Motocross Bike Shootouts and Their effect on Sales

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11/28/2017 9:46 AM
Edited Date/Time: 11/28/2017 10:19 AM

A bike doing poorly in the shootouts can make or break how well they are going to sell for a given year.

One big void that needed to be filled in our industry was the adding of different resources to help determine which bike to pick. This year has been pretty awesome with: Keefer Testing, Vital MX, Transworld Motocross, and a few other magazine/ websites designed to help select which bike is best. I think that Motocross Action, a magazine that I love, has lost its grip on being the standard for telling me which bike is best. I was on their website today and I saw this quote in regards to the 2004 250 two stroke shootout and it illustrated this to a high degree:

"The 2004 Yamaha YZ250 could have stood on the top step of the 250 shootout podium just as easily as the RM250. It has better forks, more stable handling, superior reliability, preferable tires, a clockwork-like clutch and the broadest powerband in the class. And, it’s no secret that the RM250 engine is a direct copy of the YZ. So why isn’t the Yamaha first? That’s simple: Yamaha played it safe. With the exception of the powerband, Yamaha didn’t take any chances in 2004. Everything is good, but we wanted to be dazzled."

They were looking to be "Dazzled" and this is why a bike didn't win a shootout. I love Motocross Action magazine and will continue to get excited when it arrives but have you all noticed a huge shift in how this stuff is done? How many bikes over the years got pushed aside for reasons that you all wouldn't consider valid?

Discuss....

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11/28/2017 9:53 AM

why does anyone care

just buy the bike you like jfc

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11/28/2017 10:01 AM

I personally have never chosen a bike based on shootouts. I like reading them though so ill continue to subscribe or listen. If i cant ride a bike to see if i like it iam not paying 10k. I like the individual bike tests that MXA does, usually try the settings they recommend as a starting point and go from there.

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11/28/2017 10:03 AM

You had to reach back 13 years to justify your point? Why would you compare 2004 testing to 2017? Bored at work much?

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Motorcrosser

11/28/2017 10:07 AM
Edited Date/Time: 11/28/2017 2:27 PM

Indymxer wrote:

You had to reach back 13 years to justify your point? Why would you compare 2004 testing to 2017? Bored at work much?

No....I just read a shootout from this time period on the website and found it interesting. That shootout is up on mxa’s website right now and I enjoyed reading it. That statement just stood out as a kind of goofy reason for a bike to not win. Also.....of course i'm bored at work.

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11/28/2017 10:14 AM

rmoto003 wrote:

why does anyone care

just buy the bike you like jfc

Well....it’s an expensive ass purchase so you gotta start somewhere unless you are willing to risk getting stuck with a bike that may: 1) have mechanical problems 2) have an issue that may prevent you from winning etc.

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11/28/2017 10:14 AM

Remember, all these silly shootouts are just someone’s opinion. Test ride the bike you want and if you like it, buy it.
None of them are horrible, remember three years ago or less the current production bikes were factory works bikes.

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11/28/2017 10:27 AM

I think a 2004 RM250 is still more dazzling than a 18 yz250. Ride one. You will see.

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11/28/2017 10:32 AM

I’d still buy a new kawasaki even if it finished last. Its the brand that’s been most reliable to ME. A shootout saying KTMs are better doesn’t make me want one.

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2009 Kawasaki KX450F
2009 Kawasaki KX250F
2002 Suzuki GSXR 600

11/28/2017 10:44 AM

Simply going out and buying a bike because it won a shootout would be silly (does anyone do this?). But if you have some sense of what you are looking for in a bike, reading the shootouts can be very informative. For example, the pre 2017 CRF450 finished poorly in a lot of shootouts because it was said to be down on power. I wonder how many people read that and went out and bought one because they wanted a "mellow" 450? How many people bought a YZ450F because it was said to have a great motor, great suspension, and great reliability - even though its handling held it back from winning a shootout? An intelligent reader can glean information from reading shootouts - information that can inform buying decisions - without being fixated on who wins the shootout. I doubt that many who were leaning towards the Yamaha in 2004 were dissuaded from buying one because it missed the top step of the podium in the MXA shootout, as the explanation for why it didn't finish on top actually sounds like a pretty strong endorsement of the bike.

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Current rides: 2016 KTM 250SXF, 2017 KTM 350SXF

11/28/2017 11:02 AM
Edited Date/Time: 11/28/2017 11:03 AM

I think there was a time when Shootouts carried a lot more weight in the sales totals of various bikes. I have been riding MX since the late 70's, and back then bikes were radically different from year to year. Manufacturers were just figuring out long travel suspension, and testing factory versions of watercooling. Sometimes the bikes were just plain bad, and a shootout was a good way to judge where to spend your money in a particular year. Today all the bikes are good, and the weekend warrior could win on any machine. So I don't really think the shootouts play as large of a role in sales as they once did. I know if I were to buy a 2018 bike, I'd look at the shootouts to see which bike fits me best, and then go buy that bike. The fact that it may give up 3 hp to another brand would mean nothing to me.

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11/28/2017 11:11 AM

I watch all the races, listen to many of the podcasts, casually browse here, and that's about the extent of my knowledge. I have one friend who rides, but he's 17 hours across the country, more skilled, and in a very different financial place than I.

Given all that, the shootouts definitely were one of few data points in the bit of research I could do when picking out my first bike, though in the 3 years I've been reading them, they've (necessarily) gotten less informative as the sentiment that the gaps between the bikes have narrowed. Still it's good to here what some with way more experience think about the suspension (since I don't want to buy a bike then drop thousands on suspension), how they generally fit a rider my size, and thoughts on the overall package.

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11/28/2017 11:19 AM

I read them all looking for a trend. If one brand finishes at or near the top in all shootouts, it's most likely the better bike. The one that finished at or near the bottom in most shootouts is probably a turd.

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Take it to the limit, one more time!

11/28/2017 11:22 AM

One way I used to look at it was what were most of the privateers riding in the nationals. Those were usually good bikes.

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Take it to the limit, one more time!

11/28/2017 11:24 AM

Most folks will never have the opportunity to ride any bike other than the one they buy. Shootouts really help some consumers make choices.

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11/28/2017 11:30 AM

I've never bought new. I use reviews and more importantly forums where real people have input after lots of riding and time. Then I can aggregate and base my decision on that. Kind of like Amazon reviews... Look for trends.

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Motorcrosser

11/28/2017 11:33 AM

I talk to a lot of local riders in my area to get feedback when it comes to reliability, performance etc.

My area seems to be dominated by

1. ktm
2. Yamaha
3 pre 2017 Hondas

very minimal amounts of Suzukis. Kawis are around too but not nearly as much as the other 3.

I do take into account what the shootouts say. Ive watched shootouts on the last 3 bikes i have owned. the positive and negative points they make on each bike have been apparent to me while riding even as only a c class rider.

sometimes is it crazy to me how a bike can finish first one year and then 4th or 5th the year after, consider no changes were really made.

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11/28/2017 11:34 AM

mx317 wrote:

I read them all looking for a trend. If one brand finishes at or near the top in all shootouts, it's most likely the better bike. The one that finished at or near the bottom in most shootouts is probably a turd.

This is how I do it as well.

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11/28/2017 11:55 AM

Shootouts are good entertainment, nothing more. Manufacturers new bike test days are also almost worthless to me, as you cannot usually get to know new bike properly in 15min saddle time. IMO only way to get familiar with the new bike and really learn the pros and cons is to buy it.

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11/28/2017 12:47 PM

needforspeed78 wrote:

Shootouts are good entertainment, nothing more. Manufacturers new bike test days are also almost worthless to me, as you cannot usually get to know new bike properly in 15min saddle time. IMO only way to get familiar with the new bike and really learn the pros and cons is to buy it.

they tend to spend way more time then 15 mins riding the test bikes

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11/28/2017 1:11 PM

i must have read all the 250's shootout for the last 3 years. I read them because i was in the market for a 250F. I ended up choosing a RM-Z250 2016 over the kawasaki... didnt see that much difference in power in between them, maybe it is my rider skill but i hope nobody will buy a bike by looking only at the shootouts and not trying/feelings them first..

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2002 KX125 (SOLD)/2001 KX250 (SOLD)
1999 KX250 (SOLD)
2016 RM-Z250(SOLD)
2018 KTM 150XC-W(current)

11/28/2017 1:20 PM

100% the shootouts factor in many peoples choice on a bike.

you messed up if you bought a rmz250 over the kawi.

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11/28/2017 1:24 PM

Can't grasp why people need someone elses opinion on buying a $9000 toy.

I enjoy reading shootouts. Just think you still have to check for yourself what you like best. One man's trash is another man's treasure.

