Masterenduro 2006

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Masterenduro 2006


Masterenduro 2006

Masterenduro 2006

Everyone against everyone, everyone against everyone. 25 enduros, seven top riders from six nations and one question: which bike is the high-flyer for the 2006 season?

Peter Mayer


Hand on heart, nobody was really surprised about the constellation in the final. KTM against KTM against KTM. Given the overwhelming dominance of the
Austrians not a particularly exciting, but understandable result. Let’s even see it as the justice of fate. Last year, KTM was finally sent home without a single flower pot at the Masterenduro. Back when the Honda CRE 450 F competed against the Gas gas 300 and the Yamaha WR 250 F prevailed. Bitter for you
Manufacturer who has made the stuff of enduro dreams, the orange ones, for years
Threads supplies. Speaking of colors, even if the Masterenduro is probably the most extensive enduro test in the world, three manufacturers are missing: Aprilia had not yet started production of the recently introduced RXV 4.5, Beta and TM Racing showed no interest.
Back to KTM. After all, the surprising appearance of the 250cc four-stroke KTM, which is well known as weak-chested, reveals a lot about the essence of enduro sport. Because although the result of the Masterenduro ultimately only remains a snapshot that reflects the balance of power under the given conditions, it still proves one thing: the pure engine power remains of secondary importance in the undergrowth-
interpretation. Driveability, handling, agility, these are the values ​​that count. Requirements that, despite the fact that the two-stroke engines are still present, clearly benefit the four-stroke engines. The driven times clearly show the balance of power. In no single class was a two-stroke engine able to place itself ahead of the slowest four-stroke engine – certainly also due to the displacement disadvantage imposed by the regulations.
Sascha Eckert has known that for a long time. In the fight for seconds and, above all, prestige, which the colleagues of the Italian magazine Motosprint won with the commitment of
four-time world champion Mario Rinaldi already decided for himself in advance, beat the
MOTORRAD commitment in Parcmotor in Igualada, Spain-
outstanding. After all, the 28-year-old from Negernbotel in Schleswig-Holstein has already collected three Enduro DM titles, three runner-up championships and six years ago a ninth place in the Enduro World Championship.
And the rest of the international team – from Mr. Rinaldi
Apart from that, of course – the northern lights doze off in almost every turn on the MOTORRAD order. Which is sure to get him a job again for the coming year in this illustrious circle. And one thing is certain: Enduro world champions are getting older too.

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GasGas EC 125

The creeping decline of the two-stroke off-road machines leaves the technicians from the vicinity of Girona in Spain indifferent. With developments such as the two Zund that can be selected using a handlebar switch-
curves, V-Force inlet membrane and stronger frame tubes keep the Catalans flying high. Typical two-stroke
however, is also the power delivery
the EC 125. Little thump from below and harder
Make use of power at mid-speed
It is difficult to keep the engine in the efficient range in the tight special stages. In addition, the tuning of the fork is too soft, that of the shock absorber is a bit too hard. In return, the nimble handling inspires
even sets the standard in this class.

Honda CRE 250 F.

After the CRF 250 X
hardly suitable for tough competitions, the handle
Italian Honda off-road importer HM for
Initiative. The CRE 250 F is based on the motocrosser CRF 250 R. Two silencers from Leovince, a lighting system including a generator, an adapted CDI unit and an 18-inch rear wheel transform this crosser into an enduro. The coordination of fork and shock absorber is for use on the enduro trails
but too tight. The at compensates for this
low speeds very finely adjustable
Engine, although it is losing ground to the competition in the upper range. Inspiring:
the handling of the lightweight that in
sets standards in the smallest four-stroke class.


Although the KTM technicians want to make the 125 EXC easier to drive with a new cylinder including exhaust and, above all, a carburettor that has been reduced from 38 to 36 millimeters, the small two-stroke still remains
always the front runner in terms of top performance. The drives accordingly
125cc. After a moderate acceleration, as is customary in its class, the EXC goes at high speeds like
the hell. The little one is also waving one
Chassis geometry successfully trimmed for maneuverability and excellent brakes extremely nimble thanks to tightly placed special-
exams. The only drawback: the relatively hard-tuned and hooky appealing
Fork and an uncomfortable bench.

