Mastercross 2006

Table of contents

Mastercross 2006
Markus Jahn


Mastercross 2006

Mastercross 2006

23 motorcycles from all classes, seven pilots from seven internationally renowned magazines, three days and lots of flying hours. The Mastercross 2006 ?? Gigantism on studded tires.

Peter Mayer


Collin Dugmore is clearly impressed. That is quite something. The South African, who spent 19 of his 37 years in Germany, is usually Mr. Cool in person. In his very first Mastercross, however, the experienced veteran loses his composure. Not because it’s about personal prestige. Having to prove that he is the fastest of the flagship crossers with which the seven international motorcycle trade magazines compete is something the thoroughbred racer has long been used to. The professional crosser feels the pressure to compete and give everything every weekend.
What appeals to him are the opportunities that appearing in the Parcmotor at Igualada, an off-road facility near Barcelona that will soon be expanded to include a road racing course. Namely the chance to beat all current motocross models over a motocross slope for three days. A worldwide unique and long-known concept, the Mastercross.
That ?? Naturally ?? lives on the completeness of the model pallets present. It is a shame that after the poor ratings in the previous year, the high-end manufacturer TM Racing was insulted and stayed at home in Italy and that one of the most spectacular new releases-
of the coming model year, the completely renovated and now equipped with an aluminum frame Yamaha YZ 450 F, had not yet touched European soil at the time of the test. So be it. The question of the best four-stroke crosser in the MX1-
Class ?? including the 450 Yamaha ?? MOTORRAD will follow up separately in the next issue after the comparison test of the MX2 bikes (issue 24/2005).
Nonetheless, the attraction of the unusual should not be above the fundamental
Hide the character of the Mastercross. That of a snapshot that will surely achieve a largely objective result under the given conditions.
And so much can be boasted: Collin, starting under the flag of MOTORRAD, did splendidly. Without exception, all the best times went to the account of the five-time German champion. And who is surprised that little has been going on for years-
wrapped two-stroke engines like the Suzuki RM 125 or the Kawasaki KX 250 can reach the semifinals or even the finals, Collins should heed the humble professional ethos: “The bikes could go faster, I couldn’t.” Which is probably not only true for Collin.

Rating: MX1

Last year the Honda CRF 450 R took victory in this category ?? a result everyone expected. And this year too, the Honda, which is easy to drive with its extremely linear power output, thundered away from its four-stroke colleague. It is astonishing that, despite the hard-driving, low-traction ground in the two-stroke classification, the aggressive one, of all things
KX 250 was one step ahead. The reason: Both Poles-
Setter Collin Dugmore and Vice President Joakim Karlsson sit on the green lethal injection in real racing life and are very familiar with its characteristics. A competitive disadvantage for the rest? Might be. You could also call it the moment.
Although Karlsson and his Swedish colleague Mattias Nilsson set their best time with the Honda, Collin Dugmore heaved the two-stroke Kawasaki KX 250 into the final with an absolute best time in the MX1 class ?? a result that hardly anyone expected.

Rating: MX2

There is no substitute for performance. This motto is sure to be signed by every crosser in this displacement class. After the rating of the 250cc four-stroke engines remained true to this statement and with the KTM SX-F brought the most powerful motorcycle to the top, it was ours again
brave Collin, who turned the two-stroke rating on its head. While three of the seven pilots with
the easy-to-drive Yamaha YZ 125 set her personal best
pushing into the hard clay of the Parcmotor of Igualada, the MOTORRAD man took pole position with the Suzuki RM 125 of all things, lifting the yellow one to first place in the two-stroke classification.
In general: depending on the driver, they use twice as much stroke-
room-equipped four-stroke
their competitive advantage and thunder around the course around one to two seconds faster. In this respect, the result of the semi-finals was very close. In a direct duel between KTM and the two-
The four-stroke clock retained Suzi with just 0.4 seconds
Distance barely the upper hand.

Rating: MX3

The Big Bikes race for the semi-finals was quickly decided: What no one expected: at least two of the seven riders made it
the husky her personal best. The semi-final countdown was made by Joakim Karlsson and Collin Dugmore. And while the Swede again set his personal best with the Husqvarna, Collin Dugmore ultimately pushed the KTM to the top with the fastest overall time in this class.

