Inside the 2013 Supercross Works Bikes

Factory firepower creates the coolest dirt bikes on the planet!

The start of a new Supercross season brings with it a lot of anticipation over and above race results. It’s the first time fans, riders and team personnel get to see what the competition has brought to off-road racing’s largest stage.

The recession has no doubt slowed some of the progress, however, that hasn’t stopped much in this sport. During the last few years we have seen tremendous advances in ignition systems, electronic fuel injection, front suspension, and now, for 2013, shock technology.

KTM is the first to introduce an air shock to modern racing. The idea is not new in principle, but it does break a longstanding tradition of externally sprung components. The new WP air shock is enshrouded in mystery that has suspension technicians intrigued.

Ryan Villopoto's Kawasaki KFX450F

Like most air shocks, the external coil spring is absent, as on Dungey’s KTM 450SX. We don’t know for sure if there is any type of internal spring, although suspension experts believe there may be one to control top out.

Ryan Dungey KTM 450SX Air Shock

Dungey’s shock has a braided line that leads from the shock body to the airbox, and it’s not known if this contains data-acquisition components, some type of smart or active technology, or perhaps air lines to another hidden area. One of the challenges with air shocks is controlling heat, and thusly, air pressure. The braided line on Dungey's bike may be ameliorating the heat/air pressure issue.

There are traditionally two different types of air shocks and each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The first is the air bag or bladder-style air shock, and these can use one or two separate air chambers to control force. The second style is the telescoping cylinders like the original Fox Air Shox, but the disadvantage here is seal drag, which is one of the challenges of the new wave of air forks now being used on production motocross bikes.

WP Air Shock

We spoke to Race Tech’s Paul Thede who says no one will know what type of technology WP and KTM are employing until they want to let the secret out of the bag. There are too many variables that come into play, but Thede does believe damping would be along the lines of traditional style with oil running through small orifices such as valves and shims.

Another trend seen in the pits is the conversion to Showa suspension by everyone except KTM and privateer Josh Hansen. Hansen’s Kawasaki is one of the last bikes to use Kayaba components.

We got terrific access into the Anaheim 1 pits and snapped a ton of photos that reveal many key details of the exotic supercross machinery, so scroll down to see what we discovered. 

Ryan Villopoto and Mike Wilkinson

Ryan Villopoto's Custom Seat

Ryan Villopoto KFX450F Hubs

Chad Reed Honda CRF450R

Chad Reed Honda CRF450R Exposed Exhaust

Eli Tomac Honda CRF250

Josh Grant Billet Aluminum Gas Tank

GET Programmable Ignition System

JGR Yamaha Exhaust System

KTM Supercross Innovations

James Stewart Suzuki RM-Z450

Adjustable Ignition System

James Stewart Customized Seat

James Stewart Yoshimura Exhaust

James Stewart Billet Parts

James Stewart Brake Snake

Kevin Windham Factory Honda with Works Suspension

Kevin Windham Dual Yoshimura Exhaust

Kevin Windham Honda CRF450R Exhaust

Pro Circuit Lites Bike

Monster Energy Pro Circuit Fork

Blake Baggett ARC Levers

Blake Baggett Brake Pedal

Blake Baggett Canister-Style Exhaust

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