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2012

MXA TEAM TESTED: HOT CAMS STAGE 1/STAGE 2 KX450F CAMSHAFTS

WHAT IS IT? The best way to modify your four-stroke’s powerband is with different intake and exhaust camshafts. Hot Cams offers two different KX450F camshaft pairs—Stage 1 and Stage 2. They fit 2009–2014 Kawasaki KX450Fs. WHAT’S IT COST? $179.95 (Stage 1/Stage 2 intake), $199.95 (Stage 1/Stage 2 exhaust). CONTACT? www.hotcamsinc.com or (515) 402-8005. WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a […]

INSIDE SECRETS OF BUILDING A MOTO-READY KTM 300XC TWO-STROKE RACER

You live and learn, one dollar at a time. By Jody Weisel The vast majority of my racing life has been spent on two-strokes, but I?m a realist. When the four-stroke revolution came along, I didn?t feel a need to fight it. I have said many times that, if I weren?t a motorcycle test rider, I would be racing a Yamaha YZ250 two-stroke. However, my lot in life is to race and test what’s put before me, and, increasingly, since the four-stroke revolution began in 1998 and went full complement in 2006, the bikes…

TWO-STROKE VERSUS FOUR-STROKE: 2012 KTM 250SXF VS 2012 KTM 250SX

And in this corner…the 2012 KTM 250SX two-stroke. The MXA wrecking crew can make one promise with this shootout: a KTM is going to win. In truth, this is the best two-stroke versus four-stroke comparison possible. Why? Both the KTM 250SX two-stroke and KTM 250SXF are brand-new models. They have been updated every year for the past five years?and they aren?t apples and oranges. This is as clear-cut and as accurate a head-to-head comparison can get. These are both brand-new, modern, up-to-date machines….

THIS MUCH WE KNOW! MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR 2012 HONDA CRF450 -NOT EVERYONE CAN AFFORD NEW BIKES

We forgive Honda for not liking MXA very much. We understand their frustration with us over our 2009?2012 CRF450 bike tests (and our 2013-2014 test). They weren?t exactly rave reviews. Honda takes no comfort in knowing that MXA has had issues with every production motocross bike ever made. The fact is, expressing our honest opinion can and does lead to hard feelings, which is why most other bike-test sources never say anything negative (and what they do say is normally wrong). It is no secret that, in t…

MXA TEAM TESTED: NIHILO CONCEPTS KTM FENDER ADAPTER

WHAT IS IT? There is nothing worse for the racer of an older model than to have the factory come out with a completely new look for the latest production bike. It was bad enough that you were racing an old bike, but now the new model makes it look even older. This happened to KTM owners when the 2013 models came with the all-new I-beam front fender. It was instantly recognizable, which made the lack of it even more obvious. The Nihilo Concepts fender kit allows the new fender to retrofit onto 2009??2012…

MXA WRENCH TECH: HOW TO REPROGRAM YOUR 2010 THRU 2013 YAMAHA YZ450F EFI MAPS:

MXA has provided four maps (in the tables included in this article) that we liked during our testing (and we still make changes on a daily basis for different test riders). These maps don?t come with the GYTR Power Tuner. As it comes out of the box, all the fields in the GYTR Power Tuner are set at 0, 0, 0, 0, 0; which are the stock ignition and fuel settings. When you move the cursor to a specific field within the fuel injection grid, you can change the value to whole numbers between negative seven and…

HOW TO BUILD THE ULTIMATE KTM 250SX TWO-STROKE: YES, IT DOES HAVE WORKS SHOWA SUSPENSION ON IT

By Billy Musgrave I must admit that I inherited MXA ‘s KTM 250SX project bike by default. I was third in line, but eventually the end user. Jody had started the project originally, but he had other assignments and handed it over to my father, Willy Musgrave. I took over the project when my dad crashed at Glen Helen and broke his collarbone. It might seem mercenary, but it was a lucky break for me. I have been racing MXA ‘s 125 and 150 two-strokes for many years. Occasionally, I would get assigned to a 2…

WE RIDE RICKY CARMICHAEL’S LORETTA LYNN WINNING SUZUKI RM-Z450: THE ONE HE AUCTIONED OFF FOR CHARITY

The MXA wrecking crew has a unique relationship with Ricky Carmichael. We have tested more of Carmichael’s race bikes than anyone, except for Ricky himself. It was 17 years ago that we began riding Ricky’s race bikes, starting with his Kawasaki KX85 minicycle (before he had ever raced an AMA Pro race). We followed that up with all three of the KX125s that he won his 125 National Championships on, his Supercross-winning Honda CR250, his perfect-season 2004 Honda CRF450 (which we tested the day before it …

