Jump to content

Stillwell Performance

Members
  • Content Count

    77
  • Joined

  • Last visited

About Stillwell Performance

  • Rank
    TT Member

Contact Methods

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Arizona

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. Don't forget to "like" our Stillwell Performance page to keep up to date on all the insider info with the upcoming races! King of the Motos in two weeks! We are stoked!

  2. SP supported rider Bryan "B-Rope" Roper took a hard earned earned top 5 finish in what many people are calling the... http://t.co/TtAgjxyF

  3. Stillwell Performance

    350SX - Engine Mods for tight single track

    The clutch is a 9.0 Magura. EE sells them
  4. Stillwell Performance

    End of the Season Suspension Prep

    Riding season is winding down in some areas and a lot of guys are getting ready to tuck that scooter away for the season. Here is a quick list of things to do before you put your bike up for the winter: • Take your fork wipers and pry them loose, then pull them down. Using a piece of 35 mm film or a thin, plastic card run it around the lip of the wiper to dislodge any dirt, sand or grease. Many times you will find that there is water or mud under the wiper, this acts as a constant abrasive on your seals and all of this needs to be removed. • Take some WD-40 and spray around the seal to blow out dirt and grime. After you clean the outside of the seal, use the film to run between the seal lip and the fork tube. Go slowly, and pull the film out slow as well to help remove junk from under the seal lip. • After you are done, put a little bit of seal grease around the seal lip and pop the wiper back on-good till spring!!! • Now is a great time to pull off the linkage and swing arm. Many times there is a bit of water in the bearings from normal riding, leaving this moisture in the bearings will ensure some rust by next spring. Clean all the bearings and bushing sealing edges, give them a good look and replace as needed. Lot’s of companies now make complete replacement kits, they all seem to be of high quality. • While the shock is off the bike, remove the spring and clean around the cap that covers the seal head (where the shock shaft goes into the shock body). Almost all of today’s current bikes have a press fit cap (check your manual). • Take a small drift punch and gently tap the cap off the shock body. This will expose the dust seal for the shock shaft. The seal itself sits further down on the shaft, all you really need to do here is wipe the grit away and put a bit of grease around the lip of the wiper. No seal cleaning is required, but make sure you do not have any oil coming out of the shock shaft area-if you do it’s time for a new seal! • Tap the cover back in place, put the spring back on and bolt everything back together. • You will be happy you took the time to do your maintenance now, as we all know when spring comes all we think about is Pinning It!!!!!!!!!!! You can learn more at www.stillwellperformance.com Keep It Pinned, Alan
  5. Stillwell Performance

    Get The Most From Your Front End Tuning Efforts

    So you have spent the better part of the summer spinning clickers, tweaking spring rates and testing, testing testing on your forks. They are super important, as that’s the first thing that moves when you hit an obstacle. Here’s what to do to ensure you have your front-end setup just as perfect as you can: • Make sure your front end stays aligned. Here’s a great story to illustrate my point: Last week a group of us were riding the Colorado Trail, a rocky, root infested fast trail. I was tuning a bike and had removed the stabilizer to get a better feel for the front end. After jumping off a small ledge at speed I landed on a loose rock and swapped out hard. The bike flipped sideways twice and landed in a heap. When we picked the bike up I was amazed to find the front wheel still pointed straight, no bent bars, etc. But after riding it the next few miles I found the forks to be very harsh and deflecting. Before the crash I had been stoked about how well the front end felt. I stopped, put the bike up on a stump and loosened up the front end, including the axle pinch bolts, AND the lower triple clamps. I rode the bike slowly a few feet, then grabbed the front brake HARD to reset the front end. This movement allows the forks to self-align and corrects any tweaks. Do this a few times, and then tighten everything back down. I know it is hard to put the perfect torque on the lower clamps in the field, so get a feel for the tightness of those bolts in the shop in case you need to do this on the trail. You will be amazed by the difference in how the suspension feels after correcting this. The new bikes all have very good forks, but bound up forks transmit a very harsh feel. You can mis-diagnose this and spend a bunch of time running clickers in and out chasing the best setup. Go back to the basics first-if it felt good before and now it doesn’t, what changed? In my case it was a 4th gear pinned highside, lol! If only I could reset my whole back as easily as the forks! • Check your steering stem torque-this adjustment can make the front end feel loose, or hard to turn depending on how tight/loose the steering stem nut is. Put the bike on a stand, and first loosen both the upper and lower triple clamp bolts. Get a good torque wrench and first loosen, then tighten the steering stem bolt. We usually go with the manufacturer’s torque spec. Make sure you do not over tighten this bolt, if you do you will feel each roller bearing in the steering stem, almost like a “detent” type of feel. Make sure your steering stem bearing are in good shape and greased up as well. • Run consistent tire pressure. When you tune your front suspension the tire acts as another tuning factor. Find a good pressure/tire combination that works for you and stick with it. The less variables the better! • How old is that front tire? You will find that as your front tire wears, the sidewall flexes more. This can lead the bike to roll the tire in hard cornering. Practice the same turn over and over again while really trying to feel what the front tire is doing. • Really basic things like your spokes can alter the feel of the front end. Make sure they are tight, especially if you have a new bike-keep after the spokes, as they tend to loosen frequently. • If you run bib mousses-these will make the front have a bit more of a dead feel too it. A tube creates more rebound action as it acts like a basketball-bounce it and it comes back. Remember to adjust accordingly for this. • Coatings like DLC will create a faster rebound in the forks-if your bike has this coating make sure you allow for this in your tuning. • Lastly, make sure your sag is set correctly. A few millimeters difference in rear end sag can have a drastic effect on the way the front end works. As always, start with your baseline and make changes in small increments. Have fun, and Keep It Pinned! Alan Stilwell About Alan & Stillwell Performance
  6. You can check out the new 2011 KTM 350SX-F and 300XC during Stillwell Performance suspension testing here:
  7. Stillwell Performance