KTM 250 EXC Racing

It has long been clear that the 250 EXC Racing in
the 2006 season will see its last appearance. Specialists are already building the company’s new four-stroke crosser, the 250 SX-F
with the most modern chassis and dohc engine
to an enduro bike. Understandable, because the 250cc racing is considered good? and hopelessly underpowered. Which therefore also applies to the im
Essentially unchanged 2006 model
applies. The good one does benefit from the tried and tested chassis of its big sisters, the lasche
Starting the engine from low speeds, however, stamps it as a sedate load.
Surprisingly, however, that of all things
this quarter-liter four-stroke in the finale of the
Masterenduro achieved two of the three best times.

Husqvarna WR 125

Insiders know that Husqvarna’s domain has traditionally been enduro. In the smallest two-stroke class, however, this does not prevent the WR 125’s top performance characteristics from having to be helped with a lot of clutch use in order to bring the speeds as quickly as possible into the powerful middle and upper range. In
When it comes to top performance, she has to face it
their main opponent, the KTM 125 EXC, still keep a little distance. But she shines with
new tank and new seat modernized WR with first-class handling, a very
well-coordinated and finely responsive
Marzocchi fork, acceptable Sachs strut and easy-to-dose brakes.

Husqvarna TE 250

The engine neatly top performance at akzep-
Breathing drivability into the tabler is one of the most important tasks of the developer in the smallest four-stroke class. What the Husqvarna technicians have achieved in an exemplary manner. With enlarged valves and a new camshaft, the TE pushes almost 38 hp and thus the top value in this class into the clay. However, with over 116 kilograms also in terms of weight. Still it works? at least if the speeds are kept in the upper range?
speedy and high-traction progress. The neutral handling, the well-coordinated suspension
which is particularly brilliant with the new 45 mm Marzocchi fork, turns the Husky into a homogeneous, competitive overall package.

Yamaha WR 250 F.

In contrast to the aluminum-framed crossers, the Yamaha enduros still have to make do with a conventional tubular frame, but they benefit for the 2006 season
at least from a lighter swingarm.
Understandable that the WR is therefore
does not differ significantly from its predecessor. That means: it stayed
the typical Yamaha, front-wheel-heavy, but confidence-inspiring driving experience and the comfortable, appealing suspension elements. The motor is also user-friendly, and comes into play powerfully even at low speeds. There is less enthusiasm-
against the moderate front brake and the clutch, which requires a lot of manual effort.

GasGas EC 250

Like her little sister in the 125cc class
the EC 250 is also being launched with two ignition curves that can be selected using a switch, a more robust frame and a new inlet membrane. In contrast to the aggressive eight-liter machine, the engine of the 250cc gas shines? as well as
it makes sense for enduro sports? with a wide usable speed range. Although
the typical kick at engine speed for two-stroke engines-
middle continues to be a critical point in the
Acceleration phase remains. When handling
is the Spaniard up to date, yes to most of them
Even superior to competitors. The front brake bites poisonously. That’s what forks are for
and shock absorbers ?? again according to the purpose ?? comfortably coordinated.

GasGas FSE 450

Nomen est omen, gas Gas stepped on the gas with the development of the in-house four-stroke engine for 2006. A shorter stroke, the switch to wet sump lubrication, larger coolers and a modified frame show a lot of commitment from the tech-
niker from Girona. The result is impressive. The dohc motor pulls seamlessly from the lowest speeds ?? but unfortunately also irregularly loud for competitions? up to the maximum speed, offers permanent full traction. And the feather-light, standard anti-hopping clutch inspires with noticeably calmer braking on bumpy slopes. The neutral handling and the well-hit suspension-
coordination complete the exceptionally convincing overall package of Gas Gas.

Honda CRF 450 X

In contrast to the CRE 250 F, the 450-
Version already delivered from the factory with complete enduro equipment. with
With an electric starter, battery, large tank, matching silencer, longer manifolds and a larger water pump, the CRF 450 X enters the ring in full competition regalia. As is typical for Enduro, the engine starts out extremely softly, and loses at higher speeds
Speeds, however, at punch. Likewise, the fork and monoshock are noticeably softer than their cross counterparts, so
that the legendary agile handling of the Honda-
Crosser also comes into its own in the moderate enduro edition and despite its impressive weight.

Husaberg FE 450 E.

A new tank with cutouts for one
retrofittable fan, that’s all there is to it
the Husaberg renewed for the 2006 season
became. However, that does not mean that the
former Swede who is now with the group-
mother KTM is manufactured in Austria, is no longer competitive. After all, it is
lightest of all at 113.6 kilograms
450 enduro bikes are an argument. The high-torque motor, whose power is exceptionally easy to dose, and fantastic traction enable clean lines. Annoying: of all things, the new tank, the very wide one
builds, the rear that is annoying when jumping, because it is also wide, the hooking gear and the
rough running engine with strong braking effect.


