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#137656 - 07/27/17 07:23 PM Hard Time at the local 'Brickyard'
FahrenheitFarmer Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/26/17
Posts: 18
Loc: Louisville, KY, US
I thought I was prepared. I'd ridden parts of this place with a buddy about 3-4 times before. I was wrong:

Joined a local Dual Sport Facebook Group and was super eager to finally ride my XT225 with someone other than my good friend (who has an XR250). Every time I have been out before, to the same place [infamous Louisville Brickyard Trails], it was pretty smooth sailing for me and a very comfortable pace. I had been a few times with a street front tire and no mods at all. For reference, I never rode dirt bikes as a kid, and have only been into vintage Japanese bikes and later naked sport bikes since about 2013.

When the time came to join the group for a ride, I was excited. I made sure to install two new knobby tires, new chain, and some CR High ProTaper bars. I ended up jetting my carbs, modding the exhaust, and throwing in a Uni filter as well. I was planning to make the most of all 20 horsepower.

We meet up at a nearby gas station, and I had instant regret. The lineup: KLR650, two XR600s, DR400, and what I believe was a TW200. Other riders were hhead to toe in the nicest gear, especially compared to my clearance-rack Bilt motocross pants and helmet. We all had the same brand camelbacks (hydration system)- so I had that going for me.

We head out to the trail entrance about two miles away. I'm wearing Fox Racing boots that I find awful and make me feel like I cant shift gears for crap. I'm not holding out the group, but even on pavement I am already pegging the throttle to keep close to the tractor...uh...KLR650.Halfway there, the guy on the XR600 rides a monster wheelie past us. Come to find out later, he was in fifth gear.

We get to the trail entrance and it's a bit of a climb, but I was super comfortable. And that was the last time. We found ourselves in groups of 3 bikes, with me typically falling in the middle of the second trio. Things are dry and I start to wish I had brought my goggles. The pace was considerably faster than what I had ever done before, but I wasnt about to show weakness to my 'new friends'. I keep the throttle pegged on the little 225 and manage to keep up just about everywhere. White knuckles the entire time.

I'm comfortable standing and riding on the bike, but I feel like I am uncertain about when to do so. Also, I need to upgrade to the larger footpegs. I blame a good portion of my difficulties on my boots. I feel like I only ever lock up the rear brakes and the back end slides everywhere. My fronts get mushy after awhile, but I'm not sure if braided lines or a new master cylinder would improve this. Additionally, shifting with the boots often throws me up more gears than I'd like. Is it possible that I am passing 2nd and going to 3rd, or even to 4th?

I didnt drop the bike all day, but put myself into some pretty crappy terrain. Between the speed, my inexperience of the trails, and problems with the boots- I had a terrible time.

We eventually made it to a large clearing with a very tall jump. I was more familiar with this area (I've even made it here with my Jeep) and how to get home. I took this opportunity to cut out on my own, tail between my legs. At this point, the other riders were already taking turns jumping and tail whipping the large hill. I scuttled off like Zoidberg.

For those who wear full motocross boots on their XT, how do you deal with the problems I have?
_________________________
06 XT225, 16 FZ09, 03 ZRX1224

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#137662 - 07/27/17 08:53 PM Re: Hard Time at the local 'Brickyard' [Re: FahrenheitFarmer]
peejman Offline
Platinum Member
*****

Registered: 06/03/13
Posts: 2466
Loc: East TN USA
Originally Posted By: FahrenheitFarmer

We meet up at a nearby gas station, and I had instant regret. The lineup: KLR650, two XR600s, DR400, and what I believe was a TW200. Other riders were hhead to toe in the nicest gear, especially compared to my clearance-rack Bilt motocross pants and helmet. We all had the same brand camelbacks (hydration system)- so I had that going for me.

We head out to the trail entrance about two miles away. I'm wearing Fox Racing boots that I find awful and make me feel like I cant shift gears for crap. I'm not holding out the group, but even on pavement I am already pegging the throttle to keep close to the tractor...uh...KLR650.Halfway there, the guy on the XR600 rides a monster wheelie past us. Come to find out later, he was in fifth gear.



No need to feel intimidated. They've done this a while, you haven't. If they don't understand that, find someone else to ride with.



Quote:
We get to the trail entrance and it's a bit of a climb, but I was super comfortable. And that was the last time. We found ourselves in groups of 3 bikes, with me typically falling in the middle of the second trio. Things are dry and I start to wish I had brought my goggles. The pace was considerably faster than what I had ever done before, but I wasnt about to show weakness to my 'new friends'. I keep the throttle pegged on the little 225 and manage to keep up just about everywhere. White knuckles the entire time.



