Master Crosss 2004

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Master Crosss 2004


Master Crosss 2004

Master Crosss 2004
High-flyer wanted

Eight journalists from the most important magazines in Europe are testing 24 Crossers from the 2004 vintage. Which machine can outperform its competitors in the three cubic capacity categories and which is the overall winner of the 2004 Master Cross?

Gert Thole, Dietmar Lacher


Spain is no longer what it used to be. Not Germany anyway. In terms of weather. That is why such strange occurrences can happen that even in the winter months it is dusty on dry cross slopes here in the country, while the international trade press is heading for the Master Cross in the pouring rain
meets on a completely flooded track in Talavera, Spain. This is what happened at the end of last year, when the Spanish colleagues from Motociclismo invited magazines they were friends to for the annual Master Cross on the Iberian Peninsula. Knee-deep mud, not rivulets, no, torrents in the middle of the straights, slimy, impregnable ascents and descents, it’s a shame. One of the most wonderful motocross-
Arenas in Europe, the enormous organizational effort ?? and now the event is on the brink. Only professional optimist Didi Lacher sees the silver lining
on the horizon, but it’s too late.
Pepe, head of the organizing committee, drops one after endless discussions
unavoidable decision: the whole entourage has to move quickly to a nearby training slope. Sure, the grandiose Grand Prix flair of
Talavera is perdu, but it doesn’t matter. After all, the track is dry and grippy.
All machines were already for comparable requirements from Bridgestone
The tires have been changed to M 401/402. The test procedure is the same every year: After free practice, there is a warm-up lap with each motorcycle, then two laps on time, of which only the better one is rated. The Spaniards have come up with a complicated calculation method for the rating. But one thing is clear: The main role is played by the best time of the respective motorcycle, as is the average time. The number of drivers who achieved their personal best with this machine is also taken into account. And finally, the average rating also counts, for which each driver had to assess each machine in around twenty criteria. A lot of work, a lot of effort, but once again a fantastic event despite all the adversities.

Honda CR 125 R.

125 cm3; Two-stroke; 36.3 hp *; 99.1 kg *; 6090 euros

Honda CRF 250 R.

250 cm3; Four stroke; 40.5 hp *; 104.6 kg *; 7290 euros

Kawasaki KX 125

125 cm3; Two-stroke; 36.7 hp *; 99.1 kg *; 5695 euros

In terms of the engine, the two-stroke engines continued KTM until now
the standards, but 2004 has Kawasaki a
made a big step forward and moves forward
the competitor mighty on the skin. Some
Drivers even give preference to the KX drive.
Because it turns almost as lively as the KTM has
just as much power at the top and also pushes in
the middle is extremely powerful. At the same time leaves
he control himself excellently, so that
even amateur pilots can handle it very well
come. Kawa did the chassis this year
also worked abundantly. The motorcycle works
very small, narrow and compact, handling and
Steering behavior are impeccable. The suspension is
not outstanding, but at least quite neat-
nicely coordinated. However, they are unrivaled
the new brakes, Kawasaki replaces Honda.

Kawasaki KX 250 F

250 cm3; Four stroke; 38.9 hp *; 103.8 kg *; 7095 euros

With the 250 F, Kawasaki is now also stepping into the four-
takt shop, a 450 is to follow in 2005.
So much can already be said: The first
The serve is right, the technological lead
from Yamaha is equalized right away. That
especially hits? but not only ?? on the ride-
work too, the Kawa is much more manageable and
much more targeted. Just a different, more modern one
Generation. That means for the pilot
less stress, concentration and strength. or
better rounds with the same effort-
times. The linear performance assessment helps here-
winding of the dohc motor, which revs with ease
and very fine dosing is convincing.
It depends directly on the gas, besides it makes
the low drag torque of the
Motor on the brake positively noticeable.

KTM 125 SX

In the absence of a serial four-stroke engine in the small one
First class, the KTM driver has to choose the two-stroke. Which is certainly not a disadvantage, because the
125 SX set standards in terms of power years ago. 2004 did have some competitors
caught up, but the KTM still offers
the widest band combined with high
Top performance. Especially aggressive pilots
enthusiastic about the liveliness, individual drivers want a gentler use of power. The reason-
tuning the suspension is rather soft, but
not too soft. Definitely a step forward
to earlier, stubborn KTM chassis. That
PDS strut works best in the 125cc.
The SX sometimes works a bit in corners
wobbly. She is always kept under tension,
it whizzes around the corner with ease and precision.

