Eli Tomac's Monster Energy Kawasaki KX450F-SR 1

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Eli Tomac's Monster Energy Kawasaki KX450F-SR - Vital MX Pit Bits: 2016 MXGP of USA - Motocross Pictures - Vital MX

Monster Energy Kawasaki housed three riders for the weekend, one was familiar with Eli Tomac's number three, while the other two where from Monster Energy KRT; Clemente Desalle and Jordi Tixier. Honestly, these were some of the most interesting bikes to shoot, as there aren't very many shared parts between the two factory level Kawasaki 450 teams.

One of the few shared components was the CRM carbon fiber fuel tanks, which both teams have been using for multiple seasons.

KYB was the main choice of Kawasaki in the US until Ryan Villopoto changed over to Showa in 2013. With Eli Tomac coming from a successful season at Honda wth KYB, he was able to switch his KX450F over. After starting the Supercross season on KYB's PSF1 fork, including his win at Daytona, he then swapped over to KYB's AOSS spring fork for the remainder of the season and into the Nationals. If those blue caps look familiar to a Kawi user, that's because they're the same cartridge that was found on a 2012 model. To switch from PSF1 to these production based AOSS cartridges is fairly simple as they re-used the upper and lower fork tubes, plus the fork lugs. The changes were the cartridge themselves plus the oil locks inside the fork lugs.

A looks at the engine side cases (GP one is a few photos down) shows different coatings, brake pedals, carbon parts, engine hangers, shocks, pegs, and more between the two bikes. The engines aren't built at the same spec, along with the transmission and even the electronics are different between the two teams.

That's some expensive but drool-worthy engine protection.

Cooling systems are another big difference between the two bikes. Kawasaki US uses an oil cooler, as they have for many years, along with radiators that are much closer to stock than the GP counterparts. They also don't use a cooling fan as you'll see on the GP version.

The ignition cover is a aftermarket piece by Hinson, when compared to the GP one-off covers. Also, the US bike uses a cable clutch (check out the beefy clutch actuation arm), which can be connected to a sensor to see clutch travel and usage. Also, the US bike uses a different set of front engine mounts if you look closely. For the GP races, a front sprocket guard is required, so the US teams add them back on as they usually remove them here.

The footpegs for the US team are made to their spec and aren't available to the public.

While the GP team uses the consumer-available Raptor titanium pegs, which are from England.

Dunlop tires are the most common to be found in the US and this MX3S (MX32) based front tire is probably the most used tire in our pits.

While in the GPs, Dunlop has a lesser presence and uses some tires we don't commonly see. Check the tread pattern on Desalle's front tire here, and compare it to Tomac's above it.

Clemente Desalle's Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team KX450F-SR. While the US Kawasaki team is own and operated by KMC (Kawasaki Motor Corporation), the MXGP team is actually a privately owned team with Kawasaki factory support.

For quite a few years, the KRT team was also a KYB (Technical Touch) supported effort but switched to Showa when RV came on in 2015. Since his retirement, the team has chose to stick with the switch and the components are found on both Desalle and Tixier's bikes. These forks appear to be the standard Showa SFF TAC (air forks) instead of the Showa SFF TAC spring-assist forks that Wil Hahn and Broc Tickle have used for most of 2016. The KRT team also uses X-Trig triple clamps instead of an in-house clamp like the US. Desalle's are also unique in the fact that the bar mounts and top clamp are one pice, like the ones he was used to using at Suzuki's MXGP team for many seasons.

From here you can see a peek at the carbon fiber airbox/subframe along with the Showa BFRC shock. 

At first, we thought Clemente Desalle's bars were rolled back from shipping... Until we realized that he has taken a page out of Ricky Carmichael's book. Seriously, we haven't seen a set of bars this low and rolled back since his RC's Honda days.

Another view of Clemente Desalle's cockpit. From here, you can see their GPS logger stashed in a little box on the front of the top triple clamp.

As you can see from here, the radiators appear to be hand made, using a cooling fan as well. Also you can see the custom ignition cover, along with the new hydraulic clutch which is routed different than the stock, allowing them to remove the guide material from the center cases. Lastly, the engine mounts appear to be stock, unlike the US version.

Stashed inside the airbox is the battery used to power the cooling fan and extra Motec electronics throughout the bike.

A little carbon guard is used to protect the sensitive wiring into the ignition case.

A view from the right side custom radiator.

The KRT MXGP team is all about keeping their bikes cool, even going as far as adding these carbon fiber ducts to help guide are into the radiators more efficiently. 

We've see the US team run carbon fiber shroud extenders on the past KX450F model, but not on the newest shrouds like KRT has done.

A peek at the barely-visible carbon fiber subframe/airbox.

As we mentioned above, the CRM "Karbotank" is one of the few shares items between the two teams.

A look at the KRT's engine. Both teams use Hinson clutch components and Pro Circuit pipes, although hte GP team utilizes an O2 sensor during all run time.

The KRT team has replaced the cable clutch with a Brembo hydraulic unit for many seasons now. Last year, Ryan Villopoto tested this setup but chose to race with a cable clutch instead.

The hydraulic slave unit doesn't pull on the actuating arm, but is instead plumbed into the cases to actuate the long pin leading to the clutch. So the hole for the actuating arm has been plugged off.

From here, you can see a small, red quick release system for the hydraulic clutch unit. next to it is the throttle body with a bottom-side mounted injector. These style injectors are found on KTM/Husqvarna bikes but the Japanese models feature the injector mounted on the top of the throttle body. Now even the KRT version is different as the usual bottom mounted injector goes in at a 90 degree angle, while this version has what appears to be roughly 20 degrees of angle. Normally it's at 90 degrees to increase the sheering affect the incoming air has on the fuel being inserted into the intake tract. By example, the US Kawi team has their's at 90 degrees, which you'll see two photos down.

A tighter shot at KRT's angled injector.

A view of the US Kawasaki's 90 degree injector. Neither of these throttle bodies are the stock layout for a KX450F.

Many of the GP team mechanics drill a hole in their sideplates to access the exhaust flange bolt easier. It's a nice trick for quick maintenance. 

The KRT team uses a factory Nissin caliper that the US team uses, although their's are not coated with a bronze/magnesium looking process. They also use a Braking rotors, instead of the KHI (Kawasaki Heavy Industries, the parent company) supplied factory rotors.

Jordi Tixier's bike featured a few different parts from Desalle's bike. Such as lacking the carbon fiber ducts on the front fender and X-Trig ROCS clamps.

His clamps feature the normal, adjustable bar mounts usually found on X-Trig's products.

His brakes are a bit different as he uses a CRM sourced carbon fiber brake disc cover and uses the stock Nissin brake caliper.

A rear view of the one piece carbon fiber airbox/subframe combo.

Credit: ML512

Vital MX Pit Bits: 2016 MXGP of USA

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