Tuesday, April 14, 2015

California Adventure May 2015

My riding in California has been a bit sporadic, for a time I was riding two days a week at the local Off Highway Vehicle park, and taking small trips on various bikes.

                                                      A Trip from Vegas out to the coast
to pick up a new, to me, bike. this was a great trip across the state and out to the coast, taking Hwy 41, a road I have never taken before, then up Hwy 1 for a great ride and some excellent views

Next Adventure: Planning has been underway
June 2015 Start date
for some time for the next two adventures (ALASKA 2015 and the next Ride California May 2015) you can read about ALASKA 2015 at 

Ride California May 2015 – Talk of this trip started Last year as we road

The group was looking for a California Ride that would be less of a long distance challenge but still provide the amazing sights and remote locations the riders have yet to see. Honestly we felt this might be a tall order for a group of Native California Riders, when in fact it has turned out to be a truly amazing rout, not one of the riders have ever covered.
A look down on Hwy 1
form a less known road
My Brother and I are really enjoying putting these rides together, and though we could both just run with a plan, we spend the time together to really create an epic ride for all.
We both look at rout options, send photos of specific locations then agree on sites that can be linked together to form a trip, then the fun starts, looking for alternate routes, B roads side trip options, once we have a good list we sit together in front of a large computer display and start pushing and pulling rout lines together drilling down to some unknown roads finding ourselves wondering if they actually go through. Once we are fairly convinced all the roads we have picked “might actually go through, we split up and start the research to get confirmation the roads, go all the way through, are open during the time of year we are planning the trip and look for reports from People whom have traveled the roads in the past. After this work is complete we start making reservations, creating GPS Rout maps and trip Guides for the riders.

Here are some highlights of the Ride California May 2015 trip:
riding High in to the Hills
Along Hwy 1
We will take in Yosemite, the Kings Canyon area and Hwy 1 up the Coast of California. Winding our way through the sierras we will be taking many B roads and dirt tracks with some spectacular vistas, once we arrive to the Coast we have optional loops from Hwy 1 that follow Dirt Roads and trails through the upper level of the costal hills providing a rare look at the California cost most people miss. I will post a ride report after the trip in May!

Interesting Sights
Great roads

Small Hidden Lakes
the less traveled Sierras

Friday, June 6, 2014

Dual Sport refine the ride

I spent some time out today getting a ride in with my wife, so we loaded up the bikes and headed for the dirt right after dropping the kids off at school.
After my shake down ride I wanted to refine a few things to make the bike easer to move around and Handel a bit better.
First I added the Tugger strap to the rear seat mount.

This strap make moving the rear end of the bike around much easer, and when it comes time to pull the bike back up that ledge I will inadvertently drop off of, this will come in handy!

Next the bars were way to far back on my last ride, and I had a difficult time getting my weight positioned correctly over obsticals, I reversed the bar mounts and slid the bars forward.

As they sit in this photo they are about 1/2 to an inch too far forward, I moved them back about 1/2 inch and they feel just about right.

So what does this feel like, what is better or worse, I will try to explain!

First: you need to consider the type of rider you are,standing rider vs seated rider, (do you sit or stand in the hard sections) if you are a "standing"  rider then the following may apply.

First:  let's start with the the Handlebar center line (this would be a line from bar end to bar end through the center of the bar, where it sits in the perch) 
Aggressive or fast steering set perch: the bar centerline is set at or forward of the centerline of the forks.
Subtle or Slow steering set perch: if the bar is set behind the centerline of the forks.

You may not have a lot of choice with this, as your triple clamps my no be adjustable, but it will be good to know where your staring point is, my bars were set back from the center line of the forks about 1/2" I was able to reverse the bar mount and they are now 1/2" forward of the center line of the fork.

Bar angle: you can also move the bars forward or back in the perch, increasing or decreasing in the direction of aggressive or Subtle. I pushed my bars forward a bit from where the were, this increased the quickness of my steering even farther.

(With my particular bar bend, my grips are now aligned with the centerline of the forks.)

Now for agusting to your style of riding, 

Technical riders such as trials riders and agresive enduro riders will lean tward the aggressive set bar.
Desert riders and high speed riders will lean tward a Subtel set Bar.

Explained: (I hope)
When your bar is set forward steering feels quick and your leverage is increased, at low speeds and in technical terrain this is quite helpful and keeps your wheigh forward over the front wheel.

