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Old 05-01-2012, 02:37 AM   #46
novaboy
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Hey Andrew,

Great thread BTW. I just got into ridng dirt bikes, and I'm thinking of doing a harescramble later this summer once I get some more time on the bike. For me its just for fun for now, as I picked up a nice 03 XR250R. Not a race weapon.

It was nice to hear the Watt's school is worth the money, he's coming through our area, but I can't make it this year, most definitely next year.

Good luck with the toe, and the rest of the race season. Look forward to hearing more, because I'm learning a lot from everyone posting here.
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:57 AM   #47
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Andrew,
I'd have to agree with you questioning the rekluse. This last race I was thinking about how sometimes the rekluse takes too long to hook up. I'm losing drive out of corners.
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:14 AM   #48
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Once again, sorry for lack of pics....

http://andrewgore.net/?p=573

I'm working to improve myself as a rider. If anything, just to be safer as I get faster. I knew I had to at some point attend a school. I had been to a Tony Distefano MX School back in 1999 when I was a bit more active in racing MX. That was a blast & when I had re-entered the dirt world competing in trials, I knew I needed schooling and sought out the experts down at The Trials Training Center in Tennessee. I really wanted something off-road related, and as soon as I saw a school close by, I jumped at the opportunity.

Shane Watts school opened up close by, so I signed up the day registration opened. I wasn't taking any chances. I signed up and waited the 2 months or whatever it was for the weekend to roll around. Thankfully I conned a buddy of mine to take the class with me, so we were able to split the fuel for the 5.5 hour drive, hotel, and help keep me occupied while driving.

Saturday AM rolled around, and I'm not sure about anyone else, but I was anxious. Anxious to ride, anxious to see what we'd be learning, anxious to see just where I was doing things wrong. The morning began with a short pep-talk from Shane Watts, followed by a quick warmup around a short .5 - 1 mile long loop through the woods down at the Cahokia Creek Dirt Riders facility. It was a rather simple loop with a couple twisty sections, turns, sand, roots, small ruts, and all the standard stuff you'd see in a race (aside from extreme elevation changes).

Immediately after the warmup, we began in with breaking things down to the basis. Plain & simple is how Shane does things. You start with building blocks, stack them up, and apply them all towards the end of the day. Shane also kept things extremely structured in his overall method of how the "classroom" time went. Shane discussed what we would be doing, key elements, etc etc. This was followed up by some demo's done by Shane, followed by adding in additional key points for us to remember. After this, we would begin applying what we were taught and were sent to practice in the field. Shane would watch us all, make comments on what we were doing right or wrong. After 10 minutes or so of practicing the techniques, we'd pause for a few, discuss things, and then go back out for a little longer; continuing on with practicing what we were just taught. It was a great process to use to be able to handle the wide range of rider ability throughout the class.

As I said, it was all about building blocks. Slowly adding things in, finishing with tying it all together. Saturday began with working on throttle control, brake control, and body position. We tied these couple skills into a fun drag race\braking exercise. A line of 4 of us would drag race down a field, click through a gear or two, and then have to brake as quickly as we could at the finish line. What a great exercise to work on throttle, feeding out the clutch, modulating power and then at the end have to do the exact opposite and work on keeping the rear tire on the ground, not locked up, and keep the front tire gripping as much as possible. Despite being work, it was a blast.

The day progressed, to where we began working on the Square Drill. A simple exercise of setting up 4 cones, and basically doing all you can to keep the bike in a constant drift around the 4 cones. Now in a car, I'd honestly have no issue at all, even a quad. But hop on a bike and try to do the same and it's a total PITA. Despite it being a PITA, like Shane said, it's an absolute blast. We all struggled to drift for even 1/4 circle, but we all made progress. This exercise faded into us doing laps around a grass track. A grass track that was getting more and more slick as the drizzles that began falling, turned into heavier rain. The day concluded with us completing more Square Drill exercises. All of us exhausted, my upper body was being destroyed from fighting the bike, trying to keep it vertical, while keeping the rear end pitched out all while having Shane yell "Go FASTER!!! PICK UP YOUR SPEED!!". Our coach knew we needed to wrap things up, so we headed home (er Super 8) to clean up and refill on some much needed food.

