Mi. Trail Riders
Jan 16, 2002
Well folks, I got a call last weekend from my riding buddy "Randy" who was ECSTACTIC about having some time off - ALL DAY MONDAY!!!!!! We made the plans (consisting of - HEY WIFE, I HAVE BEEN REAL GOOD......) and set the sights for a Sunday afternoon depart to the east side upper Lower Michigan area. We found our way (in the dark) back to the spot where we had left off on a previous ride (it is a spot where myself and 2 other riders met up with KTM mike and TOOOObig4akdx on our venture up that way). The place is located just above Fairview and we camped right where we left off (right on the side of the MCCCT)!
We set the tent up in the dark (car lights are great) cause it was 1 AM... BEAUTIFUL night, about 55, perfect for sleeping!!
Got up and on the trail by 8:30 am and headed north..
I had remembered how "rocky" the trail had gotten toward the end on the last ride so I took the time to redo my tire pressures before I left (I also redid Randys but he didn’t think it was necessary). I normally run 8 in the front and 4 rear (lots of sand in our areas), I went 12 and 7 for this ride and GLAD I did. We no sooner got on the trail and Randy started throwing rocks at me :) He is riding a "little" XR200 now cause the dummy sold his street legal CR250... The XR seemed to be right at home in the "stubble" as was my "legal" KX500 with the flywheel weight!! We both wondered how the XR would do as we are both very much used to bigger bikes.
Gotta tell you that the little "wonder machine" really faired well!! The type of terrain up there is, what I would, call XR country! Tight (at least tighter then the cross state connector was), rocky, some low sections kinda muddy, and very little high speed chasing!! The ride North to Atlanta was GREAT!!!!
My KX LOVES high hills, especially the knarley stuff that a lot of bikes run out of bottom end on~! We found some REALLY rocky, eroded out nasty stuff that the KX was OUTSTANDING on! 2nd gear just above idle and the thing is like a John Deere tractor!! WHAT A BLAST!! The XR didn’t fair as well on some of the real high knarly stuff but, after all, it is just a 200!!!
A lot of the trail up there looked like it was almost virgin!! I think KTM Mike has got a hidden secret about that area - how about it MIKE, are you trying to keep that area unspoiled?? I think I saw “Young Teds” ol’ Penton tracks on it from Labor Day Weekend and that was a couple weeks ago!! Sheesh, don’t know body ride up there??
We had lunch in Atlanta at the bar/grill closes to the trail - GOOD FOOD!! And went right back to work (didn’t even bother getting gas – my 3.8 gallon Clark tank showed almost ¾ full). If you happen to get up that way please be on notice that the Sheriffs Department is right on the way into town so take it easy (we didn’t get stopped but the front end of that KX gets REAL light when it’s on pavement,,,,,).
We hooked back up on the MCCCT and headed toward Onaway. Rode a real fast pace in this section and had a blast. It was dusty so I led (usually Randy does cause he has a way of always showing up with NO goggles so he can lead :)) and kept a good distance between the KX and the XR. I would stop at the intersections and listen for the XR’s thump and then continue when I knew my ridin bud was ok…. Randy said this worked GREAT as he was able to keep the XR pinned for LONG periods (one of the blessings about riding a bike to small for you) and it was a RIOT!!! We crossed “33” going into a "Bear Den" area (or something like that) and I stopped to check my fuel – GOOD THING I DID!! I was down to about 1 1/2 quart of fuel and told Randy we needed to find GAS!!! I looked at the CCC map and it showed the closes station south on 33 – other choice being Onaway. We went south to find the station burned down!! I asked a lady living behind the station where the nearest fuel was and she said either Onaway or Atlanta – same distance. I told Randy that we should go north to Onaway – it just didn’t make since to me that Atlanta could possibly be the same distance – good thing we went North cause she was WAY wrong and I ran out of gas at the top of the hill that drops off in Onaway!! I found out that the tank on my kx gives the bike a total mileage of 93!!! I was VERY impressed!!! I only had to push about a ½ of city block by the time I coasted down the hill :)
We gassed up and went back to the corner where we had dropped off the trail. From this point on the trail was mostly two track and gravel all the way up to Tower and the little XR didn’t really care much for the “higher speed stuff. Randy told me that I needed be more careful about my high speed “wheelies” – he said he was concerned about me cause I like to cross my front wheel side ways while I am on the back wheel (showing off)! I know for a fact that he was actually just jealous because his XR was too putsy to pull the front in up at 50 + :) :)!! I say this because when he had his CR and before that his BIG BORE XR we would ride side by side on the back wheel at those speeds and he NEVER complained!!! After he complained I cooled it down just to be nice…..
We went thru Tower and headed North to the point where the trail was suppose to make its western turn toward Indian River. ###PLEASE NOTE### At this point the trail is VERY poorly marked. We spent about 45 minutes trying to figure out just exactly what happened in this area.
Here is how I explain what happened: The MCCCT has a “stub” section that leads to the “Red Bridge” loop (page 32 of last years map book). Now don't get me wrong, that Red Bridge trail is AWESOME (when we go back up to finish the MCCCT we are also going to ride this whole loop!!) but it appears by the signage that the MCCCT actually ends at this point!! There are NO markers indicating a “westerly” trail on the MCCCT! There is an old railway bed that had us “spoofed” for a while, the trail markers indicate that you need to follow the Red Bridge loop for a while – not so, although this loop is REALLY awesome. cant wait to go back!! We didn’t figure it out until we started just following 2 tracks and came across the markers again….
At this point in the trip I stopped and told Randy that we really should be heading back toward “camp” so we could make it back to home before 2 am so he could get up and go to work at 7…. He sadly agreed!!! We headed back attaway, by the time we got back to the Jeep it was just before dark and getting pretty cool!!!!! I went right to the Jeep and got my sweatshirt out, went back out (hey Mike, that’s little “rock quarry” we found you guys at is a REALLY fun play ground!!!) and rode till dark. Total miles for the day was well over 200!! GREAT RIDE, GREAT DAY with A GREAT BUDDY!!!
That’s the way it went on this one guys!! Get out and ride when you can this fall!!
Carpe Diem

