It's not the bike, it's the rider......

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cheapo
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It's not the bike, it's the rider......

Post by cheapo »

I enjoyed reading the posts here about everyone racing their KDX, some racing the vintage class, others not.

I raced my 2000 KDX 200 for many years in the local hare scramble series in the early 2000’s (ECEA Series). Then, as it does, life got in the way and I recently started getting back into it. I raced about 5 hare scrambles over the last two years – not for points, just for fun. Due to my many races over the early years, I got kicked up to the B class – recently, I have no business being in the B class (B 50+). I’ll look to be in the C50+ next year where I belong. I get beat up in the races and not finishing high in my class, which I attribute to the lack of conditioning and lack of practice.

Here is where the passionate debate starts. I get lots of attention and comments at the races “man, I loved that bike back in the day”; “what a bullet proof bike”; “thumbs up buddy”. But then the discussion starts: “you will do so much better on a current bike – KTM, Husky, etc. The technology is so much better”.

No doubt, the technology is tons better in current bikes, but I have nothing to compare it to. I haven’t raced anything else, ever, in over 20 years. I’ll often put up the argument of “it’s not the bike, it’s the rider”, but that discussion quickly goes south when riders start talking technology facts (suspension, power band, etc). Just curious where everyone lands on the argument of “it’s not the bike, it’s the rider”, for the weekend warrior? I’m a firm believer in it for someone not running the A class. Seems like there are a bunch of us here on the forum that still race the KDX, although I don’t personally see many out there in my experience (maybe one or two KDX’s in a 300 rider field at best – saw one last weekend at a race, but he was a track worker). I’ll keep an eye out for you in the Orange sea!

Thanks in advance!
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Re: It's not the bike, it's the rider......

Post by SS109 »

Yes, it's probably 90-95% the rider.

Pro rider Jordan Ashburn proved this racing TKO onboard an almost completely stock KDX and finishing 11th overall. Check out these threads here: Jordan Ashburn on a KDX at TKO and Jordan Ashburn's KDX Setup for Racing GNCC. He also placed 3rd overall at the SEER Cliffhanger Extreme Enduro on his dad's KDX!

So, yes, it's the rider. I tend to be the same speed no matter what bike I ride. Even my '11 GasGas EC250R with the extra power and all bells and whistles I'm still the same speed.
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Re: It's not the bike, it's the rider......

Post by bufftester »

It's the rider. The difference will be how hard that rider has to work and how quickly they can progress. Newer bikes you may not have to work as hard, but that doesn't directly translate to a speed increase, however IMO its easier for new riders to progress on a modern bike precisely because they don't have to work as hard. The advent of Rekluse clutches is a perfect example where mastering clutch work becomes less of a hurdle to progressing. I don't see a lot of KDXs on starting lines around here anymore, but I think has more to do with a large chunk of the KDX owners fall into older age groups that aren't racing anymore. I still see tons of them at poker runs and out on the trails though.
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Re: It's not the bike, it's the rider......

Post by cheapo »

SS109 wrote: 02:40 pm Oct 19 2023 Yes, it's probably 90-95% the rider.

Pro rider Jordan Ashburn proved this racing TKO onboard an almost completely stock KDX and finishing 11th overall. Check out these threads here: Jordan Ashburn on a KDX at TKO and Jordan Ashburn's KDX Setup for Racing GNCC. He also placed 3rd overall at the SEER Cliffhanger Extreme Enduro on his dad's KDX!

So, yes, it's the rider. I tend to be the same speed no matter what bike I ride. Even my '11 GasGas EC250R with the extra power and all bells and whistles I'm still the same speed.
Wow, thanks for those links! Impressive; never knew he had such a high finish with a stock KDX! Bolsters my argument!
I kind of thought the same - my speed would generally be the same with any bike with maybe an advantage of less exhaustion on a more modern bike due to some suspension advantages. Although most of my riding is tight east coast woods, where the KDX suspension seems to soak up the low speed rocks/ruts...but I wouldn't have anything to compare it to.
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Re: It's not the bike, it's the rider......