Sunday morning I woke up to dark skies and a serious threat of rough rain ahead. By the time we were ready to go, we rolled out to get some quick breakfast. While in the health food *cough* mcdonalds *cough* establishment, the rains began. We sat looking as the sky was pitch black, pouring down an intense rain. All I could think was: "this is going to be a long day". Thankfully by the time we got back to the Cahokia Creek Dirt Riders grounds, the rain had stopped, allowing us to gear up and get ready for more riding.

Just as Saturday began with some warmup laps on the practice loop, so did Sunday. This time it was much more wet, with large puddles, but a bit more slippery. Oddly enough, I found myself pressing harder. I was more confident in placing my wheels in what I'd normally think were slick conditions. I was on the gas harder and pushing faster than I was even the morning before in the dry. I felt really positive and prepared myself for the days work ahead.

Things started out with working on corner ruts. Navigating them, entering properly, looking the correct way, and appropriate throttle on the way out. This exercise ended and followed by the dreaded Square Drill. I wasn't looking forward to this, but knew it had to be done. As soon as we got out there, things began to click. I was holding consistent drifts. I'm sure I looked like a total goofball, floundering around trying everything to keep the bike going, but the more loops I did, the better it was. I was holding constant circles, I was feeling great, then heard Shane yell to me "GO faster....Push yourself!". Not wanting to let the coach down, I did and amazingly enough, I was doing the exact same thing, but at higher and higher speeds. Not perfect, for sure, but an absolute blast.

The day wound up with us working on a "grinding" technique; riding with wheels on the opposite sides of a downed telephone pole, while riding the length of it, which tied into us putting the techniques into action out on a small ravine climb out in the woods. Shane again gave us a demo on how it was done, along with several alternate routes up a ravine that left us all smiling, dreaming of being as good of a rider as him. After the demo it was our turn. It was a small uphill, that swooped to the right, with a tree root across the thing right at the top of the climb. Not too major of a climb, but it was slippery, and the climb was well V'd out from the rain running down it. First time up I got stuck behind the guy in front of me, and didn't make it non-stop up the hill. The next attempt, I was more ambitious and pressed a bit harder. I went in at about 3/4 throttle in 2nd gear and made it up, though had to put a foot down. I wasn't happy with that. Next go at it, I knew I had to just man up, full throttle 2nd gear and just roosted into the climb. My front tire followed the left side of the climb, with my rear sitting nicely in the middle of the thing. I came to the root at the top and gave it a touch more gas to really get me up and through. The root kicked me a good 10-15 feet down the trail. Unfortunately It also kicked me to the left onto the side wall dirt. As I picked up my bike, I heard Shane yelling "YAHHHH AWESOME!!!". I couldn't help but laugh as it just felt great to get up the hill so quickly. I ran the hill another time, a bit more subdued at the root, and felt like I had made some great headway in my skills.

At this point, Sunday was winding down as we all worked our way out of the woods. We were tired, the day had gone incredibly well, and it was time for things to come to a close. Shane gave us some ending inspiring words sending us off to go ride and just enjoy riding. I know I for sure felt thrilled. I have no doubt in myself that my skills and confidence have gone through the roof. I knew I could hold some good speed before this, but the little things I picked up from the class have just helped me take things to a whole new level. I'm stoked, I'm feeling great, and ready for the races to come this year. I'm looking forward to putting what I learned into practice in this weekends race.

-Andrew
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:19 AM   #49
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Nice review Andrew!
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:22 AM   #50
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You really need to race this weekend. The D23 opener at Cambridge is Sunday. Coincidence???
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:29 AM   #51
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Fox Valley Off-Road has a race this weekend. Little bit closer.

