Thursday, 24 January 2013 14:17

How to make a successful fail at hill climbs

Riding hill climbs can be a lot of fun, but most of us actually tend to shy away from the big climbs because of the pain, shame and expensive repair bill on a bent and broken bike after a failed attempt. This is a big reason why people don’t improve their skills in this area. However, if you learn how to “successfully fail”, (i.e. stop on a big hill without letting go of your bike and have it cartwheel all the way to the bottom into a pile of scrap metal) then you’ll be more confident with climbs and inevitably make more successful attempts, simply due to trial and error.
Published in How To...
Wednesday, 19 December 2012 15:22

Fantic TZ300

Alright let's see a show of hands - who has heard of Fantic before? Anyone? Well those days are now behind you. For those of you that like to experience something a little off the beaten path you should pay attention, and for those that only want your big box bikes, pay attention anyway.

Published in Feature Stories
Wednesday, 19 December 2012 12:49

How To: Ride Up Rock Steps

Rock steps can be tricky business, especially if they are close together. I’m sure most of us have been stuck on one section of rock steps or another. Most of the time we end up pushing our guts out to get up that last step or end up having to give up mid-way and go all the way to the bottom to try again. Not only does this waste precious seconds (or minutes!), it also gives our riding confidence a knock, leaving us riding with our skirts on for the rest of the day. So, to avoid that pink frilly one (unless you’re into that kinda thing), follow these simple steps and apply the golden word – “commitment.”

Published in How To...
Monday, 19 November 2012 10:27

Beta Tested

There once was a day, not so long ago, when the smaller European bike brands were novelty bikes that people bought just to be different. The price you paid for the novelty was a lack of performance, but it is safe to say that those days are behind us. These smaller Euro brands have stepped up their game and while they may use different parts compared to the big brands,  it is no longer a disadvantage.

Published in Feature Stories
Here is a video of Jake Stapleton test riding the 2012 Beta 350RR at our private test track. The bike came courtesy Dave Butler at D&J Motorcycles.
Published in Multimedia
Wednesday, 04 April 2012 19:11

Jake's Take - PreSeason Plans

Planning for the upcoming season takes more than just getting your bike ready.

Taking the time to get everything in place prior to the season kick-off will keep you on track all year and may end up contributing to better results, less expense and more satisfaction.

Use this simple step-by-step approach and you’ll be on your way to a great year of racing!

Published in How To...
Friday, 09 March 2012 11:21

Mastering "the Splat"

Generally when we see a jagged ledge that doesn’t have a nice, smooth transition from the base to the ledge, it doesn’t even cross our minds that we could ride up it. But the impossible can be possible if you commit to doing it and follow these simple steps. Before you know it, you just may be able to climb up edges and ledges that you never thought possible.

Published in How To...
Wednesday, 07 December 2011 11:50

How To: Get Ready for the Upcoming Season

Jake Stapleton

Planning for the upcoming season takes more than just getting your bike ready. Taking the time to get everything in place prior to the season kick-off will keep you on track all year and may end up contributing to better results, less expense and more satisfaction. Use this simple step-by-step approach and you’ll be on your way to a great year of racing!

Published in How To...
Tuesday, 15 November 2011 09:54

Rocky Ride: Riding Rocky Steps

Story by Jake Stapleton

Photos by Jeff Morgan

Rock steps can be tricky business, especially if they are close together. I’m sure most of us have been stuck on one section of rock steps or another. Most of the time we end up pushing our guts out to get up that last step or end up having to give up mid-way and go all the way to the bottom to try again. Not only does this waste precious seconds (or minutes!), it also gives our riding confidence a knock, leaving us riding with our skirts on for the rest of the day. So, to avoid that pink frilly one (unless you’re into that kinda thing), follow these simple steps and apply the golden word – “commitment.”

It doesn’t matter whether you find yourself facing a whole bunch of small steps, or a couple larger ones, the plan remains the same: take as many steps as possible in one stride. Or, in riding terms, get your front wheel up as many steps as possible in one wheelie.

To break it down for you...

Step 1: Find the Line

Like any other obstacle, you need to find the right line for the job. The thing you want to remember when picking a line on steps is to pick the line that will set you up as straight as possible, allowing you to stay straight (perpendicular) over the steps. Try to avoid anything that might throw your line off at the base, such as loose rocks, tree roots, etc. Once you’ve eyed up your line, you can start the approach.

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Step 2: The Approach

Okay boys and girls, it’s time to commit. As you approach the stairs, you must have the confidence that you will make it up. You should have your line selected and be able to picture where you are going to put your wheels. Most importantly, you want to know exactly where your front wheel is going to land. Obviously, you will need decent momentum coming in. Momentum could be your saviour if things don’t go exactly as planned, which sometimes they don’t. Ride in a standing neutral position with knees and elbows slightly bent.

