Wednesday
Sep182019

New Bike Time!!!

2020 Husky TE300TPi Part 2

See the source image

So I forgot to mention in my first article that I had installed the Rekluse and Air Cells that were on my KTM 250XCW. Although the 300 motor chugs down to the last stroke I’ve gotten lazier with the clutch in my advanced years. The Air Cells always help the initial few inches in the stroke especially in the slow tight stuff with rocks and roots.

The one of the latest additions was a left hand operated rear brake. I’ve had a cobbled together unit I’ve been transferring from KTM to KTM over the years, but this unit won’t work with a Magura master cylinder so I had to look for another solution. Rekluse is in the process of changing the unit they’ve been selling for years so it’s not available right now.

I ended up with a fairly new on the market product called the OX-Hydra Brake. OX has made a cable operated unit for some time, but this is an entirely new approach. The unit starts at the handle bars with a Hayes Bicycle hydraulic master cylinder, a line that runs down to the rear brake master cylinder area and on the end of the line is a little slave cylinder that replaces the heim joint at the bottom of the master cylinder. It’s a completely separate self contained unit pre bled so all you do is install it which makes it completely separate from the rear master cylinder. You can adjust the pull needed near the lever on the bars. From what I’ve heard it’s at least a hundred dollars cheaper than the soon to be released Rekluse. And I can tell you it works flawlessly you can adjust the pull for the type of terrain your riding. I’m sold on this thing.

So far the Flex Bars I installed to help with the vibration has taken care of that problem plus I’ve come to really appreciate the feeling the Flex Bars provide.

Since I had borrowed the Flex Bars I decided to buy a set, I bought the Enduro version which is 31 inches wide and with a 12 degree sweep and set up for my top mount steering damper. I set them up for soft compression and rebound, they worked great.

I also installed a Tusk fan kit, the price was right and they say the TPi bikes run hotter, so I decided to be pro active about this, don’t think I’ve needed it so far though. Well I was surprised during my Chalk Bluff ride on a moderate heat wise day the fan came on a lot and stayed on for a while. It’s set to come on at 190 degrees which is where most if not all the fans are set to come on. Based on it staying on and for other reasons I’m going to buy a better battery, don’t want the battery running down and having to adjust the Rekluse so I can bump start it.

During our ride at Chalk Bluff for those who don’t know it has very tight trails lots of switch backs, not side of the hill switch backs. This time of the year finding traction is tough, a lot of riders refer to this as like riding in dry mud. At the end of our ride my riding buddy tells me he was having trouble finding traction and I realized it was a non factor for me. The 300’s torque coupled with the Rekluse allowed me to ride most of the time in third gear so spinning the rear tire wasn’t a problem.

I’ve got 9 hrs on the bike now and have ridden it just about everywhere I typically ride, including a return to the scene of my racing accident Prairie City’s Hang Town track. I was very timid for most of the time I spent there, I did become more comfortable on the 300 but it in its self is different than riding my FC450 on a MX track. The AT-81 tires work ok, I noticed the wear on the rear is certainly greater than the same tire that initially came on my 250XCW, power difference no doubt.

I’m going to put more time on it and will report back later.

Doug 21J

 

Wednesday
Sep182019

60th Reunion but Still Riding Strong!

A very short story

Last weekend I went to my 60th high school class reunion. I went to school in the Antelope Valley which translated means Lancaster and Palmdale CA, which today would translate into your basic shit hole.

When I grew up there it was a magic little area, lots of green alfalfa fields, lot’s of trees as well. Both towns had about six thousands residents each. And sixty years ago which was the fifties it was a magical era. I lived the American Graffiti movie kind of life. Worked so I could have a car and could date girls, always had a couple of older friends who could take care of my Friday night alcohol needs?

I’ve attended all of my class reunions and of course the class gets smaller each time. There were about ninety people total at this year’s event and that’s counting couples about the same as the fifty fifth. I always look forward to seeing who’s still here and reacquainting with everyone. There’s still about eight of us who went to grammar school together.

