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Behind Ryan Villopoto's KX250F

Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Jon Mitcheff is always under pressure to perform because a single mechanical failure can mean disaster for the championship.
Jon Mitcheff is always under pressure to perform because a single mechanical failure can mean disaster for the championship.
Jon Mitcheff probably has more pressure on him than any mechanic in the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Lites class. He's the mechanic for the defending 250F champion and current points leader, Ryan Villopoto, and he's working for the toughest team in the pits - Monster/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki.

Villopoto is leading the Lites championship after five rounds, and his closest rival is on a virtually identical machine, teammate Ben Townley. You won't find anyone in racing that will deny Pro Circuit leads the way in hard work and refinement in supercross and motocross. There isn't much that Pro Circuit doesn't change on their bikes, and if they leave something alone, you can be sure that it was really good to start with.

Pro Circuit uses the slogan "We Race," meaning what they use on the track, you can buy yourself. If you want to chase Villopoto up Mt. Saint Helen, Pro Circuit pretty much makes sure that with enough money, you can have an equal chance. We followed the very busy Mitcheff around for a few weekends until he agreed to answer questions on what's in the series leader's race bike.

Mitcheff and Villopoto have a good working relationship - Jon gives him a killer bike and RV kicks ass with it.
Jon Mitcheff and Ryan Villopoto have a good working relationship - Jon gives him a killer bike and RV kicks ass with it.
Pro Circuit's lead engine guy is Zach White, and their suspension is done by the legendary Jim "Bones" Bacon. Each mechanic does their own work on their rider's specific motor, and Bones handles the shocks and forks himself.

"Every mechanic at Pro Circuit disassembles and inspects his engines," said Mitcheff, "and then Zach inspects the valves and balances the cranks, and every mechanic puts their race engines together every week. Zach is our head engine guy."

Pro Circuit also supplies race engines on contract to one of their biggest competitors on the track, the Sobe NoFear/Samsung/Honda Lites team.

Villopoto's bike is a 2007 KX250F, with everything Pro Circuit knows behind it. The transmission is replaced completely, and the clutch, piston, cam, valves, and pipe all get changed. The engine cases, crankshaft, and carb are all production parts from Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI).

The suspension is standard Showa Kit suspension for the Lites class, worked in-house by Bones. Pro Circuit offers a full line of hard parts like suspension linkage and triple clamps, which are used on the team bikes as well.

Who is this guy Villopoto anyway? "He is quiet, he is still a kid," said Mitcheff, "He likes to hunt and fish, and collect guns. He collects too many guns! I worked for Ivan (Tedesco) before this. They both are quiet, train hard and ride hard."

One thing Pro Circuit is known for, besides hard work and winning races, is their joking around. Mitcheff's last prank on his rider involved something in an engine shipping box.

The water pump has a larger impeller.
Pro Circuit is pretty tight-lipped about horsepower figures, but you can bet this thing is putting out crazy amounts of HP.
"I sent an engine box back to him the other day; he had been staying at Nick Wey's house. I went to Target and got a bunch of rubber snakes and stapled them all up inside the box so when they opened it the snakes would jump out. We all pull practical jokes on each other."

With the two top riders in points on the same team, you might think things may even get tense between the mechanics, but they don't conflict in that way. "We get along," said Mitcheff, "I actually helped (Townley's mechanic) change that wheel at High Point and get him back into the moto in like 40 seconds so he could get some points. It's a team, and we just race. We don't care who wins as long as it is one of our guys winning."

So, a final question - is Mitch Payton really that tough?

"He can be, there are days I want to push him out of his wheelchair and not let him get back in it! That's the way he is. He wants to win. He pushes you to work hard, twice as hard, until you win."

Making Ryan Villopoto's KX250F:

Motor - KHI Rod, crankshaft and crankcases balanced by PC, JE piston, Dale West valves, PC valve springs and seats, camshaft, oil cooler (We added an oil cooler that we had made. You can't buy that one.)
Radiator - Oversized KHI.
Water Pump - PC oversized impeller.
Clutch Cover - PC.
Clutch - Hinson basket, inner and outer plate. KHI clutch plate and fiber plates.
RV s bike gets a trick water collector and oil cooler.
RV's bike gets a trick water collector and oil cooler.
Carburetor - KHI, PC jetting specs.
Exhaust - PC
Transmission - "The transmission is made through Xtrac. They are out of Indianapolis and their headquarters is in England. They do a lot of Indy car and Formula 1 racing stuff. Mitch has had them building transmissions for a long time."
Clutch and Brake Levers - KHI.
Clutch Perch - PC with hot start lever.
Suspension - Factory Showa Kit Suspension, titanium spring in the rear.
Rear Linkage - PC.
Footpegs - PC titanium. "Ryan's footpegs are 'plus 5' we cut them and raise them. We raise them up 5mm because he is short legged. That way the seat doesn't hit him in the butt."
Engine Guards - Light Speed carbon fiber.
Villopoto s diminutive size creates some special needs on his KX250F. The footpegs are raised 5mm for his short stature and a seat hump is installed to keep his flyweight in place under acceleration.
Villopoto's diminutive size creates some special needs on his KX250F. The footpegs are raised 5mm for his short stature and a seat hump is installed to keep his flyweight in place under acceleration.
Front Brake -
KHI 270mm front rotor.
Rear Brake Lever - KHI, titanium pivot bolt.
Triple Clamps - PC.
Handlebars and Grips - Renthal.
Brake Pads - DP.
Fuel Tank - Stock. "We line the bottom of the tank (for heat) with a tank shield that we sell at Pro Circuit."
Titanium Fasteners - Works Racing Parts.
Air Filter - Twin Air.
Tires - Bridgestone.
Chain - RK.
Rims - Excel A60.
Hubs - KHI.
Spokes - KHI.
Plastic - UFO.
Graphics - N-Style.
Holeshot Device - PC.

