Master Enduro 2004

Master Enduro 2004

Dirt allowance

Dirt is mostly involved in enduro riding. For the participants of the Master Enduro, however, things turned out to be sticks: first sun, then plenty of water from above and below. A mess in which ten drivers tested 24 current sports enduros.

The weather is going crazy. Everyone knows, everyone has experienced it. Not only in Germany, where summer recently seems to last until just before Christmas, but also in Spain, which was flooded for weeks in autumn. But as the organizer Hans Harbeck used to write in the announcement for the infamous off-road drive in Kaltenkirchen: The event takes place in all weathers. This basically also applies to the Master Enduro. Although the people at the time controls did not have to board any boats, as rumor had in Kaltenkirchen, the alternation of midsummer sunshine and downpours brought the Master Enduro, which was held for the third time, to the limit of what was possible.
The organizer was certainly not to blame. The Spanish colleagues from Motociclismo ensured that the event ran as smoothly as possible, despite the adverse conditions. Tea come was the fantastically situated Grand Prix Cross track in Talavera, on the area of ​​which a wonderfully varied enduro course could be marked out.
This year the Mexican colleague had to hand over the trophy for the longest journey to Sam Maclachlan, who came from Australia. In addition to these two, eight representatives from the most important European magazines contested the Master Enduro. As in previous years, Bert von Zitzewitz competed for MOTORRAD as a reliable and fit driver. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers accepted the invitation. As in the previous year, Husqvarna was unable to send a delegation for financial reasons, but is determined to be there next time. VOR also canceled. Fortunately, after a year off, TM was back with the entire range. Honda was represented by the Italian HM-Enduros, which are imported into Germany via Sarholz (phone 02664/8844).
The freak weather didn’t exactly simplify the test procedure. On the first day, when classes one and three started, everything went according to plan. The ground was dry, in the first few laps only the slippery pebbles in the stream bed sections caused traction problems. In the course of the day, the grip even improved as the lane gradually became clear. This certainly limits the comparability in individual boxes, but the bottom line is that the different relationships balance out because of the large number of test drivers. However, the second day on which class two was on the program turned into a real lottery game. Heavy downpours made the creek swell overnight, and every round turned into a mud fight.
Un these extreme conditions, the two-stroke engines proved that they don’t have to hide from the trendy four-stroke engines. Their low weight, better handling and direct power input are reflected in two class wins. Certainly a result that is not generally applicable due to the extraordinary circumstances.

Master Enduro 2004

Dirt allowance

GasGas EC 125 – GasGas EC 125

124 cc: two-stroke 36.7 hp; 107.5 kg; 5890 euros

Ergonomics: Small, compact motorcycle with a good seating position and modern handlebar offset. Only the long hand levers look a bit antiquated. Engine: The gas gas two-stroke is not quite as lively as other 125 cc, but has a lot of power and a nice even torque curve. Fast drivers may miss a little dynamism. On the other hand, this is precisely why the EC 125 is extremely easy to control on slippery surfaces, for example, and is particularly suitable for amateur enduro riders. Chassis: Excellent handling with good stability, easy and precise to steer in curves. The spring elements are comfortably coordinated and respond very well. The EC 125 occasionally reaches its limits only on fast, uneven passages. Conclusion: Optimally handy and easy-to-drive enduro machine that is a lot of driving fun. Only with a hard speed bolt is there a lack of dynamism due to the sluggish engine tuning.

Gas Gas EC 250 – Gas Gas EC 250

249 cm3; Two-stroke; 49.3 hp *; 115.7 kg *; 6450 euros

Ergonomics: Similar to the 125cc gas from the seating position, a rather small motorcycle. Bench just right in terms of hardness and shape. Gear lever and foot brake are well positioned. Overall workmanship is good, just not quite perfect in a few details. Engine: Gas Gas is known for the smooth running, low-vibration engines with unspectacular, effective power development and uniform torque curve, this also applies to the 250 and makes it very manageable. Only the bolt on the last groove lacks some top performance and maneuverability. Chassis: Stable frame with excellent steering precision. The chassis is softly tuned and seems a bit unstable on cross sections. But it responds well and is very comfortable to drive in technical sections. Conclusion: Very handy, precise to drive motorcycle with a gentle character. As with all gas gas two-stroke engines, tall pilots feel a little cramped.

