Justin Brayton’s Honda CRF450RIn 2019 Justin Brayton became the oldest rider to win a Supercross Main Event at the age of 34 in Daytona,Florida. He was on a Motoconcepts/Smart Top Honda CRF450R that season and has now graduated to the HRC Factory team for 2020. This isn’t Justin’s first time with HRC, but a well deserved one after a solid performance last year in Supercross. As it sits now, Chase Sexton will take over that seat in 2021 full time. You can’t ignore the new look of the factory bike this season. From the red head to the new graphics layout, this bike is clean and simple at its core. Mechanic Brent Duffe spent some quality time with Travis Fant to go over the technical aspects of what makes Justin’s bike a factory machine.
Fortunately enough for Justin Brayton he was on a Honda last year and was able to carry over some of his preferred components onto the new bike. That includes his Renthal 997 bend handlebars. He likes to roll them forward just a touch also.
Justin runs a shaved down Works Connection aluminum throttle tube. When Brent told us this, we had to put our hands around it to see how skinny it was. It was a significant difference from the stock version. His front ARC brake lever is also very close to the handlebar and extremely easy to grab. Justin prefers a skinnier lever on both the clutch and brake side of the motorcycle.
Justin likes to run a thinner grip than normal. You can see in the photo above that the grip is rolled forward a pinch from neutral position and the inner waffle is cut. This is all designed around Bratyon’s preferences.
You’ll notice on the factory HRC hydraulic clutch master cylinder and front brake master cylinder there are carbon protective pieces over them. This piece of protection is on most of the bikes you’ll find in the pits at the factory level. Believe it or not, even in Supercross a lot of debris is flung at the bikes. The team and mechanics want to do the very best job possible to avoid a rider sitting on the sidelines instead of racing. “Rocks can ruin races,” said Brent. Also a cool note to mention is that on both the clutch and brake side, the lines are pretty tucked away and close to the handlebars.
The front brake master cylinder and caliper on the front brake system are HRC components. The line is a stock Honda CRF450R part.
One thing that stood out right away was Justin’s tall HRC bar mounts. Duffe has been with Justin for quite some time and even traveled with him during his Australian Supercross season. Brent explained that Justin likes to open up the cockpit and has always preferred a taller front end. The steering stem is an HRC works component with a different race inside.
On the right side of the handlebars you’ll find a start button made in house for the team. This isn’t exactly what comes on the 2020 Honda CRF450R in stock trim, but serves the same purpose. Last year we learned that Honda changes the button on the bars because the stock version collects mud and can get jammed up in the event of the rider trying to restart the bike. This start button on Justin’s bike is also smaller in size and every little bit counts for weight.
Just about every team has an auxiliary start button on their bikes. Some more hidden than others. This has become the norm as most of the bikes in 2020 have no kick start. While it is nice for the rider to have a button, it can also be troublesome if the button is damaged during racing. Having a backup strapped to the frame gives the team some insurance their rider has a way to get going again.
Justin has had a working relationship with SHOWA suspension since 2016. From 2017 to now there have been minor changes in the settings, but Brent explained to us that they haven’t done a whole lot. It makes it nice that the current model Honda hasn’t changed too drastically. Brayton and Duffe have raced this bike all around the world so they feel like they have a very dialed set-up on the Honda. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t open to testing, which they do but Justin sticks to what is comfortable for him. You can also get a good eye on the HRC bottom clamps the team is running on his bike.
Justin is on a Works Connection holeshot button. Some teams run a double button depending on the track conditions but this set up is a one size fits all. Brent told us that the button is so deep into the front fork and with the suspension being so stiff, he has to have a 2nd person help him on the line to set the holeshot device in place before take off.
Check out the fasteners on Justin’s fork guards. Every little piece of this bike is beefed up for racing. The axle is a stock steel component. The team has options to run titanium if they want to but Justin really doesn’t have a preference like some of the riders do in this department. The lugs did look oversized but there are some things Honda likes to keep hush hush on. That’s the fun in doing these stories! You also get a good look at the works Honda hub in this photo.
In this photo you can see the DID Dirt Star rims with works spokes, beefed up nipples, and works hub. The wheels take an absolute beating in Supercross so they have to be strong to make it through the day. Wrapped around the wheels are Spec Dunlop tires. More than likely this is a tire that will find its way into the general consumers hand at some point if it makes the cut. You can also see the works carbon front rotor guard used for protection.
An up-close look at the factory Yutaka front rotors on Justin Brayton’s 450. While the rotor might be Yutaka, the size doesn’t change from the stock 2020 Honda CRF450R model.
Brent Duffe told Dirt Bike Magazine that the front brake is extremely strong. The pistons are the same size as the production model. You can also see the HRC brake hangar attached to the forks. Safety wire of course is added to the brake line for insurance and the Nissin caliper is polished up for that factory feel.
The team runs works radiators on the left and the right of the motorcycle. The size isn’t different from stock but they are strengthened by the team for racing. The Twin Air screens you see over the radiators prevent from mud packing in and causing the bike to over heat. This also protects the radiators from rocks or debris hitting that area of the motorcycle.
A data logger sits behind the left shroud on Justin’s Honda. This antenna shown here was an interesting piece we found while scanning the bike. Data acquisition is a big part of the factory team efforts. Honda was tight lipped on what data they were actually gathering.
Off the right radiator you can see the down stem is just a single unit. On the stock Honda CRF450R there are two. This is for weight savings. You can also see the titanium spigot in this photo.
