TSE250R Initial Ride Report

First of all….What is it?  The TSE250R is the 2 Stroke Big Bike offering from US Based company GPX Moto.  GPX Moto is a subsidiary of USA MotorToys who also owns Pitster Pro (small bikes).  The TSE250R is in essence a Yamaha DT230 motor packaged into a 2017 Husqvarna TC Chassis.  The manufacturer (in China) apparently bought tooling from Yamaha for the engine, and so far as I know or can tell, the frame, plastics, etc are Husky replicas.  GPX opted on this bike to adapt a CRF450 front fender and a 2015 Yamaha WR450F headlight.

Right side look at the TSE250R

After a bit of time in transit, and getting my lights wired up, I finally got to fire up the TSE250R for some test riding.  Keep in mind that the bulk of my riding has been on the street.  I’m in the middle of flatlandia IL, so very few places to actually ride off-road.

Despite most of my riding being street oriented, it gives a little different perspective from others.  Traditional 2 Stroke engines conjure images of vibrations and the tingling feeling in your hands as they’ve been buzzed to oblivion.  The powerplant of the TSE250R goes a long way to address this issue.  The TSE250R engine, initially a Yamaha engine is one that is counterbalanced.  This counterbalancer smooths out engine vibrations to a degree that on the street, you’re feeling more vibration from the knobby tires than the engine itself.

Right side of engine showing expansion chamber and oil injection pump area.

Now this is not to say that the engine does not feel like a 2 Stroke.  In just about every sense, it does.  There is the ring ding ding of the expansion chamber (which is double walled and sound deadened for noise reduction).  The power kicks in with a bit of revs and tapers off smoothly.  The state of tune on this is for overall power spread.  You’re not getting a massive hit with this engine.  Riding on the street really exacerbates this as you feel the revs taper off quick as you’re clicking through the gears.

Stock gearing on the TSE250R is 12/52.  Comparing this to the original Yamaha this motor was in, and this is incredibly short.  Original DT230 bike ran 16/55 gearing.  This variance though shows just how wide and versatile the transmission in this engine is.  With the TSE250R’s oem gearing, you can comfortably cruise on the street at 60mph.  At these revs, the engine is turning a calculated 7000 RPM.  Despite how high these revs are, as noted earlier, the bike is oddly smooth.  Same setup dropped into some light off-roading and the bike immediately feels far more at home.

Stock chain is O-Ring Type

The brakes on the bike appear to be very similar to the Brembos commonly found on KTM and other Euro bike manufacturers.  However the brakes on the GPX are not Brembo.  This is not a major concern though as the brakes feel very positive, have great grab and when asked, will lock up the wheels.  Time will tell on how they hold up, but initial impressions are very positive.

Very KTM like brake and swingarm setup.

My time spent off-road has been minimal, but this is where the TSE250R motor is shining.  The engine pulls in a very linear fashion.  While a big hit of a more racey 2 Stroke may be exhilarating, wider and linear is excellent for off-road.  A quick stab of the clutch quickly picks the engine up onto the pipe, but still smooth, tractable.  In a small ravine, 2nd gear hopped the front wheel over a water eroded rut with ease.  Rolling back down and to jump out, on the gas, the bike roosted out with a slight jump.  Landing and immediately accelerating off to the edge of my property.

A downside to the bike so far has been with regards to throttle and throttle response.  Coming from a Fuel Injected 4T, with an ultra light throttle, I miss the immediate response.  Fuel Injection provides absolutely crisp throttle response.  In comparison, the carburetor dulls these responses and even with “perfect” jetting on a given day, it’ll be slightly off the next.  That is what it is.  I appreciate its simplicity, but if you’ve been spending time on an injected bike, you’ll feel the difference.  The other downfall is the throttle is on the heavy side.  This isn’t carburetor related, but moreso that the bike has mechanical Oil Injection.  For this to function (for those not familiar with 70’s 2 Stroke bikes), the throttle cable splits off in a Y, with one end terminating at the carburetor and the other at the oil injection pump.  The more throttle, the more oil.  Consequently you end up with spring returns in both the carburetor as well as the oil pump, giving a slightly heavier throttle pull.

