INSIDE ADAM CIANCIARULO’S MONSTER ENERGY CUP WINNING KX450

by Travis Fant

Adam Cianciarulo’s Factory Kawasaki KX450

Adam Cianciarulo's factory KX450 before the Monster Energy Cup.
Adam Cianciarulo’s factory KX450 before the Monster Energy Cup.

Adam Cianciarulo’s Factory Kawasaki KX450 in the pits of Sam Boyd Stadium before Saturday night. This is the first 450 that Adam has raced in his career. We met up with Justin Shantie (AC mechanic) at Monster Energy Kawasaki to go over Adam’s new ride for the 2020 Supercross season that is set to kick off in January. Adam was able to capture the 2019 Monster Energy Cup overall win Saturday night against a stacked field of riders and will instantaneously become a threat at each round in 2020.

Renthal is one of the suppliers to team Kawasaki.

Up front you will find Renthal Fatbar on Adam’s KX. Adam switched from his Twinwall bar that he ran on his KX250 on Pro Circuit. Although he did change his handlebars, the grips remained the same. They are Renthal Kevlar dual compound with a grip donut.

Adam Cianciarulo uses the stock front master cylinder.
Adam Cianciarulo uses the stock front master cylinder.

Stock master cylinders are mounted to the handlebars. On both sides are carbon guards that surround the housing to protect from any sort of impact during racing. A lot of these style guards showed up on bikes last year during the 2019 Supercross season.

Cianciarulo's Arc levers are essentially off the shelf items.
Cianciarulo’s Arc levers are essentially off the shelf items.

ARC provides the levers on Adam’s KX450. ARC works with the rider to customize the engagement points and the throw of the lever. There are inserts or “pucks” placed in the lever to give them a specific feeling. These bikes are customized down to the last bolt for their rider to have the best shot at winning every night. The throttle tube is made by Pro Circuit and available to the public.

The team utilizes the same launch control system that comes stock on the KX450. Factory teams with tailor the mapping to their riders’ needs and depending on the track conditions. Starts are more consistent than ever since the implementation of metal launch pads last year.

Adam Cianciarulo uses Showa suspension, while his teammate Eli Tomac uses KYB.
Adam Cianciarulo uses Showa suspension, while his teammate Eli Tomac uses KYB.

Showa A-Kit suspension is found on Adam’s KX450. This is actually different than what Eli Tomac has. Eli is running KYB. Justin explained that the team has a solid working relationship with both KYB and Showa. They are able to do a lot of testing with both and use both if preferred.

Located just above the Xtrig triple clamps on top of the Showa forks are wires. These wires are for data collection on the front suspension. Located all around the motorcycles are sensors to gather data on what the bike is doing during race or practice. Data helps the mechanic make changes when a rider is describing a feel they might be trying to obtain. They can use the data also to make sure parts are functioning properly.

A single button holeshot device is added to the fork guard. Some factory bikes will run a double button to have some adjustment if needed. Justin described Adam’s button to be lower than some riders he has worked with in the past at the 155mm setting. The entire part is designed in house at Kawasaki USA located in Irvine,California. Adam was able to get 2 of the 3 holeshots in the Main Events on Saturday night so the system must work!

A very cool part that comes from Kawasaki Japan is the magnesium Nisssin front brake caliper with over sized pistons inside. Justin explained to us that Adam’s bike has more than enough stopping power, even at Adam’s pace. The front brake line itself is OEM. Adam and Eli run a different size caliper and the piston sizes are different also.

A plasma coated titanium front axle is used on Adam’s bike. This piece of titanium is added to the bike to reduce weight and provide a different feel in the front end. In previous tests, Kawasaki has found that their riders prefer this material over stock. Adam runs the titanium in both outdoor and Supercross.

The wheel itself is laced up to and SR (special racer) hub from Kawasaki Japan (KHI Kawasaki Heavy Industries) . An interesting note to take away from the wheel region is that the spokes are actually an SR part as well. It is not necessarily because they are beefed up, but the lengths may be altered to fit with the SR hub used. The AC9 in the center was a nice addition to the design of the bike. You can also see the very large 280mm factory front floating rotor for increased stopping power.

The Dunlop front tire is a spec aka factory tire used by Adam. This tire is actually the same design as what he used on the Pro Circuit Kawasaki KX250 last year. Justin brought over parts and tried to obtain a familiar feel that Adam had on his 250 before moving up to the big bike. The riders are pretty particular about their tire choice and rarely stray away from something they like.

