This story is from the January 1999 issue of Motocross Action Magazine. Interested in a 1999 Kawasaki KX125? Don’t know anything about it? Here are a few facts: Engine: Water-cooled, 124cc, two-stroke, reed-valved engine. Bore and stroke: 54mm by 54mm. Transmission: Six-speed, wet clutch. Suspension: 12.2-inch Kayaba 46mm upside-down forks and 13-inch Kayaba shock (with 20 rebound clicks and 18 compression clicks). Wheelbase: 56.5 inches. Claimed weight: 191.7 pounds. Price: $4998. Those are the tech specs, but these are the questions that most riders want the answers to: QUESTION ONE: IS THE ‘99 KX125 ENGINE FAST? A: One thing is true–it’s a lot faster than the ‘98 KX125. Last year the KX125 engine was anemic. It hit in the midrange with all the power of a wet dish rag. No bottom. No top. Just a mysterious, hard-to-use and ethereal midrange. It was an embarrassment. Racing a ‘98 KX125 was like tieing your bike to an anchor on the starting line. So is the ‘99 fast? Yes. How much faster? About two ponies faster than the ‘98 and, although power placement is relatively unchanged (no bottom and no top), the breadth of the midrange power is considerably wider. More horsepower translates into more to work with. The KX125 engine. QUESTION TWO: IS THE ‘99 ENGINE BETTER THAN THE ‘98? A: Didn’t you read the last paragraph. The only thing less racy than last year’s KX125 engine has Briggs and Stratton written on it. QUESTION THREE: WHAT DID KAWASAKI DO TO THE ‘99 KX125 ENGINE? A: We cannot reveal all the secrets of KHI (Kawasaki Heavy Industries), but we can say that Kawasaki did not have the budget to throw the KX125 engine away and start over. At least they don’t have the R&D dollars in ‘99. Although, we bet they will scrounge them up in Y2K. Why? Conglomerates don’t always respond immediately to the demands of consumers, they have other priorities. In engine development, the production life span of the casting molds plays a big part in R&D budgets. Molds have actuary tables and the KX125 engine molds will have run their course in 2000—not before. What does all of this mean? (1) The ‘99 KX125 engine is a make-do engine. A tweak here, mod there and band-aids everywhere. (2) Next year the KX125 will probably get an all-new engine. That said, here is the short list of what Kawasaki’s engineers changed for ‘99. (1) The KX125 gets revised port shapes, new inlet, changed exhaust port timing and improved KIPS valve clearance. (2) The KX125 (and KX250) are equipped with Keihin’s latest Power Jet carb (a 36mm for the 125 and 38mm for the 250). The “shorty” carb positions the slide 12mm closer to the engine. (3) The KX125 will get a totally new Keihin Power Jet for ‘99. The 36mm “shorty” carb is very different from last year’s: (a) The slide is positioned 12mm closer to the engine; (b) Kawasaki employed a “throttle position sensor” (labeled K-TRIC) that varies the ignition timing depending on throttle settings and engine rpm (similar to the Yamaha YZ400 throttle position sensor). (4) The cut-outs in the side panels are no longer hand holds for picking the bike up (you have to pick it up by the rear fender), but are for air intake only. The front of the airbox is angled towards the carb for more direct airflow. Stiffer rubber is used on the air boot to keep it from flexing as the engine sucks air into the intake tract (5) Kawasaki uses magnesium for the clutch cover instead of aluminum. (6) Kawasaki carved, whittled, machined and hogged out as much excess metal as possible from the primary gear, kick starter idler gear, clutch drive gear and all six tranny gears. (7) The KX125 has a new exhaust pipe and the silencer end cap stamping has had its wall thickness decreased from 1mm to 0.8mm. The 1999 KX125 in action. QUESTION FOUR: WHAT DO THE CHANGES MEAN? A: They mean the difference between a roach and race bike. Where the ‘98 KX125 could barely get out of its own way, the ‘99 version delivers a potent, competitive and powerful punch. QUESTION FIVE: IS THE KX125 FASTER THAN A YZ125? A: No. A million times no, but where the KX125 powerband works, it works well. The strength and length of the middle makes the KX125 fun to ride. This bike rewards the hard