Negative Ghost Rider. ALWAYS ride your own ride. It's no fun being left behind, but its a whole lot better than getting in way over your head and ending up in the hospital. Never let your ego get the better of you. The consequences can be severe. It's ok (and fun) to ride with people who push your limits a little. But being pushed a little and being totally overwhelmed are very different.

Again, if the others won't slow down a little or at least wait for you, find someone else to ride with.



Quote:
I'm comfortable standing and riding on the bike, but I feel like I am uncertain about when to do so.


I generally stand when doing anything other than puttering along an easy path. Standing gives you much better control over the bike. It disconnects your weight from the bike so if you hit an unexpected bump that moves the bike suddenly, you don't get moved with it. It also lets your knees and elbows act as extra suspension to compensate for the XT's marginal stock boingers. Some guys started out riding MX style and never stand up. Some guys started out riding enduro style and never sit down. To each his own, do what you're comfortable with.


Quote:
Also, I need to upgrade to the larger footpegs.


Yes, you do.


Quote:
I blame a good portion of my difficulties on my boots. I feel like I only ever lock up the rear brakes and the back end slides everywhere. My fronts get mushy after awhile, but I'm not sure if braided lines or a new master cylinder would improve this. Additionally, shifting with the boots often throws me up more gears than I'd like. Is it possible that I am passing 2nd and going to 3rd, or even to 4th?

I didnt drop the bike all day, but put myself into some pretty crappy terrain. Between the speed, my inexperience of the trails, and problems with the boots- I had a terrible time.

We eventually made it to a large clearing with a very tall jump. I was more familiar with this area (I've even made it here with my Jeep) and how to get home. I took this opportunity to cut out on my own, tail between my legs. At this point, the other riders were already taking turns jumping and tail whipping the large hill. I scuttled off like Zoidberg.

For those who wear full motocross boots on their XT, how do you deal with the problems I have?



MX Boots - you'll get used to them. You don't get much feel through them so shifting and braking aren't super easy and take some practice. If you find yourself dancing on the shifter (constantly going up and down) you're pushing too hard. Slow down and relax. You're supposed to be having fun! The XT has a very wide power band, use it. No, it's not really possible to shift multiple gears at once without actuating the shifter multiple times.

If the front brake was fading, either there's something wrong with it, or you were using it WAY too much. Check the pads and rotor to see if they're glazed. Replace the fluid. Slow down.

Bailing out at the jumping portion wasn't necessarily a bad idea as jumping the XT is a quick way to kill it. The stock suspension and wheels just aren't up to the task. You'll hurt yourself and/or break stuff if you get more than a couple feet in the air.

Sounds like you were quite overwhelmed, which is perfectly normal for a noob riding with very experienced riders. Again, if they're not willing to slow down, wait, and/or mentor you along until you're more comfortable, find someone else to ride with.
_________________________
This shall pass, be still and know.
2006 XT225, UNI filter, ProTaper bars, MSR handguards, SS front brake line, Shinko 241's.

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#137686 - 07/28/17 10:33 PM Re: Hard Time at the local 'Brickyard' [Re: FahrenheitFarmer]
cogitech Offline
Member L1
*****

Registered: 06/08/16
Posts: 146
Loc: Kamloops, BC
I agree with peejman, mostly. smile

Riding with those dudes sounds like a quick way to wreck your bike and/or your body.

Regarding standing; I'm a sitter and will never encourage someone to stand if they don't feel any benefit. The only time I have seriously wiped out my XT (and received an injury that I can still feel after several weeks) I was standing on the pegs. I know for a fact I would not have wiped out if I was sitting at the time.

On the other hand, I test rode a friend's KLR650 last weekend and I felt there was a definite advantage to standing on that bike sometimes.



Edited by cogitech (07/28/17 10:36 PM)
_________________________
'06 XT225, 2" hole in airbox, Z1 mod, 127.5 main jet, UNI air filter, Corbin seat, custom aluminum rear rack.

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#137695 - 07/29/17 07:08 AM Re: Hard Time at the local 'Brickyard' [Re: cogitech]
alexd Offline
Platinum Member
*****

Registered: 09/23/07
Posts: 5915
Loc: Illinois, USA

If you have the skill/balance, standing on the pegs is better. But, for us "sitters" (for one reason or another), at least we can "paddle" our feet and push the bike upwards on steep, rocky trails.

Years ago, I used to try to keep up with certain people, who were probably running 7/10ths of their ability...while I needed to be going 10/10th. It's no fun, as well as potentially dangerous.

Ironically, they no longer ride...

