The Best, Get’s Better

Yes, we know what you’re thinking. How many CRF250Rs can we possibly modify and test this year? Well, a whole bunch, to be exact. But let’s face it… The CRF250R was without a doubt one of the best bikes produced in the class of 2004. Not only that, but it’s a four-stroke, and with the prevalence of thumpers on the race tracks these days, it makes perfect sense for our friends in the hop-up shops to devote the majority of their time and attention to the new breed of MXers. With that said, when we were given the opportunity to test the Tom Morgan Racing/MB1 Suspension version of the tiddler-class giant, we were all over it! If you own a CRF250R or are considering one for your next ride, we highly recommend that you sit back, relax, and read up on what may be the best “non-works” CRF250R we’ve ridden to date.

TOM MORGAN RACING

Who is Tom Morgan, you might ask? Well for starters, he’s an engine master, to say the least. Tom’s career began in the mid-70’s, when during college he pursued his interest in motorsports by modifying and racing snowmobiles and motorcycles in his spare time. After college Tom made the move from Wisconsin to California, where he took a job as service manager at a local dealership in San Diego. With a serious addiction to racing, Tom also operated a specialty shop where he built high-performance drag bikes, road-racing bikes, and street bikes on the side. In 1980 Tom began his career at the factory level by taking a job with Kawasaki R&D, and by 1983 he transferred to Kawasaki’s factory motocross team where he further honed his skills on “Works” machinery. During his stint as a professional wrench, Tom worked for the likes of Billy Liles, Eddie Warren, Jeff Ward, and Mike LaRocco. With 11 seasons of racing under his belt, Tom contributed to dozens of Supercross and National motocross wins along with seven AMA National Championships. And as if that wasn’t reward enough, Tom received the prestigious Gold Wrench award from the AMA five times.

In 1994 Tom left Kawasaki to start his own company, Tom Morgan Racing. Today, his years of experience in testing, research, and development at the factory level are now at your disposal and offered through TMR. Having spent hundreds of hours testing with riders of all ability levels, Tom Morgan Racing is among the industry leaders in speed, hands down!

A number of major improvements are made to the CRF250R when placed in the capable hands of Tom Morgan. For specific technical details we recommend that you give the man himself a call, as he’d be happy to field your questions; however, the following are a few highlights of what your engine should expect to endure at TMR: Cylinder machining, carburetor modifications, complete head mods, clutch cam mods, a new ignition, cam shaft machining, different clutch springs, a Wiseco standard compression-forged piston, a Wiseco forged clutch basket, an FMF Powerbomb MX Ti header, and an FMF Factory 4 slip-on muffler.

Now…on with the show! The TWMX testing staff had the pleasure of testing the TMR/MB1 project bike at two completely different style racetracks. At the first, a hard-packed, jump-oriented track, we were all blown away at how smoothly and efficiently the TMR bike laid down the power. Our resident pro test rider, Josh “The Hatchet” Stice, commented that “even the trickiest jump combinations were a piece of cake on this bike. I was blown away at how much power this thing produced, yet it continued to feel silky-smooth all the way through.” At our second destination, a soft, loamy, natural terrain motocross course, the TMR motor continued to shine. The stock CRF250R motor is not a slouch by any means, but Morgan’s modifications enabled capable riders to truly ride this machine to its potential. We were absolutely amazed at how powerful, yet forgiving, this motor really is. In situations when a stock CRF250R power plant would’ve been begging for a downshift to maintain its momentum, the TMR motor pulled rough like a champ. Its ability to pull higher gears not only benefits the fast guys, but it also helps the lazy guys as well. All in all we enjoyed one of the best 250cc four-stroke motor experiences ever aboard the Tom Morgan modified machine. Tom has managed to increase power throughout the entire powerband of the CRF without sacrificing from anywhere else. Crisp, powerful, smooth, and easy to ride, this is a class act motor from a class act company!

MB1 SUSPENSION

With a motor set-up this good, it would be a shame if the bike handled like crap, right? Well, good news-folks’-it doesn’t. MB1 handled our suspension requirements with authority. Established just this year, MB1 is a brand-new suspension company featuring long-time motocross mechanic and suspension specialist Mike Battista at the helm. Having worked in the suspension industry since 1994, Mike has worked for Race Tech and American Showa R&D. In 1997 he was recruited by the Factory Honda motocross team and has worked for such riders as Ricky Carmichael, Kevin Windham, Mike LaRocco, Ryan Hughes, Nathan Ramsey, Ezra Lusk, Ernesto Fonseca, Steve Lamson, Jeremy McGrath, Mickael Pichon, and Sebastian Tortelli. Not bad, huh? Having achieved four AMA Supercross and National motocross championships with Ricky Carmichael, we think MB1 is a pretty worthy competitor to all of the established suspension specialists out there.

