2017 KTM Freeride E-XC First Ride Review

If your idea of off-road riding is busting big air over triple jumps, the Freeride-E will disappoint. But KTM’s electric-powered off-roader broadens the scope of what’s possible in a dirtbike built to quietly conquer trails of fun.

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2017 KTM Freeride E-XC Electric Motorcycle Coming to US

KTM is bringing its Freeride E-XC electric motorcycle to the U.S. in an initial pilot program. The E-XC enduro, along with its off-road-only X-SX sibling, have been available in Europe since 2015, and KTM is now ready to bring its electric motorcycle technology to North America.

For the pilot program, the Freeride E-XC will only be available in limited quantities at 11 dealerships across the country, each undergoing the required certification for KTM’s high voltage technical training program so they can service these electric bikes. The Freeride E-XC will be priced at $8,299; by comparison, the gas-powered KTM Freeride 250R dirtbike is priced at $7,999.

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2018 Yamaha YZ450F Preview

The 2018 Yamaha YZ450F promises to advance technology in the sport of motocross by becoming the world’s first Wi-Fi-equipped production dirtbike, capable of allowing the user to tune the engine’s ECU with the use of an Apple or Android smartphone. Yamaha’s all-new Yamaha Power Tuner iOS and Android app connects to a WI-Fi communication control unit on the 2018 Yamaha YZ450F to allow for instant fuel and ignition mapping changes trackside when the engine is not running.

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2017 Honda CRF450R First Ride Review

The 2017 Honda CRF450R is the most anticipated motocross bike of the year, and it proves to be worth the wait!

We got our chance to test the 2017 CRF450R at the amazing Monster Mountain MX Park just outside Montgomery, Alabama. After spending a full day, including more than 80 laps on the all-new CRF, we can absolutely confirm that Honda has a serious contender for top honors in the 450cc MX class. If you ride red, or you’ve been thinking about it, now may be the time to pony up for a CRF450R.

It’s been a long time coming, as production of the CRF450R was delayed when a massive earthquake damaged Honda’s production facilities in Kumamoto last April. Eventually, spy photos of the CRF450R were leaked, showing a machine powered by an all-new version of Honda’s Unicam engine instead of the DOHC engine tested by HRC rider Akira Narita in the All Japan MX National Championship. The photos also showed a CRF that featured a chassis that placed the shock much lower in the chassis and also did away with the KYB PSF air fork. The 2017 model would get a new 49mm Showa coil-spring fork that was of the same spec as Honda’s factory A-kit suspension.

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2017 Kawasaki KLX140G Review

I’ve read it a thousand times and probably written it a few hundred: If you want to grow your motorcycle skills, get a dirtbike. Most people who aren’t so familiar with knobbies might think that means one of those $9,000 450cc monsters capable of leaping tall orthopedic wards in a single bound, but what you really want is a bike like the ones they train people on at Colin Edwards’ Texas Tornado Boot Camp, Rich Oliver’s Mystery School, and others. Okay, well, those happen to be Yamaha TT-R125s, but now Kawasaki has a new competitor for that little beast in the form of its “all-new” KLX140G.

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2016 Yamaha YZ250X Review

It’s more than a little ironic that Yamaha, the company that ushered in the modern era of four-stroke dirtbikes and contributed to the sounding of the death knell for two-stroke motorcycles, has recently unleashed the best new two-smoker we’ve ridden in a long time. The YZ250X is the company’s first two-stroke off-road racer in nearly two decades, and it’s a winner right out of the crate.

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Husqvarna Announces 2017 Enduro Lineup

Husqvarna announced a completely redesigned two-stroke and four-stroke enduro lineup for 2017. The two-stroke TX125, TE250 and TE300 and the four-stroke FE250, FE350 and FE450 all receive a new frame and subframe design, WP suspension, redesigned airbox and lighter, more compact engines.

Our sister site Dirtbikes.com has the full details on the 2017 lineup including a stream of Husqvarna’s media presentation. Or you can peruse the gallery below. The 2017 Husqvarna enduro models arrive in North American dealerships this fall.

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Suzuki RMX450Z Returns for 2017

The RMX450Z enduro is back for 2017, rejoining Suzuki‘s lineup for the first time since 2010. The frame, suspension and bodywork are nearly identical to the RM-Z450 motocrosser but Suzuki added electric start, full-function instrumentation, an 18-inch rear wheel and lighting to adapt it for trail riding.

