MotoOnline.com.au’s Dan Reardon rides Luke Styke’s MX2 MX Nationals title winner.
Serco Yamaha had one of those seasons in 2013 where everything just clicked. On its way to the 2013 MX2 title in the Monster Energy MX Nationals, Australian Motocross Championship, the Queensland-based team won all 10 rounds of the series.
Nine of those victories came from Styke, while rookie teammate Luke Clout picked up his lone win at Murray Bridge but was later ruled out of the series through injury in the mid-season. After coming so close to the title last year, redemption was sweet for Styke and his hard-working Serco Yamaha crew.
Yamaha Motor Australia invited MotoOnline.com.au to test Styke’s race bike at Queensland Moto Park just days following the Coolum season finale, so we enlisted the expertise of former national champion and international Dan Reardon to give us his impressions. The test also included Billy Mackenzie’s CDR Yamaha YZ450F and Jay Wilson’s GYTR Yamaha YZ250F, but more on those next week…
Reardon hung up his boots at the close of the 2012 season after an exceptional career, forming his own training program in AlterEgo Elite and working with some of the sport’s top athletes. He joined us at the 2014 Yamaha YZ450F launch recently (click here to see review) and was more than happy to come and try out the Yamaha race bikes.
As for Styke’s Serco Yamaha, it is a trick bit of gear and will go down as the last carbureted 250F to win a national title since the 2014 YZ250F is now equipped with fuel injection. That factor in itself makes this championship a very historic and special achievement.
Serco Motorsport is a national distribution company and produces its own line of impressive decals and hard parts as well. So it’s only natural then that the major purpose of the race team is to showcase these products via the performance of its race team.
As you will see in the specifications below, much of the parts that make up Styke’s YZ250F are available through Serco (check out www.serco.com.au for the full array of brands, apparel and parts that they distribute throughout the country).
“Luke likes a bike with a lot of torque, so that was our main objective when building the motor,” crew chief Michael Marty explained. “He likes a lot of feel in the front-end, we did a lot of testing on the forks this year, and apart from that he’s very particular on handlebar set-up. Everything has to be 100 percent there or he won’t even ride the bike.
“We have a pretty refined package now. In 2012 we changed the way we were thinking in regards to the motor, we went a different way after the motocross last year and Luke really liked it. Just different camshafts and stuff like that – it’s working really well.
“There’s very limited parts on our bike that are from anybody else but Serco, because the whole idea of going racing for Serco Yamaha is to promote our products and also to develop them. That’s the reason why we use everything that we sell.”
On track, Reardon was impressed with the package. It’s a refined racer that’s been developed through experience, however Reardon also noted a number of set-up details that were suited to Styke’s specific riding style.
“The first thing I noticed with the engine is the vibration that you get through the whole bike,” Reardon said. “It’s something I’ve been familiar with before, something very small that they do with the bike so you get that vibration through the handlebars.
“The bike itself is definitely quick. It has a ton of torque, so for a lighter guy – I’m about 78 or 79 kilos – he could definitely run a higher gear in a lot of the turns. They could run third a lot more than having to go back to second. In saying that, the torque was really good, but the top-end of the power was okay without standing out like the torque side of it. The torque was by far the standout.
“In terms of handling, the bike feels balanced. The fork and shock felt fairly comfortable straight away. I do like a firmer fork because Stykesy’s a little bit lighter than me, but I was a little surprised about the shock because I thought it would be a little softer or more responsive in terms of how it accelerates over little bumps. I found it was kind of stiff, so I struggled to grab traction out of turns.
“Overall balance was pretty good, but I just felt the shock could have been a little better. I’m not sure if that’s something to do with sag because we didn’t touch that or anything – it could have been sag, compression or rebound related. One of those three.
“In general Stykesy runs a pretty neutral set-up, there’s nothing funny when it comes to handlebars, gadgets or anything like that. You feel comfortable straight away, didn’t have to adjust anything and we rode it exactly how he raced it.
“Overall though, steering is really good, you can put the bike where you want to and overall comfort is high. Jumping was really good, comfortable on the ramps and super balanced in terms of that. Like I said, it’s a neutral bike with strong engine torque and that pretty much wraps it up in summary.”
It’s clear that Styke and Serco Yamaha were the class of the field in 2013 and now with the number one plate in their corner, expect the team to come back even stronger with the brand new 2014 model YZ250F next season. You’d be mad to bet against them!
2013 Serco Yamaha YZ250F specifications
Engine: 249cc DOHC, five-valve, four-stroke
Head: Serco flowed/modified
Cams: Hot Cams
Clutch: Wet sump/Hinson
Piston: CP High Comp
Gearing: 13-51/Pro Taper sprockets
Handlebars: Pro Taper/Carmichael bend
Triple clamps: Pro Taper/standard offset
Forks: KYB with .45kg springs
Shock: KYB with 5.3kg spring
Chain: RK 520 KZU
Front brake: GYTR 270mmm front rotor
Rear brake: 2005 model Yamaha OEM rear rotor
Graphics: Serco Custom MX Decals
Seat cover: Factory Effex