MB1’s goal for our ’04 CRF250R was to improve the plushness in the small bumps while improving the bottoming control at the same time. The first step was to choose the correct spring rates for the machine. Our target rider was set as a 170 lb. novice to intermediate, so MB1 opted to replace the stock .45 kg/mm fork springs with a stiffer set of .46 kg/mm fork springs. The idea here is to help keep the fork riding higher in the stroke to improve G-load situations. In addition, the 47 mm Showa Front Fork got a complete revalve and inspection. MB1 also made changes to the BCV area, which allows for smoother action and more mid-control, and revalved the rebound circuit for better high-speed action and traction at higher shaft speeds. Lastly, the forks got a new fork oil seal with improved seal life and less friction.

On the rear end MB1 tossed the production 5.3 kg/mm shock spring and replaced it with a RCS Titanium 5.4 kg/mm shock spring. This helps keep the shock in a higher part of the linkage ratio and adds more G-out control and bottoming resistance. Whenever appropriate, MB1 uses the RCS Titanium Spring, as it is said to be 40-60% lighter than the production spring and has longer cycle life. The Large 50mm Showa shock also gets a complete rebuild and revalve. The compression circuit was changed for more initial plushness and improved bottoming control at higher speeds, and the rebound circuit was changed to improve traction under deceleration. And finally, the rear shock also got a one-piece shock seal for longer seal life, more resistance to leaking, and less friction.

Okay, enough tech talk. Did any of this actually improve the ride of our CRF250R test bike? You bet it did! This being our first test ride aboard a set of MB1 modified suspension, we weren’t really sure what to expect. At the end of our test days, however, the TWMX testing crew couldn’t produce a single beef about the MB1 set-up. The CRF250R is a great-handling bike right out of the box, but for riders of greater weight or advanced ability, it’s set up a bit too soft, as are most production bikes. The MB1 machine was plush and predictable from the early morning glass all the way through the late afternoon chop. With our test riders ranging from 165 lb. to 185 lb., only a few clicks in on the compression was required to satisfy all. Bottoming resistance was improved enormously and it tracked much like a rollercoaster on rails. Our testers felt that they could charge harder down hills and deeper into rough corners with a ton of confidence. This bike is the classic example of the right set-up yielding better riding. With the plush feel and near perfect balance, the MB1-modified bike inspired confidence, reduced fatigue and arm-pump, and lended to an overall great time for all.

PARTS IS PARTS

MOTOR:

TMR cylinder machining

$60

TMR carburetor modifications

$189

TMR complete head mods

$545

TMR clutch cam mods

$20

TMR ignition

$419.95

TMR cam shaft

$249

TMR clutch springs

$6.25

Wiseco std. compression-forged piston

$139.10

Wiseco forged clutch basket

$230

FMF AMA-Legal Factory 4 Slip On

$424.99

FMF Powerbomb MX Ti Header

$274.99

SUSPENSION:

MB1 front fork revalve

$179.95

MB1 fork fluids

$15

Fork springs .46 kg.

$99.95

MB1 fork oil seal kit

$34.95

MB1 shock revalve

$170

MB1 shock fluids

$15

RCS Titanium shock spring 5.4 kg.

$349

MB1 shock seal 1pc

$24.95

CONTACTS:

TMR: 909/889-3010 | www.tommorganracing.com

MB1 Suspension: 909/371-5045 | www.mb1suspension.com

FMF: 310/631-4363 | www.fmfracing.com

ample of the right set-up yielding better riding. With the plush feel and near perfect balance, the MB1-modified bike inspired confidence, reduced fatigue and arm-pump, and lended to an overall great time for all.

PARTS IS PARTS

MOTOR:

TMR cylinder machining

$60

TMR carburetor modifications

$189

TMR complete head mods

$545

TMR clutch cam mods

$20

TMR ignition

$419.95

TMR cam shaft

$249

TMR clutch springs

$6.25

Wiseco std. compression-forged piston

$139.10

Wiseco forged clutch basket

$230

FMF AMA-Legal Factory 4 Slip On

$424.99

FMF Powerbomb MX Ti Header

$274.99

SUSPENSION:

MB1 front fork revalve

$179.95

MB1 fork fluids

$15

Fork springs .46 kg.

$99.95

MB1 fork oil seal kit

$34.95

MB1 shock revalve

$170

MB1 shock fluids

$15

RCS Titanium shock spring 5.4 kg.

$349

MB1 shock seal 1pc

$24.95

CONTACTS:

TMR: 909/889-3010 | www.tommorganracing.com

MB1 Suspension: 909/371-5045 | www.mb1suspension.com

FMF: 310/631-4363 | www.fmfracing.com