An inside look at Justin Hill's Motoconcepts Honda CRF450R

Justin Hill’s MCR Honda

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Justin Hill was on the JGR Suzuki Factory team last year and transitioned to the Motoconcepts Honda CRF450R with Team Manager Tony Alessi for 2020. Justin explained to us that he wanted to focus on consistency and try to remain healthy throughout the entire season. His mechanic Nick Mccampbell spent the afternoon showing us what the team has done to improve on the Honda CRF450R platform and get this bike ready to race against a huge class of talented riders.

The Front End of Justin’s Honda

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Nick told that this year Motoconcepts has worked out a deal with Nissin directly for 2020. That includes these works Nissin calipers and billet hangars on Justin Hill’s bike. These are identical to the parts you’ll find on Ken Roczen’s Honda. The rotor is stock and easily accessible for replacement for the team. Larger pistons are included on the Works Nissin set up.

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The team coats the front stock hubs to match the works rear hubs. DID Dirt Star rims are used with a works spoke for heavy impacts that occur in Supercross. Justin runs a works or “spec” front tire on his bike. He rarely changes the tread pattern.

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Patrick Custom Carbon is added to the front rotor for protection. This is Nascar driver Danica Patrick’s father who makes these trick carbon pieces for the Motoconcepts team.

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Motoconcepts is on a Factory Support effort from SHOWA. That means they receive the same treatment that the HRC team does when it comes to Suspension. The front forks and rear shock are works Showa. He runs his forks a little more dropped out than the rest of the team does. You can see that his forks are almost flush with the clamps.

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An interesting note that Nick shared with us was the fact that the entire front end of the motorcycle carries steel hardware. The team runs the “red clamp” with slits in them for different flex characteristics. Nick mentioned that the riders swear by these clamps. Malcolm Stewart does run a steering stabilizer on his bike behind the front number plate while Justin does not.

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The front brake line is stock. The master cylinder is actually a little different. It is off an older model Honda and pushes a little more fluid through the system. ARC supplies the levers on Justin’s bike. Justin does run a medium half waffle grip while the rest of the team runs a soft. He is also the only one on the team with the grip donuts. The team also uses a Pro Circuit aluminum throttle tube.

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In this photo you’ll notice the 3mm risers that Justin uses. He runs his Renthal 996 handlebars in the center position and pretty neutral in comparison to other riders. The elastomers he runs are medium compound.

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Works Connection provides the holeshot device on Justin’s bike. Justin has the most shallow position in compared to the other two riders on the MCR team.

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Along with the Works Connection Pro Launch device are added protection pieces to the fork guards. This keeps the fork guards from being ripped off.

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The MCR team sends off their radiators to ICW where they are braced. Above you can see the bracing that is added to ensure they make it through a race. Malcolm is very hard on radiators because of how hard he squeezes the bike. The team does run a 1.6 radiator cap to help prevent boil over. You can also see the red washers littered around the bike and on the radiators. IRP provides these little pieces to help the team reduce weight.

The Power Plant


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The meat and potatoes of the MCR Honda 450. Chad at XPR does all the engines for the team. Chad does all the mapping and the team runs a Vortex ECU. Chad is also responsible for the Cerakote that helps protect the engine and disperses heat.  Chad will come to a race like Salt Lake with high elevation and can plug his laptop into it to change the telemetry.

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The MCR team taps their water pump spout mainly to make sure that it doesn’t pull out or have any issues during a mud race. A cool piece of information that Nick shared with us is that the team swaps the relay fuses out from a 10 amp to a 20 amp.

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The team does run a different breather hose than stock. The team plugs up their air box. The stock hose runs through the air box and the team wants the air flowing into the air box to be cooler. You can also see the longer clutch arm that Justin uses on his bike. The longer clutch arm helps with starts and the heavy setting on clutch set ups.

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The team does run a stock skid plate. They chose to run the stock piece because the plastic doesn’t alter the flex characteristics like a metal or carbon one would. They also have the option to order the 450X version which doesn’t have holes. The HRC team will use those in a mud race.

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The entire team uses Rekluse clutches. Justin is on the heaviest setting available without going to hydraulic.

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As far as power is concerned, Justin will never tell Chad at XPR to meter the power. Justin doesn’t use his clutch a lot so he wants the power to be immediate. The team does have several start maps available to them. Currently there isn’t anyone on the team that is using start maps. Instead they are going off feel. The team is using a forged throttle body as well.

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Justin does run a stock brake pedal and shifter. He runs the shifter a tooth up from the stock position which is a little higher than his teammates. You can see the arm of the shifter has been polished to give it that factory feel.

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The team runs Pro Pegs from Motostuff. These are titanium. Beyond the pegs all the hardware is stock from the pins, springs, and mounts.

The Chassis

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When it comes to engine hangars, Works Chassis Labs handles this department. Justin is on a bigger top hangar than the rest of the team. There is a larger hole in the hangar allowing for more flex. This offsets his extremely stiff suspension set up. The bottom hangar is the same for all MCR team riders. Tony prefers to use the stock hardware on all flex components including the hangars, swing arm pivot, and linkage.

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Justin is the only rider on the team with a cut sub frame right now which is -10 from stock.

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A Ride Engineering lowering link is added to the bike. Malcolm is the only one that doesn’t run this link. Ride also supplies the brake clevace and clutch cable holder.

The Rear End of Justin’s CRF450R

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The rear master cylinder has a cerakote as well as the caliper. Works Connection provides the caps on both front and rear brake systems. You can also see the Ride Engineering clevace in this photo. Justin prefers to run the 3M grey grip tape opposed to the more aggressive “skateboard” style black material. This is more of a gummy feel and lasts longer. It is a little less abrasive on the boots.

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The Works Showa rear shock. The team does have a dedicated suspension technician that travels with them to each race. Most of the big teams are running a titanium rear spring.

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You notice right away the DID Works Chain that is provided to the team. This chain is pressed on with no master link.

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The team does run a stock chain guide but modifies them. The team trims it up and shortens them because of the insanely massive rear sprocket Justin runs.

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Justin is running a very unique gear set up. 14/53 gearing. The sprockets are made by PBI. PBI specializes in Baja 1000 style endurance racing. The sprocket comes out the box extremely beefy with sharper ends on it than you might normally see on other sprockets. Between the teeth it is also a little bit deeper so the the grab on the chain is a different characteristic than stock.

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The rear wheel is in a very neutral position. The axle blocks, chain adjusters, and axle are all stock.

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Guts provides the seat covers to the team. Justin isn’t very picky on the feel of his seat. If it has a couple of rides on it he is good to go. The underside of the seat is modified just a bit due to the amount of pressure their riders put on it when seat bouncing sections. Some tabs are added to get a little more time out of their seat bases.


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Pro Filter supplies the team with a Supercross style filter. It is a thinner single use filter that the team can switch out easily.

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The team uses Akrapovic exhaust on Justin’s 450R. The exhaust is tailored to the engine package done by XPR.

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All 3 riders are on a 110 rear tire. They feel that it is a better choice to get in and out of rutted corners.

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Motographics does all the graphics. It is an in house company and they can make changes very quickly. The team is on top of keeping the graphics durable but also managing weight by not adding extra material in places that aren’t necessary.

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