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!