Andrew
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:19 AM   #52
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Hey Andrew-

AWESOME review of the dirtwise school- I'm going to one with Raines in a few weeks and im all jacked up about it!

One tip I've learned from breaking lots of things is to use zip ties to hold your shrouds to your radiators. If you dont have braces with relocating brackets on them, just use zipties to fasten the lower, leading edges of the shrouds.

If something grabs the shroud, it'll just pop the ziptie, instead of tweaking or ripping your radiators up. I learned this the hard way.
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:41 AM   #53
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Sponsors: The ones who make it happen.

I've realized that I haven't gone too much into detail in regards to my sponsors. The ones who really help me out and make a lot of this racing nonsense possible. I can't thank them enough for all they do. Check them out.

Three R Plastics Inc.

This is my fathers Injection Molding & Mold Making company. He opened up shop in 1994, and has managed to weather difficult times in manufacturing that have taken out others. This hasn't happened by accident. The quality of work produced at Three R Plastics has spoken for itself. Not always the cheapest on the block, but the level of service that is provided consistently goes above and beyond customer expectations. If you've got a unique product you're looking for help bringing to the market, or just need something machined up for a bike project, Three R Plastics will get it done for you.

Economy Cycle

I was introduced to John & Terry @ Economy Cycle when I first got back into motorcycles just after high school. I was all mixed up in vintage 2-strokes, and they helped set me straight. John & Terry provide incredible service to the local motorcycle community, and are an invaluable asset to the vintage 2-stroke riders. You name it, they've got (or will do whatever to get) for you. They've continued to support me through my various competition ventures. I look forward to a continued partnership with them in the years to come.

Helmet-Hook

Helmet-Hook was the result of me continually dropping my helmet while on off-road rides up north. I'd either twist my mirror in a funky way, or come out from a restaurant to see my helmet cracked onto the ground. The Helmet-Hook is so nice and convenient that I can keep one mounted on my race bike, and not have it ever get in the way. Just one of them simple things that made me say "Why didn't I make this thing sooner?".

On top of the above sponsors, my family continues to be invaluable to me. I've got an incredibly wonderful wife who continues to motivate me to not only continue with training and proper nutrition, but also encourages me with my racing. Simply put, she's amazing.

-Andrew
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Old 05-04-2012, 07:21 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by snarf View Post
Hey Andrew-

AWESOME review of the dirtwise school- I'm going to one with Raines in a few weeks and im all jacked up about it!

One tip I've learned from breaking lots of things is to use zip ties to hold your shrouds to your radiators. If you dont have braces with relocating brackets on them, just use zipties to fasten the lower, leading edges of the shrouds.

If something grabs the shroud, it'll just pop the ziptie, instead of tweaking or ripping your radiators up. I learned this the hard way.
Great tip. This woulda saved my race for sure.

Last night I went to prep the bike for the weekend. I've been trying to be Mr. Prepared with things, keeping spares on hand, fresh pads\bearings\etc, in case they gotta be changed quick snap before a weekend. Long story short, I went to install fresh brake pads last night, and much to my dismay, the rears I ordered up......wrong ones. It'd be fine if they had any pad left, but I apparently roached them pretty good at the Shane watts school.

Worst case I got "ol faithful" ready to roll:


Andrew
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Old 05-08-2012, 02:14 PM   #55
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Another tough day at the races.

The morning started well, a good breakfast, followed by loading up the truck and getting off on the road. The weather reports showed that rain wouldn't be a factor until the later evening, and the sky seemed to echo the same. We arrived at Fox Valley Off-Road in time to see my friend head up to the starting line for his earlier race. Just as the flag was dropped, the rains came.

For the next 30 minutes, the rain poured down. I made the hike down to registration, and despite my better judgement, thought "this is gonna be fun", handed over my AMA\District cards and money and get signed up. About 40 minutes into the rain, it let up a bit, so I got myself geared up, thinking it'd be raining for the rest of the day. As I finished gearing up, I saw my friend riding up to my truck. I thought it was odd, as it was only 45 minutes into his 90 minute race. He looked spent, and said the hills were terrible, and it seemed they were cutting some of them out.

