Mastercross 2007

Mastercross 2007

Completely lifted

In Spain, leading international magazines met for the sixth time to compare the current cross models – the ultimate flight show with the aim of finding the high-flyer.

Germany in late autumn: the sun is shining, the temperatures are pleasant, and the cross-slopes in some places are dust-dry. Ideal conditions for a Mastercross. Goal that should take place as always in Spain, where it rained in November. So violently that the planned venue, the GP track from Talavera de la Reina, sank into the floods. With the course in Otero east of Talavera, however, a good replacement could be found at short notice. Grippy clay soil offered the best conditions for a meaningful comparison.
21 models with tires from Japan and Austria entered the contest this year. Three days of Crossing was on the program. As always, the main criterion: the best lap times that the test drivers from six countries achieved with the individual motorcycles. One result in advance: It was never closer than in the 2007 vintage, the level was high on all machines. In the end, it was often minimal differences that made the difference. Test motorcycles that were not perfectly adjusted, for which the respective delegations of the manufacturers were responsible, therefore had an impact on the placement in individual cases.
The four Japanese brought their current model ranges completely to the start, and of course wanted KTM show that Europe doesn’t have to hide. Other manufacturers from the Old World were invited, but not on site. About Husqvarna, apparently the suboptimal performance in Italy last year led to resignation. TM or Gas Gas obviously shied away from the comparison.
In the future, the starting field will be thinner. Honda took part for the last time with two-stroke models, the motocross year 2008 should only consist of four-stroke CRF models. The other Japanese manufacturers also tend to neglect their two-stroke range. In contrast, KTM is expressly committed to the two-stroke engine, because customer interest could be maintained due to the lower price and the simpler technology.

The tires

The basic requirement for a fair comparison test is initially the same tires for everyone, this year Dunlop D 756. After a training session, the drivers have the opportunity to complete two laps on time with each individual machine after an introductory lap. The times of the three fastest drivers count for the evaluation. In addition, the number of personal bests flows,
that the six riders reached with the respective motorcycle. Furthermore, the pilots’ subjective assessments of the characteristics of the motorcycles such as seating position, performance characteristics, handling, suspension, etc. Two and four-stroke strokes are initially treated separately in their respective categories. The two winners then go to the semi-finals, so that only one model from each category makes it to the final. Finally, the three fastest drivers, regardless of their class, drive the overall winner of all categories in the grand finale.

Rating MX1; 250 two-stroke / 450 four-stroke

At last year’s Mastercross, Kawasaki’s KX 250 two-stroke engine caused a tangible surprise with class and overall victory. Now the four-stroke empire strikes back. First and foremost the series winner of earlier years, the Honda CRF 450 R. It was able to prevail in the four-stroke and finally also in the semifinals to keep the KX in check, which was again successful in its category.
When analyzing the results, however, it becomes apparent that only one of the six pilots achieved his personal best with the CRF 450. Overall, the Honda was able to prevail just ahead of the Kawasaki KX 450 F. MOTORRAD tester Didi Lacher, on the other hand, beat the new 450cc KTM to the best time in its class. Nevertheless, the SX-F ended up in the back because other pilots had difficulties with it.
The result was clearer with the two-stroke models, here the KX 250 was able to confirm the dominance of the previous year and clinch victory with a clear lead. The second place of the not quite current Honda
CR 250 surprised while KTM,
Yamaha and Suzuki came in with almost the same times.

MX2 rating: 125 two-stroke / 250 four-stroke

Actually, the principle applied in the small class of the two-stroke machines: high performance equals good lap times. That rule challenged the 125cc Honda this year. Despite an in
the years come engine could
Thanks to its excellent handling, the CR 125 just beat the more powerful Yamaha. Although, according to the test bench, the KTM clearly has the most powerful drive with 40.1 hp, the 125 SX could not prevail on the track.
In the 250cc four-stroke, the KTM engine seems rather unspectacular and gentle despite the highest test bench performance. However, the lap times spoke in favor of this design, the SX-F was clearly in the lead. Didi Lacher managed by far the best time of the day with her. In second square the Yamaha, which in the end missed a top lap time to win. There is no doubt about which engine concept is better on this track. Two seconds difference in the best times in favor of the four-stroke engine speak for themselves. The fact that the four-stroke KTM clearly won the semi-finals against the CR 125 was never in question.

