INSIDE JO SHIMODA'S PRO CIRCUIT KAWASAKI KX250
Since its inception the Pro Circuit Kawasaki Team has been raising the bar on what is possible in the Supercross paddock. Jo Shimoda's bike is a work of art from front to back. The starting point is a 2022 Kawsaki KX250, but the team does a boatload of modifications to get it ready for professional racing inside the stadiums. Below you will find the intricate details of Shimoda's bike and what the team is doing to make their motorcycle one of the most competitive 250s in Supercross.
Up front you will find a Renthal 996 handlebar. Pro Circuit does make their own bar mounts in house. A lot of the Pro Circuit items that you see in this story actually can be purchased by the general public. They are really racing what they sell. He is running a pretty neutral set up with the bars and has them set in line with the forks.
Pro Circuit also makes their own triple clamps for the Kawasaki KX250. On these triple clamps you have an option on bar mount placement. There are two different sets of holes to place the mounts into. Jo is running his in the set closest to the gas tank.
Here is another look at the two-hole option triple clamps we were explaining. The Pro Circuit bar mounts shown above are a standard-standard +4 . That means standard offset but +4 in height. Shimoda definitely runs his steering a little tighter than maybe some of the other 250 riders out there. We always try to move the front wheel back and forth while shooting these bikes to see what the rider prefers on the steering. You can see the aluminum nut on the steering stem with some holes drilled out for safety wire to avoid the nut backing out for some reason.
The team is running a Pro Circuit billet throttle tube, Renthal half waffle soft grips with a grip donut. You can also see that the start switch on this bike has been modified. This housing is 3D printed at Pro Circuit. It protects the start button and also helps the button from getting bumped by the riders leg when turning. The riders have their legs pretty high up at times and they are constantly bumping the controls on the handlebars. The last thing Pro Circuit needs is the start switch to be damaged.
ARC supplies the levers to Jo Shimoda's race bike. Bob at ARC has several ratios and pulls to choose from. The levers are in a pretty neutral position. Distance to the handlebars on both levers is pretty standard as well. He does like a firm feeling front brake lever.
A full coverage carbon disk card is used and is custom made for the team. It bolts into the axle and brake hangar bolts. A factory Nissin caliper is paired with the 270mm Braking front rotor. Titanium banjo bolts are used with holes cut out so the safety wire sits nicely through them and keeps them from backing out while riding. The factory Nissin set up gives the rider a more progressive feel when the front brake is pulled in.
The front brake master cylinder is stock but it is off a different model Kawasaki. This master holds more fluid and provides a better brake feel than the stock 2022 KX250 master. The front brake line is stock but the team cuts some sheathing off it to drop weight. They also add some heat shrink to the line to clean it up a little bit for racing.
You can see in the photo above we have the data port for Jo Shimoda's race bike. There is an SD card inside that the team manager can pull out and review after riding. You can look at throttle position on the track, errors with the bike, and make sure the bike is running to the best of its abilities. The black component you see just past the data port is the GPS. This helps the team know where Shimoda is on the track and pin point where a problem might be occurring. It also helps the team navigate between what the rider is saying about the bike and what the data acquisition is saying.
On the clutch reservoir the team is using a carbon guard for protection. This prevents rocks or other debris puncturing the reservoir during a race. The team is also running a different line than stock. It is a -2 line. It is a little more progressive than stock and has less of an on/off feel to it. He likes it mainly for the start and can feed it out a little more for a good start.
Down by the side of the bike you will see the start map button that has been relocated. Normally it sits on top of the handlebars but for Pro Circuit Kawasaki it sits down by the side of the frame. This allows for the handlebars to feel less cluttered with electronics. It is in a really easy spot for the rider to access on the start and in this location it also adds some durability to the button. The rider will engage the start map but once he hits 3rd gear it will turn off and go back to the regular map they have in the bike.
You can see just behind the Pro Circuit triple clamps that ARC is making the team transponder mounts. These are just a little more stronger and durable for the team to mount a transponder in.
Pro Circuit A Kit Showa front forks are added to the motorcycle. They are done by Adrian and Luke in the shop. The team also has Bones around to help out even though he says he is "retired." Pro Circuit also makes their own fork lugs to improve feel and characteristics of the motorcycle. The axle is titanium and DLC coated. Some black Delran plugs are used to keep mud/water out of this area. On the fork lugs themselves the team is using titanium pinch bolts for weight and strength. Pro Circuit is using their own holeshot device that is attached to the front fork system. It is a 2 button system and this is not something they sell to the public. Between the buttons is a 15mm change. The lower one is the standard button and used frequently. The upper button is used for slicker conditions. Jo runs his forks pretty deep at 140mm/155mm options. On the bottom of the fork guards you will see a bolt coming out. These are straps that keep the fork guards from being ripped out when the holeshot device is engaged.
