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ktm / baja / sportsmen class

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i believe it's "generally" accepted that the XC would be the best (KTM) option for a baja 500 or 1000 race...but...can someone delineate for me the major disadvantages of making the trek on an EXC or SX.....feel free to discuss sprockets, bars/mounts, exhaust can, tank, stator, etc. all input/insights greatly appreciated.

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My cousin is running a team in this years 1000. I get to take a stab at helping coordinate and manage the team.

In the stable we have a 04 xr650, 05 ktm 525,mxc, 06 wr450, 06 ktm450xc.

I pushed for the honda 650 mainly for the pit support and help honda gives if you are on their bike.

The pit group we wanted to get in with did not work out, so we then could decide which bike to use.

Ultimately baja racing, the long races, is about endurance, reliability, and good manners at high speed.

We are going to run the 525mxc. I personally wish it was a 525exc, but we don't have one of those at the moment.

It will be better than the 650 in the rough northern sections and does not give up too much on the long fast stuff. But is not nearly as comfortable as the 650 when you are holding it open for long periods of time.

I do not think the xc is the right bike. It is a racer for sure, but not a long distance baja racer. I am sure it can do it, but the riders might wish they were dead after.

the 950super enduro looks interesting, but would be a bit much in the rough tight stuff.

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We have been campaigning a KTM 450 EX/C for a few years in Baja. It runs really well. I've not ridden the XC but do own an MX/C which uses the same gearbox. The EXC does not require and re-gearing, it goes 100 mph stock... The MXC/XC would need some re-gearing, maybe one tooth up in the front would do the trick. Plan on changing the oil in a pit half way down the course or adding some extra oil tanks to the engine; there are few kits on the market.

If you have never been in a Baja race, a one-way 1000 may not be the place to start. The learning curve is steep and if you have not done some things like reserve hotel rooms, you're outa luck. All the logistics should be done by the end of June. Consider riding the 500 next year. It's easier to support for pits and pre-running since this is a loop race that never goes more than 200 miles south. If you have no experience south of the border, there is another learning curve called BAJA... We have tried very talented California desert racers who have not met our expectations in Mexico for a number of reasons such as having no experience racing 200 mile legs or just simply being a bit freaked out about racing in a foreign country at night. We don't use anyone who doesn't have a lot of experience in Mexico any longer.

Here are some costs (4 riders):

  • Motorcycle: 7500.00
    Prep Items (guards, damper, IMS tank etc): 1500.00
    Suspension prep: 300 - 700.00
    Lights (HID with stator rewind): 1000 - 1800.00
    Entry fee with Rally Tracker: 1500.00
    Pits: 1000.00
    Spares (wheels, tires, tubes, misc parts, include pre-running): 1200.00
    Comms (radio rentals and Sat Phones): 600-900.00
    Expenses (hotels, gas etc.): 1500+

I'm sure I've forgotten some things. We prepped a new bike for the 1000 last year and had lots of things avaible to us, we spent 16K.

With all that said, if you're serious, spend the dollars with a tour company to hande if for you. You already live 3000 miles away so distance is working against you. Let someone who really knows Baja help you out. There are a few really good operators that can do this for you. My intent is not to advertise for any of them nor do I want to make this a "vote for my favorite tour company" thread. If any of you have opinions, keep them to yourself please. The "big three" are:




All three have long race histories in Baja and have Baja Race services. BTW: the race will cost you well over 12K, so failure can be expensive.

I'm not trying to be a huge wet blanket, just finishing a Baja race is a win and something you'll remember the rest of your life; come down and figure this place out first. Unfortunately, watching Dust to Glory 50 times does not help you finish the Baja 1000.

BTW: If still undaunted, PM me and SIECA Racing would more than happy to pre-run with you since you NEVER ride alone in Baja.

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great info mjlang thanks.

I whole heartily agree with not doing the "real" 1000 for the first time.

I actually told my cousin and his team that. He is just crazy and wants to try and finish the race.

We have a sponsor with like $15,000 to spend. Already have hotels, chopper, doctor (brother of lead racer) and a house in Los Barrilos to recover at for a couple days after.

The team will have a 20 something "pro", Mexican local.

44 year old North Baja legend Julio April, Mexican local.

Another Mexican local that grew up riding all over Baja,

and yet another Mexican local that is consistent but not super fast, he should get through his section clean.

And then there is my cousin. One of the craziest bastards you could ever meet. Turkish/Scott Tequila drinking 6'2" 240lbs plus, mad dog on a fully tweaked 05 KTM525mxc.

If he lives through the race it will be a miracle, plain and simple.

He is very good on the bike and rides north Baja (tecate, Hanson, Santa veronica etc) almost every weekend. He charges through 200 plus miles on a Saturday and do another 200 the next day no problem.

His problem is a total lack of fear. I have seen him pass me wide open through a 3 foot wide whoop section at about 60mph, then completely destroy the berm at the next corner because he was going way way too fast, and pull it and disappear in a cloud of sandy roost.

He refuses to use the front brake. I am not kidding here.

He uses the rear like a rudder and just throws the bike over to make the corner....all day, almost all the time, he has no other speed.

It is kind of brutal riding with him actually, you have to be charging to stay within sight of his dust. To me the risk reward is just not there, and I move fast, but I am not taking a racing line if it puts me into possible oncoming traffic. These trails are often used by locals getting to their ranches.

Anyway, I would actually be happy if they decided not to do the race this year.

This one is the real deal and is twice the race as the Ensenada loop 1000, and they decided to do the race about a month ago.

again thanks for the info, and if you see a "Premier Coastal Racing" KTM525mxc wadded up on the side of a trail, please help my cousin. :thumbsup:

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Thanks for the prerunning offer.

I agree with you about riding alone down there, but my cousin does it when he has to down there. It is totally insane and his wife and I both tell him not to, but he does.

Like I said, crazy mofo.

If you have met him on the trail in N. Baja, you know who I am talking about.

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looks like we are switching back to the xr650. Not to knock the KTM, but the 650 is the king of baja and way more comfortable at speed, very reliable and tons of spare parts at each of the pits.

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