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  #1  
Old 02-08-2008, 12:48 PM
Jim Cook's Avatar
Jim Cook Jim Cook is offline
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Location: Smackover, Arkansas (AR)
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Thumbs up My SuperBowl Weekend's Ride Report

Jack Bondus was down here visiting (and temporarily escaping those
sub zero (F) temps in MN) for the last few days.

My son Gabriel, Jack, and I rode Saturday in the Ouachita Mtns at
the Bear Creek Cycle Trail. Jack rode my son Joshua's '99 MC250
(counterbalanced, with six speed and WP 43mm forks added). Gabe rode
his '00 XC250 and I rode my '06 DE300.

Jack and Gabe were roosting, and I did my best to keep up.
We got in about 40 miles, and while we were at it, rode the new hare
scramble trail there, that the Arkansas Dirt Riders and I had been
working on for the last four weekends.
Those are some rugged trails. The Bear Creek trails are much like
the Brock Creek trails, except Bear Creek has much longer/taller
climbs and much less dirt amongst the rocks. If we had been at
TrainRobbers Trail, the amount of fuel and time we consumed would have
taken us a good sixty-five miles, instead of forty.

Bear Creek is the roughest place that I have to ride, and I haven't
been riding those really rough sections in several years, because of
circumstances I won't go into right now.
I have been working trails up there for the last five weekends,
helping build and prepare a relatively non-technical loop for the
upcoming Arkansas Dirt Rider hosted round of the Arkansas Championship
Hare Scramble Series on March 16th. That loop is on the only really
"friendly" terrain at Bear Creek.
Brock Creek is the only other trail system (normally available to me)
with any closely similar terrain, and after experiencing certain
difficulties in those sections, I just rode other trails available
there, that were not so difficult. <G>

At Bear Creek, once we ventured outside of the new hare scramble
loop, there was no other way to get where we were going, so I got a
really good chance to gather more data on the Rekluse AutoClutch, in
comparison to a standard GasGas clutch, particularly as it pertains to
extremely rugged climbs when there is not much chance to gain momentum
after stopping on the climb. I found that, when things get really
rough and slow, I can climb more successfully with Joshua's bike than
I can with mine.
I backed this up by switching bikes with Jack, and watching him
flounder (with my bike) on some climbs that I was just squirting up
with Josh's bike.

I will now change my bike's gearing from 13/49 to 12/49, before I go
back up there this weekend. Hopefully, this will lower my gearing
enough that it will drop my Rekluse clutch's first gear engagement
speed to a point where it will give me that control needed to make it
in those situations.
As it is, the manual clutch lets me slip the clutch hard enough to
smoothly get going in places where the auto clutch now has the front
wheel reaching for the sky as I take off, even if I am sitting on the
gas cap. (Of course, the new Rekluse Pro model auto clutch will give
the best of both worlds. They just don't make that one for GasGas.)

The "Jim Entertainment Moment" for the day's ride was furnished at a
place where I was on my bike climbing up a steep rocky rooted
hillside.
As I approached a broken tree that crossed over the trail some 5.5'
above the trail surface, I hunkered down and ducked my head to go
under. Just as I ducked my head, my back wheel spun off a root,
letting the engine gain unexpected rpms. When the wheel touched down,
it caught traction and the bike wheelied. It was a most un-opportune
moment. <G>
At least, when my head hit that tree, I had my head and neck in line
with the impact and the bike wasn't going over 15 mph.
It cleaned me off the bike. I landed about 10 feet back down the
hill (on my back with feet uphill). Yaaahooo!
The only damage was my visor and a sore neck. The bike never quit
running on it's own. Jack was up ahead, but Gabe got to witness my
show.
After a short intermission, we were back roosting, with me now a bit
less aggressive.

Sunday was my wife Deb's birthday, as well as SuperBowl Sunday, so I dared not ask for the day off riding. She's normally pretty easy going about
me taking off for a riding trip, but this was HER birthday.
(A man's got to know his limitations.
We had a combined Birthday/SuperBowl party. I drank Crown and
chased it with Coca Cola. Deb had a good time, and it was fun
watching such a good game.

I will continue this "too long" ride report with a recount of Monday's ride at the TrainRobbers Trail in my reply to this post.