These X Trig triple clamps feature a new design that could quite possibly make their way to the consumer level soon. They feature an elastomer bar mount system and the Kawasaki team has been testing them quite a bit. This system is on Adam’s bike but not on Eli’s.  Justin did tell us that the actual offset varies. They have changed them series to series. Adam was able to gather information from testing last year and determined a general direction to go when it came to picking an offset for his triple clamps.

The radiators are a stock item on Adam’s KX450. You might see over sized or some extra braces on this coming season for outdoors.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen this but always a cool little fact. The stock 2020 Kawasaki KX450 has a 1.1 radiator cap. The Factory runs a 1.8 to have a higher boiling level during racing. Not particularly for indoors but for the Pro Motocross season. This cap actually comes off a KX65. You can also see there is a locking pin in the cap itself. A small hole is drilled and the clip is placed through it to keep the cap from spinning off. Riders legs can bump the cap and potentially push the cap off causing anti-freeze to spew out.

The team has outsourced some help with the radiator hoses to take out the Y format that comes stock on the KX450. This allows the team to easily remove the engine in a hurry and swap components quickly. The oetiker clamps on the hoses themselves also help with easy removal when changing motors.

Adam didn’t have any mechanical issues at Monster Energy Cup but in the event he does in the future the bike has a secondary start button tucked under the shroud. A lot of the factory teams are adding back up buttons to the bike in the event of electronics being ripped off or damaged on the handlebars during racing. You can also see the titanium strap around the frame to keep it into place.

Kawasaki outsources their carbon to a company for specific products like their wrap around skid plate. This thing is perfectly formed around the engine, almost like its been vacuum packed in protective layer of carbon. Justin said the carbon they use on the skid plate and separate water pump cover are ULTRA strong and light weight. The team does have a couple versions to choose from.

You can see on both sides of the engine, which are done completely in house at Kawasaki, they are akadized for several reasons. Obviously the cool factor is one of those reasons but furthermore the akadizing actually helps protect the cases and adds a beefier layer onto them. They also help with heat dispersion. Something interesting that Justin told us was that the cases have a bit of a sticky compound to them which helps keep the large seals around the cases lift or push up from where they are positioned.

Pro Circuit provides the exhaust front to back on Adam’s KX450. This custom header shown here was developed to position the power where Adam preferred on the big bike.

It wouldn’t be a factory exhaust without a custom Ti-6 Pro exhaust with team Kawasaki Green Kevlar Carbon end cap. On the back side of the exhaust is a different bracket made special for the team by Pro Circuit. It is a 5 rivet bracket to beef up the mounting point for added insurance against crashes or vibration over time.

This is very close to a stock master cylinder because it is made on the same assembly line as the one you will find on a 2020 Kawasaki KX450. The only difference is that these bodies have the window sight glass missing. Before the hole is bored on the production line, the master cylinders are pulled and used by the factory teams. Removing the window from the body helps ensure the brake line won’t have problems during racing. The team doesn’t want to take any chances with the glass being hit with rocks.

The team actually makes their own brake clevace shown in the photo above. It has a bolt inside of it making it a bit of tighter feature. This helps the removal of the brake pedal if it does bend during racing.

The Brake Snake. Every factory team runs one. this is attached to the brake tip and to the frame of the motorcycle. This keeps from tough blocks or any kind of debris getting trapped behind the brake pedal. Some riders in the past have thought their motors are burning up because a banner gets caught. The line keeps that from happening and also keeps the brake pedal from bending completely outward or sheering off the bike.

The brake pedal itself is just polished for looks. The tip is what makes this component factory. This is a folding tip off a KX500. This helps the rider get through deep ruts and not get hung up as easily.

Just above the pedal is the brake stop. This little machined aluminum slug is placed in the swingarm pivot to keep the brake pedal from being forced upward and ripping the guts out of the master cylinder.

The rear Showa shock of Adam’s KX450. Team will play with different materials on the spring for a feel preference.

A one piece machined billet shock body shown above. A very trick component on Adam’s bike.

The linkage system is made in house at Kawasaki. It allows the team to change any of the characteristics of the bike Adam might be searching for. Different length pull rods, different eye points on the actual knuckle itself and more can be changed. Justin explained that there is a ton of availability for the team to try. Along with that there is a sensor on the linkage that helps compare the comments of the rider to feedback the sensor is giving them. It also helps Adam learn more about feel and the numbers that correlate to that.