riding and, conversely, punishes the lazy. The required intensity for keeping the engine boiling is not for the weak of will. That’s why Ricky Carmichael does so well on one. The improvement is substantial. It is significant enough to earn the KX125 the “Most Improved 125 of ‘99” award. QUESTION SIX: WHAT ABOUT THE JETTING? A: We had a minor problem with the engine being rich in the middle (which couldn’t be fixed with something as simple, inexpensive and understandable as a clip position). To lean out the middle, we swapped the stock N7PW needle for a N7NW. Here is what we ran in our bike for SoCal’s sea level tracks: Mainjet: 158 Pilot jet: 45 Power Jet: 52 Needle: N7NW (N7PW stock) Air screw: 1 1/2 turns Clip: groove number 3 Note: The KX125’s new carb is very sensitive to air screw settings. We could make it rich or lean in less than a half turn of the air screw. QUESTION SEVEN: HOW GOOD IS THE GEARING? A: Do yourself a favor and get your dealer to throw in a 49-tooth rear sprocket. Lower gearing helps the KX125 immensely. QUESTION EIGHT: WHAT ABOUT THE REAR SUSPENSION? A: Awesome! The ‘99 KX125 rear suspension is the best on the track. Roll it out of the showroom, set the sag at 95mm and live happily ever after. WHAT WAS OUR BEST SETTING? Spring rate: 4.6/4.8/5.0 kg/mm Race sag: 97mm Hi compression: 2 1/2 turns out Lo compression: 10 clicks out Rebound: 12 clicks out QUESTION NINE: HOW GOOD ARE THE NEW FORKS? A: Albeit with lighter damping and spring rates, the ‘99 KX125 forks are the same Kayaba units that come on the KX250. We didn’t like the KX250 forks very much. They had three problems: (1) The progressive rate springs are too soft on initial stroke and allow the bike to hang down under a load; (2) The oil height is not sufficient to stop harsh bottoming over big jumps; (3) Midstroke compression and rebound contribute to a porpoise-effect when landing from jumps. The KX125 forks, because of the lighter weight of the machine, do not exhibit the bad traits of the KX250–or at least not to the same degree. We did swap the stock 0.39/0.41 progressive springs for the next stiffest 0.40/0.42 progressive springs (but only because Kawasaki does not offer a 0.42 straight rate spring). The stiffer springs helped maintain the proper attitude when attacking rough sections of the track (and were a big help in absorbing G-outs). Still, the forks have a tendency to bottom out with a clank. Across the board, the KX125 forks received a “good” rating. QUESTION TEN: WHAT ARE THE BEST FORK SETTINGS? A: What was our best setting? For hardcore racing we recommend this set-up: Spring rate: 0.40/0.42 kg/mm (0.39/0.41 stock) Oil height: 97mm (107mm stock) Compression: 10 clicks out Rebound: 11 clicks out Fork leg height: 3mm above top of stanchion Notes: The simplest way to get the stiffer 0.40/0.42 progressive spring is from a KX250 rider who replaced it with a stiffer 0.43 or 0.44 straight rate spring. The 0.40/0.42 comes stock on the ‘99 KX250. We raised the oil height by 10mm to aid the fork’s resistance to bottoming over big jumps. QUESTION 11: HOW DOES IT HANDLE? A: It’s rare that a chassis finds universal acceptance among the test riders, but there is something about the KX125 that appeals to the quirks of a variety of people. What’s so odd about that? (1) The KX125 is the least 125-ish of all the tiddlers. The frame is big, wide and girthy. (2) The turning radius is not as razor sharp as an RM125’s–it takes its time. However, since the wheelbase is 30mm shorter than the KX250’s it’s not a slow handler (just relaxed). (3) When sitting astride the KX125 you could swear you were aboard a KX250. It has the same ergos, but the numbers are not identical. The KX125 steering head is moved back 15mm, while the swingarm is shortened 10mm. This makes the little KX more agile than its big brother–although the sensation of roominess is hard to erase. Do we think it is a great handling 125? No. But given their druthers, this is the 125 chassis that most test riders choose as their favorite. The paradoxes are many: Not the quickest turning; not the most stable; not the lightest feeling; not the most diminutive; still in all, the favorite. QUESTION 12: WHAT DID