Mini Madness – Red Baron Factory 88cc CRF50

Red Baron Factory 88cc CRF50

Price: $7,500

// What it is: Red Baron has developed a reputation as a master builder of adult 50s. With David Pingree at the helm, their bikes have been winning races regularly for quite a while. They make just about everything, including complete frames and suspension, and a whole slew of aftermarket bolt-on stuff. They put just about all of those products on this bike, including their Factory Aluminum Frame, Factory Fork, 12″ front-wheel kit (complete with a front-disc brake), an 88cc Big-Valve Head, three-speed close-ratio transmission, manual clutch, and much, much more.

// Motor: Just like many CRF50s you see at a race, the only thing stock in this thing is the bottom cases. The whole top end is replaced by a Takegawa 88cc S-stage kit with a Superhead, and the transmission is replaced by a close-ratio, race-type three-speed. A manual clutch kit is also utilized to help modulate the power. The stock ignition is swapped out for a high-rev CDI box, and a super oil pump is utilized to help keep this motor running cool. To finish her off, a Pro Circuit Ti-4 Titanium Pipe is added, which is louder than stock, but puts out a ton of power. This bike is actually Ping’s “practice bike” of sorts, so it’s been ridden a lot. However, Red Baron claims just short of 10 hp out of this mini.

// Suspension/Handling: On the chassis end, the stock frame is discarded and replaced by Red Baron’s Factory Aluminum Frame, which includes a big-bike-style rear suspension system. It opens up the cockpit by a little over an inch, which makes a big difference on a bike like this. It’s not only longer, it’s lighter than stock as well. Also, the front forks are replaced by Red Baron’s Factory Fork kit, which includes a 12-inch front wheel and a disc brake.

// Hits: This bike is definitely set up on the stiff side-and that’s a good thing. So often, 50s are set up with long travel, but they blow through it on the smallest obstacles-this bike won’t do that. The steep steering angle makes for a good-handling machine, the cockpit is roomy for a 50, and the Red Baron Billet pegs are perfect for tennis shoes. As far as the motor is concerned, you’d be surprised with how fast you can get going on an 88cc bike with a clutch. If there are jumps you can’t make on this bike, you’re either not doing it right, or you shouldn’t be jumping it. This bike is a great all-around mini moto machine.

// Misses: The front axle is located directly underneath the fork tubes. You may notice that big bikes and many other mini fork manufacturers have a leading front axle, meaning it’s in front of the fork just a touch. You wouldn’t think something that minor would make such a big difference, but it just felt weird. It definitely took some getting used to. Also, this bike is really loud. The way it’s set up, you won’t make your neighbors happy by riding this thing in your backyard.

// Verdict: There are definitely more expensive 50s out there, and there are also faster 50s out there, but for the money, this is a really good package. The 88cc motor with a manual clutch is plenty fast enough, and the chassis is top-notch.

Visit: www.redbaronracing.net

OAKLEY SI ASSAULT BOOT

APPLICATION: Military combat (in this case, mini bike combat!)

PRICE: $225

RATING: 9

// WHAT IT IS: Oakley designed the Standard Issue Assault Boot especially for the U.S. Elite Special Forces, but also offers the footwear to civilian consumers.

// HITS: When they are trudging around the track shooting photos at a National, there is nothing that Swap and Big Girth would rather have on their feet than a pair of Oakley SI Assualt boots. In fact, that’s all either of them have worn at the races for the past two years. Sure, they look funny with shorts, but the support they offer, combined with their off-the-charts comfort, make any other footwear seem primitive for a long day of hiking around a dirt bike track. Thanks to Swap’newfound passion for mini bike riding, he’s discovered that the SI Assault boot is also spectacular for riding minis. With the flexibility and comfort of the best street shoes, the SI’s padded ankle support shaft makes these babies perfect for feeling the controls while at the same time protecting the inside of your ankle from banging against the frame and motor. When laced up tight, they also offer plenty of extra twisting and side-to-side flexion protection. No, they’re not as good as full-sized motocross boots, but this is mini riding we’re talking about!

// MISSES: When combined with shorts and knee pads/knee braces, the SI Assault boots make you look like a punk rocker in 16-hole Docs.

