VIDEO: 2016 TM 85 Junior 17/14

2016 Dirt Rider 85cc MX Shootout: Sixth Place

The 2016 TM 88 Junior 17/14 has such a long model name because the Italian manufacturer makes it in a big wheel, and also has a full-sized 85cc machine. This was the exotic machine in the test and also the most recent to have a major change, which came in 2013. This is the only aluminum framed bike in the shootout, but also the only bike that needed to have some race fuel mixed in with the pump gas. When it came to power output, the TM dominated. It started the shootout with a jetting bog, but a quick jetting adjustment later the power was what the riders came back raving out, saying it was even stronger than the 150cc four-stroke in the test. Some riders felt the power was strong everywhere, others said it was focused in the mid to top end. The TM’s suspension was too stiff for most of our testers, who are all very fast but some were in the 80 pound range. The general consensus was that the fork was oversprung, which might have been the cause for the machine’s vague feeling at corner entrances. At speed, some riders felt the bike was twitchy until the fork was lowered in the triple clamps to raise the front end. One rider said that the rougher the track got, the better the TM’s suspension and chassis performed.

A general note to non-riders: We tested with a group of six young but highly skilled and very experienced racers, and our shootout was geared toward this type of top-level racer. If you're researching a first bikes for a kid, none of the 85cc race bikes are a great choice, a trail bike (CRF-F, TT-R, DR-Z, KLX) would be the right machine to get a youngster into the sport.