MAX ANSTIE FIREPOWER HONDA CRF250R
Dirt Bike Magazine met up with mechanic Brice Phillips in the Supercross Paddock to go over Max Anstie’s FIREPOWER Honda CRF250R. This is the bike that Max was able to win on in East Rutherford. “Satellite or B” teams are far from ordinary. Teams like this aren’t scared to throw trick components on the bikes and compete against the factory oems at Supercross. Martin Davalos and the rest of the team are determined to show what they can do and that their CRF250R is as competitive as the HRC bikes. It clearly worked out in an all out mud race just several weeks ago. Below we will highlight the attention to detail and one off parts that FIREPOWER HONDA has to offer!
THE FRONT END
Starting at the front of the bike you will find ODI half waffle grips on the Firepower HONDA.
A really cool part on Anstie’s bike is the hydraulic clutch from Brembo. In this photo you can also see the kill switch has been rotated upwards. This is to keep it out of the way from Max bumping it with his chest. A lot of the top riders lean far over the bike and inadvertently bump the buttons on the handlebars. Teams go the extra mile and try to avoid this problem.
On the left hand side of the handlebars you’ll see Anstie runs his Polar watch mount and watch. He keeps track of his heart rate and how long he has been riding through each session. He doesn’t run it during the race however and his mechanic will remove it at that time. Max says that its more of a distraction for the night program on Saturdays.
Everything about the wiring harness has been simplified for the team. One thing that is only done by FirePower Honda is this ECU mounted behind the number plate. This is something special the team does and the original location is by the airbox. This is to keep mud/water away from the ecu at all times.
Another cool additive we’ve only seen FirePower Honda do is zip-tye the throttle cables together. This is a Martin Davalos trick he’s implemented into the team bikes. This just keeps the two cables together and avoids a chance of them getting snagged on anything.
Max’s throttle tube is billet for durability with stock throttle housing.
Factory Connection is handling the suspension department for Max. Of course it is stiff but Max does want some comfort. Its finding that sweet spot of hold up and plushness that every pro rider at this level is looking for. Unless your name is James Stewart who just liked it cement stiff.
Max and the team did testing on applying titanium bolts in the Xtrig triple clamps shown in the photo above. Anstie wasn’t fond of the titanium and the feel it gave him on the front end. The team decided to stick with oem insead. Brice Phillip polishes the hardware to give it that factory feel. Anstie’s fork height base setting is 1mm. Depending on the track it will differ slightly from 1mm to 2mm.
One area you won’t see a wire tie is the steering stem. Typically you will on a pro level bike but Brice explained to us that Max runs it so stiff that this area of the bike is always being worked on. Max likes his steering very very stiff. You can also see the ODI Champ Bend handlebars in this photo. This is the same bar bend Dean Wilson runs on his 450. Max noticed Tomac was running a narrower bar and wanted to try. That is originally why he gravitated toward the champ bend.
Max’s preferred holeshot button setting is 185mm. In the mud he has gone to 175mm which is typically his go to for conditions like that.
In this photo you can see the team is using fork guard straps. These straps add some durability to the fork guards. Because the holeshot device puts so much tension on the guards when engaged, they can easily snap off as the rider heads down the track while the button releases. These straps ensure the guards won’t break off after the launch button releases.
Supercross is really hard on the wheels. Brice adds some insurance by wire tying the spokes together. If a spoke breaks off it will stay in place while Max is riding. This won’t let the spoke spin around and possibly get caught up in the front brake system. The front axle is oem.
An up close look at Max Anstie’s Dunlop spec tire (factory) with Excel A60 rim. The team has had a few options to test with but Max has stuck on this pattern.
Everything on the front brake system is OEM except the factory Nissin front brake caliper shown above. We are assuming it houses larger pistons than stock. Max likes his front brake extremely touchy. Max prefers to have the lever super close to the handlebar. Brice goes in 5mm from the stock position to help with what Max prefers.
A full coverage carbon front disc guard is used on the bike. This protects the entire front brake system. It also acts like a ski or glide for Max when riding in deep ruts. Instead of getting hung up on the caliper or fork lugs the bike can slide through fairly easily using the disc cover shown above.
