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  1. #1
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    So you want to get a MOTO to train for DH racing on. Trail bike or Track Bike?

    To train for downhill would you get a trail bike, a track bike, or something that could do both?


    I think I have the answer, but what's yours?
    Ride it like you won't get another chance.

  2. #2
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    Trail bike if you have a legit place to ride it.

  3. #3
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    KTM EXC450/530 street legal Enduro. Enduro is WAY more similar to DH than MX is. Also, if your suspension is valved for MX it won't do so well on the trail, and if it's valved for the trail, it wont do so well on the MX track.

  4. #4
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    Yep. I'm with OUTsane (sort of). Get a true off-road, hare scrambles, GNCC,desert racer. Going fast on a DH course (not a groomed park/jump run) on a bike feels most like going over natural, off-road terrain on a motorcycle to me.

    You can start with a MX bike but you'll need some suspension mods, or you can go with a bike designed for that kind of stuff like a KTM 450/505XC-F, Honda CRF450X, WR450, KTM 300XC, etc.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob
    Yep. I'm with OUTsane (sort of). Get a true off-road, hare scrambles, GNCC,desert racer. Going fast on a DH course (not a groomed park/jump run) on a bike feels most like going over natural, off-road terrain on a motorcycle to me.

    You can start with a MX bike but you'll need some suspension mods, or you can go with a bike designed for that kind of stuff like a KTM 450/505XC-F, Honda CRF450X, WR450, KTM 300XC, etc.
    The reason I suggested the EXCs over the XC-Fs is that since they come with a plate you have more options as to where you can ride. If you're going to be on closed courses only, then go with the XC-Fs. With a plate however, you can enter some DS(dualsport) rides(some have some pretty decent hero sections) and Enduros, where you might have to link trails with short stints of pavement. I also just like having the option to ride to and from the trails if I feel like it, not to mention that I'm pretty big on Supermoto.

  6. #6
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    Get a KTM 250XC*. KTM's XC line has power delivery, gear ratios, and suspension that fall between motocross and trail bikes. They're made for trail races but work well pretty much anywhere. The suspension can be made soft enough for rocky trails or firm enough for big jumps with the clickers.

    As a downhiller you'll really like an auto-clutch and MTB style brakes. The auto-clutch is a centrifugal clutch that can be added to any bike and eliminates the need for a clutch lever so you can run the front brake to the left lever and the rear to the right (bikes other than KTM will need a new left lever).

    With your right index finger doing the rear braking you won't need help from the engine so you'll much prefer the minimal engine braking, almost freewheeling feel, of a 2 stroke. When you're used to the pedal/coast feel of a DH bike, a 4 stroke feels like it's always accelerating or braking unless you carefully balance the throttle. 2 strokes also weight 25-40 pounds less.

    *If you're light you can get away with the 200XC or 200XC-W for an even lighter, narrower, more MTB feel. If you're heavy or ride steep climbs at high altitude get the 300XC for electric motor feeling torque right off idle and insane top end horsepower.
    Keep the Country country.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingIrish
    To train for downhill would you get a trail bike, a track bike, or something that could do both?


    I think I have the answer, but what's yours?

    Personaly to train for downhill.......id get a downhill bike
    Ive heard the arguements for cross training and agree that cross training will never do any harm and ultimately it can keep your interest up if your getting a little bored with your usual regime, but at the end of the day, its never gonna be as valid as using the same type of machine you are going to race on

    saying that, get an enduro/trail bike, motocross bikes are tuned for punchy point and squirt stuff, not very valid for the sort of momentum preserving technique you need for when your legs or gravity are powering the bike

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by LonesomeCowboyBert
    Personaly to train for downhill.......id get a downhill bike
    Ive heard the arguements for cross training and agree that cross training will never do any harm and ultimately it can keep your interest up if your getting a little bored with your usual regime, but at the end of the day, its never gonna be as valid as using the same type of machine you are going to race on

    saying that, get an enduro/trail bike, motocross bikes are tuned for punchy point and squirt stuff, not very valid for the sort of momentum preserving technique you need for when your legs or gravity are powering the bike
    I understand what you're saying, become so comfortable that you can do it blindfolded and everything becomes preemptive, you correct before you need to, you know your equipment and yourself inside out. However, after throwing around a 250lbs bike for a while a 40lbs MTB will feel light as air. It's like training with ankle weights and a weight jacket.

    The way I look at it, every minute spent on the MTB makes me a better Moto rider(especially with lift parks so easily accessible), and every minute on the Moto makes me better on the MTB.

  9. #9
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    Don't get a Mx bike and go to the track.You'll wonder why you pedal anything when you can scare the sh1t outta yourself at any point you want.It's way to fun,you'll come back to the dh bike and everything will be small and slow.---if you do come back. The cowboy should stick to his horse.
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  10. #10
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    I have this:



    It's a big dual sport, Husky TE630. Probably not what you're looking for if you want to ride a lot of technical trails or jump it.

