First Look:2013 Motocrossers
Could these bikes end up production 2013s?
First Look 2013 Motocrossers
By Scott Hoffman, photos: DS
It’s that time of year when speculation and rumor in regard to new technology now has imagery to help backup or debunk some of the banter. Yet just because we can see it doesn’t always mean we will be riding it anytime soon. Just look at the Works Hondas being raced in the GP series this year. As it turns out, those bikes are full Works machines and a lot of the technology seen on those bikes will not make their way into production for 2013.
As in years past, the opening round of the Japanese Motocross Nationals can often serve as a gauge to possible production bike changes for the coming year (2013 models in this case). The economy has not been very kind to the motocross world in regard to overall moto bike sales and this has to play a part into future bike development. As of right now, Honda appears to be the only Japanese brand that will release an all-new, from-the-ground-up machine. Yet this is only speculation at this point and you never know what manufacturer might be holding back showing off new technology for a big model release later in the year. Like cars and trucks, it seems like next-year-model information and model releases are coming out sooner and sooner each year. Here is a peek into some of the changes we might see for the 2013 model year.
This bike is very much different than the Works bikes being raced in the GPs, yet still an all-new ride for 2013 from the Red Riders. Notice a new frame that has longer forged frame spars before attaching to the extruded aluminum upper spars. The upper spars also attach lower on the forged one-piece steering head. The seat is very flat and the fuel tank and the attachment point are very different compared to the 2009-2012 models. The frame flex characteristic is probably the reason for the very different frame configuration to create a chassis that feels accurate, yet is not too harsh with regard to rider feel.
Although it looks production-like, this bike has a lot of factory parts such as suspension, wheels and a Mugen dual exhaust. Now about the exhaust, will the 2013 come with dual mufflers? That is not for certain, yet to meet sound and produce max performance, dual exhaust is a viable option. The hydraulic clutch we have seen on US race bikes for the past few years looks to be a production unit for 2013.
On the outside the engine cases look very similar to the 2009-2012, yet we have heard there are several changes inside. We suspect the transmission might get a little love while performance will likely be upped to run with the more powerful Kawasaki, for example. . Plus the engine appears to be titled slightly compared to the older unit. This bike has dual exhaust, it is unsure if the production bikes in the states will have more than one muffler.
The swingarm appears very different compared to 2009-2012 models, or this is a factory race component being tested. If you look close you can see a slight horizontal hump going down the middle of the swingarm. This could mean the rear sections are made from two pieces instead of a single extruded piece. Or there is an added brace going down the tapered swingarm to change how it flexes under a load. The new-style swingarm will accommodate the completely altered frame configuration, we suspect. The swingarm also appears to ride slightly flatter compared to the 2012 CRF on the stand.
The Boys in Blue appear to be holding their guns for another year in regard to the YZ450F. This is a full race bike with a lot of factory parts and aftermarket components. The chassis appears unchanged except for some possible minor alterations to the rear shock area and we hear they might move the engine slightly forward. No word if Yamaha will try to slim the radiator shroud area. This bike appears to have a once-piece radiator shroud made by Cycra compared to the stock two-piece units.
Probably not production, although it looks like Yamaha is testing an electronically controlled dampening system that is linked up to a steering stabilizer. This YZ is also running/testing the Show Air Fork. The air fork has seen a lot of play as of late and Pro Circuit has race-tested the fork on Broc Tickle’s KXF450 back in the states. This could mean this fork could see its way onto a production bike in the next few years if the performance is there and is cost effective for a production bike.
If this bike is based off the production 2013 KX250F, the chassis and look are the main changes for 2013. This bike will adopt a similar design and configuration that is currently used on the KX450F. Kawasaki is also testing the Showa SS Air fork. Kawasaki often rides pre-production to finalize settings under race conditions during the final testing phase before the bike goes into full production. Other changes might take place internally as well as in suspension setup.
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