Perhaps you recall our test of the Cylinder Works big-bore Honda CRF270 we tested in the May issue. To summarize, the bike was a blast. The big-bore kit catered to a wide range of riders, but we felt that it could be improved.

Following the completion of our test cycle we discussed our thoughts of the CRF270 with Cylinder Works rep Jay Clark. Jay said, “If you liked that setup, you’ll love what I have in store for you next.” A few weeks later we met at Glen Helen to re-test the bike. Already quite satisfied with the CRF270 kit, there was still a hint of excitement among the test riders. It turned out that our interest was warranted.

Daryl Ecklund tests the weight bias of the CRF270. The bike looks balanced to us.

Hear what MXA test rider and Assistant Editor, Daryl Ecklund, had to say about his experience that day:

“I felt that the initial CRF270 setup had impressive power from bottom to the midrange, but it signed off very quickly on top and had no over-rev. This caused me to short-shift the bike, and I had to bang down numerous gears coming into corners. All this shifting got tedious! It made the bike rather difficult to ride, but I knew that it had potential.

Gearing: When punching up the powerband, we geared it up by dropping a tooth. Get it?

“In the first test, which took place a few months back, Jay brought out a spare wheel with a 48-tooth rear sprocket. We started with a 49-tooth rear sprocket, but after a few laps I requested the 48-tooth sprocket. Upon trying the 48 I knew that we were headed in the right direction, but the bike still needed some work to get the powerband exactly how I wanted it. Jay took my thoughts to heart and went back to the drawing board to find a solution.

“A few weeks later we met at Glen Helen. I rode the bike with the same setup as before to get a feel for the bike again. Then, Jay put on a 47-tooth rear sprocket in hopes of spreading out the shift points. We just weren’t sure if the engine could pull the taller gearing. Our worries were for naught, because the bike pulled the taller gearing extremely well. No longer did I need to short-shift the CRF270.

Phase two of our follow-up test was installing a Vortex ignition. We went slightly richer on top.

“However, that wasn’t the end of it. Jay installed a Vortex ignition, hoping that it would give the bike the top-end and over-rev that it was lacking. I was in awe after riding the bike. The ignition made the bike come alive. It got rid of the typical big-bore short powerband. This engine roared throughout the powerband, from bottom to top, and kept on screaming. We did notice that the bike had a lean pop at high rpm. This really wasn’t an issue, though, as we just popped the seat off and adjusted the Vortex ignition with the turn of a flat head screwdriver to a richer setting. We messed with a few other settings to see what we liked best. We ended up just one click richer from where we started. Vortex did their homework and made the changes needed to make this bike come to life.”

The Vortex ignition retails for $699.95 and is available at or (888) 457-9403. For more info about the CRF270 kit, read the May 2013 issue of MXA or contact Cylinder Works at

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