***Sumter National Enduro 2016***
We had a blast to say the least.....
This past weekend we went to the 2016 Sumter National Enduro, which is Round #1 of the #NEPG Series. With rain and cold temperatures in the forecast. We had the right gear packed, but still had our hopes set high.
Packed and loaded we left the Dillsburg Pa area around 2am Saturday morning. The plan? Drive Straight through, beat traffic and end up at Battery Park Off-Road in SC, for a little pre-race shake down on Saturday. The drive went drive went without a glitch and put us at Battery Park at 12pm.
As we stepped out of the truck, onto this foreign sandy soil, we were met by overcast skies and a cool almost northern feeling air. The temperature was right around were they predicted, 41 degrees. Cool for the area, but still.... we needed some seat time. This weekend was going to be the first time I(Jared) rode the new '16 Beta 300rr Race Edition. I had only done a break in period around the shop and my house. So this weekend would be the first test for this years model.
We only put a handful of laps around the property in. We were met countless times by high water and blocked off trails caused by all the rain early that week. With more rain in the forecast and low cold temperatures for Saturday night. We had a quick realization that we had our work cut out for us on Sunday. We cut our ride day pretty short, and headed for Sumter.
After a quick stop at the Event to register, and a bite to eat, we finally made it to our hotel. Spent time going through what time we needed to be up and when we would heading out. Our plan to call it an early night went PERFECT ;) almost without even trying haha
Race Day, We've all been there... Stepping out of the Hotel or Camper just to look up at the sky. Confirming if the weather men were right or not. Despite the forecast, it hardly rained at all, and the temperature was about 12 degrees warmer then what they anticipated. Arriving at the event, prepping bikes and loading the chase truck, we were ready and waiting for the 86th minute(our row).
Test 1- The soil was PERFECT, against everything we had thought. The clay based sand, locked together with the rain from the week. It was probably the best southern soil I had rode. The section was fast, yet had enough spots were you had to "lock to lock" the bars and weave your way through. A couple good little uphills and G-outs made for a very good well rounded start to our day. Ended up passing many guys who turned on the heat(speed) too soon and ended up off the trail in pile of sand and pine needles. I made my mind up before the event o keep my sections smooth and clean. Try to keep my bike upright and moving forward.
Test 2- I really started to pay attention to the new Beta through this test. Nerves leveled off and I really started to push. The dual map switch is unbelievably good! Coming into a fast open section you click into the "hot" setting and the power deliver is insane. The hit is very pronounced, making your front end light, which is exactly the key when fighting deep sand and big dug out whoops! On the other hand flipping it to the "cold" or "soft" setting when entering a bar twisting switch back section make it seem like your riding a completely different bike. The power delivery is SMOOTH almost non-existent. The best of both worlds linked together by a toggle switch.
Test 3- Roots, roots and more ROOTS! At row 86, we had less of a "smooth trail" this section and more of a "pick your line, gas it and hold on" trail. :) The thought that you could squeeze your bike with your legs and fight it, quickly faded. Realizing that you had to let your bike do the work, trust those tires, focus on throttle control and just look ahead. This test was the longest of them all, putting your conditioning and ability to pace yourself to the test.
Test 4- SWAMP SECTION- You know when I talked early about how we were worried about the wet....and the mud? This was ten times worse then I thought it was going to be! The middle 2 1/2 miles of this test was a MESS. I never realized how much thick sandy clay based mud robs powers, even from the biggest four strokes. That is until I saw a dozen of them stuck engine case deep in South Carolina Mud! Somehow, I made it through this section clean......SO TO SPEAK!(haha) I can tell you this much, my hand didn't leave the WOT position much.
Finally making it to the chase truck at the end of the section. I grabbed a water bottle, a fresh pair of googles and gloves. Needless to say, I was ready... Ready to be back at truck with a cold beer in hand :) but I re-focused. I pulled it all together and lined up to wait for that 86th minute on the clock....
Test 5- I remembered this section from the year before.....Loomy pines, sapling fields and whoops for miles. As I started the shortest, and last section I regained focus. Just long enough, then washed my front end out half way through coming out of tight turn, I could feel fatigue setting in. I collected myself, stayed focused on my breathing and just keeping it smooth. I made quick work of the remainder of the course, and our race day was complete.
I ended up finishing 11th in my class. No big victory by any means, but I had a blast! Great event and good course lay out.
Surrounded by great company and making great memories, that's what its all about. That's why I ride and that's why the Motorcycle Industry is our HOME. Till next ride, event or adventure.... like always
~Go Ride Something~
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...and now we delve into the Trials World.
