INSIDE ELI TOMAC'S STAR RACING YAMAHA YZ450F
2023 offered an all new Yamaha YZ450F. We actually got to try it out for ourselves at the Star Racing compound in Cairo,Georgia in winter. Eli was able to ride the bike and get a sneak peak at it much earlier then that. Once Eli saw its potential he inked an extension with Star Racing Yamaha for Supercross on a 1 year deal. Eli showed any and all doubters that this bike was extremely competitive by winning the opening round of Supercross in Anaheim. We met up with mechanic Josh Ellingson in Denver to go over Eli's new bike and some of the factory components that they use. Let's get into this!
Eli Tomac runs Pro Taper full waffle grips. On this side of the handlebars it features a billet G2 throttle tube.The billet throttle tube adds durability to the bike in the event he crashes or lays it down on the side. Plastic throttle tubes can crack and at this level the teams don't want to take the risk. You can also get a good look at the ARC front brake lever that Eli is using. He chose the ARC levers with perch based on finger feel and what he feels most comfortable with. You can also see the carbon cover over the front brake master cylinder. This is to protect the housing from rocks or debris on the track. If the system is damaged it could result in brake failure. It could potentially collapse the chamber and cause it to stick.
Tomac is using the Pro Taper SX "race version" in a neutral position. They have an interesting sweep to them and look narrower in comparison to other handlebars on the market. We do know after cover Max Anstie's bike that Max actually took interest in Eli's set up and now has a narrower bar to ride on as well.
The OEM start button on the YZ450F features raised edges so a rider can't inadvertently bump it while riding. Cool concept from Yamaha to have on their bikes stock.
On the left hand side of the handlebars you’ll find the map suite/start mode buttons. The buttons are the same ones you will find on a 2023 Yamaha YZ450F. Star Racing adds this protective cover over it so Eli can't accidentally bump it while racing. Riders hit their chests quite often on the handlebars in race situations. This can also save the switches if Eli crashes.
New for Eli Tomac and the 2023 Yamaha YZ450F are these Xtrig ROCS triple clamps. They have a split window design. Josh explained that they help with front end feel and takes away some of the harshness in his hands. It allows the front end to flex a little more. You can also see the ARC transponder bracket they are using in this photo.
We weren't able to obtain a ton of information on the KYB fork Star Racing is using. We do know its some sort of hybrid fork and the team has worked extensively on testing. To stay in good graces with the team we will leave it at that. Just know that this is the latest technology from KYB and Start Racing Yamaha.
A Works Connection holeshot device is added to Eli's YZ450F. We didn't get a precise number on where Eli likes to run his device but there is a 10mm difference between Supercross and Motocross. Now that motocross will be using the metal grates the team will probably run the exact same depth. The Cycra fork guards do not have straps on them like you see on so many of the factory level bikes. Josh told us that the plastic is sturdy enough that they don't need fork guard straps. The straps are used to hold down the plastic and ensure they don't break off when the holeshot device is used.
KITE hubs with Excel rims are use and a stronger spoke for supercross. The team is using OEM standard axles instead of titanium that some of the factory riders prefer.
Eli has been on the same Dunlop front tire for a very very long time. He found one he likes and hasn't gone away from it ever. A lot of the riders will play with rear tire but typically stick with a front that they like all season.
A BRAKING semi floating front disc is used on the YZ. You can also see the LIGHTSPEED full coverage carbon cover. This protects the entire brake assembly and acts like a ski in deep ruts. Josh told us the front end can glide through a rut much easier because it doesn't get hung up on the lugs or brake assembly. It also allows the bike to feel less twitchy in ruts because it isn't snagging anything.
Here is the factory NISSIN front brake caliper that Eli is using. You can assume it has large pistons for better braking power. Again the LIGHTSPEED carbon guard protects the entire assembly. New to the bike this year is a CORE steel braided brake line. Eli likes a really stiff front brake feeling and this line helps accommodate his requests.
As far as the radiators go Eli is using a 1.8 cap for heat. This is a common thing in the factory paddock. You can see the pin going through the top of the cap to avoid it from spinning off. Riders tuck their legs in this area when cornering and can accidentally spin the cap off. Jason Anderson had a similar situation happen to him in 2022 in Anaheim. In this photo you can also see the Twin Air radiator mesh covers. This protects the radiators from getting packed in with sand or mud. A lot of rocks get flung into this area too and this can keep them in better shape on track. There is a brace going between the radiators to help keep them in place if the bike is tipped over for some reason.