The invitations use to say 5PM until, then 5PM until 12PM and now they say 5PM until 8:30PM, no just kidding it’s still 5PM until 11PM and I was among the hand full still sitting around talking near eleven, but even I was gone by 11PM.

For those who could remember we had the chance to stand up tell everybody who we were, where we’re living how many children, grand children and great grand children we had.

It’s been interesting reflecting back over the reunions the 10th was in many ways the most interesting. Ten years out of high school most had completed their educations and were definitely into impressing their fellow classmates just how successful they had become. I’m going to guess even those who didn’t own a big fancy car rented one. The 20th everyone was a little more settled in and found the need to impress wasn’t as great as the 10th. By the 30th people were just eh and certainly by the sixty they only thing you bragged about was you were still here and just maybe you looked a little better than so and so.

The old adage if the class gets any smaller we will be able to meet in a phone booth doesn’t apply, I don’t remember the last time I saw a phone booth.

 

Doug 21J

 

 

Monday
Aug052019

Tinkering Might Be An Obsession!

Doug's New Project

When you have a racing accident or any time you find yourself incapacitated for any length of time and find yourself with too much time on your hands as I recently did, that can be a very dangerous thing. And in my case that proved to be all to true.

I started thinking, a very scary prospect in my case and came up with the bright idea to sell a couple of my bikes so I could buy a brand new one.

So that’s what I did while recovering from my Hangtown crash and hospital stay. I cleaned up my 2017 Husky FC450 that I used for motocross and sold it within a couple of weeks advertising it. Then I cleaned up my 2017 KTM 250XCW and sold it within an hour of advertising it. Which tells me I probably sold it to cheap and it is a very desirable bike.

 

So what did I buy, a 2020 Husky TE300 TPi? Why, I wanted a 300 when I bought the 250, I had thought about converting it to a 300 but never did. I spent a lot of time working with a Smart Carb that I had installed on the 250. Even did a bunch of videos on it, had about a three page article already written about the Smart Carb, then one day it started bogging in 5th and 6th gear if I hammered it through those gears. I spent several months working with the people at Smart Carb trying to figure out why it all of a sudden it started doing that. Even went back to the Mukuni just to see if it was the bike, the Mukuni ran fine. I finally gave up, so that was part of my thinking or rationalizing for buying a new bike. The Smart Carb people could not been better to work with and the Carb did everything it was advertised to do, I was very happy with it until I wasn’t. I wouldn’t hesitate recommending them though. 

So now I have one bike to ride off road with and the same bike to ride motocross with. I’ve only had two short trail rides on it. It’s only been 57 days since my racing accident so I’m trying to take it easy.

What I can tell so far is WOW the fuel injected motor is amazing, it runs just as clean and crisp as a four stroke no matter what gear you’re in, it just pulls. The 300 definitely suits my style of riding, I’ve always liked to torque it around and this motor certainly does that. Husky made lots of changes to the two stroke line up this year. I’m not sure KTM made the same kinds of changes. Husky has been slowly making changes to their lineup and are becoming very different from their brother KTM’s.

 

Husky changed the Carbon fiber sub frame it’s lower than before and the seat is also lower I think it’s an overall of about 20mm. You can definitely feel the difference when you swing a leg over it and while riding. They are using the same linkage ratios as the MX models this year. They moved the motor forward 1% which doesn’t sound like much but it supposedly puts more weight on the frontend to improve turning, which it does. I believe they made some frame geometry changes as well. The pipe and muffler off the 2017-2019’s will not fit on the 2020’s. I think the motor up dates, fuel injection, pipe, muffler and   mounting changes are the same on both brands.