“The 2017 RMX450Z delivers renowned Suzuki handling, power and reliability to off-road riders,” said Kerry Graeber, Suzuki Motor of America vice president of Sales and Marketing. “Suzuki has established a performance edge with the RM-Z family of competition bikes, and we are excited to introduce an off-road-focused motorcycle derived from that family. This expansion of the Suzuki line gives riders who grew up with smaller Suzuki off-road bikes a new model to step up to.”

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2017 Kawasaki KX450F First Ride Review

After a complete redesign in 2016, the big KX impressed us with its new, slim chassis, strong mid-range power and much-improved handling, but we felt that there were other issues that kept it from living up to its potential. Kawasaki has addressed those very concerns for 2017, and these refinements pay off in big way, edging the KX closer to the top of the 450cc motocross class.

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2017 Yamaha Motocrossers And Off-Roaders Revealed

For the first time in three years, Yamaha Motor Corporation has announced that it will not be releasing an all-new motocross or off-road motorcycle in its comprehensive dirtbike lineup.

We’re not surprised, as the bLU cRU has not only redesigned its flagship YZ450F and YZ250F in that time, it has also completely redesigned its WR450F, WR250F enduro models and introduced two new cross country-bred models, the YZ450FX and the YZ250FX. Heck, even the two-stroke family has gotten a lil’ love, with updated YZ250 and YZ125 motocrossers and the release of the first new Yamaha two-stroke off-road competition machine in decades, the YZ250X.

All that hard work has produced class-leading motorcycles in most of their competitive segments and helped to make Yamaha the leader in motocross share, according to the company. But even if Yamaha’s hard-working engineers deserve a break, they didn’t take one — at least not yet.

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Timbersled Snowbike Conversion

Do you and your dirt bike suffer from SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder?

If you live in the Rocky Mountains, the Snowbelt or any other place where the white stuff comes down in buckets, then you might, because you’re probably used to either parking your off-road machine and hopping on your snowmobile (assuming that you have one) or taking up another hobby altogether – like knitting – until the spring thaw. That’s the SAD truth.

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2016 Yamaha YZ450FX Ride Review

In its 60-year history Yamaha’s line-up has never boasted more motocross and off-road competition models than right now.

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New Yamaha and Star Motorcycles for 2016

Yamaha unveiled a few new models yesterday afternoon in Irvine, California, and told us to stand by, there may be another new street model yet to come later this year. We were kind of expecting the XSR700 that Yamaha teased back in July, so maybe that will be the missing model?

2016 Yamaha YZF-R1S Certified by CARB

The YZF-R1S, in the lead photo, is one of the new models it did reveal. The R1 and R1M were so well-received, says Yamaha, that it wanted to extend the reach of those highly track-focussed machines to riders who are a bit less track focussed. Substituting less expensive metals in a bunch of places means the weight of the S model goes up a bit, but the price goes down: Instead of titanium con rods it get steel ones, instead of Ti headers it gets stainless steel ones, instead of magnesium wheels it gets aluminum ones, etc. – and winds up nine pounds heavier than the standard R1, says Yamaha. It does get the six-way IMU and all the electronic aids of the R1 except the quickshifter (QSS in Yamalingo), which is available as an option. (We’d have definitely gone for some higher clip-ons on our S version, but that would’ve required a whole new fairing, so the riding position remains the same.)

The steel rods don’t let the S engine rev quite as far as the Ti-rodded engine, but peak power is supposed to be very similar anyway. Those extra nine pounds save you $2k; the S model will sell for $14,990, and only the discriminating Yamaha spotter will know you cheaped out, since there’s no S on the bike to identify it – especially if you go for the Matt Gray version, a paint scheme it shares with the regular R1.

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2016 Suzuki RM-Z250 Review

You would think that a company willing to go to the lengths that Suzuki did to improve its RM-Z250 would at least make some effort to alter its looks and make it visually obvious that the 2016 version is a much different motorcycle than the 2015. After all, Suzuki made more than 80 changes to the new RM-Z’s engine alone.

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2016 Honda CRF250R Review

Whereas the engine discussion in the 450cc motocross class typically revolves around how to manage the mega dose of power that the big thumpers produce, the dialogue in the 250cc class has more to do with how to strain every last pony out of each manufacturer’s engine design. With the high level of chassis refinement exhibited by practically all of the current 250s, any machine that comes up short in the motor department is going to be handicapped in comparison with its rivals.