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11/28/2017 1:43 PM

Here's the issue:

Has anyone tried to sell a 2012-2017 Suzuki RMZ450 used? No resale value at all. There are so many factors into buying the bike and that is one of many. If a bike gets shat on in a shootout....you can get stuck with the bike or have to give it away too cheap.

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11/28/2017 1:46 PM

I suspect shootouts do impacts sales, I am sure KTM/husky love MXA given the big rap they always get (and they are great bikes, but so are the others) and most of the REM pictures are either a KTM or a Husky.

I think depends on who does the shootouts as to whether much weight gets put on them, MXA says all shootouts are crap because unlike MXA they dont test them for weeks and weeks. Gee if a decent rider cannot tell the difference between each bike and give an opinion on whether they have good or bad points after riding them for 1-2 days on a couple of different types of tracks (e.g. hardpack vs softpack dirt) then heck!

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Current rides: 2020 CRF450RWE and 2019 TC300
Occasional ride for VMX: 1985 CR500RF
Adventure/Road bike: CRF1000L

11/28/2017 1:48 PM
Edited Date/Time: 11/28/2017 1:49 PM

BTW....I agree with the variance of opinions on this topic. I don't think shootouts should have as much of an impact as they do on bike sales (especially since the bikes are all so close right now). Obviously all of the bikes are pretty awesome and I would wonder how a 2013-2016 Honda CRF450R with spring forks would do in a shootout today. I don't think the improvements on some of the models are so great that the older models have become obsolete. For example....I have a 2013 Honda CRF250R that has been modified pretty heavily. To this day I have not found a 250cc bike equal to this bike. That's a five year old bike.

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11/28/2017 2:24 PM

I would say the magazines deserve some credit in pushing the parity of these bikes down our throats and that would give me more piece of mind buying any bike that came with a good price tag and dealer support.
If you only read vital depending on the thread, you would think some bikes are Chinese junk.
Which is clearly not the case.

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11/28/2017 2:38 PM

Let's face it, buying a bike, for a non-pro, is an emotional purchase. I suspect most of us have an attachment to a particular brand that started from childhood. A Yamaha may win a magazine shootout but I'd never lay down my own cash on one........your opinion may vary

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11/28/2017 4:04 PM

kiwifan wrote:

I suspect shootouts do impacts sales, I am sure KTM/husky love MXA given the big rap they always get (and they are great bikes, but so are the others) and most of the REM pictures are either a KTM or a Husky.

I think depends on who does the shootouts as to whether much weight gets put on them, MXA says all shootouts are crap because unlike MXA they dont test them for weeks and weeks. Gee if a decent rider cannot tell the difference between each bike and give an opinion on whether they have good or bad points after riding them for 1-2 days on a couple of different types of tracks (e.g. hardpack vs softpack dirt) then heck!

No matter who says what...

Here, at Vital, we are given PLENTY of opportunities to ride ALL the bikes...PLENTY of opportunities.

You want the simple truth? Many test riders have their "favorites"...& sometimes that works in favor of a bike/brand and sometimes that works AGAINST it...

Then there's the way the different brands support a shoot-out with technicians and personell that REALLY know the bike. That can have an impact on how well we get to set up the bike for a certain rider or a certain track...which also can have a HUGE impact on the results. This was the case for me, this year, with Kawasaki: they set the bike up SO MUCH BETTER THIS YEAR!

One point I do have to give to Jody's Gang...they do seem to spend a lot of time learning a bike's "quirks". I don't know if that's still the case or not; but, I ALWAYS love how they lay into a brand for crappy hardware or a cheap-ass chain...etc.

When you guys read a shoot-out, you need to find that rider that seems to represent your skill/ability level and take a look at how they felt about the characteristics that're important to you.

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I ripped a start from Egypt and I was happy about that.

11/28/2017 4:48 PM
Edited Date/Time: 11/28/2017 6:42 PM

fourfourone wrote:

100% the shootouts factor in many peoples choice on a bike.

you messed up if you bought a rmz250 over the kawi.

Why? The bike is a different animal with a full Yosh, lean coupler and a 50t rear sprocket. It is well built, stone cold reliable, and corners like no other. Most everyone modifies their bike to their own liking. The air forks are hit and miss but there's options there. How do you know he doesn't love the bike and is happy with it? Tell me how he screwed up? This is why I hate shootouts. 95% of riders can't ride a bike anywhere near it's full potential, plus the vast majority don't race

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