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Old 03-05-2012, 02:41 AM
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twowheels twowheels is offline
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Exclamation First Ride Impressions - 2012 300 Race

Stop Reading This If You Do Not Have Finance Committee Approval For a New Bike!

After a little more than a week of careful set-up I was able to take the 300 Race out for a "let's get acquainted ride". For reference I finished up last season on a 300 Six Days, having come off 250 standards in 2010 and 2011.

Much of what was done to the bike was highlighted in the Static Impressions thread, but since then I spooned on a Michelin S12XC rear knobby, changed to the yellow compression elastomers on the Flexx bars, mounted the Fastway FIT I handguard/damper mount system, and added a set of Fastway F3 pegs with the short pins front and rear and the taller pins in the center rib. I also added a set of radiator braces that I had previously prototyped on the '10s and '11s. A 2011 skidplate will NOT be a straight bolt-on, but we're working on those.

<< If you're still reading this I hope you have substantial cash reserves or a good relationship with your banker >>

It's still relatively cold (28F) in Michigan but the southern counties have no snow, which means two things. First, only the diehards want to ride and second the diehards get the riding areas to themselves!



I started the day with some easy grass track work. Increased ride height (from the standard EC but not my Six Days) was evident swinging a leg over the bike but was never an issue for my 5'11" frame. Side-to-side transitions are easily handled and the bike stuck like glue to the near-frozen grass. It's easy to carve tight circles completely heeled over with complete confidence. The only issue I could find was the steering stop settings - I'll be investigating how much I can take out to allow the bike to carve a tighter arc.

Its easy to slide back and forth along the saddle, and the beveled top makes it even easier to lean the bike over, although you miss the cue through the seat of your pants as to how far over you are. The new seat is flaaaaaat - absolutely no issues getting up on the gas cap or back over the rear fender. I didn't notice any boot or knee snagging on the new body work, but your leg will skuff the angle portion of the frame as well as the subframe upright and airbox when you grip the bike.

From the crate the bike fired third kick, thanks in no small part to Jakobi's jetting tips. For this temp I was running an NEDW needle in the middle clip, with stock 42 pilot and 175 main. A brief period on choke and the bike was ready to go. It will idle all day long, and exhibited no spooge on a 50:1 (2%) mix ratio with a 99 octane home brew of Turbo Blue and pump gas.

The power picks up from idle right away as we've come to expect, and the bike would pull in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd gear from a full-lock turn. The power seems a little punchier than I remember the '11 being, although it could just be the 50T Ironman fitted, or the fact that I've ridden a number of different bikes since last riding the Six Days. A light tug on the bars or snap of the clutch lofts the front wheel easily. The clutch engagement is slightly firmer but feels more solid/confidence inspiring than with the AJP masters on the '10s and '11s.

Next I moved from the grass track to a whooped out sand track. The whoops were a couple feet high and somewhat irregularly spaced but they ran for several hundred feet. After a sighting run I wicked up the throttle and charged them in 3rd - absolutely nothing happened. No kicks, no bucks, no drama. I played around a little with lofting the front over some, jumping sets, trying to tag them all - no drama. I clicked up to fourth and ran through a handful of times again - straight as an arrow. Man I love this bike!

I doubt I'll be making a ton of money re-valving the suspension. With one turn of PFP dialed in the front just soaked up whatever I hit, and combined with the Flexx bars edited out the trail junk while providing good feel. I'll have to put more time on the suspension before deciding on replacing springs, but the bike handled my 200# with no issues on this particular course. The rear could be slower in rebound but I didn't have my tiny allen wrench to adjust it today. [There's another tool in the works for sure].

The park had a rolling/corkscrew section with more of a clay base and some tree roots added in for fun. Where I'd been able to grab big handfuls of throttle and get on the pipe in the sand sections, I was able to finesse the ice-and snow-covered climbs and snotty churned-up clay easily because of linear power and low-to-mid transition afforded by the jetting. Again, somebody buy Jakobi a beer. The easy side-to-side transitions were noticeable here as well. At no point did the bike feel heavy or ungainly, but I did notice the added seat height versus the standard EC in the deep sand bowl turns.



