Fuel For Thought
by Rod Morris
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Welcome To Fuel For Thought
Written by: Rod Morris
Glossary of terms and abbreviations:
MSM - Multisurface Motorcycles/Motorcyclist
MMP - Multisurface Motorcycle Products
TGMP - Top Gun Motorcycle Products
MSM Weight Classifications:
Lightweight (LW) - up to 250lbs
Middleweight (MW) - 251lbs - 300lbs
Light-Heavyweight (LHW) - 301lbs - 350lbs
Heavyweight (HW) - 351lbs - 400lbs
Posers on Pegs
During the 1970’s my dirt riding mentor Alan Dietor and I participated and trophied
multiple times in what was then considered the longest and toughest off road motorcycle
Enduro in the world. Named after the Northern Baja border city, the Tecate 500 was 500
miles and two days long with an overnight at San Felipe, Baja. Usually fewer than 20% of
the entrants earned even a coveted finishers pin. The high point for me was when Alan
lead Jeff Ziems, David Kramer and me to one of only two four man team finishes (Al and I
also earned individual trophies).
In the mid 1970’s even after the great Charles Curnutt gave us long travel rear shocks
and C&J provided off-road, chrome-moly racing frames to accommodate them, we still did
not have good front forks and long travel equivalent to today’s dirt bikes. What that
meant was if one wanted to finish and do well in a Tecate 500, he would be on the foot-
pegs most of the time. The rule has always been “stand on the pegs mostly when the
surface is too rough to be absorbed by what I call the “suspension triad” (low tire
pressure, seat, and shock absorbers)”. Since riding the foot-pegs requires more energy
and skill than sitting on the seat, it is to be avoided whenever possible.
Modern dirt bikes are vastly improved over those of the 1970’s allowing much more sitting
time thereby conserving rider energy. One of San Diego County’s better recreational dirt
bike riders, Bob Schaeffer, comes to mind. A master of suspension and chassis set-up,
Bob almost never stands on the foot-pegs of his eleven inch travel dirt bike even at
higher speeds on fairly rough two track roads. Not only does this type of motorcycle dirt
pilot conserve his body and engine’s energy, but with less frontal area and resultant wind
drag, fuel use declines, improving range.
So with this background how do we explain today’s so-called Adventure Rider. Why would
anyone put knobbies on a quarter ton plus sports-tourer with wind dragging boxes, tall
windshields, and other stuff and then run around on pavement standing on the pegs
thereby creating substantially more wind drag. One can only conclude that (A) The bikes
suspension triad is very poor; or (B) That the rider has hemorrhoids; or (C) The operator
desires to expend the maximum amount of body and fuel energy possible; or (D) The
rider is a poser and wants to look cool.
I admit that when it comes to standing on foot-pegs on paved roads, I don’t get it. I only
do it to stretch my legs or to dry out the seat of my pants in hot weather.
A technique I use often when the road surface is moderately rough is as follows: I pre-
load my upper leg muscles (quads) thereby reducing compression of the seat foam. Even
at 78 years of age I can enjoy a plusher ride for miles by allowing my custom Renazco or
Ramos off-road seats to carry 150, instead of the usual 200+ pounds. Thanks to well
over 40 years of building and riding street, dirt, and multisurface motorcycles I know what
works on and off- road.
Thanks to help from IM., EBC, Buchanan’s, Ohlin’s PPS, Progressive Suspension,
Renthal, Metzeler, Bridgestone, Avon, Pirelli, Acerbis, MacDonald Products, Vey, N.B.I.,
Renasco, Ramos and some others the last nearly half million logged KLR/DR miles have
been much more satisfying and safer than they might otherwise have been. Thanks all.