Unexpected Findings

Got invited to ride on some farm property yesterday. Close by, free, and wide open areas to work on some skills…how could I say no? I also saw it as a chance to do some scientific testing between some bikes and see which gets me through some trails quickest.

We plotted out a small loop. Started on a small section of farm field, into a singletrack tall grass section and then a quick duck into some mildly tight\off-camber section. This led to a small jaunt back out of the woods and back across the field. Once you were back across the field, there was a dried up pond that we roosted around. The outside was packed full of downed trees, and sticks, and by the end of the day, getting slick and rutted. As you finished your way around the pond, we had a pile of downed tree limbs to hop over followed by a slightly larger 18″ diameter-ish tree to hop. After the tree hop, you immediately banked hard right, and then a quick left to bring yourself back out of the pond area to where you started.

It was a short loop, but it gave me a chance to do a lot of hot laps. My findings were mildly frustrating, but I suppose telling of my riding. I had 3 bikes to test out. My Husky, the Mighty XR, and my buddies KDX200. I started out on the Husky, so I had a good general idea of how the bike handled the loop, what to do, what to expect, etc, etc. Initial lap times were 59-60 seconds. I then hopped on the KDX, and my lap times were 57-58 seconds. I hopped onto the Mighty XR, where my lap times were at a consistent 58 seconds. After all that, and some other fooling around, with my body tired, I did another 5 laps on the Husky, where my lap times were at a consistent 58 seconds.

So what’s this telling me? I know I felt that on the KDX, the bike felt the most compliant and kind of the easiest to go fast. The bike felt plush and confident. The S12XC front he has on the thing helped in the slick sections for sure. He’s got an autoclutch, though I still work the clutch manually, but that may have had an effect on things. The XR, I felt I had to work the most to go the same speed. The drum rear brake always required more attention to help stop you, and the slightly sticky throttle made you have to think more while riding, rather than focusing on going fast. I liken riding it to riding a 125 2-stroke. They can go just as fast, but require a LOT more input, body english, and finesse to get the speed out of it. Now for the WR, I felt to me it has the most room for improvement. The bike has got plenty of power which helps immensely in anything more open. It was the most forgiving if I messed, up, but required a bit more brain focus to extract the speed out of it. The suspension is also not nearly as plush as the KDX, however, it is feeling better now than it ever has (I opened HS\LS Rear compression 100% open).

I got to do a lot of work on drills that we did at the Shane Watts school. Braking\accelerating\drifting\wheelies\etc. From where I was a year ago, I’m 10x more confident in high speed roosting, and drifting out the rear. Heck, I could be dragging my knee on the XR if I wanted. 

Yesterdays riding (and subsequent timing results) has me questioning if the Husky is the bike for me. With my apparent knack for breaking a bike at every race, it’s got me considering the idea of going back to a Japanese bike, due to the abundance of parts\spares\cheap prices. Hard to say as I really enjoy the Husky, but I need something that I can trust will take me all the way through a race. Any thoughts\opinions on this?

I can say however that that XR350R just won’t be sold. We did some flat out drag races between it & the KDX200. The XR was dead even with the KDX. Quite the mighty little beast. 

Time for some Sunday lunch.

Leaf River Enduro……….

The morning started with me causing issues on my bike.  I had forgotten that when the bike was last in at the dealer, they neglected to torque the shift lever to an appropriate spec, leaving it a bit jiggly.  No problem I figured and busted out the tools to get it locked in properly.  Bike leaned over, skid plate off, wrenches out.  Spin Spin Spin SNAP!  There went the shifter bolt.  Go figure, it snapped in a spot where it was still holding the shifter onto the shift shaft.  A little bit of pit area wrenching, and the old & mildly stripped shifter were removed; replaced with a modified YZ250 shifter.  Problem solved.

I’ve never done an Enduro, and spent the prior week stressing over having to keep time, navigate myself, and do all those things that make riding even more confusing & difficult.  Much to my surprise, I found that this enduro was run in the national\restart format.  Simpley put, it’s a couple mini harescrambles (test sections), grouped together by un-timed connector routes.  You are required to start each test section at a specific time.  If you’re really fast, you can arrive at the end of these sections ahead of schedule, and get docked points.  Or you can arrive late, and get docked points as well.  The connector routes are good for a couple things.  If you were late on your test section, you can make up time to get yourself back on time for the following test section, or it could be a great time to catch your breath and relax a bit, or use it as a time to have even more fun ripping around on your bike :-D.

So there I was, lined up on row 15 with a group of Kawasaki riders (great guys btw!).  Mildly nervous, but ready for what the day would bring.  Get to the start point, 5 seconds…..Off we roll.  WFO down and across a corn field, finally dipping into some woods.  I do my best to stay on the gas as much as possible, stand, let the bike bounce and float beneath me.  I royally mess up just before a short & steep climb.  I try to start right at the bottom and get myself up the climb, only to not stand up in time and watch my bike launch away from me into the air.  It was quite impressive, just about as impressive that nothing really broke.  After a few wrong turns, and bobbles, I manage to get to the first check-out point, unfortunately 7 minutes late.  I made it though, and roosted my way on over to the next start point.

