Ping weighs in on riding 125s, the pros and cons of facial hair, and what is going on with Suzuki.


Love the column. Having not ridden competitively, or even seriously, since 2007-2009, I have recently made an effort to get back to the local tracks and push my 30-year-old self around the circuit. Today I am more in it for fun than being fast and, with that in mind, I've sold the 2007 CRF250R and picked up a 2007 YZ125 for virtually the same price I sold the Honda for. I am having more fun on a dirt bike than I did on that old CRF, or even on the new 2020 CRF450R a family member just purchased. My question is, am I alone in thinking that a 125cc motorcycle can be more fun to ride than anything brand new? Maybe it’s nostalgia, maybe it’s just because I’m 30 and want to be a kid again. Either way, long live the 125!



I’m not a four-stroke hater by any means, but I totally get what you’re saying. We actually just did a test here at Vital between a stock Yamaha 250F and a Pro Circuit built YZ125. We ran them on the dyno, just to verify what we already knew… the 250 made way more power. Then we mounted up a LitPro and got lap times from each bike, and the last segment of the test was the simple fun factor; which bike was more fun to ride?

Shockingly, I was quicker on the 125. I had to ride it harder to go fast, and maybe that’s what brought my lap times down. It could also be the fact that it is lighter and easier to handle, so I could push harder and go faster without feeling out-of-control. And the fun factor? Come on… you already know the 125 blew the doors off the thumper. If you’re trying to race seriously and winning is your only goal, you have to be on a four-stroke. If not, you’d be smart to at least ride a two-stroke again and see what all the fuss is about. You might just save yourself thousands of dollars and enjoy yourself more along the way.

 - PING 


Does your wife like you more during movember, due to that amazing pornstar Stache that you're able to cultivate?



Does the pope wear a funny hat? Are the Kennedy’s gun-shy? Does a fat baby fart? Yes, on all accounts. I didn’t think she would like it, but I was only growing it as part of a fire station bet that I made with my crew; I didn’t think I’d have it long. But, for whatever reason, she liked it and told me to keep it. She mentioned something about being married to a boy band member for 18 years and my mustache being a “change of pace.” I’m still not sure how I should take that, but I’m trying to stay positive. The last straw was when I kissed her and she asked if I had been eating Velveeta cheese. I hadn’t, but apparently my facial hair had taken on a smell similar to the artificial cheese product. I walked straight to the garage and shaved it off, right then and there. She wants to see it make a comeback… I’m not so sure yet.



What the hell is Suzuki doing? Every time I think they can’t make screw up any worse, they go and surprise me again. This week Travis Pastrana broke the news that he had switched to KTM, marking the exit of yet another iconic rider to leave the yellow brand. Unless I’m missing somebody, Carmichael is the only rider worth mentioning who is still associated with Suzuki’s motocross effort. Yellow magic? More like yellow tragic. 



I was surprised to see that post as well. I was even more surprised when Travis explained that he had been buying Suzuki’s for the past decade! What?! How in the world is Pastrana, easily one of the most recognizable names in the sport, NOT getting bikes and parts from Suzuki? We’ve all agreed that the folks at Suzuki are asleep at the wheel, but I think we should do a pulse check because they might be in cardiac arrest behind the wheel. Like all Suzuki fans, I’ve been crossing my fingers for a resurgence from these guys for so long my hands look like the worst case of hammer toe you’ve ever seen. They’ve fallen off the map in their bike development, their support of JGR is weaker than a mixed drink at a strip club, and they might be using Mike Tyson’s accountant because they are perpetually broke. Here’s the thing: There isn’t any money in producing motocross bikes. If these manufacturers have a CEO who is passionate about racing, then racing is a priority when budgets are set up. If not, you get BNG or small, inexpensive changes. If you look at how much money each manufacturer spends on their global racing efforts, I doubt they are getting all that back in bike sales; the numbers don’t add up. The cost is largely justified in the name of image marketing, but when times get tough, dirt bikes are the first thing to get looked at. I hope Suzuki can pull it together and make a comeback. The resurgence better happen quickly, however, because Suzuki is losing credibility faster than Caitlin Jenner in a Bass Pro Shop. 


Do you have a burning question you need answers for? E-mail Ping at ping@vitalmx.com. Want more? Click the @PING tag below to quickly find all the previous columns.


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