After getting our first two trials brands in house, we start into a new chapter of the shop with a ton of excitement! There's a lot to be said about technology and advancements in the motorcycle world. These advancements and growth can be seen immediately when taking a look at trials motorcycles. Designed for the most technical and toughest terrain. Not only meet the competitive bar set but leaping above it with a quick twist of a wrist(so to speak)!
We take great pride in the bikes we sell, and these new units will get nothing less then that.
Everyone new, old, or completely out of the world of trials has to come check out these feats of old designs, re-engineering and molding old technology to make better and even more impressive units each and every year.
Like always...~Go Ride Something~
Twas the night before riding and all through the house, All riders lay stirring, both them and their spouse
Ride video after video all tucked in their beds, while visions of single track and Blue Groove danced in their heads
Bikes in the garage all standing in a row, Prepped, cleaned, shined and ready to go
The morning arrives with so much delight, with the Klotz and Castor mixed…. just right
With daybreak and Red Bull in Hand, “don’t crash out, don’t crash out” that’s always their plan
The start of the engine, and smell in the air, register your helmet with that sensor up there
Now comes the First test always a thrill, Hit the second with much energy to spare
By about the 4th you’re feeling it now, “Keep it clean, Keep it clean” someway…. somehow
Now the final section just one more to go, as you lean in too tight low siding you know
Keep the bike under me if that’s all I can do, Still going down just the bike and you
With that, riders pass with a free rev and yell, Can I make up that time, there’s one way to tell
You climb back on get everything back into place, dumping the bike into gear and giving fast chase
When from your back comes such a cladder you give him a wave realizing he’s much faster
You try to hang with him and keep up that pace….managing to pull through the last check of the race
With the bikes all loaded and tied down just right, another event in the books and oh what I sight
Now go to the cooler, get out a cold beer…………..
Here’s to wishing you a Merry Christmas and a BRRAAPPYYY New Year!!
Price reduced to $8200!
A really nice used 2015 Sherco 450 SEF-R four-stroke enduro, trail, hare scramble, dual-sport bike. Gobs of torque and power! Dual-map CDI to tame it down a bit when the going gets rough. This bike is being used as a demo bike and only has 94 miles and 7 hours on it. Comes with a nice high-impact skid plate and Moose handguards. All Sherco "R" models have WP suspension and all Sherco four-strokes are fuel injected.
The 2016's will be here soon with an MSRP of $9,600. Snap this one up for $8,200! MCO comes with the bike and reads "Motorcycle"
South Mtn. Cycle Shop
729 Harrisburg Pike, Suite B
Dillsburg, PA 17019
Central PA's Beta and Sherco Dealer
I got to spend some quality time with the Sherco 250 SEF-R four-stroke this past weekend and I would like to reiterate the point: if you haven’t ridden a modern European small-bore four-stroke, then you have no idea how good they are. In other words, don’t base your opinions of these bikes on what you know from the past. Times have changed. For the better.
The first thing you notice about this machine is its narrowness and uncluttered cockpit. Control points feel well-placed for someone of average build and height. As is the norm with modern off road bikes, there’s no chance of having both feet firmly planted on the ground at one time without a lowering kit, although the bike works so well, you may not need to take your feet off of the pegs anyway.
Flip the switch, listen for the fuel pump whine, touch the starter button and it’s idling. It’s obvious that Sherco have done their homework on the fuel map and engine design - in two days of riding this 250 4T in heavy sand and trees two feet apart, it only unexpectedly stalled on me one time. The engine is a real gem with an amazing mix of predictability and excitement. To make it easy, I’m going to list all of the things the engine doesn’t do well. 1. It doesn’t make piles of torque in the low RPM range. 2. That’s really about it. Don’t misunderstand, you can lug it, but if you do you may occasionally find yourself in the wrong gear at the wrong time. Seriously, this machine is about as calm, cool, and collected on the bottom as anything I’ve ridden – at the end of a long two days in the saddle, you can ride it home like it’s a KLX110. How-EVER, if you are prepared and willing to accept the grin-inducing consequences, you can scream this unit like an F1 car and have people ask: “That’s only a 250?” It really does go and it really is fun. Will it win a drag race with a 450? No, but it will be entertaining. The dual-map CDI, which is controlled by a switch on the handlebars, is somewhat responsible for the broad operating characteristics – the Europeans sometime call the two maps “wet” and “dry”, meaning “slippery” and “not slippery”, but most ‘mericans say “mild” and “wild”.
