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Old 04-07-2015, 01:36 AM   #1
Fifi OP
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Bluhduh Mechanical sympathy vs learning new or faster riding technique.

I spent a good chunk of time after I left school as a motor mechanic, and come from a road bike background.

My time spent as a mechanic gave me a pretty strong dose of mechanical sympathy, and although I have ridden my bikes fairly hard and fast, I have also done so with a lot of care.

Coming from road bikes, where you can (I find anyways) ride them hard and fast whilst still being gentle on them if your actions are smooth enough, it was hard for me when I got my first dirt capable motorcycle (the one I currently own), learning fast / effective dirt or obstacle bike handling skills without my mechanical sympathy getting in the way too much.


Anyone else have this same mindset?
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Old 04-07-2015, 03:14 AM   #2
Aj Mick
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Not really….. on the road, or off, I ride to get around, and I like my bikes to last a good while. My current ride is 18 years old, and I have had it for 12. I used my previous ride for nearly 20 years before I gave it away.

Let racers go hard out giving bikes death, but even on the track smoothness helps.
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Old 04-07-2015, 04:33 AM   #3
trailer Rails
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Dirt bikes are built pretty tough. You don't need to have much sympathy for them. Keep in mind, a clutch is a wear item like brake pads. You have long travel suspension and bump stops for a reason. With some hand guards, radiator guards, and engine protection; you can pretty much throw the things down a hill without hurting them. The parts that you will hurt are inexpensive and easily replaced.

You can learn techniques that allow you overcome obstacles smoothly but in learning these skills, the bike will end up on the ground a lot. It will also feel like you are killing the clutch but it can take it. A trials bike will do a lot of good in advancing these skills, it all translates to other bikes.
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Old 04-07-2015, 04:46 AM   #4
trailer Rails
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This is one of my favorite threads about off road riding:

http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=972472
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Old 04-07-2015, 05:12 AM   #5
High Country Herb
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Mine is more of a bone and flesh sympathy.
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Old 04-07-2015, 05:17 AM   #6
LuciferMutt
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Interesting post.

I hate practicing emergency braking because I hate putting that much wear on the tires and brakes. I still do it occasionally, but I'm cringing the whole time.

I don't think I've ever hit the rev limiter on a bike. I certainly spend a fair amount of time in the upper third of the rev range, but I don't feel the need to braaaap it all the way out.
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Old 04-07-2015, 05:40 AM   #7
ExtremeRide
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It is my opinion that each bike wheter it is a trial or a dirt bike had to be run in first.
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Old 04-07-2015, 05:43 AM   #8
trailer Rails
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuciferMutt View Post
Interesting post.

I hate practicing emergency braking because I hate putting that much wear on the tires and brakes. I still do it occasionally, but I'm cringing the whole time.

I don't think I've ever hit the rev limiter on a bike. I certainly spend a fair amount of time in the upper third of the rev range, but I don't feel the need to braaaap it all the way out.

I think specifying they type of bike will be important in this thread. I am coming from a off road dirt bike point of view (250cc 2 and 4 stroke bikes). The rev limiter is something that gets used now and again, not really on purpose but it is nice of the manufacturer to put it there. Approaching a steep hill, I will have the bike pretty much on the rev limiter so that way as my speed drops once I am on the hill, it will still be making good power and I will not be trying to down shift on a hill.

In nasty rock gardens, I will rev the bike pretty high and slip the clutch a lot. The faster revving motor helps with balance and it is pretty much impossible to stall a motor when it is nearing the rev limiter. I just keep the clutch slightly pulled the whole time. The same technique applies to deep water crossings.

I apply a lot of the same principals to my DR650 but I don't do as rough trails on the DR, so it kinda gets treated a little nicer.


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Old 04-07-2015, 06:11 AM   #9
McRat
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When I get a new bike, I get a pain in my rear (my wallet I think) when I scratch it or lay it down. It goes away at the point where the bike becomes an extension of your body and you don't consciously think about it anymore while riding.

Only partially related. We bought a new Z06 Corvette once. 2 mi on the odo, plastic on the seats. I wasn't driving it past 50%.

Then my wife drove it to the store to get office supplies. Someone keyed the door about 3' long and down to the fiberglass.