    The smaller Husky TE line would be a good choice, if you want something street legal. Check out thumpertalk.com, advrider.com, cafehusky.com for more info.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scary
    Don't get a Mx bike and go to the track.You'll wonder why you pedal anything when you can scare the sh1t outta yourself at any point you want.It's way to fun,you'll come back to the dh bike and everything will be small and slow.---if you do come back. The cowboy should stick to his horse.
    I have to respectfully disagree, I never get as much excitement out of practicing MX as I do downhilling. I am much more agressive with the DH bike and I enjoy it more. But all mx tracks are practically groomed compared to a downhill trail, I have yet to see interlaced roots or rock gardens on mx tracks. Its usually just loose rocks ruts and jumps. I believe that there are much more types of obstacles that come into play with a DH trail, MX and DH are 2 different animals but both are fun. If you want to cross train with a motorcycle get a trail/enduro since you will deal with similar obstacles wet roots immovable rocks trees etc.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lelandjt
    Get a KTM 250XC*. KTM's XC line has power delivery, gear ratios, and suspension that fall between motocross and trail bikes. They're made for trail races but work well pretty much anywhere. The suspension can be made soft enough for rocky trails or firm enough for big jumps with the clickers.

    As a downhiller you'll really like an auto-clutch and MTB style brakes. The auto-clutch is a centrifugal clutch that can be added to any bike and eliminates the need for a clutch lever so you can run the front brake to the left lever and the rear to the right (bikes other than KTM will need a new left lever).

    With your right index finger doing the rear braking you won't need help from the engine so you'll much prefer the minimal engine braking, almost freewheeling feel, of a 2 stroke. When you're used to the pedal/coast feel of a DH bike, a 4 stroke feels like it's always accelerating or braking unless you carefully balance the throttle. 2 strokes also weight 25-40 pounds less.

    *If you're light you can get away with the 200XC or 200XC-W for an even lighter, narrower, more MTB feel. If you're heavy or ride steep climbs at high altitude get the 300XC for electric motor feeling torque right off idle and insane top end horsepower.
    Totally agree with you Leland. All good points that I wished I had made myself. Had never thought of using the auto-clutch so you could mount the rear brake on the handle bar. Makes sense for mtb DH cross-training.

    I did think of the lighter 200/250 two strokes being a little more mtb-like after I posted but didn't edit. Good observation. Taking that thought a little further, a 125 2-stroke may even be a better choice for cross training because it helps you learn to conserve corner speed and momentum because of the weaker motor.

    Also agree with ruralrider. The roots, rocks, logs, boulders, trees of enduro, desert, and crosscountry type races much more closely resemble what's going on on your typical DH course.

    And I get what you're saying OUTsane about having a street-legal true off-road capable moto like the exc450/530. It really opens up the possibilities for connecting trails etc...
    Last edited by KRob; 11-09-2010 at 10:30 AM.

  13. #13
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    I dunno guys. I have a KTM 450exc and do harescrambles with it and tons of trail riding as well.
    But also in the bike shed I have a YZ426 that is my workhorse/loaner bike and I tell you what, riding that MX bike offroad is more beneficial, TO ME, than ripping the trails on the big orange bike.
    I feel that the Yamaha is more like the DH bike in how fast it reacts to your thoughts. I want to go left, you go left, NOW. The KTM trail bike is a little slower, easier to ride fast.

    There is something exciting about grabbing throttle and having the bike launch. I have done the carb work on the KTM and have proper gearing, but it's just not an arm stretcher like the YZ is.

    For me the reason to ride the moto bikes is to bring my reaction times up and things happen slower on the KTM even though I'm going faster, if that makes any sense.

    So I feel for my purposes at least, the Yamaha is a better 'training for DH' tool because it's a bit faster/twitchy trail bike.

    If I'm doing a 2-3hr trail ride, the Yamaha often times gets the nod because it's just more of a handful/fun bike to hold onto. If I'm racing or doing longer trail rides the KTM is called into duty because I can more easily go fast on it for longer periods of time. Sometimes a trail ride isn't about being the fastest in teh group, but who has the most fun wins. ;-)


    Anyway, that's my two pennies worth of experience.

    The other reason to get a MX bike is that they're cheaper....but get yourself a green sticker bike so you can ride year round.
    www.velocitybicycles.comWhere customers become friends, not simply a dollar sign.

  14. #14
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    i got a ktm 690smc supermotard but its not for training, its just for fun. if you motocross than you know that the skills you learn from track and trail riding can apply to downhill, but are 2 totally different things. downhillers all gravitate towards moto cause its just the next step and the find for another rush. i like downhilling better but its always great to get away with your buds and get stupid on your moto. so unless you have years of riding under your belt i dont think moto will be a big help as youll be learning the ropes of riding a dirt bike first before it plays a role on your downhilling. either way, youll have a sh@t load of fun.
    Last edited by eride1; 11-09-2010 at 11:02 AM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Internal14
    IBut also in the bike shed I have a YZ426 that is my workhorse/loaner bike and I tell you what, riding that MX bike offroad is more beneficial, TO ME, than ripping the trails on the big orange bike.
    I feel that the Yamaha is more like the DH bike in how fast it reacts to your thoughts. I want to go left, you go left, NOW. The KTM trail bike is a little slower, easier to ride fast.
    That's cuz you have a 4 stroke EXC. Softly tuned and heavy. A 2 stroke XC will have the excitement and handling (actually even better) of your MX bike but should get better traction and be capable of getting the suspension softer for really rocky trails.

