Monday, January 31, 2011



It's on again: the annual Kowen Forest Ride at Canberra organised by the DSMRA.

This year's event is set down for the weekend of April 2/3 in the lush green forests of Kowen right near Queanbeyan and the national capital.

Two loops of awesome arrowed fire-trails and single-track will be on offer, with food, camping and music available on-site on Friday and Saturday nights.

Of course it just wouldn't be the Kowen Forest Ride if one lucky rider didn't get the chance to win a brand new dirt bike and this year the DSMRA is giving away a brand spanking new Suzuki DR-Z400E to one lucky rider.

Entry numbers are strictly limited to just 300 starters, so if you want in on all the action, pick up an entry form at leading motorcycle shops in the ACT or the Canberra Motorcycle Centre, or check out the web site and download it.

And we'll see you there!

-- Clubby,


They can if you have an inner-tube big enough!

Check out this really cool vid we recently spotted on the web site:

The video clip was posted by Paul and Deb who are based in the Top End of the Northern Territory and are planning a ride across to Cairns and Cape York.

Obviously they are gearing up to have to contend with a few swollen creek crossings, so when it gets real deep, all they need to do is pull out the backhoe tyre inner-tube from their kit, blow it and and then their DRs will soon be floating away!

Good to see the dogs along for the ride ... no doubt to keep an eye out for crocs!

Great work, guys -- enjoy the ride!

-- Clubby,


The final countdown has arrived to see Australia’s best off-road motorcycle riders go head-to-head for a total of $13,000 in prizemoney.

All the action will be at Campbellfield on the northern outskirts of Melbourne this Saturday afternoon (February 5) when a host of world-class Australian riders battle it out over rocks logs, tyres, water-traps and motocross jumps. Spectators will see all the action up-close around the forest-orientated man-made course.

NSW riders Toby Price, Ben Grabham, Jarrod Bewley, Josh Green, Chris Hollis and more will take on Victoria's up and coming guns like Daniel Milner and Mitch Harper to see who will take home the money. There is a host of support racing, including Victoria’s top Expert riders, a new Under 19 class and the Stars of Tomorrow clubman class.

See the revamped Broadmeadows motocross complex change into a maze of mountains, log crossings, rock mountains, water-crossings and giant tyres, to see who will start the 2011 racing season at the top of the pecking order. The revamped venue has been made spectator-friendly with great track viewing thanks to the new terraced formations.

Full catering facilities with hot meals, cold drinks and a licensed bar will be available, as well as family-friendly dry area viewing and wheelchair-friendly viewing areas. Full parking facilities are available, as we have hired the golf driving range next door for the day.

Admission is just $25 per person and kids under 10 are free. Racing commences at 1pm with the final showdown race of the champions at around 6pm. Leading commentator Lee Hogan will be entertaining the crowd with his legendary race coverage, so come and see if the motocross riders can match it with the enduro boys. And be sure to hold your tickets for the crowd prizes and a surprise crowd participation foot race.

Make sure you get your tickets from motorcycle shops listed on while tickets will also be available on the day with Eftpos available at the venue entry: gates open at 11am so be there!

Friday, January 28, 2011



First of all, love the mag and DVDs! I'm looking for some mechanical advice on my 2007 model Suzuki DR-Z250. On a recent trail ride I went over going up a hill and sheared the clutch lever off, right back to the housing. So much so, the cable was exposed! I was able to start the bike in first gear (thanks to handy electric-start) and essentially bash through the gears "postie-bike style" to get me home (approx 20km). Other than a new clutch lever and some very overdue Barkbusters and aftermarket handlebars, I was wondering what repairs may have to be done with the clutch/gearbox? Thanks!
-- Nick via

Thanks for your email. Nick. Now, Suzuki’s DR-Z range have not become some of Australia’s best-selling, most reliable and durable dirt bikes by burning out a clutch or gearbox after only 20km without clutch cable operation -- they’re built in Japan, not China. It's the same reason the DR-Z400E is the bike of choice with all the leading Cape York trail tour operators in Cairns: DR-Zs are built to last and withstand abuse! I feel confident there will be no ill effects in your situation. Go for an engine oil and oil filter swap-out and you’ll be fine. And then get a set of shiny new Barkbusters installed ASAP!
-- Dr Phil,