Gas Gas EC 300 – Gas Gas EC 300

293 cm3; Two-stroke; 47.9 hp *; 114.8 kg *; 6.690 euros

Ergonomics: Identical to the 250, so more compact motorcycle. Otherwise, the same points of criticism apply as with the other gas-gas two-stroke engines. Engine: The 300 engine pleases with its powerful torque and even power delivery. Despite the power, it is easy to control. The lack of maneuverability is not a shortcoming, as there is always more than enough pressure in the middle area. Interesting alternative to the large four-stroke engines. Chassis: Very good handling, incredibly precise and easy to steer in corners. The chassis is comfortably tuned and works well in trial sections, but occasionally hits the pace bolt. Conclusion: winner of last year’s Master Enduro. Despite the large displacement and the great power delivery, the machine is still well controllable. Good handling in trial sections, but not precise and tight enough on fast passages and in deep bumps.

Gas Gas FSE 450 – Gas Gas FSE 450

449 cm3; Four stroke; 50.4 hp *; 128.1 kg *; 7990 euros

Ergonomics: In contrast to the gas-gas two-stroke engines, a relatively high seating position and flat handlebars. Engine: In terms of top performance, the four-stroke engine lags a bit behind the competition. It is also not as lively and direct, which is not due to the coordination of the injection, thanks to the even power delivery the FSE is nice and easy to drive and offers good traction in slippery passages. Chassis: Heaviest four-stroke engine, this is noticeable in the handling. The 450 seems rather sedate, comparable to a Suzuki DR-Z 400. On the other hand, the good-natured chassis creates a lot of confidence at a controlled pace. With the soft suspension, it is trimmed more towards comfort, with cross-like hard driving you want more firmness. Conclusion: easy to drive motorcycle, but relatively heavy and not particularly handy. Still noticeable progress compared to the 2003 model. Successful coordination of the injection system.

HM-Honda CR-E 125 R – HM-Honda CR-E 125 R

125 cm3; Two-stroke; 34.4 hp *; 106.5 kg *; 6,930 euros

Ergonomics: Excellent seating position, everything fits right away. However, the upholstery of the bench was too soft, which restricts freedom of movement a bit. Engine: The Honda engine is weak in the lower area and does not look particularly dynamic for a 125cc. Even at the top, there is no performance among the best in class, but the 125cc is very easy to drive. The transmission of the converted Crosser hardly makes sense in difficult terrain, especially the first gear is too long. Chassis: direct, agile handling, perfect balance. The suspension is safe to ride with the cross setup on fast sections, but rather uncomfortable in slow enduro sections. A chassis for fast competition riders and for the chase. Conclusion: The crosser among the enduros, very handy and easy to drive motorcycle. Good brakes and all in all typical Honda: sit on it and feel good.

HM-Honda CRF-E 250 R – HM-Honda CRF-E 250 R

249 cm3; Four stroke; 38.1 hp *; 111.5 kg *; 7910 euros

Ergonomics: typical for Honda, good seating position. Fittings and handlebars fit perfectly, with the known restriction that the seat should also be harder on the four-stroke models. Engine: Loud four-stroke engines. The performance is good in all areas, the CRF-E can also be turned far up if necessary. Thanks to the smooth characteristics and the wide speed range, the Honda remains easy to control in slow end-of-Europe passages. If you want to move forward quickly, you have to let the engine turn vigorously. Chassis: Very good handling and direct steering behavior, remains reasonably stable on long straights. The cross chassis has a lot of reserves, responds well and the comfort is satisfactory. Ideal for competition drivers. Conclusion: Handy and easy to drive four-stroke. A real fun motorcycle. What is missing is the electric starter and a six-speed gearbox.

