[Yamaha]

BIKE BUILD: A CHAD REED TRIBUTE 2022 YZ250

4 months ago | Words: Andy Wigan | Photos: Matt Rouso Photography

The #22, by 74 Works – a ‘factory’-spec bike inspired by Chad Reed’s AMA SX title-winning 2004 YZ250, but with a modern spin.

Mitch Smith is one of those blokes who’s annoying good at pretty much anything he turns his hand to. Which is a lot! Among other things, he’s a former Pro skier, a successful restaurateur, a Red Bull track builder (and “Dirt Pipe” event host), a bodacious barista and a moto aficionado with an astute eye for landmark motorcycles. And he owns a business called 74 Works – experts in specialty coatings and vapor blasting.

These days, bike builds get much of this talented Victorian’s attention. And Mitch’s latest obsession is a Chad Reed tribute YZ250 – a machine that made more sense than ever after Yamaha’s venerable YZ250 copped its first major revamp in 15 years for 2022.

As Mitch’s initial email about the project explained, “Two-strokes, old or new, are going nuts and everyone is frothing on the totally updated 2022 YZs. We want to be the first to build a high-end ‘factory’ bike – a 2022-model YZ250 with a nod to Chad Reed’s title-winning 2004 race bike, and acknowledge that quintessential moment in Aussie moto.

“I’ve got lots of support for the project from Aussie businesses and parts distributors. And best of all, I’ve got Clint from Morrison Moto Garage involved – a guy who’s been in the industry for 20 years and is increasingly regarded as the measure in Australia for these period-correct, high-end builds. Wanna see some pics of this thing? We’re almost finished,” Mitch went on to say.

“By all means, mate,” we immediately shot back, as we contemplated the significance of Reed’s 2004 achievements on the YZ250 and the concept of marrying that with the landmark, all-new 2022 YZ250. “Actually, why not send images and some words to go with it, Mitch? Why not give everyone an insight into the build?!”

And sure enough, shortly after we got back into the office in early January, Mitch supplied a bunch of top-shelf images of his #22 tribute machine, an itemised explanation of the build, a thanks to those involved, and a short promo video.

Here’s the info Mitch supplied about the “#22, by 74” build, along with a selection damn fine imagery to bring it alive…

There’s an honesty about a motocross bike. It’s a blunt-force object with a beauty that I liken to an Abrams tank. It’s a stripped back, slimmed down, no-fuss weapon that, in the right hands on the battlefield, is awesome. It’s built to do a specific job, very well.

I always wanted to do a ‘factory’ two-stroke bike build. So when, after 15 years, Yamaha updated the YZ250 – a bike that has always held its ground as a proven, well-rounded and nice-looking machine – I thought the time was right. The time was right to build a 2022-model YZ250 that was inspired by Chad’ Reed’s efforts on this bike’s 2004 forebear, which was a sight to behold.

Alex and Brad at Whitehouse Motorcycles in Albury helped arrange my purchase of the 2022 YZ250, and my wife and I drove it straight to Clint and Todd at Morrison Moto Garage so they could tear it down and get cracking on the build.

Here’s what we did to the bike, plus those I’d like to thank for their input…

COATINGS & SURFACE FINISHES

  • We wanted to give a nod to Chad’s 2004 bike, so the frame had to be blue (rather than the frame’s raw alloy finish on the 2022 model). Powder coating done right is a good thing. This blue is bang-on for modern Yamahas and a favourite here at 74 Works. All powder coating, ceramic coating and hydro-blasting was done inhouse at 74. We are a certified Prismatic Powders and Cerakote applicator with a state-of-the-art facility; not in the garden shed making ol’ mate’s pit-bike callipers burnt bronze. But I digress…
  • Kickstarter, linkage, brake pedal and gear-shifter had any cast marks removed and together with subframe, master cylinder caps and chain guide, they were hydro-blasted, linished and a coat of clear Cerakote applied.
  • Shock body and clevis also had cast marks removed and custom 74 blend Cerakote.
  • Brake callipers were prepped and Cerakoted with some stencilling and detail work done on the Nissin logos.
  • Barrel was hydro-blasted, shock spring powdered in our factory KYB colour, and larger hardware (like axle and linkage bolt heads) were linished and clear Cerakote applied for a factory look.

PARTS & ACCESSORIES

Starting from the front-end:

  • Marty from Krooztune supplied the factory KYB Kashima-coated uppers, DLC-coated lowers and billet fork lugs.
  • Triple clamps, bar mounts and wheels are from EZE Race Products. We opted for raw billet clamps and hubs. Stu and the guys at EZE make beautiful gear, and we wanted it to be nude as the moment it came off the mill.
  • Another sweet piece of billet is the custom rear brake carrier, made by Brenton from Concept Machine Works. We didn’t want to run the calliper and disc guards, so rather than lop all the lugs off the OEM carrier, we decided a billet one would do nicely. It’s funny how a usually mundane part that largely disappears suddenly becomes an eye-catching piece and gives a much classier look to the whole rear wheel assembly.
  • Bars and grips are ProTaper, clutch perch is Works Connection.
  • Seat from Mario at Topline – a hand-made thing of beauty!
  • Graphics from Rival Ink. These guys went over and above working with us on the design, and delivered!
  • Brakelines from Goodridge.
  • Works exhaust and shorty muffler from Pro Circuit Australia (thanks to Darren at Monza Imports for looking after us).
  • Scar titanium pegs from Paul at 100% Moto. These things are bomber and are purely interested in keeping you planted, not how many sets of boots you can afford.
  • I’d estimate that about 98% of the hardware is also titanium, mostly from Racebolts in Queensland, while some pieces (like the axle nuts, disc and sprocket hardware) came from Portugal – they turned up the day after the photos were taken, unfortunately.
  • LightSpeed carbon from the US supplied the ignition and clutch covers, top engine mounts, case saver and mid-pipe mount. Their gear is always top-notch, and they are awesome to deal with.
  • DID chain and AFAM sprockets.

WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM FRIENDS…

All tear-down, assembly and so on was done at Morrison Moto Garage by Clint and Todd. I’ve known these guys for ages and know that their attention to detail, skill and standards are second to none. Clint also worked with Charlie at Costanzo Racing on the suspension and engine settings, making it ‘old-man soft’ for me as I am no pro and don’t pretend to be.

With the motor, Clint and Charlie decided to leave it dead stock with the exception of a V-force reed kit, GYTR weighted flywheel and Cisco’s power-valve spring – again, aiming at making the power delivery smooth and linear with no big hits.

I’m really happy with how the bike has turned out and look forward to riding it when the weather cools down a bit.

A lot of people helped out with this bike, and most are mentioned above. Though I do want to extend a special thankyou to Clint at Morrison Moto Garage, Alex and Brad at Whitehouse Motorcycles, Stu at EZE Race Products and my wife. Without the help of these people, the build simply wouldn’t have happened.

UP NEXT

We have some more 74 Works builds coming through shortly. Next will be a 2000 YZ250 Jeremy McGrath tribute/replica, followed by a 2001 KX250SR Ricky Carmichael tribute/replica. If I can talk Clint into letting us get some pictures of his builds, you’ll see why he’s a well-regarded restoration master.

Thanks for checking out the #22. You can find 74 Works online or on Instagram.

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