My new bike(s) impressions/reports - bitsy & long

Michelle

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#1
Well, after much searching and thinking, I've got me a trials bike :)
I was wondering how often I'd use it, however, after the ride today,
I'm wondering which bike to take next week - guess I'll have to do a
day on each.

I have a problem of being lazy, so thought maybe a trials bike might
help me stand more. I wanted a newer bike, as there's no seat
whatsoever, but have ended up with an older one (88 or so) which has
a seat (of sorts).

First ride today, Julie was following me around and when I sat down she was thinking how dumb I looked. I was thinking I've got damn cramp in my feet,
I've just gotta get rid of it, and boy I must look dumb with my knees
around my ears. In the end, I had to stop for a minute and then could
carry on.

Two things I noticed - roots - what roots? The bike absorbs them way
better than the KDX does, due to running stuff all tyre pressure. The
other thing was, whereas the KDX makes you want to sit for corners,
the trials bike doesn't (I did it once and it felt horrible, but I
couldn't resist trying it out). I also noticed the steering - tight trails are that
much easier. Now how this will translate, I'm not 100% sure, but I'm
thinking more time on the trials bike will rid me of some bad habits
I have. I also found I was steering more with the pegs, or more conscious of it, it just feels right.

Any regrets about either bike? Uh no, I love both of them for
different reasons. I haven't bothered any real trials stuff yet -
only had the bike a few days, and basically today was just a get to
know the bike session, and see how different it is. I need new bars
as the throttle sticks, the throttle body can't be tightened as the
bars are worn (so it sort of runs into the throttle housing, giving
it heaps of drag, not a release and it bounces back), and that I kept
feeling all day, remembering to force it back.

Now yesterday was also awesome for different reasons. We've got
another convert whom we hope to see again. She's a road rider, but
loved the woods and I was stoked she got to see the deer. The three
of us (Julie, Emma & myself)had fun changing bikes & just mucking about, as well as taking time to cut tracks. (no, she didn't use her road bike, we just
utilised what we had between us plus someone else's bike). As for
XR200's, well, I think they're great beginner's bikes, as they're so
tractorish, but it's just not me. Emma decided the KDX was better than the other two - XR & a GG Pampera.

Oh, I've got my mountain bike too, with my first ride interesting. At
night, no real light (couldn't be bothered mounting it, so thought
I'd see how the marker light worked - it didn't). Going along a track
near home, I'd see white stuff on the ground, so kept thinking it was
puddles - most of them were, but the manhole cover wasn't - luckily I
was avoiding it, and seeing it was about 1-2 inches off the ground,
I'm glad I realised it the 2nd time through. Shame about the chain
between the posts though - lol, that I didn't see until my front
wheel hit it and I almost went over the bars. I managed to throw the
drive chain just before I got home, so as I couldn't see what was
wrong, walked the bike back to tell Henk I'd broken the bike.

So all in all, I've had a great week, and intend to go biking again
tomorrow if I'm not too sore from today, but this time I'll make sure
I've got lights (at least I now realise there's a chain between the
posts).
Oops, almost forgot. I went/rode my first real harescramble last
weekend. It sucked. I was so paranoid about getting in the way of the
leaders, I had no fun. I kept leaving the track to let guys past,
with one time leaving myself in a bad position, so I ended up bush
crashing, thinking if I dump it or injure myself, no one will find
me. In the end, I pulled out after half a loop (26km loop, great
ride, lots of challenges for me, just too intimidating, as I was
riding like crap with really bad hand cramp due to my front brake
lever slipping - I'd thought of tightening it up before going out,
but decided it was okay - I'd been adjusting my levers during the
week, and just hadn't tightened it quite enough). Hmm, okay, I'm
having a blonde week (sorry bbbom & others, lol). Sharla, I wish I'd
read your flame earlier, I totally understand, I think one guy yelled
at me, but there was nowhere for me to go at the time, so he just had
to wait - I'm partially deaf, so all I heard was the bike with
maybe a mumble hehehe - but I always listen out for bikes if I can -
I'm used to that noise, it's just more directional & higher pitched I
can't hear clearly.