WE RIDE CYLINDER WORKS’ BIG-BORE KAWASAKI KX269F

It’s easy to think that Cylinder Works is pandering to cheaters with their line of big-bore engine kits. There is no doubt that cheaters are drawn to what Cylinder Works has to offer, but, in truth, most big-bore engine kits go to riders who are not bound by displacement rules (Vets, play riders and offroad racers). However, there could be just a hint of pandering to cheaters in that you can?t tell a 269cc Cylinder Works cylinder from a stock-bore OEM cylinder. (They even put the same casting numbers on…

WE RIDE JUSTIN BARCIA’S GEICO HONDA CRF250: AFTERALL, HE DOESN’T USE IT ANYMORE

The last 250 Nationals of 2012 marked the end of a chapter in motocross lore. Justin Barcia, the wild child known for his long blonde locks and aggressive riding style, moved up to the 450 class full-time following the outdoor series concluding moto. ?Bam Bam? fittingly won the last moto of his 250 career at Lake Elsinore. Moving to the Muscle Milk factory Honda team for 2013 and beyond, Justin had to leave the Geico Honda squadron behind. And, fortunately for us, he also left his Honda CRF250 race stee…

MXDN IRON! WE RIDE RYAN DUNGEY’S FACTORY RED BULL KTM 450SXF

When wanted to ride Ryan Dungey’s KTM 450SXF works bike we had a plan. It was a simple plan. We called KTM team manager Roger DeCoster and asked if he would give us Dungey’s bike. Roger asked, ?When would you like it? What track do you want to ride it at? Who will ride it? Do you want his Supercross suspension or his outdoor suspension? Do you need me, or will Carlos Rivera and Tom Moen do?? To which we replied, ?Thursday. Glen Helen. Jody, Dennis, John and John. Outdoor. Carlos and Tom are fine.? That …

WE RIDE LANCE VINCENT’S MUNN RACING KTM 250SXF… SADLY BECAUSE LANCE HASN’T BEEN ABLE TO RACE MUCH THIS YEAR

It is often said that the only difference between funding a race team and throwing money in a bonfire is that you?ll actually stay warm if you burn the money. That comparison isn?t far off. Fielding a professional motocross race team is a money pit. There’s a gross misunderstanding about the expenses needed to even get to a single race. Motorcycles cost money, as do team personnel, parts, travel, transportation, fuel, food, and rider salaries. It doesn?t take a genius accountant to realize that funding …

VIDEO: WHERE TO SPEND YOUR HOP-UP MONEY… PIPE? CAM? OR PISTON? WE DYNO EACH ONE

The big three of the hop-up world are pipes, cams and pistons?this trinity of parts compromises a major portion of every serious race program. The question is, what does does each piece of the hop-up puzzle bring to the overall picture? The motocross world is full of anecdotal stories of 65 horsepower CRF450s with nothing more done to them than one tooth skipped on the camshaft sprocket and a muffler modified with a butter knife. But, the ravings of backyard mechanics aside, the MXA wrecking crew wanted…

WE RIDE PRO CIRCUIT’S 2012 SUZUKI RM-Z450 MOTOCROSS BIKE

We wouldn?t be telling tales out of school to say that Suzuki has pressed the pause button as of late when it comes to motocross development. Maybe it’s just us, but we can?t help but feel that Suzuki is coasting because of poor sales for the RM-Z450. Who can blame them? Their whole fuel-injected RM-Z450 program has been an unmitigated disaster from day one. It all started back in 2008 when Suzuki decided to get the jump on everyone by being the first manufacturer to come out with a fuel-injected 450cc …

IN SEARCH OF MORE POWER WE BUILD A 280cc KTM 250SXF MOTOCROSS BIKE

This story is much more about an engine than about the bike itself. More specifically, it is about the trend that this engine represents. KTM’s 2012 250SXF engine is an advanced, 248.6cc, water-cooled and fuel-injected mechanical marvel. It was developed to incorporate Keihin fuel injection, digital mapping, electric starting and a hydraulic clutch. It is a trendsetter?in more ways than one. Can you tell that it is a big-bore? We can, but to the casual observer there is no clue. However, the guy in the …

