Not quite a noob, Not quite a Pro, Not quite old man, Not quite boy racer......

Discussion in 'Racing' started by andrewgore, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. Pantah

    Pantah Red Sox Nation

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    Good season. Congratulations. My sons road raced and #1 stuck with 2 or three specific series. It was good because he won championships and earned a tire contract with Dunlop. But the downside was he never really experienced enough tracks to grow his potential. #2 jumped around to any track he could fit a race weekend into his work schedule; CCS, ASRA and AMA Pro. He never had a lot of points but he really learned how to tackle new tracks and he did best on the fast ones with long turns. In fact I'd say he was faster than most on turns like that.

    So there are two sides to bouncing around series. #1 wanted championships and #2 wanted to race with the best to see how he'd measure up. I'd say you measured up well this season. Maybe next season you go for points.

    Fun thread. Thanks.
  2. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    Pantah,
    Thanks for the kind words. Very cool to hear about your sons racing. Makes me wish I were still doing some sort of road racing, but that's my need for going triple digits talking :D
    I'm anxious to see what the 2013 season schedule is going to look like this next year. I'm not making any quick plans about that anytime soon.

    Sunday I'll be beginning pulling my suspension apart for some revalving. But for the time being, this will be silent. I got a fun "announcement" to make, but that will have to wait till after the new year.

    Andrew
  3. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    Before I get on with the other jazz, I am opting to do the valving on my bike myself....again. :lol3 Heck, I'm also going to have a stab at the rear shock as well. I spent the day saturday cleaning & disassembling the forks, so I could get all the hard data on the valves & all the assorted info.

    Here is what the stock stacks look like:
    Base Valve Compression:
    [​IMG]

    Mid Valve Rebound:
    [​IMG]

    Mid Valve Compression:
    [​IMG]


    It's funny how much the graphs and plots can tell you, and then see how different shim changes will affect things. Unfortunately I have 1 major problem. I know basically what I want the bike to feel like. I can't however just copy that bikes shim stacks, as the valves are completely different. The more I read on things, the more I feel like I have more questions. It sounds like Yamaha put the wrong length springs in the fork, which apparently keeps it a bit too low in the stroke, along with some cavitation issues related to the Inner Chamber floating portions. Go figure that they addressed these issues in 2006.

    I hate admitting this, but I feel I really want this thing to feel plush how the 2012 KTM 200XC-W I rode felt. Granted, it wasn't good over 60mph (that's fine), and when I rode that same bike at Byron MX, it felt more harsh over the bumps at higher speed. Both things I completely expect for something that is valved for woods instead of MX or high speed 2-track.

    I know right now that for MX, my bike is a little on the softer side of the valving, and I'd say that for woods it just needs that bit of slow speed to help keep from deflecting in the rocks\ruts and help keep the front end feeling a bit more planted.

    I'm up for suggestions. I really shot myself in the foot & blew a 50% off deal that Pro-Action had just after black friday. Coulda had fork\shock done for 250$. I know I can do the changes myself, its just whether or not I'm doing the right changes....

    Thoughts\Ideas?
    Andrew
  4. Pantah

    Pantah Red Sox Nation

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    You can do the changes, but it may cost you some progress time. Example: #2 son was offered a Pirelli tire deal. He was a Dunlop rider. He tried the Pirelli deal to save on the tire bill. He paid for it in progress.

    It was a long slow and frustrating process. He had the Pirelli suspension techs to help, but it was really up to him to give them the right feedback. He figured it out eventually, and after fairly radical changes in geometry and damping, he got fast again and even set new times. But he wrecked a lot of gear in the process. The next season he went back to Dunlop and was instantly on his game. The Pirelli thing cost him a season, but he learned a lot about set-up. More than he ever would have if he just raced Dunlop.

    Not saying P or D is better. It's what your set-up knowledge is that makes the difference. Should be a similar dilemma for you. Set-up is everything for most.
  5. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    Thanks for the input. It's my own fault at this point in the game for not being more in tune with suspension changes and how they alter my riding. All too often I find myself defaulting back to the thought of "I should be able to ride around the bikes issues". While this is good in the fact that I learn creative ways of manipulating myself and the bike to accomplish various tasks, it hampers me in the fact that I instead of having a great baseline, I end up working harder than I really need to.

    This also ties into not having a proper "practice" schedule. Something that I want to fix in this next year. Ideally I'd like to have a set .5-1 mile loop with a variety of terrain that I see during races, so I can build that proper baseline of suspension settings. This combined with tracking lap times around a specific set loop would do a lot for me.

