Table of contents
- Masterenduro 2007 Ground floors
- Rules of the game
- GasGas EC 125
- Husqvarna WR 125
- Husqvarna TE 250
- KTM 125 EXC
- KTM 250 EXC-F
- Rating E1
- Beta RR 400
- Beta RR 450
- Gas Gas EC 250
- Gas Gas FSR 450
- Husaberg FE 450e
- Husqvarna WR 250
- Husqvarna TE 450
- KTM 200 EXC
- KTM 250 EXC
- KTM 400 EXC RACING
- KTM 450 EXC RACING
- Sherco 4.5i
- Scoring E2
- Beta RR 525
- Gas Gas EC 300
- Husaberg FE 550e
- Husaberg FE 650e
- Husqvarna TE 510
- KTM 300 EXC-E
- KTM 525 EXC RACING
- Sherco 5.1i
- Rating E3
A comparison of 25 robust machines for soil cultivation. Can KTM maintain its supremacy in sports enduro bikes? Who draws the deepest grooves in the morass?
January 16, 2007
Why easy if complicated is another option? When the weather is good, many can ski fast on smooth slopes. It looks different when the conditions are suboptimal – but real Enduro riders love the challenge. And that was great at this year’s Masterenduro, the most difficult conditions demanded everything from man and machine. The enduro circuit near Talavera de la Reina, 80 kilometers west of Madrid, was rocky, narrow and winding. And with deep grooves after heavy rains soaked the terrain.
But as the saying goes: The event takes place in all weathers. This also applies to the Masterenduro, the largest and most comprehensive test of its kind – despite small changes in the variety of brands. The Italian manufacturer is a newcomer beta to report, all three models are powered by KTM four-stroke engines. The Spanish / French manufacturer Sherco brings the new 5.1i to the start in the E3 class for the first time. Unfortunately, due to the late delivery of the brand new WR models with aluminum frames, Yamaha was unable to arrive in Spain on time. Honda shone through its absence, TM and Aprilia also canceled. It’s a shame, Aprilia’s two-cylinder enduro would have been an interesting addition, but apparently the Italians still lack the confidence to face the established competition.
Under the difficult circumstances, the lightweight two-stroke engines made a surprising comeback, while in the previous year they had only come out on the places clearly lagging behind in all classes. This time it made it KTM 125 EXC even through to the finals. In general, the Austrian off-road specialists were able to almost repeat the previous year’s success of three finals: In addition to two KTM motorcycles, was
a KTM engine in the final round. The test driver line-up was a
have an impressive collection of world, European and national championship titles. The figurehead was of course Mario Rinaldi, four-time world champion. As in the previous year, Sascha Eckert, three-time German Enduro Champion and now a professional test driver and instructor (www.saschaeckert.de), came to Spain for MOTORRAD.
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Rules of the game
The Spanish colleagues from Motociclismo leave nothing to chance with the Masterenduro. Precisely defined technical specifications
make it clear how the machines are allowed to start. Only test drives for chassis and engine tuning are permitted in the run-up to the rated laps. Great importance is attached to the absolute standardization of the test motorcycles and compliance with the regulations in enduro sport
placed. Violations would immediately lead to exclusion from the test field. Uniform Dunlop tires of the type D 908 ensure equal opportunities in contact with the ground.
The driving test consists of two parts: a demanding route for the enduro test and a smoothly defined special test, the cross test. In a complicated process, the times achieved with the machine in question, the distance to the best in class, flow,
the number of best times and the
subjective evaluation of the test pilots in the
Overall grade a. Ultimately, the winners of the respective two- and four-stroke sections will fight in three
Semifinals from the top of the class ?? who then
in the final among the three fastest drivers
fights for overall victory on one fast lap each in the cross and enduro test.
GasGas EC 125
Compared to the previous year’s model, little has changed
the characteristics of the smallest Gas gas changed, because for 2007 this only received a smaller pole wheel and other springs for the exhaust control. There is useful performance
primarily in the middle and upper speed range, that’s what the enduro does-
Examination noticeable negatively. The handling, however, fits. Regardless of whether it is narrow passages or fast sections, the EC 125 can easily be circled around bends. At the same time, the straight line remains stable and safe. According to Gas Gas, the bench was flatter compared to the previous year
and harder. Clearly too much of a good thing, the foam only yields minimally, which most of the testers criticized.