Hi there guys and sign me up again for another subscription! You're still the best mag that covers both trail riding and adventure riding. The latest DVD (In the Zone #4) was especially enjoyed by my mates and I. We recently rode three BMW GS 1200s from western NSW to the Cape and back via the Old Telegraph Track. The sand was a bit deep in places, so we enjoyed watching Miles and his 1200 on the Chasing Sunsets segment out at Hattah on the DVD. We'd be interested to know what modifications were on his 1200? Raised bars etc or is Miles just a bloody good rider, because he was moving through that sand like he was on a KTM 530?! I have done my fair share of bottomless sand riding and don't know how he managed it? Maybe it wasn't his bike and the repair bill wasn't on his mind?! At the end of the day the 1200s are not the go for sand but Miles smashed it! Please shake his hand for me! Looking forward to the next mag and a free bike from TRAIL ZONE! Cheers boys,
-- Rossco Bin Roosting, TRTs (Trail Riding Terrorists) via

On ya Rossco, thanks for the wrap on the mag and best of luck in our Choose Your Ride subscription draw. Someone's gotta win their choice of seven new dirt bikes, so good luck it is you. Yep, Miles' performance on the thundering 1200 GS on that Hattah ride with Australian Trail Bike Tours was nothing short of amazing. And, yes, he is that good a rider! All he did was tweak the Beemer's tyre pressures and away he went ... incredible! Have you also seen the footage when Miles went back to Hattah a few weeks later with former Aussie Moto GP hero Daryl Beattie, and they all rode 1200s out there! It was similarly impressive. Get on Youtube and search 'Daryl Beattie's Desert Adventure' and you'll find it: check it out!
-- Clubby,

Monday, January 24, 2011



I really enjoyed the recent Jan/Feb 2011 issue of TRAIL ZONE, for the following reasons: You gave my brother (Stephen Riley) a mention in your full spread photo of the Dakar 2011, and so far he and Geoff Olholm are still going okay after day two; You ran an article on two- strokes, which was well received by me (a two-stroke nut); And you featured your new long-term test bike, the Husaberg TE250. After two KTM 200EXCs I was ready for a change and bought the ’Berg. I enjoy tinkering with two-strokes and here are some details on jetting, motor and suspension set-ups that may interest you. First up, shaving the head by 0.65mm has done two obvious things: increased the compression slightly and closed up the squish gap. The standard compression was 160psi (cold) and a squish gap measurement of 1.75mm. With the shaved head I measured 178psi and 1.1mm squish. As you will appreciate, the tightened squish and increase in compression was immediately felt, especially off idle and up to half-throttle. It was crisper and more grunty in that area, which is very nice, but with no decrease in top-end, either. It’s a good mod and very good value. The electric-start still works fine (when it does work!). By the way, I currently run a shaved and modified 250SX head which gives 1.07mm squish and 215psi. This is the business: if you want your ’Berg to be more powerful than a standard 300, then do this mod! With regards to jetting, I wont go into all the details about how many needles and combos I have tried, but in summary I’ve tried over a dozen different combos and I've had very good success with the following mods. The standard jetting as per the manual (N8RJ #4, 165 main, 35 pilot) or as delivered (N8RW #3, 165 main, 35 pilot) is okay and does the job for most conditions, however, there are a series of Keihin needles from both Kawasaki and Suzuki that are a very good choice for the KTM/’Berg. They are derivatives very similar to the N1EI needles that KTM use for their 250SX models. I recommend the NEDH (Suzuki RM250 needle) in clip 3 (or the NEDW clip 3) with a 40 pilot and a 162 main, then set the air screw about 1.5 to 1.75. This is for 20 degrees C. This needle has a rich end taper and tip and gives excellent fuelling from half to W-O-T. It allows a smaller main than standard and it’s still safely rich. It also has a clean and powerful zero to quarter range, which is ideal for bush riding. The ’Berg’s suspension is very good standard. There’s no need for any revalve or respring in my opinion. A couple of clicks softer on most of the front and rear clickers and it’s excellent. However, I had a Race- Tech progressive spring for my weight (80kg) left over from my 200EXC, so I put this on the ’Berg. It is physically a heavier spring (more coils in the spring) but it works very well and balances the bike better than the standard spring. I don’t know that I can pick the difference or advantage of the Closed-Cartridge forks on the ’Berg but I do know they work very well. Anyway, hope this info is of interest to you and all other Husaberg TE250 owners.
-- Graeme Riley, via www.trailzone,

