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Written: March 29th, 2003
Written by: PJ Crouch "Mufflerman"
Bike: 200 Cannondale E440
I have owned my E for a while now. My first outing with it other than break in was Thanksgiving 2002. So far the only mechanical issues I have had were self induced. I failed to install the trans oil filter properly and it was eaten by the transmission while I was at the Rick Johnson School. I made it through without a dnf.
The first change I made was to the map. My dealer was a fan of the X440s map so that is what was installed first. I was coming off of a yz 426 and the E map was lame by comparison. The 440s map got me through two trips to Jawbone Canyon and Dove springs. I had also done work to the muffler to make sure the bike was exhaling properly. On the initial outing I was thrilled with the brakes and the clutch in comparison with my 426. The suspension and power left me a little cold. I had had the 426 revalved for my weight and type of riding and the power delivery was quite different and required getting used to. The back end worked pretty well but the forks were pounding my forearms numb like my 94 CR 250 used to. I was told by my dealer they would break in so I soldiered on. The second day I got a lesson in less can be more. There was a big hill in Jawbone canyon next to the black pipe that used to give me fits when on the YZ. I could climb the looser horsepower sections fine but the steeper middle sections transitioned into rock 3/4 of the way up and the luck of grunt and goofy clutch always screwed me up on these sections. Well, I was finally able to climb the center consistently because the fuel injection won't cough and die when chugging like the YZ would. Score one for Dale.
Later that day we rode our 35 mile mine shack loop that consists of single track rock infested trails it is a fun loop with several descent to ascent transitions. Once again the smooth seamless power delivery made stuff that used to tire me seem easy. The rocks were still beating me though.
The only real disappointment was finding out that a 525 6 speed will just run and hide from a 5 speed E on the top end. Another couple of pluses that became apparent early the bike is very slim and very stable.
After a couple of trips to the desert that due to an injured riding partner left me riding quads. I got back on track with my normal riding buddy. A trip to the Rick Johnson school finally broke the forks in so they were not nearly as harsh in the small chop. I also purchased the D&M kit so I could try different maps. I arrived at Jawbone March 20 to what would become the best ride yet. I had settled on the c/x combo map. At home it was giving me the kind of punch I needed to loft the front wheel at low rpm but still had the top end shriek for climbing sandy loose hills. We did our 35 mile mine shack ride again but this time the chop and rocks were not much of a factor. I had changed my settings to the x settings before the school and was actually stiffening up from there. At the end of the loop I was almost refreshed. The next day we set out in a different direction that took us to a microwave tower at the end of road 69. This trip was opposite of the mine loop. The terrain consisted of looser sandy soil with whoops whoops and more whoops. The C/X map was really shining here I was able to loft the front end when needed where the other maps I had used would have left me plowing into the potholes we were running into. I am now getting the urge to try stiffer springs because in the whoops the front end was bottoming out,not harshly but consistently. The KTM my buddy rides is really becoming my nemesis when the situation requires horsepower. There was a long sandy uphill that, with the E ratios had me between gears 3rd was almost topped out but I could not pull 4th the KTM just motored ahead.
The tally so far is one front tire two rears countless oil changes one D&M kit CRhigh bend bars solid solutions radiator and pipe guard PMB shark fin and end cap. One splintered front fender and two wounded hand guards. Oh yeah and two pairs of burned pants, before the guard was purchased. I did the stud upgrade when I was cleaning up the filter boo boo. I plan on doing stage 8 on the trans cartridge and looking into a revalve and or fork springs.
A little more power with the same delivery would not hurt my feelings either but maybe that is just being greedy. I am afraid fuel capacity could become an issue if the motor was bigger.
I have really enjoyed this bike so far I have not fouled a plug or drained the battery. It is not tiring to ride. The slim ergos good brakes excellent fuel injection roomy chassis for a 6'4" rider make me look forward to the 300 mile drives I have been taking to ride.
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