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2016 Kawasaki KX450F Review

Kawasaki ruled the big bike motocross class for the first part of the decade with its amazing KX450F, but times have changed, and in 2015 the big green machine wasn’t as dominant as it used to be.

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2016 Yamaha YZ250F Review

Hop aboard the 2016 Yamaha YZ250F after spending time aboard the 2015 250cc class champion version, and you might find they don’t feel much different.

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2016 Honda CRF450R First Ride Review

Last year, Honda made excellent strides with its flagship CRF450R by tailoring its power curve to deliver more midrange boost, and Honda appeared to accomplish that mission quite handily. Even so, the 2016 CRF450R is capable of even faster lap times with the same exact engine specifications as the 2015 model.

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2016 Yamaha YZ450F Review

Yamaha’s YZ450F made a major breakthrough in 2015, the tuning fork brand hitting on just the right combination of minor tweaks to put its YZ450F at the top of the 450cc moto mountain.

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Yamaha Announces 2016 YZs

Yamaha has enjoyed championship-winning success with its YZ250F and a real turnabout in the fortunes of its YZ450F in major product shootouts while at the same time reaping success by introducing new and exciting off-road competition models and championing a full two-stroke motocross line, the only one of the Japanese manufacturers to do so.

For 2016, it will be more of the same on all three fronts, as Yamaha celebrates its 60th anniversary as a motor company in style by introducing the 2016 YZ250F and YZ450F with key updates, revised graphics and optional Limited-Edition 60th Anniversary Yamaha color schemes. In the two-stroke segment, Yamaha has thrown out a surprise new two-stroke off-road racer, the YZ250X, and it continues to offer no less than three two-stroke motocross models, the YZ85, YZ125 and YZ250. Now, if we could only talk them into building a liquid-cooled 500cc two-stroke, life would be perfect!

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2016 Kawasaki KX450F Preview

Kawasaki announced several updates for the 2016 KX450F including a new engine and frame while subtracting 7.5 pounds of weight.

The KX450F’s 449cc Single received new engine cases that are lighter yet stronger and more rigid. The cylinder head was revised with new intake ports that are smoother and more direct thanks to a special coating applied during the head casting process. Kawasaki claims the changes increase intake efficiency, improving performance at all engine speeds, especially at mid-to-high rpm.

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2015 Yamaha YZ250FX Review

It might be easy to dismissively refer to the all-new 2015 Yamaha YZ250FX as a YZ250F with a six-speed transmission or a WR250F without lights. Based on the FX’s technical merits, both statements could be considered mostly true, but neither would remotely do justice to Yamaha’s all-new quarter-liter off-road racer.

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2015 Yamaha WR250F First Ride Review

After riding Yamaha’s all-new 2015 WR250F at Cahuilla Creek Motocross Park in Anza, California, let’s just put it this way: If you’ve been waiting to sell your trusty pre-2014 Yamaha WR250F in the hope that Yamaha would introduce an all-new machine based around its AMA National Motocross Championship-winning rearward-inclined engine technology, the wait is over. It’s time to get your classified ad ready and get that old blue machine sold, because like its YZ250F sister, the 2015 WR250F is so radically improved that it practically obsoletes the previous model. It’s effectively a YZ250F that you can ride anywhere your trails take you. A year in the waiting – Yamaha didn’t sell a 2014 WR250F – the new WR’s 249cc DOHC four-stroke Single is virtually identical to the class-conquering 2014 YZ250F motocrosser, except that it’s tuned for enduro competition and aggressive trail riding and fitted with the required emissions and sound equipment to make it EPA-legal and CARB Green Sticker-certified.

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2014 EICMA: KTM 350SX-F Cairoli Factory Edition Preview

KTM revealed a new Factory edition 350SX-F that 2014 FIM MXGP World champion Tony Cairoli will ride in his title defense next season and the basis for the 2016 production model.

No technical details were released, though Kiska Senior Designer Piers Spencer-Phillip wrote on his Derestricted blog that the new machine weighs 5 kg (11 pounds) less the current 350SX-F.

Superimposing the Cairoli edition 350SX-F over the 2015 model, we can immediately see some differences.