On the right hand side of the radiators you will find a temp sticker to keep track of their performance during the day. On the left the team is using a 1.8 cap with pin drilled through the top. This pin keeps the cap in place just in case the rider bumps it with their legs. The last thing the team wants is for the cap to be spun off and lose all the coolant during racing. You can also see the Twin Air radiator mesh covers. This keeps the radiators protected from sand packing in or rocking flinging at the fins.The team also has the option of running a radiator fan. They ran it at Daytona Supercross this year.
The engine is done in house at FirePower Honda in Cairo, Georgia. The team has their own dyno and tune each bike to their riders’ needs. When Max first got on the bike off the 450 he kept demanding more bottom end. The team has slowly been making the bike better and creating a package that Max was confident in. It showed at East Rutherford this year when he won in the mud. Martin Davalos has given his own money and time into this program.
In the event the start button on the handlebars fails Max has a 2nd button located on the smaller frame spar. He can get his bike started again using this button and a nice piece of insurance for the team to have on the bike.Max isn’t in the greatest habit of using the back up button so the team put one on his practice bike so he can simulate racing conditions while using the button. You can also get a good look at the braced radiators Max is using on his CRF250R.
The CRF250R of Maz Anstie is equipped with an HGS exhaust front to back. It is the same one you can order for your bike with no special modifications done.
The regulator rectifier is moved from its original location to the front end of the frame with a carbon bracket. We have seen variations of this placement in the past on the Honda CRF250R.
AHHH once again we find an electric water pump mounted to a bike in 2023. Max is using a Bosch electric water pump with HRC (factory Honda) mount. The electric water pump improves efficiency of the cooling system and can help create more power on the motorcycle.
Something special for the team is this billet ignition cover. It is custom to fit the Brembo hydraulic clutch system the team is using.
Works Chassis Labs engine hangars are added to the bike for a different flex characteristic. Max is pretty stuck on this set shown but the team has options to make the bike feel more rigid if they want. Max has been testing back with stock recently after noticing that Hunter/Jett Lawrence are using OEM mounts. Max likes it for particular track conditions but we didn’t see oem hangars on the bike when we shot it. In Atlanta they ran the OEM mounts.
A complete Hinson clutch system is used in the bike.
You can see the shifter tip has been filled with epoxy to keep mud out at all times.
Without giving too many secrets away Brice told us that the wiring harness is extremely special to the team. In fact this wiring harness is only on Max’s bike! None of the other FirePower Hondas have this set up. The connectors up front are made in house and the harnesses are made at PEP Performance. You can see the attention to detail with Max’s name and the model of the motorcycle they are using it on.
Twin Air provides a pre oiled Supercross spec filter for the team. A more robust filter can be used for outdoors and Daytona type situations.
THE REAR END
Out back you’ll find a Factory Connection shock with DLC coated shaft. The linkage is also custom for Max.
SKDA provides the graphics and seat covers to the team. GUTS lightweight phantom seat foam is used on the bike. Brice will go 2-3 rounds maximum before changing it. Max likes his seats pretty stiff. The foam does have a wide feeling so Brice actually shaves down the sides before placing it on the bike.
Raptor titanium foot-pegs are added to the bike. The mount is oem and just polished for looks. These are custom made for Max. The pins are upside down for easy access and to avoid damage to the cotter pins.
The rear brake pedal is completely stock. Max likes the brake pedal and shifter pretty neutral. Maybe a slight smidge up to have the feel just right for his feet and engagement. Max likes his rear brake really touchy.
It’s always interesting how riders use grip tape on their bikes. Brice actually cut down the grip tape recently on the side panels. Max made comments that his boots were almost too grippy so Brice removed some of the grip tape on the side panels to resolve that issue. You can see the Anker Tape on the frame. This is almost a gummy grippy texture that really helps the rider lock in on the bike with their legs. We see this tape a lot in the Supercross paddock.
Max is one of the 250 riders that will bounce from 110 to 120 sizes. It depends on the track and the conditions it is providing. The team has to be careful because the 120 can rob power from the bike. This tire is a 784A spec tire from Dunlop. He ran this tire design all season except for Daytona where a scoop tire was used.
FirePower sprockets are used on the CRF250R. Max has stuck around the 13/49 gearing combination. A DID chain with stock rollers and slides are used. It is pretty impressive how much oem equipment is using. Shows the confidence they have in what comes out the box from Japan. The wheel base is in a neutral setting and compliments the rear Factory Connection shock settings that they have come up with. Again you can see the EZE hubs with Excel A60 rims
The spokes are wire tied just like the front for durability. The entire rear brake assembly is oem.
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