With Chad Reed’s 2013 Supercross season derailed by
inconsistent performances and finally by his decision to have
his knee scoped between rounds 12 and 14, MXA wanted to
ask Two Two Motorsports’ team manager Dave Osterman
what part Chad’s fork issues played in his downbeat season.
IT’S NO SECRET THAT CHAD REED DOESN’T LIKE HIS
AIR FORKS. IS HE MORE COMFORTABLE WITH THE
CONVENTIONAL, SPRING-STYLE FORK? There really
aren’t any winners and losers. I get asked that question a
bunch. We stuck with the air fork a lot in the beginning of the
season. It has a lot of great qualities with it, as opposed to
not, and he still feels that way. However, it’s an animal. There
are guys that love it, guys that aren’t bothered by it, and still
others that are very particular and are looking for something.
The air fork is foreign to a lot of people. I think a rider will
take right to it or struggle a little bit. At Chad’s level, I think
that we are on the bubble of him using it full-time. For me, it’s
like a pair of work boots. Why get blisters on your feet?
Break your boots in when you have more time, and kick butt
in something that you’re comfortable with.
ELI TOMAC HASN’T COME TO TERMS YET WITH THE
AIR FORK EITHER, SO CHAD’S NOT ALONE. You have a
young kid and an old dog, and they’re both very fast. Yet
they’re both sensing things, and they aren’t quite comfortable
yet with the air fork. It’s one of those things that we will keep
working on, but at the end of the day, sometimes you have to
go back to what’s tried and true.
ARE THE FORKS REALLY THE BIG PROBLEM? I’m not
blaming our season on the air fork or any of that stuff. It’s
nothing like that. Both manufacturers, Showa and KYB, came
out with the air fork and all of the factory guys are using
them, and you’re kind of like an oddball if you don’t.
WAS HONDA ANGRY THAT YOU WENT BACK TO LAST
YEAR’S FORKS? I have an old story from my factory days
when all of the Japanese bikes came out a day late and a
dollar short. We rolled out our old bike, and we killed
everybody for the first four rounds. The reason that we did
that was because we went back to what was tried and true.
We figured out all of the nuts and bolts with the new stuff
during the weekdays and raced with the old bike on the
weekend. At the time, the Japanese weren’t happy with our
decision. However, it wasn’t a reflection on the new stuff
being bad, but instead a reflection on our lack of time. To
bring this full circle, for me it was smart of Chad Reed to
bolt back on the old suspension, because it was what he
grew comfortable with. Some guys just need a little more
time with the air fork. I do think that it’s the future.
SORT OF LIKE JEREMY McGRATH RUNNING A 1993
MODEL CR250 ALL OF THE WAY THROUGH 1996? I do
understand that Honda came out with an all-new CRF450 for
2013, but parts can still be shared with the old model. For
Chad, the bike wasn’t willing to lay in his lap and be his friend.
It’s a new model, and it takes time to figure it out.
NOT COMING TO
A TOWN NEAR
YOU: SUZUKI TO
Suzuki is in the process of
reducing its U.S. dealer network by
approximately 100 shops. Suzuki
currently has 930 dealers, but it
aims to reduce its dealer network in
accordance with its Chapter 11
reorganization deal. Dealers on
the chopping block will be offered a
nominal sum, rumored to be
$10,000, and a buy-back on existing
motorcycles, ATVs and parts in stock.
According to a Suzuki spokesman,
the cuts were based on performance,
not geography. The 98 dealers that
were booted only accounted for 2. 5
percent of Suzuki’s retail sales for the
past 12 months. Sales performance
was only one part of the decision.
Service, parts and advertising support
were also considered.
Under the terms of its bankruptcy accord,
Suzuki is cutting non-profitable
dealers to improve their bottom
line in the future.
TWO TWO MOTORSPORTS’
DAVE OSTERMAN ON
CHAD REED’S AIR FORK