Feast your eyes on RedMoto Honda Racing Team’s 2020 Honda CRF250RX Thomas Oldrati will race in EnduroGPs this season.
Ahead of what would have been the opening round of the Italian Enduro Championship (see our seperate story on how Coronavirus caused the cancellation here) and before the rapidly approaching 2020 Enduro World Championship season arrives, the Honda RedMoto Racing Enduro Team has officially launched its bikes and riders in their new clothing.
2020 team riders Thomas Oldrati, Danny McCanney and Roni Kytonen are looking crisp in their new Scott race gear and the bikes are looking equally fresh.
RedMoto are the official arm of Honda in Enduro, working with Honda Japan and Honda Racing they rank alongside the MXGP and HRC Rally teams. Which means they’re packed with bling and is exactly why we wanted to take a closer look at the 250 Honda missile Thomas Oldrati will race in the E1 class this season.
We spoke to RedMoto Honda’s Team Manager, Matteo Boffelli to find out more about their CRF250RX...
Matteo Boffelli drops an astonishing fact like a bomb almost straight away when we begin our questions with: Is this the same bike Thomas uses in Italian and EnduroGP championships?
“Yes,” says Boffelli, “but we change maybe five or six times a year.” Wait, what? He gets through five or six bikes a year? “Yes, depending on the weather conditions. We put 46 or 50 hours on a race bike then it becomes the training bike for the same hours and then it goes.” Goes where? “In the bin!!”
“Thomas is training a lot, this is the problem with Thomas,” laughs Boffelli. “It depends on the rider a little but we prefer it this way because when you change the bike you change everything for new and we know we have no problems this way.”
Engine work horse
RedMoto have a history as long as your arm and know Honda engines like no-one else – check their range of 250/300/400 and 450 RX enduro models. Boffelli explains the changes for the race bikes: “The engine on Thomas’ 250 has undergone some small changes to the flywheel, to make it a little heavier and the GP Racer piston from Vertex is different also for more power. But we make some small adjustments honestly it is not so different.
“We also have the tools from HRC to change the mapping and we have our own settings. This is something we work on at the beginning of the season and then not change. The bikes have three maps, one standard and then two which are adjustable – usually one more aggressive and one softer.
“Thomas uses one map for all the races but maybe sometimes if the extreme test is difficult or a test is really slippery he might go for the soft or if the MX test is really hard pack he might go more aggressive. But anyway it is very easy with the handlebar button.”
Aside from the FunnelWeb air filter the air box and air intake are all standard parts.
“We use the factory Showa suspension straight from Japan. It is the high-end product and we are always part of the development project from Showa with our bikes. For 2019 we had a new ‘model’ you can say, the latest evolution of the suspension from Japan.” Says Boffelli.
They run the SFF forks but the rear suspension link measurements are different to standard. “We make it longer for the team bikes and that is available as a production part from RedMoto. It doesn’t change the measurement of the bike at all but brings more traction basically.” Boffelli adds.
This surely is a beauty of a bike to stand next to and pour your eyes over to spot the details. Check out the lock-wired steering stem bolt for example.
The RedMoto team and Honda has a long-standing relationship with Termignoni but have switched to Akrapovic this season. “We do a lot of testing during the winter, the off season to develop all the new parts and try to arrive at the first races with the development all done.” Explains Boffelli.
“The exhaust system compared to standard has to match the engine development so it has more power. In the past we had more power in the middle and bottom but this year [with Akrapovic] we have more constant improvement across the range to have more power everywhere.”
Tried and tested
The race team has a long and strong history in Enduro GP and Italian Championships which brings with it a lot of trying and testing of parts – and with that a wealth of knowledge about what works and what doesn’t.
RedMoto’s own plastics with the number plate hanger and LED light on the rear fender are neat. As are their own titanium footpegs which sit in the same position (not lower or further back) as standard but are flatter or wider.
The team bikes have been running slightly bigger radiators to the standard RX model for a couple of seasons – in fact the radiators fitted to the 2020 RX models which have more air flow as well as the slightly increased capacity.
An unseen product inside the radiators is the Evans waterless coolant fluid: “It has a 180 degree boiling point and we use it in all our bikes and honestly, in one whole season, we have not one bike boil or get too hot.” It is the same fluid as used by the Honda Rally team at Dakar and MXGP teams and an example of how information gets shared under the red wing.
TMDesign chain guide and sprocket protector, AXP Xtreme skidplate with the linkage guard, Vertex Pistons as mentioned, more rigid X-Trig axle pullers and triple clamps, Samco radiator hoses, Vibram grippy frame protectors – this is the tried and tested list of quality parts.
RK supply chains and the team run stock EXCEL rims and spokes unlike many teams who use stronger spokes ones: “we did some tests and decide to use the standard spokes because they are lighter and we have no problems.” Adds Matteo.
In 2019 the RedMoto team and HRC Rally team got the first batch of new Supersprox rear sprockets. They are available for customers from 2020 Boffelli says and are basically the stronger steel outer ‘edge’ type but lighter overall. Oldrati runs 13-49 final ratio.
The Metzeler Six Days tyres are the FIM spec ones used across the board and depending on the conditions Thomas uses the hard or the soft mousses: “actually he used the soft front a lot more during 2019 when it is technical or grass tests and only the hard mousse when there are stones and hard pack.” Boffelli adds.
One obvious part is the Rekluse clutch system which is stronger but the RedMoto team has their own bespoke setting from Rekluse for their bikes – unfortunately he didn’t say more than that!
That saucy CMT carbon fuel tank is basically smaller than the clear plastic RedMoto RX standard model but a little bigger than the titanium tank on the X model CRF. It holds 7.2 litres which is enough for Oldrati’s full gas riding style most events – though sometimes they go bigger depending on the transfer distances at a particular race.
CMT also make the engine protection covers and you might have spotted the top engine mounts also are CMT’s carbon developed parts.
Up top the Circuit handguards keep the roost branches deflected from CMV handlebars which are slightly higher and wider than standard. The actual setting was developed by non-other than Antoine Meo for a touch more comfort and leverage which the other team riders adopted.
The hydraulic clutch by Magura is another addition: “It’s important along with the Rekluse clutch to have this so that the performance of the clutch is consistent across all of a race and you do not need to make adjustments if it warm or cold or whatever.” Says Boffelli.
The braking set-up is largely standard with the Nissin system front and rear. Galfer supply the brake disc/rotors and Oldrati prefers the front brake to have a softer feeling to some riders, the rear disc is solid but the rotors are standard sizes.
You gotta love snooping around a factory GP bike and ahead of the 2020 Italian and EnduroGP season this pristine RedMoto machine looked prime.
Photo Credit: RedMoto/David MessoraJon PearsonEnduro21 Editor and Bike Testerjon.email@example.com