When your bar is set back your steering will require a bit more input and your wheight will be set back over the rear wheel increasing stability at speed and lessen the likelyhood of oversteer. 

Finding the right balance for your riding style may require some trail and error, for me I like the technical terrain and control I get with the bars forward I know it's right when my whight is balanced over the bike in the tight rutted sections of trail, too far back and my legs and arms are getting a work out just trying to hold on the bike and squeeze the tank way too had with my knees, to far forward and I'm over turning many of the obsticals along the trail.

Hear is a video on the subject, I think this may explain it better than I do!

In contrast: my wife rides a CRF 230 the bars are set back so far you could never get them even close to center, in this case their is not much you can do to improve the bar position for agresive riding, but keep in mined this bike is built for trail riding where most riders sit more than stand, and that ste up is a whole different story!

Stephanie getting ready for a ride, her CRF 230 in the back of the truck!

Today as I refine my ride, I find that I compair the bike quite a bit to the KTM 525, using that as a bench mark, this may not be the right or good idea, as it is altogether a different bike, I'm finding it difficult to describe why they are so dirferent, and this consternation has caused me to start measuring all the components of the bike and what makes them feel so different.
For instance the KTM can blast trough the biggest of the woops at any speed and just eat up the deepest of holes, lofting the front end at any given moment, it's just amazing, riding the same section on the Husqvarna and that confidence is gone, and you feel more of the deep ones and are shaken a bit more by the tall ones. 
In the tight tecnical sections the Husqvarna can just pick its way through obsticals as you pick your lines the Husqvarna gets you to that point exactly! 
In sections where you forget to down shift the KTM just digs away and keeps chugging (I don't remember ever stalling this bike) the Husqvarna in the same situation stalls emedeatley, wow I seem to stall this bike all the time... A lighter flywheel perhaps? The KTM feels like it has more power.
The KTM gets hot in the slow stuff and the Husqvarna seems fine all the time, never seems hot.
Opening up the trotle and they are both fast as all hell........
The Husqvarna feels smaller than the KTM, taller but shorter.
The KTM seems to inspire more confidence in the rider, yes! But why, this one had me confused for a while, but now I think I know why!
I think it is down to two things seat hight and fork rake.
The seat on the KTM is about two inches lower to the pegs than the Husqvarna and it's easier to reach the ground when your seated (pivot turn or spinning the bike around on a tight trail is just easer when you are lower)
The Rake of the front end (forks) is slightly shorter on the Husqvarna (this means turn in is quicker and high speed stability is less) the Husqvarna feels like it wants to turn all the time. This would also explain why the bike is less happy blasting across the woops like the KTM.

So,my wife asks the real question, which bike do you like better....., I'm not answering that one too quickly, and she comments that it's not cut and dry, she is right. I do comment that both bikes have far too much power than they really need, but KTM makes that crazy power fun, but in a way that uses lots of rider energy, when I'm riding that bike I'm giggling far more than I should.

So I have a choice right now, keep the KTM, or Keep the Husqvarna ?

I will keep the Husqvarna, it fits the style riding I do most, and looks to be a much more reliable bike than the KTM, (when compairing a 2003 KTM to a 2007 Husqvarna) it's steet leagal from the factory and runs much cooler at all speeds than the KTM, power is smother and yes it's 5 years newer!


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Dual Sport First impressions

I spent some time today doing a shake down run on the Dual Sport, I've changes quite a bit on the bike, so I wanted a backup plan if things did not work out, so I loaded up the bike in the back of the truck and headed to Carnegie off road park.
First order of business would be to get acquainted with riding on Trials tires, the low pressure 10psi rear, 13 front, is my starting point.

