Front Wheel too light

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#1
Has anyone else had this? I weigh 180lbs and have The #21 springs from Fredette. I have my rear sag set to almost 3"( I know it should be around 3.75") I have the stock tires K695 rear and K490 Front. I plan to lower my forks in the triple clamps next, but I wondered if this was something others have had to do. My front wheel is way too light and I have to lay on the gas tank alot of times to climb hills. Thanks.

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BloodEclipse
00' KDX220 Mine
00' TT-R125L Son
94 XR200 Wife
 
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#2
If you mean raising the fork tubes above the triple clamps (and I think you do), you may make matters worse. I know you're probably thinking that it will shift your weight forward or something, but what it will actually do is shorten your wheelbase causing the bike to wheelie even easier. If you really did mean that you were going to make the tops of the tubes flush with the clamp or even lower (I HAVE seen this done by the way) than forget what I've said.

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TexKDX

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#3
It is a riding technique issue, not a bike issue. If you are trying to get traction with the rear, the BEST traction occurs when the front end IS light. If you shift too much weight to the front wheel then you'll unload the rear.

Sitting while climbing is the biggest cause of your problem though. Try standing, and let the bike come to you with soft arms. This will let your weight shift naturally to the rear tire and keep you balanced front to back. If you lock your arms, then your body mass will begin moving backwards when you start climbing the hill and will bring the bike with it.

By sitting you really lose the ability to shift your weight correctly both for going up the incline and steering on the incline.

Try it standing, let the bike come to you, and stay balanced vertically like a tree would be growing straight up towards the sky on the incline. Change lines with your feet steering the bike, not the bars. Keep a light touch on the bars and planted on the pegs.

Do your accelerating before you get to the hill while you have traction, then hold steady throttle on the hill. Shift your weight front-to-back gently to keep the front end light and the back end biting, but not by pulling or pushing on the bars. Use your torso muscles against your legs.

Your best traction and climbing occurs in most cases (not so on sand) when the tire is not spinning. Try to work at feeling the connection between the rear tire and the ground, and use as little throttle as necessary to maintain the traction a few times. Less throttle with no spinning will take you farther than more throttle with alot of wheelspin (except sand).

Lemme know how it comes out.

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TexKDX
 
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#4
I've heard this 'complaint' more than once concerning the KDX. Never have understood it.

Riding technique for sure.

If you MUST sit (I have been just cuz of a recuperating knee), make sure you're up in the saddle of the bike! The ride is better (you're sitting in the locus of the bike gyrations)..and it's more natural to grip (and steer) with your knees.

Best bet is to ride as tex sez.

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WoodsRider

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#5
Lot's of good advice here. Remember the KDX makes good bottom-end power. If you have momentum, you can lug the engine up the hill. Trying to rip uphill WFO will cause the front-end to come up and over.

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Sage

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#6
run your axel back in the adjusters to 8 or 9, you will have to add a link or two but it will help the climbing thing (longer wheelbase), also drop the front 10mm above the clamps and it will turn in faster.

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Sage Wilkinson
sage@sagesdirtandstreet.com
 
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#7
I do stand when climbing hills, however I might not be as loose with my arms as I need to be. But its not just hills I have a problem with. Its also turns. I cut my seat foam down a bit to allow me to get further forward, and that helped some. Maybe I just need to be up a gear higher? I dont get much wheel spin.. the thing hooks up incredibly well. I just thought it might be a sag issue.

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BloodEclipse
00' KDX220 Mine
00' TT-R125L Son
 
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#9
BloodEclipse,

To get farther forward on the bike I would suggest taller seat foam instead of cutting down the stock foam.

You say you're having problems in turns too,... is your front end washing out? If so, set your sag at 95mm and that should help. IMHO, the stock tires are junk - I would try a Dunlop 756 front (and rear :D). Compared to stock, that tire will stick like glue. I had my KDX set up this way: .38 springs, 7wt oil at 100mm, sag set at 95mm. The bike turned worlds better than stock. Then I installed RT Gold Valves in the fork with a straight ch7 stack and the front end really stuck like glue.

You might want to try making these changes in this order

good luck

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Jay
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TexKDX

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#10
JCV, the stockers work pretty darned well in that Indiana soil when it is dry. I agree with you though in the wet, a better tire might help. Being a native Kentucky River Swimmer (that's what a Hoosier is - a Kentuckian that can swim) I hear the 756 Dunlop works pretty darned well overall in Laurel, up at Barney's, and at the Badlands.

Eclipse, what pressure are you running in the stockers? Should be down around 12 pounds.

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TexKDX
 
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#11
I mainly ride at Laurel. I raced in the Sand at Culver with 14psi and that was way bad. At Laurel I'm down to about 10psi front and rear. Washing out is the problem. Is the K490 not a good tire for these conditions?

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BloodEclipse
00' KDX220 Mine
00' TT-R125L Son
 

WoodsRider

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#12
Originally posted by BloodEclipse:
I raced in the Sand at Culver... Is the K490 not a good tire for these conditions?
I'm familiar with Culver (Blackhawks). Blew my knee out there. Don't know about Laurel, but if it's like Blackhawks, S-12's would be the hot ticket.

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dirt bike dave

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#13
I agree tires and technique are the big issues, but you might want to experiment with less pre-load on your fork springs. If you put the bike on a stand, measure, then put it on the ground, how much front end sag is there under the bike's own weight? Should be around 1".

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1999 Honda CRE 250
 

TexKDX

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#14
Laurel is greasy clay when wet and hardpack clay with a powder topcoat when dry.

Blood, if you are riding on the blue-grooved mx track there and sliding the front end then a good intermediate-to-hard tire will work.

I'm not sure of a good tire that will transition well from the greasy clay in the AM to dry clay in the PM other than say a good old intermediate tire like the Dunlop 756 or M32 Pirelli. Both of these would work better than the stock skin though.

If you are having trouble with Devil's Backbone area, this is DEFINATELY a technique-specific climb. Body placement will let you get traction on the smoother part, but you'll also need to learn how to carry the front wheel then unload the rear on the steps, landing rear wheel first. If you let the steps kick your back end up and your front end down, then you will most definately unload the rear end and lose forward momentum. No way you can execute this move sitting.

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TexKDX
 
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#15
Tex, Actually the rocky areas like Devils Backbone are a breeze. Where I have problems is in the loose dirt and the hard pack clay. Nobody has good traction in the wet clay.I dont ride the tracks at all. I stay in the woods. On the hills maybe my problem is just too much throttle. I like to scream up the hills. But in turns I find the front end washing out way too much and assumed it was do to sag. Now I'm thinking it could just be the front tire. I'm racing in the Hare Scramble series for my first time and will need a good tire for Indiana. I was looking at the D755 and D756.

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BloodEclipse
00' KDX220 Mine
00' TT-R125L Son