My time came to fire up the bike. The sun was beginning to show itself, and the rain had all but subsided at this point. I did some practice loops on an oval next to the pits. The XR felt good, but definitely wasn't the Husky I would have rather of been on. Starting an older 4-stroke is a little different than it's newer 2-stroke counterpart, but it was what it was, and I was glad I was able to make it to the line.

The starting line was just slop. As soon as I set my feet down, the mud caked onto my boots. It was more of a soft and squishy clay than a wet dirt type mud. I knew it was gonna be hell, and really wished I had the Michelin S12XC tires over the tires the XR had on it. I knew the tires wouldn't shed the mud as I needed, but it was what it was. I got my game face on, and when the flag drop, was thrilled to have the mighty XR fire up first kick and pull me off and away. From what I gathered from the start, I managed to take off in 2nd or 3rd place.

Things got more and more sketchy as the course went on. My tires instantly caked in with mud. No matter how much I spun up the rear, the tire wasn't shedding the mud. I did my best to keep the tips Shane Watts gave me in mind, but it grew more and more difficult. There were really only 2 real hill-climbs in the race, and they were pretty mellow. Unfortunately, if 1 person gets hung up on one, it messes you up pretty quick and its just a domino affect. Each time this happened sapped more and more energy from myself.

First lap wasn't pretty at all, and the 2nd lap wasn't getting any better. In normal conditions, this track woulda been easy, far too easy. Unfortunately my bike was going all over the place. No matter how fast I'd push myself, the front tire wouldn't shed the mud and slipped around like a sportbike tire in the slop. After running through timing and scoring, I found myself coming to an off-camber section. Earlier laps I went high and shoulda stayed a bit lower. This time I messed up, went low and upon doing so, spun out, casing the bottom of the bike into a tree. Nothing major, but by now, the sun was out and me & the bike were feeling the heat.

My body was over-heating sitting on top of the air-cooled beast. The bike for some reason was being a royal PITA to start, and I was stuck in an odd precarious position on the trail. I managed to push the bike into a position where I could kick the thing. Unfortunately due to all the mud, the kick starter would continually stay down after each kick. Suffice to say, I was at my witts end. I saw my buddy who raced earlier standing on the trail by where I was. He was getting a good chuckle out of my situation. I set the bike down (gently mind you), and walked off a couple feet to cool myself from the bike. I needed energy to get the bike going and get up and running.

Unfortunately when I got back to the bike, it was no easier to start. This seemed odd, as normally even when hot, the bike would start 1st or 2nd kick, every time. After plenty of kicks, I finally fired it up, only to hear an awful tick coming from the head. At this point I cursed the day 4-strokes were born, assessed my situation, and realized at this point I wasn't having any fun. I was frustrated with the bike, myself, and the mud. I knew I had to just call it before I hurt me, the bike, or anything else.

I rolled back to the pits, feeling defeated, but better as soon as I got my gear off me. We loaded up, and made our way home. I accepted the day for what it was, and looked to ways I could improve things. So despite the race itself being a bit of a letdown, it was at least a continued learning experience. So things I learned:

1. If there is ANY chance of rain in the forecast, bring the enclosed trailer. Gearing up in the front seat of a truck is a pain. No thanks.

2. Invest in some mud tires. It'll cost a little bit to have them on hand, but they really could change the outcome of a race.

3. Warm weather gear needs addressing. I need to find an alternative to the pressure suit. I like the protection, but it'll make me over-heat in a hurry.

4. Don't invite family to first Harescramble of the season.....especially if it's gonna be a wet\soupy one. They got to see me get tossed from the bike as I crossed over a tall log by the timing\scoring section. I'm sure plenty amusing for them. haha

All in all, not a terrible weekend. I got to inspect the XR, and it was good I stopped when I did. One of the tappet nuts came off and was floating around in the head. Thankfully it caused no damage, and I was able to fish it out of the head. I'm ready to go back for another one, but will feel much better being on my Husqvarna.

