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:

Mid Spring Moab Dual Sporting (Day 1)

24 short hours later (needed a couple hours nap along the way) and we had made it.  Sweet fancy Moab!  It also seemed as though there was a car show going on.  Lots of people, lots of cars, and lots of vehicles on the road that in Illinois would result in a whole lot of “Don’t Taze me BRO!”  I managed to not get any pictures of said cars, though there is this:

 

John & I were staying at the KOA on the South side of town.  Previously we had stayed at a campground on the North end of town, but this year we opted to go KOA since we didn’t have a trailer to sleep in, and John didn’t seem to hot on sleeping on the side of the road in tents (dunno why?)

 

2 Were comfy in these, 3 would have been a bit of a crowd, but doable.

 

With that, we drove into town, got groceries and let everything settle down.  We had no fridge in the little cabin, so we made do with keeping a foam cooler full of ice.  PB&J, Ham n Cheese, and some Ramen was all that was needed to fuel us.  OK, probably more would have been better.  Don’t worry, we ate out a few times.  Some better than others.

Food didn’t really matter at this point, our goal was to figure out the next days riding.  John & I were planning to meetup with a guy Brian who we’d ridden with in Moab last year.  We were thinking of riding a trail called Fins n Things, since it was close by and figured it’d give us a chance to make sure the bikes were in good working order before venturing further off.

Saturday morning the plans veered slightly with John and myself meeting with Brian, Doc, Lacy, and Kenbob who were thinking they’d go off to ride Lockhart Basin.  We’d ridden that twice last year, but it is a good rather mellow trail.  It’s an out n back kind of thing which has you doing around 120 miles by the days end.  Maybe more if you stop at the gas\restaurant out in Needles park.

Lockhart Basin starts with you going through town, and follow a nice twisty paved section of road to get to the start of gravel\off-road.  Not even 5 miles into the ride, Kenbob is stopped on the side of the road with his Husky (italian) with the bike not starting.  We were stopped right along the Colorado river, in the shade, with beautiful canyon walls all around us.  Great for sight seeing…not so great for what turned out to be Kenbobs in tank fuel line burst.

 

Lacy decided he’d stay with Kenbob, pickup their truck and rescue him.  Doc on his KTM 300, Brian on his 500, John and I on our 350’s decided we’d continue with the days ride.  The ride as said above, a great way to get in the groove of Moab things.  You go from road, to gravel, to 2 track, to rocks, and then mix that all up along the way with a dash of sand here and there.  There’s also a few good views tossed in along the way as well.

 

Brian checks for cell reception (oddly available most of the time)

 

Yah, you gotta stop and take a few pics along the way.  While riding, you have to balance between focusing on riding, and enjoying the incredible views.

 

John & Brian wolf down some snacks (its easy to under-eat on these rides)

 

I do my best to get some proper selfies in:

 

From here, we worked our way along the trail.  About 10 miles from the Needles Outpost, there was a creek crossing, which was followed by about 10 miles of open gravel road.  We took a poll and decided we were all cool with turning back there, and making out way towards home.  I asked Doc how he was on fuel.  He was rocking a KTM 2T, and while he had a larger than OEM tank, I know those 2T’s like fuel.  He informed us he was running a Lectron carb now, and while he hadn’t actually tested range, he claimed better than stock MPG.  You can guess where this is going, but we told him your call, and began making our way back.

As noted, the views here are “above average” to say the least, and leave you scratching your head at how in the hell does this happen.

 

Yah, I had to get a nice panoramic of the 350 on a more open section towards the end.

 

You could really get to enjoy some of these fast and open flowy sections.  The 350 has somewhat short legs, but it’s nice to stretch out into 6th gear for a few, and feel a good breeze against you.  Even with the temps being relatively cooler, it’s easy to warm up quickly, especially with all the gear you pile on.

All good things must come to an end, and 90 miles into the ride Doc was clear out of fuel.  We had at least 20-30 miles to get back to town.  I noted the excess fuel in my tank.  Brian happened to have a couple empty water bottles in his pack as well as a small section of fuel hose.  I offer up my fuel, and somehow find myself siphoning fuel for Doc.  A mouth full of fuel later, and I managed to get around 1L of fuel for Doc.  Again, he claimed this was enough, I was happy to be done ingesting gasoline, and buttoned everything back up to continue on back.

I know when you’re low on fuel, you can sometimes ride amazingly conservatively, resulting in phenomenal fuel mileage.  That didn’t happen.  Sure enough, 3 miles or so from town Doc runs out again.  I decide this is BS and since I spent the last 20 minutes spitting out the taste of gasoline from my mouth, tell him we’ll use my tow strap for the remaining bit.  I drop him off at the closest and fill up my tank.