Rules of the game

The fastest wins? at least most. MOTOCICLISMO, MOTORRAD’s Spanish sister paper, doesn’t make it that easy. The Iberians, who organize the world’s largest motorcycle comparison tests Mastercross, Masterenduro and Masterbike, take the fastest lap times of any machine ?? all of which had identical tires with Dunlop D 739 ?? of course as a basis for
the overall rating. However, according to a complicated key, parameters such as the number of drivers also flow into the scoring,
who achieved their fastest time with the motorcycle in question, the
Difference to the best time of the respective class and the ratings given by the test drivers. Who moves into the final, results from an elimination mode: In a semi-final within
In each class, the best two- and four-stroke strokes compete against each other for the best lap time. The winners of the MX1 ?? or MX2 class compete in the final against the winner of the two
MX3-Crosser on ?? in which, by the way, the fastest wins.


The finals are everywhere. Because different than about
In road racing or in enduro, where the classes compete separately, in motocross, at least in the national championships, which are mostly open to displacement, the various categories do in fact meet directly. And mostly crystallize
the 450 four-stroke as the leading one
Concept out.
What happened at the Mastercross 2006-
was closed. Because against the fastest MX2 bike, the KTM 250 SX-F, and the MX3 winner, the KTM 525 SX, ?? Thanks to Collins furious record laps ?? completely unexpected
the two-stroke Kawasaki KX 250 in the final
on. Only one criterion counted there: the best time.
And that went? if ?? it was also difficult to understand in view of the technically no longer developed Kawasaki ?? with everyone
individual of the frenzied trio (Mattias Nilsson,
Joakim Karlsson and Collin Dugmore) of course
to the KX 250. Almost exactly one second
each of the cracks thrashed the green faster
about the course as the next fastest finalist, the big KTM. Which in turn relegated her little sister to third place with a lead of around two seconds per lap.
By the way: How did a hit text in
the seventies? Miracles are happening from time to time.

Honda CR 250 R.

250 cm3; Two-stroke; 46.1 PS; 100.3 kg *; 6690 euros

Honda seems to be realizing its intention to use only four-stroke engines in racing in the foreseeable future. The quarter-liter two-stroke engine will continue to be built, but will remain without any technical changes for the 2006 model year. That means: The strengths of the engine are? contrary to the constant on easy drivability-
centered Honda tradition ?? rather in the middle and upper speed range. The power development, which is difficult to control for the driver, is reinforced by the exhaust control operated by an electric motor via wear-prone Bowden cables. Probably one reason why Collin Dugmore with the
CR 250 R his personally worst lap time
drove in this class ?? despite the beyond doubt
raised Showa spring elements and perfect ergonomics. The only consolation: the very good workmanship.

Honda CRF 450 R.

450 cm3; Four stroke; 51.9 PS; 103.2 kg *; 7940 euros

The CRF 450 R has been the bestseller in this class since it was launched in 2002. On top of that goes
the great Honda as the overall winner of last year’s
Mastercross into the race. Understandable that
the Honda technicians had leaned back a little.
An engine that is five millimeters lower and higher-quality seats for the intake valves are all changes for the 2006 model year. Be that as it may
drum. The CRF still impresses with excellent handling and a harmonious chassis with first-class appealing suspension elements and
almost perfect damping and spring adjustment. The undercarriage is topped by the Unicam-
Four-stroke engine, whose harmonious performance-
folding is unparalleled in this class. Only top drivers will notice the somewhat lower revving power compared to the Kawasaki unit.

Husqvarna TC 450

450 cm3; Four stroke; 53.5 hp; 109.1 kg *; 8380 euros

Development has been in full swing since the Malaysian automotive group Proton got involved with Husqvarna’s parent company MV Agusta. With the new Marzocchi fork, the titanium exhaust system,
enlarged valve diameters and Ohlins shock absorbers signal the Italians optimistic mood. In fact, the Husky continues in this class
53.5 HP peak power set the bar. In practice, however, the engine vibrates noticeably at higher speeds, which is annoying when braking and jumping
pronounced braking effect. On top of that came the
Adjustment of the appealing front fork too soft. Especially since the TC over six kilos more than
the lightest four-stroke engines in this class
Hips. The advantages of the TC, such as good traction and smooth straight-line stability, could therefore only have an impact after extensive reworking.