 

I couldn’t have imagined that the 2020 Husky TE300TPi could have improved this much over a 2017 KTM 250XCW. Now I know the KTM has a PDS rear shock and the Husky has linkage. One is a 250 and the other a 300 and the 250 has a wide ratio and the 300 feels like a close ratio and for me works much better. They both have the Explor Forks. But the husky feels a little lower, corners better and just feels more together. But both bikes suspension felt/feel very good and I found no need to revalve the 250. However if I use the 300 for motocross I may not be able to stiffen up the suspension enough, we will see.

The only negative I’ve found so far is the TE300 comes with solid mount handle bars the TX comes with rubber mounted handle bars. So I noticed vibration, on the roads, my hands started to buzz a little. So I put Flex bars on it for the second ride and that helped.

I’ll up date you as I put more time on it.

Doug 21J

 

 

 

Saturday
Jul272019

Crash Wisdom from an Experienced Rider!

This is not a sob story although it starts out kind of like one.

Weeks ago I was at my clubs International Old Timers Motocross annual race at the Hangtown National track. This was my first race back from major surgery at the end of last year. My plan was simple take it easy and I started out that way by letting everyone go on my starting gate. I waited until they had all gone through the first corner before I took off, so far so good. I started catching and passing riders on my row, I felt good and was riding well. While going up a long uphill section I noticed going down the downhill was a rider in my class I couldn’t believe I had caught up to him, I never beat him. Then at the bottom of the long downhill just before an obstacle called the Ant Hill I see this same rider just on the other side of the anthill and was thinking wow I caught up to him very fast.  I think I can pass him before the end of the race. Well that small loss of focus allowed me to go up and over the anthill way to fast and when I landed on the other side I shot sideways off the track. I hit a bank on another part of the track. For an instant I thought, I’m not going fast so this should not be too bad. Wrong, I was shocked just how hard I hit I did not expect that. I hit so hard on my right side the shock from it caused most of the injuries to happen on my left side. Two fractured ribs and a collapsed lung on the right side, but on the left side I suffered five broken ribs, one of them in two places and it caused a punctured lung. Not only that my heart was knocked out of rhythm it was going from say 75 to 175 then back down to 90 and back up to 160 and so on. After five days in the ICU I went home to recover which is what I’m doing now.

All of this started me thinking that this could have been much worse had I not been wearing all the protective gear I put on before each ride. The helmets I use are all fairly new and are the latest in head injury technology; I wear a chest protector that has spinal protection and cups for my shoulders. I wear a neck brace and all the other gear we would consider the minimum to go riding. The new neck braces offer so much more freedom of movement and comfort. I’m not really aware I’m wearing one anymore.    

I broke my chest protector I hate to think how my shoulder would have fared without that protection. If I hit my head it didn’t bother me the new helmets are amazing you can have a good wrap on the head and not feel it. So why am I saying all of this…who cares? Well I do for one I want as much protection as I can reasonably wear. I believe my neck brace saved me from at the very least a sore neck in this incident. 

I see lots of riders young and old who don’t wear any protection other than what is considered the minimum. I’ve always wondered why, why wouldn’t you want to give yourself the best possible chance to survive a crash and as we all know it’s a matter of when not if.

The usual story is it makes me feel uncomfortable or I just don’t like it, no one says that about a helmet or boots. Well we may all complain about them from time to time but would we even consider not wearing them.

When you start getting older recovering from any injury takes a little longer, you would think the older riders at least would think about that. But I’m sure most or all of this is this is how I’ve always done it.

The young riders who don’t wear extra protection, especially the young pro riders who set an example for other young riders bothers me. Why wouldn’t a parent want their kids wearing as much protection as possible? But when you have the top pro motocrossers not wearing extra protection it makes it more difficult for a parent to insist their kids wear the extra protection. There are a few of the top riders who do wear neck braces.

I recently watched a long interview with Jimmy Button, for us older riders we all know who Jimmy Button is. As most of you know he suffered a spinal injury that took him years to recover from and he still has lots of issues he deals with every day. He started a foundation call “The Road to Recovery” for injured riders. The foundation deals with lots of spinal cord injured rider’s mostly young riders. I was shocked at the number of young riders they help every year who suffered spinal injuries some are now dealing with some form of paralysis. Maybe just maybe some of those injuries could have been prevented by simply wearing a neck brace.