Here is a better look at the titanium spigot coming out of the water pump cover. The stock unit is pressed in while these are bolted on instead. This is another security measure for the team to have for racing purposes.
You can see the engine mounts in this photo. The HRC runs stocks engine mounts all around on the motorcycle. Titanium bolts and aluminum nuts are used to finish it off. The stock mounts have proved to the riders that other options that are available don’t fit their needs. You will see carbon and titanium on other bikes in the pits if you look closely enough.
The stock radiator cap on the Honda CRF450R is a 1.1 . The Factory team uses a 1.8 cap instead for higher boil over tolerance.
Hinson clutches are used in the Factory HRC Honda. It is a 7-plate clutch. This is a lighter set up than he has run in the past. Justin ran a Rekluse on the MotoConcepts team previously. We do know from talking to the MCR team that Justin had the stiffest clutch spring set up of any of the riders on that team in that period of time.
First thing you notice is the sight glass that has been added to the engine cases. The right side cover is a works component. It is ceramic coated for durability and heat dispersion. This is one of several engines that stay in rotation throughout the season.
Yoshimura exhaust front to back is attached to Justin’s Honda. You can see the O2 sensor on the header that is incorporated into the data logging system. Both Kenny and Justin are running identical exhaust systems.
You can see in this photo the extra skin on the Yoshimura header. This is added protection for the header in the event of a crash or debris hitting it.
This is a works HRC brake pedal from Japan. It is the standard shape, length, and height of the 2020 Honda CRF450R. There is a titanium brake tip at the end with a slightly different adjusting point on it. You can also see the brake snake here attached to the brake tip for added protection. This keeps tuff blocks and/or other things getting trapped behind the brake pedal during the race. Sometimes something will get trapped in the pocket behind the pedal and cause the brakes to drag or even smoke.
Another protective item used on the Honda is just above the rear brake pedal spring. This little threaded piece going through the arm helps prevent the rear brake from getting shoved up or bent forward during racing. This is also a works HRC clevis going up into the mastery cylinder.
Side view of the protective threaded piece that helps prevent the brake from getting shoved upward. Just above the rear brake spring.
This is a factory rear brake master cylinder. The only difference is that it does not have a sight window in the back of it. The master cylinders are pulled off the assembly line before the hole is cut in for the factory teams to use. This prevents any damage to the glass causing the rear brake to lose fluid on race day. Again, more safety wire for insurance purposes. A stock swingarm pivot is used (right hand side of photo) with an aluminum nut on the end of it. Some teams will use titanium in place of the stock unit.
Two things stand out in this photo. One is the carbon sticking out a pinch from behind the air box. That is the carbon starter relay mount that HRC Honda adds to their motorcycles. This re-positions the relay and gives it more clearance for the shock body. Next is the small gap on the subframe and main frame. This is a 10mm cut subframe.
The entire linkage system on the HRC Honda CRF450R is a works piece. The measurements themselves are identical to what you will find on stock.
The Works Showa rear shock of the HRC team. While the components have changed a bit the actual settings aren’t much different over the past few years for Justin. Brent told us that Justin can race his set up all around the world with how dialed he has it. They only like to make subtle adjustments on race day and not do anything drastic.
Just like the front of the bike, Justin has a stock rear brake line. The entire system is essentially stock. A works standard sized Yutaka rotor is used out back.
The axle is a stock component. The Axle blocks are HRC Japan with titanium adjusters.
A pretty cool factory HRC piece is the rear chain guide. This chain guide differs from the stock because the holes are removed. This helps prevent from mud packing in. We have seen teams also run different lengths on the guide to keep the chain rolling on and not jump off track.
Renthal chain and sprockets are used on Justin Brayton’s Factory Honda. Since Justin has changed to the new team he has gone down a tooth to a 48 in the rear. They typically don’t change that gear combination (13/48) so the rear wheel is in the same exact spot every race. Whatever gearing the team runs that also locks them in on swing arm lengths. A DID O-ring chain is used for durability purposes. Brent said he can set the chain and not have to adjust it afterwards. It is a very reliable part on Justin’s bike.
The flip side of the motorcycle. The team does run a works transmission. You can get a good look at the red valve cover the team added this year.
A Twin Air filter is used and you’ll notice the light weight aluminum screw that fastens it down for weight savings.
A staple to the Factory Honda effort are the titanium foot pegs featuring ti pins and mounts. The position of the footpeg itself hasn’t been altered in any way.
Justin runs a titanium HRC shifter with aluminum tip on it. The position is in the stock setting. You can see numbers like the one on the shifter littered all around the motorcycle. These are for inventory purposes. This keeps track of what parts go where and if there is a problem, they can reference back to the number specified.
The team uses a stock skid plate. Something pretty cool we learned is that Honda uses the 450X skid plate because it doesn’t have holes in it and helps prevent from mud packing into the engine area.
Justin runs a stock seat with Throttle Jockey seat cover. Justin prefers to have a broken in seat and not have that stiff feeling while he is on the bike.
Besides the front/rear suspension and handlebar set up Ken Roczen’s and Justin Brayton’s bikes aren’t very different. Justin doesn’t run grip tape on the frame while Kenny does.
Justin Brayton’s bike is topped off with an all new graphics layout from Throttle Jockey. They have worked with the team in keeping the material light weight and not using extra material in places it is not needed.