As the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour marks its ten-year Mexico City anniversary, revolutionary rider Thomas Pagès is preparing to once again make history. Already a game-changer with his tricks, this time he's applying his ingenuity to equipment, debuting a cutting-edge motorcycle lightened with carbon fiber. Could it be the next big thing?
Ahead of the opener for the 15th Red Bull X-Fighters season in Mexico City on March 6, the always-inventive Thomas Pagès has revealed that he's ready to share his latest innovation: the lightest motorcycle ever used in the world's most prestigious freestyle motocross series. If all goes well, the uniquely modified bike could significantly boost the 2013 World Tour champion's odds of earning a second title – and no doubt the progression of the sport itself.
In the pits at the Monumental Plaza de Toros, which boasts the season's largest audience capacity as well as its tightest track, Pagès and his mechanic Guillaume Davion explained. "I believe it's the lightest bike ever to be used in competition anywhere – certainly in Red Bull X-Fighters history," said Davion, who hand-crafted the modifications. "This is 15 kilograms lighter than the bike Tom was riding last year, which was about 100 kilos."
While the frame remains aluminum and some components are titanium, the subframe, such as the grab holds at the seat, has been replaced with carbon fiber. Even the brake lever and shift lever were lightened, the brake discs have been drilled with holes to further reduce weight, and the bike's forks use air rather than springs. It was Pagès himself who came up with the idea as he considered the problem of how to generate enough power for the radical tricks he already performs – and those he'd like to develop.
Less weight means less work for the bike's engine, an important factor in a sport where riders launch 15 meters high and 30 meters in distance to execute their jaw-dropping maneuvers. The lighter bike could be a particular advantage in Mexico City, where the reduced oxygen at the altitude of 2,240 meters makes it hard for motorcycles to "breathe" and give peak performance.
Although Pagès has been practicing with versions of the motorcycle since last fall, he admits that using it is still far from second nature. The bike is like a new partner in the Frenchman's intricate moto choreography, one that reacts in a whole new way. "It feels very different from what I'm used to riding," he says, "plus we've been making a lot of adjustments all along, and every time you make a change, you have to relearn everything again. But I'm excited about the possibilities."
Pagès, his Red Bull X-Fighters Mexico competitors (including three other World Tour champions in the 12-man lineup) and FMX fans worldwide are all eager to find out just how well the new ride can perform in competition. Does it have the potential to revolutionize the sport? They'll find out on Friday night.
Watch Red Bull X-Fighters Mexico LIVE!
Tickets: Ticketmaster Mexico
Webcast: We will stream the entire competition LIVE on redbullxfighters.com and Red Bull TV will broadcast from the Quarter Finals on. Red Bull TV is available on connected TVs, gaming consoles, mobile devices and more. For a full list of supported devices visit about.redbull.tv.
Please note that the broadcast is geo-blocked in the USA, but will be shown exclusively on Fox Sports 1
Start Times: 9:00 pm CST on redbullxfighters.com with exclusive Round 1 coverage | 9:30 pm CST on Red Bull TV
March 6: Canada: 10:00 pm EST || March 7: Brasil: 12:00 am BRT | UK: 3:00 am GMT | Europe: 4:00 am CET | UAE: 7:00 am GST | Japan: 12:00 pm JST | Australia: 2:00 pm AEST | New Zealand: 4.00 pm NZST
Video on Demand: The entire competition will be available as a VoD right after the event on redbullxfighters.com and Red Bull TV. In the US right after the event was aired on Fox Sport 1.
TV: The event will broadcast LIVE on TV Azteca in Mexico. For more TV stations around the globe please check your local listings.
Live Results: For real-time results and standings visit redbullxfighters/results