Product Report: New Productsnumber – rated by our testing staff

iCAT

APPLICATION: All bikes

PRICE: $200

RATING: 9.5

Modern two-stroke motocross bikes are so good right off the dealership floor that it is often hard to improve upon the stock machine with simple bolt-on aftermarket parts. Oftentimes, installing an aftermarket pipe and silencer on a two-stroke race bike will produce favorable results for riders craving a different style of power delivery (e.g.: more low-end torque, gnarlier top-end overrev, etc…), but finding a combo that makes the power better throughout the powerband is a rarity. As a rule of thumb, gaining more power somewhere in the powerband usually requires you to give up power elsewhere.

Enter the iCAT, a device that was invented in England and is now available here in the United States. The iCAT is a small electronic device that is installed between your ignition coil and spark plug cap, and is claimed to electronically alter the shape and speed of the pulse that produces the spark. What does this mean? In layman's terms, it basically boosts the power of the spark plug which should, in turn, produce more horsepower.

Installing the device is simple: all you do is unscrew the spark plug cap off of the coil wire, screw the iCAT into the coil wire, and reattach the spark plug cap to the wire on the other side of the iCAT. The device is then mounted to your frame and tucked neatly out of the way. Without getting down on your hands and knees and using a flashlight, it is impossible to detect the iCAT on your bike without removing the gas tank.

To be completely honest, we were quite skeptical when the iCAT first showed up on our desks. Having tested all sorts of alternate curve ignition systems in the past, we've always returned to the stock setup when all was said and done. The iCAT, however, produced surprising results that had us grinning from ear-to-ear beneath our helmets. Unlike an aftermarket exhaust system, the iCAT does not seem to alter the bike's power character. The 2004 Suzuki RM250 we initially installed the iCAT on maintained its awesome low-end torque, massive mid-range hit and very good top-end pull, but the entire power curve was boosted noticeably. By simply installing the iCAT, it gave our already great RM250 a notable boost in the power department without sacrificing power anywhere throughout the rpm range. The best way to describe the gains would be to compare it to running a bike on high-quality race gas, rather than pump. Throttle response is much improved and the bike gained a much cleaner-revving feel.

Since our initial test, we've slapped the iCAT onto several of our other test bikes–including some of the four-strokes–and found it produced similar results. At $200 the iCAT is not cheap, but it is also one of the most cost-effective ways to get the most out of your motocross bike. You need one.

Call 918/441-1215 or visit www.icatusa.com

PRO CIRCUIT T-4 KXF EXHAUST

APPLICATION: 2004 Kawasaki KX250F

PRICE: $299

RATING: 9

Now for some simple moto trivia: What's the first aftermarket accessory that most new small-bore four-stroke buyers invest in, besides simple things like aluminum handlebars, graphics and numbers?

Ding, ding, ding! If you guessed a new exhaust pipe, you're right on the money. The reasons for this upgrade being so common are simple; in the tiddler class power is everything. By bolting on a few-hundred-dollar silencer to your new ride, phenomenal improvements in engine responsiveness, weight loss, and downright arm-yanking power are easily realized with the right choice.

With plenty of options out there, there are a number of ways to make your new green machine breathe fire. After craving more ponies out of our '04 KXF test unit, we tried out Pro Circuit's T-4 system, an aluminum silencer that replaces the bulkier stock unitith a beautifully sculpted, svelte rear can. The T-4 bolted on to our stock head pipe in minutes with no complications, so with that we were off to the track to give the new PC pipe a go.

Immediately noticeable was a much louder, throatier exhaust note that made our KXF sound like a drag racer! Despite the deafening sound, in the dirt the pipe performed exceptionally. The $299 T-4 brought out a new level of performance to our Kawi thumper, no questions asked.

What we enjoyed most about the silencer was its ability to liven up performance throughout the powerband, with no spikey or uncontrollable curves to be found. Instead, what you can expect from the T-4 is nothing but pure, unadulterated grunt spread across the board. Unlike two-stroke pipes that often come plenty powerful straight from the factory, bolting on an aftermarket silencer to a thumper delivers much larger gains versus the stock unit. Though we may not condone the much louder noise that emanates from it, there's no denying the fact that more noise equals more power, especially in the case of the Pro Circuit T-4 KXF unit. From the crack of the throttle all the way to the point of over-rev, the bolt-on silencer yielded increased torque and throttle response. Combine that with the weight savings, and you have a pretty darn good reason to start saving your pennies for a T-4.

