Vital MX Forum QNA: Kris Keefer

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GuyB

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4/17/2017 11:11 AM



Whether you know him from his racing, his bike development role, or as the Senior Test Editor of Dirt Rider Magazine, Kris Keefer is definitely a character and lover of all things two-wheeled. He agreed to check in this week for a Vital MX Forum QNA, so bring your best questions. He'll be peeking in here this week to answer them. As always, keep it respectful, and ask questions that you would like in a face-to-face meeting.

If you want to see previous Vital MX Forum QNAs, click the Forum QNA tag below the subject line. (Check below to see what it looks like.)

kkawboy14

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4/17/2017 11:17 AM

The guy is moto!

BeAsTPkRIPPER

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4/17/2017 12:17 PM

Kris Did you ever take off Dungeys graphics off your KTM yet?

Davi Millsaps Fan 4 Life!!
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GD2

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4/17/2017 12:22 PM

Is it considered treason to wear Fox boots with Alpinestars gear and a Thor helmet?

kiwifan

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4/17/2017 12:26 PM
Edited Date/Time: 4/17/2017 12:26 PM

Hi Kris, if you had one wish for the MX/SX industry, what would it be?

Edit: oh and why?

Current ride: 2017 CRF450RX and 2017 TC250
Occasional ride for VMX: 1985 CR500
Road bike: 2016 Ninja H2R - looking to replace...not sure yet what to get

Kris Keefer

Vital MX member Kris Keefer
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4/17/2017 12:42 PM

BeAsTPkRIPPER wrote:

Kris Did you ever take off Dungeys graphics off your KTM yet?

Yes, they are off! My wife tore them off and the ol three digit number is back on.

MX Guy

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4/17/2017 12:44 PM

Who do u have as 2017 SX champ?

Ralph Sheheen is my favorite rider.

Kris Keefer

Vital MX member Kris Keefer
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4/17/2017 12:45 PM

GD2 wrote:

Is it considered treason to wear Fox boots with Alpinestars gear and a Thor helmet?

It's not treason, but I would understand why you would do such a thing! The FOX boots are comfortable right? I think it's great as long as you are riding. BUT, if you do care about matching however, then you need some A-stars (which are great) to match the gear. Go with a Shoei, Arai, 6D, or Bell to match and get that Best Dressed or Lit Kit award. Cheers!

Kris Keefer

Vital MX member Kris Keefer
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4/17/2017 12:50 PM

kiwifan wrote:

Hi Kris, if you had one wish for the MX/SX industry, what would it be?

Edit: oh and why?

That is a tough wish? I mean I would love for everyone that rides to never get injured or hurt if we are living in that kind of fantasy world. But if we are talking about a more realistic wish/goal then I would say to have the professional moto racers get paid more money. The privateer guy getting 15th-20th should be making more money plain and simple.

Kris Keefer

Vital MX member Kris Keefer
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4/17/2017 12:51 PM

MX Guy wrote:

Who do u have as 2017 SX champ?

I am going with Tomac. He has a big head of steam and I think is willing to hang it out more than Dungey is right now for that title.

Flatliner

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4/17/2017 1:06 PM
Edited Date/Time: 4/17/2017 2:19 PM

What's it like dealing with the manufacturers during a bike test, generally speaking?

Also, do you see Suzuki releasing new 125 and 250 two strokes, as rumours suggest?

kaptkaos

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4/17/2017 1:10 PM

Kris, what was the name of that Purple Toy you recommended on your last Keefer After Dark?

Also, who would win Best Dressed in the early 80s?

It has to be one of the Honda guys....

Bailey, Omara, Hannah?

Why cant we go back to the good ole days of gear matching the bike?

2013 CRF450R Factory Connection revalve, All stock.

sdjeff

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4/17/2017 1:12 PM

Do you prefer Star Cross 5s or MX3S? Thanks for all the laughs on Pulp.

TriRacer27

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4/17/2017 1:20 PM
Edited Date/Time: 4/17/2017 1:26 PM

BeAsTPkRIPPER wrote:

Kris Did you ever take off Dungeys graphics off your KTM yet?

Kris Keefer wrote:

Yes, they are off! My wife tore them off and the ol three digit number is back on.

Did you also stop calling her Lindsey and pretending to have a Minnesota accent, or is that still going on?

TriRacer27

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4/17/2017 1:25 PM

Kris,

Where do you see motocross bikes predominantly headed in the next 15 years? Do you see electric bikes become the norm just like 4-strokes did in the last decade? Do you see it still being dominated by 4-strokes as they continue to evolve? Do you see 2-strokes making a big comeback with fuel injection?

Loaded question, I know, but thought it might be a fun one to think about.

Keep up the awesome work man!