WE HATE? The hate list: (1) Decals: The decals on the swingarm blew off at the car wash (on the soap cycle). (2) Tank: The black gas tank makes it hard to see the fuel level (although, Kawasaki did put a white anti-slosh tube into the opening to reflect more light into the cavity). (3) Brakes: The front brake is mushy. Braking power is minimal when compared to other brands (Euro brands included). (4) Bars: We won’t ride with the stock handlebars (after a pair bent in a rider’s hands when landing from a jump). (5) Jetting: The stock jetting is just far enough off for inexperienced riders to ignore (which is the worst kind of jetting mistake). (6) Saddle: Kawasaki’s seats were never terrific, but normally they were too soft. The ‘99 saddle is thin in the back (a la Yamaha) and too steep in the front. The seat brackets are riveted on and they have the irritating habit of snapping off. Watch them closely. (7) Tranny: Shifting is notchy. Missed upshifts are common. Try to shift before maxing out the revs. (8) Number plates: Full coverage side panels replace last year’s airbox insert-style side panels. Some test riders thought that they added to the width of the KX’s mid-section. (9) Bar clamps: We mounted a KX250 top triple clamp to our KX125. The KX125 comes with solid bar mounts, while the KX250 bar clamps are rubber mounted and reversible. We felt the need to move the bars forward in the clamps. QUESTION 13: WHAT DID WE LIKE? The like list: (1) Pipe: We love the coating Kawasaki puts on its exhaust pipe. It’s durable, non-rusting and trick looking. (2) Air filter: The air filter locating system uses two prongs. We like this, but always reach in the airbox and make sure the bottom prong is in the hole. (3) Grips: The new half-waffle grips are on the fat side for the typical 125 rider. However, they are terrific feeling (thanks to very low-profile waffles). (4) Frame: The subframe is square section aluminum (instead of round steel tubing). (5) Spokes: Aluminum spoke nipples replace last year’s steel nipples. (6) Frame guards: Plastic frame guards (a la KTM) have been added to keep the frame spars from scratching. (7) Brackets: The radiators are supported by small braces to keep them from bending backwards in a crash. (8) Axle: The front axle clamp is a Honda-style two pinch bolt design. (9) Shock: The rear shock offers high- and low-speed compression damping (a la Honda). (10) Sneakers: The KX125 comes with a Dunlop K490 (front) and K739 (rear). (11) Linkage: The rear shock linkage gets needle bearings to lessen stiction and binding. (12) Rims: The U-rims are very trick looking, but the jury is still out on durability. QUESTION 14: WHAT DO WE REALLY THINK? Engine: The ‘99 powerband is very one-dimensional (midrange only), but it’s so good at what it does that most MXA test riders preferred the KX125 style of power over the Suzuki, Husqvarna and Honda midrange engines. Yamaha and KTM have different powerbands altogether. Handling: The small KX feels just like its big brother. We had our doubts that a 125 with 250 ambience would be a pleasant experience, but it was. It doesn’t feel like a toy. It goes where you aim it and seems to absorb feedback better than your typical tiddler chassis. The KX125 has a much shorter wheelbase than the KX250, which eliminates the big KX’s reluctance to turn tight berms. Not every rider will fall in love with the big bike feel of the KX125, but every MXA test rider did. Suspension: The best all-around suspension in the 125 class. The forks are less effective than the rear shock, but the combo adds up to a race-ready bike. Overall rating: Last year, when a test rider was assigned to race the KX125, he acted like he was being given a blindfold, cigarette and asked to stand over by a wall. For ‘99, the pall has lifted. It’s a great bike with a good engine. The post ON RECORD | WE TEST THE 1999 KAWASAKI KX125 appeared first on Motocross Action Magazine.
