Vital MX Poll: Honda HRC vs. Smartop/Bullfrog Spas/Motoconcepts Honda

Over the weekend in San Diego, we grabbed two Honda's to compare and contrast. We've already looked at Ken Roczen's Honda HRC CRF450R in this Factory Ride Video here if you want a more detailed break down. Here, we can see how the Smartop/Bullfrog Spas/Motoconcepts bike of Vince Friese compares to the factory effort. At the bottom of the story, there is a poll for you to vote on which bike you like better. This is about the machinery, not the racer. 

Obviously, the overall look of the bikes are a little different than their typical style because of the military appreciation weekend at the San Diego round of Supercross, but both machines took a more subtle take on the one-off race by avoiding camo or the "mechanical look." In these photos one of the major differences in the bikes is the triple clamps. HRC has factory Honda clamps while Smartop has custom clamps made by Xtrig, with a split design. 

Here we can see a lot of differences in the machines. For one, HRC is using a factory hydraulic clutch, while Smartop utilizes a cable clutch. The engine mounts are different with Smartop opting for some ti/aluminum hangers with larger holes cut out, and the HRC mounts look to be stock steel, with very minor cutouts. You can also see the heat wrap on the mid-pipe by the shock HRC bike and none on Smartop machine. The red head cover of HRC bike is strictly cosmetic, unlike in years past when the CRF250Rs had a more durable coating that was also said to reduce noise. 

The front of the machines are pretty much identical. Both are using the same carbon fiber rotor guard, the same fork protectors, the same fork lowers and it looks to be the same factory brake caliper from Nissin. However, it does look like HRC is running a D.I.D. Dirt Star ST-X rim (a little stronger) and Smartop has the D.I.D Dirt Star rim (a little lighter). 

The exhaust systems are totally different from two very different companies. Honda HRC works very closely with Yoshimura to come up with a design that works with Ken's riding style. New for this year, Smartop is running Akrapovic Exhausts which has a completely different design, from the different header shapes, lengths, diameters, and resonance chambers you can see below to the asymmetric openings on the mufflers above.

Man, those pipes are really different! We are surprised at the seemingly really big difference in pipe diameter and routing. Typically, the longer the header, the more bottom-end power you are trying to achieve. Also, resonance chambers add volume without adding length. You can also see that the Hinson clutch cover on the HRC machine eliminates an extra cap where the Rekluse cover on the Smartop bike has the stock placement. At the same time, the HRC specialty-coated engine case has a oil sight-glass that isn't stock. 

The swingarms look to be matching, with HRC running a different chain guard than stock. Smartop has a Ride Engineering rear link and HRC has a link made in house. 

They both have the factory Showa shock. HRC has read plastics all the way back where Smartop switches to white. Interestingly, where the Akro pipe seemed to have a larger diameter header, the heat-wrapped Yosh pipe looks larger as it goes to the mufflers. 


Vital MX Poll

Honda HRC vs. Smartop/Bullfrog Spas/Motoconcepts

View Results

4 comments
Show More Comment(s) / Leave a Comment