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Behind Chad Reed's YZ450F

Thursday, February 1, 2007
Even though he s a veteran on the racing scene  those kissy faces are something new to Delaurier. Must be an Australian thing.
Even though he's a veteran on the racing scene, those kissy faces are something new to DeLaurier. Must be an Australian thing.
The riders who come out each week to do battle, often hurt, sick or demoralized, are the face of Supercross as seen by the public. Many fans that spring for the pit pass in addition to their SX ticket may have seen some of the men behind the scenes. The people working frantically to make sure their rider has the best possible machine between their legs every time they go out. Mechanics are as special as the bikes they prepare, and they too come to work every day regardless of their bumps, bruises, scratches, cuts and busted knuckles and are oblivious to rain, sleet or snow (though the latter are a bit rare in the SoCal region).

Our weekly schedule hasn't panned out but stay tuned as we massage the kinks in this feature to bring you an inside look at a professional SX mechanic and their machine. Paul DeLaurier is one of the most experienced mechanics in Supercross. His job is to build a winning Supercross bike for Chad Reed, make it look like a regular bike and have fun! Where do we sign up?

Paul DeLaurier has turned wrenches for Damon Bradshaw, Mike LaRocco, Mike Alessi, and a few more before working for Chad Reed and his new San Manuel/L&M/Yamaha Supercross team managed by Larry Brooks. Brooks managed Jeremy McGrath's final years of Supercross success and he brought that experience to L&M Racing. Brooks keeps the team working close together and keeps it fun, using the same experience from McGrath Racing days. "It's a good group of people," says DeLaurier of the arrangement, "Everyone works real well together and we have a lot of fun."

Reed s bike is trick  but plain.
Reed's bike is trick, but plain. Plenty of other race teams throw more bling into their rides, but not many post better results.
DeLaurier puts together a bike for Chad Reed that is designed to fit Reed's needs in Supercross but it looks like the YZ450F at your local shop! It's no secret Yamaha is into keeping to the basics in factory racing. The trucks remain plain blue and white and don't have energy drinks or tool companies as title sponsors. Sure Reed's bike is trick, but they go a little out of there way to make it look plain. Reed even runs stock Yamaha handgrips, the same grips you see on the showroom floor.

"We do a little fine-tuning to it," says DeLaurier about Reed's 450F, "but we try to keep it to the basics since the Yamaha chassis and package is really good right from the factory."

Reed's L&M Racing Team is something new in Supercross factory racing. Reed gets full-on factory supported KYB suspension, maintained by the same guy at Yamaha that preps suspension for Grant Langston and Josh Hill - Bret Leaf. "Chad is one of the top riders so they look after him really well with suspension needs," says DeLaurier.

L&M Racing runs its own graphics featuring its title sponsor, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, but, other than that, his bike looks pretty tame. About like what you would get if you bought a 2007 YZ450F and some Yamaha GYTR parts.

"They make a lot of good products" says the mechanic of Yamaha's in-house development center. Included in Reed's list of GYTR products are a carbon fiber skid plate and rear brake caliper guard, clutch perch and hot start. The clutch perch has a Teflon piece in it so if he falls it will spin a little bit rather than break a lever. Another clutch setup trick is a small hole drilled in the lever so the end will pop off in a crash rather than the whole thing.

Tighter AMA rules for sound didn't cause L&M any headaches with their White Brothers exhaust system. "Actually we have been under on everything we have done," says DeLaurier, "I think we had about one of the quietest bikes when we were in Canada. We are lucky with the 450s they have so much power, they want to tone it down a little bit so it's more raceable."

The o-ring is so DeLaurier can keep track of how far Chad actually uses his suspension.
The O-ring is so DeLaurier can keep track of how far Chad actually uses his suspension.
Maybe suspensions are mega-buck and elite things, but the engines are so good on 450s, they are not exactly hyped-up exotica. "The thing with the 450 is they already make so much power," says DeLaurier, "It's just making it more manageable and making the carburetor run really clean, and make it more fun for the rider. You can take a production bike out there and holeshot with it, if the right guy was on it."

For Reed's 450, every week the engine comes out and gets checked. "Every week it is gone through," his mechanic says. "We put a lot into getting here and it is nice to know everything is the same."

Not only does DeLaurier have to keep up a winning bike, at L&M, he is part of the goal of keeping work fun. Reed makes it easy, he says. "Chad is a super-cool guy as far as his attitude when we go practicing and testing. He will go until dark. He has fun riding the motorcycle and trying different things, and laughing and joking between sessions. He is just enjoying it. The whole group of us really clicks well. Chad is a big part of it."

So for a mechanic that has been watching top guys since the Bradshaw days, how does Reed look to his mechanic? "I can't believe how good he can make a motorcycle go around a track," he says, "When he shows up, the fire is in his eyes. He is ready to get there, ready to practice, ready to race. He is always ready to be there and he enjoys it. When you get someone with that kind of talent and he enjoys riding the motorcycle that is unbeatable. For a racer at this level it is basically as much as you could ask for - someone that wants to do it, enjoys doing it and works hard during the week."