Jim Cook
________________________


__________________
Jim Cook
Smackover Racing
Team LAGNAF
'11 Gas Gas EC250 (primary ride)
'06 Gas Gas DE300
2004 Gas Gas TXT300 Pro
'94 Husaberg FE350
'86 Yamaha IT200
'86 Honda TRL200 Reflex
'04 KTM 525EXC (soon to be dual sported)
Several others, including project bikes, Deb's bike, and a fleet of grandkids' bikes

Let's go riding!
http://www.jebruns.com/Wudi19/wudi19.html
http://www.ahrma.org/schedules-results/cross-country/
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  #2  
Old 02-08-2008, 12:56 PM
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Jim Cook Jim Cook is offline
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Location: Smackover, Arkansas (AR)
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<ride report continued from the previous post>


Early Monday morning, Jack and I took off for the TrainRobbers Trail
(also in the Ouachita Mtns, but a much friendlier and faster race
trail). Since I know the area pretty well, and was guiding, we rode
most of my favorite sections. <G>
After sampling a bunch of single track, we jumped onto the first
loop of last year's enduro.
Damnit! That is a fun loop! Fast and flowing, with lots of single
track and elevation changes.
Due to the logging business of the property owners, some of the
trail was now missing, but since I know the area, we were able to just
go to the start of the next section and continue down the trail.

We kept riding the enduro trail to the place where the long course
and short course split, then rode about half of the long course finish
loop.
From there, we went back through the "roller coaster tight woods"
section again. (Hey, I was guiding, and it is my favorite part. VBG)
After we finished that trail section, Jack said, "Why are you riding
so much faster today?" I told him, "I couldn't control myself. It
was too much fun."

We then rode cross country (read that as short cuts down the gravel
roads and some selected trails) to get back to the short course/long
course split. From the split, we rode 90% of the Short Course's
"return to camp" loop. As we finished the "easy way" across Long
Ridge, I asked Jack what he wanted to do next. He gave me the answer
that I was hoping for, "I want to ride the rough stuff." <G>
So... I led him up the Long Ridge section the "old way", which
skipped nothing.

To those who have been to a Wudi Ride at the TR, or have ridden the
enduro, this section is where the trail crosses the long hillside
powerline. (the powerline that goes from the highway over long ridge
and up Tower Ridge to the tower itself. I used to always stop there as
the trail crossed, to let the visitors check out the view. Long Ridge
is the section where I asked DDave (from upstate New York) how in the hell he got that Big Red Pig (XR650L) through the single track so fast, and he replied, "You're not leaving me in the middle of the Arkansas backwoods all by myself." <VBG>
Jack and I rode the whole Long Ridge section, leaving out none of the old
steep rugged parts.

It was during the Long Ridge section that the "Jim Entertainment
Moment" of the day's ride occurred. Thinking back, I believe that my
"tunnel vision on the trail" characteristic caused this one.
I was leading Jack up a moderate but rough climb at a relatively
fast clip (about 25 mph), when the trail up ahead took a gentle curve
around a tree, with the tree's roots all exposed and naked (of bark)
looking sort of rough, causing me to focus on just how I was going to
cross them. I was standing up and looking ahead (but not up), climbing
the hill as I crossed over the roots, grinning at all the fun.
I should have looked up, but since I didn't, my head was still
upright as the area of my helmet at the top of my visor impacted the
6" diameter part of the tree I didn't see that was perched across the
trail about 6' high. The impact slammed my head back against my
shoulders as my momentum carried me under and past the tree.
I went about 15 feet further up the trail, when all at once, I just
crumpled and fell off the bike.
Jack was behind me, and said that it reminded him of when a prize
fighter takes a hard punch, and then two seconds later, just crumples
up and falls to the floor.
It didn't make me lose consciousness, but I sure felt goofy for a
minute or so. After a smoke and a short break, we took back off.
Thankfully, this crash didn't seem to affect my riding ability as much
as Saturday's, so I was able to keep riding aggressively and having
fun in a somewhat competent manner as we continued up and down the
rugged terrain. If anything, I think I sped up.
At least, I had a witness for my antics. <G>

After we made it to the end of the section, we rode the gravel road
back to the start of Long Ridge, where we again rode the first part,
and then cut back down the steep hillside to the road between Long
Ridge and Tower Ridge (Turkey Trot Road). About a year ago, Chris
Butler and I cut a new way down off Tower Ridge to that gravel road.
Our new route covers the 1500' (elevation change, not distance) down
hill, completely in off-camber sidehill single track. It's sort of
funky. (I mean that in a good way.)
I led Jack up that trail. <G>

When we got to the top of Tower Ridge, instead of going over the
top, like the enduro traveled, I took a right on the old original
trail. This section hasn't been used in the enduro for at least five
years. It is covered in downed logs, rolling baby head rocks, and
"ice berg" rocks (where most of the rock is below the surface, with
less than 10% of the rock being visible) as it loops around the top of
Tower Ridge as far as we are allowed a trail to the west up there.
We followed that section until we finally got back to where the
enduro trail crossed over the ridge, and then turned right and
followed the enduro trail down the mountain and back toward camp, with
only one more extra side trip.