Like the 400 EXC Racing in the four-stroke class
In the two-stroke league, the 200 EXC also refrains from exploiting the displacement limit. The point of the matter: The smaller oscillating masses are supposed to keep the engine reactions more moderate and improve the handling. the
theoretical advantages remained with the master-
enduro, however, for the most part on the track. Most drivers are tightest with the 250cc-
Version of the 200s off for a few seconds. Understandable, especially since the 200 EXC for the upcoming one
Season only with a new exhaust and
new crankshaft bearings was upgraded.
Nevertheless, the pronounced turning enthusiastic-
joy and the impressive handling of the Austrian especially aggressive drivers.


One advantage in advance: KTM pilots push the lightest current quarter-liter two-stroke machine to the starting line with the 250 EXC, which weighs just under 103 kilograms. The 250 EXC with the
moderate modifications (steeper steering head, heavier crankshaft and lighter piston)
for 2006 a little more agility
and easier drivability on the way
got. Indeed, the KTM
exemplary and precise in tight turns
conduct. The engine pulls cleanly out of the lower speed range, the chassis playfully circles around the narrowly furrowed neighboring areas? even if
on the faster terrain of the outstanding
Maneuverability must be paid tribute to with noticeably nervous driving behavior.

KTM 400 EXC Racing

After the engine capacity limit in enduro sport
was increased from 400 to 450 cm3 years ago, the end of the EXC 400 seemed to have come. Nothing. Hobby drivers in particular still appreciate the comparatively moderate and very condition-friendly use of strength of the 400 series. And with the Masterenduro too, the little one was able to ?? at least with non-professionals in the saddle? achieve the same, if not better, times than the 450 version. Despite minor modifications (kickback protection for the freewheeling of the electric starter, more stable clutch plates) compared to the previous year, the EXC line remains
at the same time up to date?
the results of the Masterenduro could hardly underline this more clearly.

KTM 450 EXC Racing

With the 450 EXC Racing, KTM practically has one
technical milestone in the sport enduro-
Story set. With simple means
and uncomplicated technology dominates this
Model for years the championships all over the world. Understandable that with a modified freewheel of the electric starter and a more stable clutch-
ventilation slats update for 2006
could be very moderate. Anyway, because
the 450 engine goes well with the KTM-
Periphery almost perfect. Precise and agile, but still sufficiently stable, the chassis shows no weaknesses. In addition, the powerful engine also finds the ideal compromise between sufficient top performance and good controllability on low-traction terrain.

Husqvarna WR 250

As I said, the men from Varese know,
how to build an enduro. And the WR 250 comes to the ideal of the enduro two-stroke
damn close. True, the changes came
for 2006 with a new tank, seat and inlet membrane rather moderate, but the result is still impressive. The silky smooth onset and always well mastered on slippery terrain-
bare WR motor harmonises perfectly with the chassis, which has been trimmed for maneuverability. The sensitively appealing and finely tuned spring elements from Marzocchi (fork) and Sachs (strut) fit into this harmonious image. With so many positive things, even they are annoying
poisonous brakes or the peculiarly cranked one
Handlebar does not have the successful overall concept.

Husqvarna TE 450

With over 51 hp, the Husqvarna shows the rest of the enduro middle class where the hammer hangs, at least in terms of top performance. Which the husky driver still does not
with high performance characteristics or
have to buy rough running. On the contrary. The extra power through enlarged valves
hired the Italian technicians
increased centrifugal mass against the crankshaft. What makes the TE unit an extremely homogeneous representative of its kind. The soft response and the gentle pressure in the middle area make up for it
generous for the moderate revving. And the landing gear? Enduro-like like that of the 250cc two-stroke sister (see text next door).

Sherco 4.5 I.

The Spanish Enduro, the one in the south of France
Nimes is being built, goes into the coming season with reluctant model updates. More stable footrest mounts and new gears-
upgrades remain the only changes.
What the exotic? like the 450, by the way-
Gas gas ?? helps to achieve exceptional status is
the injection system. In fact, thanks to it, the engine shines with a gentle, powerful force
Accomplishment and for this design exceptional revving. Provide irritation
on the other hand, the wide tank and the aggressive brakes as well as the tendency towards front-wheel-heavy handling in turns. In turn, the comfortable suspension set-up, which is adapted to the soft engine characteristics, has a forgiving effect.