    Stillwell Performance 350SX-F Day 1 Ride Report

    Dave, That's too funny! My assistant posted that in suspension out of habit, we just decided to go with it after that. Look for some tech data early next week. Our deal is we want to wring out the stock suspension to find the strengths/weaknesses-we are racing it tomorrow at Thunder Valley where they run the Colorado National, Open Pro and 450 Pro. Will work on some fine tuning, then tear it apart and see what we have. Will be happy to post some of what we find-not everything cause we need to make a living at this, lol! And yes, I am lucky-as my wife tells me "it's not a business, it's your obsession DISGUISED as a business"! Pin it!
  8. Stillwell Performance

    Stillwell Performance 350SX-F Day 1 Ride Report

    Numroe-450F's typically weigh between 8-12 lbs. more than the published weights. You can almost count on a CRF to be right at 10lbs. more.
  9. Stillwell Performance

    350 SX-F converted for off road

    We have been buried in calls at the shop asking when we will have a new 350 converted and valved for off-road. We are getting the 2nd 350 next Tuesday, that bike will remain retain stock suspension and serve as a control bike for the off road testing and suspension work. We will add the usual off road stuff like 18 in. rear wheel, protection and guards-no big changes there from past KTM's. I can say from just riding it one day that it has HUGE potential for a superb off road bike. The power delivery and light flickable feel has me agreeing with Dick Burleson's comments that this thing can be a "game changer". We will keep you guys posted as we shake it out, the first testing session will be in the Colorado High Country, which is as off road gnarly as it gets. We will be testing with our 2010 ISDE USA Junior Trophy rider Ian Blythe (who is one of the best test riders I have ever tuned with) as well as a half dozen guys ranging in ability from C to AA, and weight from 140-305. If Watts shows up we will get him to "fang it" as well! Check the Stillwell Performance FaceBook page for pics as we can upload those right from the trail via iphone. Keep It Pinned, Alan Stillwell
  10. Stillwell Performance