For more articles, check out our Behind the Bike archive

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john -motocross  January 3, 2011 06:35 PM
Well i think ur cool and like what ur mechanic does to help you win and how he tunes the bike so well

Victor Bute -HP and Powerband  September 10, 2010 08:30 AM
Stock Hp is about 32.5 and this pro circuit bike is probably between 38 to 42 tops. The powerband is a descriptive word for the way the power is felt as it's delivered through the rpm range. It can not be bought or bolted on.
jellis296 -Motocross  February 15, 2010 08:51 AM
You know its sad that people talk trash about ur bike and they have no idea..ryan just keep doin whT ur doin its perfect
dan --135 horses  December 24, 2009 11:30 AM
sounds outlandish but factory is like 45 or something so it probbaly can b done
?????? -to-eric-bike  December 24, 2009 11:26 AM
i think u get the red backgrounds from winning the season or something im not so sure i dont race moto-x i race enduro
Drey Thomason -race?  November 3, 2009 08:16 AM
Hey i will wax you

michael -autograph  October 7, 2009 10:57 AM
i'm the little red headed boy; who you autographed the diesel and the toy dirt bike. at kelly's kawasaki in mesa airzona. we know guy named austin who said he knows your sister . Michael/bob cunningham at cunninghamjrm@yahoo.com
Kawasaki -KHI?  August 24, 2009 02:35 PM
KHI stands for Kawasaki Heavy Industries, those parts come stock on the bike.
peter -motocross  July 1, 2009 01:11 AM
Ilove waching you on tv and i won't to now what you can do to get faster on the track. I ride a YZ85 and a CR85R small will. the last club day i did was at Bacchus marsh motocross club i live in melbuorn victoria and in the club day i came 1st, 3rd and the last race i came 2nd over all i came . Place write back as soon as poseal my next race is on Aurges 2nd austalia time.
Dawson Miller -Info Live  March 6, 2009 08:29 PM
o can you send me some info about your life
DP -HP and Jimmy Know All LOL  March 5, 2009 05:06 AM
Most Hp out of a 250f is 45 maybe 46. Jim, what color do those powerbands come in? lmfao!!!!!
josh -KHI  February 27, 2009 05:50 PM
where can u buy KHI products like hubs and spokes
jon -hi  January 29, 2009 02:00 AM
hi ryan hows the racing going hope u win good luke
dylan rush -wtf?  January 19, 2009 09:41 PM
135 hourses? i know mitch payton personally and thier VERY tight lipped on the acctuall HP of ryans bike at the rear wheel all i know is my dads 1300cc suzuki gsx1300r hayabusa has 150 horsepower, i dont think ryans 250cc bike is putting out nearly the same horsepower dude
matt -jim price, on drugs?  January 19, 2009 07:46 PM
135 bhp ? from 250 cc.. Are they reving it to 30,000RPM ? I dont think so tim.
Jim Price -Rotanda  January 11, 2009 04:12 PM
Ryans bike puts out about 135hp. His dad is one of my clients, and we get to attend all of the dyno setups on his bike. I have pictures of one of tests and the dyno sheet, but I cant post pics in this post. It is amazing. Ryan let me ride it a bit at the test track pits, its puts out crazy pull. What is amazing though is the upgraded power band, you can purchase Pro Circuit Power Bands starting this March. An immediate 10hp gain, and its an easy install, simply screw it in. Ryan, tell Bridgette I said hello, and we will see you during this years SX series!
braapping -erics reply  December 21, 2008 05:51 PM
he gets the red background from a guy down the street named jimmy, he has a redmarker that roughly prices out at 3.99!
bill -how much  December 20, 2008 11:43 AM
how much hp does that thing run
danny -khi  November 29, 2008 07:10 AM
were can u buy khi hubs ect ?
Josh -motocross  November 10, 2008 08:04 PM
hey Ryan my name is Josh and i just started racing in september but ive been riding for 8 years im 12 on my first race i finished 5/8 ppl iam one of ur fans and i wacth u on tv any time i can
eric -bike  November 10, 2008 06:22 PM
wher does he get his red backgrounds