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Discussion in 'Racing' started by neduro, Jul 15, 2011.
best wishes Ned
Feel like I'm behind here!
With the fabrication off to a strong start, the next step is upgrades.
My experience has been that OEM parts are the most reliable, best tested parts out there. For a piece to earn a place on the Dakar bike, it has to offer a significant improvement in function, and I have to feel very confident that it will perform as intended for several normal lifetimes. There's far too much at stake here for me to bolt stuff because it looks pretty!
With the bike stripped down for assembly, it was an easy time to access the steering head. Bearings were greased, and the top tripleclamp was replaced with a BRP unit that isolates the bars and damper on a rubber bushing.
This is a real upgrade, for a few reasons. First, a bad crash will only bend the bolt that passes through the rubber- cheap and easy to replace, and a small spare to carry. When I've wadded it in badly on the bolt-on submounts, I've smeared the aluminum mounting surface so that even with new bolts, you can't get your bars straight. This solves the problem. Second, I have found that even a tiny amount of rubber isolation makes a big difference in wrist fatigue and hand comfort. These achieve that, and at less expense than the KTM PHDS mounts that the factory bikes use. Third, BRP gave me a taller mount than standard, which will help comfort in long stages, the slight cost in front end feel is nothing compared to the super easy standing position.
Next up is the Scotts steering stabilizer.
< Rant mode on > IT'S NOT A "DAMPENER"! A dampener is something that makes other things wet. A damper absorbs energy from the system. Damper. Not Dampener. Thanks. < Rant mode off >
Over the years, I've tried almost all the flavors of steering DAMPERS- GPR, RTT, WER, Emig, etc.
I chose the Scotts for two reasons- First is durability, and second is performance.
Scotts dampers hold up just about forever. I've experienced seal failures on the other brands, but never on a Scotts. That isn't to say it can't happen, but they are pretty damn tough and that's what I need for this event.
They also function the best of any I have tried. They have a separate high speed function, which refers not to the groundspeed of the bike, but the "twist speed" of the bars. In this way, you can have a very light feel for maneuvering the bars, yet have awesome isolation when the ground grabs the wheel and gives it a toss (a comparatively quick twist). On a GPR, for example, there is just a single stage of damping, so either the bars move when you hit things, or the steering feels heavy- the separate high and low speed circuits on the Scotts eliminate this tradeoff.
Full disclosure: I called each of these companies and asked for the product. They wanted to support my effort going to Dakar... but if they had asked me to pay, I would have.
The rear wheel was off, so the next stop was back there.
I typically run 14/50 gearing for all-around riding, emphasis on singletrack. The Dakar will include long sections of road, and I wanted to keep the revs down on transfers, even if it comes at the expense of some off-road performance. So, I am going to start by testing 14/46.
I have been running Dirt tricks sprockets for years- their Ironman stuff is nothing short of incredible. I have one 50T sprocket that I bought for my first 530, which has subsequently been transfered to 6 bikes for ~2000 miles each. It remains serviceable, which to me, is almost unbelievable. There is no question in my mind that these are the toughest sprockets in existence, and they have the added benefit of improving chain life, as the chain doesn't have to stretch across uneven tooth spacing.
Also visible here is a BRP chain guide, the little aluminum dealy in the stock one tends to either wallow the plastic or break, the BRP should last much longer.
I'm also trying, for the first time, one of the Dirt Tricks front sprockets. I'm putting one on my other bike as well, so that I can get a bunch of miles on it before I have to trust it.
The final upgrade back there was a Scotts sharkfin to protect the rear rotor:
Art as made by a mill, and beefy, too.
Next post- more fairing work!
Reading this thread is almost like if you know what i mean...
It's almost as if you're describing my bike, except mine's blue and Japanese instead of orange and Austrian. Mine also has a much more mundane future than yours, if you know what I mean. Although, mine may be on some dunes in Saudi Arabia about the same time yours is screaming across the Atacama Desert.
Thanks for letting us live vicariously through your experience.
Ned ---> give 'em hell brother. Your quest is truly a salve for my soul right now.
PS: might be rolling through CO soon. I'll call ya.