The day continued on in a similar fashion.  Come lunch time, I was ready to eat.  Luckily, with the time we made, I had about 30-35 minutes to wolf down my sandwich, fuel up the bike, and get myself refocused for the second loop.  Second loop was essentially a better version of the first go around.  The first and second test sections I was still doing pretty well (energy wise), but by the final section, I could feel myself getting tired.  Understandable, as the day totaled almost 4 hours of ride time.

Overall, I was stoked on how I rode.  I knew that I could have ridden better, and pushed harder in quite a few sections.  Hindsight is 20/20, and I feel I should be better next go-around.  I couldn’t have been happier with how the 450 powered through everything.  Sure I could have pushed for some more front grip, but that was my fault for not dropping tire pressure as I should have.  All that being said, I’ve heard (unofficial) that I pulled a 3rd place in the B group.  I definitely can’t complain with that!

Now I must prepare myself for Fox Valley Off-Road GP race this Sunday.


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Club57MX GP Race…….Epic BUST

John T & I arrived at Byron Motorsports Park promptly at 7:30am Sunday for registration.  Both of us quite excited despite the somewhat dreary skies.  As we pulled into the facilities, we were both a bit confused at the lack of gate attendant collecting gate fee, and the apparent lack of additional vehicles in the pits.  This was to be a race at a MotoCross facility, surely they would not cancel due to a few light showers in the AM.  We rolled on over towards the bathrooms and struck up conversation with another racer.  Oddly enough, our fears were confirmed.  the Club57MX GP Race had been canceled.

Weather forecast showed light rain until 830-9am.  Not bad, considering racing was to start at 9am (practice).  But alas, we were screwed.  We drove our hour and a half to be informed that MX has gone full NASCAR and was afraid of some rain.  So onto Plan B, or so we thought.  KI Tracks was just a few miles away and surely they would be open.  A handful of other riders discussed heading out there as well to get some riding in.  After doing some quick driving & quick Facebook investigation, we found that KI Tracks too was afraid of the rain and would not be open.

So what to do.  We all knew that Rocky Glen was just up the road, despite not really wanting to ride there.  It was the last and final option for us, so we figured what the heck.  They had just finished the week before, their “new” B Track.  It’s short, it was a bit sloppy, and had not been maintained one bit since the week before.  On the upside, Rocky Glen is open rain or shine and so off to riding there it was.

Like I said, Rocky Glen had done basically 0 maintenance on the track they had just finished creating.  The park manager (from all the times I’ve been there) doesn’t usually show up until sometime around noon, at which point, it’s unclear of what he is actually accomplishing.  The park seems to have a lack of ability in keeping riders informed.  It’s a heavy dose of “sign this, give us your money, peace out” sort of deal.  I’ve yet to hear any riders told that certain areas are one way, UTV’s are NOT supposed to be on the track (are they supposed to even be there in the first place?), Utility ATV’s are NOT meant for the main “MX” tracks.  Just a general lack of common sense things being relayed to the riders.

Yes, it’s easy for me as a paying customer to find things like that to complain about.  I’ve no idea what the operation actually runs like, I’ve no idea who actually owns the place, and how they feel things are operating there.  I do know though that as a rider on the tracks, it is annoying dealing with riders who apparently have no clue as to how anything works.  In the rare occasion  that someone is doing maintenance (I’m using this term loosely here) on a given track, people feel the need to continue riding while there is a big machine in the way.  Not only does this make things a royal PITA for the individual working on the track, but the safety issue is just huge.  On top of that, you have riders that feel the need to ride on\off the track at whatever area they see fit.  Now that is not really an issue, until you have riders that feel as though they can cut across a track at any point in time.  I can’t even count the number of times on my hands that I have had riders cut in front of me, or worse being going the opposite direction as I come around a turn, or landing from a jump.  Completely unacceptable actions that unfortunately can be tied to riders having NO clue about anything, and the staff not even remotely saying anything to them.

But hey, this wasn’t meant to be a rant on things I feel are wrong with Rocky Glen (though I feel they need some SERIOUS improvement).  The 5 of us got to put in a good amount of laps, and by noon, the track was getting plenty tacky and allowed for some good riding fun between Jam0 and I.  I got to roost Jameson plenty good, so that was a nice positive end to the day.  My bike felt great, and it has left me for wanting to push myself more and get even faster.  Can’t really complain about that.


ps – I failed at tossing the gopro on my helmet Sunday.  Jam0 has some pictures, so I’ll relay those when I can.

1995 Suzuki RM125 Supermoto – w/Dirt Setup – Ohlins

1995 Suzuki RM125 Motocross Bike

Full Supermoto setup.

Tubeless 17″ wheelset w/125GP Slick on Rear

Recent complete engine overhaul.  Full top-end, bottom end, etc.

Ahead of it’s time Dual Chamber fork with fresh bushings\seals\wipers

Ohlins Rear shock BEAUTIFUL!

Bike includes full set of dirt wheels\tires\rotors\etc

Spare parts, manual, plastics, etc.

Frame recently repainted as well.  Very clean bike!

Very competitive in Supermoto – Lightweight class.

I absolutely love this bike, but it’s time for me to move on.  Any questions, feel free to ask!

For more pictures, please check here: IMAGES

Price: $1500obo

Location: Spring Grove, IL 60081

Questions, and want to check it out call me: