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Dirt Sports 2014 Powersports Guide

Posted in Features on January 10, 2014 Comment (0)
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Dirt Sports 2014 Powersports Guide

Author: Jaime Hernandez Photos: Courtesy of Manufacturers

Let’s be honest, we’re addicted to dirt. It doesn’t matter if it’s two or four wheels, we’ll ride just about anything that goes fast, especially on bumpy terrain. In fact, many of us may have landed in the Dirt Sports Nation via two wheels, eventually adding two more and a cage. Some have moved on to racecars and unlimited desert trucks, but there’s something about the freedom and agility only a motorcycle, UTV or ATV can deliver. Of course, they are also significantly cheaper, making them attractive to anybody without lots of digits in their bank account. With today’s powerful and plush off-road motorcycles, ATVs and UTVs, it’s hard to ignore how much more they can do and offer than just a few years ago. Whether you race or choose to cruise, there’s plenty of fun and excitement to go around when strapped in behind the wheel of a high-performance UTV, or straddling a thumping dirt bike or ATV. Dirt Sports has put together a sampling of some of the best powersports machines on the market for 2014. If it calls your name, don’t fight it—ride it.

Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000 For 2014 the Wildcat models return better than ever with enhanced braking performance, new steering geometry and front brakes on the X model. Inspired by desert race vehicles, the Wildcat’s exoskeleton frame features 40/60 front/rear weight distribution for optimal handling at any speed. With an industry-leading 17 and 18 inches of front and rear suspension travel, and 13 inches of ground clearance, the Wildcat delivers comfort and control in nearly every condition. The five-point, multi-link trailing arm rear suspension design keeps the rear tires flat while the suspension moves through its travel for unmatched traction and control. Fox Podium gas shocks deliver outstanding suspension damping, complete with 23-position compression adjustment. Arctic Cat www.arcticcat.com

Powering the Wildcat is the liquid-cooled 951cc Arctic Cat H2 V-Twin four-stroke with electronic fuel injection.


Beta 300 RR This powerful two-stroke off-road goat has made its mark in competition, including the rocky King of The Motos race in Johnson Valley, California. Redesigned last season for competition and enthusiast trail riders with some upgrades, the proven Beta 300 RR shares features found in all Beta off-road bikes. Both an electric and kick starter for a sure start, lower seat height for better control and handling, and oversized brake rotors for more bite are all found on the 2014 models. A smooth hydraulic clutch also comes standard on the Beta, along with skid plates for those not-so-smooth situations. If you prefer a thumper, Beta’s four-stroke lineup is also sure to please. Beta www.betamotor.com

The Beta 300 RR weighs 223 lbs and is powered by a 293.1cc progressive-valve two-stroke engine mated to a leggy 6-speed transmission.


Can-Am Maverick 1000R The 101 horsepower Rotax-powered Can-Am Maverick 1000R is built to offer industry-leading performance, precision-engineered handling and a driver-focused design unlike any side-by-side vehicle to date. A new trail-specific package, fresh color schemes, improved gauges and Tri-Mode Dynamic Power Steering (DPS) highlight the list of 2014 Maverick family updates. New for 2014, the Maverick 1000R X RS DPS brings power steering and a Visco-Lok QE to the table. All X-package Maverick models will receive the 2014 3-D analog/digital gauge and enhancement background, as well as ECO mode. Adjustable front and rear Fox 2.5 Podium X Performance shocks and 12-inch aluminum beadlock wheels further enhance the Maverick’s capability on X-models. For trail riders, the XC DPS model features a narrow 60-inch width option perfect for tight terrain. Can-Am www.can-am.brp.com

The 101 horsepower, liquid-cooled, single overhead cam power plant features four valves per cylinder and is fed by a 54mm Bosch throttle body and two VDO Siemens fuel injectors.


Honda CRF450X Arguably one of the best big-bore trail bikes ever, the CRF450X is the king of 450-class off-road machines, with features like the revolutionary Honda Progressive Steering Damper and works-style brake discs. The single-cam, 449cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke engine takes charge with plenty of torque and thump. The wide-ratio five-speed transmission offers power for technical and fast terrain. Strong enough to endure Baja, but tame enough to enjoy on trails near you, the CRF450X is a great off-road bike that is widely supported by the aftermarket both for weekend warriors and racers. Honda Powersports (866) 784-1870 www.powersports.honda.com

Honda's Unicam cylinder heads combine the best of single and double-overhead-cam designs, saving weight and allwoing for narrower valve angles.


