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Ride Engineering

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    Making off-road & motocross bikes look, handle, & perform better!

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  1. Ride Engineering

    Is Your Handlebar Position Working Against You?

    At Ride Engineering, we pay close attention to handlebar position and bar mount height. You’d be surprised just how much a few millimeters from stock can make to improve your body position and overall control. Keeping the bars neutral is another important aspect. By this we mean keeping the bars parallel to the forks within a few degrees. Drastically changing them by raising the bars 25mm+ or moving them forward that much can have a totally adverse effect. This article’s main focus is to explain where the “sweet spot” is for maximum control reinforcing the proper riding position on track or trail. Handlebars that are rotated too far out of parallel alignment with the forks can create adverse handling issues The first thing that you want to do is pick a handlebar bend that you are comfortable with. Typically, a lower bar will allow you to “muscle” the bike more, but it should still be relative to your height. For example, at my 5’6” stature I like the lowest bends. Currently, my favorite handlebar is the Husqvarna bend Pro Taper Evo. It's 80mm in height at the ends and a little less sweep that my old favorite, the Pro Taper Carmichael. If you’re a bit taller, you may like the SX Race bend with a height of 87mm. Those over 6’, may like the stock Honda bars at 97mm tall (Renthal 971). Since each bike is different, your favorite bar may still need further adjustment. For example, I love the Husky bar on a Husky or KTM with the stock bar height, but on the 2017 CRF450R, I preferred it 5mm lower. On my current 2018 RM-Z450, I prefer them 5mm higher. I tried the SX Race bend with the stock bar mount height, but they felt too tall for me, even though the net difference was only 2mm more. Also, due to my short arms, in every case I run the bar mounts in the back position. This gives me a good head over the bars posture and maximum control of the bike. Incidentally, the forward holes that come on a stock KX-F and YZ-F triple clamps are too far forward for most riders. Before you start shaking your head and tell me that the OEMs wouldn’t design it that way if that were true, let me explain further. Because they use a rubber mounting design, which I agree is way better than the old metal on metal system, they have no choice but to put the forward holes 25-30mm out. The rubber cones are over an inch in diameter, so it’s not physically possible to provide a second mounting position any closer than that. Remember, KTM used to have two positions. But back then it was only a 10mm bolt hole, so it was possible to add a second hole 15mm away. Then by using an offset bar mount you could make changes in 5mm increments. Now that they also offer a rubber cone system, they have eliminated the forward position all together. Ride Engineering bar mounts are typically made the same height as stock (except YZ bar mounts which are the same as the 2017 & older stock mounts and 5mm lower than the 2018) with plus or minus 3mm of adjustability forward or back. We also offer 5mm and 10mm spacer kits to raise our mounts (Ride bar mounts come with posts that unscrew to allow for a height adjustment or to replace in the event they are bent in a crash). Aftermarket bar mounts that are 20 or more millimeters higher that stock are going to put the rider in a less than ideal riding position. Neutrally mounted handlebars Many steering dampers also have this adverse effect. They mount over the stem nut and under the handlebar, so often raising the bar is the only way to make clearance (Ride Eng. offers a damper kit that mounts behind the front number plate, allowing one to keep the bar height standard). Some riders like to go on mellow trail rides for a couple of hours and have found really tall handlebars add comfort. The problem lies when you come across a rider heading in your direction or an unforeseen obstacle that needs an instantaneous reaction. A poor riding posture can contribute to a crash and getting injured. If that happens, any added comfort will be the last thing on your mind. Handlebar mounts w/ spacers Here’s how a few fast guys with a lot of riding experience set up their riding position: Sean Lipanovich Pro 5’5” - 150lb - 27 yrs old Years riding from 12 yrs old to present Slmxschool.com Current ride: 2017 KTM450sxf Sean has raced professional supercross and motorcross, finished in the top 25 at the 2016 USGP, won the 25+ class at the 2017 Vet World championships and now trains young riders for SL MX School. He’s always couching riders to “put your head over the bars, squeeze the bike with your knees and be on the balls of your feet.” “I run the stock KTM handlebars (78mm tall) in the back position (bar mounts rotated back) with the Ride Eng. bar mount that is the same height as stock with the bars neutral (not rotated forward or back) to the forks. I feel this gives me the most control of the bike to get on the gas harder.” Kris Keefer Pro 6’ – 170lbs – 40 yrs old Years riding from 9 yrs old to present Keeferinctesting.com Favorite bike: 2018 YZ450F At 24 years old, Kris started his testing career with Yamaha Motor Corporation which led him to a position at Dirt Rider magazine as associate editor, then eventually to Senior Test editor. Today he’s doing his own testing and pod casts as a new business owner for keeferinctesting.com. Throughout his career he’s raced professional motocross and supercross, the Canadian nationals, Vet World and Loretta Lynn’s. “I use the SX Race bend on my YZ450F with last year’s bar mounts (5mm lower) in the back hole with the mounts rotated forward. I like to keep the bars fairly neutral and coach others to do the same. If you have your bars rotated too far back, it’s harder to get your weight forward on the bike when entering corners. If you have them rotated too far forward where the ends are pointing up, you don’t have the right leverage to initiate the turn.” Ted Campbell Pro 6’ – 210lbs – 42 yrs old Years riding from 12yrs old to present Current bike: 2017 CRF450R Ted has traveled the world racing professional supercross and motorcross and has made many lifelong friends because of dirt bikes. He obtained his first pro national number in 1999 and kept a top 100 number for 6-7 years of his professional racing career. “I use the Mika Metal’s RC bend (this is a tall bar at 105mm), and like to set up my bike with my bars just behind the forks (bar mounts rotated back) in the neutral position so I can get over the front of the bike. I feel I have more control turning and it puts me more in the attack position. I run my bars back further than most being 6’ tall but it gives me the ability to really feel comfortable turning and leaning the bike over as I’m on top of the bars more.” Ted added a set of Ride Eng. CRf triple clamps which did lower the bar position 5mm and moved it 3mm forward from stock. Cody Webb Pro 6’ 3” – 185lbs – 29 yrs old Years riding from 3yrs old to present https://www.facebook.com/codywebb247/ Current bike: 2017 350EXC Cody is the 2010 AMA National Trials champion, 2014 and 2017 AMA Endurocross champion and has finished on the podium or won numerous other off-road races like the 2017 Erzberg Rodeo where he finished in 3rd place. “I run the PHDS bar mount system (these have +/- 5mm of adjustability) with the Renthal 996 handlebars (93mm tall) on Neken triple clamps with no added bar risers although sometimes I hit my knees on the bars. We place the bar mount in the forward hole (these have two 10mm holes for adjustment) with the bar mounts rotated back. If I have the stock clamps on my practice bike, I run the mounts in the forward position. I also like the bars just a hair rolled back from the neutral position.” Cody’s race results speak for themselves and his “average Joe” set up works great even for a guy 6’3” tall (he only raised his bars 15mm from the stock height). I hope this helps everyone understand regardless of your stature, you shouldn’t increase your bar height or move the bars forward too drastically. Small increments of 5mm is ideal. In many cases such as mine lowering the bars will be far more beneficial in reinforcing proper riding posture, getting your head over the bars and maintaining optimal control of your dirt bike. Happy riding. Adrian Ciomo President Ride-engineering.com Vet Int. 5’6” - 150lb - 53 yrs old Years riding from 14 yrs old to present Current ride: 2018 RMZ450 About Ride Engineering Ride Engineering Inc designs and manufactures the highest quality billet aluminum accessories to improve the performance of motocross and off-road motorcycles specializing in handling and braking components. The company combines hands on testing with feedback from past and present professional race teams to bring products to the average customer that are typically not available for sale. Located in Southern California, all Ride Engineering products are made in the USA. For more information on the company visit: http://www.ride-engineering.com/about.php
  3. Ride Engineering

