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DATE: April 13th, 2002
Well, let’s just say that it wasn’t the best day to
go riding but it was a good test for the bike!
Well, it didn’t start that way. Before loading my X440S on the trailer I made sure it would start at my house and it did. While we were at the gas station it somehow ‘magically’ started while I was in paying for my fuel. Actually, it was my brother-in-law (although he denied it), gotta love the sound of a 4-stroke! Once we got there we unloaded the bikes and the ‘Dale fired right up. After letting it warm-up about a minute or so I thought that it was idling kinda high. So I adjusted the idle-set screw to lower it. Well, then I had it set to low and the bike was dying very easily. When I went to re-adjust the idle I was turning the screw the wrong way and it fell out! We ended up removing the seat, plastics, tank and the fuel pump to give me enough room to work with my fingers to get the idle-set screw and spring back in. Once I got it threaded back in I turned it in quite a ways, thinking that after we get the bike started I would back it off to a desirable level. We put everything back on and tried to fire it up. No go. It only popped a couple of times but mostly it just turned over and didn’t seem to want to fire. Eventually the battery starting to get weak so we stopped. Good thing I brought my battery tender and AC converter to plug it into and charge the battery with. I told my buddies to go riding and that I would fix the problem so they did. I decided to replace the plug to make sure that wasn’t the problem. So once again I took off the seat, tank, wiring harness, brace bar and the retaining clip to get to the spark plug. The total time to change the plug probably took me about 20-30 minutes. This was the second time that I’ve done this, the first time being after break-in and replacing the ‘9’ plug with an ‘8’. I tried starting it again but still no go. My buddies came back to check on me and we started thinking about the situation. Remember that I turned the idle-set screw in quite a ways? Well, that’s the same as twisting the throttle while trying to start the bike. So we backed it off almost all the way. Wala…it fired right up! I guess because I had the butterfly valve open a bit more than normal the GP Control thought the engine needed more fuel and was actually giving it too much. So I unplugged the charger, put the tools in the truck and jumped on. By this time I was soaking wet because it had been lightly raining most of the time I was working on the bike. I didn’t care though, I was just happy that I didn’t waste a 2-hour drive and 15 bucks to watch my friends ride!
We first went to a small MX section that was still the pea-gravel stuff but had a small jump, a berm and several whoops in it. The bike performed beautifully! After a couple of ‘safety’ laps to get warmed up and accustomed to the bike I began pushing it harder. In fact, I was able to start catching both the KDX200 and the KX500. The KDX200 was at quite a disadvantage with the sand-like terrain. Joe had to stay on the pipe to get anywhere fast. Scott’s KX500 did very well as you would expect from a big-bore bike like that. Lucky for me he started getting tired and that’s when I started catching up with him. Scott’s raced MX before and I never have so he’s got a lot more experience with this stuff than I do. But I’ll tell this, the Cannondale inspires confidence! The Ohlins did their job flawlessly. I still have touched the clickers or adjusted the sag from the factory. But they sure did soak up the whoops good. I started airing it out of the little jump because that’s my favorite thing to do. Even though the terrain was pretty soft and loose I felt comfortable doing this because the Cannondale works so good!
After wearing ourselves out on the whoops we began to do some hill climbing. The Cannondale sure does pulls and it seems like it never ends. On take-offs it would bog a little bit as the rear tire sank into the sandy gravel but once I got going and on top of the stuff the bike flew! I got up every hill that I tried although I didn’t take on the 40 footer! It was too wet of a day and I didn’t fell comfortable trying it. After all this was only my 3rd time out on this bike.
The only problems I had during this ride, besides me crippling the bike with my stupidity, was my goggles fogging up all the time and getting cold from being soaking wet. I did let Scott ride my X440S while I rode his KX500. I sure like the ergos on my ‘Dale a lot better. Being 6’ 2” the ‘Dale just fits me well. His KX500 has a lot of power but again I really, really like the linear power that the ‘Dale puts out. This bike is just AWESOME!
We are planning on going back to the Badlands later this year when it is dry. We only saw about 10-15 acres of the place and it has a total of over 700 acres! I can’t wait and having a ‘Dale to ride just makes the waiting even harder!
Although my day started off on a bad note, I did appreciate the fact that I learned a little more about my bike than I knew before. Sure can’t waiting to go riding again!
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