ARE YOU GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR 2004 BIKE?

TITLE: 2004 HONDA CR125

  • Gearing: Honda geared the ’04 CR125 down to match what local racers were doing, but it still needs lower gearing. Since you can’t find a 54-tooth rear sprocket, switch to a 12-49 gearing combo.
  •  Fork settings: Excellent forks. The stock 0.44kg/mm springs are perfect. We ran the compression and rebound on 10 clicks out.
  • Shock settings: The stock 4.7kg/mm shock spring is well chosen. We set the sag at 100mm, set the low-speed compression on 10, high-speed compression at 1-3/4 turns out, and rebound on 7 clicks outs.
  •  Jetting: Stock jetting is ballpark (with needle clip changes for temperature and humidity changes).

 

TITLE: 2004 HONDA CR250

  • Gearing: Riders below pro-level will probably be happier with one more tooth on the rear (and a finger on the clutch at all times).
  •  Fork settings: The stock fork springs are 0.44kg/mm. Faster riders will want to go stiffer. We ran the compression on 10 and the rebound on 12.
  •  Shock settings: The stock shock spring is a 5.1 (which is good for most riders). We set the sag at 100mm, the low-speed compression on 8, high-speed compression at 2 turns out, and the rebound on 7 clicks out.
  •  Jetting: Stock jetting is ballpark (with needle clip changes for temperature and humidity changes).
  • Rear brake: Run two insulators on the brake pads to keep the fluid from boiling.

TITLE: 2004 KX250F/RM-Z250

  •  Gearing: If you race on tight tracks, you might try gearing it down, but expect the powerband to get shorter.
  • Fork settings: Slide the forks down in the clamps until only 5mm sticks out. We ran the compression on 12 and the rebound on 10.
  • Shock settings: The shock will be too stiff for most riders. We lowered the sag to 102mm and set the compression on 14 and rebound on 10. There is no high-speed compression adjuster.
  • Jetting: We dropped the mainjet to a 168. The leaner main improved throttle response.
  • Radiator: Switch to a 1.6 radiator cap (Kawasaki part number 49085-1073) and run WaterWetter or Maxima Cool-Aide. Do not idle the bike on the starting line.

 

TITLE: 2004 KAWASAKI KX125

  • Gearing: Most Pro test riders could carry the stock gearing, but everyone else will benefit from one more tooth on the rear. On tight tracks we wouldn’t blame you if you added two teeth.
  • Fork settings: We liked the spring rate and ran the clickers on 12 and 10, but in stock trim the KX125 has a seriously, and easily fixed, stinkbug stance. To remedy this, slide the forks down in the clamps until only 5mm sticks out.
  • Shock settings: Unless you weigh over 170 pounds, the shock spring will be too stiff. We lowered the sag to 102mm, set the compression on 14 (or more) and the rebound on 10. There is no high-speed compression adjuster.

 

TITLE: 2004 KAWASAKI KX250

  • Gearing: We recommend gearing it down one tooth to help bridge the gap from second to third (which seemed large because of the lack of effective over-rev).
  • Fork settings: Slide the forks down until 5mm sticks out above the top of the clamps. We ran the compression on 12 and rebound on 10.
  • Shock settings: The lack of high-speed compression adjustment, which Kawasaki pioneered, forces the rider to depend more on race sag and low-speed compression than comparable systems. We set the race sag at 100mm, the low-speed clicker on 12 out and the rebound on 10 clicks out.
  • Jetting: Perfect. The 2004 KX250 required nothing more than an air screw adjustment.

 

TITLE: 2004 YAMAHA YZ125

  • Gearing: We added a 49-tooth rear sprocket to make carrying second gear through the corners easier. It also makes third gear more usable. Faster riders will probably stick with the stock gearing.
  • Fork settings: Run the fork caps flush with the triple clamps and the compression and rebound on 10 clicks out from all the way in.
  • Shock settings: The stock shock spring rate is ballpark. We set the sag at 100mm, low-speed compression on 12, high-speed at 2 turns out and rebound on 10.
  • Jetting: Spot on.

 

TITLE: 2004 YAMAHA YZ250F

  • Gearing: We left the YZ250F gearing alone (although there are track configurations that could use one more tooth).
  • Fork settings: Kayaba’s new 48mm forks, with hydraulic bottoming cones, enhance the already excellent feel of the YZ250F. We ran the compression and rebound on 12 clicks out.
  •  Shock settings: Set the race sag on 97mm. Turn the low-speed compression 12 clicks out and the high-speed compression 1-1/4 turns out. We set rebound on 12 .
  • Jetting: Depending on weather conditions, turn the fuel screw out 1-1/2 turns (farther out on hot days and farther in on cold days).