Suzuki RM 125

125 cm3; Two-stroke; 34.0 PS *; 101.0 kg *; 5755 euros

In the eight-liter class, it is the one that decides
Motor over the potential of a machine, because
different than in the larger classes
here every single horsepower on the ground
bring. There is thrust in the 125 cc two-stroke engines
only upstairs, and that’s exactly where the RM 125 is missing.
From below, the Suzuki tackles quite well,
in the middle, things are going well, but they
does not turn, and therefore there is a lack of strength in the
Top. Which has a particular effect on fast stretches or deep ground. That the circuit
seems a bit hooked, is rather irrelevant.
The RM remains neutral in handling. However
the front section does not look optimal because of one
successful fork set-up in many situations
restless, sometimes the target accuracy suffers-

Suzuki RM-Z 250

250 cm3; Four stroke; 38.9 hp *; 103.8 kg *; 7099 euros

The yellow four-stroke engine is slightly different
molded plastic parts absolutely identical to that
green KX 250 F. Which is logical, since the Ent-
development was a cooperation between the two Japanese plants, with Suzuki being more concerned with the
Motor took care of and Kawasaki took care of the chassis
supplied as well as the production of both models
took over. The complete chassis of the RM-Z
is therefore very different from the rest
RM models. Which is by no means a disadvantage
is. On the contrary: the stiff perimeter chassis
convinces with high stability on the straights
and excellent handiness in curves.
The brakes are also in action and metered-
availability absolutely top. And the four-stroke engine
pleased with high top performance, one
wide band and a lot of revving.

TM MX 125

125 cm3; Two-stroke; 36.3 hp *; 102.0 kg *; from 5995 euros

The good news first: the TM machines
improved noticeably in 2004, especially in
in terms of chassis. The balance is more balanced,
the seating position is good now, the footrests are not
attached even so high. The bad one
Message: The 125 MX is still heavy
to control, this applies primarily to the
Engine. The performance sets extremely in the middle
aggressive one, you have to use the hydraulic
Clutch ?? thank god is steadfast? often
use. The steering precision is also mediocre,
what less about the geometry, but more
is due to the soft tuning of the fork, which
hangs low on the ropes when braking. To that extent
Little has changed: The TM is a machine
for specialists who have a hectic driving style
prefer with a lot of switching work.

Yamaha YZ 125

Although not necessarily the most powerful machine,
could the 125cc Yamaha in the past
Years to emerge from so many comparative tests as the winner? but still without the current one
Four-stroke competition. The whole package was there
crucial, real weaknesses were in
the little YZ can hardly be seen. That has
not changed in 2004 either. The Yamaha drives
simple, absolutely neutral in every situation. the
Stability builds trust, turns corners
the 125 neutral. The engine inspires with its broad band, accelerates out of corners with
much pressure. Although everything is very unspectacular
goes ahead, good ones come this way
Lap times. Worthy of criticism: the cheap steel handlebars of all Yamahas that contrast with
noble add-on parts such as titanium footrests.

Yamaha YZ 250 F.

250 cm3; Four stroke; 35.5 hp *; 104.3 kg *; 7595 euros

The motorcycle that changed the world than it did before
presented as an offshoot of the YZ 400 F four years ago
became and immediately powerful the two-stroke engines
heated up. Since then, it has been subtly developed-
winds up against the new four-stroke engine
assert. And that is still happening-
zulich: The 250cc Yamaha inspires with the
best start in the middle area. Only one
Criticism: The engine should be a little softer
run, the higher braking torque has an effect
the driving behavior. And notices the chassis
one assumes that it is slowly getting on in years.
The YZ has to go into the curve with physical effort
be forced while the current
Turn in four-stroke competition much easier
leaves. It would also be a softer, more comfortable one
Fork tuning desirable.

Honda CR 250 R.

250 cm3; Two-stroke; 47.7 hp *; 104.6 kg *; 6690 euros

In principle, it is the same with the 250 CR
similar to the 125: the top performance
has never been plump. But there is a difference
for the small class that is with the quarter liters
no real problem. On the contrary, it can
a gentle, even performance development
often even be an advantage. And exactly that
is the case with the Honda CR 250. she drives
easy, settles for a toxic two-stroke
excellent control and surprise
not with malicious effort. Just whole
top drivers rarely miss a bit of revving
or more torque from below. Honda’s surely contributes to the good lap times
well-known balanced overall package. the
The suspension works great, the renovated one
Showa fork responds cleanly.

