Dirt Bike History 101

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by kittycactus, Jan 21, 2008.

  1. nachtflug

    nachtflug infidel

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Oddometer:
    47,105
    Location:
    Harrys place
    as I sit here with a 465 Yamaha 100 feet away from me albeit outdoors in a garage.

    I knew I left somebody out.

    hey what about the 430 Husky's! The 495 KTM's!!
    #41
  2. RocketJ

    RocketJ Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Oddometer:
    674
    In the early days one could actually go faster, longer on a 250 even though they where pretty much the same otherwise. The 360 etc where much more rideable than the 501s.
    I used to "cheat" and win riding a 250 CZ in the open class. Once in a while, I would swap the yellow plastic tank for a red one and ride both classes.
    #42
  3. Easy-Z

    Easy-Z Me wanna be

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,432
    Location:
    Anchorage
    Thanks for starting this Kittycactus. I'll be watching this one closely to see if I can learn a thing or two.

    Off topic: I lived the first 25 years of my life in Michigan and never knew there was actually a town called Wolverine...... Huh! :huh

    Now my n00b question if you don't mind. Everyone always talks about how much better a monoshock is than having two. Because I've never asked, I can't figure out why that is. I'm sure it's obvious but can someone please enlighten me?
    #43
  4. RocketJ

    RocketJ Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Oddometer:
    674
    A couple of reasons.
    The main one has a lot to do with the state of damper (shock) art at the time. One of the enemies is heat, a smaller shock heats up faster and becomes ineffective. The shorter stroke of the mono allows the valving to respond quicker and by being larger it could have more complicated valving. it could also have a more progressive action due to the changing angles of the swingarm mount. volumes have been written on this stuff.
    #44
  5. motu

    motu Loose Pre Unit

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2001
    Oddometer:
    4,666
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Moving to monoshock was night and day - with 300mm (1 foot) travel front and rear you could ride in 4th or 5th gear on open trails,the bike just floating under you and kicking around a bit.NO WAY could you ride that fast on a twin shock bike and live.But the last of the top line bikes,like Husky,had very good twin shock suspension with 300mm travel and superior handling of course.

    The other big step after monoshock was power valves on 2 strokes.This transformed totaly violent instant snapping powerband bikes like the Husky into bikes with power from idle until your vision got blury.It was very hard to ride those powerband bikes....or at least for mere mortals like me.You had to get the bike lined up and pointing somewhere safe before you opened it up.It was like walking in front of someone swinging a length of 4x2 behind you....you knew it was going to connect sometime,'twas scary.
    #45
  6. Steady

    Steady Flogster

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2006
    Oddometer:
    281
    Location:
    Johannesburg South Africa
    Few photo's of my Dad taken in the 50's. Sadly he is no longer around but perhaps someone knows what these bikes are, all British I presume.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And a pic of my Suzuki 400 TS, loved that bike.

    [​IMG]
    #46
  7. kittycactus

    kittycactus Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    578
    Location:
    Wolvertucky, Michigan
    Okay, I’m starting to get a feel for general timelines and events that have taken place specific to the evolution of the dirt bike. I was really excited yesterday to learn about the Elsinore and what a huge impact its introduction made. I’ve heard many times that Honda changed everything and now I really understand why. I read Rick Sieman’s article, “The Amazing History of Honda Dirt Bikes!,” last night and that really embedded the information in my head. Were there any other events as monumental as Honda’s introduction of the Elsinore in 1973? I haven’t gotten my hands on any books yet, but I do have “Monkey Butt” ordered and there is a fair amount of information available online, so I‘m plugging away each night.

    It’s been about a week now since I sucked it up and admitted to myself that I didn’t know squat and decided to set aside my pride and start from square one; it’s been a fun journey so far. So thanks again for all the great responses, it means a lot to me and I appreciate the time you’ve all taken to help me out! :freaky
    #47
  8. nachtflug

    nachtflug infidel

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Oddometer:
    47,105
    Location:
    Harrys place
    there is still a lot of questions and points on the previous pages that need some responses too, but this is a good one and a very good one.

    hard one to answer, as the Elsinore made that big of a splash. But the RM's which came after the TM's really went over well, as of course did the
    Yamaha monoshock. The euro bikes never made the big spash, rather plodded along quietly making subtle changes and occasional new platforms such as the Maico Magnum and then the mighty 490 of 1981 (and 80?). Plodded along so quietly that one by one they fell by the wayside. :huh

    Disc brakes were greeted with some skepticisim on the Rokons, but they had the last laugh. Same with water cooling to a lesser degree.

    I think the best answer would be yes, there was as big an impact made as the Elsinore, but it came in a combined effort in the form of single shock rear suspension via the Monoshock, Suzuki Full Floater, Honda Pro Link, and Kawasaki Uni track.

