Here she is with the suspension gone before getting defiled further.
When I got this bike (a different one than I rode at Westfest, incidentally), I rode it 4 miles (from my house to my shop) and then tore it down into itty bitty pieces. This feels roughly like meeting a new girl, going on a really promising date to coffee, and then hacking her up and putting her in your refrigerator. Well, I don't know that from experience and maybe I'm exaggerating a bit. But it doesn't feel good.
In my experience, the absolute biggest flaw with the orange bikes is that they are patchily assembled. I'm not sure if there's 2 guys out of 10 that drink on the job, or what, but a couple of my Katooms have come really poorly built. This was not one of them, but Steverino's experience shows that it does happen. Your dealer ought to give the bike a careful check over, but they aren't really paid to do so and most don't. For best results in the long term, get out your grease and your loctite and your zipties, and take the bike apart then put it back together with love and attention. Maybe it won't make any difference, maybe you'll find a bunch of stuff, you'll certainly know more and have more confidence in it.
I also desmog'd/ EPC'd/ Canisterectomy'd it while I had it apart. I bought a set of CJ Racer's Blank off plates, and they are beautiful.
The SE, with open Neptune Exhausts (thank you, Andrew from AWS!), runs really, really well on 105 octane leaded racegas. Really well. Thank you, Baja Pits!
The steering damper is also key to this performance. We put on a Scott's setup, as I believe it is superior to the alternatives (everyone I know with an RTT has had it fail, both Hilslamer and Pyndon have Emig setups that didn't survive prerunning, and I don't like the feel of GPR stuff, which doesn't have an adjustable high speed circuit).
Chris Blais advised Pyn to set the high speed setting at 1 turn out, and that has proven excellent at adding stability with no tradeoff in feel, anywhere. We would dial the low speed circuit up a bit in silt just to stop the bars being wrenched from our hands, but otherwise, it was a set and forget kind of thing.
I never want to race without a horn again. It was awesome to come up on some poor sucker on a single, rev the motor, honk the horn, and watch them dive for the bushes. Seriously, I'm putting a horn on my 250 for the next Enduro I race. Awesome.
This is a Baja Designs Sol-tek Halogen light, tight focus, with a 100 w bulb, and it was bitchin' in the race. I had helmet lights also, and wound up not running them much at all.
Kurt from Black Dog Cycle Works (Blackdogcw.com), who also makes an adventure skidplate, helped us develop a skidplate for the SE.
This is about the 4th revision- each time, we're able to narrow in a little more on exactly what is needed, and this final version is very close. It's form fitting but with some "crush zone", it's very strong, and in 1300 miles of rocks and bottoming in whoops and every other kind of abuse we could throw at it, it worked perfectly and came through unscathed, save a bunch of scratches.
Our Superplush suspension was fantastic for the race. We made a conscious decision to trade off whoop performance for rock/chop performance, because we knew there was about 100 miles of whoops and about 1200 miles of rocks and chop... the bike was so stable in the latter, it required almost no management at all. Just point and shoot. We did bottom hard a few times on booby traps and unexpected whoops... we are working on one more revision with James, which we think will retain most of the plushness while adding a little more bottoming control.
Compared to stock, though, it's a different bike. In Sipapu, I remember riding through rock gardens with my sphincter in diamond creation mode. On this bike, you could take your hand off the bar and wave- it's way, way better.
The 908RR rear has completely reinvented what is possible for dualsport, in my opinion. No other tire even comes close on durability. I tested a Karoo rear and a Michelin Desert as well- the 908 performed better than the Desert and was much more durable, and while I really like how the Karoo works, I can take it off in about 20 miles if I'm careless with the throttle.
Getting back to the point, though, Pyndon did an ironbutt to get from Texas to the race, we rode the racecourse top to bottom and back up again, keeping a reasonable pace on dirt and pavement alike, and through it all, we didn't have to worry about tire longevity at all. It totally changes the rules.
The 908 also makes excellent smoke clouds at the finish line.
The Riders (l to r): Ned " Neduro" Suesse, Lyndon "Pyndon" Poskitt, Tim "Hilslamer" Hillsamer, Geoff Brownell.
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