Kawasaki KX 250

250 cm3; Two-stroke; 46.5 hp; 103.0 kg *; 6265 euros

As with almost all two-stroke models, the changes to the KX 250 were of a rather moderate nature: higher ones
Compression, modified water pump, new brakes with corrugated brake discs and the Renthal handlebars ?? that’s it then. It is understandable that the character of the KX 250 remained unchanged. The green one definitely belongs in professional hands. After moderate pressure in the speed cellar, the mail goes off from mid-speed. The more aggressive the pilot’s driving style, the more the KX releases its potential. Hobby crossers require this radical interpretation physically and physically
driving everything off. But the successful tuning of the shock absorber, the agile handling and the very also contribute to the best times (see finals)
good brakes. Also not for the common riders: the tightly coordinated fork, which offers considerable punch reserves at the speed of the express train.

Kawasaki KX 450 F

450 cm3; Four stroke; 49.1 PS; 105.8 kg *; 7965 euros

The scene has waited a long time for the KX 450 F. For the 2006 season, Kawasaki will be the last of the Japanese manufacturers to attack in the most popular four-stroke class. Where-
the technology is up to date, but with the aluminum bridge frame and four-valve four-stroke engine, the concept of Honda and Suzuki has almost been copied. Nevertheless: With the 450, the Greens immediately succeeded in making a good hit. The dohc engine is aggressive, but still manageable, presses in the
in the lower and middle speed range and shows itself to be more revving than any of its competitors. The peripherals are also right: tall drivers in particular will find it straight away on the new Kawa-
sufficient freedom of movement. Kayaba’s fork and shock absorber are just a tad below the level of Honda’s benchmark equipment. Fantastic:
the controllability and effectiveness of the braking system.

KTM 250 SX

250 cm3; Two-stroke; 46.1 PS; 99.4 kg *; 7041 euros

The trend towards easily controllable power output is also followed by the largest motocross two-stroke from
KTM. Above all, the carburetor cross-section, which has been reduced from 38 to 36 millimeters in diameter compared to the previous year, proves that full draft was at the top of the priority list of the developers. A
Goal that the KTM crew achieved. As gentle as never
beforehand, the engine of the 250 goes to work without sacrificing top performance. The chassis of the
lightest currently on offer at 99.4 kilograms
Quarter-liter Crossers has also been significantly improved. The WP fork is excellent,
and find the stern with the new cast swing arm ??
at least for active pilots who put enough pressure on the footrests ?? on acceleration-
waves enough traction. Still the class reference: the Brembo front brake.

KTM 450 SX

450 cm3; Four stroke; 48.3 hp; 103.6 kg *; 7841 euros

Although KTM is already in the
Dohc engines used in 2005 season will be the
Series machines are still equipped with the previous drive units with a camshaft.
The 450 SX has been upgraded with a stiffer crankshaft, improved valve guides and a new cast rear swing arm. But it is precisely the engine that has a simple structure that impresses with gentle power from the low revs and a lot of pressure in the middle, only to flatten out at higher revs. Only the ?? compared to Honda and Kawasaki ?? significantly stronger engine brake. Whereby the chassis, typically KTM, driven aggressively
wants to become. Although the fork responds very well, the rear end throws for good traction after strong thigh pressure from the pilot. The excellent front brake from Brembo is in a class of its own.

Suzuki RM 250

250 cm3; Two-stroke; 44.7 hp; 105 kg *; 5590 euros

In astonishingly few steps ?? changed timing, exhaust control, diaphragm adjustment and pre-compression ?? the Suzuki engineers conjured a cross out of the previously aggressive RM 250-
good quarter-liter crosser. Instead of two-stroke power that is difficult to control, the yellow pushes forward easily from the lowest engine speeds and does not force the pilot to use the tightrope later on-
act between rising front wheel and through-
rotating rear wheel. The performance handicap of
one or two horsepower at the top compared to the strongest-
The majority of drivers like to face the toughest competition
for this user-friendly power output.
Especially when the excellently coordinated Showa suspension elements, the nimble handling and the first-class brakes round off the package harmoniously. Also attractive: the tightly calculated price.