Alexd
_________________________
(one) 2006 XT225, (two) 2005 XT225, 2006 FZ1

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#137732 - 08/01/17 12:30 PM Re: Hard Time at the local 'Brickyard' [Re: FahrenheitFarmer]
peejman Offline
Platinum Member
*****

Registered: 06/03/13
Posts: 2466
Loc: East TN USA
Trying to keep up with someone who's even a little faster can be quite a challenge. I learned that riding track days on my sport bike years ago. If a track is 1 mile around and your average speed is 60 mph, it takes exactly 1 minute per lap. A guys who's 1 second faster per lap is only averaging 1 mph faster than you. But you'd be surprised how hard it can be to convince yourself to go 1 mph faster.
_________________________
This shall pass, be still and know.
2006 XT225, UNI filter, ProTaper bars, MSR handguards, SS front brake line, Shinko 241's.

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#137766 - 08/04/17 05:03 PM Re: Hard Time at the local 'Brickyard' [Re: alexd]
cogitech Offline
Member L1
*****

Registered: 06/08/16
Posts: 146
Loc: Kamloops, BC
Originally Posted By: alexd

If you have the skill/balance, standing on the pegs is better. But, for us "sitters" (for one reason or another), at least we can "paddle" our feet and push the bike upwards on steep, rocky trails.



Steep, rocky/sandy/slick sections are one area that sitting is basically the only option for me. Getting my 180 (or so) pounds over the rear wheel (but not too far back) improves traction dramatically in my experience. When I stand, I need to lean forward to keep the front wheel down and BAM my traction vanishes in the rear. There's a sweet spot right on the seat where I get the perfect balance of rear traction and front wheel control. The spot is so sweet I have no real worries about throttle control, and I can climb pretty-much anything that the bike is capable of. The bonus is being able to flat-foot and "paddle" if absolutely necessary, but I find that too much weight on the feet again takes traction away from the rear wheel, so I am cautious about that.
_________________________
'06 XT225, 2" hole in airbox, Z1 mod, 127.5 main jet, UNI air filter, Corbin seat, custom aluminum rear rack.

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#137773 - 08/04/17 11:42 PM Re: Hard Time at the local 'Brickyard' [Re: cogitech]
alexd Offline
Platinum Member
*****

Registered: 09/23/07
Posts: 5915
Loc: Illinois, USA
I experience those things too...interesting to see it confirmed!

One other thing about sitting: Should the bike begin to slip out and begin to fall beyond correction, the fact that you're sitting and that all of your weight isn't on your foot pegs (as contrasted with standing), allows you to "stab" your foot down to the ground for support a few milliseconds faster.

I am not trying to make a case that sitting is better than standing; I don't believe that it is...standing is better. And, it could also be argued that if you have the capacity to stand, you might also have better balancing and other skills so that "slip outs" are less common anyway.

But, for one reason of another, sometimes we have to sit.

Alexd


Edited by alexd (08/04/17 11:42 PM)
_________________________
(one) 2006 XT225, (two) 2005 XT225, 2006 FZ1

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#137815 - 08/08/17 10:50 AM Re: Hard Time at the local 'Brickyard' [Re: FahrenheitFarmer]
FahrenheitFarmer Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/26/17
Posts: 18
Loc: Louisville, KY, US
I appreciate all of the responses. I obviously have some learning to do.

I've been out on the XT twice since this ride. Both times have been in very mild trails that are more like dirt roads. I think that the difficulty of the trails themselves played a big part in my apprehension.
_________________________
06 XT225, 16 FZ09, 03 ZRX1224

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#137819 - 08/08/17 02:40 PM Re: Hard Time at the local 'Brickyard' [Re: FahrenheitFarmer]
peejman Offline
Platinum Member
*****

Registered: 06/03/13
Posts: 2466
Loc: East TN USA
Originally Posted By: FahrenheitFarmer
I appreciate all of the responses. I obviously have some learning to do.

I've been out on the XT twice since this ride. Both times have been in very mild trails that are more like dirt roads. I think that the difficulty of the trails themselves played a big part in my apprehension.



No worries. Everyone gets a little anxious riding unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people. Honestly, the scariest part is when you get comfortable as that's when you're most likely to crash.

There's an Australian trials riding group who've created several really good enduro cross-training videos.... applying trials skills to enduro type riding. Lots of good skills you can practice relatively easily.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG3IyREyFVc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9aoquCjero

http://crosstrainingenduro.com/cross-training-enduro-techniques.htm



Some good info here as well...
http://trialstrainingcenter.com/how-to-ride-motorcycle-trials/introduction-to-tutorials/
_________________________
This shall pass, be still and know.
2006 XT225, UNI filter, ProTaper bars, MSR handguards, SS front brake line, Shinko 241's.

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