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bluej (Forum Supporter)
bluej (Forum Supporter) UberDork
10/7/20 12:06 p.m.
TVR Scott (Forum Supporter) said:

Back to tiny bike racing: what's the learning curve look like for inexperienced middle-aged folk?  Beyond the obligatory collar-bone break?

I know there's a local group around here doing this kind of racing, but I've not ever done motorcycles.  Lots and lots of bike riding - both mtb and road - but nothing with a motor.  Is the lack of youthful muscle-memory a deal-breaker?

Read my mind..

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
10/7/20 1:38 p.m.
bluej (Forum Supporter) said:
TVR Scott (Forum Supporter) said:

Back to tiny bike racing: what's the learning curve look like for inexperienced middle-aged folk?  Beyond the obligatory collar-bone break?

I know there's a local group around here doing this kind of racing, but I've not ever done motorcycles.  Lots and lots of bike riding - both mtb and road - but nothing with a motor.  Is the lack of youthful muscle-memory a deal-breaker?

Read my mind..

I rode dirt bikes when I was a kid. Last time was probably as a senior in high school, so 18? That's 26 years ago. Then I rode a scooter for about 800 miles maybe 15 years ago. Then......I rode mini bikes around my inlaws lawn every couple years for 20 minutes? Then I started this. I would say my level of experience going in was somewhere around "I have enough muscle memory to use the clutch and mostly remember which direction to shift". It took me four or five days of riding to start to get a knee down, and about a month between getting the new bikes and getting elbow down. Full disclosure, I ride a LOT. We were riding 1,000 laps a month when Covid hit and we had nothing to do. If I haven't done 10k laps since I started I'm close. We do 150-200 laps a week right now. 

Dirt bikes are easier on your body. Similar to the difference between riding a road bike and a cruiser. Anyone can hop on an upright bicycle and knock out 20 miles, to do it on a full tilt road bike with the bars 2 inches below the seat is a different story, especially the next day. No matter what, you're going to get sore and realize that you have whole muscle groups that you didn't know about. I think dirt bikes with race tires will be an easier start for almost everyone short of people that regularly ride sport bikes or spend a lot of time on road bikes. I also think that most people will want to "move up" or at least try out mini GP bikes at some point. They're just cool. 

One of the fast guys I'm trying to catch is about 6'1" and a bit over 250lbs. He drove around me under braking last weekend reminding me that I still kind of suck at this. For him, a Grom is the right bike and that's another option. My point being that a bunch of people have said to me "I'm too big/tall/whatever" and they're wrong. There is a place for darn near everyone on small bikes. 

I don't think I can gaurantee that everyone will hop on a bike and take to it like a duck to water. I'm trying to think of anyone who has started and just not gotten it and quit. Of the 10 or so people that I'm friends with that have started since I did, they're all still at it to some degree. Nobody has just quit. Maybe that says something? 

TurnerX19
TurnerX19 SuperDork
10/7/20 11:22 p.m.

I had another thought about your kid's higher exit speed/ earlier throttle application that is weight related but not just power/weight ratio. Because the rider's body mass is on the top, her CG is markedly lower as well. Could this be enabling higher exit speeds by making acceleration more comfortable? 

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
10/8/20 7:05 p.m.

In reply to TurnerX19 :

There is a lot going on. The bikes weight 175lbs wet. I weight about 175 with gear on, she weighs about 105 on the bike.  That means she's about 20% lighter on the same tires and suspension as well as the weight distribution thing. I can actually get off the side of the bike and keep it upright easier because my limbs are longer and I have more movement options. She has more fore/aft options for moving weight where I'm a bit wedged in in that dimension. The rider being such a large dynamic part of the picture is part of what makes this so fun. laugh

Recon1342
Recon1342 Dork
10/8/20 10:24 p.m.

In reply to mazdeuce - Seth :

There's nothing else out there that allows you to radically alter the center of gravity of the machine, for sure. Riding motorcycles fast is a whole 'nother universe.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
10/11/20 7:27 p.m.

