Enduro21 takes a close-up look at the Grant Baylor’s Babbitt’s Online Kawasaki KX450 at the 2024 Sumter National Enduro which is neatly running an extra start button and coolant hose protection.

Pro bike set-up always catches our eyes as we walk around race paddocks and never gets old. Like most people who ride, we love taking away those tips, tricks and hacks race teams and pro riders adopt and adapt to our own bikes and riding.

Spotted at the opening round of the 2024 AMA National Enduro series in Sumter, we thought these two really useful ideas fitted to reigning champion Grant Baylor’s Babbitt’s Online Kawasaki KX450 were well-worth the share and explanation.

Extra starter button 

This is not a new “Pro Bike” hot tip by any means, but one well-worth pointing at again. Bikes with electric starter motors have the start button on the handlebars, this is normal. But what happens if you crash and smash the usually plastic start button and/or its housing? With no kickstart on your bike like many modern off-roaders, how are you getting going again?

A simple solution is to fit a second starter button somewhere around the bike, usually out of the way like the Babbitt’s Kawasaki race team have done here. It’s a simple trick to have a second one but placing it down here means it will be more protected and a quickly accessible back-up if you smash the one on the bars.

Replacement starter buttons are commonplace and readily available from a dealer or parts retailer. Usually, they are plug and play replacements dependent on your bike and connector type.

You don’t need to be an electrician to fit an additional starter button, just some basic wiring skills to plumb the new button lead into the existing feed to the handlebar button is all you’re going to do.

That usually means snipping off the connector which the new, spare comes with and either adding it into the connector block spliced with the original wires (under the seat normally) or cutting and connecting into the existing wire further along its route.


Doubling up on the hoses

Pro mechanics say there are a few reasons to double-up the thickness of the hoses on your bike’s cooling system: to protect against punctures, split or holes if you crash and to try and maintain temperature and prevent overheating where hoses run too close to hot radiators because off-road bikes often don’t benefit from too much cooling air flowing past. Plus, in some cases, also to stop them expanding or ballooning when hot.

Babbitt’s have added Design Engineering Inc (DEI) high temperature resistant sleeve around the outside of their cooling hoses on the KX450.

DEI say the silicone glass-type sleeve has a stainless mesh outer coating which allows direct contact to a heat source, is highly abrasion resistant, provides air flow around the sleeve and is good for insulating hoses, oil/brake/transmission lines and wiring. It comes in different sizes for different application (we’re not trying to sell it for them here, just using their description to help explain why you’d want to fit some).

Some bikes also have issues with how close the hoses sit to a part of the frame, radiator or positioning of clamps which have been known to cut when you crash – even a minor crash for example when the radiator gets pushed slightly it can be enough for the hose to split.

Extra spotters points for the small overflow/catch tank behind the radiator also wrapped in heat shield tape.


Food for thought on our bikes, especially that second starter button.



Photo Credit: Mack Faint | NEPG