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Old 01-16-2011, 06:13 AM   #496
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Originally Posted by Drif10 View Post
That brings up another big issue: The massive liasons. Holy crap, I don't get their thinking on this. They are taking seriously sleep deprived racers, and putting them on public roads for long, long stints. It's a miracle that more civilians weren't hurt. Let alone the racers.

As a soldier we spent a lot of time learning what our limits were (it's amazing what you can do), but that was within a controlled environment. These racers come from wherever, all individuals on their own agenda. Little (if any) experience in the effects of prolonged exertion and sleep deprivation.

The teams have a bye somewhat on this, even on the smaller programs like Jonah's and Quinn's. The mechanic wrenches, the rider sleeps.

But I believe the majority are having to sacrifice sleep to get to the start line everyday. That WILL bite you on the ass eventually, experience has taught us that.


So it's again back to the ASO for responsibility in this issue. They set the route. One problem is that they prove the route, but not as the competitors do. Seen no evidence that they run the whole thing in one shot like in the race, and the route is proven in Toyotas, not on twitchy 450s in 14 days straight. Bigg diff sitting in a comfy car vice up on the pegs, energy expended completely different.


And now they're going to Peru and possibly Bolivia? If they start and end in BA, that's gonna be a problem in 16 days, even longer liasons. Maybe they should look at the older Dakars: 23 days kind of idea. That would obviate a lot of the concerns over safety.



We got all year to debate it.
This was/is my bug-bare with the current Dakar... of course originally being an end-to-end race, you had to ride massive distances each day, just to get from Paris to Dakar in a two week time frame...

I'm sure the thinking with ASO is that as the original Paris-Dakar Rally had to cover such a huge distance, so to the South American event also has to be in the region of 9000kms (this year it was even longer - 9500kms), to maintain it's aura of "the longest, toughest, most dangerous" rally in the world.

I can understand that thinking, to keep it the premier and most arduous event in the world... remember it is not just a test of rider/machine over a series of special stages, but a marathon endurance race in every possible sense - it is meant to test the machines and your spirit to the limit.

There is also the element that it's popularity has created it's own set of problems - having so many competitors, and only so many hours in a day means very early starts for the bike competitors (who typically are the first away each morning).

This is obviously compounded for the slower riders as the event goes on - although they start further down the field, you are still up at silly o'clock as the bikes only take just over an hour to leave the bivouac each morning... then, if you struggle during the day, you end up getting in late to the bivouac, and the cycle just gets worse and worse (even contenders like Simon Pavey suffered with this, never mind the mere mortals)...

To make a comparison with the F.I.M. championship for example - most of those days are not more than 400-500kms, and the majority of the day is special stage - it's all about the timed stages in the F.I.M rounds - the liaisons are only to get you to the start of the special, not an integral part of the event itself.

I have no problem getting up at 5am to race a leg of an F.I.M round, and getting back to the Bivouac by mid afternoon... but getting up at 3.30am (there is a world of difference!), and not getting back until after dark, is a real killer!

That said, if the 2012 event does go into Bolivia and Peru, then I imagine it will become and end to end race rather than a loop, and therefore the distance is/can be justified?

Jx
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Old 01-16-2011, 06:42 AM   #497
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Originally Posted by mikekay View Post
Ive been thinking about all this as well and appreciate your discussion.

Allow me to build on your observations, while respectfully disagreeing a bit.

1) I agree riding a 450 is inherently safer. Its a lighter, slower bike. Its (this is probably the most important) inherently less work to ride and so less tiring to ride a 450. Being less tired is safer, and imo that phenomena is overall leading to less death and crashes. Less fatigue. Not necessarily the fact its slower on top speed.

2) More brands is probably a result of the 450 rule. Makes sense, more bikes to choose from.
--

But then i am not so sure.

3) No detrimental outcome from the 450cc rule?

