Industry Spotlight: Kevin Kinrade from Mongoose Machine
By Billy Rainford
Photos provided by Kevin Kinrade
It’s almost redundant to say motocross is full of great people – it goes without saying. Motocross is a sport that usually get a hold of you early and never let’s go. Sure, you can try leaving to go do something else, but the draw of the 2-wheel action is usually too strong and you find yourself back in it.
Case in point, Kevin Kinrade got into the sport the way most kids do – his dad raced. He’s a life-long British Columbia resident and has been in the sport for almost as long as he can remember.
Running Mongoose Machine out in Port Coquitlam, BC is the equivalent of a ‘dream job’ for Kevin and he loves every minute of it. He’s been a long-time supporter of Direct Motocross and we appreciate everything he does for us.
In this week’s ‘Industry Spotlight’ we will take a closer look at Mongoose Machine and Kevin Kinrade:
Direct Motocross: Hello, Kevin. How are things going out there in Port Coquitlam, BC?
Kevin Kinrade: Hey, Billy, things are great today! Sun is shining, it’s 10 degrees out. It’s a beautiful day on the west coast.
Being in the dirt bike industry, how have things gone over the winter?
Typically, winter is a busy time for our machine shop. I would say about 65% of our machining is for snowmobiles. This year, the west coast winter was quite mild so the shop noticed it a bit.
On the parts end, the winter was great! We built our own Top End Durability kit for the Polaris 800’s that sold really well. The Rekluse Core EXP auto clutch and Torq Drive manual clutches sold extremely well to the snow bike community (big thanks to Brock Hoyer for being our test pilot on the snow bike) and we took on a new product line of dirtbike rotors and brake pads called T-BRAKE which has kept me very busy.
What keeps you busiest in the ‘off-season?’
Race teams. I spend a lot of time in the off-season talking with the teams we are aligned with to set up programs for the next race season – everything from getting them product to test with to writing contracts.
Let’s back up for a minute. Can you tell us all a little bit about your motocross/off road history?
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Maple Ridge, BC.
How’d you get involved in moto?
My dad raced as a teenager and he made sure I had a bike when I turned 3. We mostly rode for fun and when I turned 16 I decided to try motocross.
How did your racing career go?
Horrible! It only lasted three years. I guess my talent never caught up to my ambition. I raced for three seasons: 2 outdoor and 1 arenacross, and never finished one of them before getting injured. The last injury was a long recovery so I called it day and went back to riding for fun.
What’s the most memorable race you can think of?
It was a Chilliwack Arenacross back in 2000. I got on the podium for the first time with a 3rd place finish. As a kid, getting your name announced over the PA was pretty cool!
Did you have a moto hero as a kid?
I have always been a huge Jeremy McGrath fan.
Where did you go to school?
I went to two different high schools, both in Maple Ridge.
OK, I have to ask you a couple personal questions:
What kind of music do you like?
I’ll listen to anything…even country lately.
What is your favourite movie?
Would you admit to watching American Idol?
I don’t watch it but wouldn’t tell you if I did.
Best meal ever?
Shrimp ‘n Grits at Marlow’s Tavern in Orlando
What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? Given?
YZ50 with training wheels for my third Christmas.
I gave my wife a snowboard one year for her birthday that went over really well.
What’s the 2nd and 3rd best sport in the world?
Hockey and MMA
How did you get involved in this side of the industry?
My family has owned Mongoose Machine since I was little. I worked here on summer breaks as a kid, then again after high school. I switched it up and spent some time at Aurora Cylce (Fox Racing) before going to BCIT. I spent a few years in the construction industry but found I just wasn’t passionate about that industry. I came back to Mongoose to manage the growing parts distribution side of our business and have been here ever since.
What is Mongoose Machine all about?
There are two sides to our shop. We have always been a Powersports machine shop. We offer in-house cylinder plating, cylinder boring, crankshaft rebuilding and 4-stroke head rebuilding for motorcycles, ATV’s, outboards, snowmobiles and watercrafts.
We are also a parts distributor for Wiseco, ProX and Kibblewhite products for the machining we do, and are Canadian distributors for Rekluse clutches, SKF seals and bearings and InnTeck products which include the T-BRAKE line of rotors and brake pads.
How many staff are there?
Including myself, we have 9 staff members.
Let’s talk a bit about the new Rekluse clutch system for Harley Davidson.
Are you already in the street industry?
Yes, we do cylinder, crankshaft and head machining for all of the Harley Davidson motorcycles.
How is the Harley system different?
It’s a hybrid of the Torq Drive thin clutch plates and the EXP auto disc technology. By using the Torq Drive thin clutch plates both the manual and auto Harley Davidson clutches offer better performance and a higher torque capacity than the OEM clutch.