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Step 3: Skip the Ledges

As mentioned, ideally you want to jump up over the first or first couple of steps. This is not always possible so, in this case, you should at least wheelie up the first step. Either way, the main objective is to get your front wheel high. To do this, give the clutch and throttle a nice controlled flick. Your weight should be slightly to the back. You will need to use the clutch and rear brake to control the height of the wheelie. As the rear wheel makes contact with each step, the front end will want to slam down. This means that you will need to stay committed, keep your weight back, keep a small, smooth amount of gas on and stay focused on where you want your front wheel to land.

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Step 4: The Placement

Placing the front wheel exactly on the spot you’ve been eyeing up is key. Your target spot should be the tip of the last step. Obviously, if you land it short and plough into the next step, you could be in for a nice trip over the hangers. Having said that, you also don’t want to carry the front too far over the step. Doing so will result in you slamming your frame rails with the same end result: a nice trip over the hangers.

Step 5: The Grand Finale

This part is simple; really, you’re basically using the same technique as you would to get up any ledge; i.e., you’re pretty much at the second blip of a double blip.

All you need to do is give a second controlled flick of the clutch and throttle and stay on the pegs. If your momentum is lacking coming into the last step, you can help the bike up with the use of your body weight. As the rear contacts the edge, dig your heels into the frame and allow your body weight to be transferred forward. This will kind of pull the bike up that last little bit.

Once you’re on the top, turn around and enjoy the entertainment of your buddies trying to make it up.

Keep Riding

Jake

Published in How To...
Thursday, 03 November 2011 16:50

Getting Over Logs with Jake

If you don’t know the techniques needed to get over a log, the task can seem pretty daunting. All you can think of is that time your buddy told you to just wheelie over it and you ended up on your head.

Most of us have all been there at some point – I know I have! But, if you follow these steps you may end up getting over those logs cleanly and avoid a concussion or two.

This technique is often referred to as the “The Double Blip”

Step 1– The Set Up

 Jake_Riding_tips_2010_78

Like any obstacle, your first step is to pick a nice set-up line. Try to avoid tree roots or rocks that are at the lead up to the log as these could really through you off-line. Obviously, to make things easier you should look for the lowest part of the log. Also try to get your line as straight on to the log (i.e., as perpendicular to the log) as possible. As you approach the log you need to be standing on the pegs in a neutral body position with your elbows and knees slightly bent. Make sure that you have one or two fingers over the clutch and that your right foot is covering the rear brake.

Step 2 – The Wheelie

Once you are about two or three feet away from the log you need to pull a little wheelie. You want the front wheel to come up to about three-quarters of the height of the log. To achieve this, wheelie when the traction on the lead-up is good; you should be able to simply give a quick but controlled release of the clutch as you simultaneously give a slight blip of the throttle (first blip) and move your weight back slightly. If the lead-up is wet and slippery, however, you will need to help the front end spring up using a little more of your body weight. This time, you will want to use more of subtle throttle/ clutch flick. To help the front end spring up, load the front end at about six to eight feet away from the log. This is done by keeping your arms in a slightly bent but solid form and throwing your weight down and forward as you bend at the knees.

To get the spring effect, you now need to unload the front. At the four or five foot mark, abruptly straighten your knees, keep your arms solid, and throw your weight up and to the back of the bike. This quick transition in your body weight will get the maximum

spring out of your forks and help you get the front wheel up without using as much throttle/ clutch, meaning there is less chance of wheel spin.

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Step 3 – The Impact

As the front wheel impacts the log, your forks are going to compress again. As they start to rebound, the weight of the bike and your body is going to be forced into the rear shock. Remember that a bike’s suspension is like a rocking horse; as the front comes up (or rebounds), the rear goes down. When the shock has the total load of the bike and your body weight, you have maximum traction from the rear wheel. So, this is where you need to give the second blip (throttle/clutch). This time, however, depending on the size of the log, it may have to be a much more aggressive blip.

Step 4 – Over the Log

The sudden burst of power delivered by the second blip will slam the rear wheel into the log. As it hits the log, the shock will compress even more and you will have even more traction. The tire should begin to grip on to the log. Next, the shock will rebound really quickly, so make sure you get your weight back. As the shock rebounds, it is throwing the bike up and over the log but keep in mind that you may also be losing traction. This is where you need to roll off the throttle and maybe even engage the clutch. If the log has good traction, keep just enough throttle to prevent the front wheel from dropping. If the log is too slippery, shut the throttle down and slightly pull in the clutch. Bend at the knees and allow the rear of the bike to come up underneath you. The front wheel will now drop over the other side of the log so make sure to keep your weight well back. As the front wheel touches down, try to keep your balance. Let the clutch out smoothly and try to avoid too much wheel spin on the log.

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Step 5 – Roost On!

When the rear wheel touches down, it’s time to get back on the gas.

Keep Riding.

Jake

Published in How To...
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