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Vital MX Pit Bits: 2017 Monster Energy Cup

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Vital MX Pit Bits: 2017 Monster Energy Cup

The Monster Energy Cup always offers something unique, from the different racing formats to the new bikes and rider combinations, the latest gear, one-off looks, and of course a load of trick new parts as teams prepare for the 2018 race season. Enjoy this in-depth look...

With the recent tragic events in Las Vegas, these stickers were on nearly every bike.

The metal grate that we will see standard for 2018 in Supercross.

Can Marvin Musquin take the million against two former overall winners of Eli Tomac and Justin Barcia?

Notice a difference?
Cause we do.
The new shock and mid-pipe mount that's on Tickle, Musquin, and Anderson's bikes this weekend has been seen in the GPs.
We know this is a pre-lude to the Factory Edition bike we will see for A1 but most have though it's a new chassis, thus the new engine hangers...well, it's not as much of a frame change as we though and more of an engine/induction change.

Lucky for us, but bad for Musquin, there was a problem with his bike during the first practice session. Which led the KTM team to tear the bike down in plain sight and we finally got a good look at the new cylinder head...and found something else.

We've heard some rumors of KTM working on a new throttle body that doesn't have a butterfly valve but two separate gates that open like double doors... this allows the air to pass through unobstructed unlike a butterfly valve. This is what we think is on this bike, as this isn't the standard throttle body we're used to seeing.

The shock change and mid-pipe mount swap we think has more to do with the extra room needed for the airboot change and this throttle body. In the end, the frame itself may only feature minor changes.

The old engine...
The new engine... You can see the cylinder head height changes, valve cover and the long exhaust port casting on the new engine.

The new shock also has a new feature, with high and low-speed rebound adjusters.

While they came to race, it's obvious that there's a lot of testing and data collection going on with the Red Bull KTM guys. These attenuators are on the bikes of Marvin Musquin and Broc Tickle.
They were definitely keeping track of what the new bike is doing.

The Red Bull KTM team also integrated their holeshot hook into the WP seal casing on the fork tube.

Due to Dean Wilson's time in Europe for the MXdN, he hasn't had time to test the new bike...so he's on the older bike for this weekend.

Jason however is on the updated machine. Both the KTM and Husqvarna will have new bodywork come A1.

Another look at the updates on the Husky.
Left side.

Rekluse is now partnered with Husqvarna world-wide.

Marvin Musquin missed part of the first practice with what looked like an electrical gremlin on the new parts. He came back to qualify third.

Deja vu from the last photo? Broc Tickle was showing off a lot of new here, with the Red Bull KTM, and a new deal with Alpinestars.

Jason Anderson was fourth-quickest here, and hard on the gas in this slippery sweeper section.

Fastest qualifier in the Cup class here at the Monster Energy Cup? How about Dean Wilson?

Parker Earl came to Vegas with an appropriately-themed helmet for the Supermini race.

During Friday's on-track action, the transition from the start hill to the track surface was pretty rough, and Justin Barcia went down on the first session after getting loose here. More transition was added to make things safer for the riders.

Monster Energy Supercross The Official Videogame was announced at the press conference on Friday. We got a quick chance to play the game (which is still in development), and it looks pretty cool. Look for a full roster of top name riders, including Dungey, Roczen, etc.

Justin Bogle making his debut on the new Autotrader/Yoshimura/Factory Suzuki RM-Z450.

The stock BFRC unit on Bogle's bike has been replaced by a more traditional design works Showa shock.

Stock linkage for Bogle?

JGR's engine hangers are thicker but thinner in proportions to the stock units.

Insert sensor here...

Justin Bogle was seventh in qualifying, while the top 12 are within a couple seconds of each other.

Eli Tomac's blacked-out KX450F.

We spied a little hose heading form the forks and down into the bike for data collection. While this isn't new, the center junction section was unique.

Where the sensor slips into the fork. During the past few seasons with air forks, these could be used to track the pressure building through the stroke...but on a spring fork, the same thing can be done to gain data on the stroke of the fork and how the pressure builds.

The Kawasaki team seems to have taken a note from the out-going RCH team on the placement of their rear shock travel sensor. This simple system is a lot more compact than a full travel rod along the side of the shock itself.

Even the shock got a minor black-out treatment on the compression adjuster.
Plus a green metallic coated spring.
Another #1 reminder for this weekend.
A closer look at D'Cor's blacked-out look on the Monster Energy Kawasaki.
Mmm...green kevlar exhaust tip.

