Jeremy McGrath's CRF450 - Exclusive First Ride & Review - Dirt Rider Magazine

We also asked Pro-Circuit and Troy Lee Designs to build us a replica. Supermoto is possibly the most talked about new form of racing. Combining features of road racing, dirt track, and motocross, Supermoto has rolled them all into one race and created an entirely new breed of racer. Dirt Rider Magazine set out to experience first-hand this dynamic new sport with none other than the King himself, Jeremy McGrath.With his new Troy Lee Designs leather Supermoto pants, Ken Faught put in some serious seat time on a Pro Circuit / Troy Lee Designs, Jeremy McGrath replica, Honda CRF450, built just for Dirt Rider. As if that's not enough, Ken also got to ride Jeremy's team bike.Chad Watts is the official wrench on the team, and the builder of the amazing engines that the Troy Lee Team will be racing. Chad calls his new business of setting up bikes, "Watts Perfections." Obviously the internal tuning and modifications are top secret, but we do have a list of the basic modifications made to our bike. The Honda CRF450 is quickly becoming the preferred bike in this sport, and the bike the entire Pro Circuit / Troy Lee Team uses.Here are the mods that Pro Circuit made to the Dirt Rider bike:1. Wheels: Excel 17 inch, 4.25 inch wide rim on the rear, and a 17 inch, 3.5 inch wide rim on the front. Both rims are laced up to Billet-X Hubs. Wheels are balanced carefully for the high speeds of Supermoto.2. Sprockets: Gearing up. Our bike came with a 14-tooth sprocket on the front, and a 44 tooth on the back. Each tooth on the front equals almost 4 teeth on the back, so changing the front is the easiest way to really make a jump. We can fine-tune the gearing later for each track's characteristics by changing the rear sprocket.3. Brakes: Now that we could be going over 100mph, we will need to stop on a dime. Motocross brake systems will not handle the loads produced by the speeds and traction of Supermoto. Our bike is fitted with an oversized brake disc, and a super-sized brake caliper by Moto-Master. These are designed especially for Supermoto, and can handle the heat and huge forces of Supermoto braking. A good option, and one that is used on the Troy Lee Team bikes, is a roadracing style 13mm Magura master cylinder. Our Dirt Rider bike was kept the simple stock style.4. Tires: The awesome acceleration and braking forces of Supermoto are achieved on very special tires. Chad Chose Dunlop slicks KR108 for our 450. A totally slick tire is great for pavement, but the small grooves will come in handy on the dirt sections.5. Hand Protection: In Supermoto, it is best to hang on to the bars when you fall down. Its better to let the hand guards take the beating, rather than your flesh. Our Renthals Twinwall handlebars have Cycra Pro-Bend hand guards fitted to the upper triple clamps for added strength to the bars. Also plastic hand shields were added to the aluminum hand guards.6. Clutch: Our 450 was fitted with a Hinson Clutch basket and a STM slipper clutch. The slipper clutch provides a small amount of cushion between slipping and grabbing.7. Fluid catch bottle: Since a dry track is key to the traction in Supermoto, fluids must be kept from dripping from the bike. Our bike was fitted with a small plastic bottle to catch the overflow from the radiator vent. Chad puts his own custom "Watts Perfections" bottle on the team bikes. A great place for the bottle is the small frame tube behind the right radiator. The bottle is just wire-tied to the tubing. Chad did make a trick mount for his custom bottle on the team bikes. There's also a catch bottle for the fuel and trans overflow.8. Suspension: Bones over at Pro Circuit lowered the suspension 50mm by modifying the cartridge. All work in there is top secret. He did keep the springs the same length, and that kept the spring rate the same.9. Other extras from Pro Circuit: Carbon fiber skid plate, T-4 exhaust, axle blocks, Pro Circuit triple clamps, and a chopped front fender to minimize catching the wind at high speeds.Dirt Rider joined Jeremy and his team at Apex Raceway in Perris, California for a test session. While resting between giving Ken pointers on the fastest line around the track, and working with Chad Watts on the team bikes, I sat down with Jeremy for a short interview.Russ Rohrer for Dirt Rider: Let's talk about Supermoto. What is your favorite thing about this kind of racing?JM: You know, plain and simple, it is so much fun. I think everybody loves sliding a bike around on pavement. The racing part of it is really intense too. It's easy for spectators to see good bar-to-bar racing up close.DR: Why the big surge of interest toward Supermoto in America?JM: I think a lot of former motocross racers now have this as an outlet for all their energy. Riding this sport is great because we all get to release the pent-up energy that we use to get rid of racing motocross. What's great about it too is that it is so backyard right now. Nobody really has much experience yet, and nobody is telling us what to do. That challenge and exploration is exciting, and there's no pressure. The cool thing, is that it brings everyone together.DR: Your team is definitely on the forefront of the sport. What's the vibe like on the team?JM: Oh, we are all having a blast. I obviously haven't beaten Wardy, and that can be a little frustrating, but it doesn't bother me. Of course I enjoy the challenge and want to get better, and that will come. I am having a great time with this as a hobby.DR: Do you have any suggestions for the motocrosser who is interested in this sport?JM: I would encourage everyone to look at the sport for everything that it is. I mean it's great sliding a bike sideways. That is really challenging. The racing is tight too, and you are elbow-to-elbow at high speeds. Another great thing about this sport is that you can take it anywhere. That fact is going to be really great for the sport in the long run because the fans have easy access to it.DR: That's true. Thanks for your time Jeremy.JM: Thanks, I'll see you on the track.So Jeremy, Ken, Troy, and the rest of the gang turned laps around the track at APEX until sunset. Swapping bikes and comparing set-ups really kept the energy high. Something is always learned at these sessions, and big fun is guaranteed. Keep and eye on Dirt Rider print magazine and Dirt Rider Adventures on OLN TV for more on our fantastic day with the Pro Circuit / Troy Lee Designs Supermoto racing team.