 

TITLE: 2004 YAMAHA YZ450F

  •  Gearing: The YZ450F is one of only a handful showroom stock bikes that the MXA test riders gear up. We replace the stock 48-tooth rear sprocket with a taller 47 to get more use out of second gear.
  • Fork settings: The new forks feel firmer, more controlled and better sprung. The average rider should set the compression at 12 out and the rebound on 10.
  • Shock settings: Set the ride height at 100mm and the rebound and compression on 12 clicks out.
  • Jetting: Depending on weather conditions, turn the fuel screw out 1-1/2 turns (farther out on hot days and farther in on cold days).

 

TITLE: 2004 HONDA CRF250

  • Gearing: The CRF250 has a big gap between second and third. We tried to gear it down, but got the best powerband when we geared it up one tooth.
  • Fork settings: The forks are a little soft. We went to the next stiffest fork spring and lowered the oil height by 10cc. We set the clickers on 10 and 10.
  • Shock settings: We used the high-speed compression adjuster to keep the rear of the CRF250 high. Set the large dial at 1-1/2 turns out, the low-speed compression on 10 and the rebound on 7.
  • Triple clamps: We run 20mm offset triple clamps (as do most AMA pro riders). The decreased offset will help the CRF250 track straight in the middle of a turn.

 

TITLE: 2004 HONDA CRF450

  • Gearing: For Novices and Intermediates, we added a 49-tooth rear sprocket to enhance second gear through the corners. Most Pro test riders opted for a 50.
  •  Fork settings: We installed stiffer 0.49 kg/mm fork springs and lowered the oil height from 415cc to 375cc. We ran the compression and rebound on 10 clicks out.
  • Shock settings: Set the sag at 100mm, low-speed compression on 12, high-speed at 2 turns out and rebound on 10.
  •  Clutch: The CRF450 benefits from a Hinson clutch basket.

 

TITLE: 2004 KTM 125SX

  •  Gearing: We added one tooth on the rear for Novice and Intermediate test riders (the Pros ran the stock gearing).
  • Fork settings: For faster riders, stiffer 0.42 kg/mm fork springs will be a necessity. Run the fork caps flush with the triple clamps, the compression on 15 and the rebound on 18.
  • Shock settings: We set the sag at a rather low 110mm, low-speed compression on 11, high-speed at 2-1/2 turns out and rebound on 16.
  • Front fender: This bike needs a front fender brace.

 

TITLE: 2004 KTM 250SX

  • Gearing: KTM changed the ?04 gearing to 13-50 for 2004, but still we opted for 13-49.
  •  Fork settings: Our forks exhibited considerable midstroke harshness, and when we checked the stock oil height, it was 10mm higher than advertised. We lowered it back to 110mm and set the compression on 18 clicks and the rebound on 19 .
  • Shock settings: Set the sag at 105mm, low-speed compression at 17 out, high-speed 2-1/2 turns out and rebound at 26 out.
  • Front fender: This bike needs a front fender brace.

 

TITLE: 2004 KTM 450SX

  • Gearing: Last year, the MXA wrecking crew had to add two teeth to the rear sprocket of the 450SX. This year, KTM added two teeth on the assembly line.
  •  Fork settings: KTM’s engineers swapped the ’03’s 0.44kg/mm fork springs for stiffer 0.46s. Additionally, they lowered the oil height from 90mm to 110mm. We set the compression on 18 clicks out and the rebound on 19 clicks.
  • Shock settings: Thankfully, KTM spec’ed an 8.0 kg/mm, straight-rate shock spring. The rear shock works best with 105mm of sag, 17 out on low-speed, 2-1/2 out on high-speed and 26 out on rebound.
  • Front fender: This bike needs a front fender brace.

 

TITLE: 2004 SUZUKI RM125

  • Gearing: Leave it alone. Although we tried to gear it down, we never got any extra drive out of the swap.
  • Fork settings: Toss the stock fork springs in favor of stiffer 0.43kg/mm springs. Run the compression and rebound on 10 clicks out.
  • Shock settings: Unless you weigh under 120 pounds, you will need a stiffer shock spring. We swapped the stock 5.0 for a 5.2 (with the compression on 10 out and the rebound on 12 out).
  • Jetting: Drop the stock mainjet to a 380 and lower the clip two positions (or go to the half-clip leaner needle).

 

TITLE: 2004 SUZUKI RM250

  • Gearing: Leave it alone. It’s perfect.
  •  Fork settings: The stock spring rate is acceptable for most skill levels. We ran the compression on 10 and the rebound on 13.
  • Shock settings: We love this shock. Set the low-speed compression on 10, high-speed at 1-3/4 turns out and the rebound on 12.
  • Jetting: We had to lean the RM250 out by two mainjet sizes. We ran a 162 main, 48 pilot and optional NEDJ needle (in the second clip from the top).
  • Tires: Get ride of the front Bridgestone 602–unless you’re racing at Bonneville.

 

 

 

 

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