Honda CRF 450 R.

450 cm3; Four stroke; 53.9 hp *; 112.1 kg *; 7940 euros

The big four-stroke Honda was the high-flyer
in recent years, many consider her the best
Crosser at all. And consequently won
she the Master Cross 2003. Small retouching
have already been noticeable last year
Improvements brought. The 2004 edition
fortunately, at first glance, it is just that
The Japanese have renewed the old ones, but in detail
Done a lot. For example, brings a new one
Pistons with increased compression and a shorter one
Muffler more thrust out of the corners.
The effort is now in all areas
completely linear, but always extremely powerful,
but never unpredictable. That’s what the CRF does
not an excellent work tool
only for top drivers, but in spite of all their strength
also for the less experienced pilots.

Husaberg FC 450

450 cm3; Four stroke; 47.6 hp *; 115.1 kg *; 7390 euros

The former Swedish company that worked for the
Group parent KTM slipped into Austria
is, competes in the middle class for the first time in 2004.
The engine of the FC 450 derives from the large
550 by increasing the stroke with the same bore
has been shortened, which makes the 450 a radical short-stroke. Despite the extreme key data
liveliness and revving are limited. After all, the smaller one is turning Husaberg noticeable
more willing and higher than the bigger sister.
The performance is absolutely on a class level.
Because of the wider tank and the meanwhile
chassis configuration no longer entirely current
the FC 450 lags in handling and balance
the youngest competition a little behind. the
The rear suspension works properly, but the front would be
a tighter vote announced.

Kawasaki KX 250

250 cm3; Two-stroke; 47.7 hp *; 109.3 kg *; 6195 euros

The focus of the new Kawa model line was
clearly the four-stroke. It almost went
under that the Greens also worked very hard on the two two-stroke engines. with
Success, as already seen with the 125cc
Has. The 250 looks stronger, hangs very directly
on the gas and convinces with a lot of power and
a beautiful band. However, needs
the Kawa a soulful hand, because
she gets down to business pretty heartily at times.
The chassis is stable, handy and a-
fold to control. The rear suspension works
sometimes a bit insensitive, the comfort
is limited. Perhaps that is all the more important
because the fork is very sensitive.
The ergonomics have been improved again,
the KX looks slim and slim.

KTM 250 SX

250 cm3; Two-stroke; 43.1 hp *; 104.6 kg *; 6690 euros

The Austrians have had little luck in the last few
Years with their quarter-liter two-stroke engine. Was formerly
if he was not competitive, then he was completely rebuilt and got caught up in the eager search for
Power clearly too brutal. Because of its all-or-nothing characteristics, it could only be reasonably controlled on sandy stretches. Now KTM took off
the emergency brake and cut the performance in favor of better drivability. A good measure, finally
the 250 SX is also used by normal mortals too
dominate, without the constant about the healthy-
have to fear. The power band works
wider, the power can be applied in a dosed and effective manner-
put. The chassis has not changed much,
So it stayed with good handling and the occasional tendency to nervousness. The rear suspension
conveys moderate comfort with good traction.

KTM 200 SX

193 cc; Two-stroke; 44.6 hp *; 100.6 kg *; 6230 euros

Why can less sometimes be more? because
less power requires less stamina and concentration because less power is often more effective
can be brought to the ground. And because the handling is better, the smaller machine is in the air
and easier to maneuver on the ground. Nevertheless, the 200 is in the strong 250/450-
Class lost. In comparison, there is a lack of torque and acceleration, the lost meters can be found in tight curves
not bring it back in. Also represents the smaller one
SX wants high demands on the driver
be kept in a narrow speed range. Friends of aggressive driving style prepares the
poisonous 200s definitely plenty of pleasure,
it pairs positive properties of the
125 and 250 class.