Chassis. We’ve already established that this bike is narrow, but it also feels light, super light – kind of like a really beefy mountain bike. There are two things that everyone mentions when test-riding a Sherco 4T: 1. It will turn inside any other bike out there, and 2. it feels surprisingly stable (with any old setup) for a bike that turns so well. This one is no different. The tried and true WP suspension is likely responsible for the confident handling characteristics. The base Sherco bike that is imported into the USA is a “Racing” version, not to be confused with Beta’s premium “Race Edition”. In Sherco-speak that means you get the WP’s. Somewhere in Europe there are non-“Racing” Shercos with Sachs forks. Anywho, the suspension has all of the knobs and screws that you would expect to get your compressions and rebounds sorted. And, the owner’s manual does a pretty good job getting you dialed-in from the start.
So who is the target rider for the Sherco 250 SEF-R? It is really hard to nail down the answer to that question since this bike is so good at so many things. Tight rocky singletrack? Perfect. Two-track fire roads? Fun as hell. Plateable? Easy. Baja 500? OK, probably not. But, if you are looking for a great-handling, lightweight off-road bike with predictable power delivery that won’t leave you disappointed when you get faster, then the Sherco 250 SEF-R may be your match.
South Mountain Cycle Shop is now a Sherco Enduro dealer! Drool over these French-built machines. Sherco imports a full line of Enduro four-strokes (4T) and two-strokes (2T). The bikes feature a chromoly frame and WP suspension. All 4T's are Synerject fuel injected and are offered in 250cc, 300cc and 450cc. The 250cc and 300cc 2T bikes are button-start and utilize an electronically controlled power valve. Good stuff! www.shercooffroad.com
In June of 2014, eight riders from Pennsylvania traveled three-quarters of the way across the country and spent a week dirt-biking in Moab, Utah. This is their story.
Eric Stambaugh – South Mountain Cycle Shop, South Central Pennsylvania’s Beta Dealer
Moab Day 1: Poison Spider Mesa
There's something about waking up in the desert - can't put my finger on it, but the air is somehow crisp like fall back home, yet you know it's going to be hot. Maybe the time change has something to do with it. I find myself up and outside much earlier. The sun is already pounding on the tops of the red rocks, but it is cold in the Spanish Valley.
Today we plan to ride with Tim's friends from Colorado, Bill and Gary. Last night at the Moab Brewery, Bill told us that someone had recommended the Poison Spider and Golden Spike trails to him. So this morning we meet and head north across the Colorado River on US 191 toward the Poison Spider Mesa. As we turn left onto SR 279 we pass the old uranium processing site. Yellowcake anyone? Not anymore, the site is now in the midst of what looks to be a very orderly remediation. Check out the cleanup's fact sheet sometime (gjem.energy.gov/moab), I find it fascinating. A few miles of pavement with steep canyon walls on the right and the Colorado River on the left and we are at the trailhead.
Poison Spider and Golden Spike are Jeep trails rated on recreation maps as difficult and most difficult. They loop through the Poison Spider Mesa and link up with Gemini Bridge road. On a dirt bike, most jeep trails are readily negotiable, but this is Moab and there are sections of Golden Spike that will curl your hair. The last thing I'd want to be in is a Jeep. The trail begins as a steep dirt road with sandstone outcrops and quickly turns into full blown rock mountains. The landscape is straight out of an old western movie, with gullies, gulches, washes, cliffs and canyons. The riding is fun - a little trials action mixed with desert gassing and 'paved' hill climbs thrown in for fun. At some point we get separated and loop around for a while until we get everyone gathered back up. This is when the real fun starts: we unknowingly wind up on the only double-black diamond trail on the Poison Spider Mesa. The climbs are hairy, the descents are steep and we begin the task of lifting the bikes over some obstacles in 85-degree dry heat. The effort is worth it. Somewhere at an altitude of about 5,200 feet (Moab is at about 4,000), we stop at a lookout point and can see the valley below south to Moab and the entrance to Arches National Park. It's spectacular. Later we stop and hike a few hundred yards to Gemini Bridges: gigantic rock arches that you can walk across with the canyon floor hundreds of feet down.
The ride back to the highway is a red dirt road that climbs over the cliff adjacent to 191 and breathtakingly drops down the other side. A few miles of blacktop and we're crossing the Colorado again and heading into town.
As the sun sets in the desert, the chill is back. The cliffs cast long shadows, but the sky is clear - promising another fresh desert morning.
