FRIDAY WRAP UP, 8-19-2016

THIS WEEK AT DIRT BIKE

Pete Murray and the 2017 Huqvarna FX450.
Pete Murray and the 2017 Huqvarna FX450.

The bike that we spent much of this week testing was the Husqvarna FX450. It might be the best 450 I’ve ever ridden. I’ve had it on the motocross tracks at Milestone and Glen Helen, and even though I usually don’t warm to big bikes, it made me feel comfortable from the start. The only problem is that it’s not supposed to be a motocross bike. The FX series is Husky’s new off-road racing line. This is supposed to be more of a GNCC/WORCS bike. It’s not very off-roady at all, and when I took it trail-riding over the weekend, it was overgeared, too aggressive and overheated easily. So it’s important to know what the bike is and isn’t. It’s not a replacement for last year’s Husky 450 off-road bike, which was called the FE450. In 2017, the FE450 title (without an “S” suffix) is a dual-sport. Husqvarna is playing marketing games with the names of its bikes, but the bottom line is that the company is pushing the dual-sport model to buyers who want trail bikes and the FX to racers. Blame the EPA and CARB. They made it so difficult to certify a legitimate off-road bike, it might as well be street-legal.

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Husqvarna FX450
Husqvarna FX450

INSIDE HONDA’S CRF450R INTRO

Last week’s release of the 2017 Honda CRF450R and CRF450RX still has us talking. Both bikes are impressive in person. Honda gave us 12-hours advance notice to the release, which went public at 12:01 a.m. Thursday morning. We were invited to Honda’s off-site corporate museum in Torrance, Califnornia at noon on Wednesday to see the bikes after signing an embargo agreement. The presentation was typically Honda, which is to say very thorough, and we’re still sifting through all the information provided.

Honda's concept drawing.
Honda’s concept drawing.
This is typical of the information that Honda provides, and it doesn't always make it into the printed magazine.
This is typical of the information that Honda provides, and it doesn’t always make it into the printed magazine.
This bike was developed by some of Honda's older test riders, most notably Drey Dirks, Spud Walters and Ryan Dudek. Drey and Spud were involved in the pre-008 CRF450R testing, but had since moved into the automotive division.
This bike was developed by some of Honda’s older test riders, most notably Drey Dirks, Spud Walters and Ryan Dudek. Drey and Spud were involved in the pre-2008 CRF450R testing, but had since moved into the automotive division.
The one feature that really sets this bike apart is the intake routing. It goes over the shock rather than around it. Why wasn't this done years ago?
The one feature that really sets this bike apart is the intake routing. It goes over the shock rather than around it. Why wasn’t this done years ago?
Most of Honda's illustrations are enlightening. This one could probably use more explaining.
Most of Honda’s illustrations are enlightening. This one could probably use more explaining.

THE RACE OF A MILLENNIUM

Winner of the Baja 2000.
Winner of the Baja 2000.

Looking back through some old photos I turned up this Honda 650 from the year 2000. I remember the story well. It was the bike that won the Baja 2000. Usually the Baja Mil is a 1000-kilometer race. Every three years, it becomes something special and turns into a 1000-mile race. Back in 2000, SCORE race officials figured it should be something really special, and made it 2000 kilometers long, meandering from one coast to another all the way down to Cabo San Lucas. Honda’s Bruce Ogilvie was all over it because the format was perfect for the then-new 650R. In fact, he went so far as to come out of retirement and ride it himself. He put together two teams, Young Guns versus Legends. Johnny Campbell, Tim Staab, Steve Hengeveld and Craig Smith were to ride the bike with the 1x on the number plate. The Legends team consisted of Ogilvie, Chuck Miller, Gary Jones, Paul Ostbo, Bob Rutten and Bob Johnson.

It took over 30 hours to complete the race, and as expected, the Young Guns won. But the Legends were second, less than an hour behind. It was the longest single-stage motorcycle race ever run, with no transfer sections or rest breaks. For a four-man team, it was an incredible accomplishment to survive without incident. And for Bruce Ogilvie, it was a fitting cap to an incredible career.

ERZBERG, FULL TV EPISODE

BACK IN THE DAY

Fun with Photoshop in 2001.
Fun with Photoshop in 2001.

It seems like we didn’t take ourselves quite so seriously 15 years ago. These pages are from the March 2001 issue of DB when we used to crack ourselves up with some off-beat approaches to otherwise (can I say it?) boring stories. Today, I think helmet makers would give us grief about being compared to eggs, but back then they were delighted to be in the pages of a real print magazine for any reason. Pat Carrigan was way out in front with his Photoshop expertise in 2001, and we’re lucky that he’s still with Dirt Bike today.

BUDD’S CREEK THIS WEEKEND!

 

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