Call 909/738-8050 or visit www.procircuit.com

-Garth Milan

ARC Axis Perch

APPLICATION: All bikes

PRICE: $189.95

RATING: 9

A few years ago our friend Bob Barnett, a.k.a. Mr. Dirt, invented the unbreakable, folding lever. Since then, the ARC Folding Lever has become a favorite aftermarket accessory of the TransWorld Motocross staff; how could it not be with the amount we tend to hit the dirt? Knowing well the benefits of having ARC levers on their race bikes, teams including Red Bull/KTM, Factory Suzuki, Yamaha of Troy and MotoworldRacing.com are among those that use and endorse them.

The latest invention to come out of the ARC factory is the Axis Perch, a complete clutch perch and lever assembly that has the same DNF-preventative engineering built in. How does the Axis Perch work? Basically, the entire perch assembly has a “breakaway” feature built into the mounting mechanism. In the event of a crash, the entire perch rotates on the handlebar in the same manner that a nylon-sleeved perch would, but with one major difference. While a nylon-sleeved clutch perch will rotate when it comes into contact with the ground, banging it back into perfect position in a race-panic situation is all but impossible. The Axis Perch features a ball-bearing detent system that allows the rider to snap the perch back into perfect position in a split second. The tension on the ball-bearing detent system is just right, and there is no chance of the entire perch rotating out of adjustment unless it actually comes into contact with the ground. Initially, I feared that my tendency to severely case double and triple jumps might cause the lever to pivot, but not even a face-slapping joy ride in the new Elsinore MX Park supercross section could get it to budge. A tip-over in a freshly-watered corner, however, got the perch to pivot skyward, saving the lever and perch assembly in the process.

In addition to the innovative “breakaway” mechanism, there is plenty to admire about the ARC Axis Perch. The adjust-on-the-fly cable adjuster is without a doubt the trickest we've seen, mirroring the super-exotic, unobtainable units on the works Suzukis. Coated in rubber, it is easy to grip for on-track adjustments and has a smooth, yet positive feel. The overall quality of the perch assembly is top notch, and the $189.95 price tag seems almost low for such a quality, all-billet aluminum part.

Call 800/204-7411 or visit www.arclevers.com

– Donn Maeda

(LUIS, this one has two photos — one of the lever in perfect position, and one of it pivoted down.)

CAPTIONS:

Installing the ARC Axis Perch requires the removal of the left side grip. At first, this may seem like a pain, but we guarantee that you’ll crash and tear up a dozen sets of grips before you ever even think about replacing the Axis Perch. Like the ARC Lever, the Axis perch carries an unconditional lifetime guarantee: break it, bend it, or hurt it, and they will replace it for free.

This is the perch in the “breakaway” position. In the event that the lever comes into contact with the ground, the entire perch will rotate either up or down on the handlebars. Snapping the assembly back into its preset position takes a split second; something you’ll appreciate in the heat of battle.

 

WHITE BROS. CARBON PRO CRF450R PIPE

APPLICATION: 2002-2004 Honda CRF450Rs

PRICE: $895.95

RATING: 9

Last year, we spotted a photo of a works CRF450R that was being contested in the All Japan National MX Championships. The thing that caught our eyes immediately was the strange works exhaust system, which featured an unusual low-slung header pipe that looked a lot like Big E’s lower intestine. A few months later, we spotted a similar-looking system on Nathan Ramsey’s factory CRF450R, but his was a super-sano titanium and carbon fiber unit produced by the guys at White Bros.

Naturally, we poked and prodded and found out that in addition to looking strange, the low-boy routing allows the silencer to be mounted further forward, thus altering the bike’s center of gravity. Nate Dog himself reported that the pipe allowed him to get through the treacherous whoops on a Supercross track better, thanks to the forward weight bias of the system. Well, if the trick factor of the pipe alone wasn’t enough to sell us, the prospect of blitzing through the beginner whoops at our local track was more than enough to push us over the edge!

