PRODUCT REPORT 34

M4 PERFORMANCE KX250F/RM-Z250 FULL RACE EXHAUST SYSTEM

APPLICATION: 2004 KX250F & RM-Z 250

PRICE: $577 (Titanium silencer), $527 (Aluminum silencer)

RATING: 9

If you’re a regular reader of our Product Reports then you know that we test a lot of after-market exhaust systems. Why, you ask? Well, for starters there are a lot of systems out there to choose from, and the best way to determine which ones are winners and which ones are losers is simply to test them all. In addition, and as we’ve stated many times before, an aftermarket exhaust is the simplest, most cost-effective way to increase horsepower and improve the powerband on your steed. So when our new friends at M4 Exhaust called up to give us the lowdown on their new KXF/RM-Z system, we welcomed the addition to our pipe family, and couldn’t wait to get it on the track.

For those of you that have never heard of M4, don’t be alarmed! Their presence in motocross may be fairly new, but their experience in building quality pipes is not. Using the knowledge that they’ve gained from many years of four-stroke sportbike technology, M4 had a great headstart as they entered the world of motocross. All of M4’s systems are designed, hand-build, and dyno tested in-house for maximum performance and quality control.

When our test unit arrived at the office, the first thing we noticed was the bold “OFF ROAD-USFS Approved Screen Type” emblem riveted onto the end of the silencer. While having absolutely no bearing on the performance of the system, we weren’t jumping out of our shoes in excitement at the kooky-looking emblem. Once past that, however, it was easy to focus in on the quality finish of the system. M4 uses top-quality materials, and their craftsmanship is among the finest we’ve seen. Installation was a snap, and within minutes we were ready for our first moto. Well, that is with the exception of installing our stock unit’s heat shield, which is required of the M4 unit. A lot of riders prefer the “factory” look of aftermarket units specifically for the fact that they do away with the CT70-looking heat shield, but it does serve its purpose. Function or beauty? You make the call…

Once on the track, we were delighted with the overall performance of the M4. Our test bike boasted a fresh new snap off the bottom, and throttle response was as crisp as we could possibly ask for. The overall power of the bottom-end is definitely improved over stock, but it wasn’t so arm-jerking that it greatly altered the powerband. The power continues to pull exceptionally smooth through the middle, but it’s the top-end that really receives a makeover with the M4 system. Where the stock unit signs off up top, the M4 gives the KawaZukis extra horsepower and overrev, making it a very worthy addition to our pipe arsenal. Overall, the M4 adds almost a full horsepower-and-a-half over stock. So if you’re looking to pull some more ponies out of your KX250F or RM-Z 250 and don’t want to profile the same pipe as all your buddies, give the M4 unit a look. You won’t be disappointed!

-Ryan Cooley

Call 972/481-9300 or visit www.m4exhaust.com

PRO TAPER RUBBER MOUNT TRIPLE CLAMP

APPLICATION: Available for all current-model full-sized bikes in gray only; can be ordered with 7/8″ or 11/8″ handlebar clamps

PRICE: $229.95

RATING: 9

If you’re like most of us on staff, no matter how many laps you spin you still incur arm and/or hand pump quite frequently. The results of this muscle cramping can be as laughable as a small loss of control and subsequent goon swap or as serious as a full-blown case of whiskey throttle off the face of a triple.

Luckily for us, several companies have recently stepped up to the plate with a number of solutions to help with the dreaded curse of arm pump. Answer’s newest, well, answer, is a rubber mount triple clamp that takes advanta of color-coded elastomers to lessen the sudden impacts, jolts and shocks that your hands incur while riding.

Fit and finish of the clamp is nice; not quite up to par with the beauty of others in the market (Pro Circuit clamps, for example), but plenty trick-looking with its tough gray appearance and bitchin’ PT insignias. As expected, mounting the clamp took just a few minutes due to its excellent fit, but our one complaint was the three-Allen-bolt design. For one thing, any fork height adjusting or bolt checking requires removal of the front number plate. For another, there’s no reason to have three bolts anyway—it’s just overkill and a pain to tighten.

Only a lap or two into the first moto with the Answer rubber mount system, though, and any minor complaints about the Allen system were quickly forgotten due to the incredible performance of the triple clamp. Here’s a clamp that not only enhances your bike’s looks, but it actually does something. An immediate and noticeably substantial minimization in shock to the hands was felt through the bars, and test riders were able to spin several more laps before finally succumbing to the arm pump demons with the clamp installed. The kit comes complete with a soft, medium, and firm set of elastomers, and by switching the bottom ones with the top ones several firmness choices are available.