It was a lovely day, and put the finishing touch to Jack's short
"escape from the Minnesota sub zero weather" vacation. I don't think
he had a "real" crash all weekend, and I didn't hurt my bike in either
of mine. My neck is a bit sore, but not terribly so. It's a good
thing I bought those two new HJC helmets in December. I think it's
time to retire the currently used one.

Riding through the fast tight woods with Jack, it again brought to
mind that, at a race pace, I can jam through the "tight trees" trail
smoother and faster with the manual clutch than I can with my Rekluse.
I'm just smoother getting the power to the ground in those on/off
throttle super short sprints. (I don't break traction and jump
sideways as much under hard throttle.)
Jack and I discussed this a bunch on the two hour ride back to
Smackover after the ride.

My conclusions (so far) concerning the trial tire and the Rekluse
auto clutch are (keeping in mind that they are MY conclusions only):
1. When things go to hell, and one needs to walk along side the bike
to get up, over, or through a particularly bad spot of trail (or
non-trail), NOTHING beats having an auto clutch.
2. In rough, more open areas, like Idaho (even the single track
trail), the auto clutch is a decided advantage, especially with a
trials tire.
3. In very tight, very slow, and very rough terrain, I can negotiate
the trail with more competence with a clutch lever to better meter the
power to the rear wheel.
4. I can go faster in the really tight woods with a clutch lever for
the same reason. I can rev the bike harder and meter the power to the
rear wheel with the clutch lever.
5. For go anywhere, do anything, cross country and dual sport type
trail riding, the ultimate set-up is an auto clutch and a trials tire.
6. With the auto clutch, it is more fun for me to ride with a knobby
instead of a trials tire, when I am riding aggressively. The trial
tire has a more "uncertain feel" when breaking loose sideways and a
bit of unpredictability hooking back up afterward. (Although, the
trial tire will "dirt track" wonderfully.) The knobby will break
traction easier when it is hooked up, and in a more
predictable/controllable manner, and when it regains traction as well.
This allows me to "play" more in the woods. (Think "whipping shitties"
on a quad, or brake sliding a bike in the trees.)
7. No other tire beats the trials tire for "absolute forward
traction" when it is needed (except in a drag race in soft ground),
especially in the rocks and over slick roots and logs.
It is definitely the best compromise available for dual sporting and
general trail riding.
8. I can go faster in the really tight woods on a 250, than I can on
a 300. The 250's softer power down low requires less attention to keep
it hooked up to the ground as I gain momentum, allowing me to better
concentrate on moving ahead quickly. Also, the 250 seems more
comfortable revving higher, which prompts me to stay in the same gear
longer instead of shifting up, saving time in the tighter sections.
(I will soon be converting my 300 to a 250, at least temporarily, to
see if this is valid.)


Deb and I took Jack to the Little Rock airport Tuesday, just before
all the storms passed through, up there in central Arkansas. Since it
was looking like bad weather, we skipped the ADR's monthly club
meeting in LR and headed home. Thank goodness the tornadoes in the area bypassed Brock Creek, so we are still good to go for the Wudi10 Ride in two weeks. http://members.cox.net/jejb/Wudi10/wudi10.html


Riding in Arkansas in the Winter is Great! Life is Good!
Come join me.

Good Riding to You All!

Jim
__________________________
__________________
Jim Cook
Smackover Racing
Team LAGNAF
'11 Gas Gas EC250 (primary ride)
'06 Gas Gas DE300
2004 Gas Gas TXT300 Pro
'94 Husaberg FE350
'86 Yamaha IT200
'86 Honda TRL200 Reflex
'04 KTM 525EXC (soon to be dual sported)
Several others, including project bikes, Deb's bike, and a fleet of grandkids' bikes

Let's go riding!
http://www.jebruns.com/Wudi19/wudi19.html
http://www.ahrma.org/schedules-results/cross-country/
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  #3  
Old 02-09-2008, 11:53 AM
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REVERUP REVERUP is offline
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Location: Bonney Lake, Washington USA
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Sounds like some fun riding in that part of the country.
Glad to hear your get offs did not harm you or your bike.