    Unfortunately snow is just about to hit, and my land options are slim. :lol3 There's an indoor MX track that I intend on frequenting this winter. Only downside there is that it doesn't do much for setting up my suspension for woods. It'd do wonders for my endurance and bike feel.

    Andrew

    PS - I've found that I've felt very little difference in the dirtbike tires, outside of switching from Soft Terrain, to Hard pack terrain type tires. Michelin S12XC's have hooked up the same for me as the comparable Bridgestone. When it comes to tire pressure, this next season I'm saying screw it & going to foam inserts. I'm not risking another flat ever again. Just not worth it.
  6. Pantah

    Pantah Red Sox Nation

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    In my view this last post is big. It says you are learning YOUR needs. It will pay off too! Bravo.
  7. spdjnky

    spdjnky Been here awhile

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    Thanks man.

    Sorry if I hijacked your thread a bit Andrew. :D
  8. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    No worries. I'm still over here scratching my head while playing with shim stacks :lol3 Actually the more I'm reading the more I feel I'm getting a better grasp on things. For my birthday, my brother bought my the Race Tech Suspension Bible. It's been good reading that, along with various writings online. The only difficult part is that each and every tuner has their own theories as to what is "best". I'm right now going with what I feel I should have with the suspension feel. Or, more or less, what I think would be the most ideal for me. It'll be trial and error, that's for sure. On the upside, the only real cost to myself will be oil every time I change the suspension, so it's not the end of the world.

    I've really been analyzing this picture (from Shim Restackor's Manual)
    [​IMG]

    I've been using the above picture, with following the damping curve in relation to damper velocity and basing things on that, and not so much on actual stack force. Right now I'm attempting to make the Low speed damping similar to stock, with the high speed damping a bit more open, to allow for more compliance on the rocks, roots, etc. I keyed in for high speed the damping over 100-150 in\s area. At this area, I've made it a bit softer than if the clickers were fully open. I'm also planning on opening up the rebound damping a bit as well. I gotta play around with that a bit before I get a good idea of what I'm going to do, mostly looking to make it so that on those high speed bumps, it lets the front wheel drop back to the ground as quick as possible. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to toy with the mid valve compression stack.

    I know I'm making a pile of changes at once. I know that's a tricky proposition, especially with the fact that it's winter & I won't really be able to test ride this thing in the trees for a few months. Not much I can do about that, other than live with it. I can't really make it any worse can I? :lol3

    Back to work for me.

    Andrew
  9. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    Did some more reading on my specific fork. Turns out in 2005 Yamaha left the ICS spring too short from the factory, as well as the main fork spring. It was also suggested to add a drain hole in a recessed area of the ICS floating piston. Perks of being a machinist is that these modifications\additions took all of 20 minutes to accomplish. Free spacers & drilled holes! :lol3 Forks are all back together & waiting to be put back on the bike. Steering stem bearings have been re-packed with fresh grease as well. Glad those are at least in good shape.

    I can't say the same for the linkage bearings. Swingarm bearings are still in good shape, but the linkage bearings are destroyed. Go figure Yamaha used an oddball sized bearing 21mm ID 27mm OD 15mm Width. The inner bushings are destroyed as well, so I'll have to just order up a whole kit for that. I saw pivot-works has a lifetime replacement guarantee. I think I'll be buying their stuffs. I'm also going to see if it's possible to put in a zerk fitting on the linkage anywhere. I'm not sure all of what will fit, but it'd be cheap insurance & save me a lot of time.

    Mid tear-down:
    [​IMG]

    Ultra-sonic cleaner is a Godsend:
    [​IMG]

    Broke down & got myself an early Christmas present :freaky
    [​IMG]

    Andrew
  10. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    First of the year update!
    I got myself a practice aid:
    [​IMG]

    I can't ride my YZ250F next to our shop on a daily basis (well I could, but I don't think I could have a nice track there. :lol3) I can however rock out with a trials bike all I'd like. It'll be great cross training for myself, that's for sure. I even got some big rock to hop over, along with some large trees that will be added to the "test area". Should be good stuff.