How is the ‘black leather crowd’ to deal with?
They love their bikes, that’s for sure. Their biggest concern is making sure the clutch doesn’t change the look of their bike. But they have been very receptive to learning about the Rekluse systems, especially because of the higher torque capacity the clutches can handle. Most Harley Davidson owners have some level of modification or big-bore kit done to their bike and the extra horsepower puts more strain on the OEM clutch. This offers them an upgrade for their performance motors.
Another interesting segment you mentioned is the snow bike crowd. How has that been going for you guys?
The snow bike industry has exploded the last few years for everybody involved. Rekluse sales have had the strongest 4Q ever! The snow bike guys love the auto clutch and with so many of them opting for the turbo kits as well we have been moving lots of the Torq Drive manual clutches.
Have you ever tried it?
No, I haven’t. We have had Brock Hoyer on the system for two seasons now and he keeps bugging me to come out…maybe next winter.
You mentioned you are going to deal with a braking line. Can you tell us about that? What are some of the benefits of the brand?
Yes, we are the Canadian distributor for InnTeck. They may a brake line called T-BRAKE, which we have just taken on this winter. T-BRAKE has oversize front rotors, adapter brackets, solid rear rotors, vented rear rotors and brake pads. We will also be offering their racing compound brake pads later this summer.
The testing went great with this new product line. I have been getting some testing help from Kyle Beaton and Ryan Lockhart and they both really liked the product. Kyle has been testing the oversize front rotor kit on his YZ250F with a noticeable increase in breaking power for that machine.
Ryan is extremely hard on brake pads so I gave him some pads to destroy and he was very happy with the feel and was getting more life time out of each set than he was before. It is a great product, visually appealing and priced very well.
Are any Pro riders running your stuff this season on the Rockstar Energy MX Nationals tour?
Yes, for Rekluse we have Royal Distributing Fox KTM Canada and Parts Canada Thor Husqvarna Canada both running the Core Manual clutch. The Rockstar OTSFF Yamaha team is running the Torq Drive Core Manual clutch along with Brock Hoyer and Ryan Lockhart.
Recently, we signed the Canada’s Motorcyle MX101 Yamaha team to run the T-BRAKE oversize rotor kits for this season, so this will be our biggest line-up of racers ever come Kamloops this year.
Where does the clutch system help riders most?
The Core EXP auto clutch’s biggest advantage is the anti-stall. No more worrying that you dropped the bike and have to re-start that 4-stroke. Due to the anti-stall you can focus on other things. You can run a gear high going into corners, which offers smoother power and more traction, and you get less slip off the line.
With the Torq Drive manual clutch the system uses 12 frictions and steels instead of the typical 8 or 9. This increases the torque capacity the clutch can handle and gives the rider two set-up options for pressure plate springs. So each rider can choose whether they want smooth or aggressive engagement and normal or light lever feel. The system also prevents clutch fade, lowers the operating temperature and extends the life of each clutch pack.
Wait, you guys didn’t even really have a winter out there, did you???
We had a few hours of snow in December I think. (Laughs)
What else do you guys do on a daily basis there at Mongoose Machine?
Just a lot of machining and selling parts. 95+% of our work is to dealers so we get machining jobs in from BC, AB, SK and the odd job from ON and QC as well. With the parts distribution we ship to dealers all over Canada.
And at lunch I get some time to check out www.directmotocross.com
Do you support any amateur-level riders?
We have always supported our local amateur riders, and last year we put together a new program to offer our support right across the country. It’s simply called the ‘Mongoose Amateur Race Team.’ We open up 50 spots per year. As long as you race in one local series you are eligible to apply. The program offers discounts on products and services as well as some Mongoose swag. In fact, there are still some spots open if you head over to our website www.mongoosemachine.com under the promotion tab riders can print out the application.
We’re only like 6 weeks from the start of the Rockstar Energy MX Nationals. Who are you picking for the titles this season?
Good question! Any of the riders under my program, of course.
Will we see you out at the first round in Kamloops?
For sure. I will be in Kamloops, Nanaimo and possibly Calgary.
Who will win the MX1 World Championship?
I still think (Ryan) Villopoto is just finding his groove. Once he does he will come back and win it.
OK, thanks for taking the time to talk with us today. It’s still early out there, so get back to work!
(Laughs) Thanks, Billy, great talking with you as well. Now I have to catch up on the work you made me miss!
Is there anyone you’d like to thank before we let you go?
All of my staff here at the shop. They put in the hours that make sure the Mongoose Machine keeps moving forward and my parents, whose business gave me a job that I love.