HM-Honda CR-E 250 R – HM-Honda CR-E 250 R

249 cm3; Two-stroke; 46.2 hp *; 112.3 kg *; 7220 euros

Ergonomics: Very successful, cross-like seating position, goal like the other Honda, the seat is too soft. Motor: The motor runs evenly over the entire speed range without sudden use of power. The peak performance is not particularly high for a two-stroke, but the quarter-liter CR-E is easy to drive. The cross transmission does not fit optimally in difficult terrain, the first gear is too fast, the other gradations are too narrow. Chassis: Very good handling in corners, almost too nervous. The suspension set-up is unchanged from the Crosser, which means that the Honda is very stable on well-traveled slopes. At a slow pace there is a lack of sensitivity and comfort. A chassis for fast pilots. Conclusion: The engine is easy to drive machine with very good handling, but the chassis set-up only works when driving fast. Not an all-round enduro.

HM-Honda CRF-E 450 R – HM-Honda CRF-E 450 R

449 cm3; Four stroke; 51.4 hp *; 116.6 kg *; 8,200 euros

Ergonomics: As with all Honda, good seating position with plenty of freedom of movement for small and large pilots, everything fits perfectly. Only the seat should be firmer. Engine: The nice, even torque curve does not hold any unpleasant surprises when driving. Lots of power at any speed, but still easy to control. But not an electric starter and quite loud. The gradation of the five-speed gearbox fits the 450s quite well. Chassis: Like the other converted Honda crossers, the 450 cannot deny its ancestry. The suspension works tight, after all, the large CRF-E meets a minimum requirement for comfort. At speed the machine is nice and stable. Conclusion: Despite the brutal power, a handy and easy to control motorcycle that is equally suitable for hobby riders in good physical condition as well as for professionals.

Husaberg FE 450 E – Husaberg FE 450 E.

449 cm3; Four stroke; 47.9 hp *; 121.0 kg *; 7990 euros

Ergonomics: all three Husaberg models have the same chassis? quite wide tank, but still a decent seating position with a well-shaped bench. The hydraulically operated clutch works very smoothly. Motor: The "small" Husaberg does not convey the sheer power of the two larger models, but it has adopted their character. With plenty of centrifugal mass, it reacts a bit tough and clumsy, its strength lies less in revving than in the lower and middle range. Despite the balancer shaft, vibrations are clearly noticeable. The gearbox is well tuned, the gearshift a bit hard but precise. Chassis: unbalanced adjustment of the suspension elements, the fork is far too soft. You always go downhill. At the rear, on the other hand, the suspension is hard and not very sensitive. Not a good balance. Conclusion: Despite the new carburettors, all Husaberg appear sluggish and unwieldy, the driving pleasure is limited. The 450 is also a typical Husaberg.

Husaberg FE 550 E – Husaberg FE 550 E.

550 cm3; Four stroke; 57.1 PS *; 123.2 kg *; 8115 euros

Ergonomics: Unloading tank, but seating position okay. Positive: the adjustment of the handbrake and clutch levers without tools. The clutch is very easy to operate, the gear lever sticks out a long way. Engine: The change from the earlier Dellorto to the Keihin carburetor did not change the power delivery significantly. As before, the 550 is a four-stroke of the old style, extraordinarily powerful, but on the other hand pretty sluggish and rough. The gearbox fits, the electric starter sometimes has a hard time. Chassis: The FE 550 lacks balance, the fork springs are too soft. Therefore, the harder tail section is always too high, which makes for an unsafe, strange driving experience. Bad balance. Conclusion: As already mentioned with the 450, the Husaberg still look rather sluggish and unwieldy. At least the unsuccessful suspension setup could be eliminated with harder fork springs.

Husaberg FE 650 E – Husaberg FE 650 E.

644cm3; Four stroke; 65.9 hp *; 128.9 kg *; 8,200 euros

Ergonomics: Tidy seating position, but a bit wide in the tank area. Engine: Really robust four-stroke, completely different from the modern generation. The big Husaberg has endless torque, infinite power from the very bottom, plus a rough character with strong vibrations. It’s really fun as long as it goes straight ahead quickly. And as long as the driver still has strength in his arms to keep the bullet on course. The electric starter doesn’t always work reliably. Chassis: The clumsy-looking 650 doesn’t like tight bends, it only steers in stubbornly and always requires a lot of concentration and strength. The rear suspension works satisfactorily, the front of the machine hangs too low in the fork. Conclusion: a unique machine that needs a lot of run-out. The huge engine has a very special thrill on fast routes. A motorcycle for specialists and very special conditions.