Rating MX3: up to 650 four-stroke

In the absence of competition that was
big KTM the start-
definitely place in the final. Nevertheless, it is clear: Any opponent, including a Husqvarna TC 510, would have a difficult time against
the brand new KTM,
those with good suspension and a strong but
not too sluggish engine convinced.

KTM 505 SX-F (VT: Master Cross)

Two times KTM against a single Honda? This is the grand finale between the two winners in the small displacement categories and the mastercross competition-
loose KTM 505 SX-F of the MX3 class. In which the smallest machine, with its clear performance deficit, seemed to have the least chance on paper. But a look at the timesheet suggests that the KTM 250 SX-F is by no means completely without a chance. In the end, all pilots with the 250 were missing around a second. The KTM 505 SX-F also sets fast lap times, but the drivers achieved ?? Javier Fernandez, Didi Lacher and Mattias Nilsson ?? her best time with the Honda. And at the end of the event, MOTORRAD representative Didi managed the absolutely fastest lap of the entire event with 1.39.87 minutes. On average, the Honda is more than a second ahead, plus the best ratings leave no doubt about the result: the CRF 450 R is the measure of all things at the 2007 Mastercross and can build on its earlier successes.


The new features of the 2007 CR 250 are quickly mentioned: different stickers. After three years without changes, Honda says
soon farewell to his two-stroke engines and cease production. On the track, the engine proved to be subjectively weakest in its class. Despite a wide rev range and the acceptable performance graph, the two-stroke felt rather weak on the slopes. Strong vibrations did not exactly help to improve the impression of the engine performance. The chassis, on the other hand, was perfectly balanced. With the balanced handling typical of Honda and well-coordinated Showa suspension elements, the CR 250 was able to hold its own against most of its competitors.

Honda CRF 450 R.

The current CRF model received some subtle but effective changes: In addition to a modified rear frame, exhaust valves, carburetor and ignition curve were modified. The result is a very responsive engine that requires a careful hand throttle. MOTORRAD test driver Didi Lacher thinks the Honda is fast, but much more strenuous than gentler machines like the KTM or Yamaha four-stroke machines. One reason why he put these motorcycles ahead of the Honda in his personal ranking. As with all Hondas, balance and handling are beyond reproach. Whether on the ground or in the air? the CRF 450 is the benchmark in its class in the chassis category.

Kawasaki KX 250

Last year’s winner of the Mastercross must
go into the 2007 season without any significant changes. Still, the KX engine counts
among the strongest in its class. That impression
from the track was also confirmed on the test bench. With an aggressive power development, which is easy to use thanks to a wide rev range, the green two-stroke engine shows that you can be fast even without valves and a lot of noise. The handling seems more cumbersome than the two-stroke competition, but does not prevent the KX from achieving the best lap times in its class. As with all Kawasaki models, the brakes are excellent, especially the front stopper impresses with its good controllability with low hand strength.

Kawasaki KX 450 F

Found out in the second year of its existence
Kawasaki’s big four-stroke engine made significant changes: new gearbox with now five
instead of four gears, new exhaust and modified frame. Not to forget the revised suspension tuning and fork tubes coated for the first time in a production motorcycle. The convincing on the route
KX 450 F with a very even, gentle power output in conjunction with precise and stable handling. So she stays that
Honda hot on the heels. One disadvantage is the too soft seat, which unfortunately has a long tradition at Kawasaki. Overall, the 450 looks tall and long, which is why tall drivers quickly feel comfortable on it.

KTM 250 SX

The practically no longer existing side number plates on the new KTM models are certainly a matter of taste. The new frame, on the other hand, proves that steel is still up-to-date as a material. Three to four kilograms less total weight than the two-stroke competition speaks for itself. Also the very compact engine, its cylinders and
-head have been redesigned, convinces with a lot of pressure and a wide speed range. Tea
Motorcycle looks very agile, narrow and rather small overall. While the KTM was Didi Lacher’s favorite in the two-stroke class, other test riders apparently got along less well with her. Remarkable: the low operating forces for the clutch and the brakes.

KTM 450 SX-F

The 450 KTM is new to the starting line almost down to the last screw: new engine, new chassis, new suspension. Another premiere: It is the only test candidate (besides the MX3 offshoot) with an electric starter, but still weighs only 104.5 kilograms. A not inconsiderable advantage of the steel frame is the easy accessibility of the carburetor. With pre-
The SX-F won over the track with its precise, stable handling and an easily controllable, agile motor. There was also nothing to complain about with the suspension with its good response. However, these qualities are not reflected
reflected in the result. Although Didi Lacher set his best time with her, it was only enough for a somewhat unfortunate, tight fifth place overall.