I'll post up pics when I get them from my Dad.

-Andrew
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Old 05-22-2012, 02:01 PM   #56
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Well this past weekend was spent re-energizing my riding batteries. A lot of time spent on the bike, in a non-competitive, non-race situation. Granted I still pushed myself while tooling around, but in a way that just puts a big ol smile on my face. Me & 2 other riding friends loaded up the toy-hauler and drove due North to the great y00per (The Upper Peninsula of Michigan). The plan was to ride some fun 2-track loops based around our camp & if we were up for it, hit up some of the local singletrack. Some\most of the pics courtesy JZEE

The 3 bike crew:


JZEE on the KTM 530xcw
Jburroughs12 on the Honda XR350R
Me on the Husky WR250

We were all having a blast out there. Essentially all of the 300ish miles we rode, we didn't pass a single other dirtbike\4x4\ATV\UTV\ORV\Car\Truck\Bus\Logging operation. It was just some good pure fun. I realized immediately I shoulda re-geared my Husky. The OEM 13/48 gearing left a lot to be desired in the speed department. On these same trails on my 450, I could cruise 10-15mph faster and not feel like I was revving the snot out of the bike. My fault for not gearing up for the ride properly. Not the end of the world, but in some of the more open riding (and sandy areas), I really like to open the bikes up, and being topped out around 65-70mph, just wasn't enough.

On the 2nd day of riding, just after a rockier section....followed by a high speed whoop section, I was flagged down, with John & Joe pointing at the rear of my bike. I thought I had some deadly animal attacking me, but soon found the problem.


A rock (presumably) shot up a hole through the center of the rear fender, and the following whoop section sealed the deal and that rear fender was toast. No biggy. First some duct tape, which was the replaced by just looping the thing onto my Nomad Rider pack. Initial repairs took place at the local Ace Hardware:



After that, we continued riding, and remembered part way through the 2nd day that the loop we were on, was one of our least favorite. It had a few road sections & way too much gravel road for our liking. It wasn't much, but more than we'd care for. There were a couple more spirited sections, but nothing overwhelming. It'd be a better loop if you're worn out on harder riding & just looking to have a more relaxing final day of riding. When we got back, Joe had the look of "I need some singletrack", so we tossed our gear back on, filled up the camelbak & around 6:30pm rolled out to go hit up the Bass Lake singletrack loop (videos earlier in thread).

I started out on the Husky and Joe on the XR. I figured I'd offer up the Husky to him, since he's more used to a 250 2T. He gladly swapped, and I gotta say I was quite happy to really ride the bike on some more aggressive trails. What a blast. That bike was so much fun. I was able to maintain a 15-20mph speed on the loop without trying too hard and was just having a blast while doing it. The only downer with the bike was the rear drum brake. I may have overshot a few turns and ended up in the weeds, but what a blast. I'm really loving that little bike.

Day 3 was our last, and unfortunately cut short. Before we rolled out, I pulled the Rekluse autoclutch from the bike. I didn't miss it on the XR the day before and figured it'd be a good chance to really test the bike out without it in there. Things started out really well, but unfortunately about 20 miles into the loop, I came down from a roller, and noticed when I got on the gas, that it felt like the rear wheel was spinning. Odd, but it seemed to grab again, so I figured it popped out of gear. Again, another roller and this time it felt out of gear for good. I pulled the clutch cover and immediately saw the problem. My primary gear (on the crank), the nut had backed off and was somewhere in the engine.

