2015 - 2017 Yamaha WR250F
First introduced in 2001, the WR250F has seen some changes through the years up to and including 2014 — most notably the alloy frame introduced in 2007, improved suspension and some ergonomic tweaks — but for the most part, it had gradually fallen from being a hot ticket to same-old, same-old mediocrity. That changed in 2015. With updates in technology, including the revolutionary rearward slanted engine, an added sixth gear and wide-ratio transmission, twin-chamber fork and fuel injection, the WR250F is a hot ticket once again in the Enduro world, where Yamaha hopes to revive interest in the 250 cc market that has been waning since they essentially quit updating the WR250F in 2007.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha WR250F.
2018 Honda CRF450R
Back in ’17, Honda rebuilt the CRF450R pretty much from the ground up, so I wasn’t expecting much in the way of new stuff and expected to see a straight-up carryover. Boy, was I mistaken. A new, lightweight lithium-ion battery drops enough weight that the factory decided to keep the electric leg and rely on it alone, having offered push-button start as an option last year as a market test. May as well, most of the other big-name MX producers have already done so and it will be expected from now on. Besides, it only adds five pounds to the bike, and that’s only likely to get lighter on subsequent models. Updated suspension settings and a lower center-of-gravity deliver a superior ride as compared to the ’17 model. Plus, tweaks to the engine result in quicker holeshots to help you establish and maintain your lead right out of the gate. All-in-all, a more capable machine meant for competition on the MX course, at least according to the factory prose. Let’s take a look for ourselves, shall we?
Continue reading for my review of the Honda CRF450R.
2018 Yamaha WR250F
Yamaha hits the trails with the new-and-improved WR250F. Touted as competition-ready right out of the box, the MY18 ’Wide Ratio’ brings a newly-reworked engine in a new frame with other delightful nuggets like the advanced suspension and optional engine-tuning app that uses your smartphone as an interface for quick and easy ignition/injection mapping. Titanium poppets and electronic fuel injection add even more yummy-goodness to the mix as part of the standard equipment package. Will it be enough for the current market? We’ll see soon enough, but meanwhile we can dissect the thing to see what all makes it tick.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha WR250F.
2018 Yamaha YZ450F
Yamaha’s once-popular YZ450F has been slipping in the polls of late, a situation the factory seems bound to rectify with this newest version that should propel it back into the top tier in the motocross world along with Honda, KTM, and Husqvarna. The 2018 YZ450F sports updated looks to go with its updated features such as the new engine, wireless engine tuning and improved suspension just to name a few. A teeny-tiny battery and lightweight starter system eliminates the old kicker (and the peasants rejoice!) with a new push-button cold-start feature that helps with starts and warmups. For all intents and purposes, this should be considered an all-new machine, so let’s check out what Yammy has going on over there and see how it stacks up against the other big boys.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha YZ450F.
2016 - 2017 Yamaha YZ450F
When Yamaha redesigned the YZ450F engine back in 2010, it really struck a balance between power and control. The 2015 version carried top-shelf racers such as Weston Peick and Justin Barcia to podium finishes, so there is no denying that the largest of the YZ family is already an accomplished model. Not content to rest on its laurels, the factory introduced a number of improvements for the 2016 model year that carried over into 2017. How does one improve upon success? Let’s take a look and find out.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha YZ450F.
2015 - 2018 Yamaha WR250R
Essentially a carry-over from 2008 when the WR250R added a street-legal stablemate to the Yamaha WR lineup, the 2018 model carries-on carrying-on dual-sport fun. It’s not really a street-legal version of the WR250F, though the model designation tends to make it seem so. “WR” indicates it’s a wide-ratio gear box, and beyond that, the sky’s the limit. The wide-ratio gives an acceptable balance of highway capability and off-road responsiveness, desirable in the dual-sport market.
Continue reading for more information on the Yamaha WR250R.
2015 - 2018 Honda XR650L
Honda carries its venerable XR650L line into 2018, but to be honest, it’s almost completely unchanged from the original version unleashed on the world back in 1993. Before you scoff, I would point out that sharks haven’t changed in millions of years, having evolved long ago into creatures perfectly suited to their environments, and apparently, so it is with the XR650L. The Red Riders got it right out of the gate with this one, and popular support keeps the bike on Honda’s showroom floors even after nearly a quarter-century. I want to see what Honda has going on over there that gives this bike such longevity.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda XR650L.