Husqvarna WR 125
Without major changes? apart from the design, the seat cover and a new rear brake cylinder ?? the WR 125 is struggling a little against the sometimes heavily upgraded competition. The sitting position still seems a bit idiosyncratic. The engine convinces with a typical enduro set-up, it offers
Good performance in the lower and middle speed range and accelerates very smoothly. This simplifies control in difficult passages. The chassis setup is successful, the Marzocchi fork harmonizes very well with the Sachs shock absorber. Both spring elements respond very delicately and offer sufficient reserves. Overall, a balanced vehicle with no major weaknesses or strengths.
Husqvarna TE 250
Husqvarna’s TE 250 looks pretty long and large when you first sit down, but after a bit of getting used to it, the wide tank doesn’t bother you anymore. However, at 114.1 kilograms, the four-stroke is the heaviest in its class. In terms of its character, the engine is one of the good-natured, compared to the KTM, it seems almost sluggish. Almost the same times as with the KTM prove that this does not necessarily have to be a disadvantage. Changes to the 2007 model are limited to a reinforced transmission, a new clutch basket and an improved decompression system for starting. The chassis, a 45-millimeter Marzocchi fork at the front and an Ohlins shock absorber at the rear, impresses with a successful setup, and the suspension elements respond sensitively.
KTM 125 EXC
The best time in the enduro test speaks for itself: the small, orange-colored two-stroke engine clearly distances itself from the competition and is also the best overall package in this class. The most important differences to the previous model: new fork, new brake discs and optimized cylinder. As in the previous year, the engine has a lot of bite, especially at medium and high speeds it develops enormous power and revving. The lively character is supported by light-footed handling. Suspension and brakes
also present themselves at a high level. And finally there is the 125cc KTM with 95.6
Kilograms is also the lightest machine on the Master Enduro.
KTM 250 EXC-F
So far, KTM has not been able to shine with a lot of power in the small four-stroke class with the old single-cam engine. With the 2007 model, one year after the Crosser, the Austrians are now also using the more modern double-cam engine for the Enduro. The result is significantly more power in all situations, the new engine revs up more freely and faster. For some pilots, it is almost a bit too aggressive in difficult passages; in terrain with little traction, for example, the gentler Husqvarna engine seems to have an advantage. As with all KTM models, handling, chassis and brakes are convincing, which is reflected in a good overall rating in the subjective assessment by the test crew.
Due to the absence of Honda and Yamaha, that was
Test field in the E1 class is a little smaller than in the 2006 master enduro. Only two four-stroke engines were available for comparison. The Husqvarna TE 250 was practically unchanged from the previous year, while the KTM started with a new engine. Nevertheless, the KTM, class winner last year, was able to win,
not enforce this time. Despite the completely new engine adopted from the motocross model, which is much more revving and delivers more top performance, none of the pilots managed to set the fastest time.
After the two-stroke engine had no chance against the four-stroke classmates in 2006, the situation changed in the current test. This time the KTM 125 EXC brought the two-stroke guild to the front and clearly prevailed in the semifinals. One factor is that it was by far the lightest motorcycle in the test at 95.6 kilograms. The lively engine supports rapid progress, even if this requires a very concentrated driving style. In the cross test, the differences between the three two-stroke engines were not significant. On the enduro track, on the other hand, the rating was clearly in favor of the KTM.
Beta RR 400
For the first time, Beta is taking part in the Masterenduro with three models, all powered by the outdated KTM-ohc engines. Similar to the Austrians, the Italians also offer a 400 enduro as an alternative to the 450. With the chassis, on the other hand, you go your own way: The rear wheel springs via deflection levers, the
The suspension comes from Marzocchi or Sachs. And it works perfectly, the fork and strut harmonize well with each other. The seat is comparatively narrow, the motorcycle looks compact and handy. However, the front section is a bit nervous. The same applies to the engine as to the 400cc KTM: it does not overwhelm, is very predictable and easy to drive.
Beta RR 450
Technically, the two RR models 400 and 450 are largely identical, but it has been proven
the suspension set-up of the 450 series turned out to be even better. The engine is gentle and good-natured and has a wide usable speed range, the best prerequisites for the demanding, sometimes very slippery tests in the Masterenduro. On AJP’s hydraulic clutch, the lever is not as ergonomic as on Magura and Brembo. An interesting detail solution at
Beta is the unusual inlet to the air filter that is in the rear fender just behind
integrated into the bench. The RR 450 is also very agile in winding passages and is easy to control.
