A three-part series about bike and rider prep for the SEER hard enduro series 2021. SEER team members share their experience and expertise.
With just a little bit over five weeks until our first race in February, you might wonder which steps you should take to get ready. In episode #1 we are providing tips to get your dirt bike prepped.
Here is info for those who are new to our hard enduro events.
Get Your Bike Ready
We checked in with our expert, SEER’s race director Derek Bratcher. He raced dirt bikes for years and is a trained mechanic.
Here is a Q/A session with Derek and he shares what he believes is a good starting point.
Steps to Set Up A Hard Enduro Bike
Derek: We hope your bike is in proper working order. Now let’s talk about setting it up for hard enduros. You might have raced before, but extreme events are more demanding on your equipment.
You want to make sure that your bike has the proper protection while riding challenging sections like rocky ravines, large roots and ledges.
It might be helpful to add a few items before lining up at the race. There are plenty of options for upgrades. I selected the big three, the most crucial items for a hard enduro beginner, in my opinion.
- Skid Plate
1) Why Will a Fan Make A Difference?
Derek: The most obvious reason is that your bike is less likely to overheat. When you go slow, or push your bike over a longer time, a fan provides more air and helps to improve the cooling.
Here is an example of a fan which has a manual switch. Which means you have to turn the fan on or off as needed. The SEER team prefers this over an automatic temp switch since they tend to run more than needed. With a manual switch your battery life will be extended and you can chat with your friends at a stop without a noisy fan running.
Overall, it might make the difference between keeping the performance of the bike up, or being forced to stop and take an extra break to let the bike cool off again.
Do I Need A Fan?
Derek: Bronze and Iron riders skip the most tough sections, which means they might get away without a fan.
2) Why Are All Hard Enduro Riders Running A Skid Plate?
Derek: Rocks! They always win :o) Without a skid plate your engine cases and the frame are more likely to be damaged. Hard enduros are full of rocks, logs and other obstacles.
The material of the skid plate is thick, either made of aluminium or high quality plastic. They come in different forms. Some have side tabs that protect the frame rails, footpeg mounts and ignition covers, others protect your frame and linkage with one piece.
An issue with skid plates is the accumulated mud, but most manufacturers are using a design which lets mud chunks shake off and rattle through the vents.
It simply might ease your mind to know you have a piece mounted which provides high impact and dent protection. It will increase the chances of your bike to arrive at the finish line in one piece!
3) What is Different about a Hard Enduro Tire?
Derek: If you usually train on sand or hard-packed dirt, you are more likely running a less flexible/ harder tire. For slick rocks and creekbeds you are better off with a softer version, which provides more grip. The side walls are more flexible and the nobs are extremely soft, like a trials tire.
Generally, if you want to make this event enjoyable, I really believe you will need to invest in a proper tire.
SEER: Shinko is our series partner in 2021 and we are excited to promote their great products! Derek really likes their 520 DC rear tire. They have their own category of ‘Extreme-Enduro Offroad Tires’. Check them out here SHINKO TIRES
Can I Run Tubes in Hard Enduros?
Derek: Yes, you can, but ideally you run mousse bibs or tubeless.
A mousse pretty much eliminates flat tires. Another item taken off our ‘worry-list’. Generally they are harder to mount compared to tubes, but when hitting rocks or ledges the impact is dramatically reduced. Some bibs are pretty hard to begin with. The harder the tire, the less traction you get in gnarly sections. Even the best, soft tire made for tough terrain can’t perform as well with 20 psi compared to 5 psi. Which means you ideally wear the mousse in before a race or start with a hard enduro specific bibs.
A tubeless system eliminates the need for a tube. But the big difference to a mousse is that it keeps your options open. You can run it with as low as 0 psi on certain tires but also use it on other days with 10+ psi. Although it still can be punctured, it is also called a ‘bulletproof vest’, and a hole will not end your day.
Maintaining traction in a three hour race goes a long way by reducing fatigue over the course of the event.
A fan will prevent overheating, the right skid plate reduces bike damage, and the correct tire makes for a more grippy ride. Sounds like a solid plan!
Keep on riding! See you on February 13, 2021 for round #1 – The Covid Crusher 2.0
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Written by SEER team member Lisi Bratcher