I bought this because it was highly recommended as an entry level pitbike. I have worked on and ridden big bikes for a while, as well as bigger minis (converted cr80/xr100). I was looking for something fun and easy to grab and go, that also wasn't going to break in a few hours. I wanted it to handle well, with decent power (not tons). I think this bike fits the bill nicely. I'll start out with what I bought and the unboxing.
I ordered the bike on a Sunday and it came on a Friday. These were the parts that I ordered with it:
- 17 tooth front sprocket (for taller gearing and to raise the chain off the swingarm)
- Magnetic oil drain plug (to catch metal chips, duh)
- NGK spark plug (backup)
- HD Chain Slider (I didn't actually buy with the bike but have one on the way. You should think about getting one, the stock slider is just a little block and gets worn quickly. The 17 tooth sprocket slows down the wear rate big time, but still, I think it is needed.)
When I got the bike home I stripped the box off and noticed a few things were loose in there. There were a couple random screws laying around and also a big nut. The big nut was off the front axle, and one of the front wheel spacers was missing too! I assume they didn't tighten it down hard enough at the factory and some stuff rattled off. Well, luckily, the spacer was still in the box, so that was lucky. The other random machine screws that I found in the box were from the packing material (the bike is shipped in a cheap angle iron crate that is held together with machine screws), so no big deal there.
Once it was fully undone it looked magnificent. I stripped off the wires that were pinning the bike to the frame and took the crate apart, then put the handlebars on. That was all really easy. The next step was getting the front wheel on; this was more of a pain. The caliper shipped with a plastic wedge in there, but it didn't keep it wide enough for the disc to slip in easily. After fighting with it for a while I just busted out a tiny wrench and let out a little brake fluid from the bleeder while squeezing the pistons back into the caliper, then tightened the bleeder back up. That did the trick. Now the wheel slotted right in. Then, I popped on the front fender, number plate, and stripped off the protective coating for the graphics. It looked awesome! *side note* I noticed when putting the bars on that the top triple clamp is not machined billet aluminum, it is cast and although it looks beefy, a substantial amount of the apparent beef is just looks. I don't know if it'll break, I am just saying, it is not a solid billet.
Ok, so time to break it in. I took the *run it like you stole it* approach from the get go. There are different theories on this but I figured I'd give it a try. So, I changed out the oil before running it the first time, put in a magnetic drain plug that I got here on TBolt, and fired it up. I let it idle and warm for a minute or two like that, then went through the gears while going down the road (just to check to make sure nothing was wrong and rattling off or anything). After the initial check, I gunned it full throttle from 1st to 4th. It was nice and strong. After a few times of doing that I let it cool for a minute or two, then drained the oil. There were some metal shavings in there (only one decently sized chunk, but the rest was mostly tiny little filings). Then, I put in new oil and went on a raping fest. I tore threw the field I was at, giving it hell. It ran perfectly with no problems at all and had decent power. At this time I noticed a *weird* noise. Every time I would decelerate I would hear this high pitched whining sound. I thought it was the tranny at first but after a while I realized it was the chain roller; that thing is noisy as hell. I am not sure what I'll do about that but I am pretty sure that it is the loudest part on the bike* haha (*might be an exaggeration).
Airfilter: The airfilter is actually pretty good I think. It is just a 2 stage foam type (like a uni pod) and works nicely so far.
Carb: The carb seemed to be tuned perfectly, no weirdness there which is a relief. It is a keihin however, not a Mikuni as the page says (no big deal to me, as long as it is one of those two).
Engine/Tranny/Gearing: Engine seems fine, no weird noises yet and starts easily - it is *not* black however (like in the picture). At least mine wasn't and it is a huge bummer to me. The transmission shifted fine and feels as expected, the gear spacing is good. The sprocket gearing, however, is too short; get a 17 tooth front sprocket. You won't be able to get it on at first because the chain is short, but let the chain stretch and after a bit of riding it will fit (or buy a good chain and get the right number of links.)
Exhaust: The exhaust is somewhat loud and sounds a bit like a good sounding lawnmower. A little bit splatty though. It is a chrome two piece (header and slip on). I replaced mine with a stock 50 exhaust and I think it sounds better and quieter (and has a spark arrestor, keepin' it legal baby).
*** Note: If you are trying to start this beast and it seems like the kickstarter isn't working **stop pulling in the clutch**. It took me a few hours to figure this one out. The kicker must engage a different side of the clutch than big bike people are used to, so when the clutch is pulled in, the kickstarter won't spin the motor. ***
Suspension and chassis:
(180lb rider) The rear shock seems fine to me. I am not sure why people say it is too stiff, I think it seems fine. The forks on the other hand, man they are terrible at first. Mine came with practically no oil in them so they just felt like a walmart mountain bike fork, no joke. I bought some automatic transmission fluid (a common thing for people to use in forks) and it is just too light. I am going to get some 20wt or 30wt fork oil and pop it in. I bet then they will feel planted. As of now, they are bearable with the ATF in there, but you can tell it is not damped enough when you find some chop.
Brakes: Umm, they are awesome? I can't complain about these one bit; they stop on a dime and actually feel really nice when engaged, a nice and progressive feel.
Wheels: Not sure, they look good.
Tires: They are pretty much crap. Ride em til they are bald if you want to feel some squirrely-ness, otherwise throw em away and get some good mini tires.
Frame: I have no idea, works as expected so far.
Handlebars: They are thin walled and bend easily. Mine were slightly bent upon arrival (due to shipping I assume.) I bet the first crash I have will turn em into a boat anchor and I'll have to get some bbr's or something (hmm maybe I should just order those too, its gonna get bent eventually.)
This bike rips and is such a great deal. I have only had it a few days so I don't know about longevity yet, but it is awesome now and feels beefy. The only real issues I see with it are listed here is short form (with fixes):
- Forks need heavy weight oil to function properly (probably 20-30wt fork oil)
- Sprocket gearing too low (get a 17t)
- Chain Roller really noisy (no fix yet)
- Handlebars are weak (does Tbolt have black bbrs?)
- No magnetic drain plug (buy one)
- Motor not black (no fix)
- Tires are crap (get good ones, haha)
Overall, I am so pumped about this bike that I just bought another one for my dad, and I am sure my wife will want one soon so watch out for another order Vince (Tbolt)! This bike is awesome and you won't regret it if you take my advice on those few things listed, and ,of course, the price is amazing.