This will be my collection of various technical information.
Found this FastAce teardown video on the GPX unofficial Facebook Page. I’ll add Part 2 when its posted.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For more pictures and detail views, check the following gallery:
Lord have mercy, Day 2 in Moab would prove to be a body buster. If you’ve been to Moab, you’ll know that you don’t have to ride very long distances to put some hurt on your body. Day 2 found us riding a relatively short distance, but on some of the gnarlier stuff that Moab had to offer. The day was going to be John T, Brian, and myself. In a group of 2 or 3, you can really knock out some rides. Brian was only in town for a short time, so he was looking to get some riding in. I can’t blame him. When you drive 1300+ miles to a location to ride, you want to ride…..and ride….and ride.
First one must gear up for the ride:
So that is what we would do. What to do first though? First up was decided that we would ride a section none of us had ridden before. Close by, and some of the reviews said “if wet…..don’t attempt”. Silly jeepers can’t handle rocks apparently. We decided as well that we would ride Steelbender North to South, so that we’d be closer to more riding after the section was done. From what I recall of the beginning, the trail was a good mix of sand, and rocks. Some moderate obstacles were in along the way, but nothing that was unmanageable. This section of the ride, it was early, I was mildly tired, and thus resulted in me taking minimal pictures.
Somewhere along the way of Steelbender, Brian offered up his 500 to me. I was intrigued to try his bike for a couple reasons. One was that I wanted to see what I was missing with having the 350 instead of the 500. Two, Brian had some fancy re-valved forks on the bike. I want to say Pro-Action 3 way valving, but I may be wrong here. Three, Brian runs a steering damping (Scotts) and I run nothing on my 350. Anyways….I was glad I got to see the difference.
Power wise, there is a pretty easy comparison. The 500 has the power of the 350, but from 0 revs on up. I know it has more, but it was smooth, linear, and while it could rip your arms out, you didn’t have the feeling like it was constantly going to run away from you. The 350, you gotta be up in the Revs to be pulling all its power. On top of that, with the 13/48 gearing I was running, you could feel the slight lack in pep vs riding back at sea level at home. Suspension wise, while I felt that the re-valved forks were good, I didn’t think it’d be worth spending the money to get my forks reworked. If I were racing AA on a weekly basis, yeah the OEM fork valving needs help, but for the 99%…the stock valving is pretty darned good (spring rates aside). The steering damper is another thing, well I had no idea I was testing a bike with one. So in that regard, I didn’t notice any ill effects. Brian stated that he loves his, though only had it due to it being on the bike when he got it. Again, I suppose it could help, but the prices on those……
Bike testing aside, once back on the 350, I felt back at home, though down on power. I missed that, and realized that if I had to have 1 machine, that the 500 would for sure be it. We meandered along the trail, enjoying some nice overcast sky.
Brian and John discussing the trail thus far:The bulk of the trail looked like this:
That last pic is a bit of a lie. Yeah, just about everything in Moab is 2-track, since its all Jeep created (motorcycle specific areas excluded). What you just don’t get is how you go from a flowing sandy 2 track section, to knee high rock boulders in the middle of the trail, requiring instant clutch work with a healthy dose of body english to not go bashing your rims like a bowling ball into rock ledges.
Some of those rocky things behind me:
You can see John T coming down a bit of these rocks here:
As we worked our way to the end of Steelbender, it was apparent why going the opposite direction of us would have been a PITA. There’s one bad hill climb, that if wet, would be nearly impassible. At the end of the trail is a nice creek crossing, which had some depth to it due to recent rains. We had a small crowd (2 ladies walking their dogs), so we all did our best to not drown any bikes. Success was had, with us working our way West out of the area to intersect with 191 and decide our next course of action.
Enter…..Behind the Rocks:
We saw we were close to Behind The Rocks, and I secretly saw that it connected with the back entrance to Pritchett Canyon, so I was all for doing this. The pic above shows what is the first obstacle to get into Behind the Rocks. After Brian and myself worked our way up Guardian Hill….we pulled out the lawnchairs and watch John. This climb is one of those commit, and line selection. The added difficulty being that at the top, it’s all sand, which gets really kills your grip along the way. If you have a hard time with balancing….this one could prove difficult.
I snagged a quick video of “helping” John :lol3
Brian has some good video leading up to Guardian Hill, as well as all of our climbs up it. Sweet word these videos don’t do this place justice:
Looking back at that video….I see I was of 0 help with getting John and his bike up the hill. Woops :lol3. Behind the rocks though, would prove to be a great combination of sandy stuff where you can just rail the bike, combined with technical rocks, and some wicked climbs and descents. We found ourselves on a quick little off-shoot, which was a nice place to stop for a quick snack break. Good time for some of the peanutbutter balls my wife makes for me:
Then how can you NOT like stuff like this?