Before we get into the performance gains we encountered with the WB system, we must comment on the construction of the system. In your hands, the pipe weighs in at a feathery 4 lbs., 6 oz. The titanium pipe, combined with the carbon fiber canister, saves three full pounds over the stock titanium and aluminum system. The red-anodized aluminum brackets top off the system’s undeniably sexy finish, and the system bolts up and installs on the CRF almost more nicely than the stocker.

On the track, we’d be lying if we said we could tell the difference in the bike’s handling. But then again, we’re lowly intermediate-class riders and not top-level pros. What we could tell, however, is that the WP pipe boasted significant gains in power throughout the powerband. One of the things we like best about the Honda CRF, in comparison to the Yamaha YZ450F, is its rider-friendly powerband. Even with the WP pipe installed, the CRF still has an easy-to-use power character that doesn’t jerk the bars out of your hands and/or get you into panicked situations. The biggest improvements are felt in the low- to mid-throttle settings, as the bike gains some smooth, predictable roll-on power that is strong, yet tractable and easy to control. Top-end power is improved slightly, but we’ve found that the system allows us to short-shift the bike and ride with greater control.

So, is it really worth the $895.95 price tag? That depends. In our opinion, the CRF450R makes more than enough power for the average rider and beyond, and slapping a trick aftermarket exhaust on it is more for fashion than anything. That said, there is nothing more fashionable than the White Bros. Carbon Pro exhaust system. Like my wife would say, why wear Wranglers when you can wear Diesels? For less fashion-fickle riders, White Bros. offers a $695 titanium and aluminum version that offers the exact same performance gains.

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

VEMAR VRX4 REPLICA

APPLICATIOf the lever in perfect position, and one of it pivoted down.)

CAPTIONS:

Installing the ARC Axis Perch requires the removal of the left side grip. At first, this may seem like a pain, but we guarantee that you’ll crash and tear up a dozen sets of grips before you ever even think about replacing the Axis Perch. Like the ARC Lever, the Axis perch carries an unconditional lifetime guarantee: break it, bend it, or hurt it, and they will replace it for free.

This is the perch in the “breakaway” position. In the event that the lever comes into contact with the ground, the entire perch will rotate either up or down on the handlebars. Snapping the assembly back into its preset position takes a split second; something you’ll appreciate in the heat of battle.

 

WHITE BROS. CARBON PRO CRF450R PIPE

APPLICATION: 2002-2004 Honda CRF450Rs

PRICE: $895.95

RATING: 9

Last year, we spotted a photo of a works CRF450R that was being contested in the All Japan National MX Championships. The thing that caught our eyes immediately was the strange works exhaust system, which featured an unusual low-slung header pipe that looked a lot like Big E’s lower intestine. A few months later, we spotted a similar-looking system on Nathan Ramsey’s factory CRF450R, but his was a super-sano titanium and carbon fiber unit produced by the guys at White Bros.

Naturally, we poked and prodded and found out that in addition to looking strange, the low-boy routing allows the silencer to be mounted further forward, thus altering the bike’s center of gravity. Nate Dog himself reported that the pipe allowed him to get through the treacherous whoops on a Supercross track better, thanks to the forward weight bias of the system. Well, if the trick factor of the pipe alone wasn’t enough to sell us, the prospect of blitzing through the beginner whoops at our local track was more than enough to push us over the edge!

Before we get into the performance gains we encountered with the WB system, we must comment on the construction of the system. In your hands, the pipe weighs in at a feathery 4 lbs., 6 oz. The titanium pipe, combined with the carbon fiber canister, saves three full pounds over the stock titanium and aluminum system. The red-anodized aluminum brackets top off the system’s undeniably sexy finish, and the system bolts up and installs on the CRF almost more nicely than the stocker.