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2015 Alta Motors RedShift MX and SM Preview + Video

Astute e-bike fans might remember the name BRD, the group setting out to make an electric motocross (and supermoto) competitor from the ground up, called the Redshift, with an emphasis on performance. As we found out at the AIMExpo recently, 2015 brings the bike and the company a few surprises.

For starters, BRD is no more. Presenting those in attendance with a Photoshopped Chef Boyardee logo as some sort of cryptic reason for the name change, the company now goes by Alta Motors, in reference to “Alta California,” the geographic location of its San Francisco, CA headquarters back when the land was under Mexico’s rule.

Name changes aside, the Alta Motors Redshift is making waves as a potentially groundbreaking electric motorcycle. It’s designers and engineers never set out for the title of best electric motorcycle, instead setting the bar higher and working towards a machine that could go toe-to-toe with gas bikes in the competition arena. While we have yet to ride the Redshift MX or its street-legal supermoto variant, the bike is nonetheless interesting.

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AIMExpo 2014: Yamaha YZ250FX and WR250F Announced

Yamaha revealed two new 250cc off-road race bikes in the WR250F enduro and YZ250FX closed-course racer.

The two machines share the same basic DNA, featuring the same 249cc rearwardly-slanted single-cylinder engine and a similar bilateral beam frame from the YZ250F motocrosser. Yamaha added a sixth gear for the new models as well as electric start and swapped out the YZ250F’s 19-inch wheel for 18-inchers.

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Intermot 2014: KTM Freeride E Supermoto

Today at Intermot 2014, KTM took the wraps off the latest in its electric Freeride lineup, the Freeride E Supermoto. The supermoto version of KTM’s Freeride E-SX and E-XC, the E-SM is designed to be an electric city slicker, able to dash through congested cities with ease, all on battery power.

All Freeride E models are powered by permanent magnet synchronous electric motors claiming a peak output of 21.5 hp and 31.0 ft-lb. of torque, which KTM says is on par with similar-sized gas-driven motorcycles. The engine and engine control unit are water-cooled to maintain optimal performance. KTM’s PowerPack houses 360 lithium-ion battery cells and the battery management system. According to KTM, about an hour of ride time is available, depending on conditions and riding habits. That kind of ride time is rather short for most enthusiasts, but PowerPacks are easily interchangeable by loosening four bolts under the seat and swapping out batteries. KTM says the powerpack can get a full charge in 80 minutes while a 50-minute charge will  suffice for an 80% charge.

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Intermot 2014: 2015 Aprilia Caponord 1200 Rally

Today at Intermot, Aprilia unveiled a new variant on the Caponord 1200 we first rode last year. Called the Aprilia Caponord 1200 Rally, it takes the touring-oriented Capo and beefs it up for light off-roading/adventure riding.

The big change comes in the form of spoked wheels, with the front hoop measuring 19 inches, suitable for more off-road-worthy rubber. From there, the touring-oriented panniers seen on the standard Capo are replaced with hard, aluminum-covered saddlebags, better able to cope with the rigors of adventure riding. Crash bars minimizes damage in the inevitable tip-over, while a more robust bash plate helps protect the underside of the engine, too. The Rally model also sees a larger windscreen and supplementary LED lighting mounted on the crash bars, underneath the standard headlights.

The bones of the Caponord Rally remains unchanged from the standard Capo, which is to say it retains the 1197cc V-Twin with ride-by-wire throttle. Electronic throttle application allows for such niceties as cruise control and three power modes to help the rider select the right power application for the conditions. ABS and traction control remain as well (both of which can be turned off).

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Intermot 2014: Zero Reveals 2015 Lineup

Zero made a splash last year with the introduction of the Zero SR, the hot-rodded version of its flagship S model. This year’s news is a little more subdued, but is still highly relevant all the same. Three big improvements will be seen across the entire Zero line for 2015: Showa suspension will now become standard, as will Bosch switchable ABS and Pirelli tires.

The 41mm Showa fork comes in 2mm smaller diameter than the unit it replaces, but otherwise it and the rear shock will feature the same full adjustability and suspension travel as before (6.25in. front/6.35in. rear for the S and SR, 7.0in. front/7.3in. rear on the DS). Front brake rotors on the S, SR and DS increase to 320mm (from 313mm), but interestingly Zero chose to ditch the Nissin twin-piston calipers in favor of J-Juan units. Other than the addition of ABS, the rear 240mm disc and J-Juan single piston caliper remain the same.