KTM 450 SX Racing

450 cm3; Four stroke; 49.1 PS *; 111.5 kg *; 7390 euros

A year ago the
Try the Austrians considered with the
ohc engine versus the twin cam engines
from Japan to compete. But it does
450 SX extremely good, can with regard to
Keep up with power and torque. Especially since the weight is exactly at the level of the
fierce competitor lies. The landing gear
is typical of KTM: You either get along well with it
clear ?? or not. Definitely the 450
a machine that moves with dedication
wants, so always requires full physical effort.
If you just let it run, it tends to
Nervousness and sometimes unexpected wedges.
The technical problems with the Standfestig-
The Austrians already have this ability
last season.

Suzuki RM 250

250 cm3; Two-stroke; 47.7 hp *; 109.6 kg *; 6190 euros

Even if the yellow two-stroke crosser is in
have not exactly shone with innovations in recent years, they convince with more solid ones
Technology and powerful engines. In the
250er especially likes the wide usable band.
But that by no means means that performance
is missed, on the contrary, the RM comes
pretty hard in the middle range.
The easy handling is also outstanding
and the precise steering, the tricky one
Make curve passages a pleasure. the
RM doesn’t need a lot of physical effort here
Steering corrections. It goes straight ahead, well
when accelerating or braking, could
the balance will be a little more balanced,
the RM looks relatively high at the back, the weight
emotionally weighs more on the front.

TM MX 250

250 cm3; Two-stroke; 45.1 hp *; 109.0 kg *; 6490 euros

That TM has made progress has already been
mentioned. This was also necessary because the extra-
vagante Italian cross machines gave
so far quite idiosyncratic. Their own
They retained character in 2004, however
The balance now presents itself a little
more balanced, lots of rough edges
be sanded off. However, the 250 is
somewhat softly tuned at the back what the
Makes progress partially nullified.
The engine of the test machine was also
clearly too lean in the middle range
coordinated, therefore hung on the gas indifferently.
That spoils the driving pleasure badly, on the
The driver feels unsafe when jumping.
Obviously, neither good times nor good times
Reviews come about.

TM MX 450 F

450 cm3; Four stroke; 50.4 hp *; 115.0 kg *; from 7690 euros

TM has three different four-stroke engines in its range,
which are based on the same housing. To the
However, Master Cross 2004 only entered the middle
450 model. Unlike the previous one,
The extremely easy-to-turn 400 model sets the
Performance on the 450 is far below.
And that very evenly, nicely controllable.
At the top, the TM runs out of breath,
but what about the strong middle range
is not a disadvantage. The flywheel is open-
visibly well dimensioned, because the power leaves
very well transferred to the ground. Pity,
that the Ohlins chassis is not quite the high one
Expectations met. It speaks cleanly
on, but tuned too softly. That brings
Restlessness in the framework, comes on the brakes
there is now and then uncomfortable banging of the handlebars.

Yamaha YZ 250

250 cm3; Two-stroke; 47.7 hp *; 107.3 kg *; 6750 euros

When there was no four-stroke competition,
creamed the YZ 250 in rows
Comparative tests. The reasons for this are also
Always present in the current model: It is
the balance, the homogeneity. the
Two-stroke Yamaha shines with neither the strongest
Engine still with the best handling, however
you can also have no real weaknesses
to say. The engine is the center of gravity
for easy controllability and efficiency
instead of sheer strength or brutal twist-
moment, the chassis emphasizes more of a solid
Stability than the lively handling.
In addition, there is ergonomics, the drivers
all sizes comfortable, and a suspension,
which is the right compromise between
Comfort and hardship met.

Yamaha YZ 450 F.

450 cm3; Four stroke; 51.9 hp *; 111.5 kg *; 7695 euros

At the 450 Yamaha divorced last year
the ghosts: For some it was too brutal, for others
just praised this aggressiveness. Despite everything
Criticism of the explosive characteristics
Yamaha engine largely unchanged in 2004.
As a result, the new one drives like the old one:
You need strength, sensitivity and concentration,
to bring all the power to the ground.
Especially when the slope is slippery, greasy
and is difficult. It’s really fun
snappy engine with good traction, then thrilled
the dynamics of the 450s. The current chassis
is properly coordinated, there are hardly any
something to complain about. Maybe the fork should
be a little more comfortable. Surprisingly
the large four-stroke engine turns out to be the handiest motorcycle in the YZ range.

