|HOME · FORUMS · SHOP · INFO · REVIEWS · PICS · FORSALE · G-MAP · LINKS||^ Visit our Sponsors|
Well, I finally got out for another 30 minutes on the E440. My ribs were hurting a bit when I'd go over bumps if I wasn't standing but I HAD TO RIDE THE BIKE! Anyway, I just rode some fresh loamy tractor trail behind my house with rocks scattered in it. Before I explain my experience on the bike we first have to remember where I came from, meaning the bike I came off. This is important as it will give you perspective as I'm adjusting to a completely different animal.
Coming off an XR650R and being 6'4" 220lbs, anything under a 520 feels like a moped to me. Nothing on the market puts out more torque and tractable power at a lower RPM than the XR650R. Nothing! This was the big secret of how I could go so fast on it. The bike "hooked up" so well in slippery conditions it was easy to ride and conserved energy.
Also, while people are so quick to criticize heavy bikes and point out their disadvantages, very few people ever ride them long enough to learn all the ADVANTAGES of them. I won't go into my detailed experience here but a quick example is in rocks. Uphill or downhill on the 650R I could go through rocks faster than anybody I rode with. The reasons was because the weight of the 650R would push them out of the way. Going uphill it did the same but was compounded by the tractable power. If you don't believe me just ask guys who've raced against Scott Summers and other XR600/650 pilots in these type of conditions. I have learned that THE ONLY DISADVANTAGES of the 650R (for me) were that I had to slow down earlier and if I fell off the bike or had any situation where I had to physically move it, then I was in for a workout (don't even get me started on the electric start thing!).
The next thing is the handlebars I run. I've been a pro-taper guy for some time now. I run the CR high bend and cut them way down to 28.5 inches (usually 29 because that's all I can get and still fit all the crap on the bars). Most people ride my bikes and immediately don't like the bars. I won't explain why I do this but if you'd like to know feel free to call me and I'll be more than happy to share. It's just me and I'm a little weird.
FROM BIG RED PIG (XR650) to SHINY SILVER KNIGHT (Cannondale E440)
So, my first challenge in getting use to the bike is the handlebars. The Magura bars have a different bend and feel like they are 40 inches wide (they're not!). This makes the bike very different for me to get used to. My pro tapers are already chopped and I'm just waiting for the clamps to arrive next week.
I don't like the handguards. I've always run the Summers Racing Components (SRC) triple clamp mounted handguards. These are the only handguard I know of that mounts onto the triple clamp and NOT onto the handlebar. I could explain my feelings on this and why it's important but instead why don't you just call my friend Wade Summers at SRC and tell him I sent you. Their website is below: http://www.SRCINC.net
Or, you can call me and I'll explain. These guards have larger plastic as well and the whole set and mounts is only $99.95. A steal! And they're light! (They're coming next week as well).
ABOUT THE RIDE
Again, coming off the 650R two other issues are 1) The engine is very loud. Much like a KTM four stroke. At first it bothered me (being a honda guy) but I'm already used to it. And 2) This bike is real thin. I'm talking thinner than a KTM. I feel like I'm riding a damn G-String! At the widest point on the radiators it is 5 INCHES SLIMMER THAN A DRZ400! And those things make my 650R feel a little wide! This I am adjusting to.
So once I'm riding down this fresh loamy tractor trail I don't have much confidence at all. I've still got three fractured ribs I'm healing from. The bars feel like they are 40 inch Deer Antlers. The bike feels as skinny as a G-string like it's gonna go up my but if I hit a bump sitting down. What I else could fee more awkward? I'll tell you...
This bike "FEELS" extremely light! I mean like I'm riding a mountain bike down the trail! And, it's not just me coming off the 650 either. I used to ride an XR400R. They say the CANNONDALE E440 only weighs 8lbs less than the 400R. Well, I don't believe there's a soul on the earth that would right this bike and argue with me - IT FEELS ABOUT 30lbs LIGHTER THAN MY OLD Y2K XR400!