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2015 Yamaha YZ125/YZ250 First Ride Reviews

The proliferation of modern four-strokes has changed the dirtbike world in a profound yet very subtle fashion. We take today’s high-winding four-stroke MX and off-road engines for granted simply because they have been in the mainstream for nearly 15 years. Today’s thumpers are amazing examples of modern engineering. Technology has made them cleaner, more powerful and easier to ride than the two-stroke machines that dominated the marketplace from the mid-1960s to the end of the millennium.

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2015 Honda CRF450R First Ride Review

Honda released the details of its 2015 Honda CRF450R last June, and we have been anxiously awaiting the chance to throw some roost on it ever since. That chance finally came this week, as Honda invited us to the picturesque Zaca Station MX Park north of Santa Barbara, California, to sample its latest red rooster. We’re happy to report that the 2015 model boasts updates to make it even more competitive in what is a brutally intense category.

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2015 Yamaha YZ450F Review

Yamaha attempted to defy conventional wisdom in the 450cc class when it introduced an entirely different YZ450F in 2010. The all-new YZ’s rearward-slanted cylinder and reversed cylinder head engine architecture, while not completely original, was a radical departure from the contemporary crop of 450cc contenders.

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2015 Suzuki RM-Z450 Review

Pssst! Hey, you, Joe moto fan. Did you hear who Suzuki has hired to ride for the Yoshimura Suzuki team next year? Sounds like it’s going to be that Roczen guy from Germany and Broc Tickle in the 450 class. Boy, Suzuki had better have a solid bike for them to ride…

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2015 Honda CRF250R First Ride Review

Honda’s CRF250R may not have enjoyed the hype that Yamaha’s YZ250F did in 2014. Even though the Honda was practically an all-new design, its thunder was effectively stolen by the radically revised Yamaha, which dominated the conversation – and the majority of shootouts – in the 250cc motocross class.

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2015 Yamaha YZ250F First Ride Review

It’s safe to say that Yamaha came about as close as a manufacturer can to setting the motocross world on fire with the YZ250F in 2014. Borrowing heavily from the architecture of its revolutionary YZ450F, the company’s all-new quarter-liter contender broke cover with a new, fuel-injected, rearward-inclined engine that places the straight downdraft intake out front and the exhaust in the rear. In addition to the new cylinder head’s symmetrical port design, which allowed Yamaha engineers to extract a lot more power from the engine, the compact engine allowed Yamaha to centralize the 250F’s mass in an all-new compact bi-lateral beam chassis that is shared with the YZ450F.

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2014 Yamaha YZ250F Review

While 16th century Italian philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli never knew the fascination that we dirtbike riders feel for modern motocross machines, his two most famous quotations sum up the 2014 Yamaha YZ250F so succinctly it’s as if he had strapped on some gear and pointed Yamaha’s practically all-new quarter-liter berm basher toward the nearest triple jump.

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2014 Suzuki RM-Z450 Review – First Ride

The 2013 Suzuki RM-Z450 boasted an assortment of technical upgrades to the engine, chassis and electrical system improving both power and handling performance. The 2014 RM-Zs, not so much. In fact, besides new radiator shrouds and yellow number plates the only performance upgrade is a reprogrammed Electronic Control Module.

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2014 Suzuki RM-Z250 Review – First Ride

Suzuki made several updates to its 2013 RM-Z250 MX machine, adding numerous technical upgrades to the engine, chassis and electrical system to improve the power delivery and enhance handling. With so many changes made last year, and given the typical development cycle of the OEMs, it’s no surprise that the 2014 RM-Z250 returned to the MX wars in virtually the same trim. In fact, besides new radiator shrouds and yellow number plates the only performance upgrade is a reprogrammed Electronic Control Module.

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2013 Yamaha WR450F Review

Many dirtbike riders tend to associate European brands with state-of-the-art Open-class off-road racing motorcycles. After all, the vast majority of KTM sales are in the off-road market, Husqvarna has been on a slow but steady climb back into prominence, and smaller yet no less dynamic companies such as trials bike giants Beta and Gas Gas have devoted a lot of time and resources into manufacturing excellent big-bore off-road bikes.

