Honda is and has always been one of the largest draws for fans in the pit area at Supercross. With bikes like Cole Seely’s Factory HRC Honda CRF450R, it is no surprise. Mechanic Jordan Troxel broke down Cole’s bike and some of the goodies that come along with it.
Jordan noted that both Cole and Kenny run the exact bar bend and very similar in position. The bars are just pulled forward slightly from center on the mount. It is a factory specific bar bend for HRC Honda. Same length and bend.
ARC provides several pieces to the HRC team and on Cole’s motorcycle. Both his clutch and brake lever are ARC products. The front brake was noticeably close to the handlebar. Oddly enough Cole has larger hands and still prefers it to be close. Jordan also explained that the feel or engagement on the lever is unique in comparison to other riders. The lever ratio is unique to Cole has a really short throw to it. Both Kenny and Cole are running Renthal half waffle soft compound grips.
On the handlebars is a map switch located next to the clutch perch. This map switch is actually where Cole activates his launch control. The team has several maps available for start situations and overall engine maps. Jordan explained that Cole does not have access to multiple maps while riding the motorcycle.
Carbon guards like the one shown on Cole’s handlebars are showing up more on the factory bikes. They protect both the hydraulic clutch housing and front brake housing in the event of a crash or debris hitting the motorcycle. The clutch is actually an HRC component. The slave cylinder is custom made for the cases. The brake line and brake housing is OEM.
The triple clamps are an HRC Factory piece. The riders have an array of adjustments when it comes to offsets, and have the option to change the handlebar offset. They have the ability to change the height as well as go in or out with the handlebars. The nut is fastened as a safety precaution to keep it from spinning loose during racing. Jordan explained that this is highly unlikely but anything to make this bike more bulletproof they are willing to do. The steering stem is also a works component from Honda.
For 2019 Cole had the option on suspension to go with KYB or Showa. He chose to stay with KYB again this year while Ken Roczen is on a Showa set up.
A one button hole shot device set up is found on Cole’s bike. In comparison to other bikes Jordan has worked on, he said that Cole does run his further down in the fork than others. Cole also has his start button further down than his teammate Ken Roczen.
You will find more protection around the fork lugs and wheels on the HRC Honda CRF450R. The KYB lugs are special to the team and set up to work with the rest of the motorcycle’s performance. Cole does run a standard steel axle front and rear. He had the choice to go to titanium but went with steel after testing.
The HRC works hubs are anodized red with Cole’s signature touch on them front and rear. Cole is running spec Dunlop tires both front and rear. The front that Cole runs has actually been around for quite some time and they have stuck with that.
The team has OEM rotors and Yutaka rotors to choose from. It is left up to rider preference as far as different thicknesses and feel. A works Nissin brake caliper shown here is protected by a carbon rotor guard that Honda has outsourced in the US to have made for them.
The radiators and radiator guards are OEM components. A 1.8 radiator cap is added to the bike. 1.1 is OEM on the CRF450R. It is actually a special rounded cap to prevent from the riders possible hitting it with their knees and pushing it off the radiator spicket.
A Twin Air mesh protector is added to the radiators to keep debris away. Just another preventative measure to keep the coolant system out of harms way.
The routing to the radiators is actually changed on the HRC motorcycles. The hoses have been routed different to accommodate for the O2 bung (O2 sensor for data collection) as well as the top hose does not split like it does on the OEM model. The team was able to cut some weight off the motorcycle by doing the routing change with the hoses and deleting some of the material at the bottom of the radiator.
Honda has developed a back up start button tucked in underneath the frame in the event of a problem with the main button on the handlebars. It isn’t odd to see a rider have things ripped off their motorcycle during a crash or a first turn pile up. Honda, as well as other factory teams are doing a lot of these type of preventative measures to ensure their riders have a way to start the motorcycle more than one way.
While many of the teams use different material for engine hangars, Honda at this point is sticking with an OEM spec. They are using titanium bolts and aluminum nuts on the engine hangars mounted at the lower part of the motor.