Another plus was that all front-end steering control was retained by the handlebars, with the rubber mounts only flexing enough to offer your hands some shock relief without the compromise of any handling loss. Testers also liked the four available forward and backward notches of adjustment offered, giving riders a truly customizable handlebar position.

-Garth Milan

Call 909/736-5369 or visit www.protaper.com

ALLOY SX1 MX PANTS

APPLICATION: Sizes 28-38 in seven different color combos

PRICE: $TK

RATING: 9

When Alloy Motocross gear first hit US shores last year, we were stoked on its cool, progressive designs and high-quality construction. Right off the bat, we considered the stuff to be some of the best available, even among the well-established motocross gear companies.

For 2004, Alloy pulled out all the stops and produced an all-new SX1 race pant that is not only more comfortable, but better-looking and more durable than the original. Granted, fashion sense is as individual as anything, but we really like the look of the Alloy line of apparel. The pant is constructed of durable ballistic nylon, cordura and nylon twill materials, and feature double and triple stitching throughout. Four-way stretch panels are incorporated in all the right places, and the SX1 pant features a generously roomy cut in the thigh and knee area for riders who wear knee braces. The design of the knee provides unrestricted movement and is easy to pull on over braces, but most importantly, the Kevlar panels on the inside of the knee are virtually indestructible. Of all the pants we’ve worn and tested through the years, the Alloy SX1 are among the most durable. In fact, we’ve yet to wear a hole in the knee areas of our test pants, even though the plastic hinge guards have long since broken off our braces, leaving an offensive metal edge to saw through pants, graphics, seat covers, and anything else it comes in contact with.

The pants are quite comfortable, thanks to a lack of big, thick brand logos on the thighs. Instead, Alloy opted to incorporate its icon into the knee padding of the SX1 pant. The icon itself is made of rubber panels.

Our only concerns about the SX1 pant? Thanks to the big, beefy icon logos and a small rubber button on the outside areas of each knee, the pant does feel a little heavy in your hands. We must admit, however, that while wearing them, they don’t feel any heavier than any other pant. Additionally, the waist sizing runs brutally true to size. Unlike the majority of gear out there that runs a little large in the waist area, the Alloy SX1 pant measures up exactly as the tag indicates. Be honest with yourself when ordering up a set, and don’t be afraid of going a little larger than normal, as the dual waist adjusters on the side are about as perfect as any we’ve tried. We really, really, like these pants!

Call 949/458-6686 or visit www.alloymotocross.com

WHITE BROTHERS ALUMINUM RACE SERIES EXHAUST SYSTEM

APPLICATION: 2004 YZ450F

PRICE: $695.95

RATING: 8.5

For the average rider, the YZ450F has plenty of power. So much, in fact, for 2004 Yamaha decreased the output to make the blue beast a bit more manageable for the common folk. For those of us who feel the need to add more speed and power, the motocross aftermarket offers several options. One simple and popular option is replacing the exhaust system. Whether you need it or not, nowadays it seems almost mandatory to change the exhaust when you get a new ride. White Brothers sent us their new Aluminum Race Series System for our YZ450F test bike. After admiring the cool, elegant look of the square silencer for a few minutes, we slapped it on our ride and headed to the track.

Because it was designed for competitive use, we immediately noticed that the White Brothers system gave our YZ450F a new, stronger attitude before we could even turn the choke off. Once on the track, we quickly noticed the new attitude was more than just a beefy-sounding motor. With stock gearing, the power off the bottom is increased, but controllable, allowing our riders to reach a top speed faster and utilize more of the mid-range power. The power and range in second and third gear increases, giving the YZ more versatility and throttle control for corners and obstacles. It’s difficult to tell how much the White Brothers exhaust improves the overrev on the YZ, as the four-speed transmission, and already powerful motor, has plenty of room upstairs to stretch out and pull to the moon.

If you want more power, the White Brothers Aluminum Race System will give it to you almost everywhere you need it, with all of the same specifications as the Carbon Pro Exhaust System, at a reduced price.

-Marc Fiore

Call 714/692-3404 or visit www.whitebros.com

APPLIED RACING 22mm OFFSET CRF CLAMPS

APPLICATION: All Honda CRF250R, CRF450Rs

PRICE: $336.95

RATING: 9

A little over a decade ago John Duffy and his crew at Applied Racing invented the aftermarket triple clamp market, and in the past 10 years they have earned a reputation as one of the industry leaders not only for their high production values, but their ability to produce new products for new models in a snap. It seemed like we had spent only a couple weeks with our new 2004 Honda CRF250R before we received a set of 22mm offset triple clamps from Applied in the mail. Seems some of the riders they interviewed felt that the new CRF wasn't as precise in the corners as they would have liked it to be, so Applied machined several sets of the clamps out to address this concern.

