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"I Hate Supermoto"

  1. #1
    Just Registered Doc's Avatar
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    "I Hate Supermoto"


    The conversion of a Sportbike snob

    Author: Lance Lau

    I hate Supermoto. I absolutely can’t stand it. I cringe when other moto-journalists lavish the genre with praises and call them the ultimate back-road bikes. Pah! Maybe it’s because my parents wouldn’t let me ride motocross when I was a kid that I hold no nostalgia for their dirt-derived roots. I tease my friends who ride them and call them “hillbilly roadracers”. Super Motard? That’s a French name, yet another reason to dislike them. Super Retard is more like it in my book; give me a GSXR-750, any day. Those little toys have no motor. I pass them all day long on the straights and I really resent the annoying and insistent thumper blatting of those irritating machines as they have the nerve to show me a wheel in the twisty parts of the track. Don’t they realize that I just passed them on the back straight and I’m going to pass them again on the front straight? Sheesh! The nerve of those guys! Call me a corner-camper? I’ll show them!

    Now where was I? Oh yeah, I detest Supermoto. Those perky, pesty, irritating little Supermotos just bug me. What really burns me up is that those guys go to Supermoto trackdays and ride all day for under $50. Granted, they can’t be having nearly as much fun on those little go-kart tracks as us guys on our real bikes, on real race tracks, right? I mean, we spend more money, so we gotta be having more fun, right?

    Recently, while attending a trackday with Sportbike Track Time at Summit Point’s Jefferson Circuit, the TrackdayMag.com/East GSXR-750 broke down with fuel delivery issues. A faulty Throttle Body SDTV Actuator turned out to be the culprit. As a result, I managed to turn one lap on it the whole weekend. I spent Saturday vainly trying to repair the bike while cooking my famous smoked, pulled-pork for everyone. I was planning to pack up and head home early Sunday morning when STT’s Northeast director, David Podolsky offered to lend me his "supermoto" bike. Calling it a “supermoto” bike was a bit of a stretch. To be sure, it looked the part, provided you rubbed your eyes really hard and squinted just right. In actuality, it was really a KTM 400EXC enduro bike with 17” supermoto wheels thrown on it. The 5” rear wheel was too big for the swingarm, so much so that the ancient, four-year-old Michelin Pilot H2 that was mounted on it had almost an inch shaved off of the right edge of the of the tread, yet still rubbed on the swing-arm. This beast had retained its dirtbike gearing,- ie. a rear sprocket big enough to make a stunna envious, and the stock, off-road brakes (who needs brakes? all they do is slow you down). I grimaced as I looked the bike over and out of courtesy, I graciously accepted the offer.

    Early Sunday morning, I began sorting out the bike in an attempt to make it safe to ride. I enlisted my friend Mike Sims to help set ‘er up, which wasn’t going to be an easy task as it was an off-road machine, sized perfectly for a 5’7”, 160 pound rider. At 6’8” and 245 pounds without gear, I was way off the mark. We started with the rear end and maxed out the pre-load, giving the WP shock a full six turns on the collar. Rebound was cranked too, with 25 clicks to the adjuster. Up front, the forks weren’t adjustable for preload, so we gave the compression damping 5 full turns and called it “good enough”. Since the machine was so light, we reduced tire pressure to 20 pounds front and rear. Sitting on the bike, I found that the rear still compressed too much, making the shock bottom out and the tire rubbed on the muffler and swingarm. Frank from Chronic Motorsports ( Welcome to Chronic Motorsports ) came to the rescue and shimmed the muffler for us and put in a spacer for the rear wheel. The tire still rubbed a little on the right side, but I figured that it would just keep that side warmed up, since the track was being run counter-race and a majority of the turns were left-handers.

    With the bike as sorted as it was going to get, I put on my leathers and got ready to take it out for the first session. Since I’d only turned one lap on Summit Point Jefferson in the opposite direction the previous day, I made a few, cautious sighting laps to familiarize myself with both the bike and the track. As I had been warned, the bike had no brakes to speak of and with the off-road gearing still in place and a rear sprocket the size of a frozen pizza, I’d estimate that the bike’s top speed must have been somewhere around 70mph. I fully expected to go out for a session and come back into the paddock and say " thanks David, but I think I'll just go home." Instead, as I became more comfortable on the bike, I began throwing it harder and harder into the turns. Even the slowest riders in the Advanced group were passing me on the Jefferson Circuit’s two short straights but no one could touch me in the corners. Wow! Sliding both ends through a turn with an ancient Michelin Pilot H2 on the rear and a clapped out pilot race in front, on a bike that weighed maybe 220 pounds full of fuelwas an awesome experience.