KTM Mike

Mi. Trail Riders
Apr 9, 2001
Woodsy....shhhh....quit tellin people my secret up here! :thumb:

If you follwed the MCCT proper from what I call "the crossover"  (this is where the mio loop and the hunt creek loop join and are on common trail for a short distance), you rode up the west edge of Hunt creek.  Some nice trail, definetly some tight stuff.   The northwest corner of Hunt Creek used to have some horrble nasty sand whoops that seemed to go on forever, but they got groomed out this spring  (what a blast to ride that sectin whoop free!)  Last time I rode it , it was started to whoop a little bit, but not bad at all.

At some point you crossed County Road 612 and then broke left off of Hunt Creek onto a real nice section of MCCT, did about 6 miles of road, then rode right past my house (rather close at least - i have a 1/2 mile long driveway), another oh 4 miles of road and got into about 8 miles of decent trail then onto the Atlanta Loop proper.  (right on County Road 624, just barely east  of M-33)  The MCCT goes along the west side of the Atlanta loop - and it to was groomed  this spring :yeehaw:  - and again on the northwest corner of the Atlnata loop used to be full of ugly whoops (2big and I rode it early this year before it was groomed - his comment was next time we bypass that section!  now we both just love that loop).    Riding from my house I can do the Atlanta "A" loop for a total ride of about 65 miles.   Along that west side of trail, some nice stuff too - eventually you get a wee bit of wide "ORV route" but before that i really like it. 

Had you instead of sticking on the MCCT, rode the Atlanta loop counterclockwise and rode up the east side - a really fun section in there - much tighter in general than west side, a neat mix of some rocky bits, some areas with tons of roots, some shorter whoop sections - just a blast!  For those of you with kids or new riders to keep happy - on the north east corner of Atlanta Loop is a fantastic sectino for the little ones - a bunch of wide grassy two tracks very little sand that almost any rider can handle that goes around and around in little squares back and forth.  This area sees very little use, essentially no through traffic  (it sorta breaks off from the main trail for this neat little area)  Heck on one trail the grass is up to the bottom of your gas tank so barely ever used even by quads!- it is without a doubt the absolute best spot of legal trail in lower Michigan for a new (little kid)rider to be on that i have ever found or heard of.

On the Sherrif here - they are very accomodating it seems.  While i dont know if i is "official" ordinance or not, the understanding is clearly if you are riding responsibly on the road shoulder etc  they wont mess with you.  Do some of your wheelies etc - watch out.  I know several of the local cops - every single one has confirmed that understanding.  In fact every time i ride north from my house, i drive right past one of the cops houses - he just waves as I go by.  So keep it reasonable - you dont need to worry.  But..if you are riding on M-32 or m-33, state highways - thats not accepted well - particularly by the State Police - though i do see it from time to time.    As a warning, the DNR is seeming to get a bit more enforcement oriented lately.  they were out in force labor day weekend writin tickets left and right for riding off legal trail, no spark arrestors etc etc.  Oh...also a caution on that “rock quarry" Woosdy mentioned - if you are talking about that open area we met in, it is not a "legal" riding area either - I have seen the DNR cruise through there many times - I would be concerned with to much riding there leading to things be closed up for all of us.

Hey on that gas issue - sorry I wish i could of warned you!  This summer you would not believe the # of riders I have came across asking  "where can i get gas - that station burned down..."!