KTM 125 EXC – KTM 125 EXC

125 cm3; Two-stroke; 34.5 hp *; 106.0 kg *; 6.110 euros

Ergonomics: Very narrow motorcycle with good ergonomics for riders of all sizes. Lots of freedom of movement, you can slide very far forward. The new KTM rubber grips are slippery when wet. Engine: A powerful two-stroke engine without sudden use of power over the entire engine speed range. Easy to drive for a 125cc because of the wide usable band. The transmission can be shifted well and precisely, the hydraulically operated clutch works perfectly. Chassis: feels extremely light and agile. Due to the low weight, great handling in difficult terrain, easy to control even on the brakes. Tightly tuned chassis, heavy and fast pilots would need a fork that is more resistant to puncture. When driving slowly, a little more comfort and better responsiveness would be desirable. Conclusion: The eight-liter two-stroke engine was already at the forefront in previous years, the new model has been further improved.

KTM 250 EXC – KTM 250 EXC

249 cm3; Two-stroke; 45.3 hp *; 110.1 kg *; 6,620 euros

Ergonomics: Narrow two-stroke machine that offers plenty of space even for tall pilots. The seat is well shaped and has the desired hardness, you can slide far forward. Engine: No comparison with the rough, aggressive predecessor models. The new quarter-liter two-stroke engine runs like an electric motor, the performance develops very evenly and always predictable. Therefore, the traction when accelerating is now much greater, especially on slippery terrain. Chassis: Sporty, taut suspension with noticeably improved responsiveness of the WP suspension elements. If you want to drive fast and hard with a lot of effort, then the chassis works perfectly. Tea lightest motorcycle in this class, which is noticeable in tight corners or trial sections. Conclusion: KTM shows that the two-stroke engines still have plenty of development potential. The progress compared to its predecessor is remarkable.

KTM 300 EXC – KTM 300 EXC

297 cm3; Two-stroke; 52.1 PS *; 110.2 kg *; 6820 euros

Ergonomics: Identical to the 250. Whether sitting or standing, everything fits perfectly for use in sports. Pleasant with all KTM models: low operating forces and easy adjustment of the levers and fittings. Handlebar position can be adjusted over a wide range, so small and large drivers find optimal ergonomics. Motor: Power development similar to the 250, but with significantly more torque. Very civilized drive with good traction and lots of power. Regardless of the gear, there is instant thrust in every situation. Due to the good controllability, an effective implementation of the potential is possible. Even gentler than the 300 from Gas Gas.Chassis: Light motorcycle for the big class with excellent handling. Tightly tuned chassis with slight restrictions in comfort. Conclusion: A real race bike with a motor that inspires because of its manageable power.

KTM 250 EXC Racing – KTM 250 EXC Racing

249 cm3; Four stroke; 34.3 hp *; 120.4 kg *; 7610 euros

Ergonomics: an extremely successful arrangement, whether small or large, whether sitting or standing? it fits. Frame identical to that of the other KTM four-stroke engines. Engine: By working on the engine set-up, KTM was finally able to breathe a little more power into the previously weak 250cc four-stroke. The engine revs higher, compared to the Japanese four-stroke engines, the usable speed range is still missing around 2000 rpm. In terms of top performance, it is now almost on a par with its competitors. The gearbox can be shifted well and precisely, the gradation fits. Chassis: The chassis is tightly tuned, at slow speeds it should be a bit more comfortable. Nevertheless, the response behavior has been noticeably refined compared to the 2003 models. The faster you go, the better the KTM works. Conclusion: The engine is not yet at the top level, but the smallest KTM four-stroke is now a lot more fun than in previous years.

KTM 450 EXC Racing – KTM 450 EXC Racing

449 cm3; Four stroke; 51.9 hp *; 121.8 kg *; 7990 euros

Ergonomics: Successful seating position as with the other KTM, no complaints except for the rubber grip, which is spongy when wet. Engine: The 450 engine has its strengths in the medium speed range, where it gets down to business fairly spontaneously and directly. It is not as gentle and easy to turn as the old 400 and in terms of performance it is closer to the large 525 EXC. The gearbox shifts precisely. Chassis: The chassis looks short, proves to be very agile in special stages due to its tight coordination. Occasionally it tends to be nervous, for example when braking from high speeds. More comfort would be appropriate in trial sections. The response behavior has improved compared to 2003, the rear of the PDS absorbs sharp edges better. Conclusion: a machine for the forced attack. The motor could turn a little more freely at the top. Many will miss the simplicity of the 400s.