    Dislikes and likes about the YZ250FX

    Ah, no. Your bike will typically handle better with a stiffer rebound setting because the suspension is held down through the turn. A faster (more open rebound setting will put a lot of movement in the front and it won't settle into corners as good.
  4. If you guys get a chance to watch any of the Canadian MX2 nationals, keep a close eye on #12 Shawn Maffenbeier. He won the championship this year on his 2017 YZ250f with our 20mm offset clamps. The reason i say watch him is becuase some of the passes he makes are incredible diving under riders. It was so impressed how good he could corner with this set up! https://ride-engineering.com/products.php?d=1&p=bm&pn=YZ-TB04T-MB&t=yz yes the 2009 had 25s, at the very least you should switch to the stock 2015 22s...
  5. I'm a bit too late to this party, but here are my 2 cents on this topic. KTM went to a very progressive linkage for 2016-18 so they could use very light spring rates to save weight. Most people had to run a lot of sag with the stock linkage to balance the bike (108-110). Pro circuit's solution was to sell the complete linkage that would send people back to the conventional heavy rate springs found on Japanese bikes adding back some weight. So its a $450 mod with spring although I'm told it works good. Ride Eng. developed a longer outer arm to be used with the stock center knuckle for $220. The longer arm gets the bike balanced at a more conventional 101-102mm of sag. its also helps the shock push through that very progressive curve in the last 3rd of travel (getting rubber marks under the fender), while firming up the initial feel for a better response to the riders input as the bike is leaned into corners. Whatever spring is correct for your weight with the stock link, will work with ours. If you want to also get the shock revalved, we used a kyb piston that flows more oil. Our link also lowers the rear 7mm as a by product.
  6. Ride Engineering

