SuspensionAll that power needs a suspension arrangement on equal terms. Widening the stance is the answer, so Laeger +2 long-travel A-arms were mounted to provide the front width and handling (and a place to bolt on some long shock). In the back end, a DuraBlue +4 Eliminator axle was slid into the swingarm to provide the width, stability and strength required to rocket through the corners for 12 hours of abuse. The stock Raptor swingarms have been holding up well, so it was left in place. To make the swingarm and A-arms go up and down under control, good shocks were needed. Noleen J-6 units were chosen over a lot of available shocks. J-6 may not be a familiar name, but its owner, Clark Jones, is. He also once owned the similarly named NoLeen, which was the importer of Ohlins shocks for years, before he sold it to mountain-bike maker K-2 and worked with the company to develop a line of bicycle shocks. Jones is back in the quad game, living in Southern California (good for teams to test and develop with him) and knowing his way around shocks (having worked with Doug Gust and Joe Byrd the last couple of years). It was a natural option to try his J-6 shocks on the Raptor project.
WheelsThe last part of the "get the power to the ground" formula was Maxxis Razr tires mounted on DWT (the new name for Douglas Wheel) beadlock wheels. Beadlocks not only keep the tire from coming off the bead under the tough conditions of aggressive riding, but they also allow you to race at a very hard clip, even with a flat.
ControlsDropping $300 may seem like a steep investment for a handlebar, but the fatigue-cutting Fasst Flexx bars have proven to be worth their hefty price tag and are an excellent choice for endurance racing. More rider comfort was added in the form of Spider dual-density grips. Acoustically engineered to rebound and absorb tiring vibrations, the special tacky compounds allow the rider to hang on with less effort, too. Longer A-arms mean longer brake lines. The braided stainless steel Streamline brake lines paired with Streamline brake pads fit the bill and improve brake performance, as well as help to ensure the Motul brake fluid doesn't boil.
LightsNight-riding is part of the 12 Hours of America, so bright lights are a must. Baja Designs' 4-inch Fuego HIDs were chosen for several reasons. One was that HID (as in High Intensity Discharge) lights put out a significant amount of illumination, yet draw significantly less juice than other lighting systems. The other was size. In Baja it's possible to travel over terrain you may not have seen prior to the race, and at a potentially higher rate of speed, the 6-inch Baja Designs units are more common. However, this is a lap course with a track you'd have become familiar with by sundown and no need to worry about cattle and unknown dangers after dark. The more compact Fuego lights are much less likely to be damaged in a rollover and, like their larger siblings, are adjustable on the fly. The 4-inch pair provides a very good pattern. One light throws out a very wide rectangular flood pattern that's quite distinctive and is perfect for low speed. The other is a narrow spot to light up the path way out ahead-a necessary feature for speed; you do not want to outrun your lights. The stock lights were left in and working in case the Fuegos got damaged. Although the Raptor doesn't have the charging capability to run all four lights at the same time for an extended period (without a stator rewind), this isn't a problem for this race.