I feel pretty much the same about your manual clutch vrs. auto clutch opinions, and sure hope that Rekluse releases the Pro model auto clutch for Gas Gas soon. I was able to try one last summer (on a KTM300) and really liked it.

Thanks for posting, I enjoyed reading it.

Roscoe
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  #4  
Old 02-09-2008, 04:55 PM
Jim Cook's Avatar
Jim Cook Jim Cook is offline
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Location: Smackover, Arkansas (AR)
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You are very welcome.
I'm glad you enjoyed it.

I was the one who originally sent all the GasGas clutch pieces to Rekluse for them to build one of their auto clutches for us. Since then, I have been doing R&D work for them.

In the course of my R&D work, I have settled on a setting for their GasGas auto clutch that I really like.

I use the spring set-up for the lowest engagement speed.
I set my freeplay to right at .029" (but this set-up seems to work well until the freeplay gets to .043", when additional slip starts occurring).
I tried the stock 30 steel balls, then tried it with 5 tungsten balls and 25 steel balls. I was not completely happy, probably because my 300 has so much low end torque at low rpms. I called Rekluse and they sent me an additional five tungsten balls, so now I am using 10 tungsten balls and 20 steel balls in the Rekluse pressure plate. It now works great! (just not as well as the stock GasGas clutch for all situations.)

One more thing: I had Rekluse send me one extra .055 steel plates, to let me better adjust for fiber plate wear, and keep the proper freeplay as I readjust the clutch stack.
note: The reason that the Rekluse offering for GasGas is more expensive than for other models (like a CRF), is that the Rekluse GasGas kit contains a set of .045" (with one .055") steel drive plates in order to keep the clutch stack from being too thick.
The stock GasGas steel drive plates are .059".


Good Riding to You!

Jim

***********************************
__________________
Jim Cook
Smackover Racing
Team LAGNAF
'11 Gas Gas EC250 (primary ride)
'06 Gas Gas DE300
2004 Gas Gas TXT300 Pro
'94 Husaberg FE350
'86 Yamaha IT200
'86 Honda TRL200 Reflex
'04 KTM 525EXC (soon to be dual sported)
Several others, including project bikes, Deb's bike, and a fleet of grandkids' bikes

Let's go riding!
http://www.jebruns.com/Wudi19/wudi19.html
http://www.ahrma.org/schedules-results/cross-country/

Last edited by Jim Cook; 02-09-2008 at 04:57 PM. Reason: clarification
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  #5  
Old 02-10-2008, 09:07 PM
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Boomhauer Boomhauer is offline
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Jim,
You are a very mean man! You called me while I was at work to rub the ride at Train Robbers in my face. I wish I could have been there. I love the train robbers place and am looking forward to that enduro again this year. Since I have decided to not race much this year maybe I can squeeze in a trip or two up that way.

Great report as always!
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  #6  
Old 02-11-2008, 03:18 PM
Jim Cook's Avatar
Jim Cook Jim Cook is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boomhauer View Post
Jim,
You are a very mean man! You called me while I was at work to rub the ride at Train Robbers in my face. I wish I could have been there. I love the train robbers place and am looking forward to that enduro again this year. Since I have decided to not race much this year maybe I can squeeze in a trip or two up that way.

Great report as always!
Who? Me a cruel man? Surely not! I merely called you to share the good times.

If you want to experience some "wild and wooly" trails and miss the Wudi10 Ride, come over to Bear Creek for our March 16 hare scramble weekend. If you don't want to race, that's cool. I can use an extra worker. But... if you can make it, I'll take you on the REAL Bear Creek Cycle Trail while you are there, instead of just the easy course we set up for the race. (Tip: Make sure you have a good low gear and tires that like rocks. We will be climbing some mountains.)

Map to get you there from Texarkana:

Good Riding to You!

Jim

**********************************
__________________
Jim Cook
Smackover Racing
Team LAGNAF
'11 Gas Gas EC250 (primary ride)
'06 Gas Gas DE300
2004 Gas Gas TXT300 Pro
'94 Husaberg FE350
'86 Yamaha IT200
'86 Honda TRL200 Reflex
'04 KTM 525EXC (soon to be dual sported)
Several others, including project bikes, Deb's bike, and a fleet of grandkids' bikes

Let's go riding!
http://www.jebruns.com/Wudi19/wudi19.html
http://www.ahrma.org/schedules-results/cross-country/
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