Dixon rode the entire 2010 XDL season without hurting the bike. It only took us a few minutes.
Dixon uses a custom HoHey dual rear caliper setup that's been modified to his liking, but he won't divulge exactly what he's done. Dunlop RoadSmart tires offer great overall performance without being too sticky to hamper burnouts.
The Runman subframe also has an adjustable 12-bar that slides in and out. It's designed to snap in a crash (instead of the subframe).
A colossal Venom 60T rear sprocket helps achieve the perfect stunt gearing and a Runman chain guard keeps Dixon's toes out of the spinning sprocket.
The custom Runman rearsets are virtually unbreakable and offer a large platform for Dixon to stand on.
A custom shorty FMF Apex carbon pipe is tucked out of harm's way. It also brings more power and sound to the show.
Dixon and his dad cut the top off an R6S tank and used an English Wheel to make the rounded top. It was then covered in Hydro Turf from HT Moto to keep Dixon in place when sitting or standing on the tank.
Those aren't real headlights, but rather stickers on a set of race fairings. Fooled you though, huh?
A Runman subframe is as burly as they come and also features custom tailored rear pillion pegs for him to stand on.
The tailsection is tweaked for Dixon's taste with a foot hole for him to use as a foundation for tricks. A Power Commander is mounted inside the recess for easy access.
This is the main throttle-a Yamaha 700 Raptor unit. He also uses a high idle screw throttle mounted on the right side and a stationary throttle on the left clip-on that is used to lock the throttle for no-handed tricks.
A finger throttle can be found underneath the subframe. Dixon uses this for one-handed tricks and superman wheelies.
At first glance it's just a kickstand, but in actuality it has two springs to keep it up and out of the way during aggressive stunting. A titanium plate is mounted to the bottom and creates sparks when he puts it down while riding. That's right-he drags it while hitting tricks.
The custom fairing stay is as stout as the subframe and ready for serious abuse. It also acts as a support for Dixon's lower back when he's riding switchback. The custom upper triple also has an integrated GPR mount for added durability. Dual brake-fluid reservoirs help prevent the brake fluid from boiling over.
Yamaha pro rider, Bill Dixon, is quite possibly the best stunter in the sport today. Bold words indeed, but not only has he won the last two XDL Championships, but he has also been pushing the envelope farther than any rider has dared to go.
If his high-flying bunny hops and acrobatics aren't enough, the fact he does a lot of his crazy tricks while riding backwards (switchback) is reason enough to deem him the king (and utterly insane).
While we attribute most of his victories to hard work and sheer talent, another contributing factor is Dixon's specialized R6 stunt bike.
Like Josh Hayes' AMA front runner, Dixon's bike is so specialized it's mostly just a shell of an R6. Knowing very little about the specialized beast we decided there was no better way to understand a full factory bike than to ride one (is that what you call it? -Ed.)
At a glance the pumpkin orange stunter looks like just another R6 with a few bolt-on stunt parts, but a closer inspection reveals that it's much more; four different throttles, none of which are a traditional twist grip, a custom subframe with an adjustable 12-bar and a one-off fairing support that is as burly as Dixon himself...just to name a few.
Rather than bore you with paragraphs describing the many specialized parts on this factory freak, we decided to break it down a little differently and actually throw a leg over it. So what if it has a thumb throttle (like a four-wheeler) or gearing low enough to pull a locomotive. We'd just hop on and pull a few wheelies. After all, a bike's a bike, right? Wrong...
Dixon coined the bike the "R6 Tank" since it's been virtually indestructible. "The R6 is traditionally known as a fragile stunter, especially the subframes," Dixon explained. "But with all of the mods I've turned it into a reliable and strong stunt bike."
Being that I downed the thing pretty good and it did little more than bend the cage, I'd say Dixon's nickname for the R6 is apt. And as strong as "The Tank" has proven to be, quite possibly the only attribute that outshines its strength is its ability to help Dixon nail crazy stunts and win championships. Here's to another victory in 2011 Bill, sorry about crashing your bike!
Riding The Beast
Sometimes a piece of machinery is so specialized it takes a a pro to really utilize it. Such was the case with Dixon's stunt bike, as I quickly discovered.
Unlike Dixon, who grew up riding dirtbikes and quads, I'd never tried a thumb throttle...not even once. It wasn't much of a surprise when I found myself skidding on my ass as a result of the thumb actuated lever. For the life of me I couldn't wrap my head around it. The act of twisting my wrist was too ingrained in my head.
The ill-fated mono started innocently enough as I clutched it up in first. Once up, I went for a little more elevation and proceeded to twist my wrist, but twisting a stationary grip only accentuated the act of rotating my thumb forward. As you can imagine, this wasn't a good thing.
In a matter of seconds the bike was coming over backwards and my fate was sealed when my foot slipped off the loaded rear brake. From there it was game over.
I suppose you mess with fire long enough you're bound to get burned and it was my arse that took the heat this time.
In the end I learned that you wont find me switching to a thumb throttle anytime soon.