I’ve raced off and on over the years from a teen on two strokes, best year on the 85 CR500, a beast. I got back into it as a Vet on the 450 four-strokes and loved it but whether it was back in the day or on a modern four-stroke, I would always struggle with arm pump/clutch hand pump. By the end of the motos, I could barely pull the clutch lever.
My question is, do pros use the clutch on every shift of the bike or shift without the clutch?
I always used the clutch from the start-straight and on every shift. I heard the pros don’t always use the clutch to shift, is this true?
Quick follow-up question: Do you also spread your knees out briefly when you shift and completely let off the throttle and then twist it again until your elbow hits your thigh once you’ve found your new gear? This information isn’t necessary to answer your question, but I like to get a nice visual of your riding style before I respond. If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you’re pegging the spode-meter, my friend. No, you don’t need to use the clutch for every shift, and you certainly don’t need to let off the throttle. At times it may be necessary to slightly feather the clutch in order to release some of the pressure off the tranny so it will shift, but that is typically only under a heavy load. On a 450 in particular, you shouldn’t have to touch the clutch after you’ve left the starting gate, with the exception of very tight turns where stalling is a concern. Engines are making enough power and torque now that the clutch isn’t needed. In fact, by leaving it alone and focusing on using smooth throttle control you will find yourself relaxing more, riding smoother, and pumping up less. It goes without saying this technique isn’t a cure-all. If you want to get rid of forearm pump for good the only scientifically proven method is lopping your arms off at the elbows with a machete. There is a 100 percent success rate with that surgical procedure. I suggest trying to leave the clutch alone first and if you still can’t hang on then sharpen up your blade. Cheers.
I really like watching the Garage in Stock builds and test sessions. You guys really come up with some awesome bikes. Are these affordable? Bang worth the buck for an old vet rider?
Affordable for whom? If Donald Trump decided to take up motocross he could buy a “yuuge” number of these bikes without feeling the economical pinch. For a middle-class, working Joe it might be more of a stretch. It isn’t that he couldn’t afford it, but he might have to give up a few other luxuries like eating and heating his home during the winter. The projects we build typically don’t spare any expense because there is no expense; the companies involved donate the parts. But we also build the occasional “race bike on a budget,” which are more practical. Those typically include suspension, a few key hard parts, and upgrades that make major improvements to comfort and performance. Some of the stuff we do is just for the cool factor. I’ll sit in my garage and ogle the project bikes as they get closer to being finished and I think most riders can relate to that. I still love finishing and detailing bikes! I’m just glad I don’t have to pay for it because I would be riding a stock bike with no graphics and bent wheels. Thanks for reading/watching.
You really let me down this week man. I have been so excited to hear about the new Honda 450 and when they finally launch it I see a bike on Racer X with the familiar #101 on it. Expecting to get a comprehensive review from the Pingster, imagine my dismay when I have to listen to Shorty give his used car salesman impression for seven minutes and then watch some local pro, who sounds like he lives inside a log deep in the woods of Virginia or Ohio, tell me that the traction is good. I almost punched my computer in the mouth. My only other options are that annoying kid from Vital and that Keefer guy who has turned the Pulpmx Show into soft porn. I don’t know why you couldn’t make it to Alabama but get your ass on that new Honda and give us some feedback!
Sorry I let you down, Charles, but I had a prior engagement that I couldn’t reschedule. Besides, the Racer X crew in Morgantown is much closer and when they get a chance to attend one of these events close to home they typically don’t want to miss it. I’m sure you can understand that. Andrew Short does work for Honda now, but he is also an amazing test rider. I’m sure if you compare what he said to what other test riders have said about the bike they are very close. And, typically, when we do an introduction on a new bike it is just that … an introduction. It is meant to show you all the new features and explain the changes. In regards to this test, which is a three-day test, we decided to first explain the new changes to the Honda—which there are a lot of—then get more specific information from our test rider in the second video. (Which, by the way, we mentioned in the video.) We’ll have that up today! Also, we do our first impression after we’ve ridden it, but when we post our Dialed In video you’ll get some real feedback about bike characteristics and setup. Please keep these things in mind when you are contemplating punching your laptop screen in the mouth, wherever that is.
Have a question for Ping? Hit him up at firstname.lastname@example.org.