Tires:   This is a totally different riding style, (think slow is fast) if you spin the tire up the traction disappears quickly, keep the revs under control and their is way more traction than you have ever had before! Picking your line the bike will actualy go their, deep ruts and side hills no longer take control of the bike, it's a nice change, but still one that takes some getting used to. Next I found myself just chugging along in one or two gears up from where I would normally ride all a function of grip and smother power delivery. Finally, the rocks, these tires just grab any and all  edges and slabs and the bike pulls hard, I found my self now looking for these rocks I would otherwise avoid and the bike would just pull through like it was easy.....well I guess it was!
Hill climbs I decided I would scamper up a few steep climbs before leaving and it was fun just picking my way up the hills sorta hoping from one outcropping to the next, it made easy work of the job and after riding back down I was treated by the view of another rider with a completely different approach, as I listen to the screaming whaling coming from his bike as he starts his assent, much faster than I had started he was absolutely flying....until he hit the steeper section that is quite rutted, this is where his bike started blowing huge amounts of dirt back down the hill and he was sent from side to side then off the trail, then nearly at a stop he gains a bit more traction and flys across the trail one last time, where he is finally over the steep section and his motor once again screams, seemingly in calibration of the assent. Wow that was cool, loud, and yes a bit destructive, but so,so entertaining!
I don't this that approach would work with the trials tire, I think it would just spin and spin, yet on the same hill with an easy throttle the assent was quite simple and  traction was quite good, I could pick my line and remain in complete control, I think I like that better!
I will keep working with the tires and learn a smoother way to ride, keeping in mined slower is faster!

Bike: my first impression riding the bike around a few trails is that it feels smaller than the KTM, more compact, maybe narrower than the KTM, the Bars are too far back, but that is adjustable! Need to fix that first.

Hard to see from the top shot but looking below the bar perch is reversed hear bringing the bars forward about 1 1/2" I also moved the bars forward about an inch or so, feels much better standing on the bike!

Power is much smoother than the KTM, it's not nearly as punchy or aggressive of a power band as the KTM, is that good or bad, I'm not sure yet, but as I ride is becomes vary clear their is plenty of power on tap so I'm starting to think this is a good thing!
Breaks are great, I needed to adjust the front break lever I a bit as it was too far out for my two finger breaking, easy to adjust on the fly!
Greasing seems right on with a 15front and 51rear but I have options if this is not ideal.
Suspension, the rear needed a bit more rebound dampening so I ran that up three notches, my need one or two more (11 from bottom) front forks, I'm not sure yet, seems tractable and not bouncing back at me but I'm also getting some hard hits so I need to see if I'm bottoming or there is just a bit too much rebound damping, I will try and sort that out next ride, over all the suspension is good, but needs some tweeting to be great, if I compare this to the KTM, I would say right off the top the KTM has better suspension than the Husqvarna, my 525 is set up a bit like motocross style and it will eat up any whoop you through at it, I don't get that feeling from the Husqvarna, but their is lots of tweeting I can do, so stay tuned, I should also add that the KTM in currant form is a bit too aggressive for trail use, so a compromise needs to be met somewhere I suppose.

Every thing held up well, need to get it home for a few adjustments,
Packed up and ready to go, next trip I think I will just ride it out to the park, hay it's a dual sport!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Dual Sport Adventure

Ah yes, the day has come to start talking about Dual Sport Adventure riding!

About a year ago I bought a KTM 525, I picked up a 2002 with the right combination of number/letters in the VIN so that it could be made street leagal in California, buy a kit from Baja designs and run down to DMV and you have a dirt ready dual sport.
In the end I decided to try out a different bike and leave the KTM for dirt only use, I do love the KTM, the raw power is amazing and it handles quite well, I think the reason for me was I wanted a newer bike and one that had higher milage service intervals, the ktm recomendations for service on the 525 would mean I would need to pull service during my dual sport rides and sometimes twice, this was just not going to work for me.

Looking at the newer bikes I started to notice the Husqvarna 510 as an option, longer service intervals, intended from the factory for street and dirty use, and still in the same power range as the KTM. Husqvarna has changed hands over the past few years, so picking the right year helps and the 2007 the Husqvarna TE510 had the right motor and would be at the right price point, so I set out to find one in good kit.
It was not long before I started finding bikes and soon I found what I though would be the one for me, it was a 2007 TE510 with a super moto set up as well as dirt setup, all original Husqvarna supermoto wheels and a few extra parts to go with it, I paid a bit more to have the supermoto wheels and tires but they looked to be new and would provide some great entertainment on the side!

The pouch on the rear fender is for tools, puncture kit and any extra parts, also my sleeping bag will mount to that as well!
After installing new tires
New sprockets and chain
And tubliss inserts!

With this bike I have chosen to do things a little different, as you can see in the photoes above the tires are trials tires! These tires have become a tire of choice for many of the top enduro riders and the provide amazing traction when aired down, they are also DOT street leagal, so the benefit is twofold.