KTM 525 EXC Racing – KTM 525 EXC Racing

510 cm3; Four stroke; 51.6 hp *; 121.5 kg *; 8,110 euros

Ergonomics: Good seating position, variable, lots of space, tight fit. Coupling very smoothly. Engine: Noticeably tamer character compared to the 2003 model. The new engine develops its power more evenly, more predictably, no longer so rough and brutal. Improved traction and drivability. Above all, it is now easier for pilots with the 525 who do not drive on the last groove. Little switching work required due to the extremely wide speed range. That’s why the KTM scoops its way through the mud wonderfully easily. Chassis: Compared to the other large four-stroke machines, the KTM steers easily and precisely. The lowered rear frame and the improved PDS suspension contribute to better controllability. The compromise between hardness and comfort seems particularly successful with the 525. Conclusion: Still the benchmark in the big class. Despite the high performance, the 525 is a lot of fun because it became tamer.

TM EN 125 – TM EN 125

125 cm3; Two-stroke; 36.7 hp *; 106.5 kg *; 6.190 euros

Ergonomics: Good sitting position, narrow, hard bench. The gear lever and foot brake are not optimally positioned. The foot brake lever has a return spring that is too strong, which reduces the controllability. The front brake also needs a lot of power and is not very sensitive. Engine: Aggressive, difficult to control engine with high peak performance and a relatively narrow band. A lot of shifting work required, whereby the gearbox shifts imprecisely. Chassis: The Ohlins chassis works well. The set-up is much more balanced than in 2003, especially the rear is no longer so high. This has a positive effect on stability and steering precision. The new 125 cc whizzes quickly around corners. Conclusion: There is still a lack of fine-tuning here and there, especially for the snappy engine. TM places high demands on driving skills. The chassis is clearly improved, now the engine would have to be disarmed.

TM EN 250 – TM EN 250

249 cm3; Two-stroke; 47.3 PS *; 113.5 kg *; 6690 euros

Ergonomics: The shift lever and footbrake are in an unfavorable position, and the footbrake lever has a return spring that is too strong. The circuit is difficult and not precise enough. Engine: The 250 cc motor is by no means as aggressive as the 125 cc, it is more convincing due to its successful power delivery. The two-stroke engine pulls quite hard, especially in the middle, so that you miss a bit of liveliness in rare situations. Chassis: The basic set-up fits, the mix between comfort and hardness is right. The adjustment range of the Ohlins spring elements is enormous, which is why you can quickly be completely wrong. The chassis is much more balanced compared to 2003, the rear is no longer so high. Conclusion: The 250cc two-stroke TM has evolved significantly, the perfect racing machine only needs a little detailed work.

TM EN 250 F – TM EN 250 F

294 cm3; Four stroke; 37.0 PS *; 120.1 kg *; 7895 euros

Ergonomics: Slightly higher seating position compared to the TM two-stroke engines; you don’t feel so well integrated. But the narrow motorcycle offers a lot of freedom of movement. The footrests are lower on the current model, which improves the ergonomics enormously. Engine: TM has not yet found the optimum when it comes to tuning the engine of the smallest four-stroke engine, especially in the partial load range, the power delivery is uneven and difficult to control. On top of that, despite the loud exhaust, there is a lack of power and maneuverability. Chassis: There is hardly anything to complain about here. The Ohlins chassis fits and offers the necessary reserves for a committed pace, the balance is right. The only thing missing is feedback on the brakes. Conclusion: The 250 TM still has plenty of room for improvement, especially the poorly tuned drive. Engine failure at the end of the first day under full load.