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The 2019 KTM 85SX gets a new clutch design, power valve system, lighter weight, increased crank inertia, ad 43mm air forks. The 2018 KTM 85SX is a completely new weapon for class supremacy. An all-new model from the ground up, the 85SX boasts an engine with more power and rideability across the entire rev range and a chassis that allows the rider to use every bit of that power. There is no 85cc machine that is more ready to race than the 2019 KTM 85SX. 2019 KTM 85SX HIGHLIGHTS • New engine in 2018 with improved power and torque over the entire rev range is 1.5 pounds lighter. • New orange frame and graphics to match the full size SX bikes • Cylinder is designed around an all-new power valve system that is adjustable and increases torque and controllability. • Crankshaft is lighter than before while having more inertia for better torque. Optimized balancing reduces vibrations. • DS (Diaphragm Spring) clutch is more compact with better performance than a conventional coil spring design. • Crankcases are more compact with a shaft arrangement that is close as possible to the center of gravity. • Chromoly steel frame is nearly a pound lighter with 7% more torsional rigidity and 25% less longitudinal stiffness for more agility and better bump absorption. • WP AER 43 front fork with a sophisticated air spring design and separate damping for easy adjustment to any track condition, rider weight or skill level. • WP PDS (Progressive Damping System) rear shock provides excellent bump absorption and stability. • Aluminum subframe is lighter and more compact for better mass centralization. • Cooling system features integrated crankcase cooling and two radiators for high performance. The newly designed system uses the shroud and grill to protect the radiator in a crash. • Sharp bodywork that is based on the full-sized SX models with the same contact points and overall feel for perfect ergonomics. • Airbox similar to the larger SX models allows for air filter changes in seconds without tools. • Black-coated high-end Excel rims, lightweight, CNC-machined hubs and black spokes with lightweight aluminum nipples ensure the highest stability at minimum weight on the KTM 85SX. The 2019 KTM 65SX rolls off the assembly line ready to race with a six-speed transmission, big rotors and WP air forks. The 65SX is a fully-fledged piece of racing kit for young pilots. This year’s top mini features revolutionary WP AER 35mm front forks, cool graphics and detailed improvements that set the standard in terms of power, riding dynamics, equipment and craftsmanship. Further weight reduction from the new WP AER 35 fork make the 65SX even sharper on the track. 2019 KTM 65SX HIGHLIGHTS: • New ODI grips for 2019 • New fork guards • WP AER 35 air-sprung front fork is 1.7 pounds lighter and makes adjustments for the rider size and track easy • Sleek bodywork that provides excellent ergonomics for the ultimate in control • New graphics to match the full-size SX models and orange frame • The 65SX benefits from cutting-edge 2-stroke technology and an easy to shift 6-speed transmission with a hydraulic clutch. • A WP PDS monoshock guarantees optimum damping characteristics and outstanding stability. The rear wheel travel is 270mm. • With adjustable compression and rebound, the suspension can be set up precisely for the rider and track in no time. • The 65SX is fitted front and rear with massive four-piston calipers that grip lightweight Wave brake discs of 198mm front and 160mm rear diameter. • Like the big KTM factory racers, the 65SX has super lightweight, black anodized, aluminum rims providing the highest strength. • Maxxis knobby tires provide superb grip in any terrain The 50SX the first choice as a stepping stone into the world of MX or for the first racing step on the ladder. It come is a smaller size (the 50SXS Mini shown below) and a more advanced model (50SX shown above). The 50SX package has an engine that delivers steady, controllable power, incorporating an automatic clutch that allows the rider to concentrate on the track, not shifting. This year’s model features revolutionary WP AER 35 front forks, fully adjustable rear suspension, a new exhaust, ultra-cool graphics and detail improvements that make going fast fun. The 2019 KTM 50SX Mini. 2019 KTM 50SX HIGHLIGHTS: • New fork guards • New ODI grips • New orange frame and graphics to match the full size SX bikes • WP AER 