    In bitter irony it was the beginning of the end for Maico. :cry :cry :cry
    #48
  9. nachtflug

    nachtflug infidel

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Oddometer:
    47,105
    Location:
    Harrys place

    sweet!!
    #49
  10. Gordy

    Gordy Team Listo

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2001
    Oddometer:
    23,356
    Location:
    NM
    Good thread guys! :thumb

    BTW;
    This month's issue of Dirt Bike has a good article on MX history. Lots of stuff about Hannah and Tripes.

    BTW, BTW,
    A twin shock Husky with Ohlins had a much better handling rear end than the first generation mono-hoppers. :nod
    #50
  11. El Hombre

    El Hombre Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,536
    Location:
    Alta Coma, California
    And probably the second and third generation. Up until Husky bailed on them in '85, the single shock bikes were still trying to figure out rising rate, damping curves, spring rates. They bottomed, pumped down, vicious kick in the ass off a sharp impact. Even the bike mags mentioned how good the Ohlins were. And given how little Husky spent on advertising, that was a revelation, knocking the Jap bikes and their ad budgets.

    After '85 everybody was in the same boat. And they eventually got it right.
    #51
  12. mtothef

    mtothef Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2006
    Oddometer:
    402
    Location:
    santa cruz, ca...
    back up a half a decade, pardner.

    first there were reed valves.

    before that, there were plain ol' piston port inductions or rotary valve intakes. god, i'd almost forgotten the days of accidentally loading up a bike and having to sit there with the throttle wide open while the bike popped and sputtered and cleared itself. yamaha were the ones who widely popularized reed valves, although the CR honda was the first legitimate jap MX bike and the repercussions of its introduction led to the rest of the japanese going crazy.

    as a result of the CR coming along, within three years of 1973, suzuki had gone from those hideous side-hopping TMs to the new RMs (and their factory bikes were winning world championships in all 3 classes) and yamaha had ditched the DT derived MX line and come out with the totally cool monoshock YZ bikes. everyone except honda was using reed valve engines, and the suspension race was fully on.

    it's kind of a trip to look back and see how bikes went from about five or six inches of travel around 1975 to a foot of travel by 1980-1982. also, trippy to see that by 1982, the ONLY manufacturer still using twin shock rear suspension was Husky.

    the power valves were the next step - early 80's - as the suspension revolution settled down, water cooling came into play, then power valves followed suit.

    then things sort of smoothed out for a decade or so until some jackasses decided to bring four strokes back...
    #52
  13. El Hombre

    El Hombre Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,536
    Location:
    Alta Coma, California
    Valleyrider, why don't you explain why there is the black tape on the fork legs?
    #53
  14. RocketJ

    RocketJ Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Oddometer:
    674
    Not exactly bike related, but a huge change from my perspective.
    The change to "extreme" or spectator oriented racing that followed indoor races. Even some of the best outdoor tracks started getting contrived triple and skyshot jumps. For me, it was never the same.:dunno
    #54
  15. Gordy

    Gordy Team Listo

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2001
    Oddometer:
    23,356
    Location:
    NM
    :nod The first thing we would do on a new bike was pull the cylinder and grind a little bit off of the intake skirt and mod the intake holes on the piston. That and maybe adjust the expansion chamber..............as if we knew what we were doing! :lol3
    #55
  16. nachtflug

    nachtflug infidel

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Oddometer:
    47,105
    Location:
    Harrys place
    I've got a Husky brouchure, its basically an 8x10 printed on heavy stock paper, it shows a Husky CR 500, 81? the one before the one like Gaspipes's white tanker.

    Anyway...the bike is surrounded by oriental type guys (have to keep it PC here) ..ok they were japs! with camera's taking pictures of it.

    Pretty cool shot I'll have to dig it up.
    #56
  17. nachtflug

    nachtflug infidel

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Oddometer:
    47,105
    Location:
    Harrys place
    just the name when used in the proper context sends chills down the spine.

    Husky.

    The Italian Husqvarna's are not Husky's.

    The ones from Sweden were. :D
    #57
  18. kittycactus

    kittycactus Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    578
    Location:
    Wolvertucky, Michigan
    Thanks! :ddog

    I'll ride it anyway!
    #58
  19. nachtflug

    nachtflug infidel

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Oddometer:
    47,105
    Location:
    Harrys place
    yet another good and very relevant question. You really have to have been around in the 60's to fairly answer that question, and my point of reference is 1970 and forward. But you do bring up a very good point about the Chinese bikes.

    The thing is, the jap bikes weren't really copying anyone. the chinese bikes DEFINITELY are in a lot of cases. heck they're cloning 35 year old jap models.

    they (the japs) were in totally uncharted waters and their progress in models shows how quickly they were learning. so my guess is that the answer to that is that the bikes were well received given the alternatives of something big and heavy from England or something light and cheap from Japan.

    Great question.
    #59
  20. nachtflug

    nachtflug infidel

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Oddometer:
    47,105
    Location:
    Harrys place
    super shots of your dad.

    see some TS 400's on Ebay. Very cool bikes and if the right one came along I'd grab it. Gotta love a 400 street legal 2 stroke.
    #60