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Written: May 15th, 2003
Written by: Terry Guillot "CaptMoto"
Bike: 2003 Cannondale X440
I now have about 2 hours of ride time on the bike, not a lot but here is what I see.
The bike is fast and strong. It pulls well from bottom to top. I have the X map and want to try the CX map.
I wanted to compared it to my '79 XR 185 in the handling department. The X440 is not a putt putt bike like the XR. You have to be a little aggressive to make it work. But I managed to figure out how to go slow on it, which comes in handy when you ride in the woods or through gates and small fence openings. So, I rode the XR and it turns like a champ. It will do what you tell it to do. It doesn't push at all. Then I rode my X440. I was like "oh boy that's different". I could not get the Dale to turn. (Flat 180 turn on hard packed little grassy ground) I started to pull the clutch in before entering the turn and ride the clutch out. That helped but still not as good as the XR. Then I moved up even closer to the bars and WOW, this baby turns. I still had to pull the clutch in entering the turns and light clutch fanning to exit, but it would turn just as good as the XR. My first riding position was what most books recommend, but moving up even closer to the bars made the bike nibble. I'm thinking I still don't have my suspension dialed in. There is one turn that comes in with a slight left hander as you brake, then turns sharply almost 180 left. There is about a 10 to 15 feet to perform the 180 and the bike didn't mind as long as I was next to the bars. Any comments on suspension setup??
My next experience was on the beaches of the Gulf. There is a place south of Lake Charles, Louisiana called Holly Beach and they have some trails once you go past the camps. Now that is tuff. (Never rode all sand before) You would hit pockets of deep loose sand then hard pack. The bike tracked straight every time. Even when I had to go slow through some loose stuff the bike was manageable. I tested the bike with tight turns on the side of some small sand dunes with very loose sand, no problem.
But here is the best part of the trip. There was a 13-year-old kid on a 94 CR250 that I have seen before at the local tracks riding the beach doing wheelies. Before I could even park my truck he was already next to me looking at my bike. We talked while I unloaded everything and put up the tent. He was in awe of the bike. He had never seen one and didn't even know there were dealers in Louisiana. I could see he wanted to ride. But, before I knew it, he left.
I started down the beach a little way and here he comes on a new 400 Suzuki Quad. He showed me where the better trails were and then we went back to camp. As soon as I got off he asked me if he could sit on it. I told him he could take a ride as long as he didn't go very far. This kid is 6 foot, and he liked the feel of the bike. He said it felt narrower than his CR. He then looks down and asked where the kick-start was. I reached over and hit the green button. I had to pick up his jaw. I never mention it was electric start and he never noticed.
After that, every time he saw me he would tell me that the green button should be outlawed and shake his head. He started down the beach and you could hear him say "Oh My God" He comes back by doing a wheelie, then turns and heads back to me. He was shaking he head. He said he thought his bike was fast, but mine was faster and pulled harder. He had no problems bring up the front wheel and could have rode a wheelie a long way. He said his CR had a little better hit on the bottom, but it couldn't touch the mid and highs of my Dale. I told him I could get that bottom hit just by downloading a different map into the computer. He was like "what computer?" I said the one on the bike.
I then explained how by changing the mapping I could change the power curve of the bike. No jetting or pipe changes, just 5 minutes on a lap top and I was done.. I had to pick up his jaw again. "That's cheating" was his response to it all. I am beginning to enjoy just parking my bike and having people walk up to me and ask questions. Especially when they ask how hard is it to start compared to the other big 4-strokes. Almost as fun as it is to ride.
Terry Guillot Aka "Captmoto"
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