Tuesday, October 3, 2006

2007 Kawasaki KFX 50 and 90: Lean, mean and green

Dirt Wheels and ATV Rider both conducted tests of the brand new pair of mini quads from Kawasaki in their November 2006 issues. The two machines will be welcome options for beginning riders, but as expected, more aggressive riders and racers would be better suited to the longer travel, faster minis now available. They do provide a wide and comfortable stance, with the youth test riders rating the fit, feel and stability very highly. It should also be noted that the smaller members of the green ATV family purposely resemble the soon-to-debut king of the pack, the KFX450.

GG Quad 1100 riden by Dirt Wheels

The GG Quad 1100 is built directly around a 1130cc BMW Boxer motorcycle with extensive fabrication of aluminum parts to turn it into a four-wheeler. It is certianly the most exotic street quad to come along so far, and might possibly be the first to become street legal in the United States. My takeaways from the article...

Looked more impressive than it road. Despite claims that the GG Quad has the same power-to-weight ratio as a Corvette, it didn't pull as hard as expected but still reached 110mph. While the tires were great, the cornering was strenuous in the tighter turns and the Dirt Wheels crew felt the quad could definitely benefit from power steering option like that starting to appear on utility quads.

The traction and braking were phenomenal, leading to a very safe feeling ride. It's just too bad you can't veer off the road to take shortcut trails on this bad boy.

Check out the importers website and read the full article in the November 2006 issue of Dirt Wheels magazine.

2007 Honda Recon machine test

The Dirt Wheels crew reviewed a Honda Recon, virtually unchanged for 2007, but opted for the standard shift for this test (the Recon is also available with an Electronic shift program (ESP) for push button upshifting and downshifting).

Besides the standard praises for Honda's durability and designs, caught the following:

  • Top speed on the recon was about 50 miles per hour
  • Made it nearly 60 miles on a full tank of gas (despite being mostly full throttle)
  • Had decent bottom and top end power
  • The midrange power was almost dormant, and it caused us to do a lot of extra shifting
  • The mechanical rear drum break faded on long downhills and could use an update
  • It seemed near impossible to get this thing out of control
  • There are also much sportier, less costly competitors out there now
- from the November 2006 Dirt Wheels magazine

2007 Yamaha YFZ450 High-Performance Test

The Dirt Wheels staff recently spent some quality time with the updated 2007 YFZ450. Our summary...

After making over 80 changes in 2006, Yamaha "only" made a handful of improvements in 2007! In fact, the 2007 YFZ450 has more changes than any other quad in its class, and while they did not widen the YFZ any, other improvements will be felt on the track and trail.

The most noticeable improvement was the addition of large diameter aluminum Pro Taper handlebars. The test riders experienced a better feel in all conditions, and thought the bend and sweep were so good that the rather stiff thumb throttle on the YFZ was hardly noticeable anymore. Also, with the top of the steering stem being changed to 1-1/8 inch clamps to accomodate the new handlebars, the machine will now accept any brand of "fat" handlebars including Renthal, Tag, Fasst Flexx in stock form.

The front and rear brake systems were improved. A stronger feel in the front could be applied with one finger, and no fading was felt in the year thanks to a vented rotor that will also help with overheating for people who might ride the pedal.

An oil port was added to the four-stroke engine, providing extra cooling that will help especially with any motor mods such as adding a high-compression piston. The port allows cool oil to coat the bottom of the piston, something that motor builders have been added to older models already.

For the full review, see the November 2006 issue of Dirt Wheels magazine.