I didn’t think much of it at the time, but everyone afterwords asked me……”why did you siphon his gas?”  As I said, I hadn’t thought about it, just mentally thought I didn’t want to leave someone on the trail.  Looking back on how the whole situation went down, I developed a new rule.  If you’re on a ride and take literally 0 precautions for fuel you may or may not need, sorry, but you’re SOL.  I’d like to think I’m a helping person by nature, but yeah….sometimes we must learn lessons the hard way.  Not sure if Doc learned any lessons, but I did. :lol3

We got back to camp, and I opened up a refreshing beverage and began taking some notes from the day.  I knew if I didn’t take notes then…it’d never happen and I’d forget everything that went down.

 

John & I would meet a group of guys in town, at a crappy Mexican restaurant.  It was so forgettable that I didn’t take any pictures and have blocked the guacamole out of my memory.  I slept well that night.  Good dry air and a tired body will do that for you.

Todays ride was a good warmup….tomorrow’s would be a body beater.

-Andrew

I’m having image issues, so please see images here:

https://andrewgore.smugmug.com/Travel/Motorcycle-Related/Moab-2016/

Don’t Be Late! 2 Singles and a Twin KTM Ride the TWAT Day 2

Day 2 (Monday) – Soldiers Grove to Hawkins area, WI?
We woke up around 7am, and realized we had made a terrible mistake.  Our first night on the trip, was us living lives of luxury.  We had beds, fridge with food, running water, and yes, a shower.  Caleb was found sleeping in his car outside.  I think he slept for an hour after whatever wedding he was at, and drove his way out.  He arrived bearing gifts of breakfast sausage, and other tasty foods.
A quick look outside showed that we’d be riding in some beautiful weather.  Sun was out, and found us getting out on the road quite late around 9am.  The portion of the TWAT from Soldiers Grove area on up to Black River Falls area is mostly road, and maybe some minor backroad stuff.  OK, I think it also takes you through Wildcat mountain area (though we may have bypassed this?).  Yes, now looking back I recall what happened.  We wound our way through many random fields and Amish areas.  We did some math, and felt if we wanted to get to the sandier and more off-roady areas, we’d create some bypasses of our own and get up to Black River Falls area.  At which point, we made our first stop along the way
A side road on a sandy section of the TWAT –
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I think at this point I finished the last of the peanut butter bars my wife made me.  They were supposed to last the trip, but hey……I can’t fight the hunger feeling.  As I’ve mentioned before, I am not the best at taking pictures.  The next I have along the way are some additional Rustic Road pics.  This was just on the outskirts of the BRF area.
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We zipped along, at which point realizing that there were some open gravel areas.  I don’t mind going as fast as possible on these roads, but Lord help me if that KTM 950 doesn’t kick up some killer dust.  Jameson was rocking some Terraflex rear tire that was like a 3 mile long smoke screen of dust.  The 690 wasn’t as bad, but sweet word.  So as we scooted along, my eye spied another Rustic Road sign.  I let Jameson and Caleb zip away as I snagged a quick picture.
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You’ll notice in the above pic how my luggage locations changed.  This changed probably each day as I found a new configuration to put things.  Yes, I managed to burn some straps, and lose an item or two.  Such is life.
Along we went, with us needing to take a quick break.  Again, I don’t remember where, or exactly when.  I do remember though that Caleb had found that his rotopax gas tank he had on his bikes rear rack had broken the rear rack.  We found a stellar spot along the way to stop and fix things.  We had a lake, a parking lot, shade, pit toilets.  What more could you ask for?
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An hour and a half later, my gatorade had decided to work its way through me, requiring a quick pit stop.  I waved Jameson & caleb past and hung tight for a bit to let some of their dust settle.  We were mildly confused on the Wisconsin ATV Trail markings.  When you see a motorcycle, with a line through it, you tend to think….motorcycles shouldn’t be there.  That’s not always the case as we’d later learn.  Street legal motorcycles are acceptable.  This relieved me a bit, as I don’t like riding where I don’t belong, or am not allowed.  We have too few of trail systems as it is, I don’t want to be the one to screw that up. :deal
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Jameson scratches away some dust:
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Caleb ready to keep groovin and a moovin:
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After the more off-roady aspect of the area North of Black River Falls, things basically turn into farm lands.  Wide.  Open.  Farm.  We scooted pretty quickly at this point, with each of us keeping decent distance to keep the dust as tolerable as possible.  Around 6pm, we figured we better figure out what we were going to do for camp.  We stopped at a gas station I really wish I knew where (mapping shows Hawkins, WI) to get some quick food stuffs.  At which point I sent my wife a stellar high fashion photo of myself.
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We figured at this point, we’d continue to follow the trail, and see where we ended up.  Around 630, Jameson figured we better really buckle down on location.
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We found ourselves on an ATV Trail.  I was in front (350’s are the fastest of course), with Jameson following Caleb.  Caleb ended up washing out his front tire, so we decided we really must buckle down. and find camp.  After a few minor detours, we found an appropriate locale for sleeping.
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We realized in our spot we had no cell signal.  I sent my Check-In\OK signal on my SPOT, but figured I’d walk to the entrance of our camp spot to see if I could get any reception.  I hopped on my bike without my gear\helmet\etc.  Go figure, I get a danged mosquito in my eye.
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Yah…that one on your right.  The one that’s making your eyes water right now :lol3
We relaxed through the evening.  Cooked some foods, and around 9 or 10, Jameson decided he needed a cup of coffee.  I odn’t understand how he did it, but he did.  Caleb and I retired to our separate chambers.  His a hammock nestled between a couple trees.  Mine, my trusty Kelty tent.  Not 2 minutes after getting into my tent, Caleb begins snoring like a bear.  Thankfully, I was tired and zonked out quickly.
End of day, I think we did 275-300ish miles?  I sadly don’t remember.  It was a great day of riding, and I was ready for what the next day would bring us.
Day 2 Map
Day 3 (Tuesday) to follow.
Andrew