 

Just some food for thought from an old rider who just got the shit beat out of him.

 

Doug 21J

Monday
Jun102019

Best Dual Sport Ride Ever!

 

A couple of weeks ago Stan, Scott, Terry and I had the best dual sport ride ever. Another friend of mine Eric #33 always says at the end of any ride “Best Ride Ever” I’ve been with him many times and heard him say that, even after some really so, so rides. So I finally asked him, why do you say that after every ride. And he says this could be my last ride so until I ride again the last one is always going to be the Beast Ride Ever, hard to argue with that, I always give a big thank you to whoever might be listening up above for allowing me to do this one more time.

So it was easy to say Best Ride Ever, but in this case I’ve ridden twice since that ride, but I still believe this was this Dual Sport Ride ever. And I’m not alone in that feeling all of us felt the same way, until we have another ride that is better than this one.

So what made this ride so great? First good friends it’s always better when the company is great, so we had that going first of all. Secondly Stan has lived most of his life in the area. He’s probably been on most of the roads in the area hauling logs; I’m going to guess for forty or fifty year’s worth. Thirdly he also knows a lot about the history.

We started our ride at Stan’s house in Nevada City we were on KTM’s and one Husky and before I forget we did not ride on any single track, it’s been raining for what seems like forever here in Northern California. The single tracks would have been too wet that day, we were lucky in that we did this ride in between storms. Besides we weren’t looking to do any single track just as many dirt roads as we could.

After leaving Nevada City through backs streets we headed in the general direction of Downieville we wound our way on both sides of Hwy 49, mostly on the west side of 49 and a little on the west side of Hwy 20. The weather was cold, but not too cold, sunny but not hot, misty but not rainy, just about perfect in other words. We actually did find a little dust or I did anyway I was in the back most of the time. Most of the roads were wet, some muddy and some slippery just about perfect. The scenery was spectacular everything was green and lush; lots of little water falls that will disappear when summer gets here. It’s hard to describe just how beautiful it was. We would ride through little communities through and around ranches. We’d stop and Stan would tell us something interesting about that particular area, doesn’t get better than that.

Give you an idea of just one of Stan’s stories. We rode on an old stage coach line road that went all the way to Reno. The section we road on was called I believe Henness Pass Road. And was a section that went up and down a very steep canyon. The story behind the name was, way back when they were considering replacing old Hwy 40 that ran through the Sierras they were considering this old stage coach road. Well a legislator thought he could get rich so he bought lots of property in the area. They instead decided to build what is now Hwy 80 that runs next to old Hwy 40. One would assume the legislator lost his ass and of course his name was Henness. (Not sure about the spelling of his name) So in honor of his folly came the name Henness Pass Rd. Even if this story isn’t quite true it still makes for a good story.

This section we rode on was quite the engineering feat there were many places that simply had to be filled in, in order to continue the road. They had to blast the rock in order to build the road and used that to fill in the parts of the road they couldn’t blast in order to have a somewhat less twisted road especially when you consider a stage coach and a six or eight up horse teams to navigate the road. They did a very good job of fine tuning the last part of the fill creating a good surface for the coach, the surface is crappy now. (Several of the pictures show the stone wall workmanship) Most of those sections that had to be filled were probably a hundred to one hundred fifty feet to the bottom. It was surprising just how many of these filled in sections there were. Those were some very hardy people in those days. I’m not sure I would have wanted to ride in a stage coach up and down that canyon.

We finished our 100 + mile ride in time for a late afternoon lunch at the Northridge restaurant in Nevada City. This gave us the opportunity for each of us talk about our ride, since most of the time we were sort of in our own bubble with our helmets on.

Stan and I are going to do this ride again in a week or so before things start to dry up.

Doug 21J