On the track, we’d be lying if we said we could tell the difference in the bike’s handling. But then again, we’re lowly intermediate-class riders and not top-level pros. What we could tell, however, is that the WP pipe boasted significant gains in power throughout the powerband. One of the things we like best about the Honda CRF, in comparison to the Yamaha YZ450F, is its rider-friendly powerband. Even with the WP pipe installed, the CRF still has an easy-to-use power character that doesn’t jerk the bars out of your hands and/or get you into panicked situations. The biggest improvements are felt in the low- to mid-throttle settings, as the bike gains some smooth, predictable roll-on power that is strong, yet tractable and easy to control. Top-end power is improved slightly, but we’ve found that the system allows us to short-shift the bike and ride with greater control.

So, is it really worth the $895.95 price tag? That depends. In our opinion, the CRF450R makes more than enough power for the average rider and beyond, and slapping a trick aftermarket exhaust on it is more for fashion than anything. That said, there is nothing more fashionable than the White Bros. Carbon Pro exhaust system. Like my wife would say, why wear Wranglers when you can wear Diesels? For less fashion-fickle riders, White Bros. offers a $695 titanium and aluminum version that offers the exact same performance gains.

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

VEMAR VRX4 REPLICA

APPLICATION: Available in Bolley replica (pictured), Edgar Torronteras replica (blue/silver/black), or Jeremy Lamblin replica (red/yellow/silver)

PRICE: $349.95

RATING: 8.5

Looking for an attractive, safe, and comfy mid-priced helmet that wasn't made in some dirt-floored factory in Taiwan? If so, then read on, because the Vemar VRX4 Replica may be for you!

Having seen my boy Nick Wey wearing the Italian-made Vemars last season and having heard him raving about the helmet the entire time, I was more than anxious to try one out. Even more than Nick's recommendation, though, I was excited because the Vemar looks different. In a world of cookie-cutter helmets with the same paint jobs, jaw lines, and mouth guards, the Vemar sticks out like a sore thumb. I like that.

Upon slipping on the very Euro-looking Bolley replica, I encountered the helmet's only glitch immediately–the VRX4 is tough to get over the ears. At first, I was cramming my head into the lid and cursing; seconds later I was completely comfortable once again, as the Vemar has a cozy interior. It's just a little hard to get on.

On the track, the VRX4 was wonderful. Several riders complimented me on the graphic/color scheme, and comfort was top-notch. Unlike many helmets that feature shark fins up top for added style only, the Vemar's chrome fin actually works as a venting tool that uses Venturi air extraction to pull hot air out. Overall, the VRX4 should definitely be considered by someone in the market for a good-looking, safe, Italian-made lid that doesn't look like everybody else's.

-Garth Milan

Call 888/313-2510 or visit www.vemar-usa.com

PRO CIRCUIT KX250F pipe TK from Garth

ATION: Available in Bolley replica (pictured), Edgar Torronteras replica (blue/silver/black), or Jeremy Lamblin replica (red/yellow/silver)

PRICE: $349.95

RATING: 8.5

Looking for an attractive, safe, and comfy mid-priced helmet that wasn't made in some dirt-floored factory in Taiwan? If so, then read on, because the Vemar VRX4 Replica may be for you!

Having seen my boy Nick Wey wearing the Italian-made Vemars last season and having heard him raving about the helmet the entire time, I was more than anxious to try one out. Even more than Nick's recommendation, though, I was excited because the Vemar looks different. In a world of cookie-cutter helmets with the same paint jobs, jaw lines, and mouth guards, the Vemar sticks out like a sore thumb. I like that.

Upon slipping on the very Euro-looking Bolley replica, I encountered the helmet's only glitch immediately–the VRX4 is tough to get over the ears. At first, I was cramming my head into the lid and cursing; seconds later I was completely comfortable once again, as the Vemar has a cozy interior. It's just a little hard to get on.

On the track, the VRX4 was wonderful. Several riders complimented me on the graphic/color scheme, and comfort was top-notch. Unlike many helmets that feature shark fins up top for added style only, the Vemar's chrome fin actually works as a venting tool that uses Venturi air extraction to pull hot air out. Overall, the VRX4 should definitely be considered by someone in the market for a good-looking, safe, Italian-made lid that doesn't look like everybody else's.

-Garth Milan

Call 888/313-2510 or visit www.vemar-usa.com

PRO CIRCUIT KX250F pipe TK from Garth