I have not made it up to ride Red Bridge for some reason - sounds like i need to make that a priority!

Again - i enjoy your write ups Woodsy - sooner or later we will hook up and ride!



Mi. Trail Riders
Jan 16, 2002
Yea Mike your right. I have to quit giving people the idea that we have fun out there when it fact its all work!! I should have started my report with - "Dont ever ride this section - too much work and WAY to far between stations and the rocks are way to big and it aways rains and .....
I could tell there had been a lot of grooming in the area up there. I did find one section of "perfect" whoops south of Atlanta that were of such that you could double all the way thru!! I had a blast on this section!! Kinda reminded me of an area on the MCCCT south of Benton Lake over here on our side. DEEP flowing whoops, perfectly spaced with lots of room for "corrections" if needed!
The "rock quarry" I was refering to is about a 7 mile piece of MCCCT North of Fairview and that spot where we met you and tobig is right in the middle of it. My gosh, there are some hills (on the trail) and sections of trail that are literally 4" round stone - NO DIRT!! I agree 100% with you about "staying on the trail"!! We certainly want to keep the sport alive and illegal riding off trail is a sure of killing it!!!

70 marlin

Mi. Trail Riders
Aug 15, 2000
Mike I have to agree with you on the atlanta trail, I rode the CCC event a couple weeks ago and the north loop east side of it was great, nice and tight.
I'm hoping to ride the vintage event next weekend. any detour's on the roads up there I need to miss. The one on 32 heading in to atlanta from 27 I would had liked to have missed.


Mi. Trail Riders
Jan 1, 2002
Originally posted by 70 marlin
I'm hoping to ride the vintage event next weekend. any detour's on the roads up there I need to miss.

I-75 has (probably still does?) construction from West Branch pretty much to the St. Helens exit. Went through it Friday night and it wasn't bad (on way to Wolverine).

That MCCCT up by Red Bridge has been poorly marked for years. The two track, to your left, just before the snowmobile trail is the MCCCT. We ran the trail safari 2 years ago and spent 15 minutes tooling around there trying to find the dang markers. They are on the southern tree if you were coming from the West, so you do have to go into the 2T a hundred feet or so to see 'em. That section leads you into the beaver dam. I recommend a snorkel unless it's draught conditions. I was putting the 02 color tour DS route together and stumbled into there during a monsoon. Hah! When the front fend went under water I decided I should back out and walk the thing. Waist deep and better. They ran 6 days through there this year and it wasn't bad.
Coming from the west, they have MCCCT markers pointing 2 directions just before the beaver dam. Never followed them to the North though; a couple guys who tried this summer said the markers just petered off.
The Atlanta ride DS course used most of the MCCCT from the north end of Hunt Creek to the road section that leads to Tower. Fun stuff, rarely gets ridden. Same for the stuff on the other side of I-75, just past Indian River. Rode that section Saturday. Lots of downed trees though.


Feb 9, 2004
I just bought a 2004 KX-500. I haven't done anything to it whatsoever. I strapped on a GPS, loaded up 91 Octane with K2 Premix and rode fairly hard for 14 miles. When I returned, the bike took 1 gallon of gas. So I did some searching on the internet for some advice and the only thing I found was a Team Green article on jetting and gasoline. They suggested high octane racing gas and never use octane booster, etc.. So what the heck !! I'll try anything once. Went out and bouth Unocal 76 110 Octane leaded racing fuel and premixed with the same oil. Using factory recommended 16 oz. per 4 gal. Went out and rode hard for about 17 miles and back in camp, replaced one gallon of gas. So let's split the difference at 15 mpg. That's roughly a 45 mile range on the stock 2.8 gal tank. I am considering the 3.7 gal IMS tank which might get me up to a 60 mile range. If I can't get to 80 miles, they won't let me take the bike on our annual ride to Baja.. And I just won't stand for that. Can you give me any advice at all on improving the mpg on this bike. I've heard things from flywheel weights to different types of gasoline. You seem to have the most experience. This bike was brand new, off the dealer floor, ridden twice before I ran this test. I was riding it pretty hard, some hills, some sand, some open trails. Thanks Woodsy


