THIS WEEK IN TESTING

   
Michael Leib was jumping like this in 60 mph wind. Yes, he’s crazy.

 
   It’s a good thing we like riding. That’s all we did this week. Unfortunately, now we all have to sit down and write a magazine. The problem with work is that it‘s still work, no matter what do you. Here are the stories we’re putting together.
      Berg V KTM: Tom has been obsessed with his KTM 400 versus Husaberg 390. That’s some fun testing when the dirt is wet in Southern California. He digs the KTM so much that he already thinks he goes faster on the motocross track with it than with a full 450 Mxer.
      THE 450 MX BIKES GO OFF-ROAD. Last month we gathered the 450s (sans Suzuki) and tested them on the motocross course. This month we take them off road. As much as we believe that fuel injection is the way of the future, we have to admit that it hasn’t worked out well for off-road riding so far. The on/off nature of EFI motors isn’t that evident on the track, but you sure notice it on the trail. We’ll tell you how the Honda, Yamaha and Kawasaki stack up against the carbureted KTM 450SX.
 
 
Pete Murray was on call for testing all week. His real job is in the mortgage biz, so he has lots of free time.

      HIGHLAND. At our invitational holiday riding event last Tuesday, we had a very interesting group of guests come out from Oklahoma. U.S.Highland is a brand new American motorcycle company that produces high-end EFI four-strokes. They brought out their entire line of bikes to ride. They were wild, from the stainless steel frames to the electronically monitored, Swedish designed motors. You  can learn more about them at www.highland.se or by staying tuned to DB.
 
 
The Highland 950 was the fastest, scariest thing we have ever ridden in the dirt. Mark Tilley just swallowed his gum.
      WR250R PROJECT. Mark Tilley built a very cool dual-sport bike for his buddy Joe Melton. He started with a Yamaha WR250R. Don’t confuse that with the WR250F, it’s a completely different motorcycle. Stock, it isn’t very good. Tilley spent about a zillion man hours making it better. I took it to the desert, rode it in the rain and gave to back rusty. Sorry, Joe. Most of the improvement came from the DRD pipe, the GPR damper and the Light Speed carbon.
 
 
Joe Melton’s WR was returned a little rusty.
      ROCKET CRF250R: Long-time DB friend Michael Leib is going so fast these days that it’s tough to use him as a test rider. He makes motorcycles do things that aren’t possible. His 2010 race bike will be a new CRF250R and he’s already gotten some more speed out of it through his family’s company, Rocket Exhaust. We rode his bike and liked it a lot. What impressed us the most was the pipe. It’s a full system that shows excellent quality and sells for under $400. They don’t pay Chad Reed or any big names to use their stuff, and the price reflects that.
 
 
We rode Leib’s 250, but didn’t go nearly as fast. The Rocket pipe is a great value.

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