    Front brake rotor question

    As a manufacturer that actually makes our own hangers, i've seen a lot of these type of issues with hangers offered by companies like galfer and braking that don't make them in house. That said, you have an aftermarket hub, you may want to see if the hub as the brake tabs in the same position as stock before we blame them.
  7. Ride Engineering

    Are you happy how your YZ450 handles?

    I forgot, you mentioned fork pinch. I've come across a lot of stock triple clamps that had to be pryed open with a screw driver to get the forks in and out which is a pain in the ass (Plus there could be some binding of the internals). One thing you should expect from a set of billet clamps is perfectly round fork bores. We machine ours so the forks just stick in the clamps without the bolts installed. Too loose and sometimes the forks creep up from big hits. Too tight and the stock condition is recreated. Our recommended torque specs are17/18 ftlbs upper and 14/15ftlbs lower.
  8. Ride Engineering

    Are you happy how your YZ450 handles?

    Our goal is always to build in the same amount of flex as the stock triple clamps. Many aftermarket billet clamps are much more rigid. On the yamaha you can go to a 20mm clamp no problem. Chris Blose (pro arenacross rider) had a 2017 yz450f that he trained on before arenacross started and got a set of 20s for it right off the bat. He said they worked great for him. We typically recommend the 22s to be a little more conservative, but depending on the type of riding that you do, you could see further improvement with a set of 20s. https://ride-engineering.com/products.php?d=1&p=bm&pn=YZ-TB04T-MB&t=yz
  9. Ride Engineering

    Are you happy how your YZ450 handles?

    Should I replace the triple clamps on my bike? No matter what year or brand of bike you ride, it’s possible to customize the handling with different offset triple clamps for your riding ability and intended use. Basically the triple clamp offset is the distance from the line drawn across the centerline of your fork bores to the center of the stem hole. By increasing or decreasing this number we can put more or less weight on the front wheel which will affect corner entry and exit. LESS OFFSET: Typically shortening the offset will give more confidence the tire is planted and the bike will drop into corners easier-turn in is improved (initiating the turn). Although trail is increased which on paper means more stability, you can’t lose site that this is a dirt bike. In addition to going straight and turning left or right, you have a third dimension-bumps. Because hitting obstacles like whoops, jumps, bumps and especially square edged holes are what we encounter on the track, trail, or desert, what’s on “paper” doesn’t apply the same way. Because less offset puts more weight on the front wheel, the forks become softer. They are also more tucked under the motorcycle. To compensate, compression should be turned in about 1 click for every 1.5 millimeter the offset changed. What are the best conditions for less offset? Tighter hard pack tracks with loamy dirt. For example places like Milestone and Perris in Southern California. Who will benefit most from less offset? Shorter riders that have less leverage on the bike as well as less experienced (or slower) riders that don’t have perfect riding technique. MORE OFFSET: A larger than stock offset will move the front wheel out and take some weight off the front wheel. This allows the front wheel to track better when traction is less than ideal (picture the tire following the arc of the turn instead of sliding across in loose, slippery conditions). It takes a little more effort to initiate the turn, but exiting is improved. This will also make the forks feel plusher as the wheel is moved out to better absorb hits in rough conditions. What are the best conditions for more offset? High speed sandy, muddy or slippery tracks. Places like Glen Helen, Sunrise or LACR. Who will benefit most from more offset? Taller riders and expert riders. Models that benefit the most from an offset change: Just about every kx250f & 450f made; crf250s 04-17 & 450s 02-16; KTM all 03-14; rmz450 05-17; yz/yzf 125/250/250f/450f 06-17 Is one offset ideal for all riding conditions? Not typically. Ride Eng. recommends getting the offset that fits the majority of your riding conditions and then adjusting the fork height and sag to compensate when it’s less than ideal. For example for a rider on a 2017 YZ450f we recommend switching to a 22mm offset from the stock 25s. At places like Milestone and Perris where the dirt is hard, the front will stay planted to rail the corners in the harder dirt and tighter (lower speeds) track conditions. It won’t get as rough to disrupt the chassis too much down the straights allowing for a set up with more weight on the front wheel. Then for softer, sandier more high speed tracks like GH and Sunrise he can “tweak” the set up by sliding the forks down in the triple clamps 2.5-3mm and by taking a half turn out of the shock spring (lowering the sag 2mm). These changes allow him to charge harder through the sand whoops and rough sections of the track without sacrificing handling in the corners. Jeff and I are in the office from 8:30-5pm Monday through Friday and we are more than happy to discuss if there is a better triple clamp offset to fit your riding ability and intended use (800-805-1516). What else is important when purchasing an aftermarket triple clamp? Flex characteristics (type of material), bar position, and weight. If the triple clamp is made out of a rigid alloy like 7075AL or an inexpensive material like 6061, it’s not going to have good flex characteristics. It doesn’t make sense to have a suspension shop set up your bike and then put a stiff triple clamp on that will make your forks feel harsh. 7075 is a strong but brittle aluminum. It doesn’t flex, if stressed hard enough it just cracks. 6061 has flex but isn’t very strong. If the wall thicknesses are left thin for good flex characteristics, one crash and they will twist (once twisted they are junk). Companies using this alloy need to use thick wall thicknesses to ensure durability, thus flex and weight are sacrificed. The ideal material is 2024AL and it’s what Ride Engineering and all the factory teams use. We keep the walls relatively thin while maintaining durability and sometimes adding tapers to ensure our clamps work with your suspension not against it. Bar position always starts out stock, then we evaluate and test to try and improve it. Sometimes we do, like with our 2017/18 CRF triple clamps (3mm forward and 5mm lower) and sometimes stock is best. All Ride clamps save between 4 and 8oz of weight over stock-the last thing you want to do is add more weight onto an already heavy 4-stroke.
  10. Ride Engineering

