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January 14th, 2006, 01:37 AM   #1
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SingleTrack bike setup, suggestions?

Hello Husaberg community! I have started to do some single track rides with some buddies and they are more advanced trails. Up until recently I have only ridden out at the open dunes, forrest roads, and quad/jeep trails. I have not had to do any special fine tuning to my bike up until this point as it has handled well and it did not put much stress on me while riding it on these types of rides. Since riding the ST, my bike has given me quit the work out and I find myself exhausted and worn out quickly. Being that this is new to me my technical riding skills are lacking in this department and I acknowledge this. I am a novice rider and negotiate 90% of the trails without too much trouble but when things start getting hairy my skills, or lack their of, cannot keep up with my bike and I find myself stalling at lower speeds or washing out due to my inability to control my throttle. As I stated earlier, my skills are lacking and time in the saddle will help. However, I also think there are a few things that can be done to the bike to tame it more for this type of riding. I have convinced myself that my bike, an '02 FC550/6, is high strung and is not the idea bike for this technical tight and twisty type of riding. I would describe my bike as "all or nothing". Power is on hand with little twist of the throttle and gets excited quickly.... ok i'll say it, I get myself in trouble almost instantaneously. Let me try to explain how I manage to get myself in trouble. I am riding along having a good old time twisting and turning and such and then the terrain switchs on me from hard pack to a rutted out rocky hill climb. From the moment I enter the rock garden I can tell that my suspension is just way to stiff and I begin to get hammered all over the place. As I hit the rocks, my arms get jolted hard and I "blip" the throttle as a result. Now I am thrusted back and I have to hold on tighter so I don't become a projectile. Tire starts spinning, and throws me sideways. Then I have to let off the throttle to get back under control and try to get going back in the direction I need to go again, usually over or under correcting as now I am a few feet further into the garden and being thrown in another direction. This picture I just painted for you all happens repeatedly for about 5-10 seconds until I end up facing back down the hill, sideways, upside down, in a bush, or I just stop to regain my composure!
I have identified what I think to be three areas I need help on besides practice and deloping better skills as a rider. These are bike related...

1st, my suspension is way to stiff and does not handle the terrain very well. I have my compression adjustment as soft as they will go +2 clicks but it's still harsh with little give (I am 180lbs, maybe 200 in full gear). They are stock forks and shock with no adjustments made since I bought the bike, Just farting around with the rebound and compression adjustments a little.

2nd, my throttle response is touchy. I don't know if there is anything I can do to adjust this and I don't really know if I want to. This also might just be the fact that I don't have much slippage in the clutch. I have a small area of play in between fully engaged and disengaged, again this is probably more of a skill that I lack with feathering the clutch and getting traction when I need it and allowing it to slip rather than using throttle only.

3rd, and probably easiest to fix is my gearing. My first gear is wound out for most of the riding but is useful in some situations. Second gear is a perfect for most of the riding but when I start to hunker it down I sometimes get into the area where im on the verge of stalling the bike. When this happens and I need some gas the bike will get the "pop" backfire through the carb and stall on me.

If anyone can give me some pointers, wether technique related or advise on setting up the bike better I would be gladly appreciative. If there is any other info that you would need to help me diagnose a problem please post it up and I would be happy to post it up.

Thanks for reading!

Regards,
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January 14th, 2006, 02:49 AM   #2
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Re: SingleTrack bike setup, suggestions?

You might want to try softer springs or a lighter fork oil. My bike also uses FC springs. On my bike I reset the sag and also softened up the settings. The bike rides like a feather bed as in soaking up bumps and will work as is on a mx track. The forks you might want to fiddle with the rebound and compression settings some. You do bleed the forks don`t you?
The throttle response: Adjust the throttle cable so there is some slop in it so it will not be hair trigger. I don`t really know if these will help much or not but if you mellow out the forks and shock that will help but then you would have to go slower but in a rock garden thats a good idea.
Always keep the front matched with the rear. That helps. I hope this gives you some ideas.
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January 14th, 2006, 03:23 AM   #3
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Re: SingleTrack bike setup, suggestions?

Try one of these for your throttle control issues-
Adjustable Throttle Cam System
Most users seem satisfied with them.
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January 14th, 2006, 06:04 AM   #4
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Re: SingleTrack bike setup, suggestions?

compression and rebound work directly together if you have the compression dampening real soft and the rebound to high you will have bounce. get your suspension balanced. in the twisties move your body forward and keep it there. some guys kind of drag the rear brake to control wheel spin or the jerkey throttle you are talking about. practice throttle and clutch and rear brake control. and concentrate on the whole package. good luck


db
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January 14th, 2006, 08:17 AM   #5
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Re: SingleTrack bike setup, suggestions?

I happen to have ridden the same single tracks as Sandskipper and they are not exactly the ones where you want to start. Bartlett and MM have easier, more accessible STs to start on, than Sycamore Creek, where the 1tracks are quite advanced and have names like Scaryokie, Pickaxe or Indiana (after Jones, of course), so you get the idea.

