This will be one of two rapid-fire blog entries related to my beginning experiences with the Orion RXB-39, which is a custom-to-distributor variant of the XMOTOS XB39.
This is the first “crate-bike” I’ve ever experienced, and I believe that the entire sales/distribution model for that deserves a deep-dive for itself. Look for a post on that shortly. This particular post is specifically about the bike itself, the inspection process and what I thought of the first interactions with/on the latest orphan on my Island of Misfit Dirt Bikes.
When the bike first came off the freight truck at my house, I was more than nervous. One side of the covering cardboard boxing was completely torn away. The front number plate and front disc guard were sitting on the truck floor next to the crate, along with the extra NGK plug and two quarts of Maxima motor that Orion Motorsports threw in. They had removed and reinstalled the cardboard outer before shipping, because there was an envelope with my name on it taped to the saddle of the bike. My bet is the loose items were in the larger crate before transport and fell out with the absent cardboard.
Fortunately, the inside “skeleton” protecting the bike showed no signs of impact, tweaking or rubbing. The bike itself, and the few loose items, were effectively perfect. I only found one dime-size rub area on one side number plate, and it was at a seam between two graphics panels. Once the protective paper was off, it was just about unnoticeable.
The experience of unwrapping a partially-assembled bike was actually really fun. Unlike a used-bike restoration, there was no grime to cut away, and most of what I’d be inspecting on a used bike was easy to check in this “shipping-ready” state. I checked the steering stem bearings, linkage pivots brake caliper pins and wheel bearings, where I found a liberal amount of a bluish grease applied. It was enough that I felt confident to do initial testing on the bike with what came from the factory.
One item of note was what did NOT come from the factory. King Moon Racer 02 came with ZERO documentation. Even the TaoTao I bought my kids came with a ten-page manual that covered basics like valve lash settings and such. I’ll need to see if there is something downloadable from Orion Powersports, but I consider this a significant oversight for the “average buyer” of a dirt bike like this.
Aside from the lack of manual, I found some surprisingly nice pieces, though done a bit differently than expected, as I went through the components. The bar clamps included a 5mm offset in their design, allowing forward- or rearward-mounting of the bars. The weird part about them was that they were fastened with a bolt from below, rather than having that peened in and using a nut from below. I just had to thread a bolt up through the triple rather than dropping the clamp in. It is the little things that make up the nature of the bike, and I found this kind of minor quirk almost appealing as I worked through bringing this girl to life.
Other nice touches were seen around the bike. Quality axle adjusters were installed. The handlebars had properly centered index hashes engraved into them. Pegs are sturdy. The shifter is nice. The brake pedal looks a little flimsy, and the super-soft, bolt-on aluminum toe piece is obviously meant to be sacrificial in the event of a crash (good thinking, actually). The one detail that actually made me smile was the kick-start lever. The bend looked funky, and I thought it would throw my foot way outward…however, there was a purpose. As can be seen in the photos attached to this post, it was specifically designed to clear the pegs without holding the pegs up and away…a truly usable kicker. I am impressed with the thought put into the little things.
Not everything is a hit though. It is obvious this chassis setup is designed for different motors to be interchangeable. The one big giveaway to the compromise is the chain-rub slider at the front swingarm pivot. It is off-center to the properly-aligned chain with this motor. The chain rides on the slider, but only on the inside third. The center welt of the slider sits outside of the chain. I’ll need to keep an eye on this. Also, the bike was shipped with the chain overly tight, but this is so minor as to not be of consideration.
Fasteners all seem to be of good quality. Orion Powersports had mentioned a powdercoated frame, and I’ll take their word for it. The surface was excellent and seemingly thick, outside of one area. The tab where the kickstand mounts had peeled/crushed the coating away where the kickstand was test-mounted at the factory. I knew it was from a test-mount because both the entire frame-tab surface and the inside cleft of the kickstand shaft were covered in that same blue assembly grease.
I drained the shipping oil from the motor…thin, and not much of it. Already a shaving or two in the oil screen. Fresh oil put in, battery connected, fuel added…ready to go. I tried the electric starter on a whim and she fired on the third revolution…what a joy.
I had a seat…ergos are quite good. Sitting to standing is easy, with both being comfortable. The bike feels physically smaller than my last bike. Narrow, and on the balls of both feet at a stop. The cockpit feels right. Suspension is sprung stiff (fine for a big guy like me), and there seems to be stiction in the forks. I’ll have to look into that.
The first runs up and down the street were downright confidence-inspiring and fun. Brakes were predictable, with good feedback. Handling is neutral and flickable. Power is typical two-valve-XR territory, especially given the motor needs a break-in. No-clutch shifting was clean, with no false neutrals. Clutch is light and engagement is linear/predictable. All controls are predictable and felt intuitively comfy. The first spin made me quite happy, really.
The only nit-pick was “the squeaks.” There was noise coming from the front and rear wheels, I think. Either from the brake systems (unlikely…didn’t feel dragging) or from the hub bearings. I’ll be pulling them apart for a re-lube and inspection. I’ll be doing the same with the rear linkage as a just-in-case.
It has an upgraded carb, relative to what I’ve heard comes on many Zongshen-powered bikes, and it has a pretty neat choke defeat on it. Choke before starting, then just really open the throttle when the bike is warmed…the vacuum pulls the bike off choke. This girl is definitely jetted lean, though. The header was already blued from the test-firing at the factory. The header itself if pretty large in diameter, and I don’t’ see indications of an inner bulge for a hidden catalytic converter or anything. I’m told the carburetor takes standard Keihin jets, so some noodling may be in order.
Another comment on the exhaust…this bike has been made far louder than it has a right to be. Idle? Nice and mellow…I can talk over it. Easing on the throttle? Reasonable tone. Slam the throttle to the stop? She blats out and barks like a 250F on the ragged-edge of tune, echoing off houses through the subdivision. King Moon Racer 01, my old CR250 with a TurbineCore silencer, was far less obtrusive on full-boil than this thing. I guess it appeals to kids, but I don’t see a real benefit. Noise is fatiguing over a long day. I may experiment with a generic “power bomb” header, as I’ve heard that little chamber helps with noise a bit as well.
This bike is nice enough that I can’t believe the pricing from Orion Powersports. It is a friggin’ steal in my book, arriving at my door, after the extra lift-gate fee, at $1910 all-in. I’d strongly recommend this to anyone considering a TTR230, CRF230 or similar. From everything I can see, bang for the buck on the bike itself is stellar.
So…what is next for King Moon Racer 02? I’m going to run stock chain and sprockets until wiped out to gauge the quality of components from OEM. I’m also going to tweak jetting. Outside of that, I’m going to start taking measurements to see what KTM components will swap over to this bike (rear disc fins, seat straps, plastics, graphics, bake lever toe, etc.). Long-term, I’ll look to document suspension tuning. Further out, she may get an LED lightbar, and I may look into a nice oil cooling system…not because I’m going to work the bike, but rather to extend longevity and ease maintenance (oil screen/filter would move to an external oil line).
This dad-bike think is starting to feel like a lot of fun…