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Old 08-22-2009, 09:16 AM   #1
5Chord OP
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MX School Part Deux

It was almost time for my second MX class since July 30th and I was psyched!

The first class was amazing, but I was forced to take it on my faithful Yamaha TW-200. The used CR85RB I bought for the class had a flat rear tire when I arrived. The Yamaha trail bike did a great job, but it is not in the same class as the Honda.

This time I took the work van to Englishtown. Last timeI took my trailer but it was a bit of a pain and the interior of the van makes for easy strapping down of the bike. I planned on taking the TW as backup again, but changed my mind when attempting to load it myself in the heat. It was hot! 90+ degrees. The CR at 140lbs went right in. The Yamaha at 275lbs....didn't go right in and I opted to leave it home.

Anyway, I had a little bit of faith in the Honda now. I had put new rubber and tubes on her myself as well as inspecting and adjusting the bike in accordance with the manual (which I got on Ebay a couple weeks ago). Before I went to bed last night, I drained out about a 1/2 pint of black sludge that had been lubricating the engine (probably since it was new in 2004) and replaced it with .58 qt of fresh 10w40 synthetic blend. I had faith, but there was still plenty potential for problems and I still haven't (really) ridden her yet.
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5Chord screwed with this post 09-10-2009 at 01:48 PM
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Old 08-22-2009, 09:23 AM   #2
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I left at 1pm for my 3:15pm class with Rich Schmidt at Motovation MX School which he runs at Raceway Park in Englishtown NJ. I gave myself plenty of time to get there and figured I'd be 1/2 hour to 45min early..........Wrong. It took me an hour to get to this point on the approach to the GW bridge (should have been less than 15 min) and another 20 min to get to the NJ Turnpike. I laughed as I looked at the book I planned on reading while waiting for Rich. I would end up being 20 min late for the lesson.
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5Chord screwed with this post 08-22-2009 at 03:29 PM
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Old 08-22-2009, 09:30 AM   #3
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I'm sure Rich was enjoying the extra 20 minute break from the Noon lesson he gave in the broiling heat. He had his tricked out factory CR250F Race bike today (Last time he had a CRF150F play bike) and was very color coordinated! I may have to get red gear:-)
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Old 08-22-2009, 09:32 AM   #4
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Here's my CR ready for action!
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Old 08-22-2009, 09:41 AM   #5
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There were dark clouds and lighting flashes in the sky off in the distance and Rich showed me the storms closing in on his iPhone. He apologized and said we would work as long as I wanted to (and the track would stay open). Hey, it never rains on the track; it's just grooming. But heavy lightning WILL close it down for the day.
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Old 08-22-2009, 02:04 PM   #6
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Rich asked me to get acclimated to the bike and to simply ride it around for a few minutes. He cautioned me not to idle the bike for long as it would foul plugs quickly. The first two bikes in my life were 2 stroke machines and like the CR they too fouled plugs quickly, but that's where the similarities ended.

The Honda fired up on the second kick and I screamed away (starting in second gear as Rick instructed) on the dirt practice area in front of the track. Something was wrong....Every time I gave the Honda any power, the rear wheel would spin! Did I screw up the tire install? Was there not enough pressure?? I rode over to Rich and voiced my concerns. He told me not to worry, that the tires and bike looked and sounded fine. "This bike is the real deal" he said. The wheel spin problem was simply Horsepower.

Getting aggressive on the CR was a TOTALLY new experience for me. The powerband kicks in at around 1/2 throttle and it's just plain violent. Something like an afterburner I imagine or a Nitrous kit maybe....Just as Rich came over, it started to rain steadily
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5Chord screwed with this post 08-23-2009 at 06:36 PM
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Old 08-22-2009, 02:11 PM   #7
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The next 45 minutes or so was a review from the last class on body position and posture which is SO important. One of the problems I was having was keeping the front wheel planted on the ground during acceleration. Even though I had most my 155lbs shifted onto the handlebars (acceleration posture) I needed to keep centered and in absolute balance on the pegs as the front wheel bounced along the track at full speed. All the gears sounded the same to me on this bike.....SCREEEAMING, but if you're a gear too high in a turn the engine is unforgiving and will simply stall as you slip the clutch. I rarely knew what gear I was in until it was too late. I was also inadvertently downshifting when switching from acceleration posture (standing, straight legged, over the bars) to braking posture (shifting back, bent legged), so I was more often a gear too low.