We must admit that we thought they were crazy, as the CRF250R is–in our opinions–one of the best handling bikes we've ever ridden. Still, we bolted the clamps onto our test bike in order to give them a fair shakedown. And man, were we surprised! We thought that the CRF carved a tight line before, but with the Applied clamps installed it became even more adept at directional changes. No mater the corner conditions–flat, rutted or bumpy–the clamps gave the CRF a better grip up front and allowed us to gain even more confidence on the bike.

The clamps themselves are beautifully made, and feature an all-new design that has a slight V shape and rounded edges. Additionally, the rubber-mounted clamp set has an overall weight that is nearly 5/8 of a pound lighter! Perhaps thee. Unlike the majority of gear out there that runs a little large in the waist area, the Alloy SX1 pant measures up exactly as the tag indicates. Be honest with yourself when ordering up a set, and don’t be afraid of going a little larger than normal, as the dual waist adjusters on the side are about as perfect as any we’ve tried. We really, really, like these pants!

Call 949/458-6686 or visit www.alloymotocross.com

WHITE BROTHERS ALUMINUM RACE SERIES EXHAUST SYSTEM

APPLICATION: 2004 YZ450F

PRICE: $695.95

RATING: 8.5

For the average rider, the YZ450F has plenty of power. So much, in fact, for 2004 Yamaha decreased the output to make the blue beast a bit more manageable for the common folk. For those of us who feel the need to add more speed and power, the motocross aftermarket offers several options. One simple and popular option is replacing the exhaust system. Whether you need it or not, nowadays it seems almost mandatory to change the exhaust when you get a new ride. White Brothers sent us their new Aluminum Race Series System for our YZ450F test bike. After admiring the cool, elegant look of the square silencer for a few minutes, we slapped it on our ride and headed to the track.

Because it was designed for competitive use, we immediately noticed that the White Brothers system gave our YZ450F a new, stronger attitude before we could even turn the choke off. Once on the track, we quickly noticed the new attitude was more than just a beefy-sounding motor. With stock gearing, the power off the bottom is increased, but controllable, allowing our riders to reach a top speed faster and utilize more of the mid-range power. The power and range in second and third gear increases, giving the YZ more versatility and throttle control for corners and obstacles. It’s difficult to tell how much the White Brothers exhaust improves the overrev on the YZ, as the four-speed transmission, and already powerful motor, has plenty of room upstairs to stretch out and pull to the moon.

If you want more power, the White Brothers Aluminum Race System will give it to you almost everywhere you need it, with all of the same specifications as the Carbon Pro Exhaust System, at a reduced price.

-Marc Fiore

Call 714/692-3404 or visit www.whitebros.com

APPLIED RACING 22mm OFFSET CRF CLAMPS

APPLICATION: All Honda CRF250R, CRF450Rs

PRICE: $336.95

RATING: 9

A little over a decade ago John Duffy and his crew at Applied Racing invented the aftermarket triple clamp market, and in the past 10 years they have earned a reputation as one of the industry leaders not only for their high production values, but their ability to produce new products for new models in a snap. It seemed like we had spent only a couple weeks with our new 2004 Honda CRF250R before we received a set of 22mm offset triple clamps from Applied in the mail. Seems some of the riders they interviewed felt that the new CRF wasn't as precise in the corners as they would have liked it to be, so Applied machined several sets of the clamps out to address this concern.

We must admit that we thought they were crazy, as the CRF250R is–in our opinions–one of the best handling bikes we've ever ridden. Still, we bolted the clamps onto our test bike in order to give them a fair shakedown. And man, were we surprised! We thought that the CRF carved a tight line before, but with the Applied clamps installed it became even more adept at directional changes. No mater the corner conditions–flat, rutted or bumpy–the clamps gave the CRF a better grip up front and allowed us to gain even more confidence on the bike.

The clamps themselves are beautifully made, and feature an all-new design that has a slight V shape and rounded edges. Additionally, the rubber-mounted clamp set has an overall weight that is nearly 5/8 of a pound lighter! Perhaps the best thing about the clamps, is that they carry a lifetime warranty to the original purchaser.

Call 800/853-0555 or visit www.appliedrace.com

the best thing about the clamps, is that they carry a lifetime warranty to the original purchaser.

Call 800/853-0555 or visit www.appliedrace.com