing a chassis, that’s why we leave that to the engineering propeller-heads and their fellow nerds to sort through. 

As a “weekend warrior,” you shouldn’t be concerned with offset. Those issues are sorted through prior to production and, although elite level rider may change them for SX or MX, it isn’t something the average rider needs to worry about. Handlebar mount position is, however, and you should certainly find the most comfortable position for you, personally. Hope that answered your question! Thanks again for the support.

- PING


Hey Ping,

Hope all is well. What happens to all the factory bikes at the end of the year? I know if a rider wins the championship, they sometimes keep the ride but, as an example:  where is Roczen’s 2020 HRC bike?  Does it get destroyed? Does it go back to Honda?

Thanks, I miss all the Wednesday night practices with McDermott, Pryor, you, Buttonfly, Wineland, etc.  
Scott Connelly

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Scott,

Good to hear from you! Those were some amazing days back then with some really fun people. Most race team bikes get built back to stock and then sold to dealers or to company employees. Of course, all the factory parts are removed and either reused on practice/test bikes, destroyed, or set on a shelf in the race shop to collect dust and deteriorate. Roczen’s HRC bike? Who knows… there’s a good chance it was made stock and sent to a Honda dealership to be sold as a used bike. Of course, the dealership doesn’t know which bike belonged to whom, nor does the person who buys it. Championship bikes are often kept, and sometimes old race bikes will be given to sponsors or other industry friends who want to buy them. Again, unless it is being kept by the rider or the race team, all the factory parts are removed. For the longest time, Honda used to destroy all their factory parts. During Carmichael’s heyday at Honda, they took all of his old works parts (pipes, silencers, cylinders, etc.) and dumped them into a big pit. Then they drove a bulldozer over all of them and smashed them flat so they could never be copied or used by anybody else. Seems like a tragedy to me. Anyway, maybe I’ll see you at Canyon Raceway one of these days?

Cheers

- 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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