2015 - 2018 Suzuki DR650S
With a glance at the DR650S from Suzuki and you might just dismiss it as an enduro bike. That would be doing it an injustice. It’s really a basic adventure bike that will get you off the pavement and into the woods with perhaps more gumption than a real adventure bike. It’s not the most attractive bike in the stable, though it’s small and scrappy with its 644 cc engine and so much fun to ride. Priced affordably, it isn’t a tragic to drop it as it would be otherwise and it is lightweight enough that you can pick it up and keep going.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki DR650S.
2015 - 2018 Suzuki DR200S
Suzuki brings dual-sport capabilities to the entry-level sector with its DR200S. A heavy emphasis on off-road performance defines the overall look of the thing, and a 199 cc engine drives it over hill and dale as well as down the road with all the appropriate lighting for safety and legalities. The end result seems to be a functional, if plain, bike that provides a stable ride and moderate power with a humble overall bearing. A carry-over for the last few years, it hasn’t changed much, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki DR200S.
2017 Rokon Mototractor
Rokon, maker of some of the most unique, utilitarian motorcycles in the world , adds to its lineup this year with the Mototractor model. This newest contraption — and I mean that in the best possible way — focuses specifically on capabilities useful in an agricultural environment. Granted, you could transform a Trail-Breaker with loads of an accessories catalog, but the factory saves you the trouble. Mighty thoughtful, don’t you think? The Mototractor mill only puts out around 7-horsepower, but don’t let that fool you; it punches far above its weight and brings capabilities that go far beyond what you would normally expect, or even think to ask from a bike. I previously named a Rokon product as one of my favorites if I had to survive a zombie apocalypse, and digging into this model I am reminded of exactly why.
Continue reading for my review of the Rokon Mototractor.
I can’t say enough good things about these Rokons, and quite frankly, neither can their owners. They have a frame that can withstand the punishment of wilderness riding and an enormous ground clearance. They’re lightweight, have hydraulic brakes; and they have an engine you can’t kill. They pull, they tow and they climb like a mountain goat. If you have business out in the woods, these babies are your huckleberry.
New in 2016, Rokon introduced the Ranger to add to the stable alongside the Scout and its siblings, the Trail-Breaker and the Rokon for Hunters.
Continue reading for my review of the Rokon Scout and Ranger.
Add the Street Legal package to Christini’s AWD 450 Military Edition bike and you have the AWD 450 Explorer. Based in Philadelphia, Christini has been pursuing AWD for two wheels since 1995. What started as AWD mountain bikes turned to AWD motorcycles in 2002.
It was in 2008 when a Christini-upgraded KTM bike took second place in the inaugural Extreme Enduro Race that AWD was established as competitively viable technology. Considering that folks have raced Christini AWD bikes in every EnduroCross event since 2006 speaks to their capability as competition rides. In fact, Christini bikes are race-tested and proved reliable in World Enduro, GNCC, Endurocross, Red Bull Last Man Standing, and Hare scrambles.
Continue reading for my review of the Christini AWD 450 Explorer.
I enjoy writing military hardware pieces, but usually the information is academic because the machines aren’t available to the public. Not so with the Christini AWD 450 Military Edition. Even thought it was designed for military use, Christini decided to make it available to the general public, thus moving it from the realm of wishful thinking into that of possibility. Possible daydreams are my favorite.
Christini partnered up with James King, founder of the Tactical Mobility Training program in Fayetteville, North Carolina, to produce a training regimen for U.S. troops who use the Christini AWD bike. The program was designed to train riders to operate deep within enemy territory, far away from roads or other infrastructure. This ride isn’t just for military applications either – police, park rangers and first responders will find it a useful addition to their motor pools and it can also serve as a viable option to traditional ATV/UTV-type vehicles used in hunting pursuits.
Continue reading for my review of the Christini AWD 450 Military Edition.
Rokon expands a little bit out of its pure off-road niche with the Ranger model that brings the traditional look and function associated with the Rokon brand to the street-legal, dual-sport sector. As with the rest of the Rokon inventory, a small Kohler engine powers a hydraulic system that enables the full time, front- and rear-wheel drive. Yeah, these bikes don’t exactly fit anyone else’s mold, but they aren’t meant to be, and they are very good at what they are built for. Today I’m going to check out the lineup, and see what Rokon has done with its newest addition to the family, the Mototractor.