Gas Gas EC 250
The Gas Gas EC 250 is proof that two-stroke technology is still justified in enduro sport. The engine runs freely and lively and is still easy to control. Changed springs of the exhaust control and larger coolers are the only innovations
on the engine compared to the previous year. The usable speed range is wide, so two-stroke driving is fun. The handlebars seem a bit irritating with their shape that takes getting used to, the bench is a case for all of you
Hard. Handling and suspension adjustment
proved to be very balanced on the demanding course. Overall convincing
the EC 250 as a harmonious overall package, which earned it class victory.
Gas Gas FSR 450
While the Spanish two-stroke engines achieve top positions in their classes, the FSR 450 cannot convince. The engine equipped with electronic injection makes a strained impression in all situations. This is also reflected in the lap times. The motorcycle looks clumsy, the extremely hard seat and the idiosyncratic ergonomics with unusual handlebar shape reinforce this impression. The differences compared to the 450 model, which was much more successful in the previous year in the Masterenduro: a revised frame as well as the newly designed plastic parts for all gas-gas models and a new air filter. In addition, the engine received a new housing and a lighter crankshaft.
Husaberg FE 450e
Meanwhile specialized in the enduro and supermoto area, is limited Husaberg on the large displacements. The 450 is the smallest variant. Although visually something
getting on in years, the FE models in enduro sport by no means look out of place. The facelift is limited with a new triple clamp and minor changes to the suspension setup. The wide tank takes some getting used to, but ultimately not a serious problem in everyday off-road use. A
good-natured and smooth-running engine as well as excellent components result in a decent overall package. The weight is remarkable, despite the older technology, the Husaberg is the best of the E2 four-stroke engines.
Husqvarna WR 250
Innovations in 2007 in Husqvarna’s E2 two-stroke engines were limited to the red color scheme and a modified inlet membrane, plus a rear brake with an integrated expansion tank. The engine, which is a bit old in terms of the concept, is not as revving as the more refurbished competition from Spain and Austria. The carburetor set-up also had an effect on the test machine
not optimal, which clouded the otherwise quite good overall impression a little. The suspension, front by Marzocchi and rear by Sachs, responds well and works progressively. The WR also offers a pleasant compromise between handiness in curves and stability on the straights.
Husqvarna TE 450
In contrast to the compact, more gracefully built competitors, the TE 450, which was largely unchanged in 2007, appears relatively large and long. The engine comes in the style of a traditional four-stroke with a lot of power in the lower speed range, but also spins freely upwards and achieves the highest peak performance of the four-stroke with 52 hp. Relatively large centrifugal masses make the engine appear sluggish, but this means that the TE 450 remains easy to control on slippery terrain at all times and is surprisingly easy on your condition
to move. The same applies to the chassis as to the two-stroke colleague: fine response, good ride comfort, but still sufficient reserves in hard pace.
KTM 200 EXC
The 200 EXC is closer to the displacement
the 250, however, is more comparable to the 125 in terms of characteristics. That means revving up at lightning speed and always requires a high speed level. There is significantly more power than with the eight-liter units. This bite requires an aggressive driving style, which obviously does not give any advantage over the 250 cc under the given difficult conditions.
The bottom line is that the KTM’s easy handling in tight corners cannot compensate for that. In fast sections, the chassis tends to be nervous, which is also time
costs. The coordination of the WP spring elements, on the other hand, is comfortable and flawless.
KTM 250 EXC
Similar to the 250cc gas-gas, the KTM 250 EXC also impresses with good times and typical two-stroke qualities. A redesigned cylinder, a different carburetor and an improved fork are the main innovations compared to the previous year. The engine goes in the driven set-up? there are two selectable ignition curves ?? Significantly smoother and with less torque than the Gas Gas works, which had no negative impact on the times. Seat position and components are right as with
all KTM models, and the add-on parts such as handlebars, brakes or fittings are the first choice in terms of quality. As a complete package, the KTM is for
the hobby driver is probably the better choice compared to the somewhat more demanding gas gas.
KTM 400 EXC RACING
The 450 EXC was supposed to dominate the medium displacement class, but due to the demand, the smaller 400 series has remained in the range to this day. Because many drivers appreciate their smooth power delivery and easier drivability. Rightly so, as confirmed again in this master enduro. The EXC impresses with its balanced handling and easily convertible engine characteristics. The power and torque deficits are irrelevant under the test conditions. On the contrary, the reason for the class victory lies precisely in the smooth and even output. And that also has an effect on the handling, changing direction is easy with the KTM
and without great effort.