35 air-sprung fork is easily adjustable for different rider sizes as well as track conditions • Fully adjustable rear suspension to match the performance of the WP AER 35 fork • A 3-shaft engine design keeps the crankshaft close to the bike’s center of gravity for quick handling along with room for an optimized reed valve angle for maximum performance • Bodywork that mimics the full-size SXF line that gives the 50SX a slim profile for excellent ergonomics and handling • Front and rear hydraulic brakes by Formula combined with lightweight Wave discs are powerful with feedback that gives control for any skill level • A centrifugal multi-disc automatic clutch provides manageable acceleration and can be adjusted to the track conditions in minutes without tools • Super lightweight, black anodized aluminum rims are matched to Maxxis tires for maximum grip The post FIRST LOOK! 2019 KTM 50SX MINI, 50SX, 65SX & 85SX MINICYCLES appeared first on Motocross Action Magazine.
2019 KTM 125SX. 2019 KTM TWO-STROKE FRAME All 2019 KTM SX models feature lightweight chromoly steel frames in various profiles including hydro-formed elements produced by WP Performance Systems with state-of-the-art robots. They feature optimized stiffness (2% stiffer longitudinally and 10% stiffer torsionally). The head stays are aluminum for all models (new on the 250 SX two-stroke). New frame guards improve grip and the right one is heat protector for the muffler/silencer. The subframe is 900 grams (32 ounces) lighter and 40mm longer than before. The 125/150SX engine rear can be switched back and forth between 125cc and 150cc displacement with just a cylinder, piston and head change. 2019 KTM 125/150SX ENGINE The KTM 125/150SX engine is the most powerful engine of the class, but for 2019 it gets a reworked 54mm-bore cylinder with an improved power valve system, including a sophisticated mechanism for the lateral support exhaust ports. A new layout of the exhaust ports increases the engine performance. In addition, the upper contour of the exhaust port is now machined to guaranties more accurate port timing. The KTM 125SX engine design allows an increase of the displacement from 125cc to 144cc just by replacing the cylinder, piston and head without changing the crankshaft. The new DS (diaphragm steel) clutch features a one-piece clutch basket combined with the primary gear. both milled in one piece from high-strength billet steel, the engine width at the clutch case is reduced by 10mm. The 125/150SX is fitted with a newly designed exhaust pipe and silencer. The pipe is produced with the latest 3-D stamping technology for an optimized shape. In addition the molded plastic silencer bracket is replaced by a welded aluminum bracket to reduce weight. A new airbox has been completely reworked for increased flow. This improves throttle response. The large Twin-Air air filter is mounted on a stiff cage, which minimizes incorrect installation of the filter and cage. The filter can be changed without tools in seconds. The 125/150SX are fitted with a six-speed transmission made by F1 supplier Pankl. The 38mm flat-slide Mikuni carb gets new jetting specs to adapt to the new airbox and exhaust design. Note the longer rear axles slots. 2019 BODYWORK & SEAT The all new-plastics that provide perfect ergonomics and contact points for the rider, maximum freedom of movement and improved handling. In addition, the I-beam design for the front and rear fenders are prime examples of an intelligent design, which guarantees maximum stability at lowest weight through a well thought-out structure and mounting. A newly shaped seat provides improved ergonomics and better seat comfort. Due to newly developed silicone strips the seat cover provides better feel and grip. The seat installs with one long bolt from the left side of the frame for easier removal and installation. 2019 SWINGARM All 2019 KTM big bikes models are fitted with a reworked cast aluminum swingarm featuring a longer slot for the rear axle. This allows the adjustment of the rear wheel in a position up to 5 mm further back which gives the rider the option of gaining more straight line stability for fast tracks and whoops. The single-component casting process offers low weight and a perfect flex behavior. 