Last year's winner, Eli Tomac, was the second-fastest in the Cup class.

Keeping that titanium Pro Circuit hardware safe.

It's the little things...like a titanium filter bolt and drilled washer.

Josh Grant's new VFX-EVO helmet.
With a taste of his personal style below the Monster logos.

The Showa forks have a proper connection point for data acquisition.

Eli Tomac, Josh Grant, and Ryan Villopoto getting arm pump signing autographs in the afternoon.

Justin Barcia's new CRF450R fits his style, wild!

DM for inquiries.

Yoshimura dialed him in, along with a few teams, with these polished titanium headpipes. Who wants one?

Roger D. getting some work done.

Tim Gajser's team went all out by shipping a complete GP bike for him to use, followed up by some Supercross suspension testing out at Honda's Corona test track before this weekend's event.

With Cole Seely out for MEC due to hand surgery, Christian Craig was again called up for duty...albeit with his new number for 2018 as the #32. Come outdoors of '18, we wouldn't be surprised to see Craig on a 450 again.

Time for a few comparisons of Gajser's GP bike and Craig's US machine. First off, Gajser's bike features a steering damper..
While Craig's and the other US team bikes aren't using one.
Nearly every Showa backed rider has jumped to spring forks, but Gajser continues on with the SFF TAC air fork.
While the US machines feature KYB's PSF1 air fork.
The GP Honda squad has been using Rekluse as of recently for their clutches.
While the HRC Honda US team keeps their long-time relationship with Hinson.
Both outfits work with Yoshimura, but Gajser's bike has a slightly different length and resonance chamber...
While the US team uses a longer header, without the chamber. Check out the extra protection sleeve on this polished header.
Little bit different switch option...as Gajer's machine has a start button and map selector on the right side.
Craig's machine just has the

While both machines feature a second start button on the frame in case of damage to the bar mounted version.

A really interesting change was the slim radiators on Gajser's bike. They also looked like they were rolled forward, which would make the radiator shrouds a bit more narrow. Considering Gajser's forward riding style, this would make sense.
While the US machines have as stock or

Both bikes have a Nissin hydraulic clutch, but Gajser's machine has a sensor in the middle of the line.

What's really interesting to see if Gajser on Showa's BFRC shock. Although these are common amongst Showa supported teams, the HRC GP squad wasn't using them this season. This is the first we've seen of it on the newest chassis.

It's interesting to see Tim Gajser here. He's been messing with his suspension since he got here (going stiffer on spring rates), and he went back and forth trying to decide whether to use mousse or tubes here. He opted for mousse.

The Honda guys found a new place to stash their GPS sensor, on top of the radiator

Ohh technology...

It's good to see Erik Kehoe back in action at the races. He's back in the Team Honda HRC team manager's spot.

Johnny Yamada, the suspension samurai at HRC Honda...

No helmet cleaners for the am guys...not quite the big time yet!

There was a prototype of a net system to catch bikes that go over the top of bowl turns being tested here.

Due to some injuries, the GEICO Honda team won't have a CRF150R on the track this weekend. Carson Mumford was injured preparing for the race and the other 150 was built for a young rider who might be joining the Amsoil program.

This custom aluminum fuel tank was built to supported the added fuel pump.

To of course work with the added fuel injection systems...which features duel fuel injectors and a throttle body from the CBR300 street bike.

WP forks and Brembo brakes up front.

Thor did up cool Vegas-themed names and numbers for their amateur riders.

New year, new team, but still the same ole Justin Bogle.

The TLD am team was out in full force with Derek Drake, Mitchell Falk, and Pierce Brown.

Jordon Smith is 12th among the Cup qualifiers, on a 450. That camera up top? It's GoPro's new 360 camera.

Jett Reynolds has one trick KX Supermini...

Showa A kit suspension for 65cc bikes? Yep, Bones was showing it off in the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki tent.

Smartop/MotoConcepts Honda was on-hand to support Vince Friese, as the team now will fully be on the latest CRF450R. The team also brings on a few sponsors such as Maxima and Rekluse clutches...

Along with receiving some help from KYB with kit suspension, with RaceTech doing the day-to-day work on the units. For now Vince is on spring, but may swap to air before A1.

Sorry kids, you'll have to wait a few years.