Is the 450 rule, as it now stands, not detrimental? Lets remeber the 450 rule is 450cc AND 3 motors. Its a version of one of many possible 450 rules.
IMO it IS detrimental in at least a few ways:

A) Cost.
Running 3 of the modern 450cc motors is VERY expensive to do. The cost of carrying the motors, hiring the mechanics, etc. is a HUGE cost.
If one is a pro, its no big deal. But for the 90% who are amateurs its just nuts how much this adds to the cost. In years past one could buy a partial support package from Mecca Systems or RRUK or Challenge 75. Now it has to be a full blown support package, and really it needs a dedicated mechanic, where in the past that was shared.
I have to think this is why the Dakar didnt sell out this year, at least for bikes. Yes the global slow down, for sure that was a major factor, but the fact that its now almost universal to have a full blown team support package (because of the 3 motors) has got to be a big factor or bigger factor.
Other major costs are also the fact that motors now must be re-built from OEM. Lower compression, hardened rockers, SS exhaust valves, ceramic/hybrid bearings, DLC/Nikasil coating on parts, etc, etc is now needed from the get go. That wasnt the case with a new XR650, KTM 660/690 or DRz400 for that matter...Berkely Honda can get $20K for a Honda 450 motor in "works" Baja 1000 trim. Not sure what Honda Europe charges for a similar work over, buts its huge, and its times 3.

B) The demise of the Marathon Class and the Malle Moto group, and the death of the 250cc class.
Huge collateral damage here. Not long ago a guy could put together a KTM 640 or a XR650r and ride safe and reach their dream. It was truly the spirit of Dakar. One could go it solo or hire say 1/4 time mechanic duty and have 50kgs of spares in the back of a truck.
The 250cc class, granted never large, is now gone. That limits bike choice, and gets rid of the safest and cheapest option of all.
The Marathon class is at a real cross roads. What will happen next year? Are there any stock modern 450cc motors that can travel so far? Next year its all 450's, and that is really a curious situation. De-tuned 450cc motors might make it. Old long stroke motors like the XR400 suddenly seem like an option. But its really a stretch to re-build a bike that hasnt been built in years. Other options along these lines exist of course. But then the Marathon class devolves into a retro bike class or a nostalgia class or something. Im really not sure what will happen.
Its the same or worse with the Moto Malle guys.

c) Motor swap cheating. It went on in the years rally. Teams used 4 or more motors and didnt report it. Guys used 4 motors, did report it, and didnt get penalized? WTF? This opens things up to all kinds of abuse, and a much more uneven playing field. Whats next, running multiple bikes? In the end it cheapens the victory and the status of the event. Look what happened in Baja with all the course cutting nonsense. Now ya have to be rich AND corrupt...

In conclusion:

As now written the 450cc rules radically change the rally, for good and for bad. It remains to be seen how it will all play out.

I for one wish ASO had a 1 hour penalty for each motor used. Its simple, it allows for different strategies, it lowers the potential cost, opens it up to more bike models, and allows one to reach the finish.

Point being there are many ways to fine tune things. I hope ASO continues to evolve this rally to keep it fair and bring down the costs.

IMO the way to go for 90% of the riders is a DRz400 or XR400e in the Marathon class. Far better chance of finishing. Far far far cheaper. A chance at a nice payback. And really for most riders these bikes will get ya there just as fast.


Anyway nice to read some in depth discussions on this thread.
If I might put in a perspective (I'm only quoting Mike above for reference, not as a direct reply)...

regarding the 450cc rule - for the works teams I don't think it makes a whole heap of difference what the capacity limit is... the 690s certainly had one/two or even more engine changes in previous events, simply because those teams can afford to buy and bring spare engines with them.

To draw an analogy with WRC for example, when you can get 350+bhp out of a 2 litre four cylinder [admittedly turbocharged] car, and still have reliability through precision engineering, then clearly you don't need a hunking great high capacity motor anymore?

And lets face it, it was ONLY KTM that had a pukka open-class bike available anyway - the odd Husky or XR, or even a fancy Meca'system 530 was never going to be a real contender for the top twenty?

Regarding amateur riders, €20,000+ was a big entry ticket to buy a 690RR, and to be honest, most of them were never going to be able to ride that bike anything like near it's capability. You can buy and prep a 450cc enduro for little more than €12,000 in comparison.

Now, if you chose something like a Yamaha WR450 (old school compared to the latest crop of enduro bikes, but that is in it's favor), then you do have a contender - Helder took his to the podium this year (and 4th before that), and that is not a super dooper factory build bike in the same way as the KTMs are.

Last year Franco Picco won the Marathon class on a WR450F - that's the same engine for the duration of the rally.

I'm not sure if any Hondas finished in Marathon this year, but it's feasible that if ridden sensibly, any mid-field rider should be able to finish with a maximum of one engine change (if at all) - and, as I hope I explained in Dakar Dazed, buying a whole 'spare' bike as source of every single spare part means that if they are not used, you can simply reassemble the bike and sell it on after the race - effectively it's only cost you what parts you used.

Don't get me wrong, I baulk at the idea of an engine as a 'consumable' spare part, which is why I entered Marathon, and fully intended to ride the whole event on my original engine - Tamsin did the same thing last year on her WR.