Keep_Riding78

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4/17/2017 1:37 PM

First off Kris I would like to say thank you
For helping out the indrustry on both spectrums of 'Factories ' and , consumers
With your talent and literature.
My question is what major part of a manufacturer bike would you change
For reliability or better material every time
If you had to?

Again thank you for all you have been doing and excepting our questions.

Kris Keefer

Vital MX member Kris Keefer
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4/17/2017 2:33 PM

kaptkaos wrote:

Kris, what was the name of that Purple Toy you recommended on your last Keefer After Dark?

Also, who would win Best Dressed in the early 80s?

It has to be one of the Honda guys....

Bailey, Omara, Hannah?

Why cant we go back to the good ole days of gear matching the bike?

You will have to go back and re-listen if you want that secret. I don't think Vital wants to go FULL After Dark. We will keep the questions to a "R" rating.

Best Dressed in the 80s would for sure be RJ or Lechien! I mean Ronnie had sweet gear set ups a lot!

Look for a lot of gear companies to go back to solid colors in 2018. We are in for some less busy patterns and very clean, traditional colorways!

Superdave19

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4/17/2017 2:40 PM

Ok Keefer- You've ridden with some very talented humans in your day. In the last year or so, who's the oldest guy you've ridden with that you just stood back and said... Sh*tt! he still hauls the mail!

Kris Keefer

Vital MX member Kris Keefer
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4/17/2017 2:43 PM

sdjeff wrote:

Do you prefer Star Cross 5s or MX3S? Thanks for all the laughs on Pulp.

I really like both honestly. I use Dunlop MX3S tires more though because most manufacturers develop their machines with that tire, so in order to test certain parts on a bike I use what comes on the bike in production. Both tires like 13.5 psi in them (for moto) if you want to know.

Kris Keefer

Vital MX member Kris Keefer
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4/17/2017 2:43 PM

kaptkaos wrote:

Kris, what was the name of that Purple Toy you recommended on your last Keefer After Dark?

Also, who would win Best Dressed in the early 80s?

It has to be one of the Honda guys....

Bailey, Omara, Hannah?

Why cant we go back to the good ole days of gear matching the bike?

Good Q... Manufacturers are usually open minded to feedback from a magazine test rider. As long as the tester is open minded himself and has good feedback (good or bad), it is usually taken well. Most manufacturers will try to make you as comfortable as possible and will want you to leave happy versus frustrated or puzzled. As long as the tester relays the same information that he or she gives the manufacturer in person and writes the same in print or online, it is usually perceived well. I know for a fact that manufacturers hate when a tester says they "love the bike" to them in person and writes something totally different online or in print. This doesn't settle well with them. In all of my years as a test guy, it is better to hit them with the truth up front so there is no surprises later. Not every bike is great and not every bike is right for every rider. That is why we as riders have a lot to choose from.

I would see Suzuki doing a two stroke soon is my guess!

Tenacious P

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4/17/2017 2:50 PM

Do you believe that one would become a better motocross rider by:

A. Buying a new bike every 1-2 years, all different brands, trying everything that everyone has to offer, similarities and differences between manufacturers.

-OR-

B. Riding the same bike for 5 or more years, making marginal gains over time and truly adapting the machine to your riding style and body over a long period of time.

Life's a garden, dig it.

1996 CR250R

Kris Keefer

Vital MX member Kris Keefer
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4/17/2017 2:51 PM

TriRacer27 wrote:

Kris,

Where do you see motocross bikes predominantly headed in the next 15 years? Do you see electric bikes become the norm just like 4-strokes did in the last decade? Do you see it still being dominated by 4-strokes as they continue to evolve? Do you see 2-strokes making a big comeback with fuel injection?

Loaded question, I know, but thought it might be a fun one to think about.

Keep up the awesome work man!

TriRacer,

I still see four-stroke technology leading the way in our sport the next 5-10 years. Electric technology although advancing is still not quite there yet for Supercross and Motocross. However maybe in 15 years this could be the way to go.

I also do see two-strokes making a comeback and more manufacturers getting involved in the re-birth of two-strokes. It's hard to deny when KTM is selling a crap ton of bikes and Yamaha is still making an older platformed version of there 2006 machines. Kids coming from 85's need to learn how to ride a bigger bike and the 125 is a perfect fit. I feel the jump from 85 to 250F is too much for these kids. Manufacturers are taking notice and will adapt. Watch!

HenryA

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4/17/2017 2:57 PM

If you had to choose, CRF450 2012 or 2013?

#1
KX125

Kris Keefer

Vital MX member Kris Keefer
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4/17/2017 3:03 PM

Keep_Riding78 wrote:

First off Kris I would like to say thank you
For helping out the indrustry on both spectrums of 'Factories ' and , consumers
With your talent and literature.
My question is what major part of a manufacturer bike would you change
For reliability or better material every time
If you had to?

Again thank you for all you have been doing and excepting our questions.

