Making an RM 85 competitive

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6/13/2021 1:15 PM

Got a 2016 with three hours on it. Kid has put 20-25 hours on it and is stuck in No Man's land every moto between the Experts and Novices. Geared it down two teeth on back, put Vforce reeds in, new top end, jetted it right, new tires. He's clearly outgunned. What else can I do and is it worth it?

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6/13/2021 1:21 PM

Paint it orange.

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6/13/2021 1:23 PM

Cone pipe.

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Mantis Toboggan, M.D

6/13/2021 1:32 PM

Sell it and buy a KTM.

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"Sorry Goose, but it's time to buzz the tower."

6/13/2021 1:56 PM

Get the cylinder head done, throw a good pipe on it and watch him go. They’re actually a great little motor with a bit of massaging.
And work on his corner speed.

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6/13/2021 1:57 PM

Still gonna be a 2004 bike...

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6/13/2021 1:57 PM

Paging Tyler....

Has the suspension been set up for him? No point chasing more power unless he can get it to the ground. Scalvini have a dyno chart on their website which shows decent gains with their pipe and silencer. You could also send the cylinder out for porting or go a big bore.
If you want it to run with the KTM and Husky it's gonna cost you money. Maybe look into what each of these mod would cost you and then look at the difference between trading it in on another brand. Might be cheaper and easier to switch brands. The RM85 hasn't seen an update on a long time.

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6/13/2021 2:02 PM

mxlawyer wrote:

Got a 2016 with three hours on it. Kid has put 20-25 hours on it and is stuck in No Man's land every moto between the Experts ...more

Is his riding skill similar to the front runner's?

IF so suspensión and engine work.

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6/13/2021 2:05 PM

Thanks for the advice. The suspension is stock, I keep asking him and watching to see it work and he tells me it's great. His corner speed is awesome for a kid who has raced 9 times and is running with the Experts. He actually makes time in the corners although I know there's always room for improvement. As for buying orange, there are no bikes available where I am (Northeast). I will check out those options you've provided. Thanks again.

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6/13/2021 2:09 PM

Also, the contingency is awesome with the Suzuki. Telling my son he's "making money" racing has gotten him into the gym and given him awesome self confidence. He believes and I've seen him run with the Experts for short periods but the power and suspension difference adds up over the course of the race.

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6/13/2021 2:12 PM

Having a Factory Suzuki works bike is probably the only way to make it competitive to be honest. Let's say you have twisted development build you the best RM85 engine they could, the KTM is still going to be better all things considered. It's really not worth your time or money trying to make it faster or better. I'd just keep it as is and upgrade bikes when you can. Just focus on improving your son's riding technique and forget about results for the meantime so when you guys get a better bike he can make the most of it.

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6/13/2021 2:28 PM
Edited Date/Time: 6/13/2021 2:29 PM

Agree with what was mentioned above;
Port
Cut head for more compression
Good fuel
Pipe/ silencer
Fresh suspension fluids / proper spring rates

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6/13/2021 2:29 PM

The kid has raced nine times and you actually belives that it is the bike that holds him up?

Look how fast Tomac and the other Suzuki amateurs went on those bikes back in the days.

The RM 85 engine is quite good in stock form, its the frame flex and suspension that is really out-dated. Sure you cant compare it to a modern KTHUSKYGAS 85, but do you think that the roles would be reversed if the guys that finnish in front of him ran on rm85’s and he ran on a austrian bike?

Put your money on MX schools for him, that will benefit him more than engine tuning.

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6/13/2021 2:35 PM

Turn the throttle, they are fine for 90% of the kids

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Tomac and/or Anderson for 2020.....

6/13/2021 2:50 PM

If he can run with the leaders for a bit then falls back it sounds like fitness, not the bike.

Having said that, take it to the local mini suspension guru first. Suspension can allow him hang on longer, possibly improve turning and stability.

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6/13/2021 3:02 PM

Show him a video of Dillon Schwartz from Lakewood and see if he gets the hint.

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6/13/2021 3:10 PM

For the motor check Max Power out. They did a fantastic job on our KX85 > 105. It flat out rips.

https://maxrpms.net/category/motorcycle-kits/suzuki/rm85/

Suspension is even more important. Pro Circuit did our fork and shock internals and it is now awesome. RG3 is a well known Suzuki shop too - maybe they have some good internals with rebound damping for the RM.

But in the end, it's a really old bike and a good rider on a SX or a TC is gonna beat a good rider on a RM every single time. Unless your kid's nickname is Bubba.

