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Written by: Marc aka "mmersol"
Date: July 8, 2002
I think Saturday was my longest ride to date, so I thought I would write a review. It was well over 100 degrees in the Las Vegas Desert. My x440s has been loaded with the "E" map, larger rear sproket, fmf q pipe, and suspension revalved by Dicks Racing. This was my first ride with the new suspension.
We left from my house and it was about a 15 miles to Jean on very rocky, mild hill terain. The revalve made a huge difference as the small rocks all but disappeared. However, I still got thrown to the side a bunch and the back end would get around on the square edged stuff (exposed bed rock, semi buried rocks). It was way more predictable when it got tossed. I hope I can further tune it to get rid of that kind of stuff.
There was some flat stretches on the way to Jean that had large, smooth, washes that we crossed. Imagine the "dip" of a whoop and just make it 20 feet across. I hit the first one at about 40 -45 mph and almost went over the bars. The ground kinda disappeared (not sure if I got any air or not) and slammed into the face coming out of the whoop. OUCH! Not sure the suspenion is up to that yet. My riding buddy is on a BAJA prepared XR650 and has no trouble with this section. There was about 10 to 15 of these washes and I learned to hit the brakes HARD as soon as I saw one. (they come up quick)
We stopped in jean to top off our gastanks. Mike commented that my Baja Designs rear fender do-daad for tail light and license plate was flopping all over and by looking at my license plate I knew it must be catching on the rear tire and folding under itself. Oh well, can't do much about it at this stage. The Baja Designs kit is ok, but the rear fender do-daad really is a POS. I think it is made by Acerbis. Speaking of, my almost new Acerbis rear fender bag tore along the zipper and dumped half of my tools before we noticed it. DEATH TO ACERBIS!!
So off we headed to Mount Potazay (spelling?). Down some power line roads, again the suspension soaked up the small stuff great but I still got knocked around some. We got to the base of the mountain and said lets go for it. There are antennas on the top of the mountain so they have built an access road to get there. This road seriously steep in parts and very rough. I don't think I would even want to be in any truck going up this road. The first steep part is actually the worst and is probalbly 1 or 2 tenths of a mile long. I think its 45 degrees or more in some parts. The "E" map and lower gearing was my friend here. I made it to the first plateau and it really chugged. I thought I was doing about 10rpm in some spots. Traction seemed to be a bigger issue.
My buddy then caught up to me on his XR650. I couldn't imaging trying to control that beast up the hill. We continued up up up and the X440s did just fine (many stops and starts) as we got higher. My buddy would just go downhill a bit and pop start the beast instead of kicking it to death. The higher we got the more the XR did not want to start. God bless the green button.
So far no overheating. About 80% of the way up my bike died. I was giving it gas while it died and new that something was wrong. After a couple of minutes, I restarted, went about 100 feet and it died again. Then it did it a third time. It seemed like it was starving for fuel. Considering the angle of the bike and the recent topping off, I dont think the fuel level in the tank was an issue. I could hear the fuel pump sucking hard and "squeking". I thought OH! NO! the #@*$% fuel tank quick realease connector. I then thought how badly I was screwed if I don't get this thing running.
Well, I disconnected the QR quick disconnect and reconnected it. By then my buddy came down the hill and was glad to see that I did not go over the edge. He said we were not that far from the top and I should at least try to make it. Well she started and I just went like a bat out of hell charging up that damn hill. If it was gonna die every thirty seconds then I was going to make that 30 seconds be as far as I could make it. I think I can, I Think I can, First gear, second gear, third gear up this super steep hill and it did not die! We made it. Then we followed the trail around to some other peaks and I had no more problems. I am thinking it was the QR. But maybe it got hot on the uphill and shut down???
We just enjoyed the view up there for about 20 minutes, cooled down and relaxed. We coasted down the mountain for about 90% of the way. It was weird, wearing full protective gear, on a big bike, and just coasting for miles downhill. You can really hear your suspension working. And my POS rear fender dodaad flopping all over the place. (Oh yea, good bye license plate!) The bike performed flawlessly the rest of the ride. I really think my riding buddy was disliking my green button near the end and both of us were quite sore from taking on the mountain!.
Hope ya'll enjoyed the story!
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