Another race down in the books. Handlebars bent?

didn’t get to race the 250F this past weekend, so I was back on the 450F. Bit of a tradeoff here. 450F had fresher tires, which was better for the slick conditions. Downside is that the 450F is a heck of a lot heavier than the 250F. I was unable to test the 250F prior to Sunday, so I opted for the 450F. Was logical. As far as the race goes though……

I had a crap start. I’m pretty sure I was last or 2nd to last off the line. Only perk there was that I was able to snake around the bottleneck in the first turn. I was pushing best I could, though could not get in a good groove. I just wasn’t flowing well. I passed a good number of people in the following laps, but at about 30 minutes in I lost my rear and had a heck of a spill. Almost called it quits at that point, especially after I saw all the guys I had passed……now passing by me. I figured that would be weak and motored on, until I had to stop and take a leak. I rode a bit better after that, but again it sapped some time. I shoulda went for a 5th time just before the start, but what yah gonna do.

The facility decided that for the afternoon race (A\B classes) that they’d add some extra excitement into the mix. We tend to get a longer course, and they tend to add in their creek section and a bit more of their MX track and things like that. I found out on the first lap that they also had just made a small endurocross section. The mini endurocross section was definitely not something I was expecting. With the trials background, I’ve got no real issue with going over just about any obstacle. The issue is that committing to go over the obstacles at “race pace” is easier said than done lap after lap. I know that I can just “jump” the sized logs they had, but committing to that is difficult. Great risk\reward type thing. I tended to opt for just double blipping over the stuff. It worked well, but it saps energy, but tended to be pretty safe for getting over everything.

As the race went on, I found I did better and better through the creek section. I found I could easily pass people there as I’d pick a point to go to and gas it, pick a point, gas it until the end. Amusingly enough, the faster I went through this section, the less effort it took. I knew though that if I went down, I’d for sure be paying for it.

I was pretty fatigued by the end of the race. My lower back wasn’t tightening up, but the crash early on really put a damper on my performance. I was extremely hesitant with any slick stuff. The bike really felt like it weighed a metric ton. It’s initial weight sure didn’t help, but then add on 15-20# of tacky mud and it was just annoying. I saw the sign at timing and scoring that said end time was 2:26, and saw that it was 2:16. I was more than happy to have a 10 minute lap, as I really didn’t feel like pushing for another 2 laps; 1 last one would be more than enough.

I honestly don’t know where I finished in the race. The facility has been struggling with their timing\scoring system. It hasn’t really worked for the past several years I’ve been racing there. I got back to the truck and packed up and we peaced out. I’m mildly curious to see how I fared, but am not exactly optimistic about my result.

So tonight, I’m going to test the 250F. This should be interesting, as my left leg doesn’t really move properly, and my right shoulder is on the fritz. Crashing apparently hurts. I’m getting old . I need to test the bike though. Stadium MX this Friday. We’ll see how I do in a sprint vs an endurance event. 

Andrew