Suzuki RM-Z 450

450 cm3; Four stroke; 49.4 hp; 105.6 kg *; 6490 euros

The now exorbitant purchase prices
the four-stroke crosser enters Suzuki with power-
against. This is just over 1500 euros for the 2005 season
presented RM-Z 450 below the list prices of the competition. A good offer, even if the
Modifications after the first year of the RM-Z
kept within limits. A stiffer swing arm and a reinforced steering head, along with minor changes to the engine setup, are the news for the 2006 season. In addition to the price, the Suzuki setup is also aimed at hobby drivers. A smooth performance development with a competitive top performance, exceptionally appealing and comfortably coordinated spring elements
as well as neutral and stable handling make the Suzuki an underestimated insider tip. Only one
Shortcoming: the mechanically very rough engine.

Yamaha YZ 250

250 cm3; Two-stroke; 45.6 hp; 100.3 kg *; 6850 euros

After the YZ 250 with the change from steel to aluminum frame last year, a general overhaul-
received, the interventions for the 2006 model remain moderate. In addition to a stiffer swing arm
and a high-quality Renthal handlebar surprise all Yamaha models with a light titanium spring in the shock absorber. However, the character of the YZ 250 remained unchanged. Because with a homogeneous performance band, the YZ has dominated the sympathy rating, especially among hobby drivers, for years. The 250 remains a typical Yamaha when it comes to the chassis. with
a lot of traction on the front wheel, it can be directed around turns with extreme directional stability without giving up much of the agile handling. About suspension: The new forks from Kayaba respond better, but don’t quite come close to the competition from Showa? quite in contrast to the comfortable hindquarters.

Honda CR 125 R.

125 cm3; Two-stroke; 34.1 hp; 93.5 kg *; 6090 euros

As with its big sister, Honda is also bringing the development to a close with the small two-stroke model: The CR 125 R is entering the coming season without modification. Which logically keeps the CR from its previous problems. With a little punch from the shoot-
Zahlkeller needs an experienced pilot to get the eight-liter unit in its performance-
capable segment in the middle and upper speed range. Amateurs will be using this
Band probably not happy. The chassis design is right for that. The Showa elements in front and
clearly define the rear in terms of both response behavior and damping adjustment
Class standard. In terms of handling, they found
Honda engineers also made a good compromise
between agility and directional stability, which also
is supported by the good spring elements.

Honda CRF 250 R.

250 cm3; Four stroke; 34.5 hp; 98.4 kg *; 7565 euros

Maximum efficiency with minimal extravagance: if
there is an off-road model that makes this one for Honda
embodied the typical path to success, then the CRF 250 R. Despite the subjectively felt, almost lethargic sluggish performance of the Unicam engine, the four-stroke engine helped two of the seven test drivers
at their best times. However, it would not have been due to the gentle drive alone. Although this one with
higher compression, one by at least three
Carburettor cross-section enlarged to 40 millimeters
and the two visually striking silencers
enjoyed some development work. The search for best times supports above all the most successful suspension set-up in this class and the neutral handling of the CRF 250 R, which is typical for Honda. Just a case for amateur crossers who strive for maximum results with minimal effort.

Husqvarna CR 125

125 cm3; Two-stroke; 36.0 PS; 95.8 kg *; 5930 euros

While the small enduros from Husqvarna have been some of the best in this sport for years, the small two-stroke crossers from the Italian town of Varese ?? now wrapped in white and red ?? take blows regularly. Those times are over now? at least when professional crossers sit behind the handlebars. Understandable, because the small eight-liter engine works-
tremendous progress. But only if it is held mercilessly in the highest speed ranges. The two-stroke engine buckles in the low rev range, which experienced drivers avoid. Amateur pilots benefit at most from the new, appealing Marzocchi fork with 45 mm sliding tubes and the high-quality Ohlins shock absorber, both of which are more comfortably tuned. Nevertheless: Despite the split character of the Husky, the lap times are definitely at the top level? with said top crossers at least.