Next and only the trained eye may have picked up on this from the photos above, I have chosen to install Tubliss inserts in the tires! 
The "Tubliss" system allows you to run the tiers with out traditional tubes in them and the tire can also be ridden at vary low pressure or no pressure at all. Fixing a flat is simple, your first option is to not fix it! Just run the tire with no air, it will stay of the rim and still provide traction (the system locks the intire tire to the wheel stoping it from slipping or coming off the rim, second you can plug the tire like a standard tubless tire, pump it back up and be on your way, never a need to pull the tire back off the wheel!

This concept is relatively simple, as the small red tire you see in the photo and tire cutout, has a tube in it and is pressurized to 110psi this the puts a great deal of preasure on the walls of the tire pressing it to the rim of the wheel, they also provide a rim lock to keep everything in its place, the remaining tire can then be pressurized to any pressure you like.
The system will stop flats related to pinches the leading cauls of flats off road, the treat of a puncture still exists but so long as the puncture does not penetrate the stiff inner tire and tube you are able to continue riding and a plug will fix the tire itself.

This wil be my first time using the Tubliss system so I will report on the performance along the way.

I'm working out the details on my dual sport tool kit and camping gear next, I would like all me gear to wheigh no more than 25lbs, so more on that next. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Riding the Camps of Clover Valley

Our trip to clover valley starts off early to beat riding in to the sun fist thing in the morning, we head to Sacramento and a stop for breakfast, some hot eggs coffee get the morning started right.

We are loded prity heavy and I'm commenting to Pat that I have packed more on this trip then I did on My trip to Alaska (not true as we will find out later) we agree we paked a lot because it might get cold and we will need the extra layers.

From Sacramento we head up highway 80 to the 49 and up through grass valley stopping to check out a farmers market, and some cool rasta area youth all decked out in dredlocks and draped clothing, I must get more bold with my picture taking they would have made for some great photoes. Everyone was quite nice asking about the bikes and where we we headed, making me think its time to get back on the bikes and head out.

Next stop is Downeyville established in 1849 this is another one of California's gold rush towns, now more of a mountain bike haven people come from all over to ride the golden hills and rake in the priceless views from the steep climbs and dramatic descents this area has to offer, you can even hitch a ride for a price and have you and your bike shuttled to the top and just free ride down, rather way it pans out to a good time.....

There is a good view of the town as you arrive on hy 49 be sure and stop for a few photos before heading in.

Lots of great artifacts around to peak your interest, take some time and explore the area a bit, there are surprises around every corner.

Soon we are on are way again, picking up salt on the bikes left over from the resins snow in the area, the bikes are picking up a white coating that is caking to the lower pipes. We continue along with a little extra care as the roads are a bit slick in the shaded corners.

At the summit we see a great view of Sierra Ville and the valley that extends north, it's a gorgeous site.

Well now it feels like we should be getting close and we have been taking our time to get to the clover valley so we press on, up 89 to 70 and up to lake Davis over a dirt road that takes us in the the clover valley. Yes we have arrived !

First stop is the clover valley ranch
And as you can see we are just hanging out like a cuple of locals

Just try and fit in Pat!

this building is 100 years old but looking good for its age.

 Well we could stay all day and explore this site but its time to get moving again.

The Clover Valley plays out an interesting part of California's history, a history of The people and lumber that helped build what California is today.
In the early 1900's life was a bit simpler but in many ways harder than life we experience today

Luber camps had large halls for dinning meals were quite good and each man had his special seat and Peking order in the mess hall, but the portions wer shaird and it was never polite to take the last morsel to yor self, sharing was the way of life and respect for others always came first.

Life was good in the kitchen and caring for the loggers was a privilege, and ans an interesting side perk if you were to take the trash and left over out there was quite the site to see at the local dump, as the story goes they would go watch the beers rummage through the remains, it seems it was quite the pass time..

Lumber was a way of life for the people of Loyalton and the cover valley was the site of a large lumber company, today we explore the areas of these logging camps, and ride are way through the clover valley, much of the history of this area talks to the loggers, but if you have some time, then look close and you will see the signs they were not the first to inhabit this area, the area has strong signs of Indians and its easy to see this history in grinding rocks used to grind grain and nuts

If you look closer you may even find an aero head out in the valley in the old hunting areas!

This area has a bit of history for my family as well, as we have been coming hear to camp and explore sense 1967.  As Children and youg adults my brother and I spent a great deal of time exploring, by foot bike motorcycle and jeep just to see what we could see. Each time finding something new, this time should be no different.