A side look into the “mikuni TM” carb.  Note also the electronic Powervalve

The main thing I’m anxious to test more on is with regards to suspension and chassis.  The TSE250R is setup with FastAce suspension.  The bit I did test on my property felt very compliant.  Despite running tires at silly high pressure (24psi for road use), the tires kept firmly planted on the ground.  Looking where I wanted to go, the bike didn’t think twice about tipping down into the turn and following through.  Steering is incredibly light with great feel.  Turning radius does feel somewhat limited, though this may only be an issue if you’re going full trials mode with your riding.

I noted the downside above regarding throttle pull, and while I’d like to say that is my only complaint, I feel there are a couple others that can be noted.  One is that there are hints of the “Chinesium” on the bike.  These details can be seen in add-on type areas.  For example, the front fender is off of a modern Honda CRF450R.  The triple clamps appear to be KTM Replicas.  Instead of adjusting tooling for the lower triple clamp to directly mate with the Honda based front fender, they chose to make a steel adapter to fit the Honda fender to the KTM clamp.  Yes, it works, however this adds weight and extra complexity.  This is the same for how other extra parts add on notably around the dash and extra brackets for mounting a number plate vs the supplied headlight.

My greatest real concern on this is the fact that everything so far on the bike appears to be a replica, or I guess say it how you will, a knockoff.  I found this out as myself and others online were beginning to rejet their bikes for use and weather.  The carburetor is supposed to be a Mikuni TM30 carburetor.  After digging in, it is apparent that the carburetor too is a replica of the original Mikuni.  This can cause issues if you’re looking to use OEM Mikuni components.  Main Jets from Mikuni for this carburetor are a very goofy thread size.  M5.3 x 0.9.  The manufacturer of this carb opted to thread the needle jet (where main jet threads into) with the more common M5x0.8.  They also size their jets differently from Mikuni.  Not major issues, but it can throw some complication in the mix.

As things stand, it’s hard to say how you can beat the value of this bike.  New from GPX, the TSE250R hits the bank for $5600 (+Shipping).  Compared to a new KTM, you’re saving around $3000.  Long term is obviously a work in progress and you won’t have to twist my arm to do my part to put this bike through a torture test.  Simply put so far on this is that if you’re OK with being a sort of beta tester for a first line of bikes from GPX, then you very little chance of being disappointed with the bike.  I know I’m looking forward to what else GPX has in the works.

Overall this is a great machine that should be on your new bikes to consider list.

For more pictures and detail views, check the following gallery:

My Ducati Scrambler Review – Urban Enduro

I had the chance to test ride one today. It was an Urban Enduro, which brought me back to the first bike I rode….a 1974 Kawasaki 175 2 stroke. It’s the spitting image of that bike, and just screamed of being the perfect retro\all-around daily commute\fun bike.

For reference, I currently commute on my KTM 350EXC-F Enduro, which also has seen its fair share of Harescramble action, as well as multi day dual sport trips. I rode the 350 to the dealer for my test ride. I wanted to really highlight to myself the “issues” I have with the 350 on the road. It has very little road manners. The slightest bit of wind pushes the bike all around, and despite being geared to the moon, the bike is still turning 63ooRPM @ 63MPH. Not only that, but it has the issue of every stop, it wants to ride along like I’m one of those 12 o’clock Boys in Baltimore.

So on to the actual test ride. Compared to my 2004 Ducati Multistrada (which had a 1000cc 2V motor with dry clutch), this 800cc Scrambler sounded so incredibly quiet. I love myself a beautiful exhaust, but on a daily ridden machine, I hate the idea of pissing of neighbors or traffic while I’m commuting. The bike quickly spurred to life, and walking to the left side of the machine, you immediately realize just how small this thing is. Yes, I had just hopped off my 37” seat height enduro, but I can’t stress how physically small the bike is. That’s ok though, because when you’re using a bike daily, you don’t want to screw with a tall bike thats a PITA to do quick maneuvers.