Yamaha WR 450 F 2-Trac

Go with the two-wheel drive Yamaha
Safety the most extraordinary of all enduros in the race. The elaborate technology and
especially the exorbitant price banish them
2-Trac, however, in the role of the much admired but rarely bought exotic. Probably not too
Wrong. Because the advantages of two-wheel drive are rarely felt in enduro use,
the good dozen kilograms extra weight
but all the more. In this respect, the from
Suspension specialists Ohlins manufactured front-
wheel drive is probably a case for technology freaks
stay. Still astonishing: on the low-traction crosstest, the all-wheel-drive Yamaha was able to distance its conventional sister from almost all pilots despite its weight handicaps.

Yamaha WR 450 F.

What a pity. Yamaha has been building there for years
first-class enduro machines whose tech-
niche base from motocross that could make the blues into the premier league in enduro sport? to deal with the distinct sub-
then offer the noise limits yourself-
to break. While the competition makes maximum use of the 94 dB (A) limit in the enduro sector, the Yamaha purrs quietly
to himself ?? and thereby loses most of the all-important responsiveness in nied-
low speeds. A retrofit silencer would certainly wake the blue Sleeping Beauty out of sleep. In this respect, the WR can hardly play out its obvious strengths such as steering precision or well-coordinated suspension.

GasGas EC 300

The two-stroke engines are now having a hard time competing against the high-torque four-stroke cars in the big class. The EC 300 is no exception. Especially since the two ignition curves or to be selected from the handlebars
The new intake membrane cannot significantly reduce the lightning-fast power output at around 5000 rpm that is feared in two-stroke engines. No problem for experienced pilots,
Hobby drivers, however, often spoil the chosen line and the fun. Nevertheless, the Spaniard impresses? independent of
Reinforced rear frame or improved steering head bearings – with agile handling as well as well-matched Marzocchi fork and the high-quality Ohlins shock absorber.

Husaberg FE 550 E.

Even if the Husaberg are now with the
Group parent KTM made in Austria
the blue-and-yellow can still be traced back to its origins in the forests of Sweden. A wide tank? By the way, the only innovation for 2006? and a no less protruding rear underline with the rough running
Motor the image of the bike for tough guys. Nevertheless, the Husaberg is one of the lightest in its class, the handling is right, and the engine is one of the strongest, although the vibrations slow down the desire to revving. Conclusion: Even if the exiled Swede is a bit homely, she belongs on demanding things
or slippery terrain to the most efficient machines to drive.

Husqvarna TE 510

The character of the Husqvarna describes a
only word: traction. The engine modifications for 2006 (larger
Valve diameter and larger centrifugal mass) nothing. The Italian plowed through thick and thin. It shows to be robust
however, the running characteristics. The Husky vibrates noticeably in the upper speed range.
When it comes to handling, the 510 has clear preferences: stability comes before agility.
The faster and bumpier the terrain, the better. Nevertheless: the excellent performance-
Surrender of the engine is enough to keep the two-stroke competition in check with their aggressive engines, even on tight special stages.


More displacement is currently not possible? at least if it is a two-stroke competition-
enduro trades. However, the KTM technicians did not use the larger displacement for more
Power ?? there are just two HP more peak power than the 250 engine ??
than for a smoother power delivery. What they actually succeeded in doing. Yes, yes-
Probably the 300 is relatively easy to get over slippery
Stones or greasy special stages
can conduct, even the domesticated two-strokes remain the powerful ones overall
and efficient four-stroke machines in this class
inferior. That changes that too
the steeper steering head for the 2006 season
again improved handling nothing.

KTM 525 EXC Racing

And the winner is ?? the big four-stroke KTM ultimately skimmed the cream at this year’s Masterenduro. And although the lead was narrow, the result shows the potential of the
Big bikes on. Not even significant technical updates were necessary on the orange-colored enduro. Stronger clutch plates and a revised freewheel of the electric starter were enough to stay ahead in 2006. About the agile engine on smooth surfaces
Efficient use is also required
not even more sensitivity than with the 450.
Both fork and shock absorber are identical to the suspension elements of the smaller sister. It’s understandable that many KTM freaks consider the 525 to be the better 450.

