AUSTRALIA, VICTORIA, KERANG. If you are motorcycle mad you would have been glued to the internet, waiting for your magazine subscription, or picking up a mag from your local newsagency to read the 2017 bike shoot outs and dream your next present to yourself. Many years ago KJ used to love reading the shootouts, back when there was no politics were involved and people were allowed to trash a bike if it deserved it. KJ can remember Sidetrack Magazines founder the late Tony Kirby writing his review on Honda’s CRF250X, oh yes, TK was not impressed with what Honda gave him to test at all and KJ overhead the reasoning to why he wrote it, even though he was speaking to a Honda Dealer, the discussion reminded me of a t-shirt I have in the KJ cupboard, ‘Dirt Action, rude but right,’ and the comment TK said was ‘it is what it is.’ KJ thinks that these days in a media society where everyone wants to please every advertiser, every brand, and the brand that slips the biggest ‘envelope’ to the test rider or editor will win the shootout. One thing that frustrates KJ is that there is never a chick doing a shootout on a new bike, Australia has the talent why not? Not saying KJ has the skill level, there are other female riders out there, what about an Australian or State Women’s Champion?
At the end of the day, shootouts give you a guide. Now if KJ needed a new bike, there are a few things she does, a few ‘personal touches’ to make the bike suit her. KJ likes wide foot pegs even though she has little feet, mainly because she can’t feel her right foot properly so the wide foot pegs gives her that little bit of extra confidence. KJ loves her anti-vibration handlebars, for that broken right wrist that doesn’t bend so good any more. And lastly, she loves to have the suspension lowered internally, (otherwise, KJ has to stop near cars, people or trees) and change the rear spring, usually to a heavier spring as it is shorter and lowers the back end for the short chubby leg to be swung over. KJ also does a few little ‘KJ mods’ with a die grinder 😉 These are things KJ has learned over time, by reading manuals, testing clickers, asking the people who know and riding with a passion to have fun and learn. Just because motocross bikes are build ready to race, doesn’t mean that they are, and the other day on ‘factbook’ mechanic Steve Powell posted a YZ head stem with metal filings on the shaft from new. Riders need to remember that unless it is a Cobra (which is hand built in the USA), all motorcycles come off a production line in a big factory where computers run the show and produce a consistent product.
All brands have their benefits and drawbacks, however when purchasing a bike it is better to look at the after sale and maintenance side of things. Race bikes need maintenance to perform at the factory standard all the time. There is preventative maintenance and there is ignorance, and the latter usually ends up costing more dollars. What is the best bike for you? How far are you willing to drive for parts, or wait for parts. Which dealer is going to do the best for you? Friday afternoon you are loading the van and the bike falls over and breaks a lever and you don’t have a spare? Who will help you? Who will pull a lever off a bike on the showroom floor for you instead of you waiting a few days for the part? Who is going to be straight forward with you? Hopefully, it is your local dealer. Otherwise, purchase the machine that suits you. Every brand has its own geometry, the dry weight, the handlebar to foot peg measurements, seat to ground height, look at them, and find which geometry suits your body! Do you have long arms and short legs? or Short arms and long legs? We are all different, so set up your machine best to suit the rider, and the more comfortable you feel, your confidence and experience will grow, you’ll have more fun, and if you race, your results will demonstrate improvement.
Keep riding, keep smiling and eating dirt. 🙂 KJ