You’ll notice when you pull in the clutch that the action is incredibly soft. Thank God. I’m baffled by why the Italians install a hydraulic clutch on other bikes, and the clutch pull is like one of those hand toning spring things. The cable actuated clutch on the Scrambler is delicate, and although my test ride machine was set a bit off from how I prefer, it was a gentle pull, with a positive feedback from the lever as you released and felt the clutch engage.

Clicking into gear, yah, the trans is tight. The bike is new, and so that’s expected. If it feels any bit notchy, its likely a combo of new gears meshing together, and if you’re like me with size 13 boots, its you getting used to how the shifter is too short. Subsequent gear changes are plenty smooth, and with the torque of the 800cc L-Twin motor, each gear pulls long and hard (yes….that’s what she said).

Leaning into your first couple turns, you’ll notice again just how low the bike is. If you’re not careful with foot positioning, you’ll be dragging a toe before you know it. Not an issue, keep your toes (and eyes) up, and you’ll be through the turn before you know it. The bike has an nimble agility that is reminiscent of my old Kawasaki. It wants to drop into turns as you wish, yet under power, wants to just sweep you through and on into the next corner.

You’ll surely have read by now that the suspension on this bike is crap. While I can say that it is definitely not primo Ohlins or WP suspension, it is far from crap. The rear has a touch too much compression damping, and not enough rebound damping. That said, the bike I was on had less than 800 miles on it, so the suspension was so far from being “broken in” that its not worth fully commenting on. If you’re one of them anal types who believes the doofuses writing reviews all day….then yes, prepare to spend 1000-1500$ on new boingy things. For what the bike is….I just don’t think they’re needed.

From the suspension complaints to the dreaded “twitchy” throttle, this is one of the greatest internet mysteries to me.  I’ve ridden several Ducati bikes.  Yes, you can make the throttle feel twitchy.  Case in point, cruise around in 2nd gear around the 4000RPM mark.  Light throttle adjustments are going to make the bike feel jerky.  If this is a problem for you, click up to 4th gear, hell…go all the way to 5th or 6th, and like magic, the jerkiness goes away.  If someone can’t figure out how to be in the right gear, sorry that’s their problem.  Not a bikes*.

Seat position on the machine is…..just OK. For me at least. I’m 6’0”, with a 32” inseam. At stop lights, I can stand over the bike with several inches between my pants and the seat. This was an odd feeling for me, but again…I came off my KTM 350. Now I have this issue with all bike companies. They all feel the need to make these seats push you into the gas tank. Why? Why? Why? A flat seat would have been absolutely perfect on this bike, but again…that’s ok. The seat once you get used to it does keep you in relatively the same position at all times. It’d help if it weren’t slippery, but then your undies would be getting in a bunch (literally). A lot of folks will complain about the seat not being comfortable….they’re on crack. It’s comfortable…their ass just is NOT used to riding it, and much like the suspension, the foam needs time to break in. It’s like buying a 700$ pair of Italian Oxfords, and thinking they’re gonna fit better than OJ’s glove at his trial. Silly.

So why as my brother mentioned am I not sold on the bike? There are just too many other cheaper options out there that I think could turn my turbine. I’m a motorcycle enthusiast at heart. Through countless bikes over the years, I’ve found that when I’m out riding, I don’t care what I’m on, but purely that I’m out riding. I had hoped that the downright sexiness of the Scrambler would push me over the edge and out writing a check. Unfortunately it just didn’t. I’m still not sure how I feel about that either. If you’ve never ridden a Ducati bike, especially a 2V like this, take one for a test ride. There’s nothing to regret about it.

