Pro Bike: Alex Salvini’s 2020 S2 Motorsport Honda CRF450RX
Take a detailed look at the red rocket Honda CRF450RX Alex Salvini and the S2 Motorsport Team have built to race EnduroGP in 2020.
Alex Salvini took the big step in 2019 to set up his own race team to compete in the EnduroGP World Championship and Italian Championship. Despite the major headache involved in starting and running his own team, as they enter their second season with new structure and new teammate in Bruno Crivillin, Salvini says “finally I am able to work how I want!”
The goal, he adds with S2 Motorsport Sembenini Honda RedMoto (to give it the full name) is: “to develop the best bike possible to help me to claim again the top spot of the World Enduro Championship.”
That is no small order but this team is not short on experience with Luca Vanti (team manager) and Marco Valentini (technical director), plus 12 months of experience with factory Honda backing, they have to know-how to prepare the perfect Honda CRF450RX enduro machine.
S2 Motorsports have spent the winter season working on improving components based on the experience from 2019. With development parts materialised and a sprinkling of new and exclusive components, the 2020 bikes are looking prime.
Time then for us to take a closer look at Alex Salvini’s 2020 CRF450RX…
Step 1: make the rider comfortable
How do they build it and where do they start? S2 Motorsports are a Honda RedMoto supported team in enduro, and as such start from the base Honda CRF450RX model.
“With the base bike, the first step is to work on the rider’s position, the famous triangle of seat/footpegs/handlebar.” Explains Alex. “Enduro race day is really long, you have to stay on the bike for more than six hours, so it is essential to have a good riding position to reduce effort and fatigue.”
Starting from the Selle Dalla Valle seat, the measurements are standard with harder and lighter foam. S2 Motorsport designed and built their own new footpegs which sit 5mm to the rear and 2mm lower with help from Costa Special Parts.
Step two: engine performance
“The second step is to work on the engine, electronics, throttle control and exhaust.” Says Salvini. “The only big change for the engine is the Vertex Pistons designed and developed with our specification for compression.
“Akrapovic supplies us with full titanium exhaust systems with special dedicated mufflers. Finally we worked on the throttle control with a different cams that Domino sell in the market.
“The electronic engine management is entirely down to our technician, Tullio Pellegrinelli. He works on the standard CDI with the HRC programme to create the perfect power delivery and response for our bikes.”
All Pellegrinelli’s work is done to improve the precision of the engine at low revs as well as having a much more linear and manageable power curve that greatly improves drive from the big Honda to suit enduro Alex tells us.
Inside the engine the team use Nils oils and Engine Ice coolant, plus a 1.8 radiator cap to maintain lower engine temperatures and ensure better performance. Innteck support the team with silicone radiator hoses for high temperatures and the rear brake safety cables.
Step three: chassis
The third area of focus for Salvini and the team is the chassis, suspension, triple clamps and linkage.
Starting with the base settings of last year (2019), the set-up for 2020 is easier with a year under their belts, explains Alex. “The suspension set-up has been easier in testing but, as always with suspension, it is an area always changing during the season, the work is never done.”
The S2 Motorsport team receive factory support from SHOWA with the SFF AIR kit A and with experienced technicians Tullio Pellegrinelli and Mauro Milani, “work to find the right set up for my riding style.” Says Salvini who’s riding style is not a shy one. “We also worked a lot on the rigidity of the chassis,” adds Alex, “to obtain a less reactive bike without losing riding precision.”
Costa Special Parts produced customized triple clamps with a different off-set to our specifications and a suspension link system with the options to change the arm length as needed.
The fourth step in the process and something new for 2020 is one that Salvini is really proud of, their own clutch.
The fully hydraulic actuator clutch is a project “completely conceived and created by S2 Motorsport” with the experience of Technical Director Marco Valentini. Together with chief mechanic Mattia Mion, Valentini created a fully hydraulic actuator for both 250 and 450cc Hondas replacing the cable clutch on the stock CRF. The team sponsor, RO.EN, produce the parts.
“This project was all to improve the precision and modulation of the clutch which are fundamental things in the enduro sport.” Says Alex. The clutch set-up is completed by the Magura Dot Oil 9.5 pump and the complete Rekluse Core manual clutch unit.
“Together with Braking, we developed a 260mm BATFLY front brake rotor and a 240mm Wave rear brake (currently not on the market).” Explains Salvini of the rotor set-up. “The feeling is powerful, modular and constant braking throughout the entire race and especially in all riding conditions to keep the performance the same.” The front and rear brake caliperas are Nissin standard parts.
For tyres, S2 Motorsport will be the first team to compete in the Enduro World Championship with the new Borilli brand. The plan is to use the products from Brazil in competition, but also develop new materials which will subsequently enter the market.
The final drive is Sunstar (13-51 ratio) with the use of the Works-Z sprocket on the rear which “reduces friction and possibility of chain breakage.” Explains Salvini.
Sprinkled with special parts
A closer look around the S2 Motorsport bikes shows plenty of bling in terms of protection. The AXP Racing skid plate is 6mm, the chain guide from Costa Special Parts and the rear disk guard is produced by us at S2 Motorsport.
“We wanted everything in HDPE plastic because it has excellent impact resistance and an elasticity that allows parts to take very strong impacts without remaining bent and therefore compromise a race.” Adds Alex. Costa Special Parts also sprinkle glitter around this CRF with various anodised covers and parts.
RY Carbon are responsible for all the carbon fibre parts you can see fitted to Salvini’s Honda including the 7.5litre fuel tank, front sprocket guard and radiator braces.
“Twin Air provides us with air filters and special covers in case of rain or sand plus we use the ‘Power Flow Kit’ which guarantees a bigger air flow.” Explains Alex.
“We also revised the standard battery, using a reduced size and weight option which guarantees greater power in the ignition phase and a smaller footprint in the filter box. That allows easier filter changes plus a larger quantity of air in the air box. Obviously, the battery case has also been redesigned and that is made by us at S2 Motorsport to be smaller and lighter than the standard version.”
All plastics are Acerbis including the new X-Future handguard which blend lightness, safety and design. Graphics are produced by Blackbird designs with S2 Motorsport’s graphic designer, Giacomo Silingardi. The grippy chassis guard stickers are made by Vibram.
The handlebar grips are something new to the market. “5x5 Presa Integrale is a new brand that will soon produce Alex Salvini Replica designs for Enduro.” Says Salvini. The Domino handlebars are ‘HSA Medium Alex Salvini Edition’ in red and pure sauce.
“This is what we do.” Alex concludes after a long look around his bike. “Our goal is to have the best bike to win the races, but also to share with the amateur riders to help them to enjoy as much as possible this amazing bike in the Enduro discipline!”
Salvini will taket hat a step further just as soon as possible and start a new project called “SALVINI FACTORY EXPERIENCE” where all the riders can come to SalviniLand (his private training area) to spend time with the big man, the S2 Motorsport technicians and mechanics, and test the bikes with all the special parts they use, “in short, spend a day like a factory rider!” adds Alex.
Photo Credit: S2 Motorsport