    As for the 125 suggestion, as a mountain biker I want to just ride and not have to focus on the engine a lot. Small displacements don't have enough torque to mindlessly accelerate out of turns or run up a steep hill. My advice is to go as small and light as you can before you have to slip the clutch a lot or shift constantly. If you're light and live in a flat area a 150XC could work.

    Here's my bike:
    Keep the Country country.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lelandjt
    That's cuz you have a 4 stroke EXC. Softly tuned and heavy. A 2 stroke XC will have the excitement and handling (actually even better) of your MX bike but should get better traction and be capable of getting the suspension softer for really rocky trails.

    As for the 125 suggestion, as a mountain biker I want to just ride and not have to focus on the engine a lot. Small displacements don't have enough torque to mindlessly accelerate out of turns or run up a steep hill. My advice is to go as small and light as you can before you have to slip the clutch a lot or shift constantly. If you're light and live in a flat area a 150XC could work.

    Here's my bike:

    nice.


    here's mine collecting dust
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails So you want to get a MOTO to train for DH racing on. Trail bike or Track Bike?-ktm-side.jpg  

    So you want to get a MOTO to train for DH racing on. Trail bike or Track Bike?-ktm-side2.jpg  

    So you want to get a MOTO to train for DH racing on. Trail bike or Track Bike?-ktm-front.jpg  


  17. #17
    Takw/agranofsalt
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lelandjt

    Here's my bike:
    How do you like the snorkel?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by eride1
    here's mine collecting dust
    Mine collects dust as well. I just bought it this year (my first offroad bike, coming from several years of sportbike riding) and suddenly lost the urge to ride it. I'd rather ride my MTBs.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorKal
    How do you like the snorkel?
    Love it. I thought I'd take it off at the MX track but I notice no difference in power and it weighs less than 2lbs so I leave it on. It really takes the edge off the exhaust noise and my friends say that my bike is almost silent from more than 100ft away. The next step is a spiral wrap of heat resistant silicone rubber around the expansion chamber to quiet the pinging sound a 2stroke makes.
    Keep the Country country.

  20. #20
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    One thing to remember is that the KTM EXC's have heavier flywheel weights. This means that their engines don't rev so fast, which is why the YZ feels like its faster even though I'm sure the KTM probably has more power.

  21. #21
    Takw/agranofsalt
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lelandjt
    The next step is a spiral wrap of heat resistant silicone rubber around the expansion chamber to quiet the pinging sound a 2stroke makes.
    No way, I love that sound!

  22. #22
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    I would get an XC bike...motorcycles just lead to bad injuries...you just want to go to fast

  23. #23
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    I will disagree,moto got me from kinda front expert,to mid slo pro with 3 years off.Never rode a motorcycle till i was 35.Moto,i mean "MX" will up your mental game 200% .You can always dumb down a real mx bike,easily.A trail bike is alot harder to upgrade to take harder stuff.

    Also,Rekluse makes the "core exp" anti stall clutch.Its amazing>,You can start in 4th gear,and never touch the clutch at all.

    My bike is covered in dirt,too.
    codafurnituredesign.com

  24. #24
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    One thing riding trail on moto has helped me with is looking further ahead, you hit stuff so much faster and often on a dirtbike that it teaches you quick. When you jump back on the dh bike, things slow down a lot and lines become more clear. Another thing is smashing through rocks, riding really tech rocks on a heavy dirtbike increases your smashability on a dh bike 10x.
    Living in southern CA it is much easier to ride trails on a dirt bike than a dh bike, especially if its plated. Doesnt make much sense, but its probably the main reason i bought a plated 525exc. Also lifting a 270lb bike off you 5-10 times a ride makes your dh whips pretty sick. I ride my dualsport probably 3-4 times as much as i ride my dh bike, and spend about the same amount of money doing it. What draws me to the ktm is i cover a ton more ground, no lines to wait in, no snobby **** heads, and it's basicly an endless downhill. don't get me wrong though, the dh bike will always have it's place for when i need to give my friends that show me up on dirtbikes a run for their money on the dh bikes...

    and a pic of when it was pretty


  25. #25
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    At first I bought an mx bike and converted it for trail use. Now I have one mx bike set up for trails and one set up for mx. Trail riding made me better in technical sections, mx made me better at cornering and jumping, both made me faster.

    Of all the bikes I have ridden, a 2-stroke mx bike or KTM 2-stroke trail bike feels the most like a mountain bike because of the lighter weight, lower center of gravity, and lack of engine braking. And I have yet to ride a 4-stroke trail bike that I like - they all feel too heavy and slow.

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