Meca System 450 Dakar: privateer rallying

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The fallout from The Dakar rally switching to a 450cc capacity limit for bikes isn’t just KTM getting pissed, then designing a new bike, it’s that privateers will be able to adapt a wide range of existing enduro machinery into competitive entries. This CR450X conversion comes from France’s Meca System.

Designed by Yacouba Galle, who was the rider in that controversial/epic KTM Super Duke commercial and who also penned the MV Agusta Bestiale, the new front fairing is meant to resemble an African mask, referencing the Dakar’s african roots.

Other modifications include a fuel tank that doubles as the rear subframe and seat. This means the size of the stock tank can be reduced, making room for a new, larger air filter designed to cope with the Dakar’s big mileage. The new bellypan doubles as a water reservoir.

The all-up weight should be under 150kg/330lbs and Meca System is currently developing a physical prototype.

Yacouba Galle

  • Turf

    More privateers for Dakar next year…hell yes

    not sure how one would make a belly pan/water reservoir, quite interested to see how this turns out.

  • Pete

    There are some much more impressive privateer set ups for the XR on forums. Some guys even sell full rally fairings for the XR at pretty reasonable prices.

    • Wes Siler

      The problem of course being that the XR is a 650. When going to 450, you can just bolt on all the old parts, but you need to find a way to achieve some additional lightness so as not to blunt the performance or overburden the chassis too.

  • Sasha Pave

    The 450cc rule is a poor decision IMHO. The factory teams will still enjoy their advantage, and all the smaller teams will have to now deal with much higher stressed engines and less reliability. I predict many more mechanical problems and much more stress in the Bivouac.

  • Cajun58

    KTM threw a fit and made them keep their 690 for an extra year. The 450 rule has greatly increased the number of different mfg’s in Rally Raid competion which can only be good for the sport. Reliability was not a problem for the 450′s in last years Dakar or other events.

    • Wes Siler

      I figure if an Aprilia 450 can finish third, then reliability shouldn’t be toooooo big an issue.

      • Sasha Pave

        True, the well supported teams will do fine. If you talk to some folks at this last Dakar you’ll hear about all the troubles Aprilia had, having to rebuild the engines and breaking chassis. However I’m sure their learnings will help next year’s efforts and it’s exciting to see them enter the race.

        I chatted with Charlie Russo (team pan-america) about the 450 conversion and many privateers are unhappy about the change. The engines are not built for the kind of endurance extremes that come with the Dakar and all the components are likely to be over-stressed and high strung. The instability of the smaller chassis will also come into play.

        I’m not saying it’s impossible, look at the 450x in Baja. It’s won the past few years since retiring the 650r. However the engines are completely shot after a single race, and some extra work is required to make it last the duration (oil capacity, transmission, clutch etc.)

        I’m curious how the next Dakar will work out. I’m all in favor of creating a more level playing field and giving privateers a fighting chance. This 450 change I fear will have the opposite effect for racers, although we’ll see more manufacturer colors.

  • Your_Mom

    I am on a list with a rally participant; engines are routinely changed. Some every night. That is the only way an Aprilia could ever finish with that – admittedly lovely – but fragile engine. This is not a good thing…..