Inside Malcolm Stewart’s Smart Top/MCR Honda CRF450R

Fant Files

Malcolm Stewart started the 2019 season with more speed and aggressive riding than we have seen from him since entering the 450 class. Unfortunately, Malcolm suffered from a season ending injury and was unable to continue racing. Just before his crash, Malcolm was battling for podium positions and qualifying with the best during timed practice. We decided it was time to take look at his Smart Top/MCR Honda CRF450R with mechanic Jason Montoya aka Rango.

Up front on Malcolm’s bike are Renthal 996 handlebars with a medium compound elastomer bar mount specific to his preferences. Malcolm did test the harder elastomer but decided to go back to medium. X Trig supplies the triple clamps with a stock offset.

While some factory teams run a billet throttle tube, Malcolm does not but does prefer his throttle to feel extremely smooth. Rango explained they tested and fine tuned the throttle for Malcolm to get this “feeling” they were searching for.

ARC provides the levers and perch to Malcolm’s bike. This is another place where Malcolm and teammate Justin Brayton differ. Justin is running a hydraulic clutch provided to him by Factory Honda.

Showa Spring forks are mounted to Malcolm’s CRF450R. Justin Brayton is running a completely different set up than Malcolm as he receives more factory equipment from HRC Honda.

Rango did tell us that the front brake master cylinder was not a stock component but did not go into detail on who provides it or specifically  what makes it “factory”. On most of the factory bikes the piston sizes on the front rotor are larger to increase braking power. Rango explained that Malcolm prefers a very touchy front brake and wants it to grab immediately on pull.

A stock front rotor and caliper are mounted to Mookie’s machine. The 19 front rotor was updated from the 2018 model and Malcolm was happy with those changes so they decided to stay with the oem supplied component.

DID Dirt Star rims and a spec Dunlop front tire are mounted to the front of the bike. The spokes and nipples are also over sized to ensure durability during racing.

The axle on Malcolm’s bike is stock and fasteners are titanium for weight and durability.

The radiators have been braced for durability on Malcolm’s race bike. Malcolm is extremely hard on the shrouds and radiators because of him squeezing the bike. If the team doesn’t run them on the bike the plastics and radiators have to be replaced. CV4 provides the radiator hoses to the team to ensure proper cooling and water flow to the engine.

Chad at XPR does the engines for the team. Rango explained that Mookie prefers the engine power band to more linear and not have too hard of a hit. He doesn’t like having too much power all in one spot and prefers it to be spread out. The team does data acquisition on the bike. All the plugs for that are hidden in the air box and made to access easily during race day.The cams and piston are different than OEM.  A Rekluse clutch is used and while Justin Brayton prefers the stiffest spring available, Malcolm is running a more standard spring design (medium stifness). The team has tested an array of clutch springs but found a happy spot on their current set up.

A map switch located on the left side of the handlebars allows Malcolm to access a launch control map that is tailored to his needs. Chad at XPR also does the mapping on the bike with a Vortex ECU.

There is a cerakote on parts of the engine which provides protection and cooler operating temperatures while racing. The color was also changed for the 2019 season to give the team a new look and that factory feel. Grip tape is a necessity for Stewart. He squeezes the bike extremely hard and prefers to have more traction on his boots to help him do that. The swing arm pivot and nut are also a stock component. Maxima provides all the oils and lubricants to the entire team.

The engine hangars/mounts are actually provided to the team by Scott Bennet at Showa. Both the top and bottom mounts have been modified to change the flex characteristics of the motorcycle. The team has stiffer and softer options to try. Malcolm commented to the team that with his current set up he was able to corner better and jumping the motorcycle was more comfortable.

Raptor provides the extremely sharp foot pegs that are wider than stock. The mount that holds them are stock and the position has not been changed. The pins were changed for added durability after Malcolm bent several sets during practice.

There is an oem brake pedal mounted to the bike and of course polished to give it the factory look. The brake pedal is level with the foot peg in position.

On the factory shifter pedal Malcolm prefers it to be raised up one tooth. The OEM standard position feels too low for his liking.

An interesting note that Rango pointed out was the current position of Malcolm’s swing arm. It is OEM position and length. They were at -10 for a while and even tried -5 to lower it.

The rear master cylinder is a stock piece with Ride Engineering clevace. The rear brake line is also a stock 2019 Honda CRF450R piece.

A Ride Engineering link is attached to the bike and Showa shock. They have changed the length on the pull rod to Malcolm’s preferences and increase stability in the whoops.

Out back is a Factory HRC hub with Dunlop spec tires. Malcolm is running a 110 rear tire. We have seen this on a couple factory bikes this year including Chad Reed. The smaller tire helps particular rides slip into ruts easier and maneuver the bike around the bike.

The rear axle is stock on Malcolm’s bike. The wheel position is placed toward the rear for more stability. The chain slider and guides are stock.

Super Sprox provides the 49 tooth rear sprocket and a Factory DID chain.

The Guts seat and oem seat foam are placed on the bike. Malcolm likes a used seat over a brand new one. If there is a new seat he feels like the bars and levers are in the wrong position. Rango uses a seat in practice for a couple days and then places them on the race bike so it is ready for Malcolm to hop on.

A 1.6 radiator cap is used to keep the bike from boiling over. A 1.1 cap is OEM.

Yoshimura provides the exhaust to the team. The header this year is new for the team and drops a little lower to change the power curve of the bike. The exhaust is tailored to the team and rider.

A stiffer Ride Engineering clutch cable mount is attached to the bike. Because of the flex characteristics of Malcolm’s bike this component is added to compliment those changes over the oem model.

Malcolm runs his Works Connection start device extremely low. Rango explained that it can be difficult sometimes to get it into position before the starts with the stiff suspension.

The graphics are done in house at MotoConcepts and the material is thinner to reduce weight. UFO provides the plastics to the team.

Justin Brayton does receive more treatment from Factory HRC Honda than his teammates. Based on Malcolm’s performance earlier in the year more parts have trickled down and have been tested. Rango explained that he hopes in the near future they will have more parts available from the HRC side to them as Malcolm’s performance continues to grow. When Malcolm returns to racing we are sure he will pick up where he left off and continue to battle with the fastest in the world.









Comments are closed.