    I've also been on top of a exercise routine again (no, not any new years resolution). I'm looking at picking up a rowing machine to supplement some of the cardio workout. We've got an elliptical machine, but sweet word that thing is the most annoying machine on the planet. 5 Minutes on that and you wanna jump off a building. I hate it, my wife loves it. Then again, she loves running, I absolutely hate running. :lol3

    I compiled a list of all the local events going on. D17 Harescrambles, Enduros, and Trials events along with the same in D16 (Wisconsin). Amusingly enough, more of the D16 events are within closer range to me than the D17 events. There are also really only 2 Enduros for D17, so I don't forsee myself attempting to win an overall for that. D17 has what seems like 30 Harescrambles from March-November. Very unlikely that I'd even make it to 1/3 of these, so I'm not sure what I'll be doing about going for an overall win there. The one more "local" place Fox Valley Off-Road has their own series within the D17 Series. That's 5 races, so maybe I'll try for an overall there?

    I also found when going to register for D17, that the class I last competed in in Trials, has now gone from being Sportsmen to Expert. I find this mildly amusing, as I'd in no way shape or form see myself near expert status on a trials bike. I'm kind of tempted to see about going for an overall in the trials competitions, but might just do some events for the heck of it, and to see how well I'd do.

    All that to say that I've honestly no idea if it even makes sense to attempt to go for an overall in any of these local events. There's too wide a variety of things I'd like to do this year (Harescramble, Trials, UP Trail rides, maybe an MX race??). Just one heck of a "problem" that I have so much fun doing basically whatever on a bike :lol3

    I'm going to mull things over a bit here. I've got until March\April to really decide. Just attempting now to plan things so I can get as much riding in as possible (without pissing off the wife too much).

    I'm also looking to decide between Michelin Bib Mousses for the 250F or Flat Tire Defenders (www.flattiredefender.com) Either way, I know I plan on NEVER having a flat tire this season (ok maybe one on the trials bike).

    Andrew
  11. djones745

    djones745 Been here awhile

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    Nice looking bike Andrew- can't wait to do some trials with you this year. We gotta make a trip to TTC for sure!
    I just signed up for the Alcan 5000 and pretty sure I'm not gonna do it on the wr450- maybe I can do it on the Gasser instead :lol3:lol3:lol3
  12. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    Thanks Dave. You should do the Alcan 5000 on the yz144. Just bring a few spare pistons\rings with & you'd be set. Though the gearing would kind of suck. :lol3

    Let me know what approximate dates look good for TTC for you. I'm working on getting John to go with as well, but he seems iffy about it. I see it as some really cheap "get better at riding" time. I also like that I can tell people I've been going back to school. :rofl

    Andrew
  13. djones745

    djones745 Been here awhile

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    :rofl
    I'm thinking spring would be great- I still have mine in pieces after looping it out- the main body airbox part was cracked and I still need to epoxy it. I better do it today as I wanna ride fri and sat. You doing any riding this weekend?
  14. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    You really did a number on that guy huh? :lol3 Knowing what a new fender for mine costs, I can't imagine what the airbox would cost. JB Weld time.

    I'll have my bike at our shop this Saturday while I'm doing some work for my brother. I can put in some riding while I keep machines running throughout the day.

    Spring should work out for going down to the TTC. End of March? TN should be warm by then (I'd hope)

    Andrew
  15. djones745

    djones745 Been here awhile

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    perfect timing for me!
  16. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    February 1st update:
    I haven't been totally slacking. Shortly after my last post, I managed to seize the piston on the trials bike.
    [​IMG]

    So that bike got pulled completely apart. Cylinder went out to get bored & plated. Redid a bunch of the issues on the bike (rebuilt forks), cleaned everything on it, repacked bearings, replaced almost all the hardware on it, got some fresh grips, tossed on fresh tires, and even got it a new kill switch. Finalizing that is on hold until the new cylinder & piston arrive.

    As far as the race bike goes......
    [​IMG]

    The bike is in slightly more "minimal" trim. I left it that way as I didn't want to have hand guards n such on it if I went to the local indoor MX track. Which is what I did this past Monday. I'm using it as my "keep in riding shape" exercise. It's also a hell of a lot more interesting than my normal workout routine. :lol3

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/7fKK0Oawj2Y" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    I hesitate posting that up, cause watching it (and the rest of the footage I got from that night) just looks painfully slow. Seriously, all I see what I watch that is "your corner speed is pathetic". I'll just go with the GoPro really makes things look slow, and makes the jumps look small (ok, the jumps are relatively small considering it's an indoor place).

    I plan on going back next Monday. I need to really work on trusting my bike on more slick conditions. The "dirt" there is like concrete. You see black rubber marks all over the place. I also would just like to be more consistent in my riding. There is one "triple" there that I come up a tad short on, and while it's easy to blame it on my softer woods valving, it's more so that I am not holding enough speed through the turn prior to it.