Hammer 663s

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6/13/2021 3:13 PM

2 more teeth on the rear, is probably too much. Makes the power the bike has too short, you run out of gear too fast. Drop the gearing and siffen the suspension up. Then you are forced to ride hard, to get the suspension working right. Use all inside lines makes the the track shorter.

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6/13/2021 3:35 PM

mxlawyer wrote:

Thanks for the advice. The suspension is stock, I keep asking him and watching to see it work and he tells me it's great. His ...more

I'm pretty sure it was the owner of Race Tech suspension that said the best you know is the best you've ridden. If he's never ridden better suspension he will think the RM is fine and unless you have a trained eye you won't see the difference unless his stuff is absolutely horrible. But, the mini classes are heavily reliant on power. The RM85 makes good bottom and mid but falls off on top. I actually saw a review one of the Australian mags diff between the 85's a few years ago and the RM didn't do too badly.

With no available alternative bikes I'd talk to some tuners about what you want. It still won't be the best chassis but I see no reason you can't make the motor somewhat competitive.
Also agree on the comment about 2 teeth being too much. He'd be constantly shifting and with a short powerband that will make it harder to hit shift points and wear him out quicker

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6/13/2021 3:43 PM
Edited Date/Time: 6/13/2021 3:44 PM

Have him race it a full season and when it's time to get a new bike he will be a much better rider by then. The bike is fine but not being on the latest and greatest will make him a much better rider in the long run

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Ed Johnson

6/13/2021 3:57 PM
Edited Date/Time: 6/13/2021 4:02 PM

Contact Dean Dickinson at R&D Racing and get some work done. R&D's history with the little RM's is second to none. First mod is his power valve cover and a mapped ignition... One of the magazines, I want to say it was Dirt Rider did an RM85 build. It was pretty mild, but as I recall, it transformed the bike. Even more could be done...

EDIT: found the link. https://www.dirtrider.com/2016-suzuki-rm85-factory-rd-project-bike/

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'75-'83 through the minicycle boom.
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I was fast... But being fast is relative to who else is on the track with you.

ZachO fan! ZO16

TG243 fan!

6/13/2021 4:07 PM
Edited Date/Time: 6/13/2021 4:11 PM

mxlawyer wrote:

Also, the contingency is awesome with the Suzuki. Telling my son he's "making money" racing has gotten him into the gym and ...more

Are you guys still getting contingency money with a 2016 model? I know the bike hasn’t changed but usually manufacturers don’t pay out for bikes older than 2-3 years. Maybe just put current graphics on?

Also wanted to add that I remember hearing as a teenager that the RM power plant was the favorite 85 among tuners and had a lot of potential. Granted that was 15 years ago and others (Austrians) have evolved a lot since then.

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6/13/2021 4:30 PM
Edited Date/Time: 6/13/2021 4:51 PM

Jett Lawrence and Liam Everts raced RM85's back in 2017 and those bikes were fast! They got HGS pipes and other trick parts. But if you fix his suspension he won't need a faster bike this first year. A specialist will make the stock suspension work better for your son and make it fit his riding style. Photo

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6/13/2021 4:39 PM

a KTM isn’t gonna bridge that gap. Just need to twist the throttle more

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Alright Lunger, Let's Do It

6/13/2021 5:26 PM

Wow, glad I asked. I think the suspension, an MX school and some gym time might be the way to go. As for the contingency Suzuki makes it available for any 85. That was a surprise to me. I will probably take a tooth off the rear and encourage him to get better endurance, aggressiveness and flow. Once he is getting every ounce out of the bike I'll look into that R&D Racing setup if he hasn't outgrown the bike already. Thanks!

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6/13/2021 6:12 PM

Post a video of him racing! I love to watch kids ripping a 85. I hope to be there one day with my son. He races 50s and just fir fun.

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6/13/2021 6:15 PM

Will do. Racing in Maine next weekend. Big air track. I tell him to try to blow the motor every race. Nothing better than wide open two strokes.

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6/13/2021 6:23 PM

mxlawyer wrote:

Will do. Racing in Maine next weekend. Big air track. I tell him to try to blow the motor every race. Nothing better than wide ...more

Good luck to you guys. Nick Wey has talked about his dad not giving him the best bike when he was younger and he would compensate by improving with technique. I love seeing yellow out there running with the other bikes.

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6/13/2021 6:28 PM

I had an '86 RM125 in my formative years. It was the slowest 125 ever made, but it made me fast. Keep that kid on an outgunned bike and watch what happens when he gets used to the 250f in a few years.

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Braaapin' aint easy.

6/13/2021 7:10 PM

Get a new kid

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