100 MPH in the desert

This is a dual post (one on the Honda side) It came to my attention in the post on the 426 keeping up with the XR650 that some people thought that the blue bike could keep up till about 100MPH. My question is: how many of you guys ride over 100MPH down a sand wash in the desert? Just wondering, I might have done it once but I'm not really sure. Like I wrote to Indy wr450 if you do, come down to Baja this Winter and look me up, I'd love to watch, we'll talk it over when I catch up. :):D

My bike is geared for 88 mph top speed and I have hit it several times but I cannot say I have done the Baha. I do hit 168 mph on my R1 so I am comfortable with speed as long as I can see what is coming up or know the terrain. I am not one that can peg an over geared WR450 on difficult desert racing courses. I know we have some members with big ones that can. I also find motorcycles to be more stable with gyroscopic stability at high speeds. I spend most of my time on the R1 over 100mph. It corners great above 100 mph. I will PM you to do the Baha. How about picking some dates this fall? I have always wanted to do a Baha but I understand you need a guide to pull it off successfully. :)

It's more difficult than most suspect to get a dirt bike up to 100mph in the dirt. It takes lots of horsepower, tall gears and a smooth surface. There was a good article in Dirt Bike several months ago pitting the KX500, KTM EXC540, and XR650 with full factory support and no holds barred on a dry lake bed. Even with supermotard slicks, clipped fenders, no shrouds the very best the tricked out race team desert sleds could do was 128mph in one direction. After averageing a two way run I think the top speed was around 118mph IIRC. I can't even remember which one won but it seems like it was the cheater 540Katoom. The mighty KX was relatively stock and without the 16 tooth counter shaft sprocket of Team Green's days of Baja dominance was "only" able to pull a little over 100mph. These speeds were measured using satelite positioning and precise timeing equipment.

So if someone starts talking about running 100mph in the dez, and it's not Johnny Cambell or Destry Abbot, take it with a grain of salt.

A couple friends and I did the BITD Vegas to Reno race a few years ago on a KX500 with 15/42 gearing. And although this bike was very fast and the race was quite wide open, I never felt like I could hold the throttle wide open long enough to reach it's max velocity. Either a turn would come up, or a wash or ditch approached or the surface became so soft and poofy that you'd have to shift down to keep it revving.

That said, it still was a fun and thrilling experience. Even if we never reached the century mark it sure felt like it on occasion, and we did finish and trophy.... which, in the end, is the name of the game. :)

Actually it was the XR650 which won. They were able to get 128 when they took the front brake caliper off. The mag guys made them put it back on and it took them down at least 5mph. The pumpkin bike got second.

Three weeks ago I went on a 900 mile ride across Nevada with my father and friends. During the ride there were several times where we would all race each other in a staight line. Over and over again my WR450 would continue to out pull all 6 XR650's with the greatest of ease. My bike was clocked at 105mph (Garmin 3) But my old WR426 would out pull the same XR's with stock gearing. Granted I have a 15 counter sprocket (one more than stock) that probably gives me about 5 more mph. My friend Bob Osbourne owns an 03 525, he was good for about 98 mph (Garmin 3plus) and his bike is geared taller than mine. He tried to hang with me on a street section but couldn't and gave up after three times... I've raced 520's with the same results...

This last weekend I raced Vegas to Reno and decided to gear my bike back to stock even though the course was rumoured to be very fast, I just don't feel like I need to go over one hundred miles per hour because a get off at that speed would not be pretty.

So what does this all mean?....... Nothing :D :D

Dan :)

I've had my buddies 2000 XR650R wide open in Moab in the sand washes with stock gearing. You are really moving at that point.

I have my WR open all the time in the same washes and it doesn't feel even close to as fast as the big XR at top speed.

Maybe it's just me?

Well the XR IS fast and seems fast but it's not much faster than the WR. I'm really glad I did this post because the responses were great and in line with what I was thinking which was, the top speed of these bikes is rarely an issue. The right hand usually gives up before the bike does. When you think of the Baja boys averaging 62+ MPH for the whole race this year it's a little overwhelming. There had to be quite a bit of 100MPH riding to do that. So going back to the post of whether the 426 will "keep up" on a ride with XR650's the answer is Yes. Thanks guys, I don't feel so slow now. PS. I wouldn't even think of riding in Baja without a steering damper! :):D :D

I too fall into the category of being outpulled by a wr426. It was a little humiliating. Next ride out, I re-geared and was not an issue at that point. The only advantage I can see of having a higher top end is not only to go faster, but also the fact that the bike doens't seem as though it needs to work as hard at the higher speeds. Could be wrong, but I do enjoy the top speed of the 650 even though I do not always need it. It is good to know that it is there though.

blireef, where do you normally ride? There is a big group of us over here in Cabo San Lucas. We should get together and ride sometime. Small world on here isnt it.

I ride a stock but "well tuned" '02 KTM 520 EXC with stock gearing. I have run with a number of bikes (including several WR 400s, WR 426s, Honda XR 650s) through the gears on pavement up to just about maximum speed. The only bike that could hang with me was a stock geared, but obviously good running, WR 426. My main advantage is that I weigh 155 lbs sans clothing.

sunnymex: we ride all over the east cape area, from Najarnos to LaPaz, a lot of the Baja 2000 course and lots of stuff we've found. Also we do the Los Barriles to Fralies across to Mira Flores and back. We try to stay off pavement 95% of the time. That was why I put in this post, cause we do get in some high speed work ocassionaly. There are a large group of guys in LaVentana also. I'd really like to spend a week around Loreto and Mulege riding in the mountains. :):D

When we were young and slightly foolish, a friend and I raced the Parker 400 on what was then a brand new Husky 430 XC. He officially averaged 92 mph on one part of his section of the course which was a slight uphill jeep road with water breaks. We both averaged 98 or so on a long road section elsewhere. 100 mph is fine on smooth roads. We probably maxed out at about 115. But even a couple of 23 year old dweebs like us could do it with enough hp and gearing. Sandwashes are a different story. Not a good place for that kind of speed. 100 is VERY FAST on a motorcycle.

Would I do 100 now? I doubt it. My '00WR400 has stock gearing that limits at about 90 + or - about 2mph. More importantly, I have no desire to change the gearing just to ruin a pair of underwear.

So, it depends on what your need is and where you are riding. If you want to win on a fast race course, you will have to go that fast at times. If you don't, then it doesn't matter.


Hey, My stock geared 03 WR250F will go about 83.6 by my trail tech computer! Oh yeah, I want NO PART of 100mph on a dirt bike! My 83mph was quick for me. :)

how can a stock wr250f go 83 my wr450 will go 83 hitting the limiter i tested that with everything stock except the snorkel pulled cork out grey wire and a 152 main jet :)

My WR is not stock. I just said stock geared. I have all the mods done that you see on my signature. It really isnt unbelievable. :)

My WR is not stock. I just said stock geared. I have all the mods done that you see on my signature. It really isnt unbelievable. :)

I believe you. I clocked my buddy yesterday with my gps on his stock WR250f (free mods and a GYT-R muffler insert) at 74mph. He said it felt it would go faster had he held it on a bit longer.

Thanks for the vote. I still had a smidgeon of throttle left. I wasnt pinging off the rev limiter just yet. I might have squeezed a mile to maybe two more out of her. I was going too fast for my liking on pavement on a dirt bike with knobbie tires! Wow, I was moving. I cant imagine doing 100 mph in the desert! :)

big jim,

Funny to think that we are in such a small area and that you have another big group on the other side of the hill. I want to start riding out there, as I hear there are some good rides. I think over here we just keep riding the same places because it is so easy and out of the garage riding. We should meet up some weekend and check out your neck of the woods. Or maybe turn it into a weekend thing and do both sides of the hill.

Lets keep in touch and see what we can do. :)

I have a '02 426 with stock gearing, and I've managed to top out at 88.3 mph on hardpack in Ocotillo Wells. Scary for sure, even with the steering damper. Still a blast, don't know if the nads could support another 12 mph...

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