    A typical lap went something like this: WFO down the front straight, the rev-limiter stuttering in 5th gear (no speedo, no tach- just an hour meter that didn’t work). Don’t even think about braking because the stock, off-road kit simply isn’t up to it; instead, bang it down to 3rd, blip the throttle and brace for the inevitable shudder of the rear wheel hopping on the macadam. Throw her into Turn 1 and slide like a tripod of wheels & knee, then whack the throttle up the hill towards Turn 2, grab an upshift & bang ‘er back down again, flicking the Katoom through the esses. Past the apex, upshift and get ready for Turn 3, a tight hairpin that opens up into a wide flowing sweeper. Toe the shifter back down into third, blip the throttle and let the engine brake just a little before tossing the bike left into the hairpin, the front and rear tires sliding simultaneously, while the suspension pogos wildly over the ripples in the pavement left by the cages that usually ply this short track. By now the turn’s opened up into the sweeper and as I’ve shifted into 4th gear, I can’t hear a damn thing, I’m laughing too fricken’ loudly. Yep, that was a 1098 I just passed back there! With the throttle pinned, I accelerate down the short straight towards the next turn, doing my best to keep all the yahoos on liter bikes that I’d just passed in the twisties behind me. Late apex the blind, left hand sweeper known as Turn 5 and pin the throttle on the back straight, realizing that it’s over: all those corner campers that I’d worked so hard to get by are now sling-shotting past at a break-neck pace as the little offroad bike wheezes and gasps. Blip the throttle at the end of the straight and bump down to 4th gear entering Turn 6, then blip/bump again as the corner tightens into Turn 7, the suspension wallowing in its now familiar pogo as you hit the bumps just past the apex and pass a couple of the more egregious riders parked in the turn. From there, I give it all the thumper’s got (it ain’t much) for the sprint down the front straight and start it all over again.

    I'd estimate that my corner speeds were increased by what seemed like as much as 20% in some turns. I had a huge, shit-eating grin on my face after the first session. No way was I gonna pack up and go home- I was having a blast! Who knew that riding a bike with no power could be so much fun? Don’t get me wrong, I still hate Super Motos, even more so now that I find that I can’t live without one.

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    Last edited by Doc; 12-18-07 at 06:16 PM.
    "I'd rather ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow"
    Bikes: Ducati: 748 (Track) Honda: RC31 (Race/street)/ CRF 110 Mini Moto/ Hawk Endurance Racer Kawasaki: ZXR1200R
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  2. #2
    Just Registered 13's Avatar
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    "I Hate Supermoto"

    Sounds like Chad, only more well spoken.

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    One of the former LRRS #13's

    http://www.facebook.com/ChrisWatt762

    JT42

  3. #3
    Resident Turkey Tricky Mike's Avatar
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    "I Hate Supermoto"

    That seems to be the general consensus.

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  4. #4
    Soul Rider Paul_E_D's Avatar
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    "I Hate Supermoto"

    It doesn't require a supermoto bike though. A 125 will teach you even more because it doesn't forgive all sins the way a motard does...

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    Paul_E_D


  5. #5
    Lifer a13x's Avatar
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    "I Hate Supermoto"

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_E_D View Post
    forgive all sins the way a motard does...
    That's exactly what makes ripping on a supermoto bike so much fun!

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    Boston --> San Diego

  6. #6
    Super Moderator OreoGaborio's Avatar
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    "I Hate Supermoto"

    Quote Originally Posted by a13x View Post
    That's exactly what makes ripping on a supermoto bike so much fun!
    and a 125 so rewarding or... so i'd immagine.

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    -Pete LRRS/CCS #82 - ECK Racing, TonysTrackDays, Ironstone Ventures
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  7. #7
    Resident Turkey Tricky Mike's Avatar
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    "I Hate Supermoto"

    Quote Originally Posted by OreoGitorio View Post
    and a 125 so rewarding
    Maybe if you're not a 6'1" 215lb fat-ass like, um... some dude I know.

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  8. #8
    Soul Rider Paul_E_D's Avatar
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    "I Hate Supermoto"

    It does make motards fun, but Pete's onto it. It's much more rewarding to me to ride as clean as possible for as long as possible...(uh, something like that)

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    Paul_E_D


  9. #9
    Lifer
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    "I Hate Supermoto"

    supermoto is fun but hard as hell. Dirt jumps, 60 foot urban jumps, woops, banks and roadrace. Actual supermoto is a whole different ride than roadracing a supermoto bike.

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    It's all water under the bridge, and we do enter the next round-robin. Am I wrong?

  10. #10
    Resident Turkey Tricky Mike's Avatar
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    "I Hate Supermoto"

    True... There's none of this @ Loudon.

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  11. #11
    Lifer
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    "I Hate Supermoto"

    or this. Can't do that on a 125 motorcycle.


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    It's all water under the bridge, and we do enter the next round-robin. Am I wrong?

  12. #12
    Soul Rider Paul_E_D's Avatar
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    "I Hate Supermoto"

    Oh, Yeah, I wasn't talkin bout the real deal. That's not so forgiving...

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    Paul_E_D


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