I hate to say it, but after my 2nd initial ride I'm getting used to the thinness, but the weight is a struggle for me. THE BIKE JUST FEELS TOO DAMN LIGHT! It just feels very foreign to me at this point. I can't say that it's sketchy at speed because of the light weight because I just don't have the confidence to take it there due to my injuries and still getting used to it. Actually, for the little bit of aggresiveness I've had on the bike it seems to track extremely well; like the rear wheel is a little brother to the front or something. The suspension feels good but I have been able to push it at all yet.
POST RIDE WRAP UP
It feels real thin but I'm adjusting to that very quickly. In fact, it feels real good between my shins. Because of my height, even on the XR's, when grabbing the bike with my legs my knees would be grabbing the plastic tank. I'd even put grippy tape on the tank for this but was still never satisfied! With the Cannondale E440 my knees grab right on the seat. IT'S AWESOME!!! From the pegs up to the seat it just fits real well between my shins. They really did and awesome job on the ergonomics in this area.
With all this considered my main problem is that the bike feels to light for me. I know this sounds weird. But the bike feels too light to me. It's not just coming off the 650R either. Read my XR400R report. I rode that bike very very fast for two years before selling it. That was a great bike. Perfect weight in my opinion (for me).The CANNONDALE E440 just feels too light to me. IT literally feels 30lbs lighter than my old 400. I can't say it's unstable when I push it because of this "light feeling" since I haven't yet. But it really bothers me at this point.It just feels really odd and foreign too me.
This is how much it bothered me...
LATE NIGHT DISTRESS
So, standing in the Garage I kept staring at the bike saying "This can't be only 8lbs lighter than the 400?". After I finally gave up trying to figure out a way to weigh the bike I started pushing it around the drive way. Then I'd lay it on it's side and pick it up. IT felt so damn light compared to the 400 my 650R or friends DRZ400's I couldn't get it!!!??? Then, while leaning against my truck and staring all over the bike, wondering if I just made the biggest mistake of my life, I figured the whole thing out (I think).
WHY THE CANNONDALE E440 "FEELS" SO LIGHT After staring all over the bike in disarray I realized what it was (I think). Gas weighs about 7lbs a gallon, right? The CANNONDALE E440 has a perimeter frame. On every other bike with a perimeter frame the fuel tank holding 2 to 4 gallons of fuel is right above the engine. My XR400 I had a 2.6 stock tank and a 4.0 IMS tank. All the weight was ABOVE THE ENGINE.. Even on the trickest bikes out the the bulk of the fuel (from 12 to 28lbs) is above the seat or close to the same level, there's just no way around it...
The CANNONDALE E440 is a completely DIFFERENT animal... Where other bikes hold the bulk of their fuel the CANNONDALE holds nothing! At the stop of the frame at the steering head under the fuel filler cap is nothing more than - THE AIR FILTER!!!!! How much does that weigh??? Now, where all the other bikes have their big fat air box under the seat, guess what the CANNONDALE HAS there? You got it! The vast bulk of the CANNONDALE E440's fuel capacity is under the friggin seat!!! Click the link below and look at the picture and you'll see what I mean:
Underneath the "Safety Seat" part of the seat is nothing but AIR FILTER and just down from that - SPARK PLUG ACCESS! (by the way, the seat comes off with a push of a button). Now, look closely, from just above the "Oil Inspection Window" back is basically ALL FUEL CAPACITY. How's that for lowering the center of gravity? This puts over 14lbs of weight not ONLY substantially LOWER on the bike, but also puts it more towards the CENTER of the wheelbase! Pretty brilliant concept isn't it? This explains why when I would lay the bike on it's side in the garage and pick it up it would feel so friggin light! This explains why when I stalled turning the bike around on a slight hill it felt like a 125!
Anyway, once I figured this out I could go to sleep. It may be a while before I ride again as everyone is saying the ribs take a long time to heal and each day I'm finding they are RIGHT! I'll post ASAP after the next ride. I just want to be able to push the bike a little a build some confidence over this "Feels to Damn Light" issue. It's still a very different animal from what I'm used to. I'm adjusting but it will take time. Talk to ya soon.
|BACK||Email a comment to jpeters||NEXT|