Moab Day 2: La Sal Mountains
Yes, we planned a trip to the desert in June, but the timing was more about when everyone could get together rather than nailing the ideal weather. Well it turns out that the forecast for Moab today is 97 degrees. We know we want to ride Slickrock early in the week, but after yesterday's sweatfest on Golden Spike, the group is open to ideas. When you drive into Moab on 191 from I70 you are treated to a spectacular view of red rock desert in the foreground and massive snow-capped peaks in the background. Those peaks are the La Sal Mountains and they are well over 12,000 feet high! We did some research and found that there is a portion of the La Sal National Forest that is open to multiple uses including off-highway vehicles. The project has been set up as a study to conserve the land while keeping it open to responsible use. It also raises money for education in Utah. It's bound to be cooler up there than down here. Heck, from the pictures, it looks like there are even trees with actual shade. And the trailhead is only 27 miles from our house.
The day is already hot as we are leaving. We head south on Spanish Valley Road and hang a left on La Sal Loop Road. The road begins to climb and within minutes the red landscape turns to green, the vegetation thickens, and it feels like we are riding straight into Colorado. The pavement ends when we turn onto Geyser Pass Road. It is wide and steep and there are cattle grazing on the shoulders. Soon it is narrow and steep and lined with massive pine trees. The temperature has dropped enough that I am glad that I decided to wear my enduro jacket. Then I see it, my first glimpse of snow in the gutter! Then more. By the time we reach the 10,500 ft. Geyser Pass, there are piles of it nearly a foot deep. Riding over the pass is an experience, especially after leaving the desert 30 minutes ago on a dirt bike. The road opens up a bit as we navigate the switchbacks on the other side and the views are big - a green valley below that fades to forever and 12,726-ft Mount Peale well above the tree line.
We find the trailhead and get to it. The single track trails are unbelievable - meandering like cow trails through high meadows, dropping into rocky canyons, weaving through stands of aspen, and cutting across cliff edges steep enough to make you want to click your heels three times. The elevation changes are extreme and the scenery is powerful. Difficulty ranges, but everything is navigable from the saddle save for a few downed tree detours. Turns out that June is a great time to come to Moab. It is 64 degrees in the La Sals and had we been here three weeks ago we wouldn't have been able to ride these trails due to snowpack.
As we descend back into the valley I realize that I am continually impressed by this land (both West and East) and am thankful that I can get out and see it. Kudos to the state of Utah for giving this a shot. Tomorrow we plan to visit a better known multi-use trail. Stay tuned.
Moab Day 3: Slickrock and Porcupine Rim
The plan for today is to stick close to Moab and ride in the Sand Flats Recreation Area. Close is right. We ride into town by going north on Spanish Valley road and hang a right on Mill Creek Drive and a right on Sand Flats Road. In a minute or two, no more than 3 miles from downtown, we're at the entrance station. It's two bucks a head for a day pass. And yes, someone is there to take our money and give us maps.
The Sand Flats Recreation Area is jointly controlled by Grand County, UT and the Bureau of Land Management. Its mission is similar to the La Sal OHV area. From their site: "SFRA’s mission is to protect the natural features of the area from adverse recreational impacts while providing access to sustainable and enjoyable recreational opportunities." Awesome. Call your senators, folks, tell them this is how it's done.
Anyway, the place is 9,000 acres of outdoor fun, mechanized or otherwise. Today we're interested in Slickrock trail and Porcupine Rim. Despite its popularity among mountain bikers (bicyclists), Slickrock was created in 1969 by a dirt biker (motorcyclist) named Dick Wilson and the BLM. Today motorcycles are still permitted. If you ride a dirt bike (or a mountain bike for that matter), I can guarantee that Slickrock Trail is like nothing you've ever seen before. First of all, the rock is not slick, it affords incredible traction with rubber tires, but it was named back in the day because the steel shoes of horses would slip on it. The rock is actually called Navajo Sandstone and it looks like Mars. The planet Mars. Slickrock trail is a 12-mile adult amusement park. The trail is marked with white paint blazes on the rock and it flows up, down, across and around giant sandstone sculptures bordering two massive canyons and the Spanish Valley. Riding here can be a little disconcerting at first since the rocks are so steep and the trail often follows the spine, but once you get the feel for the traction, it's surprisingly satisfying. And those views.
After Slickrock and a short break, we continue west six miles on Sand Flats Road to the trailhead of Porcupine Rim.