As for the 'rules' this year - while on the surface the '3 engine' stipulation seems harsh, the organization did concede that essentially 'unlimited' changes could be made, with a succession of time penalties... seems this first year they weren't particularly tight on this rule though!

As for Mikes suggestion regarding the XR or DRZ400 engines... I'd agree that something like a DRZ might make a suitable 'marathon' and general low-maintenance entry, and in practical terms, probably wouldn't be much slower than anything else if you are in the bottom third of the pack anyway...

However, I still say the WR450 is the #1 choice, in that it is still competitive (in the right hands, very), had a huge selection of kits and parts available, and is more than capable of finishing Marathon too!

Right, hopefully that'll get me another bike from Yamaha for next year...

Toot toot!

Jenny xx

ps. as far as I'm aware, there is nothing stopping anyone riding a 250cc machine in the Dakar next year - there isn't a specific class, but anything goes, as long as it's under 450cc? In fact I'm half tempted to build a bike out of the WR250R platform (EFI, long service intervals) and give it a bloody go!

Seriously, having ridden Heroes' last year on a 660 Yamaha, and then Tunisia and Dakar on a 450 - the lighter the bike, the easier it is... and as long as you have a comfy seat and an Ipod, the liaisons are bearable - it is your gearing and mousses that really dictate the liaison speed...

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Old 01-16-2011, 06:47 AM   #498
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They (ASO) need to consult the motorcycle community to find out how they can better serve them as a whole, to maintain the integrity of the Dakar rally.
Hell will freeze over first I think.
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Old 01-16-2011, 06:55 AM   #499
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Originally Posted by JMo (& piglet) View Post
Now, if you chose something like a Yamaha WR450 (old school compared to the latest crop of enduro bikes, but that is in it's favor), then you do have a contender - Helder took his to the podium this year (and 4th before that), and that is not a super dooper factory build bike in the same way as the KTMs are.
True, Hélders bike is not full on modded like what many other guys are running. He told me during a year he only has 2 bikes, one rallye bike and a standard training one. His rallye bike is quite standard in terms of mods. OK, sure he's got 2 tanks front, 2 tanks rear, fairing, nav tower, etc, but apart from that, he told me his engine is stock (although I think he may have YZ cams )! That's the way it should be done

Last year Franco Picco won the Marathon class on a WR450F - that's the same engine for the duration of the rally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMo (& piglet) View Post
However, I still say the WR450 is the #1 choice, in that it is still competitive (in the right hands, very), had a huge selection of kits and parts available, and is more than capable of finishing Marathon too!

Right, hopefully that'll get me another bike from Yamaha for next year...
Amen, sister!!! WR's all the way!!!
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Old 01-16-2011, 09:53 AM   #500
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Originally Posted by JMo (& piglet) View Post

Right, hopefully that'll get me another bike from Yamaha for next year...
Toot toot!
Jenny xx

ps. as far as I'm aware, there is nothing stopping anyone riding a 250cc machine in the Dakar next year - there isn't a specific class, but anything goes, as long as it's under 450cc? In fact I'm half tempted to build a bike out of the WR250R platform (EFI, long service intervals) and give it a bloody go!
Hi Jenny, I have a hulking KTM990S, Aprilia RXV550 and Yamaha WR250R that's had mild power-up mods to compare. The WRR can and will run pavement and dirt roads all day at highways speeds, smooth and ultra durable plus has a much beefier frame than the WRF, because it's a real dual-sport. Problem I think would be once you get in the dunes. The WRR with all the extra weight of extended range tanks and nav gear could claw its way up dirt and rock technical trail, but sand really robs the power of the little 30hp beastie.

I don't know how the really small bikes got over some of those dunes in the Dakar

The sheer durability of the WR250R has caused more than one rider to do crazy long rides with them. First valve check at 24K miles!

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Old 01-16-2011, 10:47 AM   #501
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The WRR with all the extra weight of extended range tanks and nav gear could claw its way up dirt and rock technical trail, but sand really robs the power of the little 30hp beastie.

I don't know how the really small bikes got over some of those dunes in the Dakar

The sheer durability of the WR250R has caused more than one rider to do crazy long rides with them. First valve check at 24K miles!

I'd agree to point - certainly having less than half the power of the 690s is going to make a considerable difference... 50ish hp is ok, but 30 like you say, is going to struggle with the fuel and nav gear on board...

