KEEFER KUESTIONS 4th of July Edition
By:
Kris Keefer

Back with more advice for the moto-faithful.

<--break- />I’m in the market for a new 250f I tried to make the jump to a 450, ended up buying a 2013 kx450f and it was just too much for me. A dealer has made me a hell of a deal on either a 2017 rmz250 or a 2017 kx250f. Im 6'2 190lbs and novice rider at best, Im not really looking to win any races or make lorettas, i just want a reliable fun bike. I was just curious how much better does the rmz handle than other 250F's? Im not to partial to air forks, i did like them it just took longer for me to find a sweet spot with them. Any input would be great! Thanks for your help and keep up the awesome work! 
-Samuel Martin 

Samuel,
Since both of these models do not have the best fork comfort out of the group, I would say the deciding factor would have to be cornering since you are novice rider. If you are looking for a bike that is easier to corner, I would go with the Suzuki RM-Z250. The Suzuki has great bottom end/throttle response and is easier to corner than the KX250F for a novice type rider. I know that you can get a better deal on a Suzuki right now through your local dealer as they are pushing huge incentives to get Suzuki RM-Z 250's sold. Reliability on either bike are close to the same, but keep an eye out on your clutch plates. Both bikes will burn through clutches if you are a mild cutch abuser, but the key is to use Petroleum based engine oil. No Synthetics! Synethetic oil seems to make the clutch slip for me and the life of the plates weren't as long.  Hope this helps and have fun on your new steed! -KK   

 

Hey KK120, I have a 2014 YZ 250 2 stroke and have a hard time cornering. It always seems to want to come out of the berm (high side). My sag is set and my forks are up to the mark 5mm. Have any pointers/suggestions for me? Thanks very much for your time. love everything you do for our sport. @andygyz114
Thanks Keefer very much,
Andy

Andy,
It could be just technique. A lot of these problems come from improper technique. Try dragging your front brake lightly (while on the gas) going through a rut to keep your front end from riding over the tops of berms/ruts. This helps suck the front wheel inside the rut/berm and keep it there. It will take some time to get used to but helps a lot. Maybe try a sag of 102mm instead of 104 to see if that helps give you more weight on your front end as well. I wouldn't want to go up any higher than 5mm on your fork height, so play with sag settings. You can go as high as 100mm if need be. Hope you're ripping and have fun! -KK  

 

Kris,
100% love your content, not only on this site but Pulp mx also.
I am a 30 year old moto rider whom in the past few years has developed an issuse with my site. I am minus 02 (can't see long distance! which presents a bit of a drama when i hit the track) Do you know of any pro riders that have had any issues with their vison? I am running my opical glasses under a set of 100% OTG goggles which works ok, but i would like to know if you know of, or have heard of any other options?
Long time fan from Australia.
You're the man!!!!!! -Adrian Shepherd 

Adrian,
A lot of guys that I ride with have had Lasik surgery and they say it's great, but I don't know the extent of their diagnosis. No top SX/MX riders that I know where glasses when they race. I have 20/20 in my left eye, but my right eye is 20/120!!! It’s very bad. It doesn't bother me much on the track unless it's very bright or the ground is super white. 

I know that there are better goggles for glasses. The Scott Prospect has a wide goggle as well as an Oakley Airbrake. The 100% goggles I have found are somewhat small and could have more room and peripheral for riders who wear glasses. I know Smith had great goggles for riders who glasses, but they stopped making moto goggles. However, you can still find some that are still in stock through some online distributors. -KK 

 

Hey, Kris
I listened to your Keefer testing podcast about the 2017 Honda and I had a quick question referring to the fork placement in the triple clamps. You recommend dropping them 2mm, now do you mean dropping the forks lower in the triple clamps or dropping the triple clamps down on the fork. In others words, do I want 2mm more above the clamps or 2mm less? And is this 2mm from that line that's indented in the top parts of the fork?
Thanks for your time, I'll definitely be listening to more of your podcasts.
Thanks,
Jaymie Owen

Jaymie,
You want the fork up 2mm above the clamp. Stock is 5mm (the first line on fork). This is also something you can experiment with yourself as well. Some riders prefer flush, but for me 2mm was the best overall setting for a wide variety of tracks.
Cheers! -KK

 

Hey Kris,
First I just wanted to say that I am a big fan of yours, and really enjoy all the tech expertise you offer. I'm a nerd when it comes to bikes and set up tips. I have a 2014 YZ250F and I heard you on a pulp show say something about the 2017 engine mounts helping handling. I was hoping for a little more info on this and any other tips you have for this bike and helping handling. Also, I qualified for Lorettas this year so I'll see you at the ranch!
Thanks,
Collin Fletchall

Right on Collin! LL brothers! You can put the 2017 upper and lower engine mounts on your 2014 machine. This will help settle the chassis as well make it corner slightly better on entrance of corners. The 2017 mounts provide you with a little more bite and feel on the track. You can order them through your local dealer.  Thanks for checking out my stuff. Look forward to seeing you at the ranch this year. -KK

 

Thank you for possibly answering my question. I have a 17 Honda 450. I love the bike and everything about it. I've had Pro Circuit revalve and respring it for me. The issue I'm having is deceleration harshness over braking bumps prior to entering corners or anytime the front end is loaded. I like how the bike handles everywhere else on the track jumps, turns, etc.

