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Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by MEDIC-0372, Nov 4, 2008.
Welcome to the Cogent Club!
Thanks for posting this. I'm about your size,I may even have 10-15 pounds on you. I'm getting a dual sport bike this year and I'm wondering if i can keep up with the other guys on their DRZ's and KTM's. My last dual sport was an XT350. I'm not a fast rider anyway, my street bikes are Airheads. Not that we're racing around,I just don't want everyone waiting for me on our way to the forest roads.
georgej, getting there IS the one place you might feel like you're holding up the big boys. Once on small highways and forest roads, you can go as fast as you dare, just like them, but on high speed highways and Interstates they may want to go faster than the 70 mph, or so, you can maintain (a bit slower uphill and against strong wind). However I think that slight feeling of guilt is more than made up for by having the lighter, more maneuverable, bike off-road. Well, some of those expensive KTMs may have you there, as well.
I agree with CloudSplitter, that the benefits of the small, easy to handle XT on the gravel roads outweigh the difficulty you may have keeping up on the highway. There's also the ability to catch up with them at the gas station while you're still riding on some of your 70 or so MPG...
I went down 3 teeth on the back sprocket and now I still have a low enough gear for any trail situation I encounter and have a much more relaxed top end. I can cruise at 100kph all day. On the subject of keeping up with your buddies on ktm’s,etc. If your buddies are skilled riders who enjoy a fast pace, you will never keep up with them no matter what you do to the bike. That said with the addition of decent pegs, bars, skid plate, appropriate tires and a cogent suspension you will be able to push this bike well beyond what it was originally designed for. If your skills are comparable to theirs you will embarrass them more often than not. You will probably discover the bike will start to suffer under really hard fast riding but again, that’s not what this bike is designed for. It’s not a 2021 GasGas no matter what you do to it. I own a 2009 that has every mod available thrown at it and it is a fantastic bike. The only issues are a weak clutch and another 8 hp would really liven it up. I would suggest mods in order of importance:
2. Wolfman or other skid plate.
Do you really want to walk out of the bush with a
Hole in your crank case?
3. Kenda Trackmaster or Continental TKC80 tires
These make the biggest difference in performance for the least money.
The Kenda’s are better in mud but howl madly on pavement
The Conti’s are not as good in mud but silent on the road
4. Front and rear Cogent suspension upgrade.
Quite expensive but in the end, a real bargain.
Words cannot express how much better your bike will feel.
Don’t think you have to be a highly skilled rider to appreciate this mod.
Every skill level of rider will benefit greatly.
5. Renthal bars, bar risers and wider footpegs.
Get your office in order and get the bike feeling correct for your body and riding style.
You will instantly be more effective and fatigue less.
6. If you are tall, get the Seat Concepts 1” higher seat kit. It puts the bike halfway
Between a modern tall bike and the low rider of the stock bike. Plus it is way more comfortable.
They also have a stock height option for those shorter riders.
7. Folding enduro mirrors.
Now. Go embarrass those buddies on their KTM’s
Ok, folks, don't laugh -
On Monday I went to DMV and transferred my xt250 into my name and passed my test and got my license. I tweaked my back a couple of weeks ago and have been taking it easy, so today I am going for my first street ride - the plan is to go down the road, turn around in the neighbors' driveway, and come home. It's about a mile round trip on a low traffic country road.
Congratulations! And no laughter; there is nothing to be embarrassed about. It's good you are taking it slow and easy and not getting out of your comfort zone too quickly. Many new riders take on too much too soon and pay for it. When you feel more skilled you will feel more confident and take on more challenges.
It seems like a bad back should suffer from riding, especially on rough gravel roads and tracks, but I have a chronic bad back and haven't had any problems from riding. I used to take a back brace (read "girdle"), on multi-day rides, but have given it up because it was never needed. However I DO tie my dry-bag securely behind me, to act as a back support, on those long rides.
Good luck with your riding. I'm sure you'll love it.
It isn't the riding that hurts my back, it's the picking the bike up from the ground that does it. Though it does hurt it a lot less than picking up my BMW.
Thank you all for the encouragement! I ended up going out longer than intended. The place I had planned to turn around is a tight "L" curve and when I approached it, a car was coming from the opposite direction - and that guy must have been able to tell that I wasn't confident because he slowed down and pulled off the road blocking the place I had planned to turn around. So I just kept going, did about 1.5 miles each way and turned around just before the very quiet road ends in a T at a much faster road.