Rating: E1

The expert is amazed, and the layman is amazed: That the
by far the weakest four-stroke engine in this category, nobody really would have expected it. Nevertheless, this little sensation shows how important a homogeneous, efficient one is in enduro sport
complete package. To save the honor of the traveling workforce: The decisive seconds for class victory made the 250cc
exclusively on the extremely tricky driving enduro test in the undergrowth and not
good on the cross-test, which was rather rewarding for high peak performance.
But the miracle of Mattighofen or not, the result clearly shows: two-stroke engines have absolutely nothing to order in the mixed E1 class under these conditions. Even the fastest 125cc two-stroke, the Husqvarna WR 125, had to line up with its best times behind the coziest four-stroke, the Honda CRE 250 F..

Rating: E2

Mass for the class. The is developing parallel to motocross
Middle class also in enduro sport to the popular model league. Whereby the two-strokes, which had long since had to take a disorderly retreat in highly competitive motocross, survive a little longer in the enduro reserve
could. Mainly cost reasons? the two-stroke engines are cheaper up to 1500 euros? and the simple, low-maintenance technology
speak for the crackling representatives.
Back to the crowd. The interest of the
Industry reflected in this class. As in the E1 league, in dominate
the E2 category is ultimately the four-stroke racing car. Here, too, even the fastest two-stroke engine, the 250cc KTM, cannot even match the four’s red lantern-
takt-Segments, the Sherco, hold a candle. In return, the top of the four-stroke classification shows how different the path to success can be. While the KTM 450 EXC clearly finds its strengths in the lively, agile appearance, the narrowly beaten gas counteracts gas with rich traction,
Stoically calm handling and technical refinements such as injection or standard anti-hopping clutch.
It’s amazing how little the Japanese are in this class
Have to order enduro bikes. Both the Yamaha and the Honda are clearly aimed at hobby riders, while the European manufacturers are exploring the limits of the sports regulations.

Rating: E3

Needs according to the results
in the E1 and E2 class
Explanations? Hardly, because the fact is: The 300 two-stroke have against
the shooters nothing more either
to order. Even the best time of the 300cc KTM would be in the four-stroke
only reach the last place. Dominates within the big single faction
but not the theoretical strength
of these concepts, the beefy and twisty-
high-torque engines with full top performance, but of all things the nimble design of the big KTM. The Husaberg also surprises. The reason-
Additionally, rather sedate and good-natured motorcycle can stand up to the essential-
Lich more modern concept of the Husqvarna with dohc engine and more contemporary
Implement ergonomics with astonishing clarity.

Rules of the game

Equal rights for all. This noble resolution also applies to the Masterenduro. After this
All 25 test machines by tire outfitter Dunlop were put on the competitive standard tire pairing D 908 / D 907 F, that’s the matter. All bikes are rushed to a meadow in a randomly drawn order over a tightly set enduro special test, the so-called crosstest (see photo on page 50), which is typical for this discipline. Then change of scene. The enduro test route leads through a wooded area with stony, poorly grippy soil and sometimes hairy, narrow lanes. On both slopes there is ?? typical for enduro sports ?? a balanced package of agile handling and controllable performance is more in demand than sheer maximum power.
In a complicated process, the driven times of the relevant machine flow,
the distance to the best in class, the number of best times and the subjective evaluation of the test pilots in the overall grade. Ultimately, the winners of the respective two- and four-stroke divisions will fight the class leader in three semi-finals ?? who then fights for the overall victory in the final among the three fastest drivers on a single lap in the enduro test.


How times change. The Yamaha WR 250 F and the Honda were still fighting last year’s Masterenduro
CRE 450 F and the Gas Gas EC 300 around the
Overall victory. In the end, the Honda dominated.
The KTM Armada, otherwise on the Enduro-
paths of this world of undisputed power-
haber, was booted out. But the empire strikes back. This year the
Austrian machines the whole
Final. However, the result was more astonishing than this monoculture. Sascha Eckert and Dani Llobet also nailed the final spurt on the enduro test with the gentle ?? not to say underpowered ?? 250ers set their personal bests in the slopes
of the Parcmotor in Igualada. Only top professional
Mario Rinaldi ultimately advanced with his
on the best time achieved on the 525
the enduro world straight again. But how
was the last sentence of the Mastercross 2006 (MOTORRAD 1/2006), the one with the over-
The surprise victory of the two-stroke Kawasaki KX 250 ended: miracles always exist
again. The Masterenduro just scraped past by a hair’s breadth?
by 0.733 seconds to be exact.

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