Along the way, you end up at an absolutely gnarly downhill. There is a go-around, but Brian and I felt we were up for the challenge. I missed taking some pics at the top, so I’ll do my best to describe it. This downhill had several lines to get down it. The main issue though with most of the lines is that at the end of each, there was a 4-5′ drop you had to do. I’m not one to shy away from such dangers, but figured I’d choose to most conservative approach of the available lines. Brian chose to be Mr. HotRod & do one where he jumps off at the end. My video….which he makes it look like you’re rolling off a curb at Starbucks:
Brian’s full video, you can get a bit better grasp of what you’re dealing with:
From here, you work your way down, around, and through the woods….to White Knuckle Hill we go. I didn’t know what it was at the time, but soon understood why it was called that. I began riding down, to realize that the route I’d chosen…..well, wasn’t the best. Luckily I was able to stop, reposition, and square of the direction I wanted to go. I did capture a nice pic while I scouted my lines:
As soon as I got down, I saw John & Brian scouting a much different route….one that appeared to have less ledges\etc.
At this point, we weren’t far from the end of Behind The Rocks, and were seeing the sign for Pritchett Canyon. It was decided we’d better eat a snack before heading on, as we’d been told that Pritchett Canyon is one of the hardest trails in the Moab area.
I suppose it’s possible that they could be right (trail goes down off that ledge…)
PS – If you’re interested….All off Brians videos are posted here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_Rof1UeU6rqyGsBwTd7GTw/videos?shelf_id=0&view=0&sort=dd
I’m having image issues, so they can all be found here:
The plan began I don’t know when. My buddy Jameson (lamoson) and I both have wanted to ride the TWAT for quite awhile. We hadn’t settled on where when or how until the planets had aligned just right. See, my wife and I were selling our house, and I knew I’d need some way to relax after all that. Jameson had spent the past eternity rehabbing his house and was finally seeing its completion nearing. So 2 weeks after closing on my house, we planned to jump ship on a Sunday afternoon, with strict requirement that I be back before Friday for a rehearsal dinner for my sister in-laws wedding. Years ago, I missed my other sister in-laws rehearsal dinner, so I was responsible to not make the same mistake twice. Don’t Be Late!!!
Our plan was straight forward. I’d leave my house on my KTM 350. Meet Jameson at his place near Lake Geneva, WI. We’d leave Sunday afternoon, following Stateline Road West to the start of the TWAT. We would then head North on the TWAT to my parents cabin near Soldiers Grove, WI right off the TWAT. From there, we’d blast our way North. We’d go as far as we could, and camp along the way. We’d blast our way North, and then do the same, heading South, back home to arrive sometime Thursday PM. I secretly thought…..ehh, I can get home Friday and be OK, but figured I’d plan on the safe end of things.
So a week or so before the ride, Jameson informs me, he’s got a 3rd guy looking to go with us. 2 problems for him. He was to be at a wedding the Sunday that we were leaving, and according to him….he’s a nancy with a KTM 690 and riding from his place in Wisconsin to ride the TWAT was too far. This guy….I tell yah. Things ended up panning out however. Caleb decided that he’d be zonked from the wedding he was going to, so would drive\trailer out to Jameson & I near Soldiers Grove, WI. He’d meet up Monday AM, and we’d all roost into the distance.
To get things straight here, let’s sort out our cast of characters.
Myself – Riding my 2013 KTM 350 (pic in the old house….goodbye old friend)
Jameson – With his KTM 950
Caleb – Riding a KTM 690
Day 1 – Sunday…afternoon
I left my in-laws house (my current residence) to meetup with Jameson. It’s about 40 minutes from my place to Jamesons. About 2 minutes into the ride, I could tell it’d be….interesting. I’ve spent some time on my 350. From racing harescrambles, to gnarly riding out in Moab. This was a different ball of wax. I had a giant tank bag my dad gave me, with all sorts of luggage and crap strapped to the back. I had an area the size of my waist to sit, keeping me locked into one position. Not how I like to ride. I topped up with fuel, zeroed my trip meters, and was off to meetup with Jameson.
Jameson locked & loaded to roll:
I adjusted my luggage a bit, and neglected to take a picture, because, well….I have a tendency to not take pictures. I try, but I fail at times.
With that, we were off, and ready to hit the open road. Jameson navigated us along a handful of Wisconsin backroads, slowly meandering our way to meetup with Stateline Road. For those not familiar, Stateline Road weasels it’s way the border between Wisconsin and Illinois. The road starts about 5 minutes from my house, and works it’s way all the way west to Galena, IL or somewhere thereabouts. About an hour in, I needed to relieve myself, so as I tend to do while out riding solo, I found us a small park to rest at.
