A theory on old vs new.
A theory on old vs new.
By: TJ Smith
I’m sitting here at work, waiting to get off and finish my 11 year old project bike and then go ride. When that brings a thought to my mind. We are living in what could be the “Golden Age of Motocross” right now. Before you call me crazy and stop reading, give me a few moment to explain. Many people harken back to the good old days when 2 smokers ruled the roost and men were men. Everyone showed up to the race in pickup trucks, not $100k motorhomes. Well, I believe you’re wrong and here is why.
As 2017’s summer is in full force, the 2018 bike are soon to drop. We have all seen spy photos and drooled over our favorite new model. Here is what I ask you to do; step back and really look at the bikes. Yes the electronics, EFI and traction control (ahh, traction management) are all the hype. But to the untrained eye there is no real difference except pointy fenders from 07’ to now. Yes, at the pro level the bikes are so much faster and better but for the weekend racer, how much does that help?
I was riding a new KTM 350SX and loved the bike. I had Craig Decker at Enzo set the suspension for me and that was it. I rode it every weekend thinking it couldn’t get any better. Then my buddy Mark shows up with a 96’ CR250. He told me to ride it and I was like, “No, it doesn’t look fun.” He kept bugging me, so, trying to shut him up, I did. I WAS BLOWN AWAY. It was so good. The power was so smooth and it handled like it was on rails. I enjoyed it so much, I even bought it a few months later. It opened my eyes to a fact most people are missing. Bikes haven’t changed much in the last 20 years.
So this brings me to why we live in the best time to be a motocross rider. At what time in motocross’ great history could you go to a local track and race a 20 year old bike and be as competitive as a new bike? If you rolled up to the line in 1995 with 70’s bike, you were not in the running for a win. Same goes for the 2000’s. If you lined up a 1987 CR250 with Honda’s 2007 CRF450, well you know how that would turn out. But, take that 2007 CRF450 with the 2017 and you have a fight. As far as mini bikes go, don’t get me started. There hasn’t been a major update since 02’. As easy as that, my point is kind of proven.
I know many will think I’m crazy, but remember, I’m talking about the best time to be an amateur rider. With the prices of new bike and the cost to race going up, this could be our saving grace. When a guy gets into motocross and has to spend $10k for a new bike, that is insane. But I see it all the time now. Guys are getting 07’ YZ450F’s for dirt cheap and going out and racing. Parts are a dime a dozen for that bike and it is fast AND bulletproof. Need a good used subframe for a 99’ CR125? I bet there are 10 of them on eBay, and I know for a fact that that bike can win the schoolboy class. The doors for building an inexpensive competitive race bike are wide open.
So next time you are complaining about new bike cost, race fees, gas prices or the state of moto, remember, we are in the good old days right now. Enjoy it while it lasts, because sooner or later, there will be some kind of game changer. Ether some next step in engine like Direct Injection or electric bikes are coming. When they get here, these day’s are over and if you want to be at the front of the pack you will have to have a new bike. Long live the “Good Ol’ Days”.