Andrew

*Yes, I’m aware of the lean spots that are built into bikes mappings to pass EPA Sound\Emissions requirements.  This is yet another reason for some jerky throttle, which again, is quickly remedied by changing gears.

Klim Scramble Pak Tool Pack

After years of use and abuse, my Moose Tool Pack (ok fanny pack) has finally given up the ghost.  Out on the market are a couple options.  Ogio, KTM, Fox, Klim, etc all have their Tool Pack offerings, but Klim has always seemed to be the dependable choice with moto related gear.  I had no idea what the insides really looked like, so I took a bit of a gamble, so hopefully what I show here and on my video can give you an idea as to what you’re getting into.

The Klim Scramble Pak has 3 main sections.  The large center section and the two side sections.  The two side sections are identical to each other and are not much more than an empty space.  The main compartment is split up into several compartments.  Unclip the two side clips and first you’ll see the outer pouch.  This opening is about 6″ wide with enough room to fit your latex gloves or a couple rags, or maybe a few zip ties and odds and ends.

Flipping the top open, there is a large YKK zipper to access the main compartment.  These zippers like all on the pack have a mild cover to them to help keep out the elements.  Once the compartment is opened, you see your assorted slots, zip compartments, and elastic to keep your tools and gear in place.  There is a big clear pouch which would likely be ideal for a phone, or whatever you may want a quick view at.  One strip of the retention straps has a nice rubberized grip to it to help keep tools in place.

The side pouches themselves as noted earlier are primarily empty spaces.  The outside wall of them is soft like that of a sunglass pouch.  This outer wall also has a small elastic pouch to it.  Both sides are identical and have YKK covered zippers on them.

The main buckle is a solid unit with a very strong hold to it.  At the base of the pack there is a rubberized gripper to help keep the pack from rotating around your body while you’re riding.  The padding on the inside of the pack seems to be plenty adequate and thick enough to keep tools from poking through the pack, without being too thick as to be bulky.

All in all, initial impression of the pack are very solid.  I’ll be loading the pack up for some upcoming events and will do a year end review with it at the end of the season.

For full Hi-Res pics check below:

Acerbis 4.1 Gallon Gas Tank – For KTM 250/350/450/500

I wanted an oversized tank for my KTM 350EXC-F for some dual-sport rides.  I did not want to be the Exxon Valdez super tanker.  Enter the Acerbis 4.1 Gallon Gas Tank.  This tank replaces the OEM radiator guards without adding too much width over the OEM Tank.  This Acerbis unit is identical to the KTM Hard Parts 13L tank, but with the Acerbis screw on gas cap.  I opted for the Acerbis unit purely because it saved me about 80-100$ depending on where you purchase from.

Installing the unit is straight forward.  Remove your OEM Tank, Remove the fuel pump from your OEM Tank (not needed if you have a second fuel pump setup), slide fuel pump into Acerbis tank, and finally reinstall the tank onto the bike.  The Acerbis unit included all the required hardware for installing the tank.  The tanks wall thickness is thinner than the OEM tank, so this requires some alternate hardware.  The supplied hardware did the job and is on par or above OEM quality.  No faults to be had here.

Between your knees, you end up with about 1/2″ of fuel tank extra on either side.  In the center, you end up with the standard Acerbis look of a slightly too tall fuel filler.  This is due to Acerbis needing to be able to fit their dry break fuel filler system.  Not the end of the world, but if you’re used to sliding up on your tank all the way up to the bars, you’re going to have a nut buster of a problem.

When on the bike you don’t really notice the tank all too much.  Yes it’s there, and yes there is a bit more fuel sloshing around, but there is no avoiding that with adding fuel.  So far I’m happy with it.  My only gripe at this point being that the gas cap breather hose nipple broke off before I even touched the tank.  Mildly frustrating, though luckily the tank is still usable without that.

– UPDATE –

I contacted Acerbis regarding the broken cap.  They’re sending me a replacement cap.  Excellent Service & Response.

Acerbis Part #:2367750147