Suzuki RM 250

Even at Suzuki, the two-stroke issue is not yet through, which is documented in subtle modifications such as a revised cylinder, a changed position of the engine in the frame and a new shock absorber setup. As with all Suzuki crossers, the low price is remarkable. In terms of handling, the RM 250 sets standards and delights the pilot with light-footed cornering behavior without appearing nervous on fast straights. The engine was
Adjusted too lean in the test, but thanks to the wide rev range and controllable power output it still made a good impression. Good brakes and relatively soft suspension elements make the RM an unspectacular, nonetheless good motorcycle.

Suzuki RM-Z 450

In the third model year, Suzuki has the RM-Z 450
send some changes, such as the revised frame and a titanium exhaust manifold. In addition, it was given a modified ignition map and a new carburetor set-up. The result is a powerful, spontaneously reacting engine whose strengths lie in the lower and middle speed range.
Compared to Kawasaki and Yamaha, the power input is pretty heavy, which something
Getting used to it. The chassis supplied by Showa was tightly tuned, while the seating position is rather low, more "inside" the motorcycle. The handling is very balanced. The RM-Z shows itself to be light and agile in curves, without any
Straight lines seem restless.

Yamaha YZ 250

Yamaha indulged the ?? next to Honda ?? The only two-stroke engine with aluminum frame revised, the engine of the 250 remained in the Ver-
unchanged from the previous model. The new fork bridge finally allows a variable handlebar position on the YZ machines. The engine is definitely one of the best in its class. The quarter-liter two-stroke engine remains easy-revving and strong in the mid-range as well as with a wide usable speed range even without it
Changes 2007 absolutely competitive. Typically Yamaha: slightly front-wheel heavy
effective handling, which makes the 250 in the corners not appear quite as agile as the
another two-stroke. Convincing, however, is the excellent stability.

Yamaha YZ 450 F.

The new YZ 450 F made its Mastercross debut after it was missing last year due to late delivery. Now that too
Yamaha flagship available in white
qualitative standards with details such as a titanium shock absorber spring and above-average workmanship. Compared to the 2006 model, a large number of far-reaching modifications were made, including to the fork, shock absorber, cylinder head and radiator. With the new frame geometry, the 450, which was previously trimmed for straight-line stability, is more manageable and agile in curves. The engine is easy to control with its smooth, even characteristics, does not appear as explosive as the CRF. The typical, relatively high sitting position is noticeable.

Honda CR 125 R.

With new stickers in the final season: Honda says goodbye to the two-stroke engines in the coming year. Even the surprise victory of the CR 125 R will not change that. This results primarily from the excellent balance and handiness of all Hondas as well as the good ergonomics. This is exactly what pays off at Mastercross, because the
Test riders have little time to get used to each motorcycle. The deep ruts before the jumps need a lot of trust in the motorcycle, which is there faster with the Honda than with some of its competitors. The somewhat hard and uncomfortable fork set-up was not detrimental to this either. The engine is relatively easy to drive with its even power delivery,
which is perhaps also due to the rather mediocre top performance.

Honda CRF 250 R.

Honda’s small four-stroke engine has clearly caught up in the current model year after lagging a bit behind the competition in terms of engine power and maneuverability in the past.
A new cylinder head, a modified camshaft as well as modified carburetor tuning and ignition resulted in a steady and powerful output even beyond the rated speed. The very loud exhaust noise is less nice, especially since one would expect less noise with two silencers. Tea frame and handling of the small CRF, on the other hand, please without restriction, although the fork tends to be rather soft. Easy
to drive, always precise and on track, perfect balance and ergonomics ?? these are attributes that match the Honda.

Kawasaki KX 125

In the largest motocross market, the USA, which is no longer available, the KX 125 ekes out a little noticed existence in Europe. For several years without any noteworthy innovations, the 2007 model received a modified ignition curve and new brake discs. However, this is not quite enough to keep up with the more modern competition. A weak point is the hard rear suspension, which gives a rear-heavy impression. Especially since the test machine was set up rather softly. In terms of top performance, however, the engine does not have to hide. However, the usable speed range is narrow and requires a lot of shift work if you want to move forward quickly. The KX 125 appears ergonomically compact, which is advantageous in angled passages.