Post by cheapo »

bufftester wrote: 05:12 pm Oct 19 2023 It's the rider. The difference will be how hard that rider has to work and how quickly they can progress. Newer bikes you may not have to work as hard, but that doesn't directly translate to a speed increase, however IMO its easier for new riders to progress on a modern bike precisely because they don't have to work as hard. The advent of Rekluse clutches is a perfect example where mastering clutch work becomes less of a hurdle to progressing. I don't see a lot of KDXs on starting lines around here anymore, but I think has more to do with a large chunk of the KDX owners fall into older age groups that aren't racing anymore. I still see tons of them at poker runs and out on the trails though.
Never rode with a Rekluse, but your points make sense. After checking out some of the videos on this page, it really seems a lot of riders can handle the KDX and keep up with the more modern bikes. Again, just getting back into the racing scene, my conditioning has a lot to be desired for a 1.5 hr - 2 hr race. Admittedly, I started to buy into the "you'll do significantly better on a more modern bike" argument against my better judgement; thanks to some of the posts here, I'm being pulled back from the ledge.......
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Re: It's not the bike, it's the rider......

Post by KDXGarage »

I used to race MX. It did not take long to figure out that my fitness was far and away the number one thing slowing me down. If one is not in great shape, a 2024 woods weapon won't make up the difference. I had to slow down to maintain a safe riding style.
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Re: It's not the bike, it's the rider......

Post by Ridea200 »

LoL I hear you there KDXGarage. I can out ride my cardio in short order...
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Re: It's not the bike, it's the rider......

Post by Trackdog »

cheapo wrote: 02:32 pm Oct 20 2023 , I'm being pulled back from the ledge.......
Let me push you back to ledge...
I am in a similar situation.

I raced for a few years when I was in my late 30' and early 40's. I believe I was excellent physical condition with my diet, exercise, and training.
Then life got in the way. Got married, sold all my bikes and bought a house.

Fast forward 15 years. I know own 6 bikes, and yes I am still married and my house is almost paid off. Although if I come home with another bike she is gonna be angry. And what do I say to that? It is easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission.

So, I have been attending MX vintage, J-Days, and NETRA hare scrambles. And I still get goosebumps when the green flag drops. I want to re-enter the racing scene at age 58.
All my bikes are old-ish, but IMO very competitive. And yes, it IS DEFINITELY the rider not the bike. I have seen some scary fast riders on what would be considered "slow" bikes.

That said, I am not at peak physical condition anymore and I believe I could use some help. This was confirmed at the last hare scramble I was at and I had a conversation with an older "A" rider. He was slowing down now because of his age, and explained to me how a lighter modern bike helps him where he let's the bike do all the work now. He is on a Beta 300 Xtrainer. So thru a leg over and he let me take for a ride.
I know the weight is comparable to my 05 KDX 200 but this bike feels much lighter! Maybe its weight is distributed differently, but I threw my arm over thew bike and easily piked the bike up off the ground, where my KDX feels like a tank and I struggle with to get it on a stand.
I am also vertically challenged. So my height plays a role in getting my bike on the stand.

I went straight to the local Beta dealer, and sat on IMO the new KDX 200, a Beta 200 RR.
I was able to put my feet down with the stock suspension. BUT, the do offer a LOW BOY kit for shorter riders.
Add in electric start, fuel injection, oil injection(no more mixing fuel), traction control, and the ability to get it registered for the street with the optional light kit, well....
I would have to jump thru some serious hoops to get a plate on my KDX so I could race in a NETRA enduro.
Now for the bad, $9000.00 - $10000.
I am fighting with my decision to plunk down that much money for a dirt bike!
And I have a ton of money and time into my KDX. I love the KDX. No doubt one of the most enjoyable rides I have had. Rank it at number 2. And I have owned a few bikes both street and dirt.
So, my plan right now is to ride the KDX. But there I have two guys on my shoulders. The guy on the left says be fiscally responsible and put the money into the house, and the guy on right says your not get any younger, enjoy life, pull the trigger and get the new bike, let me talk to the wife..
Hope this helps.