John Deere Gator RSX850i Sport John Deere’s latest Gator creation is very much at home during work and play. The RSX850i Gator is outfitted with tuned Fox 2.0 Performance Series Shocks, dual front A-arm suspension and rear multi-link IRS for a smooth and predictable ride, no matter what the terrain. Powered by an 839cc, V-twin, four-cycle gasoline engine, the RSX850i produces 62 HP and 59.5 lb-ft of torque with advanced electronic controls and fuel-injection systems. Designed for the comfort of its occupants, the RSX utility vehicle provides class-leading ergonomics and a sense of confidence and safety in the cockpit, with automotive-like features. Overall, the John Deere Gator RSX850i Sport delivers exhilarating acceleration and comfort for a gravity-defying experience. John Deere www.deere.com

The RSX850i is available in John Deere Green/Yellow, Olive/Black, and Realtree Hardwoods HD Camo.


Yamaha YFZ450R The YFZ450R is the most technologically advanced sport ATV on the market today combining a high-tech, quick-revving, titanium five-valve, 449cc fuel-injected engine with a lightweight, professional-caliber cast aluminum and steel chassis. For 2014 the 449cc engine gains even more power by using titanium five-valve cylinder head technology, new cam profiles, and a newly designed exhaust system to deliver abundant power in the mid-range to top end, with more “hit” feeling right off idle. The higher compression ratio further improves overall engine performance. The YFZ450R features the industry’s first A+S (assist and slipper) clutch on a sport ATV, designed to reduce clutch lever effort by about 25 percent, leading to less rider fatigue while at the same time increasing clutch plate pressure for positive engagement. An all-new bodywork design was focused on improving the rider’s comfort and reducing fatigue, while new heel guards are positioned closer to the chassis to centralize the riding position and provide more room. Yamaha (800) 962-7926 www.yamahamotorsports.com

All-new suspension in 2014, including new front and rear shock absorbers, reduces weight and provides exceptional handling characteristics and rider comfort


Husqvarna FE 501 Husqvarna continues to make tracks in the big-bore market with their FE 450 and FE 501 bikes. Both four-stroke bikes share the super-powerful SOHC fuel-injected engine that has been tuned for tough off-road use. The 449.3cc and 510.4cc SOHC engines of the FE 450 and FE 501 share a 95mm bore, but have a 63.4mm and 72mm stroke, respectively. Both have been developed specifically for off-road riding in extreme conditions and offer broad power bands. The push-button electric start gets you going without breaking a sweat. A heavy-duty six-speed gearbox with enduro specific gearing has been fitted to cope with the extreme power and torque characteristics of the FE 450 and FE 501. Rear link suspension guarantees consistent performance on all terrains and in all conditions, absorbing big hits and small ruts with ease. Husqvarna www.husqvarna-motorcycles.com

Husaberg’s 25th Anniversary is celebrated with assertive new styling as the entire model range receives a sleek and unique new look.


Honda TRX450R The TRX450R’s race-proven durability makes it a great match for recreational riders as well as racers. With its compact, lightweight high-performance liquid-cooled 450cc four-stroke Unicam engine, the TRX450R offers truly impressive power. A CRF-derived Unicam valvetrain features a lightweight, compact single-cam drive and optimum combustion-chamber shape for maximum power at all engine rpm. The twin-sump lubrication system separates the oil supply for the crankshaft, piston and valvetrain from the clutch and transmission for longer, cooler riding. Fully adjustable long-travel suspension front and rear gets all that power to the ground, and allows the TRX450R to get the best of truly gnarly terrain. Honda Powersports (866) 784-1870 www.powersports.honda.com

Nikasil cylinder lining is plated directly to the aluminum cylinder wall for cooler operation, extended engine life and higher engine performance


