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What's on the Test Track?

A place to relive, revive, and ride that "old iron".

Post Wed Oct 06, 2021 8:38 pm

Posts: 952
So this will be the thread to continue our excellent adventure, riding, comparing and just out having a blast riding a variety of bikes because that's what we like to do!
The contrast between perspectives of a 'fast guy' A rider and a SLOW guy lifetime C rider should round out the comparisons nicely. It has been interesting that generally we tend to like mostly the same bikes.

We know this is hard work but someone has to do it!!! :beer

BS 17 1.jpg

Post Thu Oct 07, 2021 8:41 am

Posts: 1696

Moved "testing" posts from the "Remember When" topic to here per request. :thumbsup:

Post Thu Oct 07, 2021 8:45 am

Posts: 1531
Webmaster wrote:
Moved "testing" posts from the "Remember When" topic to here per request. :thumbsup:

Well done, thanks :beer

Post Sat Oct 16, 2021 5:24 pm

Posts: 952
So today on the Test Track it was a comparo and test and tune. The three bikes for action were;
1985 Honda XR350R
1991 KTM 125exc
1995 Suzuki DR350


The DR needed some suspension setup. It was 'stinkbugging' and was deflecting off the rocks and roots pretty good. Which is bad. So she got three turns of shock spring preload and a touch less comp and rebound damping out back. The forks got 3 clicks of comp damping removed.
Now she was feeling much better than when we started and we did our laps to compare the two 350 four-strokes on course. The DR motor is a touch softer down low but easily matches the XR up top. The chassis on the DR felt much better after tweaking and I felt more comfortable on it. The conditions are still quite wet even after a week of no significant rain.
I would still prefer my '85 XR but most of that is just familiarity. The Suzuki is a nice riding woods bike that needs tires upgraded and maybe a bit more suspension work yet to be at its best.


Hopefully the fast guy will chime in and tell how they work 'at speed'!!!


The '91 KTM was going to go heads up with a '95 Honda CR125R but an issue at the last minute left the KTM to get some playtime solo. There is something to be said for a light, good chassised, dual powerband motor 125. I am not an aggressive enough rider to really do it any kind of justice but still have some good fun riding it. The motor has two distinct power ranges which is actually a good thing I think. From off idle through the lower midrange it carburetes cleanly and softly puts down useable power in slick rocks and ruts. When needed a shift or two and some clutch puts it in killer bees mode and goes down the trail briskly. Your left foot stays very busy if you want the most out of the bike. It's good fun. :D

Post Sat Oct 16, 2021 8:42 pm

Posts: 115
I liked my 95 125EXC, except on steep rocky hills.

Post Sat Oct 16, 2021 8:48 pm

Posts: 952
check1 wrote:
I liked my 95 125EXC, except on steep rocky hills.

Funny, I mentioned that very concern today post ride. That is where the 200's extra low end makes a big usable difference!

Post Mon Oct 18, 2021 8:31 am

Posts: 1531
I never know if it’s fair (in either direction) to be hopping off a mid sized thumper play bike and onto a 125cc..
The 125 immediately feels lighter (because it is) and underpowered (because there’s less and it’s different). But it does make the differences stand out even more..
Power-wise the KTM makes plenty to propel my lard ass at a blurring speed on the top end while the bottom or the rpm angle gives a completely different “trail bike” kind of feel without ever feeling like it’s going to stall or fall on its face..
The only issue is the transition between the two.. there’s like a gap in the middle of the rpm range where you’re waiting for the top end power to kick in.. I guess this is where most people would abuse the clutch to get it there quicker but that’s not me...but I think it’s a super fun bike, even if it keeps your shift toe busy.
Suspension on the KTM felt YEARS ahead of the two 4-strokes even though the bike was born in between the two. It’s under sprung for me but still felt solid and soaked up the trail with ease. No issues with brakes or ergos.. the clutch pull is remarkably stiff for a 125.
Hopping on the thumpers was like going back in time a bit. But either the Honda feels ahead of its time or the Suzuki feels dated because they’re kind of on the same playing field even though they’re 10 years apart..
Don’t really notice the drum brake on the Honda as the engine takes care of most of the rear braking.
Suspension is still more dialed on the Honda even after fiddling with the Suzuki clickers.. me thinks it’s time for and RM fork swap..
The motor on the Honda feels like a 600 style with its chunky delivery.. Suzuki is more smooth but feels like it would be pretty even in a drag race.
But both 4 strokes feel great at trail/play riding which is really why they were made..
Keeping that in mind, they’re great just the way they are...