As a side note, the Yamaha YZ 125X is a very popular bike and I love it, and good used ones can be had, BUT they are way too tall for me and my suspension guy said we could lower the bike for about $400, but he advised against that because in his experience whenever he lowers a bike it changes the handling characteristics for the worse.
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Re: It's not the bike, it's the rider......

Post by SS109 »

Trackdog wrote: 08:52 am Nov 19 2023
cheapo wrote: 02:32 pm Oct 20 2023 I went straight to the local Beta dealer, and sat on IMO the new KDX 200, a Beta 200 RR.
Well, to complicate matters, don't forget to check out the Rieju Ranger 200. Lower price, e-start with backup kicker, carb so you still mix but less things to go wrong, and it has better suspension than the Beta if you decide to actually ride at some speed.

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Re: It's not the bike, it's the rider......

Post by Trackdog »

I am not seeing much support in aftermarket yet for the Reiju.
Such as offload armor.
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Re: It's not the bike, it's the rider......

Post by Chuck78 »

I rode the Beta 200RR Race Edition, standard 250RR, & 300RR all 3 fairly extensively, 2 weekends ago. The heavier reciprocating mass of the 300 was definitely noticeable to me at race pace on tight rutted 2nd gear woods trails, and I definitely was faster on the 200RR Race & the standard 250RR (with the more plush Sachs suspension), vs the slightly heavier 300. I seem to always prefer 250 woods bikes over 300's, although 300's are easier to ride slow.

Still, a nicely modified KDX220 REALLY compares plenty well enough to me for the cost vs the price of a new or late model bike. So much so that I'm willing to drop $700-$1200 in Titanium bolts / brake pistons and hardware kits / axles / swingarm pivot bolt / rear suspension linkage rocker bolts / etc to try and drop 12lbs off of my bike overall. Also got an RCS titanium shock spring in the mail, big weight savings. A few bolts and nuts will be aluminum where no significant structural stength is required, lighter and cheaper than titanium...
FYI RaceTech Titanium is having a Black Friday 20% off everything sale through Monday at 11:59PM... Which is how I'll be justifying even a full crankcase bolt set purchase. It's pretty time-consuming to go through and create an inventory listing of every type and size of fast a KDX, but I am pretty motivated as I want the bike to be lighter when I drop it and go to pick it up when I'm already exhausted.

This along with ANOTHER CRUCIAL AREA, running a "modern" 2.2 gallons of fuel in the 3 gallon stock KDX tank will DRASTICALLY lighten the top heavy feel of the KDX.
I might actually take a tip from a hybrid builder on here, who hated his KX125 Clarke 3.1 gallon tank, and pressurized the stock tank with a few psi of air pressure and used a heat gun to soften & expand the tank in dimpled areas and other places where there was adequate clearance on the bottom of the tank, which will gain back some of the capacity while keeping the center of gravity low still, like modern bikes.
Properly tuned key in carb or even better, a smart carb or a Lectron Billetron Pro Series, will give better fuel economy subsequently a longer fuel range to compensate for running a bit less fuel, and you will have the same capacity as everyone else on modern bikes.


Some of the fastest older riders as well as fastest young teenage/early-20's riders are aboard modern 150 woods bikes, despite being significantly outnumbered by 300's.