I'm still here & I'm still riding, but to be honest after the hs the
bike was up for sale, I'd just had enough - didn't dare tell the guys
about the phone call that the trials bike was up for sale as they'd
have laughed at me on one hand talking about selling the KDX &
giving up and the next, ooooh, do you remember that guy with the
trials bike, guess what, he's selling it & we've got first option on
it. (does this sound familiar - Sharla, you are not alone at getting
frustrated sometimes/often, and I've been riding for about 2-1/2
years, but I still suck hard, generally I don't care, I just have a
great time and that's what counts, it's just some days, especially
when you're being forced into something you're really unsure about to
start with & left on your own totally). FC22, I hope your knee is
okay and I'm sure once you're on the bike again, you'll feel happier.

Sorry for the longwindedness (just for a change). I'm still reading,
just it's easier to post once than many times, but I'm also real
busy - and no, I'm not usually a menace, but it comes in threes :) lol
 

LoriKTM

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#2
Wow, I didn't know you were thinking about a trials bike, Michelle! That's great. Dave and I are talking about taking the trails class down in Tennessee to improve our riding skills.

Sounds like you're doing just fine, and having fun is the most important part. I think it took me three tries before I finished my first harescramble. I had no idea that you were supposed to get that tired! It takes time to build up the endurance and skills to go for the whole race and not want to give it all up when you get done.
 

CJ Rider

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#3
Wow! We have to discuss this trials bike thing, Michelle. I have many questions for you. I'll be back after the conference call here....
 

CJ Rider

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#4
Back again. First off- I'm sorry to hear about your frustration and knee injury Sharla. I also had a knee injury from climbing a few years back. What a pain to rebuild, but it's doable and worth it to get back to normal!

Michelle- Here's the thing I need to know about these trials bikes. I've seen 'em do amazing leaps and rock climbs and as you say, "what roots?!" However, can you hang with the group on a trail ride with one? Aren't they just ultra light and manuverable slow creepers?

OK, here's why I'm asking: This weekend. Taylor Park. 60 miles in 8 hours of the hardest ride I've ever been on. It had everything. Loose boulder fields, seat-deep mud bogs, deep streams with badly-placed Rottwiler-sized rocks with steep embankment climbs afterwards, steep loose root infested hill climbes that took 90 degree turns halfway up or halfway down inbetween trees, a four foot diameter downed tree across the trail that others seem to have ridden over, and tire-wide narrow steep cow paths with a cliff going up one side and coming down the other. All this at between 9K and 12K feet above sea level. The only thing it didn't have was deep sand... I think... it was all blur after a while.

I was riding the DR200 and I felt pummeled. The extra suspension and regular sized tires allowed me to negotiate the loose rocks and roots a whole lot better than on the TTR, but the extra weight wore me out when I fell. I'm definitely not dissing the DR200. It handled most of the challenge better than I'd ever hoped it would. As dazed and confused as I was at the end of the day... it was still... fun. It would be more fun if I wasn't so worn out from falling and picking that thing back up, which I cannot do by myself very well and usually don't have to so much. I guess I had the pummeling coming to me for actually thinking I might be getting better or something. Some little elf was laughing and saying "Wrong-o Keebler."

Anyhow... the thought of a light manuverable trials bike did cross my mind a few more than a few times during the ride. What do you think, Michelle? Is your new bike the key to enjoying a trail ride like that?
 

Michelle

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#5
CJ, I'm definitely no expert (at anything), however I was very impressed with the difference between bikes. I know of guys who will take their trials bikes on trail rides in horrible places & have a blast - I've yet to try. I know that in one forest we sometimes ride in, Henk has mentioned taking his trials bike out there, but an expert rider told him not to - due to the amount of mud in there - it just loads up between the front fender & tyre. But knowing the two of us, we'll probably give it a go at some stage lol ;)

Rocks we don't get much of, but if the tyres handle it anything like they do roots, I'm sure it'll be easier. The trails Julie & I went on were easy, but with one of them it has a few 90 degree (or more) turns in it which I kept missing on the KDX (they're brand new trails, so we haven't marked them on the ground much yet, nor have arrows up to indicate where the heck we're meant to go), but I just blasted round them no problemo (Julie had missed one, but I was so
busy concentrating on what the heck I was doing, I hadn't noticed).