My partner rode behind me the whole way - I'm sure following a new rider is a little boring for an experienced rider, but it's a nice day and a pretty road with oak trees and a creek and horses to look at.
I do plan to learn very slowly. Although I'm having fun, I'm also scared and I don't want to end up in a stupid situation. I remember on my first day in the safety class I had two incidents where I just "went rogue" - completely forgot how to ride so I ended up rolling across the parking lot trying to remember how to steer No great harm in a parking lot during a safety course, but made the point that I wasn't born an expert.
I know riding made my back worse after the initial injury because I rode right after and it made it worse! I think I'm recovered enough to start riding again - bike today, and if I'm ok tomorrow I'll get on a horse. Taking it easy was a good plan at first but I can't sit on the couch forever.
Good for you Toad, one suggestion I may make is relax your body when riding and shift around a bit. When my son was first learning, after stopping for a break he complained that his arms, hands, and shoulders were sore/tired. It turned out he was extremely tense and holding on too tight. After he discovered the bike needs *very* light inputs and can go down the road with very light or no input on the bars he relaxed and was fine.
@ToadRoad - this should be fun, and perhaps become a life-long pleasure.
Left-turning vehicles (going in the opposite direction of you) cause a high percentage of the most serious / fatal injuries to riders.
#2 hazard might be forgetting to turn off your manual turn signals. Scares me how many people ride with a stale turn signal on.
In areas with traffic, I try to watch the oncoming drivers' faces, looking for signals (don't count on them using turn signals).
Cautious is good. But it also has to be fun!
The one single advice I always come back to is to always look where you want to go next. Sounds trivial but when we get scared we look at where we think the danger is: the ditch beyond the sharp turn, the loose gravel right in front of the bike, the ground, the very object we are trying to avoid etc. This is true on road and offroad. I have been riding 23 years and I still have to remind myself to keep my head up and look well ahead of the bike to where I am going, especially in sharp turns such as u-turns or in challenging offroad conditions.
If you look at it, you will run into it. Look where you want to go not at what you are trying to avoid.
I can only manage about 40 mph in 5th on NM 550 West, a local 70 mph highway that is uphill and into the wind. [4th gear I can go 15-20 mph higher.] Going the opposite direction, I've hit 86 mph. Head winds here regularly average 30 mph to 50 mph.
I agree with milo. Physics demands that your bike remain stable and upright while in motion. Your handlebars will want to move around a bit and the bike will wiggle around underneath you. That is quite normal. Trying to force your bike to not move around creates tension. When on the road, just relax, keep a light grip on the bars and let the weight of your arms rest on your handlebars. Don’t grip them like a set of barbells. I know this seems weird to say but relax your butt. When you tighten your butt it affects your back and legs. Being tight will actually prevent you from responding quickly to obstacles because your muscles are already in use. You have to relax them then tell them to do something else instead of just reacting. So much of what we do on a bike is very automatic and natural. Your body and mind already, instinctively know a good portion of what to do to stay upright and steer. Relax and let them do their job in the background. Scan the road 15 feet or so ahed of you but don’t FOCUS on it. Don’t focus on the ground directly ahead of you. By the time your brain registers that space it’s already under you. It’s really an active scan of everything in front and around you. Relax you neck muscles and as funny as it seems, smile and take a deep breath. Smiling relaxes your brain and breathing relaxes your body. Enjoy!
First ride of the year.
Still snow on the tops.
The Tricker has started at the first push.
Question: what has been done to the butt of this bike? I don't mind the look except that the plastic is torn, so I'd like to replace it with something similar.
This poor critter is so beat up. Only 2900 miles on it which is insane considering how trashed the plastics are - and also it has zero leaks and seems mechanically perfect, which is great but HOW???
ToadRoad, I wonder if that bike was hit by a car, from behind. Easy to happen, because bikes decelerate so fast when you get off the throttle. I've been seeing adds for add-on switches to turn on the brake light when you decelerate, also to turn off the turn signal after a turn, but I'm too cheap to invest, and too lazy to install them.
I think both the remaining turn signal and the rest of the aft assembly are aftermarket, but couldn't say where from. Others have replaced those parts with smaller, lighter, assemblies, so it shouldn't be too hard to find one.
It might help somebody recognize that assembly if you post another picture, but from the side.
Now you have an excuse to get LED signals. Bonus!