Mr. Enee, we were informed that you have been quite successful in FEC races. Could you please tell us about this specific racing competition? I have been running races in the “French Elite Championship” operating with 8 to 10 races per year in circuits all around the French territory.
Could you tell us a bit more about your history, how did you come to choose for this type of racing? I have been fond of mechanical sports since I was a teenager. Passion for mechanics and races grew over the years and I finally went for the Quad machine as it looked more attractive to me. I started practicing Quad racing 6 years ago (2014) and raised up to competition level just 1 year after.
What has contributed most to your success in these races, so far? Mechanical reliability is a must. In fact a yearly championship is to be won in the long run, as it is a combination of 8 to 10 races in a period of around 12 months. Any mechanical failure during one of those races will ruin your final placement. On top of these mechanical aspects, mindset & physical sharpness also contributes strongly .
How do you see your future in this competition, what are your ultimate goals? The ultimate goal would be ranking in top 5 at a French Championship. For this, I will need to participate to more races throughout the year and all around the country.
Concerning the material, could you explain us a bit more about the specifics of the quad vehicle? Competition machines are obviously very different from series-production machines. Many mechanical elements are reinforced such as: the rear arm, suspension, break system, etc. Also, we use fuel additives effecting positively on combustion, and preventing the engine from overheating.
What makes it different compared to KART-vehicles or (cross)motorcycles from a technical point of view? Generally weight balance and management is very specific for each of these machines. But I would rather compare QUAD/ATV vs. Cross motorcycles as they are both all-road vehicles (which is not the case for karts). One of the technical difference is the suspension travel which is larger on a cross cycle (dirt bike). A Quad, even if powerful, does not compete based mainly on acceleration but more on driving control. Some Quad/ATVs have even power steering to help driving.
We understood that the roller bearings used in quads are quite critical for the success of the races. Could you tell us a bit more about that? We talk here about a rear swing arm bearing which is exposed to a lot of constraints impacting its lifetime. Indeed riding through water or mud regularly and also regular jumping through the race are leading to fatigue that can be shortening the bearing lifetime. I have seen many bearing failure cases during races when the mounted bearing was non-genuine. Swing arm bearing reliability is vital, as any failure during the race and you ‘re losing any chance to finish highly ranked. Not mentioning the repair cost which is close to 1 000 € when this fails, as it is damaging other mechanical parts too you would need to change them as well.
From our understanding Koyo bearings are considered quite reliable and long-lasting. How do they compare to other bearing brands according to your experience? From my and other racers experience the life length of Koyo products is about 3 to 4 times longer than low-end or unbranded products. In my case, we talk about 55 hours race for the genuine Koyo products mounted on my Yamaha YFZ R 450. Knowing it may run longer and I have been changing the genuine BRG preventively to make sure BRGs do not fail during the race. I have never heard or experienced any failure with the genuine Koyo Bearing during a race – they are changed preventively. For the adaptable parts (non OE - brands such as PFI, ALL Ball bearings ) the life length is barely exceeding 10 to 12 hours with failures during the race being very common. Also keep in mind that a bearing failure can lead to around 1 000 € damage on a quad machine (strongly damaging the rear axle for example).
How exactly would using Koyo bearings help you to be more successful in your races? I am much more serene when I know that my critical parts are robust and reliable as they will not break randomly during a race. Thus, I can focus on other aspects of the race and increase my winning chances.
If requested; would you recommend the Koyo brand to others and why? Absolutely as this is top notch quality bearing offering very long life even under severe conditions such as Quad competition races. From my knowledge Koyo is a major Yamaha supplier and Yamaha machines reliability is very well known. This proves that Koyo standards are fitting Yamaha’s expectations. By the way, I already started sharing my experiences with other competitors and promoting the brand. One last word: a big thanks to the Koyo team for providing me some solid and reliable spare parts during this season.
A roller bearing design is never "final". Even after installation into a machine or device, it may behave differently than expected based on earlier tests, calculations and simulations. Therefore constant engineering support to users is a must for a top bearing manufacturer. Here is an interesting case study .
After the merger of Koyo Seiko and Toyoda Machine Works in 2006 to form JTEKT Corporation, engineers from both divisions have worked closely together to develop state of the art spindle shaft support bearings, which are key to modern machine tools with high accuracy & precision requirements.
Avoiding "bearing creep" is an underestimated challenge when designing the proper roller bearing for certain applications. Bearing creep happens when the outer rings moves relative to the housing in which it is mounted. Simply applying a light press fit seems easier than it practically is and may cause other functional problems. Therefore Koyo has been developing more suitable anti-creep solutions which are described in our latest article in BearingNews: