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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Purpose-Built Freestyle MX Bikes

As the sport of Freestyle Motocross continues to grow, riders are finding that
the traditional motocross bike has room for improvement when it comes to
jumping. Do it yourself modifications are everywhere on professional freestyler’s
bikes – cut aways in the side number plates for seat grabs, cut-down seats, flush-fitting
gas caps originally designed for desert racing, and more. Is it possible that a major manufacturer
could actually release a freestyle-specific model?

The only company that could possibly make such a move at this time is KTM. The big four seem
to be too conservative to truly embrace freestyle until it grows far larger than it
is now. KTM, on the other hand, already sponsors freestyle competitor Kenny Bartram. A bike
built just for freestyle MX could be just what KTM needs to boost it’s profile with young American

As far as features, here are my ideas regarding the design of FMX-specific bikes:

  • Instead of making cutouts in the side number plates, why not just remove them entirely
    just before the rear lower piece of the subframe triangle, and add handholds to the subframe.

  • Lower the top of the gas tank 2-3″ and fit it with a flush-mounted gas cap.
  • Lower the seat height 3-4″ and use thin foam for the seat.
  • Use a totally flat bar with minimal sweep.
  • Throttle and clutch cables should be clipped to the bars and the triple clamps using small fasteners that allow the cables to slide but keep them out of the way.
  • Built-in steering stabilizer with adjustable settings.

This design could be produced on a current 250 frame with only minor changes. The rear-fender setup would be perfect for
grabs, the low seat/tank combo would make can-cans and similar tricks easier, and the flat bars and tied-down cables would
stay out of the way when doing tricks like candybars, cliff-hangers and heel-clickers.

Will a major manufacturer ever produce a freestyle-specific design? Probably not in the near future; but if freestyle MX
continues to grow at it’s current rate, in five years perhaps a majority of riders purchasing a new dirt bike will be freestylers.
Eventually such a bike will be made because someone will realize the large market for it.