125s ON THE DYNO
We had huge fun this week with the 125 shootout. The KTM 125SX, Husqvarna TC125, TM MX125 and the Yamaha YZ125 are the contenders, and all of them brought something different to the table. They were all dyno tested at Pro Circuit this week and you can see that they’re all very different.
The Yamaha was once the fastest 125 made, but it’s clear that the Euro bikes have spent more time developing 125 two-stroke in recent years. It’s still holds up on the track because it’s the best-handling one of the bunch.
The Husky and KTM share the same motor, suspension and frame, but they’re still different. The Husky uses a different airbox, which produces advantages in power delivery on other models, but kills some of the over-rev on the 125. The TM is a top-end screamer that reminds us of the works bikes from the 125 era. This particular bike had the most time of all our test bikes, and we suspect if it were freshened up, it would be even more powerful. For the full test, look to the May, 2018 print edition.
This week I finished up the 1995 CR250R project that I started back in November, 2017. I need to confess that I had to do almost everything two or three times. It turns out that I’m not the greatest mechanic. Who would have guessed?
In the end, it turned out great, and it’s just in time for the Big 6 GP at Glen Helen. I had it out at REM last week for some final testing. That’s Mark Tilley in the photos. I probably won’t look that good. For a little more on the project as it unfolded, check out this week’s Two-Stroke Tuesday and virtually any Friday Wrap-Up since November.
FACTORY PHIL’S 2003 KX125
Another two-stroke project that will be featured in the May print issue is the Chaparral KX125 that belongs to Phil Valdez at Precision Concepts. We been watching him build this bike for months and it came out outrageously well. Many of the parts were works items that Mitch Payton saved in the back room at Pro Circuit. That stuff isn’t for sale, but Phil and Mitch are buddies. The motor is full works, and so is the suspension. There are a lot of new-era items, too, like the GPR steering damper. Phil plans on racing it in GPs this year. You can trace the roots of this project on Two-Stroke Tuesday, as well, from last last year.
ALTA COMES ON STRONG
The Alta Redshift has been in the news lately for a number of reasons. Last week they invited the press out to ride their latest creation, which has more range and a number of updates. Ty Tremaine showed the bike’s potential last January by winning the first special test at the premier running of the Sprint Hero Enduro race series.
This week Alta also announced that they have arranged a collaboration with Harley-Davidson. That should benefit both companies. Harley already had engineered the Livewire, which had been called the best electric motorcycle by the street-bike press. It was never offered for sale, but this partnership might mean that changes.
DECOSTER AND THE 1995 250 SHOOTOUT
For this month’s feature on rebuilding the 1995 CR250R, I looked back at the original shootout. Roger DeCoster put it together. At the time, Roger was a young 50 years old and still fast enough to ride pro. He was Executive Editor of Dirt Bike and in charge of our entire testing program. He had left Honda the year before and knew everything about the internal struggles they were having in the development of the bike. The race bike that Jeremy McGrath had been winning so much on had a stiffened up version of the production frame. All the development for that bike had been done by Jean Michel Bayle. Roger had pressed for the production bike to get the same gussetting, but when it happened for 1994, McGrath didn’t like the changes and kept right on racing with his modified ‘93 chassis. Something, evidently, was lost between the race department and the production crew. Roger still liked the handling of the ‘95 Honda, which he said was like a supercross bike. He did not like the move to the KYB fork, although he admitted that he didn’t like the previous fork, either.
THE SWEDES LOVE IT TOUGH!
Kenneth Olausson writes a regular feature for Husqvarna called the “Husky Good Old Times Blog.” It’s always good. This time he tells the story of a race from the ’50s called the Swedish Six Days, not to be confused with the ISDT of the time. It was so tough it only had six legitimate finishers one year. For the whole story of the Swedish Six Days, click here.
That’s all for now,