Continue reading my review for the Rokon Ranger, Trail-Breaker, and Rokon for Hunters.
Released in 2012 as a 2013 model, the 2016 CRF250L is basically a carry-over from that first launch. Wearing its motocross heritage proudly, the CRF250L brings a street-legal choice to Honda’s CRF stable, joining the XR650L in the dual-sport category.
It’s spunky and fun to ride, but how does it stack up when put through its paces? Overall, fairy well and when you look at the price, it’s not a bad bike for what you get.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda CRF250L.
Revealed at the 2014 EICMA show in Milan, the Twenty family — named so to commemorate Scorpa’s 20-year anniversary — includes three models: the 125, 250 and 300. For 2016, we see major changes and new features — many of which are brought about through data gathered at the World Trials Championship — to launch the second generation of the Twenty line.
If you looked at Scorpa before, look again. The Twenty trials bikes are more competitive than before, even for such a young lineup. They’re not just a dressed up SR model.
Continue reading for my review of the Scorpa Twenty 125, 250 and 300.
This year, Zero Motorcycles showed that it isn’t resting on its laurels with the addition of two new models, both of which are submodels of existing bikes. Today, I would like to focus on the FX line, and its new-for-2016 member, the FXS Supermoto.
While the base model FX Stealthfighter did get a new powerpack and better ergonomics in the rider triangle, the real story is with the FXS and its attempt to bring supermoto-style street, dirt and flat-track performance to the electric bike sector. I’ve never made a secret of my love for this company and its products, or how much I support green transportation, so I’m stoked about Zero expanding its footprint. Join me while I look at these two multi-surface funbikes.
Continue reading for my review of the Zero FX and FXS.
Every budding motocross star reaches a crossroads in their career, when choosing the right motorcycle can mean the difference between success or failure. With more amateur national championship titles than any other brand, the pedigree of the Kawasaki KX™ 85 already outshines the competition and the 2015 KX85 continues to do so. In fact, the one thing that hasn’t changed is that the KX85 is still the ultimate training tool for the Ryan Villopotos of tomorrow. Box-stock, it’s ready to win championships!
Continue reading for more information on the 2015 Kawasaki KX 85.
The Kawasaki KX™ 100 represents a natural step in the progression of any budding young motocross rider who is on the verge of outgrowing the KX™ 85, but maybe still needs to grow a few inches, gain a few pounds or simply get a little more seat time before jumping aboard a full-sized KX™ 250F. The new KX100 offers the perfect blend of a power and a larger chassis for an ideal learning curve en route to the big bikes.
Continue reading for more information on the 2015 Kawasaki KX 100.
For 2016, Husqvarna brings back the FE 450 and FE 501 along with its street-legal brother, the FE 501 S, with improvements and enhancements — some of which come from the benefit of sharing the R&D field with KTM. Revised front-end geometry improves handling and lots of weight-reduction changes — while each one not very significant, but they add up to a weight savings in total.
New brakes, an updated DDS clutch, and an engine and suspension tuned for enduro use make the FE 450 and FE 501 a winning pair off-road. With a standard map switch, you can match engine mapping to the terrain, conditions and your riding style.
Continue reading for my review of the 2015 Husqvarna FE 450, FE 501 and FE 501 S.
The Little Big One
In the junior class from 11 to 15 years of age, there are no longer any beginners pootling around. This is where future champions fight for victory, whether it be in the Junior WC or a regional championship. The 85 SX is regarded as a winning bike in this scene. With the most powerful engine in the field and an ultra-light, sturdy chassis, it has nothing to fear from any full-size bike. 2015 KTM 85 SX 17/14 Features and Benefits:Masters The Toughest Tracks: (...)
Power For All
With the 450 SX‑F, KTM has a winning motorcycle in its range, which derives its potential from a high-capacity engine and a chassis perfectly tuned to the power unit. The 450 SX-F is the no. 1 choice for the official KTM factory team in the AMA Championship. No wonder; the compact SOHC engine guarantees brutal yet controllable power with its revolutionary injection technology. Above all, the 450 SX-F scores highly compared with other large 4-strokes in terms of (...)