2019 TWO-STROKE FUEL TANKS The 125SX, 150SX and 250SX models are fitted with newly designed lightweight polyethylene tanks that improved ergonomics. Fuel capacity 1.85 gallons of fuel. 2019 COOLING SYSTEM All 2019 KTM models feature newly designed radiators which are mounted 12mm lower than the predecessors. This lowers the center of gravity and in conjunction with a new radiator shape they match perfectly with the design of the new radiator shroud to make the bike narrower and easier to get forward on the bike. Thanks to calculated liquid circulation (CFD) and improved air ventilation cooling is improved. The coolant tube, that passes through the frame, is 4 mm larger to improve coolant flow from the cylinder head to the radiators more efficient. 2019 KTM WHEELS The KTM wheels feature CNC machined hubs and high-end Excel rims, but for 2019 the aluminum nipples will feature a reworked design to reduce the frequency of spoke tightening. The tires are a Dunlop Geomax MX3S combo. 2019 KTM 250SX TWO-STROKE 2019 KTM 250SX ENGINE The 2019 250SX engine features a cylinder with a twin-valve-controlled power valve system, counter balance shaft for low engine vibration, five-speed transmission and a hydraulically operated DDS clutch. With a 66.4mm bore, the power characteristics can be changed in seconds thanks to two supplied power valve springs and a preload tension adjuster for the main spring. The 250SX engine is raised by 1-degree around the swingarm pivot improving the handling and front wheel grip. Plus, the head stays brackets are now aluminum instead of steel to reduce vibration. The 250SX gets a reworked water pump casing to optimize flow for more efficient cooling. The 250SX uses the KTM-developed damped diaphragm steel (DDS) clutch with a wear-free steel basket. This DDS design uses a diaphragm spring (Belleville washer)instead of the usual coil springs, which makes for easier clutch action. The diaphragm spring also leaves sufficient space for a rubber damping system integrated into the clutch hub, which benefits both traction and durability. The Brembo hydraulic clutch mechanism produces controlled modulation of the clutch. The 2019 KTM 250SX has a newly designed exhaust pipe and silencer. The pipe is produced with the latest 3-D stamping technology for an optimized shape. In addition, the molded plastic silencer bracket is replaced by a welded aluminum bracket to reduce weight. A new airbox has been completely reworked for increased flow. This improves throttle response. The large Twin-Air air filter is mounted on a stiff cage, which minimizes incorrect installation of the filter and cage. The filter can be changed without tools in seconds. The 38mm flat slide Mikuni carburetor has new jetting specs for 2019 to work with the new airbox and exhaust design. 2019 KTM 250SX TWO-STROKE HIGHLIGHTS Seat: newly shaped seat provides improved ergonomics and better seat comfort. Due to newly developed silicone strips the seat cover provides better feel and grip. The seat installs with one long bolt from the left side of the frame for easier removal and installation. Swingram: The 2019 KTM 250SX cast aluminum swingarm features a 5mm longer axle slot to allow the rear wheel up to 5 mm further back. Gas tank: The 250SX has a lightweight polyethylene tanks with improved ergonomics. Fuel capacity 1.85 gallons of fuel. Radiators: The radiators are mounted 12mm lower than last year to lower the 250SX’s center of gravity. The new radiators and radiator shrouds make the bike narrower. Thanks to calculated liquid circulation (CFD) and improved air ventilation the cooling is improved. Additionally, the coolant tube, that passes through the frame, is 4 mm larger to improve coolant flow from the cylinder head to the radiators more efficient. Wheels: The 250SX wheels feature CNC machined hubs and high-end Excel rims. Most importantly, the new aluminum nipples feature a reworked design to reduce the frequency of spoke tightening the spokes. The tires are a Dunlop Geomax MX3S combo. The post FIRST LOOK! 2019 KTM 125SX, 150SX & 250SX TWO-STROKES appeared first on Motocross Action Magazine.