Rather than cry about it, or get it repainted, it's next weekend was spent at the dragstrip, then the next at the AutoX. If you abuse it hard enough, it would click off 11.95@114 stock. At the AutoX, I looped the car (a beautiful 720°) at 70mph while wiping out traffic cones so hard, it tore the rear brake duct loose.

We had a lot of fun with that car AFTER we realized it wasn't for show. We went through about 20 tires, 3 rear ends, and a transmission. Still today, when I take it out for a brisk drive or an event, it takes an hour to wipe the grin off my face. Big Ass Gocart.

So take your new dirt bike and go scratch it. That's when the fun begins.
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Old 04-07-2015, 06:54 AM   #10
trailer Rails
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McRat View Post
When I get a new bike, I get a pain in my rear (my wallet I think) when I scratch it or lay it down. It goes away at the point where the bike becomes an extension of your body and you don't consciously think about it anymore while riding.

So take your new dirt bike and go scratch it. That's when the fun begins.
I got a new bike this past November. I show up on a ride with the shiny new bike, my buddy is also on his first ride on a new bike. There was a guy there in awe that we were about to take these bikes into the woods and scratch them all up. Within the first 60 seconds, I was on the ground. I had not gotten used to the handling of the new bike. It took half of the ride till I got used to the bike (KTM Freeride). I think my buddies bike hit the ground a couple times also. It is a toy. 5 months in and I have had to replace a few broken plastic shrouds. To a certain extent, if you can't afford to walk away form the bike in a flaming pile, you need to find a cheaper hobby you can afford. If the well being of the bike is holding your riding back (within limits, riding all day on the rev limiter or trying to cross 4' deep water is just stupid), it may not be the activity for you. Obviously, I would be very sad to lose a bike but it is not going to finically ruin me. Same goes for blowing up a motor, I'll fix it, maybe not right away. It is a toy and it is my hobby.

Watch a pro level enduro cross race and look at what abuse these machines can take. You probably will never subject your machine to that level of torture.
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Old 04-07-2015, 07:10 AM   #11
windblown101
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One of the issues I have with taking expensive bikes off-road is their cost and the cost to make them pretty again when they get dropped. I own a '05 KTM 525 and bang it up regularly. I don't mind it looking a little beat up, and plastics are cheap if I want to freshen it up. With regular maintenance it may outlast me.

On the other and I also own an KTM SM-T. Dropping it in the dirt is expensive!

So... as another poster or two mentioned - if you are worried more about the bike than your own bones, you might be on the wrong bike for any off-road work.

As for the wear and tear associated with off-road "abuse". If you're on the right bike it will take a lot and ask for more. But there is a reason maintenance intervals are in hours, not miles on an off-road machine.
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Old 04-07-2015, 07:23 AM   #12
Fifi OP
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I should probably add that I own an '07 DR650 that I purchased used. I ride it hard and I'm not really scared to tackle whatever a trail throws at me, I have thrown it down more than a few times, had it slide down a big-ass rock face climb over and over until I got it up etc.

What I'm trying to say I guess is, I always have that twinge once I tackle that huge climb/water crossing/rock garden about being so hard on the bike.

Not crying myself to sleep over it!
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Old 04-07-2015, 07:51 AM   #13
OrangeYZ
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Nope.
It's a collection of parts. They all have part numbers and they're all replaceable, though some of them can cause more wallet pain than others, and the idea of replacing all of them at once can make me think twice about trying a sketchy line.
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Old 04-07-2015, 08:05 AM   #14
Gripsteruser
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I'm in the mindset of mechanical sympathy.
Just don't want to break stuff that I'll have to fix.

Enough stuff has to get fixed as it is.....
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Old 04-07-2015, 08:19 AM   #15
strat10
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Ive learned a few things coming from the road side.

1. I seem to really like to blip the throttle hard going down a gravel road. Yes, its a ton o fun, but learned really quickly that its a great way to eat tires. My new 690 burned through a rear tire in 500 miles. Moral of the story is to learn throttle management.

2. cornering on a dirt bike (in dirt) is a different animal. I tend to want to lean into a corner, when its better to lean the bike, and put your weight on the outside peg.

Other than that, you will start to get it, and then things on the road bike seem to click a bit.

Have fun!
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