Post Sat Oct 23, 2021 5:01 pm

Posts: 952
Today's action features two 1989 250 two-stroke MX bikes. (in a proper woods setting)
1989 KX250
1989 CR250Re


The CR has been 'enduroized' with lighting, flywheel weight, skid plate, FMF pipe and reworked suspension. The KX on the other hand is almost completely bone stock original. We were tweaking in the fork a bit more today. Track has dried up some since last weekend and was feeling better as the day went on.


They have a different feel from each other. KX chassis is more stable with slower steering. CRe feels nimble and a bit plusher suspension wise. But the KX for being a bone stock MXer is better than you would think off road. Engine wise they are again different. The CR will tractor nicely with the flywheel weight but it still hits hard with a proper Bbbrraaappp! KX is more linear (stock pipe) and has a strong pull all through without a big jump hit. Thing is with a few laps on them I was really comfortable on both or them. Either would be great mounts for a Vintage Scramble or a nice trail ride. 1989 was a damn good year for offroad 250's.

The fast guy did take some GoPro footage from both bikes so stay tuned for that. He'll have some comments for sure about this pair, they were great fun and a blast to be out romping around on. :thumbsup:

Post Sat Oct 23, 2021 7:49 pm

Posts: 1531
these 250s are awesome.
they could have capped the PreMod class at 1989 and i would have been happy forever with the bikes from 1989...
RM, RMx, YZWR and these two..
full disclosure, my KX250 DOES have Factory Connection revalved suspension and springs.. but it was done before i got the bike and likely for motocross so it's still getting dialed in for 'off-road'... meaning spin the clickers to the soft side...
the forks feel pretty good until you hop on the CR250Re and realize they still have some tuning to be done.
i've thought about a flywheel weight for the KX but really i'm not convinced it would be an improvement..
I definitely think it needs an 18" rear wheel as the 19 is noticeably too harsh and non compliant in off-road terrain... so it's just some little details.. and i'd feel better with a skid plate and hand guards on there... it's on the list.
but the bike absolutely rips and every time i get on the bike i'm immediately comfortable with its roomy KX500 chassis. which would explain its stability at speed..
the CR250Re feels a bit more twitchy, but that also translates into super quick handling and an overall light feel to the front end.. motor still lights right up even with a weighted flywheel and never feels sluggish, in fact it feels ridiculously fast when the throttle is twisted in the open fields.., though it feels controlled in the rock gardens.. and the suspension is buttery.
the narrow bars feel awkward when i first get on but that feeling disappears quickly.. but i don't think they're doing the high speed stability any favors.. toss a Scotts steering damper on there and i think that'd solve ALL the handling/stability issues.
both fantastic bikes and i wouldn't pass up an opportunity to ride either..
if i had to choose a favorite though it'd be the green one. :bubble
i'll see if i can process some GoPro footy

here's the CR250Re

here's the KX250
Last edited by JackPiner on Sun Oct 24, 2021 3:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Post Sun Oct 24, 2021 8:54 am

Posts: 1531
Also rode a bit of the future and the past.
Alta Redshift MXR.
The future because that’s where dirt bikes are headed. The past because Alta is no longer.
This is in Map 1 (mildest)
Apologize in advance for the knocking sound. Didn’t notice something was banging into my camera.

Post Tue Oct 26, 2021 6:20 pm

Posts: 894
Keep 'em coming guys! Good stuff.
I've got a few that I'd love to donate for testing purposes and see what others think. ;)
Valves are STILL for toilets!