2014 KAWASAKI KX450F The KX450F consistently delivers the most sophisticated technology with the highest degree of rider adjustability and the most progressive electronics package ever seen on a production dirt bike. It shines on the track, but the same platform has successfully been run in Baja, showing a promising outlook for off-road competition. Proven technologies from last season’s model have been carried over, including Launch Control, which reduces wheelspin. The 449cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four-stroke single piston engine with legendary Kawasaki power is tuned for optimum power delivery across its entire rpm range. Pre-programmed ignition maps are interchangeable trackside with no PC required. An adjustable four-position handlebar and two-position footpegs allow riders to fit the KX to match their personal preferences. Black anodized aluminum rims give the KX450F a factory ride look, and it is ready to race or play. Kawasaki (800) 661-RIDE www.kawasaki.com

The Kayaba Pneumatic Spring Fork (PSF) uses compressed air to reduce weight compared to traditional metal-coil fork springs, providing effective tuning and bottoming resistance.


2014 Suzuki QuadSport Z400 The 2014 QuadSport Z400 features Suzuki’s fuel injection system designed to provide a cleaner, quicker and stronger acceleration. Engineered for high-performance off-road four-wheeling, the compact and lightweight 398cc four-stroke single-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine delivers power over a wide rpm range. The Z400’s five-speed transmission also includes an easy-to-use reverse gear system. Its lightweight, high-tensile steel-alloy frame and removable steel sub-frame, combined with an aluminum swing arm help give it a strong and light feel. Whether you’re an avid racer or just out for a quick ride, the Suzuki QuadSport Z400 is good fun on four wheels. Suzuki www.suzukicycles.com

A double A-arm front suspension with fully adjustable piggyback reservoir shock absorbers provides 8.5 inches of wheel travel, while the linkage-type rear suspension delivers 9.1 inches


2014 KAWASAKI TERYX4 LE The new Kawasaki Teryx4 LE packs all of the latest Teryx4 upgrades, like a larger 800 class V-twin and all-new Fox Podium shocks that help it set new standards in performance. A substantial displacement boost means the upgraded V-twin engine now generates 10 percent more torque and 8 percent more power for tackling steep hills, uneven terrain and scampering over rocks, all while delivering better fuel economy for even more driving time between fuel stops. Its cutting-edge Electric Power Steering (EPS) system delivers proven technology that provides light, low-effort steering for navigating through the most adverse conditions with ease. Some additional upgrades to the Teryx4 LE include High Intensity LED headlights, lightweight cast aluminum wheels and a handy cab roof. The premium candy-colored lime green or burnt orange bodywork is covered in automotive quality paint with shock springs and suspension arms also color matched to the bodywork. The Teryx4 may be almost too pretty to get dirty, but it’s nice to know that it delivers more go than show. Kawasaki (800) 661-RIDE www.kawasaki.com

A larger 783cc V-twin engine delivers serious torque in the low- to mid-range, just where you need it in a four-seat UTV.


POLARIS RZR XP 1000 EPS The 2014 Polaris RZR XP 1000 EPS is creating plenty of buzz thanks to an all-new 107 horsepower Prostar 999cc engine, the most powerful engine offered in any UTV. It has dual throttle bodies for immediate response and provides 0-50 mph acceleration in 5.33 seconds. In addition to big-bore power, the RZR XP 1000 EPS also features an advanced suspension ride at any speed, with 16 inches of front travel and 18 inches in the rear with dual rate springs and remote reservoirs. The XP 1000 EPS is equipped with exclusive Walker Evans 2.5-inch shocks featuring 16-position adjustable clickers. Polaris is also the first to offer an OEM 29-inch Maxxis Bighorn tire on a UTV. Polaris www.polaris.com

On Demand AWD offers faster engagement and full torque to pull through corners and over washboards with precise handling.


KTM 450 XC-F The KTM 450 XC-F is the bike of choice for factory riders Kurt Caselli and Ivan Ramirez. Its compact SOHC 60-horsepower single overhead camshaft engine combined with the latest electronic fuel injection is distinguished by unrivaled performance and a highly efficient power delivery. A new three-layer head gasket was added to 2014 models, and the camshaft has received a strengthened auto-decompression mechanism. The KTM-developed DDS clutch (damped diaphragm steel) was strengthened, benefiting both traction and durability. KTM even optimized its transmission gear tooth geometry to provide riders with a lightweight, five-speed gearbox with increased durability and a new final drive. KTM (440) 985-3553 www.ktm.com

For 2014, all XC models are fitted with a newly developed 48mm 4CS Closed Cartridge fork.

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