Short video clip from the front of a friends bike from the weekend in which I actually look cool as I pass him. laugh

 

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
10/27/20 3:11 p.m.

I should do a long post and catch up and stuff. But instead short post to recap the season. 

We won Grom endurance. Kid#3 won her class for endurance as well. I took the season championship in Supersport. Most importantly, we attended every race weekend of the season. This is the first time in all of my racing that I've completed a full season in anything. 

Also importantly, kid#3 won the ladies race. She got a great start and it was a battle to the finish. That was her goal for the season and she did it. 

After the weekend was done we put knobbies back on the XR100s and took them to the woods. Our first rid was 18 miles of fairly gnarly roots and sand. She fell over. A lot. She was a trooper and can ride sand like a boss now. 

And now it's offseason. We're going to ride a bunch, play on the bikes, and get ready for next year. 

paranoid_android (Forum Enabler)
paranoid_android (Forum Enabler) UberDork
10/27/20 7:52 p.m.

In reply to mazdeuce - Seth :

She has my complete respect for getting up every time, picking the bike up and getting back on it to keep going.  That in itself is a great accomplishment!

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
10/27/20 8:00 p.m.

In reply to paranoid_android (Forum Enabler) :

I was actually telling her about you on the way home from the ride! "Remember the other guy from the rally? He hates sand too!" 

She was happy to have me there to help her get the bike up a time or two and to clear it when it flooded twice because it didn't get up in time. She also has a nasty bruise on the inside of her knee and is talking about getting some off road armour for Christmas. We were talking about bringing the bikes up next summer, so we may get a chance to ride with you yet!

paranoid_android (Forum Enabler)
paranoid_android (Forum Enabler) UberDork
10/30/20 9:31 a.m.

In reply to mazdeuce - Seth :

laugh

I've slowly been coming to terms with sand.  It's a work in progress.

Kid #3 will be very well prepared for riding up here if you make it next year.  It would be great fun to ride together in the UP!

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
10/30/20 9:36 a.m.

I hated sand riding, it's a learned art. Now I find it fun. We rode for 2 days in michigan in the sand a few years ago on KLRs and man was that a workout. 

paranoid_android (Forum Enabler)
paranoid_android (Forum Enabler) UberDork
10/30/20 12:57 p.m.

In reply to Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) :

Where in Michigan did you ride?

Peabody
Peabody UltimaDork
10/30/20 1:31 p.m.

I've ridden sandy woods before, like that pic, and didn't mind it. But our club runs a local track called Gopher dunes every year and I won't even take my bike out there.  First time I went I ran ran practice, came in, went straight on to my trailer, got dressed and left.

 

This is sand

 

 

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
10/30/20 1:37 p.m.

In reply to Peabody :

My picture is the hard pack. The sand was proper sand. I'll stop and take a picture next time. As to that sand,wow, that looks like the nonsense they ride in Belgium MX. I don't think I want to do that. 

Recon1342
Recon1342 Dork
10/30/20 1:44 p.m.

In reply to mazdeuce - Seth :

We don't have sand out here... ours is moon dust. Imagine riding down a trail and hitting a 2' deep crater filled with flour...

 

It sucks...

Peabody
Peabody UltimaDork
10/30/20 1:50 p.m.

In reply to mazdeuce - Seth :

You don't.

I tell my buddies, that's not a motocross track, that's a tobacco farm.

It's awful

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
10/30/20 1:51 p.m.

In reply to Recon1342 :

That's what the Dakar guys call fesh-fesh, right? Or silt in Baja, or lighting sand in The Princesses Bride. No thanks, you can keep that. 

Patrick (Forum Supporter)
Patrick (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/30/20 3:14 p.m.

berkeleyin A

APEowner
APEowner GRM+ Memberand Dork
10/30/20 3:51 p.m.
mazdeuce - Seth said:She fell over. A lot.

That pretty much describes my entire dirt bike experience. 