Great stuff, Graeme – ’Berg 250 two-strokes owners will now be scurrying for the workshop to try your set-up tips! And it was awesome to see Riles and Olly get all the way through to the end of the Dakar: those blokes are a couple of Aussie dirt bike legends, so it’s great to see them chasing their off-road dreams now in the biggest, baddest off-road race of them all!
-- Clubby,

Sunday, January 23, 2011



I’ve just finished reading and watching your latest issue and DVD and if I had to advise you on any changes to the mag, it would simply be: “Don’t change anything!” I read with interest Dr Phil’s Smoking Guns article, as I have returned to the ‘dark side’ having recently purchased a new 2010 KTM 300EXC. After owning a 450EXC for six years, I thought I might throw in my two cents worth having now done 1,000km on this ripping beast of a bike. The first thing is, why did I go back to a two-banger? There are four reasons: 1). As a time-poor mid-40s type, the idea of no more valve clearance checking and adjusting plus two oil filters has a lot of appeal; 2). After a 10,000km top-end rebuild, every noise from the engine (good, bad or otherwise) stressed me; 3). Riding my son’s Gas Gas 200 through Latrobe state forest on numerous occasions and loving the nimble little rocket; 4). $2,500 left in my pocket at the end of the purchase. So how could I, or anyone, go wrong ? Well if 70 or 80km between fuel stops is the norm, all is good and you should enjoy your time at the top of the hills waiting for your mates! However, if it is more like 80, or upwards to the occasional 200km mark, or even 80km in the sand, you have a problem. So here are the facts: the 12.5-litre long range tank on my 300 will get me around 120kms of High Country fire-trail fun. My mate’s 450 ’Berg will go 130km on seven litres on the same trails. When we stretch it to 200km, five litres in a fuel bladder has the four-stroke rider happy, whereas I’ll need eight – and I’m nervous, overweight and cumbersome for the first 80km and still don’t know if I’ll get to the next fuel stop before running out! The motto with fuel is: ‘better to be looking at it than for it’, so anything over say 115km and I have to carry fuel, even with my bigger tank! Conclusion: my weight advantage is gone at least at the start, as I’ve seven kilos more fuel on at least, plus ongoing fuel range stress. Extra work in the shed (with four-stroke issues) is so much easier to deal with than stress on the trail. Now, everything you wrote in your Smoking Guns article is totally accurate and I’m not about to sell my 300, but ... like many other Aussie trail riders, 115km between fuel is the norm and on that alone, if I had my time over, I’d get another four-stroke. All the best for the new year guys and keep up the brilliant work.
-- Andy Broberg, via

Thanks for your feedback on the mag and our technical editorials, Andy. There are oh-so-many riders in exactly your situation, as two-strokes certainly are more thirsty than thumpers. Maybe you need to consider an even larger capacity accessory-brand fuel tank? Or perhaps one two-stroke AND one thumper in the garage might be the answer so as you have all the bases covered ... but alas, we can’t all be plumbers for a living!
-- Dr Phil,


Dear Dr Phil: I own a much-loved Yamaha WR200 two-stroke (gotta love premix!) that is close to mint condition mechanically and to look at. However the engine overheats (boils) in a very short time. Plenty of workshops have checked over the bike but the problem remains. And, yes, the head gasket has been checked and changed many times. Any advice you can offer?
-- Oscar Rex, via

Some years ago a mate of ours named Keith Langely asked me to look at his WR200, which presented with exactly the same symptoms, Oscar. After the normal starting checks (head gasket included!), I started flow-circuiting the cooling system and found the metal T-piece hose attachment under the right-side radiator seemed blocked on one side. The outlet was not straight, so I cut off the bent pipe with a hacksaw – and guess what? Somehow back at the factory the bent pipe had been welded onto the other pipe BEFORE they’d drilled a hole for it! This, of course, was preventing flow from the right radiator. I showed this to Yamaha Motor Australia’s then service department boss, Simon Thomas, and he said: “I’ve never seen that before!” Come to think of it, that was Simon’s response to many of my service questions! Check it out on your bike – you never know.
-- Dr Phil,


GAS GAS Australia has just pulled the wraps off the first new 2011-model EC450 thumper to arrive Down Under.

Now in its ninth year of four-stroke development, the latest 450 Gasser features a new D-profile microfusion frame, new headlight and front guard, quick-release front axle, Renthal Twin-Wall bars with Pro Grip grips, Galfer wave disc rotors at both ends and updated Sachs shock.

