ARC Levers Gallery
Here is a shot of Ryan Dungeys' factory KTM at the Monster Energy Cup. This bike looks so cool with the different colors and shapes. Then you look close to see all the titanium and trick aluminum bits that make up a pro ride. This is now the standard for pitting at the races. All the teams have semi truck/trailers with huge awnings and wraps for wind or rainy conditions. Lighting makes it so they can work at night at the supercrosses. Inside there is an office, riders lounge and enough grub to keep the whole team in calories.
Back in 1985 my friend Chuck and I toured europe for five weeks. We saw two formula one races, Spa Belgium and Monza Italy. The speedway world championship at Bradford England was spectacular. The main reason to go to europe was to see grand prix motocross in person. Here I am standing by a sign pointing in the right direction. This race was in Wohlen Switzerland. The conditions were overcast and about 65 degrees and it had just been raining for 3 days prior to the event. It was a real euro motocross. It rained off and on all weekend so I had to run that dorky umbrella.
Note the factory KTM rig! It was a typical van like a ford econoline with an awning out the back. This is a long way away from the cool rigs of today. Roger told me a story how in the early days of the trans-am races he and some friends lived and traveled to the races in a VW van to save $$$. The bike is sitting on a stand in the dirt just like most of us do every weekend. At the time Danny "Magoo" Chandler was the only U.S. rider over there. We stopped by to say hi and give support. Unlucky for him, he hit a fence track marking pole in practice and injured his hand ending the weekend. The race on sunday was in very muddy conditions as it had rained the night before. Those euros can haul in the mud!
There is nothing like outdoor motocross. It took me over 40 years to finally make it to Unadilla. It was everything I had heard about and more. My 1st trip there was raining and miserable for practice on saturday. I got to see Unadilla at its' worst. Then on sunday the sun came out and made a perfect 68 degree day with light overcast. That sounds magnificent until you get the roost from a factory 450 in your face! After seeing the amount of aggregate in the soil it is understandable how many riders without handguards have left the track with broken hand parts, it is the gnarliest roost on the planet.
We make a lot of custom levers for the factory guys. It seems that no matter how many custom shapes we have, the rider wants something different. These levers are in process for Ryan Villopoto and Jake Weimer at Monster Energy Kawasaki. When you get to the factory level you too can have hand massaged, custom shaped levers. We finish by anodizing and then lasering your name or number on the back.
This season we made over 120 custom shaped levers for the teams. This is one of the reasons we are so popular, we get the guys what they need.
James Stewart won a lot of races using our gear. When he jumped up to the 250 class (before the KXF450) the Kawi guys called and said "he goes down a lot and he needs your gear, make him anything he wants". We made special levers that have now evolved into the shape used on our composite levers.
Ronnie Lechien was a bad dude back in the day riding for many factories and winning many races. Now he rides because moto is fun. Note the ARC composite levers on his bike. He was very helpful in developing our composite levers' shape and feel.
I thought I was done. After 20 years in the desert and 22 years on the mx track (42 total years) I retired. With my job as the "lever dude" I need to be at the track a lot. It is SOOO painful to see perfect chocolate cake dirt and not be riding on it. This "one tank of gas" 2010 YZ125 showed up on cycle trader for $4K and I had to get it. Anyone who still rides should really appreciate what they have. Motocross is the coolest thing a human can do and I can't wait to do it again. I will never be as fast as I was and I don't care, I just want to ride.
This bike is a life long dream come true. Over the years I have always ridden stock bikes with minor changes. Put some grips and bars on that I like, adjust a few knobs so the bike won't throw me on the ground and go racing. I am always at the track dialing in riders' gear and it was tough to see a groomed track without me on it. Tendonitis ended my racing about 3 years ago which also coincides with the economy at the time. My arm is better so I wanted to try a 125 with less arm yanking power and the ability to one finger clutch. This is the ARC Levers project bike built to push our new composite levers and give me a chance to build the bike of my dreams. This is a great shot of my bike and pickup truck with the American flag flying above Mt. St. Helens in the background.
A good place to start is always the suspension. Ross and Will at Enzo really dialed me in. The shock is a kashima coated two piece factory shock body with all the bells and whistles. Being a two stroke there is room to add the extended bladder cap on the shock reservior. It has their dual compression adjuster and preload ring that makes sag setting a breeze. The titanium spring is standard on this bike with the Enzo bumper kit. The forks are the KAYABA A-kit with kashima and DLC coatings. Enzo has us make wider axle lugs with a matching heat treated 4130 axle for their sponsored riders. These forks are equipped with them. The spring weight and valving on both ends were set for my girth and go. The fork crowns are billet factory Yamaha that are 2mm narrower than stock to tighten the front end. When Jason Lawerences' program lost momentum there was a whole shop full of gear that they had to move. I was lucky enough to cut a deal to procure a set from the guys at Bills' Pipes.
Attaching the case guard are black anodized aluminum bolts. Over the years we have made many parts for factory bikes and these are some extras from a few years back. The engine was left stock except for a Pro-Circuit pipe and a V-Force reed cage. I had a 39hp 125 back in the day but it had to be rebuilt every 5 hours. This bike can go at least 12 hours between pistons. The countershaft sprocket is a Pro-Taper with holes and is retained with a titanium nut by Met-tec.
In order to save weight and cost I made the glide plate from punched aluminum. Pro's need something like a Light Speed carbon fiber glide plate. I don't case anything at the speed I go. This is more a shield to keep mud off the engine cases. It makes it easy to scrape the mud off between motos. Safety wire is used to attach to the frame saving more weight from the standard clamps and bolts used on most products of this type. The stand the bike is on was purchased from the White Bros. back in about '79 and is handling the job.
