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Oberg 18mm clamp test

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Thanks to a very trusting TTalker, I as able to test out the 18mm offset clamps.

This review is meant for every other Joe, who, like me, is reluctant to spend 300+ dollars on clamps, for an unknown "gain".

I rode the stock clamps since I bought the bike in June. I was able to win a race on those clamps, in the tight twisty woods, so I was not exactly wanting to spend alot of money on something I wasn't sure would really make a difference.

My first two tests were on a medium MX track. Rausch Creek MX park for those who are familiar with the area. First thing I noticed, my front end was WAYY too soft. I was bottoming on every hit it seemed. I am running one step up from stock on spring stiffness, and I think 15 wt. fork oil. I ended up bottoming so much and so hard, I blew both fork seals.

Recommendation 1 - YES, get at least 1 step stiffer springs than you are running now.

I do believe the front end was sticking better in berms, and not hopping out of them as easily, especially tighter berms. I was happy with the cornering ability more than before. So, for someone who is not a super fast guy, and is odd in what he can do (I cannot jump a flat 50 foot double at Rausch, but I can jump a 75 foot flat double at Pine Grove....go figure) I did notice some assistance in cornering ability.

Now, for the Race test.

COnditions were comperable to dust covered pavement. (very dry and hard). Berms are few, and only on the MX portion of the track. The tight areas and some s-turns are flat. UNFORTUNATELY, I cannot give a super accurate review of my findings in the race, as I ran into mechanical trouble. My seal replacement found an internal problem with my forks, so which was not able to be fully repaired for the event. I ended up blowing one fork seal again Sunday (I believe the one that was not repairable before the race). I need to do a dissasembly yet to find out more info. It was very difficult to keep the front end under me, and I noticed a HARD tendancy for the bike to knife on me. All in all, I had a tough time controlling the bike, to the extent I pulled off the track once, and shut her down, to do a quick check my forks and such. I thought they were coming apart. However, if my fork was leaking oil (which it indeed was) then that is the culprit, not the clamps.

I did notice some inceased desire for the bike to do a slight headshake at speed (4th Gear, throttle on pretty good, over some square edges and accel/decel bumps) but again, it could very well have been the forks malfunctioning. I DO NOT have a damper, and I have never really noticed my 520 to headshake me really bad. Just a typical stay on the gas, hang on tight, and she'll straighten out.

I can give more reviews in time, when I get the forks in proper working order. We are heading up to MX573 (www.mx573.com) the day after Thanksgiving, and there are minimal berms there. It is a hardpack track, with flat turns, very simmilar to the Pine Grove course.

For what I experienced in my first two tests, I believe the clamps ARE indeed a benefit. Perhaps a minimal one for our skill levels (speak for myself, eh ? :) ) But a benefit at the least. The construction of the Obergs, as well as ease of bar adjustments, and of course the look factor, will cause me to say I will buy them.

[ November 12, 2001: Message edited by: Chris Slade ]

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