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.