But while only two of the Big Four manufacturers – Yamaha and Honda – sell competition-ready off-road machines, Yamaha’s WR450F is far from just a token entry in the market. Thanks to constant refinement over the years, the WR450F combines YZ motocross-style power in a lightweight, 250F-derived chassis with awesome handling. If you’re an off-road racer seeking an alternative to an expensive European machine, Big Blue may have the bike for you.

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2013 Honda CRF450X Review

Look up the word “dominance” in the dictionary, and it wouldn’t be unfathomable to see a photo of a red Honda off-road racer streaking across Mexico’s Baja California peninsula to illustrate the definition of the word.

Honda can boast of an amazing 16-year unbeaten streak in the legendary Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, with most of those wins also including the outright fastest elapsed time in the race.

While many of Honda’s earlier Baja wins came aboard its XR-based off-road machines, the equally capable CRF450X has maintained a virtual stranglehold on Baja since it replaced the factory team’s XR650-based racer in 2006. Derived from the championship-winning CRF450R motocross bike, the X model has been the flagship in Honda’s off-road line since its introduction in 2005. Its strong points – a user-friendly Open-class engine, excellent suspension quality and ultra-stable handling at speed – make it a solid platform for everything from weekend play riding in stock form to Baja-winning performance, albeit with a few requisite modifications.

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Best Dirt Bike of 2013

Kind of like those confusing Academy Award Best Picture nominations, in which year-old movies are often lumped in with newer releases because of some weird cutoff date, the 2013 KX450F was our best dirt bike pick for 2012 because of its early availability in Kawasaki dealerships last year. Surprise, or not, it also happens to be our top pick for 2013.

The 450F’s fuel-injected DOHC motor delivers awesome Open-class punch right at the first hit of the throttle, with amazing tractability and excellent throttle response, and its generous power curve is also easily adaptable to various tracks via Kawasaki’s swappable ignition coupler caps, which can alter the power character to suit the rider’s needs. Meanwhile, KYB’s 48mm Kayaba Pneumatic Spring Fork (PSF) contributes to the 450F’s excellent suspension package, which can efficiently handle any style of bump likely to be encountered on the track.

Combine these great attributes with a forgiving aluminum perimeter chassis that is both stable and willing to carve corners while offering excellent ergonomics and strong brakes, and the 2013 KX450F survives to earn our Best Off-Road honors for the second straight year. No Best Picture winner can ever claim that!

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2013 Kawasaki KX450F Review
2014 Kawasaki KX250F & KX450F Review

Best Dirt Bike Honorable Mention: 2013 KTM 350 XC-W

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2014 Yamaha YZ250F First Ride

With an all-new motor and chassis layout the 2014 YZ250F represents the pinnacle of Yamaha motocross design, and after testing it this week, we think it may have even surpassed its super-powered YZ450F sister as the best motocross machine in the Yamaha family.

With unchanged or slightly revised 250s from Honda, Kawasaki, KTM and Suzuki for 2014, the YZ250F may also be poised to reclaim best 250cc motocross bike honors.

Our impressions of the YZ250F were made during a brief three-hour intro on a perfectly groomed track at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, California. To get the most out of the machine in that short of a timeframe, we once again enlisted the services of professional off-road racer Ryan Abbatoye, who also happens to be a heck of a fast motocross rider.

It’s also worth mentioning that our First Ride was conducted aboard a “pre-production” machine and not a regular production unit, but Yamaha officials assure us that what we rode is what you’ll get. Each manufacturer may have its own definition of the term, but for Yamaha pre-production simply means the first 50 vehicles (or so) to be run on the regular production line in order to check the quality and consistency of the line itself. All of the vehicle specs and settings are already set beforehand, so it should perform identical to what the customer will be purchasing when the YZ250F hits showroom floors this October.

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2014 Honda CRF125F and CRF125F Big Wheel Review

Good ol’ family fun is the focus behind the CRF line of trail bikes from Honda. From the CRF450X for Dad to the CRF50F for little Junior, Big Red has something for everyone. Now its latest models, the CRF125F ($2799) and CRF125F Big Wheel ($3199), aim to truly fulfill the company’s internal tagline of “having a bike for every butt.”

The 125F and 125F Big Wheel replace the popular CRF80F and CRF100F in the lineup, but crucially, retain the exact same seat height as their predecessors — 28.9 and 30.9 inches, respectively. The name gives the most obvious difference between the two bikes, as the 125F Big Wheel features larger, 19-inch wheels compared to the 17-inch hoops on the regular model.