Post Sat Nov 06, 2021 4:57 pm

Posts: 952
Today at the test track, in what might be the last ride of the season, was a THIS versus THAT. Twenty five years between them and 2T and 4T.

1990 Kawasaki KDX200

2015 KTM 500exc


The big KTM is maybe the bike you want if you could only have one bike. It is a plated, street legal bike. The big four stroke engine is fuel injected and has a very strong linear powerband. This one also has a Rekluse clutch. It also has just the right amount of engine braking. The bike feels dense but not heavy in the XR600 sort of way. The suspension is what we've come to expect on modern KTMs, this one is firm but compliant. It does not deflect on rocks and roots but feels very controlled. A very nice package all the way around. Everything from Dual Sport use, Turkey runs, Enduro's, ADV rides, Commuting, Exploring are covered. I'm trying to think of any problems or faults but I've got nothing.


The other bike today is the '90 KDX200. I've had this bike since new. It was my Enduro and HS bike in the 90's. It was purchased a week after the 1989 Black & Blue Enduro which I had ridden on my 600 Honda. It was a revelation at the time after four years on the BIG four stroke.
I still love this bike. It works well at the moderate pace I ride at. It was 'Fredetted' back when new and still is such a nice trail bike even now 25 years later. Sure, the forks lack the sophistication of modern cartridge units but they are reasonably compliant and don't bottom out in the woods. Motor will tractor up hills, through mud ruts and rock gardens but still has good pull in the midrange and up. It seems to never need anything, just throw some more gas in it and you're ready for the next ride. There is good reason so many of these are still out there making riders smile.


No GoPro this week but we'll get the fast guy to explain what happens when you actually twist the throttles on these bikes...

Post Sat Nov 06, 2021 5:17 pm

Posts: 1531
funny how the 500 looks 'thick' in these pictures and on paper but that all disappears once underway.
the bike's an absolute hoot to ride and the endless power i'm sure helps contribute to the light feeing..
I don't know the actual weight of this one and the internet weights vary from 235 to 250-ish.. but it never feels porky, even in tighter trails or rutty mud sections.. the Rekluse clutch keeps stalls to a minimum though it's nice to have the lever there so i can pretend i'm doing something.. but brake sliding into corners and gassing out in a wheelie are pretty much the norm with this thing.. forks tuned by Tom A are silky smooth but never bottom... in case you can't tell, i really like this bike.
the little KDX was definitely outgunned today but held it's own in tractor-ability and fun factor..
it can chug down to a crawl without fear of stalling and it'll scream on the straightaways when the throttle is held open.
the bars are too narrow for my tastes and the brake pedal a bit high but if that's all i can find to complain about then it's a pretty solid package.. and that seat is oh so's like sitting on a loaf of Wonder Bread.. :thumbsup:

now to Grip Stud some tires.. it's almost time for some winter laps on the track

Post Sun Nov 14, 2021 1:06 pm

Posts: 952
Grip Studs are mounted....

KTM400 Rear Grip Stud.JPG

Where's the snow?!?! :beer

Post Sun Nov 14, 2021 3:14 pm

Posts: 1322
Location: Amherst, NH
Felt this year might be the year for us to get pounded on - but out fatbiking this morning & was thinking it’s odd how nice the weather conditions are. I’ll take it, but I do enjoy the snow.


Post Sun Nov 14, 2021 6:11 pm

Posts: 1531
oldschool wrote:
Grip Studs are mounted....

KTM400 Rear Grip Stud.JPG

Where's the snow?!?! :beer

always prepared i see.
well for the next couple months you can use the studs for picking up leaves around the yard until the snow comes

Post Mon Nov 15, 2021 10:13 am

Posts: 1241
Hold your tongue. I'll take global warming and keep the ground soft so I can more done outside including the occasional ride!
Tom A.
SRCR President
Vintage Series Racer
1977 MX3, 1977 RM 175, 1980 CR250R, 1981 PE250, 1988 Cagiva WMX, 90 CRM250, 98 YZ250


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