2011 Suzuki RM-Z450
Rider: Kris Keefer
Hours On Bike: Total time on the new motor is 18.9. I don’t even want to mention why it has a new motor! Altogether, the chassis has 69 hours on it.
Latest Adventure: OK, as you may have read online, I forgot to add oil after a change, and Shylo (this bike’s name) went three full hours before blowing up!
What’s Hot: Shylo corners like a dream.
What’s Not: There is a distinct lack of bottom-end power on this 450.
Next Step: I’m planning on stiffening up the suspension to see if I can get it more comfortable at high speeds.
2011 KTM 250 XC
Rider: Chris Barrett
Hours On Bike: 22
Latest Adventure: This bike was trekked around some serious single-track testing the new Rekluse EXP 2.0 clutch. What is that lever on the left for again?
What’s Hot: It will take you anywhere you want to go, and even some places you don’t want to go!
What’s Not: Although I love the smell of premix, I still don’t like mixing it.
Next Step: I just put on an Enduro Engineering pipe and muffler end-cap, so I look forward to seeing the power improvement those make.
2011 Honda CRF250R
Rider: Pete Peterson
Hours On Bike: 29
Latest Adventure: I’ve been getting pulled away from my CRF with other stories and magazine duties, but I grabbed this Honda for a reason… “I wanna ride!”
What’s Hot: I pumped up the bike’s responsiveness with a Moto Tassinari Air4orce intake with the short (rev) velocity stack selected. Much better!
What’s Not: We were getting along great until I got a test ride on a Cylinder Works CRF270-kitted stocker. My Long Haul now has a new target.
Next Step: First up is a Vance & Hines Ti Pro full exhaust. Then in goes a Hot Cams Stage 2 cam, and then the big bore.
2011 Suzuki RM-Z250
Rider: Juan Diego Saffon
Hours On Bike: 38
Latest Adventure: Riding at Cahuilla Creek MX with the grand prix track layout was a lot of fun. Lap times were about six minutes long, and getting bored never crossed my mind.
What’s Hot: Handling, the bike is at a prime point right now. It turns with no effort and is super stable.
What’s Not: Stock air filter. It’s horrible because it seems that after each time I clean it, it looks like it is falling apart.
Next Step: Sure, it’s an MXer, but I want to take it trail riding!
2011 KTM 350 XC-F
Rider: Chris Denison
Hours On Bike: 33.5
Latest Adventure: The XC-F is a hoot to ride off-road, but I’ve been getting a kick out of riding it at the moto track. Nothing confuses people more than doing can-cans over a double jump on a bike with a kickstand!
What’s Hot: I’m really starting to adapt to the 350 XC-F’s delivery, and it’s fun to keep it in the revs and flick the shifter around like a two-stroke while actually using the clutch. Can’t do that on a 450!
What’s Not: I’m still trying to find a happy, do-all suspension setting that works well everywhere. Also, this pumpkin needs a flywheel…where’s that down low grunt?
Next Step: I’m to the point now where I’m going to start throwing some bigger-ticket mods at this KTM. Exhaust, suspension and steering damper, here we come!
2011 Yamaha YZ250F
Rider: Alfredo Contreras Macklis
Hours On Bike: 45
Latest Adventure: I have really set this bike up with the right equipment to try and focus on riding. I always try to keep things simple and add only the necessary aftermarket equipment based on what the bike truly needs.
What’s Hot: Regular oil changes have been keeping this engine clean. Regularly checking on loose bolts and tightening the spokes has been done, and keeping the air filter clean after every ride has prevented dirt from getting in the motor. I really want to show riders how important maintenance is on a motorcycle!
What’s Not: I wish this bike was fuel injected. The Boyesen Quickshot 3 resolved almost all of the bogging issues, but this is still the last 250F to have a carb.
Next Step: After 60 hours I plan on doing a complete check-up including valve adjustments if necessary. I also plan on greasing all the parts on this motorcycle that are involved with bearings and grease.
2011 Kawasaki KX250F
Rider: Chris Green
Hours On Bike: 25.7
Latest Adventure: I pulled off the track recently when I felt a wobble and discovered the rear axle nut was almost all the way off. I reached down, gave it a half turn and the axle nut fell in my hand. I must not have tightened the axle enough!
What’s Hot: I really have a soft spot for the Kawi’s motor. It has great hit down low for a 250F and pulls like mad all the way through the powerband.
What’s Not: The only thing I can’t get along with is the bar bend. It’s a little too tall for me and sometimes throws off my balance in corners.
Next Step: The first thing on my list is a new bar bend so I can be at peace with how my Long Haul handles. Once I’m happy with that I kind of want to try a different exhaust system to get a harder-hitting bottom-end snap. I also really want to get the suspension done and have it sprung (if necessary) and revalved stiffer.