    350SX-F converted for off road

    We have been buried in calls at the shop asking when we will have a new 350 converted and valved for off-road. We are getting the 2nd 350 next Tuesday, that bike will remain retain stock suspension and serve as a control bike for the off road testing and suspension work. We will add the usual off road stuff like 18 in. rear wheel, protection and guards-no big changes there from past KTM's. I can say from just riding it one day that it has HUGE potential for a superb off road bike. The power delivery and light flickable feel has me agreeing with Dick Burleson's comments that this thing can be a "game changer". We will keep you guys posted as we shake it out, the first testing session will be in the Colorado High Country, which is as off road gnarly as it gets. We will be testing with our 2010 ISDE USA Junior Trophy rider Ian Blythe (who is one of the best test riders I have ever tuned with) as well as a half dozen guys ranging in ability from C to AA, and weight from 140-305. If Watts shows up we will get him to "fang it" as well! Check the Stillwell Performance FaceBook page for pics as we can upload those right from the trail via iphone. Keep It Pinned, Alan Stillwell
  11. We rode the bike for 4 hours yesterday. I'll give you guys a bit of background info first then some initial impressions. This is the 3rd 2011 KTM we have tested. Last week we tested a 150XC and a 300XC, both in off road terrain and were able to put in over 320 miles on them, as well as do 2 initial revalves on the 300. So, that said we had an idea going into 350 testing what the layout and overall feel of the KTM's were like (understanding they were PDS chassis, not link bikes). We rode the 350 at a private test facility we use, it is the same track Mike Alessi trains at when he comes to CO for the Lakewood National each year. Great layout, has various jump combo's and choppy square edge bumps as well as whoops, rollers, uphills and downhills, big hits etc. We had 5 riders ranging from a 140lbs. national level Pro, a 170 expert off road/B level moto rider, a 185 expert off road/B level moto rider, a 195lbs. C MX'er, and a 305lbs. B level MX'er. We also had a long a 450XC-F and a big bore equipped 290cc YZF for comparisons. Here are our day one impressions: *We weighed it on our electronic scale. 234.5lbs. with no gas. 245 filled and ready to go to the line. On the track it feels very light, nimble and flickable. *The layout and riding position in both standing and sitting is superb. Very comfortable, easy to move around on and when you transition into sitting you naturally drop right into the front of the seat. Very good. *This bike is more like KXF/CRF/YZF/RMZ in overall feel than any KTM before. *The exhaust note is quiet in comparison to the 450's. * Starting is great. Hit the button and go. *While we heat cycled the motor we were able to determine it seemed a bit tall in gearing (14/50 stock). Understand we are in CO at 6000ft. elevation, so some of that might have been altitude. In general we gear down a bit for our neighborhood. Halfway through the day, after everyone had ridden the bike twice we added 2 teeth to the rear. Whoa-it was a different bike! The soft, super smooth power turned into a super fun, punchy motor that make the bike much easier to ride and moved it away from feeling like a beefy 250F to a bike with it's own league of power. It's not a 250F, it's not a punched out 250F and it is for sure not a 450. The power is centered from the mid range up, comes on very hard but also very linear and smooth, if that makes sense. It's a bit hard to describe, but from point A to point B the thing from mid up feels almost as fast as a 450! It is in my opinion the easiest 4 stroke to ride I have ever been on. The throttle is VERY connected to traction and forward motion. You want more power, twist it a bit harder. Want to feather it and maintain traction in slippery conditions-no problem. I am excited to hook up the mapping program, if this is like most other KTM motors they are under-tuned stock and it will be interesting to see how the powerband can be moved around... *This bike is a very good turning. It has a super light feel to the front end, drops in and holds a line very well and is one of those machines that just does what is asked of it. There have been comparisons to the feel of a 250 two stroke, in the way it can change lines and corner I would say that was accurate. I would not agree that in general it feels like a two stroke-it doesn't. It is a super light feeling, 250F sized bike with an incredible motor! It makes you feel like you can ride it for a very long time without getting tired. Our pro Eric Decker did back to back comparisons on the 450 then the 350. After 3 fast 450 laps his heart rate was higher, he rode stiffer and got worked more. Jumped on the 350 and just flowed, dropped his lap times and was throwing it around like a 125. His comment was that the 450 was riding him, and the 350 was confidence inspiring. My speed is not near his, but as a senior rider I would agree. I see the vet/senior crowd as some of the guys that will benefit from this sized bike the most. The 350 motor is just perfect sized. *Fit & finish is good, we scuffed up the bodywork from the airbox cover all the way to the front of the shrouds just from moving around and using good form on the bike. It will not look new for very long. That said, Stefan Everts did a magnificent job on the layout. Super fun bike to ride, it's possible to just jump on and feel like the thing was designed for you from the start. Every rider commented on this point.... *The suspension seemed a bit on the soft side. We have valved hundreds of sets of the new generation WP bladder fork and understand it's good and bad qualities very well. The fork has very good feel to it, and this is due in a large part to WP finally reducing the stiction in the fork to a level equal to or better than KYB/Showa. We have not cracked the valving open yet so no comments there, but the fork feels good stock, not great and a bit mushy. *Honestly, we are just starting to play around with the shock and the new linkage. It would be unfair to say anything other than "we don't have enough testing in yet". In general it feels similar to the big 4 linkage bike in the rear, maybe a bit on the soft side. We are beginning some specific suspension testing after we have one more day on the bike. Stay tuned we will post more info as we learn more. Thanks and Keep It Pinned! Alan Stillwell