TM EN 450 F – TM EN 450 F

449 cm3; Four stroke; 50.7 hp *; 123.1 kg *; 8,295 euros

Ergonomics: high bench, but overall good arrangement. Otherwise, the usual TM weaknesses in detail: foot brake lever with too strong a return spring, gearshift not precise and sluggish. Engine: Anyone who knows TM knows that the Italians tend to trim the characteristics of their engines in an aggressive direction. The 450 is no exception. The mid-range four-stroke engine has an incredible amount of pressure and, like an open crosser, gets down to business. The biting performance is not for beginners, the TM always requires full concentration and full commitment. Nevertheless, it is still the best-tuned model among the TM four-stroke engines. Chassis: The Ohlins chassis gives no cause for criticism if the right setting is found. The braking system doesn’t work particularly well. Conclusion: Good basis, but still with weaknesses in the details. A device for those who are looking for real challenges.

TM EN 530 F – TM EN 530 F

528 cm3; Four stroke; 58.5 hp *; 123.3 kg *; 8395 euros

Ergonomics: Everything as with the other two four-stroke machines from TM. Basically completely okay, there are only a few small things that could be improved. Engine: The Italians couldn’t get the 530 under control either. On the one hand the centrifugal mass seems to be too small, on the other hand the mixture preparation is not very successful. Sometimes the engine stops with a “pop” so suddenly that it throws the driver onto the handlebars. The four-stroke engine also does not accept gas cleanly in the partial load range. Lots of top performance, but overall the character is very aggressive and rough. The electric starter does not always work reliably. Chassis: The tight frame setup brings safety on undulating sections. The Ohlins fork works properly. Good handling in corners, where the rough engine tends to cause problems. Conclusion: There is still a lack of detail, the motorcycle still needs a lot of optimization measures.

Yamaha WR 250 F – Yamaha WR 250 F

249 cm3; Four stroke; 38.5 hp *; 121.7 kg *; 7.790 euros

Ergonomics: Good seating position, but with cheap steel handlebars. The circuit works very precisely and easily. Engine: runs very well, is extremely easy to control. The top performance is also convincing, and the small five-valve engine works in a very broad tidy. However, the power delivery obviously suffers from the clogged exhaust. The Yamaha engine revs up a bit tough and does not grip the bottom very courageously and directly. Chassis: The comfortably tuned and responsive chassis is too soft for fast and / or heavy pilots. In return, the WR distinguishes itself in tricky sections, where response behavior and comfort are exemplary. The suspension lacks progression for the special stage. Conclusion: Very good basis, wonderful machine for hobby and leisure. As a real racing machine, it needs a little fine-tuning.

Yamaha WR 450 F – Yamaha WR 450 F

449 cm3; Four stroke; 50.9 hp *; 123.5 kg *; 8,190 euros

Ergonomics: Good sitting position, ergonomically everything is very functional. All levers and fittings well placed, but cheaper steel handlebars. The clutch seems a bit weak and has to be readjusted occasionally. The seat is well shaped. Engine: Refined running engine with decent top performance and good traction. Easy to control. However, the power delivery is not particularly dynamic, probably also because of the clogged silencer. In the upper area the 450 seems constricted, doesn’t really breathe freely. The well-graded transmission is easy to shift. Chassis: Easy to drive, the suspension and balance are good. But the WR is simply too soft for driving fast. Conclusion: Still not a real racer in the standard trim. Chassis, exhaust and a few small things have to be changed for racing. Still a machine that is fun.

Rules of the game – rules of the game

The question is actually quite simple: which machine is the fastest? The answer is quite difficult, however, it takes a lot of effort to separate the wheat from the chaff. Especially when not only three or four machines are driven, as in the usual comparative tests, goal ?? nearly ?? the complete vintage. The Master Enduro, which is being held for the third time and to which the Spanish colleagues from Motociclismo invited ten motorcycle magazines from all over the world to Talavera near Madrid, is trying to find the best off-road machine in the three displacement categories. All motorcycles had the same tires for reasons of equal opportunities, Bridgestone drove an entire semi-trailer with ED 662 rear tires and M 59 front tires. The process is basically not that different from a normal Enduro event, only the long connecting stages are missing. Instead, riders and bikes have to prove their qualities in two time trials each. One corresponds to a rather fluid cross-test, the other is a tricky, narrow enduro course, peppered with all imaginable difficulties. After a short training session to get to know the track, each driver has only one chance with each machine, as is common in racing. A professional timekeeping ensures the exact measurement and evaluation of several hundred values. Not only best and average times count for the placement, but also the number of personal best times. If one or more drivers manage their fastest lap with the respective model, there are extra points. In addition, every rider has to fill out evaluation forms for the individual motorcycles, the average value of the marks on a scale from one to ten is also included in the final result.

