Which bikes were the best in 2002 and which were the worst? Which needed work and which were a waste of good hardware? On top of that, we performed an unscientific survey of popular modifications. What follows is a year of testing in a nutshell. We are going to post one manufacturer every week, so stay tuned.   

Issue: November 2001
What we thought: It?s lighter and faster than a YZ426F, but not as well mannered in turns. At 233 pounds, it?s lighter than some 250s and the motor is super easy to use despite its formidable output.
Most popular mods: White Bros., FMF, PC pipes. Factory R&D and other companies make triple clamps with 2mm less offset.
Bottom line: Best of the four-stroke MXers, if only by a hair.

Issue: October 2001
What we thought: The powerband might feel a little sleepy, but the dyno says it has the most peak power in the class. No disagreement about the suspension: it?s the best there is. At 217 pounds, the CR is lighter than some 125s.
Most popular mods: FMF SST or Pro Circuit Works pipe. Everyone has different jetting ideas.
Bottom line: Top 250 for intermediates and Pros.

Issue: September 2001
What we thought: Great suspension, great frame. Super light. But what happened in the motor department? The Honda motor is pipey and slow and doesn?t do justice to the rest of the package.
Most popular mods: Pro Circuit pipe, 2000 cylinder.
Bottom line: The CR spent 2002 dicing with the KX125 in the back of the pack.

Issue: April 2002
What we thought: Honda originally introduced the CR80R in regular and big wheel versions back in 1996. The bikes were cutting edge back then, but time has caught up. Now, both of the Honda 80s are pipey and hard to control compared to the new crop of 85s.
Most popular mods: Hondas can still go faster than almost anything with extensive porting. R&D, Pro Circuit.
Bottom line: Despite impressive race results, the Hondas sit at the rear of the 80/85 class.

Issue: March 2002
What we thought: The Honda is the ideal bike for traveling long distances off-road. Think of it as a Gold Wing for the dirt. It?s just too specialized; on tight trails it?s too bulky and tends to boil over quickly.
Most popular mods: Pro Circuit exhaust.
Bottom line: Pack your bags and head for Baja; the XR is designed for the long haul.

Issue: February 2002
What we thought: We have long loved the XR400 for being a sweet trail bike. But the time for a slightly overweight air-cooled four-stroke is almost over, and many of the issues that we had with the 1996 model are still unaddressed.
Most popular mods: White Bros. 440cc kit, FMF or White Bros. pipe.
Bottom line: The XR still is a great bike for low-speed trail work, but stay away from racing.


Comments are closed.