Making Reed's 2007 YZ450F:
Motor - Factory Yamaha
Carburetor - Stock
Ignition - Vortex and Yamaha Racing. "We use different curves, depending on where we go."
Exhaust - White Brothers full system titanium/carbon fiber
Suspension - Factory KYB
Keeping things loose and fun is all part of a mechanic s weekly duties.
Keeping things loose and fun is all part of a mechanic's weekly duties.
Subframe - Stock
Brakes - Nissin brakes, production brake pads
Fuel - VP Fuels
Graphics - One Industries
Clutch - Stock, with GYTR baskets
Ti Parts - Motor hardware, footpegs
Triple clamps - Factory Yamaha. "We actually make them at our shop to their specs. A lot of work goes into making them."
Bodywork - Cycra disc guards and number plates
Tires - Bridgestone "They have a couple different models that we use - no 'Chad Reed' compound."
Handlebars - ProTaper

For more articles, check out our Behind the Bike archive. 

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Tommy -cool bike  October 18, 2010 06:12 AM
I am your number 1 fan
Eric -mx  June 30, 2010 09:09 AM
your the best reed keep it up, everyone says james stewart is better, there all wrong he could never beat ricky charmicheal you could :P keep it up bro.(my bike gets out of the shop tmrw) :P crf 150r
NATHAN SCICLUNA -MASTER  February 6, 2010 02:47 AM
alfonso verdugo -.  December 25, 2009 08:35 PM
hey chad you are the fast rider in AMA supercrosss go ahead!!
zachery -hey  December 4, 2009 09:35 AM
hey i have a z400 n i could kill tht pice of sht u have anysay but u r a good rider!!!!!!!!!!
ramdom crap -my pee wee 50 could beat that piece of sht and what that rider i would kill him to  November 29, 2009 08:33 PM
Josh -Heyy  November 24, 2009 07:27 PM
Heyy chad, great work holdin the number1 in the world title for so long. But i have seen dat u r now number 2 soz bout dat.
Royce carroll -motercross  November 11, 2009 05:58 PM
yo chad you are so cool.
cory -chad reed #22  September 24, 2009 06:00 AM
your the best REEDY #22 and you are my best rider
aaron -motorbike  August 28, 2009 04:27 AM
hi chad reed i love ya motorbike how fast would it go? and i have only got klx140 my name is aaron. im only 11 years of age
JB -yo  August 17, 2009 12:25 AM
How much bikes do u have
Autumn -Reed  May 15, 2009 10:43 AM
He is so hott
LOGAN -tyler st.clair  May 12, 2009 06:50 PM
tyler st.clair what ever your name is help me with my clutch on my crf 150 when i let the clutch out to slowly it makes this squeek noise that doesnt sound right... i dont no if thats how the 2009 models are made or if somthing is wrong with it. PEACE HOMIES!
logan -chad reed  May 12, 2009 06:42 PM
you are probably the best moto cross rider ive ever met in person you probably dont remember me but i got your atagragh at least...... 10 times in las vegas not to long ago. i have a rm 250 and it is bad to the bone i have to go before my mom sees what im looking at.... im suposed to be doing a history projecthahahahahahahahahahahahaha! seeya chad
cejay, chris. -you're MAD!!!!!!!!  April 30, 2009 08:11 PM
hi chad. i'm cejay, i realy like your bike and so does my friend chris. i wish you would give us one. P.S. YOU'RE MAD!!!
macca -wat up  April 21, 2009 04:55 PM
i have a motorbike it is a cr 85 and it flys i hit pawerbend ones and it flid strat up and it flipt on me at about 60km
JZ -wats up  March 24, 2009 10:20 PM
nice bike like ur other bike better
jake -hi  March 8, 2009 02:51 PM
hi i,m jake Istarted ridding when Iwas 4
thanakiet wongko -english  March 8, 2009 01:29 AM
wilber dave borres -idol on bikes  February 26, 2009 11:25 PM
want 2 be a racer
Andrew Brown -im a better rider  January 20, 2009 02:42 AM
my KX85 would thrash that little bike
someter -nothin much  January 9, 2009 09:10 AM
yeah suzuki's are pretty bad but i have one of there quads and win all time where i'm from and i love that quad. as for bikes i love the kawasaki's they would beat your yamaha's any day.
Tyler st.clair -yz-450  December 16, 2008 04:29 PM
I would probably ride a yz-250 but i am only 13 and i like my yz-85 better anyways. What type of pipe does chad have on that yz-450? Did you know suzuki i mean susucki makes motors for articat snowmobiles? Hey paige you need to pull the belt off your primary clutch and then you should be able to pull the primary out.Hey Anthony is that yz-250f a two or four stroke. PEACE OUT HOMIES!
yz man -yamaha  December 16, 2008 10:10 AM
yamaha is the best bike in the world i hate suzuki i ment susucki
paige miner -yo  December 16, 2008 10:06 AM
i am paige and i have a yamaha phaser i need to know how to adjust the clutch
yz man -your so cool  December 16, 2008 09:59 AM
gigity yamaha is the best ever i have an yz 85 and it rocks
kate -i love you  December 2, 2008 11:38 PM
hay chad i love you so much i like it when you ride fast love you
anthony -hi  December 2, 2008 11:32 PM
hi reed i have yz250f i love it i started racing this year just gone and i was getting 11 12 13 the power of the yz250f is unreal see you next time
damian -cool bikes  November 16, 2008 03:53 PM
i have rode a yz450f and they are cool they have the power that any bike does not have good luck on the racing cya