MSF Range Bikes


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I have a question for MSF coaches. (You OH guys are all former MSF now, right Blah)

What newer program bikes do you see on your ranges?

At PKB in West Virginia we have mostly Honda Nighthawks with a few Rebels, two CRF230's, Suzuki GV's and a single Yamaha Star 250. Good bikes but they're getting to be more than 10-15 years old.

At the winter roundup meeting the state guys were pushing us to try harder at working with the local dealers on the loaner program. Apparently it's a pretty good deal where we get to use a bike or several for a year, then the dealer sells it used, and the corporation covers the difference in new versus used price.

But looking at the newer 250-400 cc bikes, I see a lot of plastic, which will NOT do well through all those predictable drops.

At the Morgantown range they have four loaner Grom's. (Which are NOT fair competition for the limited space exercise. But they ARE road-legal so they encourage the height challenged folks to try those.)

So, does anybody see any newer bikes? Are they holding up well through the low speed drops? I hear the Ninja's are not considered.

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No opinions from THIS crowd. Really?

OK, you're all hibernating. But this is the time of year to TALK about bikes if you aren't riding them.

So, what do you think about having water cooled bikes on an MSF range? Messy?

What about a KTM 390 Duke? If there's only one on a range, I think there would be fist fights over that one.


Gary in NJ

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What makes a good range bike?

One that can be dropped without expensive repairs (beyond levers and controls)
Low seat height
Low weight
Low power
Smooth clutch and throttle
Low acquisition cost and maintenance cost

There aren’t many street bikes that fit that description (there are a lot of dirt bikes that do). TW200, VanVan, Nighthawk 250 (I’m not even sure that’s a thing anymore) come to mind. Bikes like the 390 Duke or Z400 are not good range bikes, but perfect first (or 5th) bikes.


It's all good!
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We have a stable consisting mostly of Yamaha VStar 250's, a few Ninja 250's, a couple of Yamaha TW250's and 2 Suzuki SU 250's. The Ninja's age VERY poorly, shedding plastic if they even get close to the ground. The V Stars have sloppy rear brake and shift linkages because of the forward control location, and the SU's suffer from TMB..... Too Many Birthdays.

I think the real question is not so much WHICH bikes you have, but how LONG you have them. Our program was hurt hard by Hurricane Sandy, destroying most of the fleet. Only the SUs are pre 2012. But 7 years of BRCs have reduced the Ninjas and V Stars to heaps!

Oh, and we have never had a leak from the water cooled Ninjas. I better TCLOCKS them and make sure they have coolant :)