Mi. Trail Riders
Jan 16, 2002
In response to your question concerning fuel economy on the big 5. When I bought mine it was a left over 2000 and I was in EXACTLY the situation you are describing except I was also using a few plugs. I ride mostly woods on mine – some pretty tight, nasty, narly stuff (JUST THE WAY I LKE IT!) and two-tracks/roads when I have to. When mine was new, I would have to find an open area to “clean it out” after every 10/15 miles of “trials riding” it. I got VERY tired of this and set out on a mission to create an UNSTOPPABLE, trail rideable BIG BORE 2 stroke and I was successful! Here is what I did:
I put the bike together with EVERYTHIING that I would be using throughout the year! I bought some of this stuff on E-Bay CHEAP and met some really cool folks along the way.
- Complete plastics kit from a KX125 – a little beat up but VERY functional!
- IMS 3.8 gallon (it maybe the 3.7 model but it hold 3.8!)
- 14 oz flywheel (more for the “thumper effect” then gas mileage!)
- aluminum kickstand
- 75 watt light coil
- “Elba” front light assembly – bought from Ryan Dean – Part of the our US ISD Team!
- Geared DOWN 1 tooth on the front sprocket (went to 13) – put on a new DID O-ring chain.
- Bark busters, renthal bars.
- Set my suspention up to MY liking!
- Uni Dual Filter (air)
- bought a PRO-CIRCUIT Spark Arrestor (turbine type!!) that fits the stock pipe perfect!!
I have ALWAYS run 32:1 on my bikes (exactly what you are mixing) and have NEVER had problems with this mix – I don’t buy expensive oils – TCW3 has ALWAYS worked for me!!
I run exclusively PUMP gas (premium grade)/don’t get into setting my bikes up for race gas – I like to be able to run whatever I can find on the trail!!
So, all that being said, I started my “mission” by getting the bike “built”, putting a NEW plug in, filling with fresh fuel, putting on ALL my riding clothes and taking the bike out for a plug chop! Do you know what this is? If not, DON’T BE AFRAID TO SAY SO!! I will explain the process if you need me to!!
After the intial main jet chop – it came back dirty, dropped 2 sizes and came back DIRTY. Dropped one more size and came back brown. Noticed that my bike liked to seep fuel out of the overfill on the bowl. Put in a new bowl needle set to factory specs – still seeped occasinlly. Reset my bowl level down 2 mill and BINGO the bike CLEANED UP BIG TIME!!! Redid the chop on the main and went right back to one below STOCK!! Did my mid range chop and ended up dropping my needle one clip – PERFECT!! Pilot is stock!!
I now get NO spooge, NEVER FOULED A PLUG ALL SUMMER and I ride everything from very slow stump jumping to an occasional highway fly, and get GREAT mileage (for a big bore 2 stroke!).
I weigh 215 dry – probably closer to 240 geared up (I am sure my “unique” custom mustard water bottle adds something :) ) and the bike aint light with all the stuff on it! I have found that “ride technique” REALLY effects fuel consumption too. If I ride my 5 like I use to ride my 250 CR’s/YZ’s it will suck fuel like a kid drinking a malt!! Thing is, I have learned to ride a gear higher and stay off WOT – with this kind of horsepower you dont hafta rev to FLY!! My bike will idle right down to walking speed in 3rd gear and all I have to do is throttle a little to raise the tire to clear a log – IT IS A RIOT! I run behind my riding bud, who is NO slow guy, on his XR200, him pinned FLYING through the woods and me just off idle in 4th gear BLURPING along right on his tail!! This technique REALLY saves fuel BIG TIME and it goes on for hours!! I also ride with A LOT of smaller bikes and never have a problem maintaining this technique thru the woods! Another thing that REALLY helps with the 5 in fuel economy is running a GOOD tire – I REALLY like the Dunlop 752 120x19 for my work – THEY HOOK UP REAL GOOD! I have tried LOTS of tires and the Dunlop seems to wear with the best of them. Spinning may look cool but it is a MAJOR fuel eater - get it not to spin and its like going to HYPER drive anytime you want to - talk about rush! I have never ran in the desert or wide open 5th gear 90 mph + stuff that you are speaking about (well, I cant lie, occasionally I will put my stock gearing back in and ride Silver Lake Sand Dunes at 90 plus and still be on the back wheel just SMOKING those Banshees and 250R quads – getting side tracked Woodsy…) cause we don’t have that type of riding here. If I were going to do what you are referring to I would probably do EXACTLY all I have just explained – maybe minus the flywheel weight and go to a 15 tooth front sprocket (yes – the KX is TOTALLY capable of pulling some REAL tall gearing - use the HORSEPOWER!) – and then pickup one of those Acerbi front mount 1 gallon tanks to compliment my oversize IMS IF/WHENwhen I needed it - RUNNING OUT OF GAS IS NO FUN!! That forward tank is used BEFORE the regular tank and you wont be hauling the extra weight very long at speeds over 80 mph – (less then twenty minutes at that rate and you will be on your regular tank!).
All this being said and on another note – there is another site on the internet that I “frequent”. It is Pitbull-racing.com . You might wanna go to that site and ask someof those guys that actually run the desert what they do!
Hope this helps!
Also, sounds like your bike may not be broke in yet - get some time on it and then recheck it!

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