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DATE: APRIL 20th, 2002
Place: South Fork Dirt Riders; Taylorville, IL
Type of riding: Motocross
Joe (KDX200) and I (X440S) had about one and half hours to ride so I didnít get any video or digital pics this time. The track was in bad condition if it wasnít hard packed (like concrete) then it was covered with gravel size dirt clods about 2-3 inches deep. There area lot of doubles on this track and one triple. I had checked my clickers a couple of days ago (after strong urging from ConaníDale). The rebound settings, on both the forks and the shock, were off by 1 according to the manual. So I set them to the manualís specifications. I still have not set my sag yet.
Before we even got the bikes off the trailer the park attendant came over to sign us in and started telling me how nice my ďSilver BulletĒ looked! He asked how I liked it and I told him that Iíve been loving it since I bought it. Iíll be honest with you, I love it when people come to check the bike out! I enjoy the fact that I have a bike that not everyone else has already seen or even own. I also love talking about it and how good of a motorcycle I think it is. We got the bike unloaded and our gear on and head for the track.
We pretty much had the whole track to ourselves. The few people that were there when we pulled in, left after about 15 minutes. We started out practicing our starts. Joe raced his 1st motocross race ever about two weeks ago, at this track. I have yet to race my first one yet, thatís coming on May 4th. So we both felt we could us the practice. I did all my starts in 2nd gear. The starting area was a mixture of hard-packed dirt and loose dirt clods. Starting in 2nd worked good for this type of terrain. A little slow off the gate but hooked up nicely after about 10-15 feet. Once the bike hooked up it was a speedy ride to the first corner. After doing about 5-6 starts we took off around the track.
The first lap was a little slow so that we could see what we would be riding on. The track was really pretty slick with it being so dry. Joe was getting a lot of wheel spin and once the Dale got in the higher rev range I could feel my rear wheel breaking loose too. We made 4 laps before we decided to start working on certain sections of the track. Joe is going to be racing Sunday and wanted to practice on doubling some jumps that he singled last time.
Once I got comfortable riding on the loose dirt (which felt like riding on pebbles) I really started enjoying the fact that I was on a Cannondale. The suspension really works well on this bike. The landings were soft and controllable and the little stuff that has the potential to upset the bike was soaked up without transferring it to the frame, and me. Cornering wasnít all that impressive but that was due mostly to my lack of skill and the track conditions. There were a couple of times when I came off a jump that the rear end would swing out just a little. But when landing the bike would straighten right out and not pitch in the opposite direction. This was very reassuring and gave me confidence to let this bike fly knowing that it will take care of minor problems that might occur.
I began to double some jumps that when I looked at them I felt a little nervous. In fact, on one of them with my first attempt at it I came up a little short on distance and the front wheel impacted the peak of the landing ramp. The Ohlins said, ďThank you very muchĒ and I couldnít even tell that I did that. That bike landed and settled nicely which allowed me to concentrate on making the 90-degree left turn that immediately followed the landing. Needless to say I made this jump several times after that and each time I was at least clearing the front wheel and a couple of time cleared the jump completely. I even ended my day by jumping this one just one more time! What a blast!
After Joe and I worked a little more on some other doubles that weíve cleared before, I asked him if heíd like to take the Dale for a spin. He said, ďSure.Ē After taking a lap with my bike we told me, ďI can see why you like that bike so much.Ē He really like the suspension and the power and the handling. Of course, I was riding his KDX200 while he was riding my bike.
We got ready to switch back and I wanted to see what his bike would do top-speed wise since he recently put on an FMF pipe and silencer. There was a stretch on the inside of the track that was probably about 400-450 long without any major bumps in it. I was able to get into 5th gear on his bike and almost able to run it wide open. Itís kinda fun riding a two-stroke once in awhile to get that sensation of hitting the powerband. Well, we switched back to our own bikes and decided to drag race each other on this strip. The first time we took off I killed my bike! Oh well, green button, thumb, push, starts! I love that! Joe looped back around and we took off again. First and second gears on the X440S are very short it was no time before I was already in 3rd gear. This is where the power of the fuel-injected 4-stroke really kicks in! In 3rd, 4th and 5th gear I could really feel the pull as I was basically running the bike wide open! Man, this bike is FAST!!! I had never gone this fast on my Dale and I was really impressed. Iím sure you desert guys already know what Iím talking about. Joe and I drag raced several times and each time I was the winner. He even said that in most cases I was at least 8-10 bike lengths ahead of him at the finish. What a blast!
After wiping the silly grin off my face we decided it was time to head home. Joe and I had a great time talking about our day and our bikes. I canít wait to finally get to race my X440S. I donít think that Iíll impress anybody but Iím so looking forward to pushing myself to my limits knowing that the Cannondaleís limits are way out there and give me lots of room to grow into!
What a great dirt bike!!!! Glad Iíve got one!
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