The meat and potatoes. The Factory engine of Cole Seely’s CRF450R. The entire motor is done in house at Honda in Southern California. You will notice the works magnesium case on Cole’s bike, this is to save some weight.
Kenny and Cole do run a different spring set up. Cole runs a standard spring set up but does have options to go stiffer if he wants.
A works master cylinder is mounted to Cole’s bike. What makes this a works piece? There is no site glass. The site glasses are removed on a lot of the factory bikes to avoid them being hit and broken open during racing. A couple aluminum bolts and nuts are added to drop some more weight on the motorcycle. The Factory clevace has been designed with more play in it specifically for Cole after stalling the bike several years ago. He prefers a little more play in it to avoid this problem happening to him again. The actual spring from the brake pedal to clevace is OEM but they do have the option to change it to a stiffer rate if they want to.
The titanium foot pegs mounted to Cole’s bike are an HRC Factory piece from Japan. There is no specific foot peg offset. They are in the OEM position for both Cole and Kenny.
Cole is running a unique brake pedal. The tip is actually a factory piece added to match with the HRC foot pegs and add some durability. The brake snake is then attached to the tip and engine mount to deflect debris like tuff blocks or banners during racing. The brake snake will actually keep from things jamming between the pedal and engine causing the brake to over heat or break off.
The swing arm pivot is a standard component. Some work has been done to length and an aluminum bolt has been added to save some weight .
Honda has several options to run on their suspension when it comes to links. Currently they are on an HRC Japan link. It has been specifically designed for their bike.
An anodized red KYB spring sits on Cole’s bike. Throughout the off season suspension testing has already started. After Anaheim his suspension has gone stiffer. Jordan explained that the first few races as racers find more speed on the track the suspension will become stiffer both front and rear.
Works hubs, works spokes, and nipples are mounted to a DID LTX rim for strength. Dunlop tires on the rear actually change for Cole. The size and pattern tend to change based on preference. The front stays the same almost always.
Renthal provides the sprockets and DID provides a works chain specifically made for the race team. The gearing will stay the same for the most part unless a race like Daytona. The team has the choice to bring the wheel in or further out for stability feel preferences. This is a neutral set up and they are happy where it sits. Jordan explained that there are a million ways to change the geometry of the bike including triple clamp offsets, lugs offsets, wheel length, etc which is left up to the rider and team to decide.
The entire Yoshimura exahaust system is matched to the engine built by HRC. The engine will get finished and data is then used to compile the best combination for the bike for both the header and rear silencers.
Each suspension manufacturer is different. On Cole’s KYB set up the team has 2 compression and 2 rebound adjustments available here to work with.
The shifter is a works HRC piece on Cole’s bike. The sliders, chain rollers and block are all OEM. Contrary to what people thing about these factory motors, they are actually a lot more mellow than you may believe. These bikes are designed to be extremely rideable. The power curves are moved so the entire range is useable for Cole during racing. If you look closely you will see numbers etched into the motor just below the exhaust on the cases. These numbers are used to label each motor and who’s it is. Honda is working on so many engines at one time that each motor is labeled and cataloged to stay on top of what each one is doing.
On the left side of the engine the ignition cases are coated. A works slave cylinder and works guard takes place of the oem counter shaft sprocket protection piece.
These electronic components are specifically mounted to Cole’s bike to access data collection. While some of the factory bikes are more obvious what kind of data collection they are doing, Honda has a very subtle looking set up. Data collection is a very big component for all factory teams. They have the ability to collect data like oil temperature, water temp, etc. The goal is to spot problems before it becomes a problem on race day. It helps the team look at what the engine is doing and use that information along with rider feedback to continue developing their bikes.
The 02 bung or 02 sensor is for data collection on the exhaust.
OEM skid plate and OEM plastics are mounted to the motorcycle.
A works start button is added to slim it down in design and save some weight.
And in closing, Throttle Jockey provides the graphics and seat covers to HRC Honda. Another way weight is saved is through the graphics. The team works with Throttle Jockey to keep the bike looking good but not adding too much material that will add excessive weight to the bike.