A Twin Air air filter is used on the YZ. It is a Supercross style filter which means its thinner and allows for more air flow. Outdoors the team will be using a more robust filter to combat the mud/dirt/dust that comes with that series. Twin Air makes the team a Master Flow kit that they really like.
For a little extra precaution the team is using an allen bolt for the fuel tank cover instead of the dzus fasteners that you will find on the stock 2023 YZ450F. They haven't had any issues with the stock fasteners but they don't want to take the risk.
A Dcor seat cover is added to Tomac's race bike. Stock seat, stock seat foam, and 7 ribbed seat cover for grip. Eli prefers a fresher seat so the team goes 2 races before changing them out. He likes the extra hold up and doesn't want to feel it sagging out.
The engine is done by Calma in California. That was actually interesting to hear from Josh. We assumed that the engines were done at their new facility in Cairo,Georgia. The engine is tailored to Eli's preferences on power. Eli wanted a high powered package for the 2023. Josh told us that Eli is the type of guy that the more power you give him the more he will use. Josh mentioned how successful the team has been this year just on starts and how that proves that the power plant they are providing Eli really works. The engine hangars are stock but the team has options.
If for some reason the original start button is damaged Eli has a back up button located on the smaller frame spar shown above. Most of the factory level riders have a back up button like this located on the bike for insurance purposes.
Some added protection is added to the radiator hoses on both sides of the motorcycle. Josh cuts a hose in half and zip ties it to the working hose. Rocks/Dirt/Debris are all flung at the front of the motorcycle and this can keep the hoses safe. The hoses are prone to being punctured by rocks or during a collision with another rider.
A full coverage Light Speed skid plate is used on Eli's YZ450F. You can see the wings cover the water pump side and ignition cover side. Its all about weight savings in 450 class and these carbon components help drop the overall weight of the bike.
A GYTR ignition cover is used on the bike for durability purposes. This ignition cover can take a beating at the pro level. GYTR offers this item for sale if you own a 2023 YZ450F.
A complete Rekluse clutch is in the bike. Clutch lever feel is where Eli really focuses on. Eli has been testing all season long on having a nice lever feel but also being able to put power to the ground when needed.
The brake pedal is new for the 2023 Yamaha YZ450F. The Star Racing Yamaha team takes it one step further by adding this extremely sharp titanium tip on the end. You can also see the brake snake attached to it so the pedal isn't bent around or broken off in the event its hit by something. Eli wanted to be able to feel the pedal better with his boots so the sharper teeth allow that.
This is an OEM shifter but Eli does prefer to run it one position up from stock. He likes to be able to get his boot under it easy for quick shifting.
You can see the 13 tooth Vortex counter sprocket and LS case saver the team is using.
The footpegs are from Raptor. They feature a titanium bracket that Eli likes based on feel with his boot. Raptor adds this brace down the center of the peg so when Eli rides on the balls of his feet he has more grip.
Look at the swing arm pivot. There is a delrhan plug to keep mud and debris out. The mud can pack in there and potentially cause brake failure. You can also get a better look at the titanium bracket for the footpegs. You can also see the team is using Anker tape on the bike for Eli to gain a little more grip on the sides. He doesn't use any grip tape on the number plates and likes to be able to have some movement.
On the flip side of the motorcycle you can see on the swing arm pivot that its plugged at the end. This is to keep from mud packing in that area.
The entire brake system is stock on Eli's YZ450F. The only thing the team adds is this Light Speed carbon guard over the caliper.
A complete FMF exhaust is used on Eli Tomac's race bike. The muffler has an extra plated added to it for durability. Riders like Eli can squeeze so hard they actually crush the canister in. Off the start riders will collide with each other also and this adds some protection in the event that happens.
The KYB rear shock compliments the front suspension and Eli prefers to have a level ride height. Some riders will squat the rear end out based on preferences. The linkage looks oem but we would be willing to bet that the Star Racing Yamaha team is using some different lengths as all teams do in the factory paddock.
Eli is using a Dunlop factory tire with Excel rim and Kite hub. The rear tire is a 120 size.
A Vortex sprocket with rivet link chain is used on the bike. The team doesn't want to risk a master link popping off during a race. The rear axle is also standard oem. The rear sprocket is a 50 tooth. The team is using a Light Speed carbon chain guide that is more durable and has less potential to bend in the event of a collision. It also drops weight on the motorcycle.
We did notice that the rear axle was pushed outward quite a bit. This plays a lot into gear preferences on the bike as well. The team has the rear wheel out a little bit to help Eli with stability, help with whoops, and cornering.