Husaberg FC 550

550 cc; Four stroke; 55.4 hp *; 116.0 kg *; 7450 euros

The times of the displacement gigantomania are probably
Definitely a thing of the past, but a whopping 550 cm3 is enough
certainly also to even experienced pilots
to instill proper respect ?? or even fear.
With this tremendous boost, the represents
FC 550 is more of the old-school four-stroke engine,
who still has his small, loyal fan base
finds. The harsh vibrations, the sluggish
Responsiveness, the high braking torque,
But all of this is certainly no longer up to date.
And of course affects the driving behavior
the end. The big FC only reluctantly steers in curves
one, remains only with a lot of physical effort
halfway on course, and leaves when jumping
find the imbalance difficult
check. The Husaberg does not feel
only cumbersome, but simply difficult to look at.

KTM 525 SX Racing

510 cm3; Four stroke; 50.0 PS *; 112.3 kg *; 7450 euros

Sometimes it’s good to rely on good old virtues
to reflect. Like KTM did with the 525. Instead of
to trim the engine towards revving pleasure,
the Austrians have it again on one
powerful middle and a lot of thrust from the cellar
designed. This improves drivability,
especially since power in this class is more than
there is enough. The driver is essentially-
lichen busy getting the front wheel halfway
to press close to the ground. The handling is
Outstanding for such a displacement monster.
As long as you drive under the train, it works
PDS rear suspension neat. Rolls the KTM
only, restlessness comes into the chassis. Also at
Braking is what you want more sensitivity.
The new WP fork works very nicely
responds sensitively to small bumps.

Class 1 rating

Gradually, a two-class society is emerging in this category. Whereby the four-stroke pack can place itself consistently in front of the two-stroke engines. Only the KTM breaks into this phalanx. The fact that the Honda wins is hardly surprising, as it is easy to control and every driver gets along with it straight away. Which is also evident from the fact that three pilots set their personal best with the CRF. You only have to be very close behind
The likewise new Kawasaki four-stroke engine was satisfied with the silver medal, it is close in terms of time and is rated as good as the Honda by the drivers. In theory, the Suzuki RM-Z should be just as good
how the identical Kawasaki cut off.
However, the set-up is done by the Mecha-
The Kawa people obviously did a better job.
In the two-stroke segment, the snappy KTM 125 SX stands out, as well as the good times
can show quite decent grades. Close by is the KX 125, which has been significantly strengthened this year. The 125 cc from Honda
and Yamaha are already falling in terms of timing
a little off, even the good ones can help
Grades not. Suzuki and KTM are in
both divisions behind.

Class 2 rating

Here the experts agreed in advance: The four-stroke engines will be clearly ahead, the Honda will dominate the class. But sometimes it turns out differently than you think. Surprisingly, the sandy slope with its tight curves, berms and washboard seems to be optimally tailored to the two-stroke engine, as three of these species are fighting for victory. It is astonishing that the Suzuki of all places lands in first place. Despite the slight criticism of the chassis set-up, the excellent handling is obviously the decisive factor. After all, three pilots are the fastest on the 250 RM, two each on the two-stroke machines from Honda and Yamaha. So for the favored CRF 450 there is only sheet metal instead of precious metal, so even the second best individual time and the top grade does not help. The remaining four-stroke engines form the midfield. At the end of the field there is the underpowered 200cc KTM, which does not make up the time lost on the straights even on this narrow track in the winding curves, and the idiosyncratic Husaberg, where the unbalanced one
Suspension tuning is the main problem.

Class 3 rating

This is where they actually come from, they
whole four-stroke engines that have now conquered the smaller classes. In their marriage-
former territory now only step
few models, at the Master Cross there were only KTM and Husaberg at the start. An in-house duel that the parent company clearly won. There is nothing to be fiddled with, the 525-SX is vastly superior to the FC 550 in all respects.


In the real cross-life the cross-class fight is rather the exception, in the Master Cross it is the freestyle after several days of strenuous duty-
program. In addition, the three fastest drivers compete on the class winners, with whom they each do two timed laps after a warm-up lap. MOTORRAD tester Didi Lacher set the best time of the day on the big KTM, including the Hungarian
Gabor Grillmayer obviously prefers the large sizes. Javier Fernandez drives a 250 in the Spanish championship, so he manages his best time with the Suzuki RM 250. All drivers are the slowest with the small CRF 250 R. Probably because there is a lack of technically tricky passages. The overall winner of the Master Cross 2004 is therefore the second KTM 525 SX from last year.

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