  12. We rode the bike for 4 hours yesterday. I'll give you guys a bit of background info first then some initial impressions. (You can check our Stillwell Performance Face Book pages for pics and video as well). This is the 3rd 2011 KTM we have ridden. Last week we tested a 150XC and a 300XC, both in off road terrain and were able to put in over 320 miles on them, as well as do 2 initial revalves on the 300. So, that said we had an idea going into 350 testing what the layout and overall feel of the KTM's were like (understanding they were PDS chassis, not link bikes). We rode the 350 at a private test facility we use, it is the same track Mike Alessi trains at when he comes to CO for the Lakewood National each year. Great layout, has various jump combo's and choppy square edge bumps as well as whoops, rollers, uphills and downhills, big hits etc. We had 5 riders ranging from a 140lbs. national level Pro, a 170 expert off road/B level moto rider, a 185 expert off road/B level moto rider, a 195lbs. C MX'er, and a 305lbs. B level MX'er. We also had a long a 450XC-F and a big bore equipped 290cc YZF for comparisons. Here are our day one impressions: *We weighed it on our electronic scale. 234.5lbs. with no gas. 245 filled and ready to go to the line. On the track it feels very light, nimble and flickable. *The layout and riding position in both standing and sitting is superb. Very comfortable, easy to move around on and when you transition into sitting you naturally drop right into the front of the seat. Very good. *This bike is more like KXF/CRF/YZF/RMZ in overall feel than any KTM before. *The exhaust note is quiet in comparison to the 450's. * Starting is great. Hit the button and go. *While we heat cycled the motor we were able to determine it seemed a bit tall in gearing (14/50 stock). Understand we are in CO at 6000ft. elevation, so some of that might have been altitude. In general we gear down a bit for our neighborhood. Halfway through the day, after everyone had ridden the bike twice we added 2 teeth to the rear. Whoa-it was a different bike! The soft, super smooth power turned into a super fun, punchy motor that make the bike much easier to ride and moved it away from feeling like a beefy 250F to a bike with it's own league of power. It's not a 250F, it's not a punched out 250F and it is for sure not a 450. The power is centered from the mid range up, comes on very hard but also very linear and smooth, if that makes sense. It's a bit hard to describe, but from point A to point B the thing from mid up feels almost as fast as a 450! It is in my opinion the easiest 4 stroke to ride I have ever been on. The throttle is VERY connected to traction and forward motion. You want more power, twist it a bit harder. Want to feather it and maintain traction in slippery conditions-no problem. I am excited to hook up the mapping program, if this is like most other KTM motors they are under-tuned stock and it will be interesting to see how the powerband can be moved around... *This bike is a very good turning. It has a super light feel to the front end, drops in and holds a line very well and is one of those machines that just does what is asked of it. There have been comparisons to the feel of a 250 two stroke, in the way it can change lines and corner I would say that was accurate. I would not agree that in general it feels like a two stroke-it doesn't. It is a super light feeling, 250F sized bike with an incredible motor! It makes you feel like you can ride it for a very long time without getting tired. Our pro Eric Decker did back to back comparisons on the 450 then the 350. After 3 fast 450 laps his heart rate was higher, he rode stiffer and got worked more. Jumped on the 350 and just flowed, dropped his lap times and was throwing it around like a 125. His comment was that the 450 was riding him, and the 350 was confidence inspiring. My speed is not near his, but as a senior rider I would agree. I see the vet/senior crowd as some of the guys that will benefit from this sized bike the most. The 350 motor is just perfect sized. *Fit & finish is good, we scuffed up the bodywork from the airbox cover all the way to the front of the shrouds just from moving around and using good form on the bike. It will not look new for very long. That said, Stefan Everts did a magnificent job on the layout. Super fun bike to ride, it's possible to just jump on and feel like the thing was designed for you from the start. Every rider commented on this point.... *The suspension seemed a bit on the soft side. We have valved hundreds of sets of the new generation WP bladder fork and understand it's good and bad qualities very well. The fork has very good feel to it, and this is due in a large part to WP finally reducing the stiction in the fork to a level equal to or better than KYB/Showa. We have not cracked the valving open yet so no comments there, but the fork feels good stock, not great and a bit mushy. *Honestly, we are just starting to play around with the shock and the new linkage. It would be unfair to say anything other than "we don't have enough testing in yet". In general it feels similar to the big 4 linkage bike in the rear, maybe a bit on the soft side. We are beginning some specific suspension testing after we have one more day on the bike. Stay tuned we will post more info as we learn more. Thanks and Keep It Pinned! Alan Stillwell
  13. Stillwell Performance