Dunlop supplies Pro Circuit Kawasaki with the tires. This is a factory Dunlop tire that the team is helping develop for the general public to buy eventually. An Excel A60 rim with KHI Works hub is used. The spokes are also a KHI factory part. They are a +3 spoke so they are a little longer than stock and gives a little more clearance in the nipple. This adds some durability to the wheel for the team.
The radiators are a works part for Pro Circuit. They are a little bit longer than stock and hold a little bit more fluid. The right side actually has an oil cooler built in to add longevity to their clutches. A 1.8 radiator cap is used (off a KX65) for higher boil over temp. You can see there is a clip placed in the cap so Shimoda doesn't hit it with his legs and roll the cap off during racing. We aren't sure what happened to Jason Anderson at the beginning of the season but this might have been the problem and cost him the race. The cap possibly rolled off while on the track. A Pro Circuit over flow catch can is used on the motorcycle. This catches all the coolant when the bike starts to get hot and recycles it back in as its cooling off.
Pro Circuit is using SAMCO sport hoses for the radiators. They are a standard length but are cut to fit the works radiators. You can also see the blue oil cooler lines tucked in behind the radiator hoses.
Just behind the radiator hoses you will see the auxiliary start button. This button used to be under the seat and back by the air box for 2021. In 2022 the team has it behind the shroud and way out of the way. This is used to get the bike started if the primary button is damaged during the race. The team and other teams have had to use their aux buttons during racing before. Teams have had to get creative since going to electric start. Jo had to use the 2nd start button in San Diego after he crashed.
The engine is done completely in house at Pro Circuit in Corona, California. Team Manager Ian Southwell and Mitch spend hours of R&D to get this bike as ready for racing as possible. Shimoda likes a light engine. He likes it to light up quick and get going fast. The team has modified the bike's characteristics to address Shimoda's need for riding. The team is using an SR wiring harness which moves some wires around and also helps with the electronics they are using on the bike. JE Pistons are inside the engine and built around the needs of Pro Circuit athletes as well as Mitch Payton. All the akadizing is done by Hinson. You can see on the primary cover above that it adds some color to the engine in comparison to stock. This helps with durability and also can help with heat dispersion.
Pro Circuit water pump and impeller are used on Shimoda's race bike. It improves flow which in turn increases horsepower on the motorcycle. You can buy a lot of these products for your KX250 on the Pro Circuit website.
Pro Circuit clutch cover is used and is much more durable than what comes stock on the 2022 Kawasaki KX250. Hinson provides the clutches and clutch basket for the team. Jo rarely smokes a clutch so the standard Pro Circuit springs are used. He is heavy on the clutch off the start but the rest of the track he really isn't using it as much as other riders.
The engine hangars are Works Chassis lab on the bottom which provided by Scott at Showa. The top mount is actually stock with holes cut out for flex in the frame. You can also see the at the very bottom of the photo is the manual cam chain tension adjustment to fine tune the motorcycle.
Coming out of the Pro Circuit header is an O2 bung. It helps read the air/fuel mixture. It goes along with the data acquisition system that the team is running.
A carbon full coverage skid plate is used to protect the engine while racing. The coolest part about the design of this skid plate is the fact that when a mechanic performs an engine swap they do not have to remove the skid plate. It makes it really nice for the mechanics to simplify the process when need be. One thing to note is that the Pro Circuit mechanics build their own engines. A lot of teams have a 1-3 dedicated team members who build the engines. At Pro Circuit the mechanic does this duty. Matt told us that it brings a sense of pride to each wrench when they do good in the race. "I built that bike," really means a lot more to the guys at Pro Circuit. Maxima oils and lubricants are used throughout the bike.
Pro Circuit TI-6 Pro exhaust with carbon muffler tip. The mount has been modified on the subframe for the exhaust. The mount just under the seat is an issue on the stock 2022 Kawasaki KX250. It will strip out or break. Pro Circuit beefs up the area and has a special mount with pin inside to fix this problem.
