RIDING THE HUSKY TX300–WITH CARBURETOR
There have been a lot of 300 two-strokes in the Dirt Bike shop lately. There will be a Special 300 Issue coming in May and we’ve been stocking up. Two weeks ago I mentioned that we had both versions of the Husky 300–the TX300, which has the current motocross chassis and a carb, and the TE300 which has the TPI fuel injection system in the older, more trail-oriented chassis. This week I spent a great deal of time on the carbureted TX, which is emerging as my favorite bike of all the 300s in the shop. It might be my favorite bike period. I raced it in the Prairie Dogs GP last week, which was probably the muddiest race I’ve ever done. I can’t think of a better bike for those conditions.
This isn’t because there’s anything wrong with the TPI fuel-injection system that comes on the other Husqvarna 300. It works great, but it does add weight. We think it’s worth about 7 pounds or so. That alone isn’t any big deal, but when you add it to the Xplor fork and the other changes, it adds up to more than 15 pounds. The TX is 219 pounds dry.
The TX has the AER 48 air fork, which I like–no apologies. Yes, a coil spring fork like the KYB SSS on Yamaha’s off-road bikes can be better if you happen to be the right weight and ride it in the right place. But anyone can make the air fork work well anywhere without spending a dime on springs. It has one air chamber to set and it’s extremely reliable. As far as the motor goes, the carbureted 300 is nearly perfect. You can use it for trail riding, you can use it for moto, you can use it for anything. There’s no place where it’s out of its element. It still has that lean surge down low, but you get used to it. Also, you still have to mix oil and you still have to rejet for altitude. I’m okay with all that. If you’re like me and like riding everywhere, this is the one bike to own.
RIDING THE BMW SHIFTCAM 1250
I spent the last two days riding the new BMW R1250GS Adventure. I have about 500 miles on the bike so far and I have no intention of stopping any time soon. BMW invited me to the official launch on the bike in Palm Springs, then I got to ride a test bike home. If you’re somewhat familiar with the BMW line, forgive the primer, but it goes like this: The ones that begin with “G” are singles. The ones that begins with “F” are parallel twins. The “R” models are the boxer (horizontally opposed) twins with driveshafts. The GS suffix means its a bike with some off-road capability, and if there’s an “A” (for Adventure) after that, it’s one with longer range and some accessories.
This year the flagship of the GS line grew from 1170cc to a 1254cc. More importantly, it got ShiftCam technology. This is a design that was developed on the automotive side of the engineering department. The intake cam “shifts” to a more aggressive profile, as determined by throttle opening, engine rpm and engine load. It’s sort of like a two-stroke powervalve. BMW says the motor output is up: 136 hp at 7,750 rpm and 105 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm (previously: 125 hp at 7,750 rpm and 92 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm.) The bike got an number of other changes, too, including more upscale standard features. But the real news is the motor output. BMW also says it results in reduced fuel consumption and reduced emissions.
I can tell you already that the change in torque is obvious. The BMW growls. The idle rpm is actually 100rpm lower, but you don’t have to open the throttle to get going when you drop the clutch. It’s like the world’s biggest trials bike. I’ll be riding it all this week, learning more about about performance and fuel consumption and then I’ll post a first ride/review. A full test will appear in the June print edition of Dirt Bike.
KTM 790 ADVENTURE IS ALMOST HERE
While I was at the BMW intro, the European press and the U.S. street-bike magazines were being introduced to the KTM 790 Adventure in Morocco. We first saw the bike at the Milan show in November and we’ve been anxious to ride it ever since. The bike is an all-new platform from KTM engineers. They’ve never built a parallel twin before–only singles and V-twins. This is meant to go head to head with the new BMW F850GS, which we tested last fall.
We will have a real test bike in the near future, so stay tuned.
Travis Fant just competed the marathon edit of our 2019 dual-sport shootout video. We filmed it near Lake Arrowhead and tested the bikes over a two-month period throughout Southern California–and even a little bit of Washington. As usual, I made a few mistakes in the narration of the video. I made a reference to Graham Jarvis when I was talking about how well PDS suspension works for extreme riders. Jarvis, of course, rides a Husky that uses linkage suspension. He did use PDS in his Husaberg days. I also said that Beta four-strokes are only available as Dual-Sport bikes. Not so. There’s a line of Race Editions that are closed-course competition bikes. One of these days, I’ll get it right. You can read the text version of the Dual Sport Shootout by clicking here.