Porcupine Rim is a more traditional two-track desert trail, but it is by no means routine. It drops in off of the dirt road and follows the canyon's edge with loose and fixed rock of all sizes. It's 11 miles or so to the turn-around point - the last few miles are so gnarly, it's closed to anything bigger than a bicycle. Here, the boys and I pick up the pace by calling on our Pennsylvania rock skills. There are numerous drops that are exciting to execute on the way out, but turn into challenging step ups on the way back.
We have pbj sammys at the turnaround in the shade of a tiny scrub pine and then pick our way back to Sand Flats Road, riding at a slightly slower pace. Some dirt road and we are back at the entrance - dirty, sweaty and smiling. We pass by the trailhead for Hell's Revenge, a popular Jeep trail and vow to bag that before the week's out.
And now for something completely different...
Moab Day 4: Sovereign Trail
Singletrack is hard to find in Moab. This place is big. And so are most of the vehicles that people use to enjoy the terrain. Consequently, most of the trails, with the exception of Slickrock, are at least two-track (wide enough for an ATV). Here is where motorcycles have an advantage. If you consider the impact on the land, motorcycles have a similar "footprint" to mountain bikes and horses. Yes, some will agree and disagree, but based solely on what I saw on the Sovereign Trail today, the singletrack portions of the trail are barely visible - sometimes even when you're riding them.
We gear-up and head north out of town on route 191. 20 miles seems like a long slog on the pavement, but good lord, it's better than loading-up all of the bikes on a truck to get there. A short dirt road stint and we're at the trailhead. Like most of the land out here, Sovereign is multi-use. A non-profit from Moab, Ridewithrespect.org, manages the system and, similar to La Sal OHV, reduces impact by designating which portions can be used by which vehicles. The singletrack is fantastic, fabulous, superlative, and superlative. Don't get me wrong, it's not easy, but the smooth sections flow and the rocky uphills give you a real sense of accomplishment if you clean them. There are even long sections of Slickrock for your tractive pleasure.
But the things that stand out about Sovereign are the goat-path switchback ascents and descents. These sections hug the terrain and sometimes require the rider to dismount to navigate the 180. And steep! At one point we are no more than 500 feet from our destination as the crow flies, yet it takes half a mile to get there. It's easy to imagine a cowboy, low in the saddle, picking his way down at sunset on his sure-footed horse.
There are sections that we don't get to ride today, mainly due to the midday heat. So, unlike the cowboy would have been able to do, we actually ride into town and have ice cream in our gear. Talk turns to our next trip, we'll surely have to ride the rest of that singletrack. And there are so many canyons that we haven't seen. And Hell's Revenge still beckons. Maybe next time we won't come in June.
Moab Day 5: Steelbender
Since some of us have to leave Moab today and all of the bikes have to go, we are looking for a ride that is easy and close. Yeah, we choose Steelbender. Close? Yes. Easy? Not so much.
The Spanish Valley runs roughly North South with Arches National Park and Moab at the top, giant red rock cliffs to the west, and gentler mesas to the east. We've always wondered if there are trails on the east mesas, other than the Sand Flats area to the north. A little world wide interweb time last night yielded one option: Steelbender trail --also known as Flat Pass. You can enter Steelbender from the south near Ken's Lake (reservoir for Moab) or north near the golf course. We went south. This route allows you to ride the lower spur of Steelbender which is tough and exciting. Then, if you don't get lost (like we did), you can ride three quarters of the main loop and shoot out of beautiful Flat Pass near million-dollar homes.
I'm not sure who named this trail, but I can imagine after four or five hours out there in a jeep or on an ATV, you would have some bent steel. And aluminum. And cracked plastic. It's rocky, dusty, and steep yet incredibly enjoyable. There are wet creek crossings, dry riverbeds, some slickrock and rock walls so high and craggy you wonder how anyone makes it to the top.
So here's the thing about riding in the desert. This morning during prep, we all let down our guard. Since we are only going for a partial day, not far from home base, we don't take as much water, food, and spare parts. Some of us forget sunscreen. The next thing you know, we're kinda lost, low on water and we get a flat front tire. No big deal, we've got a spare tube. Then we get another flat front tire. Guess what? No more front tubes. Patch kit? Yes, but it doesn't hold. So now we've got one guy riding in with a flat front. And this stuff is brutal. We make it safely and still have a blast, but lesson learned.
The ride out the pass is gorgeous. One moment we are in desert highlands, the next a green valley, then a rocky pass and finally Moab 90210. While loading the trailer, we talk again of our next trip. Colorado someday? Idaho? Who knows for sure, but I'm putting my money on Utah.
A collection of pictures from our June 2014 Trip to Moab, UT: