I often read or hear that the enormous power of 450s is one of the main causes of riders' injuries at the amateur, as well as professional, level. One of the suggested solutions is to reduce the engine displacement. While watching the 125 All Stars race at Hangtown, I took a random GoPro lap time of Aiden Tijero: 2:26.
On the first 450 moto, Anderson had a lap time of 2:23 while leading the race. Riders from the ninth position on had a lap time slower than 2:27.
I could imagine that a top pro National rider could be faster than 2:26 on a 125, let alone on a modern 250 two-stroke. Based on the lap times and assuming that the track length and condition were the same for all riders, here are my questions:
Would a reduction in engine displacement reduce the risk of injuries?
Would any of the first five 450 guys be as fast on a 250 two-stroke?
I still can see Johnny O´Mara on his 125 leading a bunch of works 500 bikes at the '86 Motocross of Nations or Ricky Carmichael on his CR250 passing Stefan Everts for the lead at the 2003 Motocross of Nations in Zolder!
I appreciate your expert opinion and hope to see you again up front at the next 125 All Star race!
Greetings from Germany,
Those are some interesting stats, and it definitely shows how fast that kid was going. However, there are a couple things to point out. First, we rode the track much earlier than the 450s did, and I’m sure it got rougher and slower; a comparison to the 250 riders’ times would be more accurate. Most importantly, a lighter bike with less rotating mass is much easier to control, plain and simple. So when you are screaming down a rutted downhill, grabbing gears and twisting the throttle to the stops, the odds of getting flung off your steed like a milk-drunk toddler on an 1,800-pound bull at the pro rodeo finals is significantly reduced. Plus, amateur riders who are short on talent can grab a handful on a 450 and jump way further than they should right out of a corner. If they were riding a 125, they couldn’t get that high or far without having the talent to carry corner speed, upshift appropriately, and work the clutch the way the smaller bikes require.
As far as lap times for the top 450 guys, I don’t think they would be as fast on a 250 two-stroke. The sheer horsepower and the broad way that it’s delivered make it much easier to go faster on a 450. The memories of those amazing two-stroke rides will live in infamy for any moto fan over the age of 30. Cheers!
When is anyone in the industry going to test the Chinese-made, Husky-inspired GPX 250 two-stroke?
Currently available stateside and creating a small buzz online, are magazines and industry folk steering clear of copyright-skirting budget smoker? I wouldn't like the idea of my hard work and intellectual property being stolen, but equally, it does offer entry into riding for those not able to fork out for new Japanese/Austrian bikes, or knowledgeable enough to recondition an older secondhand bike.
Your thoughts appreciated.
J. in Beijing.
Small buzz online? I think the filter in my daughter’s fish tank is making a louder buzz than this Chinese junk on wheels. Maybe I’m a little jaded from my dark days as a factory Tornado rider, or maybe I just don’t like the idea of some asshole stealing designs from companies who’ve poured countless hours and dollars into the development of their products. Either way, I’m probably not going to be doing a test on this thing anytime soon. The retail price is $5,600 for the GPX. Or, you could just spend an extra grand and have a bike that won’t explode like a North Korean rocket 30 seconds after launch. I’m a big fan of their takeout food and their fireworks. Dirt bikes… not so much.
Since we share a lot of common ground—I’m old, ride/race, have kids who ride, rely on a medically-related profession to garner much of the family income (my partner in reproduction is a physiotherapist), I’m thinking you should be as curious as we are to know if Christian Craig was wearing a knee brace (he is apparently sponsored by Mobius) when he tore his ACL at Glen Helen. Myself, I’m much closer to a total knee replacement than wearing preventive equipment, but was wondering… if one of your daughters wound up racing, say, a local off-road series, would you consider her wearing knee braces all the time as absolutely mandatory, or would you be more “if she feels they are uncomfortable, never mind. They don’t really help much”?
Still wobbling along
If your knees are as bad as you say, then we have one more thing in common. I’ve had three ACL reconstructions and a couple arthroscopic procedures to clean up meniscus over the years. When I get out of bed in the morning, my knees clunk and pop like a dump truck driving over multiple sheets of bubble wrap. I’m optimistic that technology will advance in the next couple decades and replacements will be obsolete. From doctors I’ve spoken to, there will be stem cell options or cadaver joints as viable and more functional options inside of 20 years.
I’m always saddened to hear of riders blowing knees out because I know firsthand the toll it takes physically and psychologically. I ride with knee braces and always have, but they certainly have limitations. Braces will reduce your chances of hyperextension and lateral movement, but they do very little to prevent rotational injury. So, if Christian planted his foot when he landed and it rotated, a brace can’t stop that, and the ACL is the ligament that keeps the knee from over-rotation. That “pop” Christian heard was either the sound of his ACL snapping, or, as I came to recognize it, the sound of his orthopedic surgeon slapping his credit card down at his local Porsche dealer for a new 911 GT3.
The only way a knee brace can prevent rotational injury is by being attached to your boot. Asterisk has a tether system that does just that. Or you can go old-school and duct tape the top of your boot to your pant leg, a move I pulled frequently when it was muddy or rutted. That keeps your boot from twisting around your pant and forces you to rotate at the hip instead of the knee. To answer your last question… I would definitely have my girls in knee braces if they were racing. The protection is much better than knee pads as well as the aforementioned protections from braces.
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