Don’t look so surprised –
At this point, we both reveled at the magic that is the Garmin Montana. I wirelessly synced data from my device to his. Magic. If you look close enough, you can see the data in the air.
We moseyed on, heading due West. Ok, not due West, but in a total zig-zag along the IL\WI Border. This was fun, but after awhile got to be annoying. That’s not right. The reality is this. You’re riding along farm fields, as far as your eyes can see. Corn to the left, Corn to the right. For some reason, they decide to put stop signs at every single intersection along the way. No one is out here. Cows, maybe. I don’t know. I didn’t care however, as we were riding, the sun was out, and we were enjoying it.
Somewhere along the way, we crossed this bridge, and I took a picture:
At this point, we weren’t too far from the actual start of the TWAT. I think I was about 150 miles in? I was soaking up the fact that my 350 was getting 55-60mpg thus far (and would for the rest of the trip) meanwhile, the 950 was somewhere in the 30-35mpg range. But that doesn’t matter, because fossil fuels be damned. We had to ride!
First proper stop along the way was a little jaunt that puts you in the Mississippi River
Sunsets and god awful garbage can windscreens
We headed back onto the trail, at which point I saw a Rustic Road sign. I’m doing my best to catalog them (of which there are 115, and I’ve done now 25 or so)
The TWAT works its way along the Mississippi North (I think?). Pretty early on, you hit a gravely section. This Southern portion of the route gets you into the zone of that overhanging rock, you know, the one with all the stuff you’ve seen 10,000 times….
Struttin’ Jameson approves
Now this is where we got confused. Ok, I shouldn’t say “we”, but more so Me\I. This is the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail, and not far in, it appears to have a doozy of a jaunt West into Iowa for awhile around Prairie Du Chien. I can’t and won’t complain. I was riding, and enjoying it. The roads over here were awesome. We however were running into one teeny weeny polkadot bikini of a problem. Daylight. Yes, I had installed some fancy pants LED’s on my bike, but it is prime Field Rodent…err Deer season, and I’d prefer to keep things upright as best I could, and not interfere with 4 legged beasts.
My initial concern of 4 legged land beasts was for Deer. Somewhere on this Iowa jaunt, another 4 legged beast became my primary concern. We were on a small back road, with an apparent cattle farm to our side. This is normally not an issue, however in this situation, there appeared to be 2 younger beef production units in the middle of the road. On the side, inside the fence is what appeared to be the mother, giving these beasts the stink eye.
At this point, I was ahead of Jameson….no lie, those KTM 350’s go like stink. So I come barreling down this road, and lay on my hoofs. My mighty steed comes to a screaching halt, as I see these 2 leather factories in the middle of the road. I sit there for a second, seeing Jameson isn’t too far behind. All of a sudden, these 2 goons turn towards me, and start getting huffy puffy, like 2 street tuffs. Jameson rolls up, and I ask….well…what’s your thoughts. We were both mildly unsure, so I figured, ok, let’s roll up slow, and when we’re nearby, lets gas it and get outa dodge. I give a mild honk, and begin motoring along. The 2 cows seem to get the idea, and move a bit towards the shoulder. All of a sudden it’s like these guys planned an ambush on us and start galloping right at me\us. Now at this point, I do my best to get the 350 moving. Unfortunately, I’m currently geared for extensive highway riding, and was in 3rd gear to keep my revs down to not spook the leathery beasts. I neglected to downshift and just about get run over by Jameson! Hells horses, we scoot another mile or so down the road and stop. Jameson relayed that he about got ramrodded by one of the cows, and was ready to take me out to get out of the way. We had a good chuckle, and got back on the road.
If they were 4 feet tall, I’d tell yah they were a mile.
A bit further down the road, we realized we needed to find our way out of Iowa, and over towards Soldiers grove for the evening.
I don’t have any pictures at this point, but I can put into words the next hour of riding. We found a cutoff in the Iowa side, on Cr-X52. We followed this North along the Mississippi until we got to Lansing. We zipped East on 82, and promptly South on 35 until we hit 171. Thankfully I’m relatively familiar with 171, as at this point it was pitch black outside, and my visor was absolutely coated in bugs. We wound our way along 171 and into Gays Mills, WI. We stopped in at the convenience store, grabbed some beer, and made our way to my parents cabin. By the time we got there, it was about 9pm. Around 10pm, Jameson decided he needed to change his rear tire. I opted to help by watching, and point out what he was doing wrong
After the tire swap, we called it a night. The next morning, Caleb would arrive, and we’d work our way North with great speed, and all that jazz.
Day 1 Map
Day 2 To follow –