All that being said, if I no longer had my 220's, and was in need of a new bike (only if KDX used & aftermarket parts became difficult to comes by!), I would happily buy a Beta 200RR or 250RR, most likely Race Edition (premix + a few extra add-ons, & KYB fork) + revalving, 10 times out of 10 versus a KTM brand bike. The Beta frames are better, as well as the stock setup on the Sachs and KYB suspension on the Betas being drastically better than pretty much any year of KTM's WP suspension...
If TM made a 250 version of their TM EN144, I'd really consider that as well. Or an EN version of their 250 2-stroke motocross bike, but when it comes down to it, a well tuned and tastefully modified KDX220 for me just really is hard to ditch over the more modern bikes. I own two 220's for a reason... They're very good very reliable and very budget conscious bikes, and have great parts availability. I'm building my stockpile of spares for the day when perhaps parts get a little harder to come by as well...
Last edited by Chuck78 on 09:13 pm Nov 26 2023, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: It's not the bike, it's the rider......

Post by Chuck78 »

I would suggest if trying to be competitive on the KDX in hare scramble racing, at minimum go with suspension revalve jobs front and rear via Jeff Fredette or DIY with Race Tech Gold Valves and their online digital valving calculator suggestions based on your inputs, plus springs according to your weight. I find Race Tech dictates a bit soft in the rear, but maybe I'm just very accustomed to imbalanced stock KDX setup with firm shock spring and very very soft fork springs...
Proper jetting makes a world of difference. FMF pipe, Boyesen reeds, airbox lid removed or drilled with extra holes or airbox hole cut larger, + rejetting and jet block gasket replaced in carb, these will make a big difference.

If you need new fork springs for your weight, I'd really consider trying to first fine a good deal on a set of XR400R forks and front wheel & 17mm axle, and tune those better. They'll slip right into the KDX triples, have minimal underhang, externally adjustable compression AND rebound, are lighter, and sprung for an average weight rider vs stock @ 130lb beginner woods rider...
96+ DR350 forks/wheel and 96-present DR650S/SE forls are also suitable 43mm candidates, although the S/SE dual sport models may require more valving changes.

I'd really myself be more inclined to upgrade to 96-98 RMX250 forks, same Showas basically but 46mm tubes (vs 43mm stock) - less flex for racing use is definitely a bonus. Those will require a steering stem swap or modifying the existing in a lathe.
'97 KDX220R - purple/green! - KLX forks, Lectron, FMF, Tubliss
'99 KDX220R project - '98/'01 RM125 suspension, Titanium hardware, Lectron Billetron Pro, Tubliss
'77 Suzuki PE250 & '83 Suzuki PE175 Full Floater - restomod projects
'77 Suzuki GS750-844cc, '77 GS400/489cc & '77 GS550/740cc projects
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'88 Suzuki Samurai TDI/Toyota swaps
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Re: It's not the bike, it's the rider......

Post by SS109 »

Trackdog wrote: 08:48 am Nov 26 2023 I am not seeing much support in aftermarket yet for the Reiju.
Such as offload armor.
You won't, sadly, from places like RMATV. However, CPD Direct has plenty of protection parts as whatever fits the standard MR Racing and MR Pro bikes also fits the Rangers other than pipe guards. I've never had a problem tracking down any part I need even for my old 2011 GasGas. That said, a lot of people are swapping out the standard Ranger pipe for MR Racing pipe and it is a big difference in power sort of like going from stock KDX pipe to an FMF pipe.

That said, there are skid plates with linkage guards, clutch cover protectors, front and rear disc guards, frame and swingarm protectors, e-start guard, chain guide guard, radiator guards/braces, etc. Then there are tons of upgrade parts like footpegs, lift straps, lowered seat, radiator fan kits, larger fuel tanks, etc. plus all the OEM parts you could ever need. Check it out: https://cpd.direct/collections/rieju Oh, and that's just what's available here in the US. There is a lot of upgraded parts out of Europe as well.
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Re: It's not the bike, it's the rider......

Post by Trackdog »

And, that's why I am here.
There is seemingly endless supply of information for this genre.

And Europeans, well, dam them! They have all the nicest bikes, and guns!
2004 KDX 200
2004 KX 125
1986 CR 125
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