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Uptite Racing... Bravo George Erl

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A while back I bought a used 1992 Husqvarna WXE610. I took it to (now defunct) Eric's Motorcycle Co. in Pasadena for some initial work and it was running great. I had big dreams for the bike in terms of weekend enduro rides around California. At the time, I worked with a guy that rode a newer Husky and we got to talking. It was around 2006 and he told me about George Erl at Uptite Husqvarna in Santa Ana. From where we worked, it was just a few miles down I5 past Disneyland. I had spoke to George several times on the phone in the couple years before I made it in to meet him. I made the drive down there one day in 2008 and George remembered me and my dreams of enduro riding my old Husky from our phone conversations. As I talked about my old Husky he kind of chuckled and asked if I'd ridden the new ones yet. I hadn't, and opted not to that day because of the sticker shock I had at the new bikes. It was right after the 2008's came out and he told me about the fuel injection and the great engines Husqvarna was making in the 610's. I kept trying to talk about my bike and asked about parts availability and got another chuckle. What I got was a lesson in honesty I will never forget. He told me, matter of factly, that I owned a great bike for it's day, but the technology on the new bikes make them head and shoulders above mine. He told me with the proper care, mine would run forever, but it wasn't built to do the things I was describing I wanted to do. I asked if he'd still do the maintenance on mine if I brought it to him (Malcom Smith in Riverside will not work on a bike more than 10 years old) and he said he would. He warned me though, that he "can't make her pretty, but he could keep her running." That was the start of a friendship I hope lasts a long while. He has fixed my bike (with me doing the work and him on the telephone, jammed to my ear with my shoulder) many times. Once I was near his shop and stopped in to tell him about a problem I was having. A metalic squeek from the engine that had me afraid she was going to have to be retired. I described the sound to George and he asked me to repeat it. I did, and fearing the laughter my uncle used to do to me as a kid by making me repeat funny noises over and over, he said, "Wait right here." He went into the back and returned with some white lithium grease in a lunch baggie for me. He told me what to do, step by step, and how to apply the grease. The bike has never made that noise again. I can go on all day about my faith in this man's abilities.

I bought a used 2008 TE610 in 2010. I told George about it and he started asking me all kinds of questions about it being setup properly when it was bought and the history of the bike. Everything George had told me way back about the 08's was true. They are fantastic! I eventually took it into George and had him service it. Over the years he told me about his pipe design and how good it was, so I had him make me one. When I picked it up, I asked George about what he'd done to it. He told me that it was never setup right and all the quirky things that the Huskies come out of the factory with he had fixed gave me a run down of them. The bike was clean as new and I hardly recognized it. I asked how the pipe sounded and he just handed me the keys and said, "see for yourself." It was was a great baritone symphony to my ears. I reved it a bit and George was just smiling at my reaction. I asked if there were a difference in power and he turned, picked up a helmet, and tossed it to me. "You tell me," he said. Now, I am a big guy, and being big, it always seemed to me that the bike was not quite able to perform like it would for a smaller guy. The bike already had great power from what I was used to before (XL600, and the WXE610). I pulled out on S. Main St. and just took the hell off! I wheelied through first, second, third, and (I swear) got a little air in fourth. I could not get enough! It was like a whole different bike... with a turbocharger on it! I finally got back to the shop and could not stop talking about the difference in this bike, and the one I dropped off. I kept asking what he did to it. George, being a man of few words and many great accomplishments, would only say, "I fixed it." We loaded it in my truck and I asked him if there was anything I needed to know about my "NEW" bike. He said, "Your gonna need a new back tire soon." I looked at it, knowing I just bought that one, and asked why. He told me when he does his modifications to bikes, people tend to stay on the gas a lot more and wear out their rea tires quicker. He was right. I have been through two in the last seven months.

One last thing.

I am writing this to complement the man. I called him up this last Saturday and needed to get new levers from him for a ride I am doing this coming weekend. He was getting ready to close, but said he'd wait for me. I am an hour away from his shop. I negotiated all the weekend beach traffic and eventually got down there two hours after I talked to him. He didn't say a word about it. I bought the levers and we talked for another hour about everything under the sun, like we always do. He's been selling Beta's for a while now, and, as I was leaving, tried to talk me into taking one around the corner for a test ride. Some things never change.

Edited by scrappdaddy
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you won't find many better people in the industry. or life for that matter. honest as the day is long.

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True that! He may not be a dealer any more "BUT" he is a master mechanic, great guy, PERIOD!

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Years late but wanted to throw in that George Erl was one of the OG California Real Desert Racers.  I don't know his status now but have a brief personal encounter to relate.

In the 90s I had the last version of the California built ATK 605 with license plate.  While in Santa Ana on a lunch break trip to an industrial foam shop to have seat foam cut from a 20' x 8' x 4' block of the best available,  I saw a sign that said Husqvarna.  knowing they used the same Magura controls and I needed a lever I wandered in to a Storage Building Business Park.  Entering the shop the first view were a few dusty new bikes and the crackling of a Mig welder George was using to build a frame for a race chassis.   He talked calm, direct and politely.  Very matter of fact and sold me my lever.  As a fantastic coincidence I mentioned the well made full stainless exhaust which I did not remember the name of.  It had 2 head pipes for the 4 valve Rotax, which increased in size every three inches.  Became a single pipe maintaining expansion and continuing the larger sections every 3 inches until the silencer which was more of a megaphone ending in a large enough for a VW Super Trap stacked disk end cap.   He politely told me it is called "An Up-Tite Pipe, I Made That".   Fortunately that is how things word out when I am in a pinch.  Talked directly to the man whose hands engineered, tested and hand built my pipe in question.  To my surprise, but not disbelief when I asked about proper setup for my bike.  He said jump from the 160-165 to a 190 main jet and run 26 disks!    Damn..   Truth is it worked, downside you could hear me a couple of miles away if hill riding with me on an opposing hill.  Neighbor heard the bike after I first set it up and thought I bought a Harley.  Upside,  I could coast on a downhill engine off,  coast up behind a 1/4 liter smoker.  Then drop the clutch in 3rd and you could not imagine how fast the trail would clear with the equivalent of a trophy truck nearing impact.      Now its Swedish tech and Pro Moto Bilit with Spark arrester screen able to pass the US Forrest Service DB and Poke the rod in to check for a fire prevention screen for me.

Bottom line is George was as real as Mike Patrick and all the other early men of the desert who I have the fortunate opportunity to live among and grow up in the presence of here in Southern California.

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