The AJP PR5R shows it’s strength as an entry level enduro and trail bike.
We have spent the last few weeks getting ride time in on the 250cc enduro bike from Portugal’s AJP. For a bike specifically designed to represent an entry level price point, it is a pleasant surprise to discover just how well it works and how much fun it is to ride. I don’t even know if entry level is the right term, the AJP is much more than that. We always talk about how this is just the kind of bike the market is missing, something practical and fun for under $10,000. Well, here it is.
The first thing that grabs you about the AJP is just how visually interesting it is. The main section of the frame is a large aluminum casting that almost looks like something from a street bike. To that is bolted the front subframe that makes up the head tube and engine cradle and a traditional rear subframe.
Also unique is the under-seat fuel tank, similar to the old TE511 or KTM 690 Enduro. The fuel filler is located in the rear part of the seat. Then there is the exotic swingarm with a big hole in the front and what appear to be massive arms. A closer look shows the backside to be an open honeycomb design.
The body work is tiny, giving the bike a smallish look. Despite appearances, the AJP isn’t really that small. The ergonomics are just about as expected for a 250. Controls and details are to the standard we would expect from a European enduro bike. There is full dual sport style switch gear, minus turn signals. Everything is finely detailed and pleasing to the eye. Perhaps the lone wrinkle is the cable clutch on the Chinese sourced Zongshen motor.
As for the motor, it is a 250cc, fuel injected, 4 valve, liquid cooled, 6 speed design. Our test bike is claimed to produce 30 hp at 7,000 rpm with 20 foot pounds of torque. The fuel injection is provided by Delphi. This bike is a pre-production model. 2016 models will get revised EFI settings (fine mist injection), said to improve throttle response. There is an electric starter only.
Suspension is provided by Sachs. They have now become the default supplier to nearly every Euro brand except KTM. Fortunately we have seen significant improvement in Sachs products over the last couple of years. The PR5R gets the 48mm open chamber fork with two upgrades: low friction coatings and external preload adjusters. Fork travel is 11″. The linkage shock is fully adjustable with 11.8″ of travel.
Other detail components on the PR5 are: Reikon bars, Domino grips, Michelin FIM Tires, Brake Tech brakes and hydraulics, Polysport plastics and JT sprockets.
Getting out the tape and scales, here is how our bike stands. Ready to ride weight, with 2 gallons capacity of fuel is 263lbs. That puts it about 9 pounds over the claimed. Seat height is 37″, ground clearance 12″, footpeg clearance 14.75″, wheelbase 56.8″. Except for being a bit heavy, these dimensions are all in the ballpark for standard. Wheel base is about 1″ shorter than average.
The importer, Moto Connection, tells me that the “R” model of the PR54 is their most popular seller and will probably be the only version they import for 2016 because of the great value added. For an additional $500 ($6495) it includes the Shorai Lithium battery, Sachs forks with coating and preload adjusters, Doma pipe and billet footpegs. They claim 5lbs in weight savings and 3 horsepower over the standard PR5 model.
For the first outing on the AJP I took it along on my weekly trip to the motocross track. The vet track a Cahuillia Creek is smooth with lots of elevation change and mild jumps. While it would probably not be the best place for a trail bike, it would be a good chance to break it in and get some initial ride time.
For the first few laps it was just a matter of riding around and getting to know the new bike. Everything seemed in order and I felt comfortable. The power was not much, but small four strokes always seem to gain more with time too. After a quick stop to check everything over, I was back to the track.
The suspension was soft, but seemed to resist bottoming well enough. In fact it was quite plush on the track. In a few more laps I had the confidence to clear all the jumps on the track. Once I was really up to speed, the real trait that appeared was the handling. The AJP felt extremely good in the corners. Front end feel and grip were very good.
Lacking some power for moto, it was particularly important to keep the corner speed up and the 250 felt right at home regardless how hard I pushed it. Overall the handling was surprisingly good. The suspension was easily up to task and the chassis felt great. Our day was cut a bit short with a brake leak. As it turned out, the rear banjo bolt had simply come loose. I could have fixed in a few minutes, but I mistook it for a master cylinder leak.
My next ride came in the mountains on some real single track trail. The 250 motor started to show a bit more power, as it would for each of the next few outings. More of the AJP’s finer points would come to life on the trails.
Perhaps the challenge with the AJP is that it is easy to forget that it is just a trail bike. In many ways it is comparable to riding any contemporary enduro bike. But it is a bit heavy. Coupled with a modest motor it can come up short on expectations at times if you wish push it hard.
With the fuel riding in the center of the bike, the handling is unique. The steering feels sharp and the bars are light in the hands. Traction is very good too. There is plenty of weight on the rear tire. Even with the unique fuel position, the scales show the overall weight bias is nearly identical to our 2016 KTM 350xcf, 47% on front wheel.
Ground clearance is good and peg clearance is even better. They almost never come into contact with anything. But the high pegs make the seating position slightly cramped for a 6 footer. In general the ergonomics are quite good. The seat is longer than most and surprisingly comfortable by today’s standards. Levers and controls all feel just about right.
It is the chassis that really shines. It always seems up to the task, no matter how hard it is pushed. The PR5 is most at home on the trail. It carves around well and is easy to ride. Even spending one day riding out in the open desert did not hamper it much. Only once could I get the bars to wag a bit.
As for shortcomings, weight and power conspire to keep everything in the friend zone, no wild romances here. The front end likes to stay on the ground, no quick lift to get over a rock. The same is true in any whoops, the 250 doesn’t really want to get up on top.
There is not much else to complain about. It has the silly Euro self retracting side stand, but it looks like it will only require grinding the post off to fix that. With the fuel cap in the seat, it can be difficult to fill the bike without spilling fuel everywhere.
This is not a bike that easily lends itself to comparisons. It is pretty unique in the market. Perhaps I would consider it closest to a Yamaha WR250. It is similar in power to the stock WR. But the AJP motor is also unique with its torquey, slow revving feel, almost more like a Honda XR. It has a great Euro bike feel and sense of quality that is unmatched by anything else in the price range. Just the small details like a fan and beefy skidplate make it feel like a real value.
Other than the loose banjo bolt, our test bike had no mechanical issues, just add fuel and ride. It drew looks where ever it went, particularly at the track. It is certainly a piece of art in itself. I spent lots of time just gazing at it and taking everything in.
If you are in the market for a true trail bike, don’t want to spend a fortune and maybe like the idea of something just a bit different, the AJP is worth giving a look.
|ENGINE / COOLING||249 cc, 1 cylinder, 4 stroke, 4 valve, OHC, liquid cooled|
|POWER / TORQUE||30 hp @ 8000 rpm / 20 ft/lbs @ 7000 rpm|
|CARBURETOR||Delphi fuel injection system|
|ENGINE START / GEARBOX||Electric / 6 speed|
|FRONT SUSPENSION||ZF Sachs USD 48mm – 11 inch travel – multi adjustable with externally adjustable spring preload|
|REAR SUSPENSION||ZF Sachs – 11.8 inch travel – piggyback multi adjustable|
|FRONT / REAR TIRES||90/90 – 21″ / 120/80 – 18″|
|FRONT / REAR BRAKE||Disc ∅ 260mm / Disc ∅ 220mm|
|GROUND CLEARANCE||12 inches|
|SEAT HEIGHT||37 inches|
|DRY WEIGHT||242 lbs|
|FUEL TANK / RANGE||Translucent 2 US gallons / 80 miles approx.|
|WARRANTY||Limited – 2 years parts / 6 months labor|