In this section we will run through the control areas of the bike. Here we will discuss handle bars, steering, suspension, and parts leading up to the safety for the rider and longevity of the machine.
#1- The first part of this section we will discuss the steering area. In picture #1 we purchased a Scott steering stabilizer for our Husky, there are other companies that build these as well. We also have these on our pre run bikes. So lets talk about why you want and can use a steering stabilizer on your machine. The biggest mistake riders make when purchasing a stabilizer is to help the bike slow down its steering, of course this is what its designed for. Plus they look cool. But lets get closer to what these are actually designed ‘to do’. If the rider is purchasing this part without the suspension being correct, he or she is just band aiding the real problem. Lets look at this another way. If your bike is ill handling, the rider isn’t controlling the bike, the bike is controlling him or her. Most riders/racers buy these to somehow, fix a bad handling machine. They install the stabilizer and WOW the bike feels so much different, sure it does they just slowed everything down but didn’t fix the real problem. Your suspension is where the rider/racer should start. If the suspension is tuned and adjusted correctly for that rider/racer, a steering stabilizer then will work for what’s its actually designed for. We suggest you take the forks and rear suspension to one of dozens of suspension guys and have these built or at least tuned to your riding ability. You can upgrade and install suspension kits like what ‘Racetech’ provides, and a number of other companies as well. These usually speed up and or slow down the rate of fluid traveling through the various valves of your suspension. At this point you can check your head bearings for looseness or a ratchet type feel when you move the triple clamps from side to side. Replace or service these at this point. After the suspension has been built or tuned, you then have the tedious task of dialing in the suspension for your skill and the type of terrine you will be riding/racing. We have our suspension tech go with us to the track and help us set up the bike. We can have up five different racers on the bike during an event. This tuning becomes pretty difficult at this point because of the different skill levels each rider possesses. Anyway if your adjusting these yourself, take your time with this and it will make a huge difference. Most local suspension companies will offer this service as well; just ask them to help you out. Now that the machine is handling correctly, install your stabilizer and it will allow you to adjust your rate of steering speed “only”, which is what they are designed to do. With all this working correctly, you will notice right away the advantages this product will give to the rider/racer and in the correct way for which they are intended.
#2- The next handlebar area is the hand controls. Picture #2A. If you have a hydraulic clutch, make sure its serviced and always working properly. We ran a race in Baja without a clutch for nearly 400 miles because the seal gave way in the slave unit. It sent the fluid in the clutch past the seal into the engine every time we applied pressure. You also MUST use the appropriate fluid the manufacture suggests. Also we have break away levers for the front brake and clutch, picture #2B. These levers are considerably stronger then stock levers and will fold forward if the bike goes down. Broken levers are not a good thing in a race. If your clutch is a cable, you should have play at the adjuster on the perch allowing the handle to have approx. ¼ + inch free play.
#3- We decided to purchase a billet speed throttle tube on our bike, most use these in a racing application. Picture #3. There is a number of companies that make these. Some have a bearing that slides into the handle bar, some do not. We have the bearing type on our desert bike. So to understand this part in more detail, have you ever laid the bike down, tore the grip open and packed the throttle tube full of dirt, or even broken the tube because it was plastic? Yea us too. These billet throttle tubes are virtually indestructible. They are sealed and won’t break. Some companies also give the option of a “speed tube” or a regular tube. The speed tube has less travel for a full throttle lock, less movement by the rider for a full throttle response. This helps when your standing up on the pegs. The rider isn’t contorted trying to give the bike full throttle. Plus helps in tight areas with a more distinctive response.
#4- Grips. Picture #4. We use a Scott grip on our bike. Every rider/racer has their own preference for grips but should always be clean and free of tears or worn areas. We also always safety wire our grips, even if we use grip glue. This procedure will always keep the grip tight against the handle bar. Also you can get what is called a grip doughnut. This will help cut down the thumb blisters.
#5- Cables, when you service your machine with an oil change it’s always a good time to check your cables. Make sure they are not bound or cracked and they are moving and operating correctly. At this point it’s a good time to squirt some cable lubricant in them. This keeps the corrosion down inside the cables and will help keep down the dirt and grime that will accumulate in the cables over time.