I've softened the compression a click or two and that makes it feel like the front wants to tuck too much in the corners. So that's no good. As stated it's only bad when the front end is weighted. Could I be running into a packing issue? Should I speed up my front rebound to correct this? Or should I lighten the front end all together and run a bit more sag (currently running about 103mm). Or would it be best to back the high speed compression out a bit? Or a combination of all of the above? I've got the forks at the first mark/line in the clamps which I believe is about 5mm. I don't want to chase my tail and realize to just change one thing at a time. I'm just looking for a general direction to start. In a perfect world (when the track is smooth at the beginning of the day) this issue doesn't present itself. However at the end of the day when the track falls apart this issue arises. I'm also running heavy duty tubes and am considering going back to regular ones. I feel as if they are only compounding my situation. I'm a 6'1" vet rider and weigh 200#.

I realize your time is valuable and would be happy to make a donation via PayPal for a detailed response. Please just send me the proper email address to do so. Congratulations on your new endeavors.

Thank you,
Travis Higday

Travis,
First off I try to help as many people as I can, but it is hard to get to every single question. Although I don't usually take money to answer questions as this is part of what I want to bring to the moto community. Hopefully I will get a few advertisers up on keeferinctesting.com shortly and that will help start to subsidize my work on this site. As always I will promise to give you the most accurate and honest feedback out there today. 

Your problem is a common with the 2017 CRF450R. Here are a few things to try and please try to do this in order. Also if you didn't listen to my “Keefer Tested” podcast (on iTunes and Stitcher) about the 17 CRF450R please do so and you will find out more chassis "fixes" for that bike as well.

1. First off try running your sag at 105-106mm. 103 is too high. Dropping the rear end will help balance the bike out on de-cel coming into corners. I have gone as far as 108mm on some occasions. 

2. Drop your fork in your triple clamp to 2mm. I have found out that 5mm is too high for that chassis (unless your riding SX). This will help your oversteering problem. 

3. After you have done these two things above and still feel like you need more comfort (fork) on de-cel try speeding up your rebound one to two clicks. One click at a time however.

Try these three mods and you will feel your 2017 CRF450R improve. This is a good bike, but a little finicky with adjustments, so finding the right setting is the key to happiness with the Honda. Trust me I have logged many hours on this bike in the past eight months so I am very familiar with this. Also in the podcast I go over updated engine hangers, fuel tank bolts and torque specs for your swingarm pivot bolt. All of this should help you smile a little more when you ride your bike. 

Thanks for the inquiry and hope it helps. Let me know how it goes! Have fun! 

Cheers,
KK 

 

Hello Kris congratulations on your new venture, I'm planning on buying my first new bike,I'm 52 and race 50+ intermediate in Az. I was considering one of the 350’s, I ride a 2004 CR 250 presently against the 450's and working a little too hard. I would like to know which one you prefer or a 450 that you would think would fit the bill. Thank you for your time and keep up the good work…

Marc,
If you're set on a 350 than for sure get the KTM 350 SX-F. Fun power and decent suspension. It has a good throttle response/bottom end hit, but not as much as a 450. You will still have to be aggressive out of corners with the 350, but feels light and can rev to the moon. 

If you're looking at 450s the KTM is pretty easy to ride/manage on the track and feels just as light as that 350. There is no big hit and has a seamless powerband. The Honda is good, but I feel the snappy power down low might be hard to ride once you start to get tired. I don't know about the 18’s yet because I haven't rode them (it will be soon though). 

Anyway I hope this helps and I feel like either way you go 350 or 450 it will be tons better than what you have currently. -KK 

 

Mr. Keefer,

Congratulations on your new adventure. I might consider myself a perfect candidate to utilize your information.

I know what I'm about to ask is very involved and has numerous moving parts.

I'm 43, I rode (owned) a CR80 when I was a teenager, I never raced but logged countless hours freeriding my dads farm. During my teenage years I raced BMX and in my late 20's I rode cross county and downhill mountain biking while I lived in Utah.

About a year and a half ago I started riding dirt bikes again. Go ahead and call me crazy but I WANT TO GO TO LORETTAS!!!

My initial purchase was a 2006 kx250f. I did a brief rebuild of the bike and started racing. It took about five months and I made a decision to invest in a new bike and move forward. Not having KEEFER at the time I went out and made a purchase with only 'shootout' data to go off. So I bought a 2016 FC250. This bike was awesome. Electric start for the old guy, and it was fast!!!! But he suspension hurt my arms and hands and for some reason I had a very difficult time setting the bike up and spent way to much time as a passenger as opposed to making the bike go where I wanted to. SELL!!!!!
Today I own a 2017 150SX. This thing is super easy to ride and pretty fast, but I'm not sure it will help me achieve my goals.
I know Loretta’s is aggressive thinking, but I feel I can definitely get there!! Aside from my own personal trial and error on bikes what recommendations would you give to me to get the most out of my purchasing decisions?

Thank you for your time.
Michael Bugden

Michael,

It would be tough to get to Loretta's let alone do good on a 150 in the plus 40 class. I would recommend getting a 250F if you like a smaller bike. The KTM and YZ-F are great buys and are fast enough to get you in the mix to make it to LL! If you think your 150 is easy to ride wait until you ride one of these 250F’s. Super fun and you will be able to work a lot less on the track! 

Try looking into riding a 250 four-stroke again to achieve some racing goals. A 150 is too much work for a rider to compete against dudes on 450s. If you’re worried about the cost of maintenance on a 250F, I wouldn't worry about that too much when we are in our 40’s. Usually older guys aren't as hard on bikes and normally will take care of them better than the teenagers that usually rider them. Good luck and hope to see you achieve your goal in getting to “The Ranch”! 

Happy Loretta Hunting,
KK