However, it will be interesting to see what the 2012 route includes... I imagine that if it is going to be an end-to-end next time, then there may be less messing around in the sand dunes, and more tight technical navigation in the mountains... if so, the little bikes won't have so much of a deficit, in fact could be a positive boon?

If the 250R has proven not to explode and continuous highway speeds, then it could prove an interesting choice in the uber stripped-down style of machine... tanks are already available, it has EFi (so no problems with altitude and very frugal mpg) - all it needs is a small top fairing for the nav gear and you could have a neat little bike that is strong, reliable and easy to ride...

I'm willing to take one on as a project, although in love my 450 of course!

Jx
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:21 AM   #502
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Hi Jenny, I have a hulking KTM990S, Aprilia RXV550 and Yamaha WR250R that's had mild power-up mods to compare. The WRR can and will run pavement and dirt roads all day at highways speeds, smooth and ultra durable plus has a much beefier frame than the WRF, because it's a real dual-sport. Problem I think would be once you get in the dunes. The WRR with all the extra weight of extended range tanks and nav gear could claw its way up dirt and rock technical trail, but sand really robs the power of the little 30hp beastie.

I don't know how the really small bikes got over some of those dunes in the Dakar

The sheer durability of the WR250R has caused more than one rider to do crazy long rides with them. First valve check at 24K miles!

Anyone any detailed info on how the XR250R got on especially in the dunes. He finished I believe so it must be doable!
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:33 AM   #503
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Originally Posted by JMo (& piglet) View Post
However, it will be interesting to see what the 2012 route includes... I imagine that if it is going to be an end-to-end next time, then there may be less messing around in the sand dunes, and more tight technical navigation in the mountains... if so, the little bikes won't have so much of a deficit, in fact could be a positive boon?
If the 250R has proven not to explode and continuous highway speeds, then it could prove an interesting choice in the uber stripped-down style of machine... tanks are already available, it has EFi (so no problems with altitude and very frugal mpg) - all it needs is a small top fairing for the nav gear and you could have a neat little bike that is strong, reliable and easy to ride...
I'm willing to take one on as a project, although in love my 450 of course!
Jx
Jenny have you seen the gigantic 1200+ page WRR/X thread? Just about anything you could ever want to know about it is there. Probably would take weeks to read through it.

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...php?p=14953724

IMS will have a 5 gallon/19liter tank ready for it by March '11, and at 50-60mpg that's a long way you could ride on it.


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Old 01-16-2011, 11:43 AM   #504
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Jenny have you seen the gigantic 1200+ page WRR/X thread? Just about anything you could ever want to know about it is there. Probably would take weeks to read through it.

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...php?p=14953724

IMS will have a 5 gallon/19liter tank ready for it by March '11, and at 50-60mpg that's a long way you could ride on it.

Hi Cyborg - yes I have - like you say 1200+ pages - I can't even bare to click on it!

But good news about that IMS tank, like you say, it's all you'd need, plus a few instruments and a skid plate... hmmmmmm...

Jx
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Old 01-16-2011, 12:14 PM   #505
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Very interesting thread, guys, thanks so much for your insightful comments. I have been neutral regarding the whole 450 rule, but now that I have read both sides of the story, I tend to agree with JMo. The 450 rule is the wya to go becuasedespite everything it is safer, and there is now more competition.

My WR450F (stock engine) lasted just fine on the 4,500km Dos Sertoes rally, in fact the valves did not even nedd any adjusting!

As for the the long liaisons....I think thats what makes the Dakar Hard. if it werent for the long liaisons really all you would be looking at is a big multi-day enduro event, and that to me would not be so cool. Dont get me wrong, I hate riding hundreds of kilometers to connect on my 450, but this is the nature of the longer events.
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Old 01-16-2011, 12:41 PM   #506
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Anyone any detailed info on how the XR250R got on especially in the dunes. He finished I believe so it must be doable!

Yes I'm still quite curious how a 250cc 4-stroke made it over the dunes. I would think it would need to be a very small light rider and absolute minimal extra gear on the bike. I'm not a rally rider, but have ridden and driven a lot of sand and know you have to keep your speed up -- and the more power the better in sand. As I get older, lighter bikes sure have appeal. Decisions decisions.
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Old 01-16-2011, 12:48 PM   #507
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Richard de Groot did it 2 years ago in Dakar, with only a box for support and on a steel framed WR250F...with a full A3 kit...