    The new 350SX-F Has Arrived at Stillwell Performance

    My personal opinion is the marketing dept. is very happy right now-it was the main thing holding these bikes back from being accepted in large numbers by the MX community. I also think that the linkage could be more flexible in terms of setup for MX/SuperCross and AX environments. The linkage ratio, spring rates and all that stuff are right in the middle of where the other 4 brands fall, so my expectation going into testing is that they should be in the hunt. 4 years of development, they took their time and hopefully it will be a good system. We will put 10-12 hours per day on this thing for the next couple of weeks, tomorrow we get a second one for side by side comparison of suspension mods. Like anything, I'm sure it can be made better. I'll say this-the thing sounds like and F1 car, the guys in the shop were having a blast rapping it out, no one wanted to go home last night, lol! We will post our impressions tonight, we have 5 test riders on it today ranging from decent B riders to a top 20 National MX Pro, and weight ranges from 140-250lbs. Stay tuned!
  14. Look for a ride/tuning blog here, as well as the Stillwell Performance Face Book page. Tomorrow we will throw it on our digital scale to get both a real world dry (no gas) and full (ready for the gate to drop) weight!
  15. Stillwell Performance

    The little things can mean BIG improvements!

    Small details can mean the difference between a bike that is so so versus a stellar performer. So let’s assume you have been out to the track or trail and have come up with some good settings through your testing. (For more info on how to start testing you can refer to an earlier article by Stillwell Performance on Thumper Talk entitled “Tuning Your Suspension-Where To Start?”). Once you establish good, baseline settings you can start digging into the smaller details. As always, your testing should be done in a controlled environment and at a speed less than your best Bubba Stewart impersonation. The adjustments listed below can DRASTICALLY alter the feel of your bike, so take it easy at first! There are several things you should pay attention to: • Your sag setting can drastically alter how the bike feels. On current model bikes like YZ-F’s, CRF’s and SX-F’s for example the chassis balance is critical to turning, rear wheel hookup and overall feel of the bike. 2-3mm here can mean the difference between a plush ride and a hacky feeling. Learn how to correctly set your sag (and make sure your buddy reading the sag scale has his glasses on, lol!). • Look at your tire pressures. On the front, for example a tire that is too hard can cause deflection and a harsh ride. Last week we were testing in the Colorado Mountains and one of the riders was complaining about his bike bouncing off of rocks. Nothing had changed from the previous day when he was quite happy with his settings-except he had adjusted tire pressure. When we checked the pressure it was at 20 PSI, up from 12 the day before! Turns out he was in a hurry and misread the gauge. That increase turned his perfect front end into a skitter-scatter ride. Too little pressure and you can experience front end push or tuck. Find a pressure that works for you and make sure it stays consistent. We run 12-13 PSI in the front when testing. NOTE: Check it during the day, Colorado is cold in the AM and hot in the PM many days-you can see pressure build up during this time! • Note where your rear axle is adjusted. Running the axle far forward will make the wheelbase shorter, can make turning sharper and can also make the bike want to wheelie easier on uphill climbs. With the axle far back you will notice an increase in stability at speed and sometimes a bit slower turning. Also-if you are using the axle or axle blocks as a starting measuring point for your sag calculation this measurement will change when you adjust the axle! • Where your forks ride in the top triple clamp is important. Flush with the top means a bit more stability, and possibly less sharpness in turning. Moving the tubes up in the clamps can increase how sharp the bike turns but can also create headshake at speed. There is no right or wrong here, and each bike can be different. I would suggest trying them flush, then pulled up in the clamps 3-4mm. Ride the same terrain and compare. • Like the above tip, some bikes have triple clamps that can be moved forward or backwards to either pull the head angle back or push it away. In general, less offset means sharper turning and more offset helps with stability. This is not an absolute so test it out if your bike has this option. The 2010 KTM SX/XC models for example went from an adjustable 18/20 offset clamp to a fixed 22mm clamp. It not only made the bike more stable (which you would expect) it also made it turn better. Weird but true. Test, test, and test some more to see what feels best to you. • Look at smaller things like the position of your bars-some guys feel better with them back, some forward. The key here is how much weight do you transfer to the front end and what effect does that have on the bike? One of our sponsored riders, Ex World and GNCC Champ Shane Watts runs a very neutral bar position. One of our other pro riders, ISDE Junior Trophy Team rider Ian Blythe wants his bar setup further back as he feels he can transfer more weight to the front tire in turns, increasing traction and feel. Try some different bar positions and see what feels best for you. • Bleed the air from your forks. I drove from Denver (5200ft.) to Pitkin, CO (9100 ft.) with a new 2011 KTM last week to test. When we had set up the forks in Denver we bled the air. In the first 10 miles of testing the forks were feeling hard. Popped the bleeder screws and I’ll bet 15 PSI of air came out of each leg! Presto, instant plushness. Just like that last point above; don’t overlook the small stuff if you really want to make your suspension the best it can be. Take your time and have fun! Keep It Pinned, Alan Stillwell http://www.stillwellperformance.com
×