I tore things down mid trail and found that the nut thankfully fell in an area where it caused NO damage, but then found that the keyway on the crank\primary gear had sheered itself. I also destroyed my clutch cover gasket in the process of all this, but knew at this point, I wasn't riding that bike under it's own power back to camp:


With that we figured the weekend was done. We just had to get back to camp. Luckily we were only a couple miles from a paved road, and luckily I had a tow strap in my kit, so we were off.......and with that I have the pic of shame:





Stuff happens, I'm just glad nothing more went wrong. A 2$ keyway, and 10$ in gaskets and the husky will be back in action for another day. I learned a lot though on the trip. For one, I immediately listed my Rekluse for sale. I just don't need it. Shane Watts was spot on with his assessment on how it affects the bike. I just had to see\feel it for myself. I found I also learned to ride wheelies on the WR really well. Apparently all the tooling around on the XR translated over, as I can now click through all 5 gears and just rest at the balance point for as long as I want.

I also feel I need to do some work to my suspension. Higher speed stuff, the Husky is pretty good. Low speed stuff, the XR feels so confidence inspiring, and feels like you're riding on pillows. Low speed the WR feels like it's being jarred like mad. High speed on the XR.....well you just don't. lol I'm really looking forward to my next race, whenever it may be. I'm just gonna go have fun with it. I found while riding the singletrack loop, that yes I could push myself super fast right off the bat, but I lose energy too quickly, and overshoot things. If I tone it back to 80-90%, I overall end up much faster. Heck, we rode the loop in 1:35. Not bad at all, considering the last time I rode it, I finished in 1:45.

I'm ready for riding.

Andrew
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Old 05-22-2012, 02:07 PM   #57
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Additional Pics

Joe on the Majestic XR:


If yah can't duck it:


My Helmet-Hooks were AWESOME on the trail & while stopped for food\fuel:


My on the go pre-mix solution (they're even autoclavable):


Just before the fateful incident:


I'll take more pics in the future....I promise.

-Andrew
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Old 05-23-2012, 01:43 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by andrewgore View Post

I also feel I need to do some work to my suspension. Higher speed stuff, the Husky is pretty good. Low speed stuff, the XR feels so confidence inspiring, and feels like you're riding on pillows. Low speed the WR feels like it's being jarred like mad. High speed on the XR.....well you just don't.

I've had similar issues with my TE and made some improvements. If you're interested in DIYing it, look over here: http://www.cafehusky.com/threads/diy...s-shock.23893/ The particular parts are different, but it sounds like the same approach might help your bike too.
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:29 AM   #59
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Sounds like you made a wise choice in that mud Andrew by pulling off. Sometimes the bike/course/weather really can conspire against you. I'm usually the last guy to quit a race, but it's hard enough fighting the course much less an ill handling bike.There are some "A" level riders that race our "Evo" class on XR250/350's and it's amzing how fast they can go on those bikes!
I lived in Michigan in my youth and never got to ride anywhere other than the family farms...so I'm jealous! Interesting about you selling your rekluse. I can see how it might not work out for you as it does have it's drawbacks.
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Old 05-23-2012, 07:13 AM   #60
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Luke,
I like how you setup the camera to watch what the suspension was doing. Great idea that I'll have to implement. I read through your thread on tuning your suspension. I may do a little more tuning on the suspension myself, and have read over oodles of posts about the Marzocchi 45mm forks, and all the different modding\tuning people do. Maybe it's time I order up a pile of shims to do some proper tuning. Though for the price of that, I could send out the suspension during my downtime I got right now. Might not be a bad idea. I'll do some research this week\next.

Tbone,
I felt that the Rekluse taught me 1 key thing. Use the clutch less. With trials background, I'd been conditioned to non stop using the clutch. While this isn't terrible, it can get draining. With having the Rekluse in, I've learned to just use the clutch less. I also found that the bike actually revved quicker & went faster without the Rekluse. It coulda been my imagination, or the road I was on coulda been more grippy or something, but I found it topped out 5th gear quicker than it did the day before.

Right now just really itching to get back out riding. Gotta wait on Husky parts before I do anything though, and got a wedding to go to in Texas this weekend, so I got some time.

Andrew
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