Keep_Riding78,

Thanks, I really try hard to help consumers find the best buy or give them advice on things that i have tried myself. My family was middle class and my dad although was a great car mechanic didn't know much about motocross machinery or parts. He shopped blindly and sometimes we got hosed. It was just trial and error. I (and Dirt Rider) am trying to make it so all of you at least have a direction to go.

You stumped me on your question, that is very good. If I had to choose I think I would change a couple things. One is how fast some of these 450's are down low (bottom-end). Although very fun and helpful in deep sand controllability is what I would strive for on such a big machine. Connectivity to the rear wheel is important and having an insane engine character down low doesn't mean it is the best bike on the track. Less experienced riders tend to lean towards the "fun factor" or throttle response feeling without knowing that same thing will get them in trouble down the road.

The other thing is the development of oversize bars on stock machines. Yes, they are more durable and hold up well in a crash, but also give increased rigidity to a machine. I am doing some research right now and going back to a 7/8 bar on some 1 1/8 equipped bikes and it helps the front end feeling. Besides Honda most manufacturers are using 1 1/8 bars. Most of us are not Ryan Dungey's and need less flex. I think some companies should look into the 1 1/8 diameter but figure out a better flex character inside the bar. It's funny how small a change this is, but can make a good bit of difference out on the track.

Thanks for the question and sorry for the long winded answer.

gsxr6

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4/17/2017 3:06 PM
Edited Date/Time: 4/17/2017 3:09 PM

What's with the ahem odd dyno results some sources have on the newer yz450f.. seen one that said below 50, and less peak hp than the Suzuki. Is that accurate? Are they slower now than the 2014 model? One graph I saw I swear it looked as if someone was rolling the throttle off lol

when in doubt, pin it out

Kris Keefer

Vital MX member Kris Keefer
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4/17/2017 3:06 PM

Superdave19 wrote:

Ok Keefer- You've ridden with some very talented humans in your day. In the last year or so, who's the oldest guy you've ridden with that you just stood back and said... Sh*tt! he still hauls the mail!

SuperDave,

Recently it was Mike Brown. He still hauls ass and has a young mans style/technique. I like this!

Another guy that hauls butt, but maybe is starting to get old man style is my good friend Doug Dubach. Doug still blows me away at how fast he can go in his 50's! He butt whips a little too much but can still throw the lap times down!

Kris Keefer

Vital MX member Kris Keefer
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4/17/2017 3:09 PM

Tenacious P wrote:

Do you believe that one would become a better motocross rider by:

A. Buying a new bike every 1-2 years, all different brands, trying everything that everyone has to offer, similarities and differences between manufacturers.

-OR-

B. Riding the same bike for 5 or more years, making marginal gains over time and truly adapting the machine to your riding style and body over a long period of time.

Tenacious P,

B without a doubt.

Keep your bike in good condition and ride the crap out of it. I switch bike's weekly and can adapt fairly well, but there is nothing like staying on the same bike for a long time. Ask Tomac this. He had other offers to go to another color for more money, but stayed with green because he has his bike down and knows it!

Practice. Practice. Practice. There is no replacement. Just ride laps!

Kris Keefer

Vital MX member Kris Keefer
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4/17/2017 3:10 PM

HenryA wrote:

If you had to choose, CRF450 2012 or 2013?

2012! The 13 was not that good IMO. My 2012 was much better. Better flex and easier to ride! Plus it had spring forks!! Boom!

gsxr6

Vital MX member gsxr6
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4/17/2017 3:11 PM
Edited Date/Time: 4/17/2017 3:27 PM

Think this was the one I was referring to own a 14 yzf450 and a 17 crf450, and this is not how they feel. Also, I outweigh the other guy by 50 lbs and he is a better rider than me, but the 14 yzf walks my 17 crf with me on the yzf in a straight dragrace. The yzf has almost 70 hours now, the crf around 10. Lol I prefer the stock, supposedly lean map over the " Travis Preston map" mxa had printed that year. The non stock map was excellent for wheelies haha almost too hooked up though.
Poor kawi made 4 less HP than the 350. Ouch

when in doubt, pin it out

Kris Keefer

Vital MX member Kris Keefer
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4/17/2017 3:14 PM

gsxr6 wrote:

What's with the ahem odd dyno results some sources have on the newer yz450f.. seen one that said below 50, and less peak hp than the Suzuki. Is that accurate? Are they slower now than the 2014 model? One graph I saw I swear it looked as if someone was rolling the throttle off lol

I don't know that the Yamaha was slow, but I know some Yamaha's were a little lean out of the crate. I have ridden a couple brand new 450's that had some popping (lean condition), but was easily fixed with the Powertuner. As with all mass produced products, machines, sometimes a quality control issue arrises. It's inevitable. Yamaha's have always been one of the most durable bikes in my garage, but sometimes crap happens, right? Maybe when some people dyno'd them it was lean.

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