Kawasaki KX 250 F

2006 saw the introduction of the aluminum frame at Kawasaki, but for the new model year the engine received more attention. This can be seen, for example, from the fact that the cylinder head, carburetor, transmission and clutch have all been heavily revised. In addition, the shock absorber was given a fresh set-up and the frame was slightly modified in terms of rigidity. So much for the theory. In practice, the new 250 was a lot of driving fun because it kicked off powerfully when it was pulling, looked lively at the top and spontaneously hung on the gas. On the other hand, the handling seemed directional and easy to control, but sometimes a bit stiff in the corners. The rear suspension of the test machine appeared to be quite hard and not very comfortably tuned, which could possibly be the reason for the somewhat disappointing lap times in view of the powerful engine.

KTM 125 SX

The 125 SX is the only model in its class to have been massively redesigned, only the engine housing and transmission remained unchanged. Otherwise, as with all SX models, there was the new look and the new steel chassis. The test bench result speaks for itself and confirmed the driving impression: 40.1 HP means a lonely class record, outstripped the top
SX their competition mercilessly. What ultimately prevented the 125cc KTM from winning the class was a less than optimal engine and chassis set-up of the test vehicle. In addition, the implementation of the peak engine characteristics also demands a lot from a top driver. The same applies to the handling, the SX seems nervous on bumps and on the brakes and needs to be guided by a strong hand.

KTM 250 SX-F

The new chassis with revised PDS rear suspension and the greatly improved WP suspension elements make the 250 SX-F look good in tight corners and bumpy terrain
Sections. Fast passages, however, still require increased attention with the KTM, and driving behavior there tends to be nervous. Despite the highest peak performance on the test bench, the KTM feels less explosive on the track than the 250cc Kawasaki, the power output is smoother. But when it comes to pulling through, the KTM engine gets down to business with power, which is where the changes to the 2007 model have a significant impact. That the 250 SX-F achieved the best times and thus the class win speaks for them
Adjustment of the engine, which has lost a bit of liveliness compared to the previous model.

Suzuki RM 125

Like the CR and KX, Suzuki’s 125cc RM has to be content with minimal changes, a new seat cover and the latest stickers. After all, the price speaks for the yellow two-stroke, since it is definitely unbeatable. On the track, the RM did not necessarily shine with outstanding power in the past, and this has not changed with the 2007 model either. The 125cc doesn’t really get down to business, especially in the middle speed range. In addition, there is a suboptimal gear ratio, which does not make it easy for the pilot to keep the engine, which is only powerful at high revs, happy. The Showa chassis is rather tight
Voted. For all Suzuki RM models, the handling is balanced and light, without being nervous.

Suzuki RM-Z 250

After years of cooperation with Kawasaki, Suzuki is now joining the company with its first "own" RM-Z 250
Mastercross on. The new machine offers technical
no surprises but comes with an aluminum-
Bridge frame, the well-known dohc engine and Showa spring elements at the height of the times. Tea
Suzuki is built quite compact and looks playful in handling, although not quite as stable on fast straights as the Honda. also
the seating position is rather low as with the RM-Z 450, which smaller drivers welcome. The engine is nice and smooth and easy to turn, even if not quite as aggressive as the technically very similar KX-F unit. In view of the fact that it is a completely new model, the RM-Z 250 surprises positively in any case with its balance and performance.

Yamaha YZ 125

Yamaha’s small two-stroke engine also came out in 2007
to enjoy some smaller model upgrade measures. The rear shock absorber with
The titanium spring is definitely one of the best in its class, it offers good damping properties with sufficient puncture resistance. The handling is just as agile and playful as that of the class winner Honda, and the Yamaha remains stable on course even on bumpy straights. The motor is one of the most powerful in the category, which is not necessarily reflected in the performance diagram. Despite a lot of pressure at high
The small Yamaha has no weaknesses in the middle and lower speed range either.

Yamaha YZ 250 F.

The YZ 250 F is presented in blue as usual, but is also available in one on request
white version available. A new coordination of the timing, carburetor and ignition curve should provide more power. The new one aims at better handling
Position of the motor with the resulting change in the frame in the area of ​​the control head. The fork and shock absorber have also been improved. Slightly top-heavy in terms of balance, the YZ 250 F is convincing
quiet behavior on the straights and good cornering properties. The engine is not quite as revving as that of the Kawasaki, the broad speed range has its strength in the middle range.

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