    I also did some tuning on the auto clutch I have in the bike. It's originally meant for a YZ125, but has the same OD - ID & tangs on the OD. I was having some slight slip issues with it, but found I had too much tension on the clutch. It's also a hodge podge of clutch thicknesses in the thing, so I'll toy with it & get a better feel for it.

    I picked up a WR trans for the YZ, as the bike will be playing double duty as trail bike for up in the UP. Unfortunately that is tempting me to do a 290 kit, or even bore & stroke the thing. It'd be like a Husky TE310 or KTM 350 for a fraction of the price, but not really feeling a huge urge to drop 800$ on more power for the bike. That money would probably be spent better on exercising equipment (rower).

    Andrew
  17. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    Didn't get to the indoor track yesterday. I was stuck doing my normal workout of jumping rope, burpees, and other annoying exercises. On the upside though, my weight is down more than before, and I can feel my fitness improving. This will for sure help out this season.

    I did find this sitting on my doorstep when I got home which was pretty cool:
    [​IMG]

    What can I say....Mighty XR!!!! :lol3

    I spent some time with the YZ last night after a tasty Bacon, eggs, and yogurt dinner. I scored some Unabiker radiator guards off ebay, so those got tossed on. I essentially have no fears of hurting my radiators this season. Pretty cheap insurance.

    Andrew

    PS - I also updated my site a tad bit. Simplified, and got rid of the main video in the background. Still needs some buffing, but for doing it in spare time, it works.
  18. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    Things are looking up! It's March. My GasGas is up, running and feels like a great machine. My YZ now has a WR transmission, 290 Big Bore, and may or may not have a Rekluse Z-Start Pro going into it. I hadn't really planned on that, but I found an almost new one for the price of an EXP unit, and the DynaRing unit I have will NOT grab with the added power of the 290 kit. Kinda wild that a couple HP difference, and it just slips. Go figure.

    On top of that, I've added a "toy" to my working out.
    [​IMG]

    I love feeling really worked after a good row on this thing. It's like doing pushups, crunches, and leg presses all in one. Come race time there's a good chance I'll be down around 170#. Not bad considering last year I was closer to 185-190. I feel good knowing that its the "excess" I've been whittling down. Rebuilding muscle at the same time is just a plus.

    Only downside so far as of late, is that I have not gone to the indoor MX track as much as I had planned. Heck, I haven't made it there since I last went. Basically life got in the way, and then I got antsy, and tossed the WR gears & big bore on the YZ, which took much longer than planned as I busted the cases while doing the swap.

    Hopefully get there one more time this month. Supposed to go to a race middle\end of March, but based on how the weather has been, I forsee a total slop fest. Not exactly in the mood for that. Then it's down to Trials Training Center first weekend of April with the GasGas to do some skills improvement work. Then end of April is a trip to the UP for some trail riding with friends.

    The season hasn't begun.....but already has. :lol3

    Time to go row & get some dinner with my wife.

    Andrew
  19. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    This is about how I feel right now:
    [​IMG]

    My 250F has been a royal pain in my ass. Well, more so, my right foot. I made the epic mistake this past winter of messing with the engine. I've been paying for it since, and the currency has been Head Gaskets. I had worries about not being able to actually get to race this year. I made some quick decisions, and long story short, I've no longer got a Trials bike, but a Yamaha WR450. I've also fired my mechanic (myself). I'm only allowed to change oil, filters, and grips. Beyond that, if that shmuck touches anything else, he's gonna get slapped around :lol3

    Not a move I've exactly wanted to make, but it's making more and more sense as time goes on here. I realize it's not the easiest to use 45hp in the woods, but I'm finding it incredibly easier than I remember. I find that I don't really want a Rekluse on the thing. It's nice, but it'll lug so much better than the YZ, that I'm just not stalling it like the 250F. We'll see how things pan out.

    Here's some riding from 2 weekends ago:
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/i9KVE8itCm8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    I've got 2 weekends on the WR450F, and will be racing it this weekend. My biggest concern with it is related to starting it. It's no 2-stroke, that's for sure. I did about 30 dead engine starts Saturday while riding. If the engine is good n warm, it seems like it'll fire just fine with the kick start. Suppose I'll do that with the finger on the e-start button at the same time.

    In the meantime, I'll be on the rower tonight. This 450 works your body a heck of a lot more than the 250F. The riding from Saturday was pure awesomeness. I'll be putting up video of it. We had a track groomed in a farm field for us. Flat track & kinda like supermoto. Tacky dirt that you could in places just about put the handlebar into the ground while railing a corner. Awesome stuff.