Rating up to 125 two-stroke / 250 four-stroke – Rating class 1: Up to 125 two-stroke / 250 four-stroke

Some would have bet house and yard on a four-stroke victory. But neither the previous year’s winner, the Yamaha WR 250 F, nor the brand new Honda CRF-E 250 R can push their way to the top in this year’s Master. In addition to their absolute best times, the number of personal best times is decisive for the top placement of the 125cc by Gas Gas and Honda. Gas Gas can even show a total of four of them, while the small Honda has three individual best values ​​and thus secures its place in the final with excellent speed and good grades. The aggressive 125 TM is at least two riders ahead, while the TM four-stroke with engine failure has to give up and land in last place. The two-stroke also clearly prevailed in the internal KTM duel, with the 125 EXC completing the two-stroke top trio. The smooth 250cc four-stroke from Austria simply lacks a bit of pressure when it comes to chasing times.

Rating up to 250 two-stroke / 450 four-stroke – rating class 2: up to 250 two-stroke / 450 four-stroke

Even in the middle class, the market is clearly shifting in favor of the four-stroke engine. But it is probably due to the particularly difficult conditions that only the strong 450cc KTM can have a say in the class win. The rest of the favorite four-stroke ranks of Honda, Yamaha, Gas Gas, TM and Husaberg have to queue up this time. Last but not least, the extra weight of the four-stroke engines certainly has an effect on the muddy ground. Behind these only the 250cc two-stroke TM lands, which is tuned far too aggressively and uncompromisingly as an enduro. And the winner is: Gas Gas EC 250. The Spaniards are known for their two-stroke machines, which are as gentle as they are handy. This combination proves to be decisive under the given circumstances. In addition to top times on both stages, Gas Gas can record six of a total of twenty individual best times. Three riders each were fastest on the 250cc Honda and the Yamaha WR 450 F.

Rating over 250 two-stroke / 450 four-stroke – Rating class 3: Over 250 two-stroke / 450 four-stroke

The triumphant advance of the four-stroke engine began many years ago in this displacement category, but the two-stroke engine, as in the other two classes, can also present itself quite well this time. The 300s from KTM and Gas Gas benefit from their torque, their wide usable band and lower weight, but are by no means overpowered powerhouses like the earlier 500s two-stroke engines. Not to forget: In 2003 the 300 Gas Gas even won the class. The new class winner, whose dominance there is no doubt, is the KTM 525 EXC Racing. Clearly tamed in 2004 with less power and smoother power delivery, it managed by far the best time in the enduro test, achieved eleven out of 20 personal bests and was also rated quite well by the drivers. The fact that the large 650 Husaberg is placed in front of the "small" 550 is initially surprising. However, we like the 650 engine with its better characteristics, despite the incredible power it is still fairly manageable. The powerful 530 TM can slide between the two Husaberg, which still needs some fine-tuning despite all the improvements.

Final – final

Now to the freestyle, to the final showdown of the winning machines from the three classes. A contest that has a serious background, although the individual categories usually do not compete against each other in direct competition. After all, both the Enduro World Championship and the German Enduro Championship also have a cross-class overall ranking, so this final provides a statement about the power ratios of the various displacement categories. And that says: As so often in life, the little ones have a little harder time. With the three drivers? only the three fastest were qualified for the final ?? the 125cc Honda ends up in the back, but sometimes only just barely. Gabor Grillmayer and Mattias Nilsson, both traditionally cross-riders, get along best with the big 525 KTM, while the ex-Enduro champ Vesa Kytonen obviously prefers the 250 cc. The victory is clear in the final accounts, the corks can pop in the orange warehouse: the overall winner of the Master Enduro 2004 is the KTM 525 EXC Racing.

1st place: KTM 525 EXC Racing; 2nd place: Gas Gas EC 250; 3rd place: HM-Honda CR-E 125 R

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