// THE VERDICT: This is the coolest footwear you can ride a mini bike in, bar none.

Call 949/951-0991 x 6587 or visit www.oakley.com

iCAT

APPLICATION: All bikes (tested here on a Honda CRF50)

PRICE: $200

RATING: 10

// WHAT IT IS: The iCAT is a small electronic device that mounts in between your spark plug cap and ignition, and helps your plug emit a stronger, longer-lasting spark.

// HITS: We’ve tried iCATs on just about every full-sized test bike out there and have been impressed with the results they yield, whether it’s a two or four-stroke bike. Thanks to our recent obsession with minis, we’ve also discovered that the iCAT absolutely kicks butt on a playbike. Looking for every advantage possible to compete against his buddies, Swap discovered that the iCAT actually yields a larger performance gain on the little CRF50 than an aftermarket exhaust! With the iCAT installed, the tiny 50 motor revs quicker and has better pick-up right off the bottom, and the gap in between first and second gear isn’t nearly as crippling, as the motor is better able to make up for the sudden lack of gear leverage.

// MISSES: Because of the CRF50’s frame design, there is no sano way to mount the iCAT up. We used a one-inch section of fuel line and a long zip-tie to secure it to the ignition itself.

// THE VERDICT: $200 might seem like a lot to invest in a mini play bike, but for those looking for a quick, bolt-on power gain, this is the best option available.

Call 918/681-4868 or visit www.icatusa.com

Pro Circuit KLX/DR-Z110 Top Clamp

Application: KLX/DR-Z110

Price: $199.95

Rating: 8

// What it is: This top clamp for the Kawasaki KLX110 or Suzuki DR-Z110 is designed to open up the cockpit for an adult rider. It’s made of billet aluminum and anodized brown, which doesn’t really sound that trick, but Pro Circuit is basically the only company brown-anodizing their parts, so they stand out.

// Hits: This part looks really cool. Not only does the brown anodizing stand out, the way it’s cut is different from a lot of similar products. It’s lightweight, opens up the cockpit quite a bit, looks great, and does its job. What else do you want?

// Misses: There could be more adjustability incorporated into the design, but since the bar mount is reversible, it’s not completely without adjustment. This part isn’t cheap, but you’ll need it, or something like it, to ride your 110.

// The verdict: Even though it’s a little on the pricey side, it’s a necessary evil. If you’re going to buy a top clamp, you may as well make it the most trick-looking one you can find.

Visit: www.procircuit.com

TerryCable Mini Gasser Throttle Assembly

Application: KLX/DR-Z110 or XR/CRF50

Price: $99.95

Rating: 7

// What it is: Many times, 50s and 110s are hard to ride. Not necessarily just because they’re small, but because you have no throttle control. You turn your wrist what seems like an eighth of an inch and you’re wide open. Terrycable has tackled this issue with their Mini Gasser throttle assembly. It provides a longer throw while still using the stock carburetor.

// Hits: For those content with a stock motor, this is the perfect accessory. It gives you a big-bike’s throttle feel, but with a little-bike’s power delivery. They come in black, blue, polished or red (shown), and they look really bitchin’!

// Misses: There aren’t too many people who stick with a stock motor and carburetor after riding minis very long. In addition, at nearly a hundred bucks, it’s a costy upgrade considering it doesn’t boost performance.

// The verdict: If you’re satisfied with your stock power delivery, this throttle is perfect for you. Now you can twist your wrist like you were on a big bike. It really adds a bit of familiarity to riding your mini, since you’re undoubtedly used to riding big bikes already.

Visit: www.terrycable.com

tle feel, but with a little-bike’s power delivery. They come in black, blue, polished or red (shown), and they look really bitchin’!

// Misses: There aren’t too many people who stick with a stock motor and carburetor after riding minis very long. In addition, at nearly a hundred bucks, it’s a costy upgrade considering it doesn’t boost performance.

// The verdict: If you’re satisfied with your stock power delivery, this throttle is perfect for you. Now you can twist your wrist like you were on a big bike. It really adds a bit of familiarity to riding your mini, since you’re undoubtedly used to riding big bikes already.

Visit: www.terrycable.com