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2014 Kawasaki KX85 and KX100 Previews

For 2014, Kawasaki is introducing significantly updated versions of both the KX85 and the KX100 in an effort to stay one step ahead of its rivals in the never-ending battle for mini motocross supremacy.

The Kawasaki KX85 possesses a legacy that few motocross machines can match. The KX85 and its slightly larger sister, the KX100, are responsible for developing more young talent than any other manufacturer during the past three decades.

Both KX models benefit from numerous changes to their liquid-cooled, two-stroke, engines, resulting in a claimed 20% more peak power than the previous models, with an emphasis on mid-range torque and top-end power. Of course, the bore and stroke measurements between the two machines differ slightly, pistons in both travel a 45.8mm stroke, but the KX100 takes the 85cc’s 48.5mm bore and expands it to 52.5mm.

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2014 Yamaha YZ450F Review – First Ride

Yamaha’s radical, reverse cylinder head YZ450F set the world on its ear when it debuted in 2010. Sure, the ill-fated Cannondale MX400 of 1999 had already introduced the concept to the motocross world, but the difference was that the Cannondale suffered from fuel-injection issues and a lack of power whereas the Yamaha worked well right out of the box. Today, the YZs are the only Japanese motocrossers to use this major mass-centralizing design feature.

Unfortunately, the YZ450F hasn’t been the world beater that Yamaha had anticipated. It has been a solid contender, however, and Yamaha’s all-new 2014 YZ450F is setting the course for better fortunes for Yamaha on the racetrack. Yamaha engineers developed it with three essential design goals: easy cornering; a lighter and more compact package; and a more usable powerband.

We got to try out the new YZ450F at the picturesque Zaca Station MX Park north of Santa Barbara, California. To evaluate the YZF at a high level, we enlisted the services of WORCS and SCORE off-road racer Ryan Abbatoye, still fresh off his runner-up finish with Kendall Norman in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500.

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2014 Kawasaki KX250F & KX450F Review

For 2014 the Kawasaki KX250F receives an array of upgrades for the new model year, while the KX450F gets a pair of slimmer stock handgrips and new graphics. We got a chance to swing a leg over both machines as part of a two-day media event at Competitive Edge MX Park in Hesperia, California.

To give both bikes a thorough test, we enlisted the services of WORCS and SCORE Baja off-road racer Ryan Abbatoye. Abbatoye was recently tapped by factory KTM rider Kendall Norman to race the Tecate SCORE Baja 500, and the pair carded a runner-up finish in the motorcycle class. After a full day of riding the KX450F, Abbatoye, turned his attention to the KX250F and had a blast on it.

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2014 Kawasaki KX250F and 450F Unveiled

Kawasaki’s motocross lineup is fairly fresh, so we expected only mild updates for the 2014 KX models. But the Team Green engineers were quite busy in the off-season, cramming in several revisions to the popular KX250F and some milder tweaks to the venerable 450F.

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Different Strokes

A while back we were invited by Kawasaki to their KLX300R introduction in Idaho. We were so completely delighted by the bike's handling prowess that we hurried to compare it side by side with one of our all-time favorite four-stroke trail bikes - Honda's XR400R. The XR is powerful, nimble, and way too much fun. Both bikes present great values, but which one is right for you and why?

Apples to Oranges We admit that comparing a single cylinder motorcycle to another that has nearly 100cc of additional displacement may initially seem unfair. However, we found that given the proper conditions the KLX could  hang with the Honda. Sure, we initially considered throwing the XR250R in the ring, but after spending considerable saddle time on the smaller Honda and the Kawasaki, it's clear that a fair fight would have to include the 400.

Let's get the displacement issue out of the way. Using the highly accurate MO Dynojet dynamometer to measure rear wheel torque and horsepower, we've generated plots to illustrate the unique power characteristics of each bike:

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Inside the 2013 Supercross Works Bikes

The start of a new Supercross season brings with it a lot of anticipation over and above race results. Its the first time fans, riders and team personnel get to see what the competition has brought to off-road racings largest stage.

The recession has no doubt slowed some of the progress, however, that hasnt stopped much in this sport. During the last few years we have seen tremendous advances in ignition systems, electronic fuel injection, front suspension, and now, for 2013, shock technology.

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