We don't seem to give Technic much love here at Brickset but, as I say every time we do, I'm a long-time fan of it, so I'll try and redress the balance by reviewing one of the better sets that has been released in the first half of 2013: 42007 Motocross bike.
There was a time when I bought every Technic set released, but nowadays I'm a bit more selective, one reason being that I don't have room to store them all (I tend to keep them made-up due to the time it takes to make them) but also because, increasingly, there is a lot of repetition of un-interesting vehicles. Racing cars, go-karts, buggies and that sort of thing are not that interesting to play with or to look at, so I tend to give them a miss.
However there are some things that you can never have too many of: mobile cranes, helicopters and motorbikes.
That brings me neatly onto 42007, the latest in a long line of Technic motorcycles that started in 1979. This is the third off-road bike to be made. The first was 8838 Shock Cycle from 1991, which was one of the first Technic sets I bought after emerging from my dark ages. We then had a long wait for the next one, 8291 Dirt Bike from 2008.
After building this latest one I thought it would be fun to dig out the old models to compare them with it, and whilst doing so, appreciate how far Technic has come in 22 years.
Parts and construction
The set contains 250 parts. The only new parts are the tyres. The wheels themselves were first used on 2010's street bike set: 8051-1 but that of course had slick tyres. They replaced a smaller version which had been in use for all previous Technic bikes made since 1991, in fact they were new when used on 8838. The old version is about 60mm diameter, whereas this new one is 75mm, so they are quite a bit larger.
The only other thing worth mentioning about the parts is something I've said before: It's interesting how the set looks to be orange but when you look at the parts list you see there are actually only nine orange parts in it!
Construction is straightforward but interesting because the bike's frame has hardly a right-angle in it. There's some clever geometry going on. It takes about an hour to build.
The finished model
The finished model looks fantastic from every angle. It comes with a myriad of stickers to apply to the orange panels, but I have not applied them because they are the white plastic ones that are prone to peeling.
However, it is not without its design flaws which I will come on to after the photos.
So, what's wrong with it? There are two things. First, for some reason the drive chain has been placed on the right which, I don't believe is prototypical at all. I used to ride trials bikes (Yamaha XT250 and XT350) back in the day and both of those had the chain on the left. Having just check the Yamaha website, that is still the case. The only reason I can think that it's like that is because if you put it on the left, as I have in the photo below, the kick-stand fouls it slightly when raised.
Moving it to the left requires the exhaust to be moved to the left, too.
The second flaw is not so easy to rectify: the rear sprocket should be inside the frame next to the wheel, not outside of it, and should be directly driven from the gearbox and not via the two small gears you can see in the photo above this one. Presumably it was just too difficult to get it right. However, looking at the bikes in the BrickList you can see they have tried in the past, with varying degrees of success, to do so.
I did wonder if the front mud guard should have been orange, but actually it looks a bit too orange if you swap it out.
Comparing it to 8838 and 8291
Here are the three bikes lined up side-by side. 8838 from 1991, right, looks very dated in comparison. Studless beams were not introduced until 1996 although it does use some lift arms and 'triangles' which were introduced at about the time of its release. The rear sprocket is where it should be, though. The bike has been in storage, in an opaque box in a cool garage, since I moved house in 2006, so I was sorry to see that the front wheel has yellowed, but for some reason the back one hasn't.
The new model is very similar to 8291 from 2008 in terms of size and design, although the older model uses the older style of Technic panel (first and second generation, we are now on the third, I believe). Their wheelbases are about the same, but larger wheels of the new model look so much better.The tyres are excellent and a vast improvement, and are far more typical.
Despite the flaws -- one easily rectified, the other not-so -- this is an excellent looking model that makes a fine display piece. It would be appreciated by non-LEGO bike fans and I can see it being the sort of model people would display on their desk at work and it becoming a talking point among their colleagues.
At £25/US$40 (a reasonable exchange rate for a change!) it would seem to be good value for money. This is another 2013 set that I am going to have to recommend, I'm afraid...
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