WE RIDE BROC TICKLE’S PRO CIRCUIT KAWASAKI KX450F

Unless you have been living in a bomb shelter awaiting nuclear destruction, you know that MXA doesn?t see eye to eye with the AMA. Perhaps that’s an understatement. In fact, MXA finds the AMA bureaucracy to be devoid of structure or standardization. Their rule book has more holes than Swiss cheese at a firing range. And, a good number of the AMA’s rules make little or no sense at all. For the sake of this bike test, let us point to what we refer to as the ?Trey Canard rule.?  Like all Pro Circuit r…

INSIDE MXA’S WORKSHOP: BUILDING THE ULTIMATE 2012 HONDA CRF450 ? IT IS LIGHT TO BEGIN WITH, NOW YOU JUST HAVE TO MAKE IT RIGHT

By John Minert After all of the 2012 bike test and shootouts are done, every MXA test rider is allowed to build his dream bike. There is no budget, not limit and no rules. It is a reward for spending almost a year riding what the test riders were assigned, and often racing a different bike between motos. For this test, test riders were free to choose the bike they want, the parts they want, the suspension they want and go-for-broke. They have spent all year testing products, riding works bikes and worki…

INSIDE MXA’S WORKSHOP: BUILDING THE ULTIMATE 2012 YAMAHA YZ450F – THIS IS THE MOST RELIABLE MOTOCROSS BIKE MADE

By Dennis Stapleton I spend most of my time switching bikes. When I’m testing I get to ride every new bike and when I’m racing, normally in some foreign country, I ride the bike the promoter provides me. I don’t spend a lot of time on one specific brand of bike. When I was newbie MXA test rider I always marveled at how the old-school MXA test riders could get off one bike and on another one, without as much as moving the bars or changing the levers. I, on the other hand, couldn’t ride if everything wasn…

INSIDE MXA’S WORKSHOP: BUILDING THE ULTIMATE 2012 KAWASAKI KX450F ? IF MONEY WAS NO PROBLEM WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

By John Basher After all of the 2012 bike test and shootouts are done, every MXA test rider is allowed to build his dream bike. There is no budget, no limit and no rules. Test riders can choose the bike they want, the parts they want, the suspension they want and go-for-broke. They have spent all year testing products, riding works bikes and working out the bugs on the stockers…and for this one brief period they are rewarded with the bike of their dreams. Then, the 2013 bikes come pouring in and they …

MXA WRENCH TECH: HOW TO INSTALL A HINSON SS CLUTCH IN THE HONDA CRF450

Honda’s four-spring clutch is a thing of wonder?most Honda CRF450 owners wonder what Honda’s engineers were thinking. If you ride hard and put it away wet, odds are that Honda’s four-spring clutch will not be in good working order by the end of the moto. Most MXA test riders can get four hours out of the stock CRF450 clutch before it needs new plates (some get four minutes). That is too often to be forced to replace $80 worth of clutch plates. So, MXA decided to solve the problem by installing Hinson’s …

EXCLUSIVE LOOK INSIDE THE KTM 450SXF-FE: THE BIKE THAT ROGER DECOSTER BUILT AND RYAN DUNGEY WON FOUR AMA SUPERCROSSES ON!

There is an inherent ?Hope Gene? in every person that believes that things will get better, that tomorrow is a better day, that good things come to those who wait and that this year’s new model is better than last year’s new model. And so it goes with motocross bikes. Even when we have positive proof that a bike hasn?t gotten better?people still run out and buy that bike…because it must be better…it just must be. We demand it! Which leads the MXA wrecking crew to the 2012 KTM 450SXF ?Factory Edition…

2012 250 DYNO SHOOTOUT! HOW MUCH HORSEPOWER DO THE 2012 250s REALLY MAKE: WE REVEAL THE INNER SECRETS OF THE 2012 POWERBANDS

The MXA wrecking crew spends the majority of its test time racing and riding brand-new production motorcycles, but early on in each test session every bike gets its day on the dyno. It really isn?t all that revealing because by the time its strapped down it has already been ridden to break in the engine, seat the muffler packing and get a feel for where it rates. Test riders form their opinions in the saddle and rely on the dyno numbers to reinforce what they already know. When the dyno numbers are spit…