KTM 450 EXC RACING
Last year’s finalists have to be content with third place in the E2 class in the current comparison. On the engine side, there was only a separate clutch cover as an innovation, otherwise one relied on the tried and tested technology. The fork received a new set-up, the same applies to the shock absorber. The 450 EXC is still one of the top models in its class. Straight-
Running and handling in the corners are close to the optimum, the KTM masters all difficulties neutrally and precisely. On the straights, the 450 remains stable and on track. The motor is lively and easy to control, always delivers significantly more pressure than the 400 EXC, but also requires more power.
Like Gas Gas, Sherco is already working
Injection systems. In the case of the 450 it works
the mixture preparation regarding the vote better than with the Spanish colleague. Thanks to the increased flywheel mass, a soft and gentle development of power
with a good torque from below, however, there are slight weaknesses in the middle and
compared to high speeds. The adjustable motor characteristics on the handlebars have a positive effect. The Paioli fork is softly tuned, but that wasn’t a disadvantage on the enduro course. However, this made the weight distribution too heavy on the front wheel. Overall, the motorcycle looks long and large, the tank is
Things were particularly close this year in the enduro middle class, with a total of twelve models fighting for class victory. What was interesting was the performance of the models that did not fully utilize the displacement limit. This applies to the lively KTM 200 EXC in the two-stroke and the four-stroke
KTM and Beta rely on good rideability with their 400 cc
and smooth engine characteristics.
On closer inspection, it comes as no great surprise that, under difficult conditions, one of the smaller models, the 400cc KTM, was able to prevail in the group with the most participants. Because the gentle power delivery makes it easy to convert the power into propulsion in damp ground conditions. The principle of performance often does not apply, especially in enduro sport, so the significantly more powerful 450 four-stroke engines had to line up at the back this time.
With places two and four in the four-stroke classification, the newcomer Beta achieved a respectable success. In contrast, the event was disappointing for Husqvarna, despite its long-standing enduro tradition. The same applies to the Gas Gas FSR 450, which was just beaten second in this category last year and clearly beaten in both tests in 2007. A probably not optimally set electronic injection made the weighty machine appear extremely weak.
On the other hand, Gas Gas was able to take first place among the two-stroke models, albeit just ahead of the KTM 250 EXC. The 200cc KTM seemed too aggressive on the low-traction surface and could not use its handling advantages. And the actually quite balanced 250cc Husky remained surprisingly pale in all tests and found itself at the bottom of the ranking. The semifinals were then, however, a clear matter for the KTM 400 EXC, which put the gas-gas two-stroke in its place.
Beta RR 525
For the first time at the start of the Masterenduro and already class victory and participation in the finals. Can do better
it barely run. The big 525 beta naturally benefits from the engine experience acquired from KTM. Nevertheless, the engine characteristics of the Italian models differ slightly from their KTM counterparts.
The Beta’s 510 cc engine is more revving than its Austrian counterpart. Because of a different periphery, i.e. intake system and exhaust system.
The strength of the RR 525 also lies in the chassis area. Also the big beta model
looks handy, small and compact and caused a positive surprise in the test team with the good lap times in both tests.
Gas Gas EC 300
Even in the large displacement class, the two-stroke engines are by no means without a chance against the trendy four-stroke engines. New plastic parts and a modified rear frame as well as larger ones
The main modifications to the 2007 EC 300 are coolers. On the track, the large 300 impressed with the typical qualities of its class. The engine runs freely and revs freely, impresses with its wide speed range. The effort is powerful and direct, but still easily controllable. There were two ignition curves to choose from, with the gentler version being chosen under the slippery conditions
became. The 300 is in the narrow passages
Superior to the four-stroke engine in handling, the suspension set-up is flawless.
Husaberg FE 550e
550 cm3 displacement ?? that’s a lot of wood. At Husaberg this is even in this class
the “smaller” variant, and finally the huge 650 is offered as an alternative. Chain on the right, Kickstarter on the left: That already shows that the formerly Swedish designs are already a few years old. Even on the track, the 550 looks a bit slow and not as lively as more modern competitors, despite the balance shaft
coarse vibrations are not entirely up-to-date either. Nevertheless, the powerful engine can convince, especially since the performance can be brought to the slippery ground quite well. The chassis puts a lot of weight on the front end, but stays on track.
Husaberg FE 650e
The king of displacement among sports enduros really lets it crack in the dirt. Amazingly, the FE 650 is comparatively easy to drive despite the impressive top performance of almost 60 hp and proves to be competitive even in the most difficult terrain. Of course, the large moving masses have an effect on handling in very narrow sections, but the 650 does quite well. If the terrain then becomes a little more open, it can show its bearish torque.
The high performance is somewhat concealed by an extremely long translation. The Husaberg pulls through all the passages and like a tractor
shows that a lot of performance does not necessarily have to be difficult to master.