THE KTM ULTIMATE RACE
KTM has announced the twelve riders who will be given a fully supported KTM 790 ADVENTURE R in order to compete in a unique event within the 2019 Merzouga Rally – The KTM Ultimate Race.
Following special qualification events held within the six KTM ADVENTURE RALLIES across the world in 2018 and 2019, participants had to prove excellent machine control, navigational skill and competent mechanical ability across multiple days. The top two positions from each event have now been decided and are READY TO RACE. Each rider gets to compete in an exclusive class at the Dakar series race in Morocco with a fully supported ride that includes flights, accommodation, meals, entry fees, as well as a full race service.
KTM is now proud to announce the hardest and most fearless 12 riders of the KTM ADVENTURE community from around the world who have qualified for this epic final battle, which takes place from March 31 to April 5, 2019.
- EUROPE: Sebastian Blum (Germany) & Stefano Sassaro (Italy)
- USA: Jordan Huibregtse & Scott Myers
- CANADA: Radek Burkat & Vasile Scurtu
- AUSTRALIA: Robert Nowak & Steve Robertson
- NEW ZEALAND: Elliot Kent & Kevin Archer
- SOUTH AFRICA: Christiaan Odendaal & Greg Hodgskin
The Ultimate Race is a special class at the Merzouga Rally, very similar to the main event and partly ridden on the same routes. Like the pros, the participants will face a marathon stage where no outside assistance is allowed. The participants are entirely left to themselves, which means taking care of the maintenance of their bikes and staying the night in a bivouac.
Each competitor will have access to a specially prepared KTM 790 ADVENTURE R, which will be equipped with a host of KTM PowerParts, such as the Akrapovič Slip-on Line silencer, the Ergo seat and protection parts which are essential for riding under these conditions, along with a roadbook to help navigate through the desert. The Ultimate Race participants will be treated like KTM Factory riders, supported on site with a truck and a team of mechanics to help out with parts and tools or with fixing the bike after a tough race day.
PLESSINGER RETURNS TO GNCC–SORT OF
Monster Energy Factory Yamaha’s Aaron Plessinger will be the Grand Marshal of this year’s Moose Racing Wild Boar GNCC. Plessinger was a four-time Youth GNCC Champion and the 2018 250 Class Pro Motocross and 250SX West Region Champion.
Plessinger will be onsite Sunday for the Wild Boar GNCC motorcycle racing after running in the Daytona Supercross on Saturday evening. Plessinger will be aiming to talk to the youth motorcycle racers as they complete the 8 a.m. youth race and during their podium celebrations, while he will also take part in the 11 a.m. autograph session on bike pro row signing special limited edition posters. Throughout the day Plessinger will be in the facility bench racing with racers and fans, and even helping out RacerTV with their GNCC LIVE coverage.
“I am really excited to be the Grand Marshal of this event,” said Aaron Plessinger. “I have so many great memories of my time in this series and many of the skills I learned then, I use today! I am looking forward to seeing some friends and past competitors as well as cheering on all the bLU cRU riders.”
Plessinger has a rich background in GNCC Racing. His father, Scott Plessinger, earned the 1994 and 1995 GNCC National Championships and sits seventh on the Bike Overall Wins list. Plessinger grew up racing the GNCC series and earned four youth championships; 2006–65cc (7-9), 2007–85cc (7-11), 2008–85cc (7-11), and 2009–Super Mini (12-13).
After switching his focus to motocross and supercross racing, Plessinger still found time to attend select GNCC events. In 2011, Plessinger headed to Florida’s River Ranch GNCC and Steele Creek GNCC earning the overall amateur award at each race. In 2012, he would head to Georgia for The General GNCC and another stop at Steele Creek, again earning the amateur overall award at both.
Coming back in 2013, Plessinger found himself in the XC2 class and at Steele Creek he took his first class win and finished an amazing fourth overall in a hard-fought battle to the finish with 2012 XC2 class champion, Jason Thomas. Plessinger is currently competing in his rookie 450 class season where he is sitting eighth in the supercross points standings.
That’s all for now!