Armed with two books released by J.M. Olson (The camps of clover valley and Loyalton Hometown U.S.A) we have some new artifacts to uncover.
With any luck we will re-discover the Snake Tree, the location of logging camp 13, and I would like to find the remains of the cookhouse and the much larger logging camp 14 where we may find the old dump site where the loggers family's would come to watch the bears rummage through was remains of trash and old food scraps, I'm also anxious to see if we can find the old bear trap set many years ago,  it is said to still be standing looking like a miniature log home with only a way in and no way out!

Well hear is the old snake tree, it's sort of laying down theses days but still a sight to see!

Another site I just need to find is a rock guarded  massive in size the rocks have created a maze of caves the kids from the camps would come to play, safe I'm sure!

Well we never got to the rock garden, another time perhaps!

Signs of bever and the Beaver ponds are every where.
 in the late 1950's Beaver were introduced to the area, they over populated and ran havoc with the creak system flooding road ways washing out many of the routs through the area, they were later hunted for pelts and nearly cleared from the woodlands, now the population seems under control or at least controlled, leaving a few select areas with beaver ponds and deep swimming holes that are great on a hot day.

We make up camp, before it gets dark, this is one of our favorite places and we have the valley to our selves and it is just amazing this time of year!

My humble little camp
Just a little snow on the ground to let us know it might just get cold tonight! 
O yes and I did say I would get back to what I might have not packed, how about my sleeping bag!
Yep, but all is not'm not going to bunk in with my brother, I did pack my sons bag,made for a ten year old! And yes it's a bit small and it is a summer bag, but at least I have something! 

Note! those hand warmers they sell at the sporting goods store, that heat up when exposed to air, well they really work! I had 4 and they went to good use that night in my bag, as did all my motercycler gear and every stich of clothing I could put on was on.... I will say, I was so happy to see the sun come up when it did!
Hot coffee anyone..... Yes Me me me........please!

Today we are off to find the lost rose quart mine. 

Rose Quartz, a beautiful pink rock known to contain gold this  dome is at the top of a mountain road in the middle of the forest and it provides kids and some adults with dreams of gold and the magic of a glimmering suveneer from a far away place, this place sees lots of traffic and we stop for a photo or two.

Well that's the one everyone knows about, now we are off to find the lost Rose Quarts mine

In my mid teens, during an exploring trip to find a back way in to what we call four wheel camp I stumbled upon a second less known Rose Quartz dome un-touched and complete in its original glory, it was a site of amazement for me and I would love to see if we can find it again, this one will be weather dependant as the rout is quite treacherous with steep climbs deep bogs and a few stream crossings, this may make for some outrageous exploring on the GS!

We do find it and what a site it is,!

You can just start to see it if you look at that rock, it is well hidden by natures black moss growing on the serface,

Closer up you can see the quarts, this is a massive dome and looks to be for the most part un tuched!
The view from here is not to bad...

It's a bit of a maze getting hear, and it's getting late, we need to head back soon, Pat looks for a large bever pond down the creek, and I check out the view up the creek.

A maze of dirt roads crossing the squaw valley on the way is sure to keep many people from exploring to deep in to the woods, a left turn hear and a right turn there another right and two more lefts and you find yourself at the footsteps of the old logging camps of the clover valley logging companies camp14. If you miss one of the lefts you might just find yourself in a watter hole stuck in three feet of mud, just ask my dad, as he had a near miss on a late night drive in to the area with two young kids screaming do it again!

We pack up camp, head out to antelope lake a quick photo op!

One more in taylersville as we need to stop and see the general store and get a photo of the old cash register, it will be 100 next October (2014) on the 15th I think it is, they will have a birthday party, and the whole town will come out for, as will people from the sound of it, they are traveling to see it from all over the world.... Well at least the state of CA!

She is ringing up our order on the old machine, it's used for every transaction as it has for nearly 100 years!

Ok now it's really time to get a move on it, no more photoes, we are on the feather river canyon highway 70, an amazing road to ride!  put this on your list of epic rides . In fact a nice round trip is to take 70 up to 89 over to 80 and back down to Sacramento.

Today we enjoy light traffic and great weather for the ride, I also lern that my new kickstand foot and skid plate will contact the pavement under hard cornering with a fully  loded bike! Scrape....:-)

Well that's it for this trip! We have lots of photoes some great video, (to be loded soon) and best of all some great memories of yet another epic ride!