Cant make the dunes? Find the lowest or ride around
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Old 01-16-2011, 12:49 PM   #508
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That said, if the 2012 event does go into Bolivia and Peru, then I imagine it will become and end to

Jx
Buenos Aires to Lima, via Brazil and 'other countries'
Thats the rumor--for what its worth. Time will tell.

------------

Liasons:
I fell asleep on two liasons! For sure they are nuts. Woke up riding off the pavement. Scary and weird.

The cold of the liasons takes its toll. Burns thru precious calories. For me thats the issue.

-----------
Jx all good points. I agree with some. Sort of agree with others. Disagree with some. Glad you are as ok as can be and seemingly in good spirits. Nice to read your thoughts. I truly hope Yamaha gets you a bike for B.A. to Lima! (see ya there....)

Let me just point out that sahara bound KTM660RR and Argentina bound KTM450RR bikes cost about the same. That option hasnt changed for those inclined. 450 rule or not, purpose built KTM rally bikes are available.

$12,000 450cc bikes did run the sahara and do run the Atacama. That option hasnt changed. (remember its $12k plus spares/motors)

Whats changed with the 450cc rule is the on-a-shoestring XR650r/Kawi650/KTM640 option is gone. Cheap bikes with little/no spares that had a very good chance of reaching the finish line.
-------------

One more problem with the 450 cc class:
Its a big time advantage to the smaller framed folks. If you are a petite Sweedish lady, like Annie Seel, then yeah a 450cc motor might just get you to the finish. I dont think she weighs 100 lbs/45kgs...If you are 6'1" and 90kgs its a lot more work for the engine to get ya to the finish. Food for thought.

---------
As for the WR450 crowd:
Sorry but there have been dozens of WR450 motor failures in recent Dakars. Very very very few have made it all the way on one motor. Possible? YES!! For sure and good on ya for anyone who does it. Probable? No.
When Verhoeven first succeeded on the WR he used 5 Yamaha 450 motors to do it! Fretigne had similar needs. I could go on and on...

Dont get me wrong-i love the Yamaha 450's!
But its just a fact that they usually need a motor swap at or before rest day. Same with the other modern 450 brands.
-----------

Only the smaller XR's and the DRz are a safe bet for Marathon class and the Malle Moto/Elf Trophy riders.
-----------

Eric Buell said something interesting recently. He pointed out the lack of durability of the modern 250/450 bikes is actually hurting the sport of dirt biking. Folks are just getting out of it or not getting into it in the first place.

Maybe the Dakar 450cc rule will lead to more durable dirt bikes.
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Old 01-16-2011, 09:16 PM   #509
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Buenos Aires to Lima, via Brazil and 'other countries'
Thats the rumor--for what its worth. Time will tell.

------------

As for the WR450 crowd:
Sorry but there have been dozens of WR450 motor failures in recent Dakars. Very very very few have made it all the way on one motor. Possible? YES!! For sure and good on ya for anyone who does it. Probable? No.
When Verhoeven first succeeded on the WR he used 5 Yamaha 450 motors to do it! Fretigne had similar needs. I could go on and on...

Dont get me wrong-i love the Yamaha 450's!
But its just a fact that they usually need a motor swap at or before rest day. Same with the other modern 450 brands.
-----------

Have you got any stats to support this? Im not asking this to be anal, but more so that I can choose what bike to go for.

Also where is the best place to buy a KTM450RR? Might seem like a stupid question but i dont know of any dealrs in Peru or South Africa that sell them.
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Old 01-17-2011, 12:55 AM   #510
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Open Super-production class 3 motors legal

Seem to be many here on the forum that forget that before Dakar 2011 the Open 450+ Super-production class was 3 engines legal as well.

Plus all the top 690 riders did at least one engine swap on the rest day halfway, so they usally used at least 2 motors per event minimum and up to the 3 allowed if any one motor had issues.

Also many (majority I would suggest) of the amateur Open Super-production class 525/530/570/610 etc riders also had 2 spare engines in the support truck.

So to me the 3 engines for 450cc is no real change to 3 engines for 450cc+ Open Super-production class of Dakars not long gone by

If you werent running Marathon class, you had 2 spare motors irrespective. Few would spend $100k to get to the start and scrimp on a $5k or less spare motor even if it was a loaner from a mates bike, just in case

If you are running Marathon class nothing's changed............1 motor only.

450cc limit regs now just mean you may be a bit more likely to change it out 2 times instead of for sure just the once at rest day.




(But I'm not going to buy into here the 690RR vs enduro base rally bike debate yet again........it's been done to death !! the 2012 are likely regs say 450cc so anything else is a non-issue)
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