A major debate that we had within the team is what lights to run. There is a lot of night riding in the Dakar, but hopefully not a lot of night racing. To explain: Most stages start near dawn, often many kms from the bivouac, so the commute from camp to start line is done in the dark. Typically, this is not done on the most difficult terrain... and if you're still out after dark on the race stage, things went wrong. But you clearly need good lights.
I told everyone who would listen I didn't want HID. My experience with them has been fussy- if you have exactly the right voltage, and the ballast woke up on the right side of the bed, you've got great light for not much power. I don't like fussy.
Enter Kurt Forget @ Black Dog Cycle Works. He recommended the Rigid LED lights as being reliable, indestructible, and very very bright.
That sounds like my brand... and while I haven't ridden at night with them yet, they pass the "holy shit are those bright" shop test, in side by side comparison with an HID racelight we had lying around.
I've got two- one 2x2 which should be livable for other drivers coming toward me, and one D2 which is pretty much blinding. I like blinding.
"A man's gotta know his limitations" - Dirty Harry Callahan
My limitations include anything to do with fiberglass and paint... so Ganshert and C.Vestal have been running this show. Chris drove 250 miles one night to get the fairing parts from Scot, while I was off breaking my foot. Yup, these guys rule.
Here are the first set of parts off the molds, mounted up:
With holes cut (that's a touchy moment!) and after some sanding:
And with the intrepid C.Vestal in our state of the art paintbooth:
Hermetically sealed to keep a statistically accurate sample of whatever is in the air embedded in the wet paint. It actually came out pretty nice due to his efforts:
Awesome stuff. In 2 weeks, a bunch of ne'er-do-wells with unrelated full time jobs have made something really fucking cool, and I think it will prove to be as good as anything out there for what I need.
Plus, because the entire fairing budget consisted of pizza and beer, instead of cubic dollars to some shady european, I can afford to have spares, to test it thoroughly on multiple bikes, and I think coolest of all, there won't be any surprises- I know where this stuff came from in the way a mother knows about her baby. Well, OK, maybe a surrogate mother, since I do have some limitations.
Ned (and Team),
Great progress guys, bikes coming together now and looks really good!
Those lights are awesome, I run 2 x 1.5" LED's on my Aprilia and they work great and best of all are pretty much indestructible. Mine have alloy housings and have been crash tested a lot with no ill effects!
Big question is.......when will we see the "Neduro to Dakar LLC" rally kit available, lets face it, everything else Ned has worked up has ended up had ended up on the market
Hi to Chris, Natalie, Scot and everyone else that is making this thing happen.
In the meantime guys, go easy on the pizza and beer........
Where is THAT SHOP?
high mtn top secret ranch near the great divide...
Ned, my experience has been:
Nate, at Dirt Tricks, manufactures the best sprockets available. You won't have problems with the counter shaft sprocket other than light rust after the coating wears off. I've replaced chains as a preventative measure but the same sprocket set has started (and won) the last three SCORE races and still doesn't show any noticeable wear.
LED lights haven't evolved to the point that I'd run them exclusively; great flood light and terrific from the standpoint of amperage draw and reliability but they don't throw light far enough for high speed racing. Be careful of those "very bright" lights too, they tend to flatten terrain making it harder to read the surface changes. Test, test, test!!!
Best of luck my friend. You may be a Dakar rookie but you, better than most, know what it takes to succeed. I'll live vicariously through you and follow every stage with anticipation....just wish I could go too.
Ned, Project is looking good. Lets get something together for the Enduro360 site. Inquiring minds want to know!
Of course a nav tower and fairing kit is in the works
This effort will be a lot of fun but won't be the same without you.
Got any full frontal shots of this mounted up?
I was waiting for someone to try out a LED-only solution for a rally bike, it just makes so much sense. Looking forward to see how it works out.
Great build...you have some seriously talented friends.
I'd rather be lucky than good, any day.
Nice job on the fairing Chris and Scot. I saw it first hand a few days ago, and it is beautifully simple; exactly what is called for.
+1, the epitome of simplicity with function.
Regarding the first page...
Awesome. Simply awesome. Go for it.