Mark Berg of Central Powersports Distributing did a marathon drive from Texas to Southern California to bring us a number of bikes for testing in upcoming issues. Mark is the U.S. distributor for Rieju, Electric Motion, SWM and most recently, AJP. You will be seeing all of these bikes featured in Dirt Bike soon, but the one that I couldn’t wait to ride was the Rieju 300MR Racing. This is the standard edition of the 300 two-stroke. Rieju is the company that took over the rights to make the bikes formerly known as GasGas– If you know the tune just hum along. Stefan Pierer came in three years ago and purchased a majority interest in GasGas in order to acquire the trials bikes. The two-stroke off-road bikes were orphaned for a short period before Rieju (another Spanish brand) took over.
Rieju is NOT a budget brand. It has nothing but premium parts and isn’t connected to a Chinese parent company. The MR300 Racing sells for $9,699. That’s less expensive than the Husky TE300 (MSRP: $11,549) that we also have in the shop right now, but it’s certainly not cheap. It is a little old-school, though. The motor dates back quite a few years; no fuel injection, no electronic power valve. It has a Keihin Carb and the electric starter is externally mounted. Rieju uses KYB suspension, and comes stock with an FMF silencer/spark arrestor. It’s very unusual for any modern two-stroke to come with a USFS-approved spark arrestor. I still don’t quite understand why. The brakes are by Nissin, the hubs are billet and there’s a back-up kickstarter in addition to the electric starter. It also comes with a map switch, handguards, a skid plate and frame guards.
One of the best things about the Rieju is the layout. It’s roomy and comfortable; if Honda made a 300 two-stroke it would be like this.The motor is super torquey and the jetting is perfect. Admittedly, it’s still pretty toasty in SoCal right now, and when things cool down, the Rieju might be a little lean on pump gas. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
The power output and nature is halfway between a KTM 300XC and a 300XC-W. It’s more aggressive than the current XC-W, especially down low, but it doesn’t have the hit or the sheer power of the XC. Most riders say the XC is a little too agro for off-road use, particularly in the green map. The Rieju is actually pretty similar to the KTM300XC in the KTM’s mild map. The Rieju does have a mild map of its own, but it mostly shaves off a few revs on top and doesn’t affect anything down low.
On the negative side, the motor vibrates more than a KTM or Husky and the suspension is a little stiff. We haven’t yet put the 2024 Rieju on our scale, but last year it weighed in at 242 pounds without fuel. That’s a little porky, but we will report back as soon as we have some more testing time. The full test will appear in the January, 2024 print edition of Dirt Bike.
AJP’S NEW DISTRIBUTOR
Central Powersports is now the AJP distributor, as well. AJO is a Portuguese brand that sources stuff all over the planet. The smaller bikes have Chinese motors, but the big PR7 has an Italian-built SWM motor. If you remember the SWM Superdual X that we tested back in 2019, it’s similar to that motor, which in turn was based on the 2011 Husqvarna TE630. The AJP chassis is completely different and is very rally-oriented with a tower that houses a tablet for GPS link-up. Right now, this is a dirt-only model, but homologation is underway and it shouldn’t be long before a dual-sport version arrives. The PR7 will be tested in our January print edition, too, but we will have a short riding impression on the bike right here shortly.
CARSON BROWN’S KDX
Once every two or three months, Carson Brown comes down from the trees with a very cool bike. He and his dad Duane both have a passion for older bikes and have a routine of finding gems and making them into something rideable and fun. No museum pieces here; Carson rides them all and rides them hard. Last month they came down with a retro Kawasaki KDX220. It was absolutely amazing to watch Carson do his magic on such an iconic bike from the past. Stay tuned, we have big plans for this bike.
2024 HUSQVARNA NORDEN 901
Husqvarna just revealed its 2024 Norden, which will have a number of updates. Husky’s lean-angle sensitive Cornering Motorcycle Traction Control (MTC) now offers ten different levels of rear wheel slip, which can be selected when the optional Explorer Mode is engaged. It also features a new USB port, hazard warning lights and a new exhaust system.
- New grey and yellow graphics create a distinctive appearance
- Revised Cornering sensitive Traction Control allows for 10 levels of adjustable rear wheel slip with optional Explorer Mode engaged
- New exhaust system for EURO 5+ compliance
- New USB port on the side of the dashboard
- New Hazard Warning system
- Bosch Cornering ABS
- Chromium-molybdenum steel frame with engine as stressed member
- 889 cc parallel-twin engine with 105 hp peak power and 100 Nm of torque
- Adjustable WP APEX suspension provides exceptional comfort both on and offroad
- Four selectable ride modes (Street, Rain, Offroad, optional Explorer)
- Ride-by-wire throttle with adjustable response (in Explorer mode)
- Standard Easy Shift function (up and down Quickshifter)
- PASC Slipper clutch
- Tubeless spoked wheels with Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tyres for balanced performance on and offroad
- Large capacity, 19-litre fuel tank provides an extended range of up to 400 km
- Optional Connectivity Unit provides TbT+ navigation, telephone calls in/out and music selection from the rider’s smartphone
- The Husqvarna Motorcycles Functional Apparel Collection comprises quality riding gear designed specifically for global adventures. Complementing the unique design of the Norden 901, each piece of apparel has been developed to keep riders warm, dry, and comfortable in all weathers and seasons. Allowing riders to personalize their Norden 901, Husqvarna Motorcycles’
- Technical Accessories features multiple luggage solutions and quality components that further enhance this exceptional travel machine.
See you next week!