Husqvarna TE 510
At least in the internal Husqvarna rating
the TE 510 is at the forefront. The engine shines with power in abundance, but with a good-natured demeanor and tremendous traction. The powerful, easily controllable torque provides thrust in all situations, shifting becomes a luxury. Interesting detail: the TE 510 is the only bike in the test field to have a tachometer, but nobody really needs it off-road. The switch on the handlebars is very effective in all Husky four-stroke vehicles, with which the engine characteristics can be changed in two stages: more sluggish for narrow, slippery passages and more lively for fast stretches. The TE 510 also looks big and long, but in this case the dimensions go well with the stable chassis and powerful engine.
KTM 300 EXC-E
As a novelty in the two-stroke class, KTM is presenting the 300 EXC as an E version: for the first time, an electric starter makes kicking superfluous. A very useful feature, the importance of which surely increases with increasing difficulty in the terrain. Two different ignition curves can be selected; the gentler variant was used. Has changed compared to the previous model
otherwise only the carburetor adjustment and the inner workings of the fork. Gentle and tame shows
the big two-stroke on the track no longer shows the brutal, hard-to-control use of force of earlier two-stroke times. The 300 series also offers KTM’s consistently excellent, razor-sharp handling and benefits from the well-coordinated WP chassis.
KTM 525 EXC RACING
While the new double-cam motor is already represented in a large version in the Cross, for the time being the tried and tested 525 with ohc motor, which is unchanged except for the separate clutch cover, is still available for the Enduros.
Certainly not a bad solution, because despite the large displacement and the correspondingly larger masses, the 525 EXC is tight
Amazingly manoeuvrable. How mature the large unit is is shown by the clean throttle response and the powerful, yet perfectly manageable power delivery. It was not for nothing that the great EXC was last year’s overall winner in the Masterenduro. All the more annoying for the Austrians that in the end the Beta, equipped with the same engine, is just ahead of the game.
At Sherco, too, the large displacement variant leaves an excellent impression under the difficult conditions. The power delivery is just as smooth as with the 450, but the 510 offers significantly more pressure in the middle speed range. So the best prerequisites, but the bottom line was that the E3-Sherco did not achieve a top position because the E3-Sherco suffered from the less than optimal suspension setup. A clear tendency to slide over the front wheel made it difficult for drivers to find enough grip in flat corners. The overall handling suffered as a result, although the times we drove were passable. With small improvements, both Sherco models would have more potential.
With eight motorcycles, there was also an impressive selection for the test drivers in the large category, after there was an increase in the four-stroke engine with Sherco and Beta. In contrast to motocross, where the MX3 class has become practically insignificant as a counterpart to the E3 category, the large-displacement enduros are still very popular.
At the start for the first time and immediately a class win, it couldn’t have gone any better for the Italian manufacturer Beta. Sure, the tried and tested 510 engine purchased from KTM has played a not insignificant role in the success, but a good engine alone does not make a winner. Handling, suspension and the rest of the components also have to be right, and the beta technicians have obviously succeeded in doing this. KTM’s 525 EXC was narrowly beaten, and in the previous year it was even the overall winner of the Master Enduro. The gap to the third-placed Husaberg FE 550e, which made a decent impression despite its classic four-stroke feel, was a bit bigger. Surprising in this category, too, that the actually
very balanced Husqvarna
TE 510 cannot play in the battle for class victory.
In contrast, the gas proves gas
EC 300 that also in the E3-
Class two-stroke can keep up. Without influence
on the test result, but it is still worth mentioning
Electric starter supplied for the first time with the KTM 300 EXC, now a matter of course for four-stroke engines.
The duel went to the semifinals
the Gas Gas EC 300 with the Beta RR 525 is extremely tight.
Makes a good overall package
those developed in Spain and
produced 300 two-stroke engines
an attractive offer, in the end the four-stroke engine was just ahead of the game.
After the final was still completely orange last year, the Beta RR 525 was able to provide a splash of color in 2007, which won a place on the podium thanks to a convincing overall package and an easily drivable engine. But which one? When the medals were awarded
it’s pretty tight in contrast to previous master events. This is proven, for example, by the fact that the three pilots in the final set a best time at least once with each of the three machines in the cross or enduro test. While the strong beta was the fastest in the faster cross test, the 400cc KTM was just ahead of the 125cc KTM on the enduro course. And the 400 series finally prevailed in the addition of all points. A result that shows what is important in demanding terrain: good handling, usable suspension settings and, above all, usable performance.
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