    Are you happy how your YZ450 handles?

    I'm writing a newsletter for a race club that answers all your questions. I will try to get that done and posted on here by the end of the week.
  11. Ride Engineering

    Are you happy how your YZ450 handles?

    I'm waiting on more feedback from Transworld MX. I gave back the bike with the 20s and the damper on it. I will check with them. As far as the link goes, I'm not sure if its going to be nearly as sought after as on previous models. I was able to ride some laps with it and I didn't love it with the stock suspension. We need to do more testing. The bike isn't set up for a 150lb rider. With the right spring rates and valving, it could be good.
  12. Ride Engineering

    Are you happy how your YZ450 handles?

    It has nothing to do with the axle location. All these bikes are designed with a certain foot peg - seat - bar position triagle (related to the steering stem location). when you move the bars too far forward, you can't get yourself over the front of the bike to hold on or corner in the optimal position. Take a riding school from any pro motocross rider and you will be told the same thing. I'm not saying you can't have your bars way forward for a 2 hour trail ride if that feels comforteable. But if you're pushing the bike hard like a gncc racer or motocross racer that is racing or putting down practise laps, then you should avoid a set up like that.
  13. Ride Engineering

    Are you happy how your YZ450 handles?

    I'm working on a piece for thumpertalk to discuss how to set up your handlebars for maximum control. It will be posted in a newsletter shortly. Briefly what I was talking about above is the measurement from the stem hole to the centerline of your handlebars (where they are clamped). The sweet spot no matter what bike you ride or how tall you are is between 5-15mm. some brand less, some brands more. Hang tight for the newsletter, in it i will also back this up with advice from a few pro test riders.
  14. Ride Engineering

    Are you happy how your YZ450 handles?

    Sounds good. maybe this will help: TTmember-20 (use at ride-engineering.com)
  15. Ride Engineering

    Dislikes and likes about the YZ250FX

    If you're struggling with the handling of your FX in tight terrain, there are some options that Ride Eng. offers to get her on point. Specifically 20mm offset triple clamps and a longer pull rod. We can discuss specifics on how your have your bike set up and what we can do to help. 800 805 1516. https://www.ride-engineering.com/products.php?d=1&p=bm&pn=YZ-TB04T-MB&t=yz https://www.ride-engineering.com/products.php?d=1&p=l&pn=YZ-LKA44-BA&t=