Kawasaki KX 125

125 cm3; Two-stroke; 34.2 hp; 94.8 kg *; 5665 euros

Like Honda, Kawasaki demonstrates that you can
for off-road machines with two-stroke engines only
still sees few future opportunities. While the
completely unchanged KX 125 in this country still in
If there is an offer, it will no longer be exported to the USA of all places. In fact, the KX is the one
note the lack of development in the engine. The little one lives with little pressure from the speed limit
Green only at high speeds. A shortcoming,
that can hardly be ironed out in this class
can. Neither from the successful, sufficiently stable
Chassis with the already legendary for Kawasaki
Bridge frame made of square steel tubes still from
the acceptable suspension setup or the
good handling. At least the stepchild benefits
the Kawasaki developer of the for the coming
Model year significantly improved brakes.

Kawasaki KX 250 F

250 cm3; Four stroke; 35.0 PS; 99 kg *; 7565 euros

Even if the Kawasaki is ultimately under the conditions of the Mastercross of the new four-stroke KTM
had to give up, the new Green won
the MOTORRAD comparison test of the 250cc four-stroke engine (issue 24/2005). No wonder posed
the Kawa technicians with a new aluminum frame, Showa-
Suspension elements, new brakes and lots of engine modifications put an almost completely new motorcycle on the wheels. The result makes up for the effort. The easy-to-drive engine works like hell in every speed range, fork and shock absorber can only be beaten by the Honda reference. In addition, the green hopper brakes first-class and
offers ?? unusual in this class ?? even tall drivers have enough freedom of movement. All in all a 250cc four-stroke crosser with the rating “particularly recommendable”.

KTM 125 SX

125 cm3; Two-stroke; 36.4 hp; 94 kg *; 6441 euros

In contrast to the competition, KTM continues to hoist-
the two-stroke flag in the smallest World Cup class.
Understandable, after all, even before the current modifications such as the new cylinder, new clutch, new exhaust or six-speed gearbox, the 125 SX was considered the measure of all things on a small scale
Two-stroke segment. When it comes to top performance, the KTM? albeit scarce? keep ahead. What has remained is the extremely strong acceleration in the lower and medium speed range for this class. However, the handy to nervous chassis design has also been retained, which demands a lot of commitment from the pilot. In contrast to the big KTM, the WP fork does not work in the 125 SX
so sensitive, the rear is less comfortable on acceleration edges. As usual, the KTM’s brakes are first class.

KTM 250 SX-F

250 cm3; Four stroke; 38.2 hp; 99.4 kg *; 7741 euros

As the last of the major off-road manufacturers, KTM now also offers a 250cc four-stroke. And after excellent results in the World Cup, it rolls behind the starting system with huge advance praise. The engine concept ?? the titanium valves are towed over-
lever operated, a balance shaft is missing? was uncompromisingly designed for maximum performance, the chassis just as purposefully trimmed for maximum maneuverability. The result is accordingly. The SX-F likes to be moved with dominance, turns ultra-fast around tight corners. A loose hand or an unsuitable chassis set-up punishes them with restless fidgeting. On the other hand, the agile engine jumps into its own at the slightest throttle
Potent range in the middle and above all higher speeds. Anyone who comes to terms with this will certainly be very happy with the SX-F.

Suzuki RM 125

125 cm3; Two-stroke; 34.0 PS; 96.5 kg *; 5090 euros

The competitors are offering their two-stroke engines, which have not been further developed, at the same price as last year. Not so with Suzuki, where the engineering hours saved are passed on to customers as a bonus. Interested parties can save almost a thousand on an RM 125. For that they definitely get a
attractive motorcycle. The only compromises have to be made on the engine. The power from below
out remains modest, so that salvation is to be sought at high speeds. Then it goes ahead with the Suzuki, and the successful set-up
the Showa spring elements can be used.
The periphery also fits. Comfortable bench, good brakes and especially the lively handling that makes the yellow one of the queen of the interior tracks are now part of the
familiar character of the Cross-Suzuki.