The bike is a handful...My Yamaha has smooth, predictable power...Not a lot, just 16HP to pull its 275lbs and rider (plus passenger). The Modded CR has about 20HP and is 140lbs, sprung for one rider weighing between 150-160lbs. If the Yamaha is a Mule, the Honda is a Thoroughbred, but not necessarily more fun to ride. It will be some time before I tame this beast.
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5Chord screwed with this post 08-29-2009 at 03:39 PM
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Old 08-22-2009, 02:33 PM   #8
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The next exercise was a simple tight turn around a section of garbage cans. Rich explained that he wanted to basically put it all together here: Accelerate (Rule number one, if you're going straight, you're standing), go into braking posture at the start of the turn, apply back brake and lock the rear wheel going into the turn, sliding the wheel while shifting into turning posture (Leg out and get way UP on seat), then adding power, slipping the clutch and coming out of the 180 degree turn power sliding, then up on the pegs and accelerate toward the far can.....in the pouring rain. Does that sound like a lot? It was, so we did it again and again until I got a few right. It was exhausting (Which Rich was very good at noticing) and we took a break after a half hour or so.
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5Chord screwed with this post 08-24-2009 at 04:13 AM
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Old 08-22-2009, 02:37 PM   #9
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This is an example of a good turn, but I still started it too late..
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5Chord screwed with this post 08-23-2009 at 07:46 AM
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Old 08-22-2009, 02:44 PM   #10
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Here's a bad example...I'm actually powersliding here (with no brakes) before the turn starts....I get around the can but the turning radius is 3 times as large and I'm much slower getting through the turn.

Rich then asked me if I ever heard of "suicides". Um I did. I was a hockey coach for several years and was familiar with this evil exercise. So for awhile we (I) did suicide laps using all the body posture drills around the 5 trash cans for another half hour. Rich wasn't too evil.
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5Chord screwed with this post 08-23-2009 at 06:19 PM
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Old 08-22-2009, 02:51 PM   #11
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Like the pics!

Good luck with the school!!!
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Old 08-22-2009, 02:57 PM   #12
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Sounds like fun! You'll be flogging the wee CR around the track in no time
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Old 08-22-2009, 02:58 PM   #13
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After a quick Water break, we're on the track for the last part of the days lessons. We worked on berms, whoops and touched on jumps in the last class. Today Rich introduced me to the rutted turn.

This is an area of a turn that has a deep rut worn into it that you can use to get through it much quicker by jumping in with both wheels and coasting through the turn like a slot-car. In theory anyway. Putting the wheel into a deep rut in a corner at speed while using the front and rear brake requires a lot of faith. I totally balked on my first few attempts. It seemed so wrong.....until I got one right...This one's almost perfect....Accelerating out of the turn, both wheels in the rut and I'm about to get on the pegs and nail the gas
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Old 08-22-2009, 03:06 PM   #14
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Front wheel out of the rut here....
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Old 08-22-2009, 03:08 PM   #15
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This was a good one.........Another thing we went over was fanning the throttle....This is depressing the clutch repeatedly when the throttle is right at the powerband. This is used if you're a gear too high or just needed a power boost. Sometimes it takes just one fan, but when done correctly, the result is frightening power unleashed at the rear wheel, and usually the lofting of the front tire. It was not easy to master and I will no doubt have to practice it for awhile, but I can see it as being key to engine and speed control. Fanning the clutch can also be used for extra pop right before a jump to gain extra height or distance.
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5Chord screwed with this post 08-25-2009 at 11:18 AM
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