The rear caliper is an OEM item that has been shined up for aesthetics. There is a cool titanium brake pin in it with an 8mm hex on the end so the team can remove the entire brake with one T handle. You can also see if you look closely the titanium nitrated coating on the piston. The piston itself is titanium. This helps with the function of the rear brake and heat dispersion. An SR (special racer) style rotor is attached to the hub. It is a 250mm rotor similar to the one that comes on the bike stock.

A titanium SR rear axle is added to Adam’s bike. The team makes their own axle blocks in house at Kawasaki. They are some trick billet pieces with the added hash marks engraved on them to get the chain adjustment spot on every time. They are also very light weight. Check out the 3D printed plugs added to the inside end of the axle. They are added to both sides to keep from mud packing in and adding weight to rear wheel. The team has recently added a 3D printer to their arsenal and has been helping create components like these plugs to add to the motorcycles.

An SR one piece billet hanger is added to the rear brake assembly. You’ll also find an SR Kawasaki hub mounted to DID Dirt Star rims with a 120 rear tire. Some 450 riders have moved to a 110 tire for better cornering but Adam prefers the feel of the 120 out back.

A 14/51 sprocket Renthal sprocket combo is uses on the KX450. The new gold ERT-3 DID chain is added and the links are riveted for insurance purposes. The axle position is pretty far back. This gives the bike more stability especially in the whoops. Justin explained that it is also good for the suspension ratios that they have. The chain block is made in house at Kawasaki. The entire goal of this component is to ensure the chain is grabbed sooner than stock and guided on to the rear sprocket without any chance of derailment. The green insert is made on the CNC machine and the carbon comes from their out sourced carbon vendor they use. The team has modified it by removing some of the holes that were in prior designs. The holes collected too much mud especially in outdoors.

Titanium bolts and used to fasten the sprocket down and fuji bolts that lock down for a one time use and secure fit. Justin always replaces these when changing out the sprockets.

Justin explained that one of the coolest pieces on the bike that is made are these trick titanium pegs. It’s a welded titanium peg. The back part comes off the CNC machine from a solid block of titanium. The cleats are made from a water jet and are bent by the in house fabricator. Jeremy (in house fabricator) also makes the hanger for the pegs which are titanium. It is designed to be a little bit wider to have no mud pack inside the peg.

You can see from this angle the titanium covers on the footpegs and hanger. Titanium bolts are used to mount the pegs to the frame. A hollow pin is used with washer through the peg mount. The team talked about the adjustability of the footpegs that Kawasaki offers with 2 hole positions in the frame. The team prefers to stay in the upper set of holes or stock position to avoid the peg dragging in a rut or having the riders’ foot hang down lower. The team has adjusted for Adam’s height with the chassis so they don’t have to mess with lowering the pegs. They also have the availability to go up, down, forward, and back on the pegs if they need to.

A bump is added to Adam’s bike and wrapped in a D’Cor Visuals gripper seat cover featuring pleats. The bump is usually made with bar pad material. AC is on a 3 race rotation on the seat before it is replaced again. Justin likes to keep the seats pretty fresh feeling. Tomac doesn’t run a bump on his KX450.

The air filters are given to the team by Twin Air. The team has different filters available depending on the race conditions. Inside is a trick titanium fastener for the air filter element that the team uses to keep weight down and increase durability.

The case saver is made in house at Kawasaki. A really cool item on Adam’s bike is the sensor attached to the counter sprocket behind the case saver. This sensor is collecting data on the engine for the team to look at. It also serves another purpose by not allowing mud to pack up in another empty area of the motorcycle.

Justin studied Adam’s 250 to look for any parts that he preferred and they could bring over onto the 450 and alleviate the testing process on. After speaking with the crew chief they decided to use the Pro Circuit/CMI shifter for his bike. This is pretty much like the OEM shifter with one exception. The tip is longer for Adam’s larger boot size.

Just above the sensor on the counter sprocket are the sensor connectors. These wires send the data to the harness for the team to collect via data port shown in the image below. You can also see the sensor cables are connected with a trick mounting system that is attached to the clutch cable line. This bracket is made on the 3D printer in house at Kawasaki. It is easier for the mechanic to change sensors quickly or do a motor swap without having to deal with zip tyes or a different style clamp.

This is the access point for the team to gather all the collected data for review inside the truck.

D’cor Visuals topped off the scheme of the bike with a custom sparkle green graphic kit and numbers. MEC isn’t a regular style AMA event so the team was able to run green backgrounds and really embrace the Vegas feel on the weekend.

 

 

 

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