The Pro-Circuit pipe and silencer saved a pinch over 1.5lbs from the stock pipe. You can see the hand massaging on the headpipe to get a smooth finish. Scoth-Brite pads make cleaning the pipe a snap. The ignition cover was coated like the clutch cover for easy refreshing. If a carbon cover was available it would be on the bike.
The clevis is another over run factory part. The master cylinder was shaved to remove most excess material and then coated for protection. Titanium hardware is used throughout on this bike. Grippy stair tape was used instead of carbon frame guards. The sticky stuff weighs almost nothing in comparison and has better grip.
This is why the bike was built, to bring attention to our new composite levers. Everything (well most stuff) on this bike is the best available. These levers fit in that category. They are strong enough to do the job yet resiliant enough to absorb severe abuse. This is the perfect product match for the grueling sport of motocross. Note the large amount of finger room with the guard installed.
The composite levers are not a metal so they have no resonance. If you hit a piece of metal against a hard object it will vibrate like a tuning fork. The composite material does not transmit vibrations so you have better feel at the lever. There is large finger room on the clutch side too with a guard installed. I also like running the Boyeson twist grip. I used to race two classes at Carlsbad. At the end of the day there were bleeding calouses the size of a quarter on my left hand and tough calouses the size of a dime on my right. The only difference was that the right grip rotated. Since I have been running the "twisty" on the left my hands have similar sized calouses and they never bleed from abuse.
The roost at Glen Helens' REM track is abusive on a 125. Most of the guys there run 450's since it is an outdoor track with a lot of hills. The guards make chasing down the bigger bikes a pleasure. This bike weighs in at 197lbs with one gallon of gas. A 450 on a good day is about 245lbs with gas. When you factor in my weight at 175lbs to a 450 rider at 200lbs i hit the track about 75lbs or more less than the bigger guys. My hands are fine with the guards, the only downside is that i go through a lot of tear-offs.
One of the things about a factory bike is that they always look new. All of the raw metal parts on this bike were blasted then coated. The clutch cover is one part that sees a lot of abuse from your boot and looks bad after one day of riding. With this coating I can touch up the scratches and keep the bike looking sharp for not too much $$$. The front caliper was shaved and coated like the rest of the raw parts. The Met-tec titanium hardware really ads zip to the bike. The brake hose banjo bolt is a true work of art.
Here is a close up of the front hub and axle. You can see how the disc spider was trimmed to save weight. The wider billet axle lugs are truly factoryness. When added to the narrower crowns and stronger axle this bike goes exactly where you point it at any time. There is not much cooler gear than carbon fiber and titanium hardware.
Both hubs on the bike were shaved to save weight and coated so the mud would not take permanent residence in the pores of the metal. This makes for easy cleaning. To kick it up some more I made my own titanium spokes. Some people question when I tell them about the spokes until they find out how we made them. Pure aerospace technology was used in producing the spokes. After all the cost and effort to make the spokes we only saved .45lbs per wheel. Steel spokes are heavy but they are not very big. When all is totaled a pinch over 1lb per wheel was shaved. That is huge for making the suspension work better.
Nothing on this bike was left alone. Here is the front brake hose clamp that has been massaged to reduce weight. The ti bolts with flange heads are a nice touch.
Over the last decade we have made a lot of linkage parts for factory bikes. There is nothing wrong with the ratio of the linkage on the YZ125 so all I had to do was machine the stock parts smaller. This saved over 40% from the original parts without sacrificing strength. The stock parts are SOOO over built compared to the factory stuff. These too got the re-newable coating since linkages see a lot of roost for some reason. The titanium bolts round out the look and function.
Depending on brand, the size of the number plates varies. The sideplates on this bike were big enough to hide the Goodyear blimp. I trimmed 2.5" off the bottom and there is still enough room for 6" numbers. This does take some weight off the bike too.
This is a Pro-Circuit pipe and the nameplate has been removed. I have nothing against Mitch, the motto for this bike is "if it doesn't make it lighter or faster it's in the dumpster" and the badge weighed about an ounce. The pipe was rough polished to get the stretch marks out of the surface of the metal. When washing, the mud comes right off and makes it easy to hit with Scotch-Brite pads.
This "T" washer is another over-run factory part made from billet aluminum, drilled and then black anodized. The carbon mount tab is a leftover from when factory Yamaha ran two strokes. Willy at Light Speed had two parts on the shelf that Yamaha will ever use so I talked him into selling me one. This is overkill for a pipe mount but that is what this bike is about, saving weight and cool factor.
Not much to see here other than the Light Speed carbon chainguide and the titanium hardware. You can see how far back I run the wheelbase. Since I ride outdoor tracks exclusively, I like a longer bike for stability at high speeds. Renthal has always been my drive company. They are similar to ARC in that what you buy is the same gear that the factories use.
Here you can see the trimming on the brake disc and lack of guards. Fast guys are always in close company with bikes banging off of each other at times. I ride in the vet class where everyone has to go to work on monday. Most guys in my class ride with respect and avoid ramming so i can eliminate the caliper and disc guards along with the mounting bosses and hardware.
This shows the shaved and coated hub and caliper. Along with the titanium spokes, over a pound was saved on the rear wheel assembly. I rode the bike stock, then with the factory suspension. The improvement was noticeable. When I finished this stage of modifications and rode it again the biggest difference I noticed was the wheels. The lighter wheels allowed the suspension to work even better. I could take the rougher, late in the day chopped out lines that my buddies could not. Now I know what it is like to ride a factory bike. I am thoroughly not worthy but as said earlier, this is a tool to show off our revolutionary composite levers.
I would rather be riding anything with two wheels under any conditions than looking at a computer. I will try to keep the web updated as much as possible. If it is a good riding day the web will have to wait.