Browsing category

Bike Tests

2020 500 DUAL-SPORT SHOOTOUT: FULL TEST

After all this time, we admit we still don’t know what the heck a dual-sport bike is supposed to be. Manufacturers and riders use the term freely, as if everyone has the same interpretation, yet the bikes sold under that banner are wildly diverse. Just look at the current 500 category. The Beta 500RR-S, Husqvarna […]

2020 KTM 390 ADVENTURE, FULL TEST

KTM knocked it out of the park with the 790 Adventure last year. It’s a stunning motorcycle that broke new ground in off-road performance and accessibility for a full-sized ADV machine. Even though the performance-to-price ratio was better than anything that came before it, the 790 was still out of reach of many would-be off-road […]

2020 HUSQVARNA TE300i: FULL TEST

Husqvarna’s Transfer Port Injection is now in its third year, and still the focus of mistrust and controversy. The 2020 Husqvarna TE300i got a new frame, a new look and still more development on its  fuel-injection system. Its performance is so seamless that even the most hardcore two-stroke purist has to concede that the technology […]

KTM 300 2-STROKE PROJECT: BEHIND THE BUILD

We started our trail build with the last 300XC model to come equipped with a carburetor: the 2019 KTM 300XC. This machine was fairly well-received by the carbureted community as a whole but did have some issues. One major issue was the constant need to modify jetting specs in the Mikuni unit that came on […]

YAMAHA TENERE 700 ADVENTURE BIKE: FIRST RIDE

The Yamaha Tenere 700 has finally arrived and we got to spend a day on it in the San Bernardino mountains this week. This is a bike that we’ve been waiting for and wanting to ride for a very long time–even before the bike was officially announced at the EICMA show. Yamaha has been quiet […]

2012 KTM 500EXC DUAL-SPORT: PROJECT BIKE SPOTLIGHT

One of Tom Webb’s riding buddies for way too many decades is the infamous Mark “Mental” Mangold. Tom has written about their escapades for years, and he has touted Mental as being one of the hardest of hardcore dirt bike addicts he has ever known. Back in 2012 Mental was already the owner of a […]

2020 KTM 500EXC DUAL-SPORT: FULL TEST

For 2020 the KTM 500EXC no longer has to be two different bikes to two different people. That was the mission between 2017 and 2019 when there were no pure off-road four-strokes in the KTM line. In that period KTM only offered full-blooded race bikes and dual-sport bikes—nothing in between. Now that KTM has filled […]

ONE ON ONE: HONDA CRF250RX VS. YAMAHA YZ250FX

The Honda CRF250RX and the Yamaha YZ250FX are both closed-course competition off-road bikes, meaning they are made for racing. They have competition mufflers without spark arresters and are, in fact, very closely related to the MX bikes in their respective lines. These are the off-road features they have in common: Larger fuel tanks 18-inch rear […]

BEST USED BIKE EVER: SUZUKI RM250

The story of the Suzuki RM250 isn’t just about a single motorcycle. It’s about a dynasty of bikes, championships and riders that goes back to a glorious era in the history of motocross. Forty-five years ago, motocross was an obscure European sport. In America, we loved flat track and hill climbing. Even in Europe, road […]

2020 YAMAHA YZ250FX: FULL TEST

We’ve said it many times: Motocross bikes make poor trail bikes. That’s why we haven’t jumped on the bandwagon to heap praise on “closed-course, competition off-road bikes” such as the Honda CRF450RX, the Yamaha YZ450FX and the KTM 450XC-F. They are racers, nothing else. Now, however, we have to qualify that statement to apply only […]

ORIGINAL TEST: 1973 HONDA CR250M

Back in 1973 the Honda CR250M Elsinore set the motocross world on fire. We were there, and here’s what we said about it in June, 1973. At one time or another, you’ve sat around with your friends and jabbered about the mythical “composite” motorcycle. You know the one–it’s got the peak horsepower of a breathed-on […]

BETA 500RR-S DUAL-SPORT: FULL TEST

The 2020 Beta 500RR-S is not a bike for commuting to work. It’s not a dirt-road adventure bike. It’s not for riding around the college campus or going to lunch. You can certainly do all those things, but if we lived in a world where the rules were laid down by the Dirt Bike staff, […]

2020 KTM450SXF FACTORY EDITION: FULL TEST

The KTM 450SX-F Factory Edition has been an annual tradition since 2012. That was the year that everything turned around for the Austrian maker; the year that KTM went from being a sideshow in the Supercross circus to a headliner. At the time, it was presumed to be a one-time-only measure. Ryan Dungey had just […]

2020 HUSQVARNA TX300i 2-STROKE: FULL TEST

  For 2020 Husqvarna is all in with its use of TPI fuel injection on off-road bikes, which now includes the TX300 off-road racer. It only came on Husky’s trail bikes last year, and the TX is considered a fully committed race bike. Since the technology first arrived two years ago, the bugs have gotten […]