If you haven't tried a trials bike by the time you come out here, you'll be more than welcome to borrow mine CJ (actually, I was thinking, cool, spare bike for visitors). Bear in mind it's an older bike and only a 200, but it's great. I let Julie's 11yo son ride it and started wondering if I was ever going to get it back. It's no speed demon (then, nor am I), but it'll go anywhere (deep mud I'm not 100% sure about, but Nicole or Trialswench will be able to help more).

As for your hell ride, I still remember mine from last year (it's not running this year or I know I'd be there), but I know a lot of that was unfamiliarity with the KDX. At the end of that, I'd done stuff all riding, but I was hammered. I hated riding, I hated the bike, I hated the weather, I was cold, I was hungry, I was in tears and sore.

When Henk got his trials bike earlier this year, he got speaking to someone down the line about a two-day trial/trail ride he runs. When he asked the guy if my KDX would make it around, the answer was "no way, trials bikes only" - guess we'll have to book that in for next year. There are a couple of trails a couple of hours away we'd like to try as they're pretty nasty on normal bikes, but apparently huge fun on trials bikes.

Neither bike will be going up for sale, and to be honest, I'm fired up to go riding again, just so I can do a bit of bush crashing.

Lori, I've been interested in trials for years as they fascinate me, but have been extremely intimidated by them as well, until Henk competed in his first one this year - it didn't look as bad as I thought it would be - club trial, never got a chance to watch a national unfortunately, but hopefully our Labour weekend. The Fantic was meant for me, but I can't start it, so we've been looking out for a bike for ages within our cheap price range. Test ride - is there
any hope of me starting the bike? Yip, got there in the end, okay, we'll buy it hehehe. I really want to improve, and am hoping this is the way to do it - it can't do any harm. It should give me confidence to just ignore things on the trail in any case :)
 

firecracker22

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#6
Hmmm, the more I hear about trials, the more I want to try it. It looks like fun. I'm sure I could really improve my skills that way. Nicole was going to show me her trials bike at the ISDE in Idaho but mechanical troubles kept us home that weekend. :(

Of course, it could just be a new way to spend money, frustrate myself and get hurt! :eek:
 
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#7
CJ Rider,

Maybe I can give you some tips. First a trials bike is not really designed for trail riding specifically. One because it does not have a seat (Well not the new ones) and two it only holds 1 gallon of gas which will take you about 25 miles if you are lucky. I love taking mine on short trail rides but long ones don't allow you to rest any by sitting. Michelle's is an older one and does sort of have a seat but not ideal for sitting. A trials bike will IMPROVE your enduro skills and make riding an enduro bike more fun. When I get back from the ISDE I would be more than happy to meet you in Woodland Park and teach you some things on mine. Then maybe I can help suggest a better bike for you. If you could see Leapin Lisa ride now that she has practiced on her trials bike you would see what I mean. Just know how to ride properly will make all the difference. Plus Taylor park has only HARD trials from what I have seen so don't feel bad. Call me or e-mail me and we will set up a time.

Nicole
 

CJ Rider

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#8
Some tips would be awesome since it sounds like the enduro is still the trail bike! Girlrider- Thanks so much for the offer; I'll definitely contact you! And thanks for saying that the Taylor Park trails actually are hard as there's a bit of self-doubt happening trying to keep up with the boys. 'Would like to see Leapin Lisa ride maybe next time she comes out here!

Michelle- Could I reserve a spot for this coming March? It will be the first NZ Spodefest of sorts! Maybe by then Girlrider will have showed me a thing or two and I'll be able to stay ON the bike!