The fuel-injected bike has a 7.5 litre fuel cell, weighs in at 118kg, comes backed by a 12-month warranty and is priced at $11,995.

For more details, see your Gas Gas dealer or check out the web site.


G'day TRAIL ZONE: I am searching for a set of rear pillion pegs for my DR-Z400E so my young tacker can hitch a ride now and again. I found some bolt-on ones in Queensland, but the guy wants me to subscribe and I have left messages, but to no avail. Do you know of any pegs that would suit the job, and be of reasonable cost? Thanks for my recent back issue order of five mags: I'm still reading and thinking what to do next in the modification section. I think the rear hanger might be first up, as it is pretty awful looking, while I am also waiting on a B & B cargo rack.
-- Mike Wright, via

Funny you should ask this question, Mike, because I was in NZ the weekend before last for the annual Yamaha NZ Safari trail ride and was following a guy on a green DR-Z400 (Kawasaki KLX400) and noticed he had exactly the kind of rear foot pegs you are asking about. They looked kinda home-made and tightened around the swingarm somewhat agriculturally, but obviously did the job for him. I reckon you should be able to buy the rear pegs you are after, but obviously you will have to do some looking around. One of the biggest bike shops here in Sydney is MCAS at Parramatta and they have just about everything. Their web site is but I don't reckon you will find the pegs on the web site, you would be better off finding their phone number and calling them and asking. Another place to try would be Ballard's in western Sydney. Their web site is so look them up and give them a call. The boys at in Queensland definitely have the pegs, so get onto them as well. Good luck with it -- your grommet will be stoked to get out for a ride with you.
-- Clubby,

Thursday, January 6, 2011



We get to see plenty of clever Xmas/New Year cards in the TRAIL ZONE email Inbox this time of year.

But how's this for a Christmas present?

Check out what the Man-in-Red brought TRAIL ZONE team member Big Bazza Marshall!

Santa obviously spent a lot of time trawling through old photos for cartoonist Roger Harvey to add to this sensational piece of artwork!

Congratulations to Roger for penning yet another masterful crayon creation (check out for more of his work), and to Bazza's son Tony for filling in all the pieces of the jigsaw. Great job, boys!

And speaking of Tony Marshall, make sure you check out his awesome story on Aussie enduro legend Troy Spedding's mint Yamaha IT200 in the new issue of VMX Magazine that's available in newsagents now!

-- Clubby,

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


It's the start of another new year and it's time for the TRAIL ZONE team to get back to the coal-face and get the next mag down the production line ... well, it is for some of us!

The past two weeks of holidays have roosted by in a blur of roast turkeys, beers, champs, eBay scouring (for Tenere artefacts, of course!) and way, way too little riding. Doh!

But hey, when January ticks over on the calendar it can only mean one thing -- Dakar! And right now Dakar 2011 is clicking top gear and really getting into the thick of the action.

Glenn Hoffmann's full Aussie GHR Honda Dakar team (see photo) is front and centre amongst all the dust and drama in Chile and Argentina, with young gun Safari ace Jacob Smith slowly but surely making his presence felt and climbing toward the top 20 outright placings in the moto division aboard his Honda CRF450X. Team-mates Warren Strange and Mark Davidson are also flying the Aussie flag high and proud -- although fourth GHR Honda team rider Simon Haslett was an early withdrawal after an emergency return home just after the start of the event.

To check out the GHR honda team's Dakar progress, make sure you view their blog page here:

Welsh-based transplanted Aussie Simon Pavey is also giving this year's Dakar a big nudge aboard a BMW G 450 X, and just three days into the race he's already had to deal with his share of minor hiccups. The likeable Aussie though is never without a smile and when things settle down and the going gets tough, look out for Simon to really get going!

To check out Simon's Dakar progress, make sure you view his blog page here:

And if you want a daily blast of more Aussie-oriented Dakar news from each night's bivouac, make sure you check out the blog from SBS TV reporter Jacob Black. Jacob is once again chasing the field and filing stories on the entire Aussie contingent, which also includes Bruce Garland and former moto-heroes Geoff Olholm and Steve Riley in the Auto divisions.

To check out Jacob's Dakar reports, make sure you view his blog page here:

Okay, looks like I better keep typing for the next eight hours or so and get some magazine stories done until the next broadcast of Dakar coverage comes up on SBS TV at 5.30 this arvo. Go the Aussies!