The team is using a CMI Pro Circuit shifter on all their bikes. They have a lot of options on tips or lengths. The tip is a lot stronger than stock and can take a beating.
Pro Circuit ignition cover and Pro Circuit timing plugs are used on the bike. We think this red is a nice touch of color on the bike and definitely gives that factory look. The slave cylinder in the top right of the photo is akadized just like the primary covers.
A carbon case saver is used on Shimoda's Kawasaki KX250. The reason behind that is when/if the chain breaks, the case saver will brake away before it damages the cases.
Looking down at the rear brake pedal you can see that it is a works pedal and the tip folds in the event of a crash. The brake snake is mounted to the frame and keeps from the brake getting completely destroyed during a crash or debris hitting it. A lot of the teams use an old clutch cable to create the brake snake shown above.
In the photo above you can get a good look at the brake stop that Pro Circuit is using with a machined end on it. This is set to each rider's pedal height and placed on the bike. This stops the brake from getting jammed upwards which in turn would cause the guts of the rear brake master cylinder to explode out.
The foot pegs are made in house at Pro Circuit. It is a titanium foot peg with titanium mount and titanium pin. You can also see the cool titanium peg covers that keep mud or rocks from packing up that area.
A really cool material added to the bike is the Vibram grip seen here in this photo. It is a new sponsor to the team and it is already cut out for the rider. It works really well and can go 2 weeks without changing it.
A Showa Factory shock is used with a 18mm shock shaft which is a little beefier than stock for Supercross racing. You can also see that the shock shaft is coated similar to the front forks.
Pro Circuit linkage is attached to the rear suspension of Jo Shimoda's factory race bike. The bolts are titanium with aluminum nuts and the linkage is plasma coated. The team has a ton of options with link arms and knuckles for the riders to choose. Ivan Tedesco does a lot of the behind the scenes testing for Pro Circuit to widdle down the parts and make it a little easier for their premiere athletes to use.
The rear Nissin brake master cylinder is a pretty close to stock but it is an SR part. The window is removed to avoid any damage that would result in brake failure during the race.
A breather hole is machined into the top of the rear brake caliper to dissipate heat. Titanium rear brake pin and the pads are chamfered a bit to allow the rear wheel to re-enter the area without hanging up. Mechanics need to move fast and don't need to waste time with the pads if they are closed up. The chamfer helps the mechanic slide the rear wheel in and push the pads open. You can see the titanium KHI piston with holes drilled into it. This also helps dissipate heat. You can also see the SR billet hangar in this photo.
The rear axle is titanium and DLC coated. Pro Circuit makes their own axle blocks and you can see they are still using a cotter pin. Most of the teams don't do this anymore but PC still likes to have that added safety measure. Shimoda is running his rear axle farther forward than the rest of the team prefers. This change helps him in the transitions and seat bouncing. The team is also running titanium chain adjusters and chain adjuster nuts as well.
The rear brake and sprocket bolts are titanium using the stock nuts. Renthal chains and Excel chains are used on the motorcyle. Shimoda is running a 13/47 gearing. He is a little bit different gearing than the rest of the team. He likes a short/snappy gear box. He doesn't want to use first gear much so his gearing has been tailored to answer that preference. He likes the short and snappy feel for turning down the corners quickly.
A Pro Circuit chain guide is used on the Kawasaki KX250 of Jo Shimoda. A plastic insert is used. With the shorter gearing Jo runs, Matt has to adjust the position of the guard so the chain doesn't derail. You can see at the mounting points the last bolt is positioned further down on the adjustment to fix this.
The team makes their own air boot in house and can tailor it to the engine package that they came up with. Twin Air supplies the filters with a titanium mounting point and aluminum washer. This is an SMX air filter which is a super moto style air filter specific for Supercross. This is a little thinner and has a little more surface area. The team has a mud option for outdoors or different races.
GUTS light seat foam is used with a Throttle Syndicate pleated gripper seat cover. He really isn't picky on the feel of the seat like some of the riders in the paddock. Under the seat you will find an Anti Gravity battery.
On the swing arm pivot you can see an aluminum plug to keep mud and water out.
Throttle Syndicate supplies the graphics to the team. You can see that there are a lot of spots on the bike they do not apply graphics to. A complete graphics kit can add 3-4 pounds to a bike. The factory teams spend a lot of money in material to drop the weight of the bike and don't want to gain it all back on stickers. They will minimized the amount of graphic material used and even thin it up a bit so there is a balance of making the bike look good and keeping it light weight.