Miscellaneous -
* The bike lifts easily onto a stand with the new subframe handholds despite having a Q4 - easier even than the 2010 with the smaller diameter Turbine Core.
* The Fastway pegs seem a tiny bit lower than the stockers, which was plus on the shifter side but resulted in the brake pedal being a tad too high.
* A 50T rear sprocket will just fit with the stock chain - the axle gets pulled way forward in the swingarm slots.
* The clutch didn't squawk - NOT EVEN ONCE!
* The gas cap didn't leak, and I for one like the vent running through the steering tube instead of being stuck to the frame.
* Three kicks lit it when cold, two for restarts. I like the new kick lever shape - hopefully it also addresses the durability concerns some had in 2011.
* The kick stand spring is slightly less lethal than in recent years, but I didn't try starting the bike while propped up. It tucks in nicely behind the left number plate, although the rubber catch ring (ala KTM) is several sizes too small. The kickstand foot itself remains tiny.
* Don't ride one unless you plan on buying one or getting a jump on the deposit line for the 2013s - this is a fantastic bike! If you do want a '12, be it a 300, estart or even a 200, I know where you can get one



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  #2  
Old 03-05-2012, 06:25 AM
shark4465 shark4465 is offline
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i must agree best bike i have ever owned
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Old 03-05-2012, 06:30 AM
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Great write up Beanie! Cheers for the hat tips re the jetting. I don't deserve all the credit though.

Felt like I had her between my legs! I can only imagine 2013 will be even better! Heres hoping Spain can have the production ready a bit sooner!

Last edited by Jakobi; 03-05-2012 at 07:07 AM. Reason: ..too many beers
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:15 AM
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Steve,

So your saying the stock springs seemed good for you at 200lbs.?
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMP View Post
Steve,

So your saying the stock springs seemed good for you at 200lbs.?
The suspension was factory fresh and I wasn't doing any sky-shots, but even still I don't anticipate going up too much.

A couple points of reference - Aaron Wegner ran the Marzocchis on stock springs on his 250 Race last season, and he's AA speed and ~190-195#. This after going up from 0.42s to 0.46s on the 45mm Zokes on the Six Days. I ran 0.44s in my Sachs fronts last year.

One the shock, if leverage ration is close to the same (I haven't measured it) the rate won't be any different, and the springs on my two Sachs and one Ohlins bikes have been fine for my weight (200#) riding level (mid-B) and terrain (Michigan sand whoops, mixed soil trails).
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:48 AM
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Ok, so if I'm a mid/upper B SSR @ 185lbs maybe I'd be OK with the stock springs for starters? I run .44/5.4 in my Zoke 45s/Sachs shock '07. Ride mostly very rocky, but race in all terrain. The .42/5.2 was a little too soft for me.
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Old 03-05-2012, 11:22 AM
thumperrider1 thumperrider1 is offline
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I'm 150lbs so I imagine I'd be going with a 3.8 front and 5.0 rear?? Riding mine on Friday. Still putting the bling on it.
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Old 03-05-2012, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thumperrider1 View Post
I'm 150lbs so I imagine I'd be going with a 3.8 front and 5.0 rear?? Riding mine on Friday. Still putting the bling on it.
I haven't done the math but you can figure that the stock springs are done (incorrectly perhaps) for a 175# rider and the portion of the bike weight allocated to that end. If you're heavier like most of us, or lighter then you need to adjust based on the change in rider weight, but obviously the bike weight on that end didn't change.

Ride frequency is what engineers typically target, and for a set undamped frequency the formula is omega = square root (spring rate / mass of the sprung portion on that wheel). If you keep all of the units straight you can figure out required changes to spring rate to maintain the frequency when rider weight changes. You can start with about a 50/50 weight balance for the bike weight.
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Old 03-05-2012, 11:54 AM
thumperrider1 thumperrider1 is offline
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Do they figure 175 with no gear or 175 all geared up?
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:34 PM
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First off thanks for the nice write up on your riding impression. One of the things I'm really excited to see is they addressed the side body work with the new subframe/airbox/side panel design. You mentioned you didn't snag your boots anywhere and that was one of my major complaints with my 2011. I had a time my Sidi's and the sharp, protruding angle on the front of the airbox side panel wanting to hook up a lot. It caused for several attention diverting moments along the way, but I was finally able to mostly eliminate it. That issue looks solved on the 2012 models and I'm getting a great look at it with your nice pics.
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