    Andrew
  20. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    1st race of the season down, and I can't complain one bit. I managed to pull a handy 1st in my class (Open B). Looking at the numbers, I Overalled in the B class (little\big\30+), so I'm happy about that. My finish woulda put me in about 6th place in the A Class, and well....let's not even go into where I'd be in the AA class. :lol3 On the upside, it puts me around 20th out of 72 for the afternoon race. Not too bad considering the 10 deep AA class.

    I rode pretty well, and managed a decent start. Into the 2nd turn, I was in 3rd place. I slipped into 4th in the middle of the first lap, and then took advantage of the MX portion of the course, and kept the 450 pinned as best I could. After that section, I pulled back into 3rd, and shortly after the 1st & 2nd place guys made some poor line choices over a log (much faster going around it :lol3), and I managed to squeak up to 1st. I held 1st through the rest of the race, and did my best to try to not let anyone pass me (AA guys lapped me :huh)

    The course was overall pretty easy. There was nothing super technical, as they had a good bit of rain, and races really suck when there are traffic jams on slick hills and such. This helped a bit, as I was racing my WR450F, as my 250F was still on the fritz. On the 2nd lap, I managed to dump the bike in the creek section. I wouldn't have minded, but my gloves were then soaked, and my left grip was spinning like mad. Not fun when I still had 10 laps to go.

    About an hour in (and coincidentally when my GoPro stopped recording) I caught a tree with my handguard on the left side. This bucked me pretty good (I'm blaming my handguards as they were some homebrew ones I made out of plastic), and I managed to huck-a-buck myself into the dirt pretty good. This took the wind out of me a bit, but I kept on trucking.

    Approaching the 90 minute mark (105 minute race), and my body was really feeling things. The 450 power, the multiple crashes, the blisters growing ever larger on my hands....it was all adding up. The braking bumps in some of the turns were wreaking havoc on my lower back. You could just feel things being jarred. I was chuckling to myself thinking about how I used to blame my suspension for getting harsh late in a race. I laughed as I realized that I'm just not in 100% perfect shape. I continued on with this thought in my head.

    As I rolled through Timing\Scoring just before my last lap, I realized I made the cutoff for the "extra lap" by just a couple of minutes. I really didn't want to do this lap at all. I was concerned I'd drop the bike in the creek section again, so I really tip toed it through there (which ironically makes it more difficult). I more or less did my best to just enjoy the last lap. You could hear that there were less riders out there, so there was a sense of calm and I was able to collect my thoughts and push through the burning sensation in my hands.

    I slightly fumbled my way over the 2 large Timing\Scoring "speed reducing" logs, and off the course. I putted my way back to the truck, and could feel my body was already wanting to lock up. I did my best to load up the truck, and off we went. Glad I wasn't the one driving home. :D

    I learned a few things about my riding. I watched as the AA guys passed me. The speed that they carry, is just far better than me. I could see that they were experiencing less obstacles, due to the fact that they were essentially skipping over them. I've realized that I really need to smooth out my riding. This would probably get easier with doing a better job of looking ahead at the course, but as fatigue sets in, that grows increasingly difficult. I was on my 450, and I really wish that I had been on my 250F. Not so much the power situation, but the fact that its at least 30# lighter, and heck, I'll admit it, the Rekluse wouldn't have hurt me either. I'm perfectly OK not using an autoclutch, but there are times where I think it would help me with keeping a gear higher, and lugging the bike a bit more. Why I wasn't doing that more on the 450, I've no idea. The thing can drop down to 0 RPM and still be running, and will pull it just fine. Keeping the bike in 3rd gear (instead of clicking between 2nd\3rd), I woulda been in much better shape.

    Overall though, I had a blast, and am itching to get back riding (though the hands are still healing). I'm going to invest in some of those locking grips in the meantime, and some more proper\sturdy handguards.

    Here's some pics some folks took at the race. I'll be uploading whatever video I have from the race when I get home this evening.

    Heading into the creek section:
    [​IMG]

    More Creek:
    [​IMG]

    Bowl turn before a tabletop (that I always manage to over-jump):
    [​IMG]

    This is a short climb, followed by a quick right hand uphill climb. My goodness that 450 excelled here. 2nd WFO and roost up the hill:
    [​IMG]

    Start Finish speed logs. When just riding there, I normally jump these things. In the races, I find I do a trials style double tap. I figure that's the safest way to go over, with least risk of messing up (note that these logs have no ramp on the opposite side in pic):
    [​IMG]

    And the coolest one of the bunch, mid-creek section, full attack mode:
    [​IMG]

    Andrew