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DATE: April 20th, 2002
Well it's been 2 1/2 months since I bought my E440 Cannondale and so far so good. I have approx. 300 miles on my Dale to date and it hasn't shown any signs of giving up. I'm riding faster than ever and gaining more confidence everytime I go out.
What's really strange is I have yet to have my first real crash on my Dale. With my CR500 or XR250 I would have already eaten it at least two or three times by now and had to buy some new bars, levers and a box of bandaids.. Not with my Dale. The Ohlins suspension is a life saver and makes the worst places much more manageable.
On a ride last week I was coming down this narrow rutted hill in third gear and saw this bump that looked like a jump. Hey what the heck so I hit the gas and hit the jump. WAHOOO! Well my bike sailed over the jump pretty nicely but the front tire landed smack dab in a nasty 2ft deep rut perpendiculiar to the trail I couldn't see the rut until I was already in the air. My WAHOO! went to UH OH! I would say it's about equal to coming up short on a double and hitting it headon with your front tire. My front end compressed a lot and I ended up on the tank but it did not buck me off or cause me to go over the bars. Then the front end just cruised right over the rut and I was back on the gas going WAHOO! again. With my old CR500 it would have been a 50/50 chance of endoing over the bars or having the bars twist on me and eating the bottom of the rut big time. With my XR250 I actually would have been fine because it can't jump so I never would have attempted it. :-)
Another life saving area is headshake. My old CR500 had to be the worst for headshake. I can't tell you how many times my handlebars did the tank slapping thing in 5th gear. It's a very scary thing ever if you have never experienced it. And after wards it makes you reall question your bike.
So far on my Cannondale it has shown no signs of headshake at all. I have riden my Dale in many of the same places that caused headshake for my CR500 and it just won't do it. I have tried a 5th gear straight that almost always caused my CR500 to tank slap but as soon as I let off the throttle nothing. The Dale just runs true without any signs of twisting the handle bars out of your hands.
So far my damage list is minimal. I have dumped my bike more times than I want to admit in some of the nastiest rocks you can imagine. I have looped my bike at least three times trying to climb hills that would make my CR500 cry. The stuff around my house is so rocky I wonder if a trials bike might be my next bike.
Anyway my only damage to my bike besides all the scratches is the rear fender pulled out of the left side bolt. And that is it. I can hardly believe it. I'm not the fastest rider but I don't consider myself slow and I try a bunch of crap I would never have tried with my other two bikes. Well there are a couple hills that the power of the CR500 would have been much better.
The motor to date has been working like a champ. No signs of exploding, siezing, coughing or other scary things people keep telling me about the Dales. The only minor issues with the motor has been an intermittant fast idle and it is running a little rich. The problems have been minor and haven't caused me really much of a problem except I have noticed them. Next time I swing by the dealer I'll have them check it out.
The bike is a winner so far and has been super reliable. To date I have only had my left hand guard come loose and that is it. Everything has stayed tight and the the chain and sprockets are showing little signs of stretch or wear. Even the stock Michellin S12's have been holding up very well. They are for soft terrain but even in my rocky backyard they are working very well and lasting much longer than expected. If I don't rip a knobby off the rear it can do another 300 miles easy.
Well everything is holding up very well and I'm having a blast. What more would you want from a bike?
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