I was invited to ride on these trails with an unprepared bike and I got my ... kicked real bad, it's not fun to pick up your bike ten times in a ride, especially in a hill with the top side facing down, and good luck to restart if you have a Dellorto.

I think you need to start with easier 1tracks first and also have the fork adjusted, as was already written. That was my issue with the DRZ 250, being 235lbs with gear and the bike designed for 160lbs riders, the front was too plush for me, had a hard time steering it and, on STs, that's a big problem.

I don't think you really need a new spring, as you are not exactly obese. Adding or removing oil in the forks can help you adjust your rebound without investing in a new spring. You can play on +/- 15ml and see what happens. I use Motorex 2.5W. But whatever you can find at 2.5W or 5W.

Also try to set your sag at 105mm if it is not already there. 115mm is good if you intend to take jump and go fast on open trails, not for 1tracks.

As for the responsiveness, either eat a lot and join the "100+ kg club" (220+ lbs), which should mellow it a bit, or do as you said earlier and put a 14T in the front, which will also helps in the hillclimbs.

In my case, I now start slipping the clutch in the steep technical hillclimbs, with the engine in 2nd and revving high, that gives me some extra control and also prevents me from stalling.

I am still learning single tracks, just like you, I think it's a great challenge, and that's why we ride dirt bikes instead of golfing.
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January 14th, 2006, 11:36 AM   #6
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Re: SingleTrack bike setup, suggestions?

Basically what you want to do is turn your bike into a 2 wheeled jeep. I would gear down. I run a 13X48 on my 501. With a wide ratio transmission this gives you a granny 1st. The bike will rev out very quick and the throttle response takes some getting used to. You need a slower response throttle or adjust a little play in what you have. Setting up your front forks and rear shock. Try softing the settings as much as you can. That way if you want to ride somewhere else all you have to do is reset them. You want the forks and shock to soak up the jolts and bumps not bounce off of them. Hope this helps, my bike is setup for woods riding so they should be about the same. Send a PM if you have any questions.
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January 14th, 2006, 01:51 PM   #7
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Re: SingleTrack bike setup, suggestions?

I just replaced the 15T with a 14T and rode it in my backyard (I have a 1.5 acre lot) and already it feels a lot less responsive *but* the power is a lot easier to control. Having to rev a bit higher is not necessarily bad, it is also less likely to stall and, personally, 80% of my trouble on 1tracks is (or was) stalling issues.

Now, if you intend to ride on wide open jeep trails, you may want to spend the 10 minutes it takes to swap the front sprocket back to 15T, but 14T seems to be a good compromise.

I also tend to think that the Bergs are built for expert riders, although they make average riders look less average. That means that an expert rider knows how to handle the explosive power in the tight and gnarly stuff with some incredible body language, while we spodes don't have that expertise and 48/15 on tight stuff may be a bit too complicated to handle.
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January 14th, 2006, 02:12 PM   #8
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Re: SingleTrack bike setup, suggestions?

Originally Posted by LeFrog
I just replaced the 15T with a 14T and rode it in my backyard (I have a 1.5 acre lot) and already it feels a lot less responsive *but* the power is a lot easier to control. Having to rev a bit higher is not necessarily bad, it is also less likely to stall and, personally, 80% of my trouble on 1tracks is (or was) stalling issues.

Now, if you intend to ride on wide open jeep trails, you may want to spend the 10 minutes it takes to swap the front sprocket back to 15T, but 14T seems to be a good compromise.

I also tend to think that the Bergs are built for expert riders, although they make average riders look less average. That means that an expert rider knows how to handle the explosive power in the tight and gnarly stuff with some incredible body language, while we spodes don't have that expertise and 48/15 on tight stuff may be a bit too complicated to handle.
You are right but why stop and change your front sprocket. Just shift into a higher gear and go. That is what a 6 speed is for. There was one stretch of trail I got my bike into 6th. I guess running 60-70mph. There is plenty of leeway with a 6 speed wide ratio transmission.
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January 15th, 2006, 05:43 AM   #9
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Re: SingleTrack bike setup, suggestions?

I think the 14t front sprocket is a must for st ,the 550 is a big bike in st but the faster you get the better the bike will work ,berg tend to get better with speed , also turn your idle up alittle to help with stalling,and use your clutch . hope this helps
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January 15th, 2006, 06:56 AM   #10
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Re: SingleTrack bike setup, suggestions?

Thanks for your input fellas, I appreciate the feedback. I will be getting me a new sprocket for the front in the next couple of days. Also, I may just have to look a little deeper into this throttle tube assembly. It looks like a nifty unit, wonder how well it works... Wildbill, I do bleed my shocks most of the time but sometimes I forget. I want to get a set of the push button bleeders, those look nice. Any other suggestions or advise from the advanced riders?

Regards,
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