I'm jealous of both you and your kid.   I'll never have the dad experience and I never had a parent who shared my motorsport interests.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
11/1/20 2:55 p.m.

When I bought the XR100 I always planned on the second set of wheels so I could do all the things. It takes me a bit less than 15 minutes to swap wheels and get the rear brake and chain tension right. We rode trails last weekend, did laps at the track Thursday and Saturday, and trails again today. People at the track think the XR100 is weird and people at the trails think the XR100 is weird and I think this bike is awesome. 

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
11/1/20 3:03 p.m.
APEowner said:
mazdeuce - Seth said:She fell over. A lot.

That pretty much describes my entire dirt bike experience. 

I'm jealous of both you and your kid.   I'll never have the dad experience and I never had a parent who shared my motorsport interests.

I'm well aware of how lucky I am. Neither of my parents understood my car/bike love. Of my four kids, one sort of liked it, one likes motorsports as a fan, but not a driver, one is ambivalent, and kid#3 is all about it. Even with my own kids I had a 25% success rate. 

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
11/1/20 3:29 p.m.

In reply to paranoid_android (Forum Enabler) :

Silver lake and warren 

Jesse Ransom (FFS)
Jesse Ransom (FFS) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
11/1/20 6:14 p.m.

I don't think I realized the XR hadn't been twiddled beyond tarmac wheels/tires; I assumed it had been stiffened up considerably for pavement work. You've got a setup that works okay on and off road?

Totally unrelated question that's been on my mind lately: Are you seeing folks at your kart track with Ninja 400/KTM RC390-size bikes, and are they working out okay on that size track? I know some folks are running them at my local-ish kart track, but I haven't gotten out there to get a sense of whether it really works well, or whether they're sort of lumbering beasts compared to the NSFs/Ohvales/etc...

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
11/2/20 7:54 a.m.

In reply to Jesse Ransom (FFS) :

I actually have two XR100s right now. The 101 bike is the race bike and it is 100% stock aside from a set of Renthal handlebars and the pavement tires for racing. Two reasons for this. 1. Rules. To race the class I race, it's got to be stock. 2. It works. Part of why it works is that I'm about 150lbs before I put on gear, but it also works for my friends who are up to about 200lbs. When you lean the bike way over suspension on any bike is werid and you're relying more on frame/fork twist than the actual suspension. The other bike in the pictures is the XR100 that has a different shock and a set of CR85 forks. I have pavement tires for that bike as well, and it's stiffer, but not faster, at least not on track. The stock bike has some frame/suspension harmonics that let you slide the front tire mid corner and be able to feel it and ride through it, and the stiffer suspension on the CR85 forks numbs that enough that it's harder to confidently push in the same way. 

On trails my daughter rides the stock bike not because it's too soft for me, but because the other bike is too stiff for her, she's about 65lbs lighter than me. At the speeds we're riding the stock bike is actually more comfortable for me and I've had to soften the CR85 forks all the way to not get beat up. As we go faster the big forks work better and I'm sure I could go fast enough to bottom out the stock bikes suspension, but that's not really how I ride in the woods. I like to go quick, but not fast. Ultimately these are trail bikes when ridden off road. If you're leaving the ground more than a little bit, you're going to have a bad time. On track, they just work, I've talked to the guys who race them in Ohio (they have 20+ bike grids of them) and they have general guidelines for what to improve, but it's just a fork oil change over about 180 lbs and a fork spring change for people over 200ish. The bikes work. They're great. 

As to the big bikes, yes, we're seeing more and more of them. Whether it works well or not depends on the track and how it flows/rides. On the big kart track that we ride a lot the KTM390's in particular do great. All of the 300-400 class bikes do well in fact. Supermotos are another option as a kart track is really just a supermoto track without the dirt parts. 

Jesse Ransom (FFS)
Jesse Ransom (FFS) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
11/2/20 3:47 p.m.

In reply to mazdeuce - Seth :

Awesome info, thank you!

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