Suzuki RM-Z 250

250 cm3; Four stroke; 32.9 hp; 99.9 kg *; 5290 euros

Even if Suzuki does it in cooperation with Kawasaki
250cc four-stroke engine created after two years
Seems to have already given up construction time, the RM-Z is doing an injustice. The minimal changes such as optimized oil supply, better quality treatment-
Belwelle and reinforced flywheel bring the
previously vulnerable RM-Zs are safely back on the path
of virtue back. Not for German customers, however. In this country only remnants of the 2005 RM-Z are offered. Nevertheless: The successful suspension set-up with an excellent working fork, decent brakes and nimble handling are valued more by many hobby crossers than a few additional horsepower. In addition, the yellow one too
financially accommodates recreational athletes.
At some dealers, a new RM-Z changes for
less than 5000 euros the owner.

Yamaha YZ 125

125 cm3; Two-stroke; 35.9 hp; 92.2 kg *; 6095 euros

The YZ 125 only underwent a general renovation last year when it switched from steel to aluminum-
Frame granted. The blue still retained its legendary reputation as the most homogeneous 125cc in the field. And it maintains this even after the current modifications such as the titanium shock absorber spring, the revised exhaust control or the stiffer rear swing arm. No eight-liter machine packs? at competition-
capable top performance, of course ?? already at
at such low speeds. The engine, which is easy to drive and easy on condition, has its counterpart in the chassis. In the stoic calm that is typical of the Yamaha, she lets herself down the bombed straights
ironing or braking into neighboring areas thanks to the precisely guided front wheel. Only with the brakes, which require comparatively high operating forces, has Yamaha lost touch with the competition.

Yamaha YZ 250 F.

250 cm3; Four stroke; 35.5 hp; 101 kg *; 7750 euros

With an aluminum frame, new engine position, smaller radiators, titanium shock absorber springs, Renthal handlebars and new plastic parts, the quarter-liter four-stroke Yamaha is completely turned inside out for the coming season. The world champion in this class still has to give everything to keep up with the increased competition. The YZ 250 F continues to shine
with the beefy power development at low speeds and attractive top performance. Which, by the way, fits the chassis design. Achieve it
The quality of the Kayaba spring elements is not quite that
Level of Showa parts in the Honda, Kawa and
Suzuki, but the unexcited handling and the
Stoic chassis smoothness largely compensate for this shortcoming. The Yamaha clearly lags behind the competition when it comes to the brakes and the clutch, both of which require high actuation forces.

Husqvarna TC 510

501 cm3; Four stroke; 55.8 hp; 110.5 kg *; 8480 euros

The TC 510 also proves that Husqvarna’s preference for the good old four-stroke steam hammers still has an impact on the new generation of engines
every meter driven. Even after the expens-
digen model update with the 50s Marzocchi fork,
Ohlins strut, titanium exhaust and enlarged valve diameters, the machine exudes a brutal charm. The larger rotating or oscillating masses make handling even more difficult and make the bike appear bulky, but throw a good portion of stability into the scales and deliver pithy vibrations at the same time. However, the suspension setup that is too soft does not fit into the picture. By the way: The topic of top performance is probably unnecessary with the most powerful engine in the entire Mastercross. What ultimately characterizes the TC-
terized. The husky is a big toy for big boys.

KTM 525 SX

510 cm3; Four stroke; 50.2 hp; 108.3 kg *; 7941 euros

In contrast to the philosophy of Husqvarna, the technicians from Mattighofen do not allow the largest four-stroke engine in the Racing series to be delusional. On the contrary. After the currently prescribed makeover with a stiffer crankshaft, more wear-resistant
Valve guides and new cast rocker arm behaves
the big single is well-mannered and extremely easy to turn for this class ?? whereby the strong pressure from the lower rev range does not require higher tours at all. The handling, which is hardly worse than that of a 450 crosser, definitely benefits from the light flywheel. And the chassis set-up also harmonizes with the large single-cylinder. Despite stronger load changes, the fork and, above all, the shock absorber, which reacts extremely sensitively to spring and damping settings on the lower-displacement KTM crossers, work unexpectedly sensitively.

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