What mindless bofoonery is this ????

I could hardly believe my eyes this morning when I flicked open a TC article on “Mud Tire” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This one just has to take the biscuit and falls into the same category as a friend of mine in AZ who
used my hacksaw to remove his front tire !!!!

A few cracks and holes

….. and while on the subject of lunacy there was a fellow who had a cracked ignition side case on his
TY175 so he decided to modify it and do something with the holes !!  A nice design to be sure and a
whole lot of work but,  despite all our reader’s snarky comments I don’t think the poor fellow ever
understood any of them.

BATS !!!

He was actually going to ride it like this, well it would certainly keep the ignition system cool but I don’t
think he realised that there was a small ingress problem and maybe, just maybe, water might just get
in. Other readers also suggested he do the clutch side to match !

Back to the “Mud Tire” …….. this clown, riding a modern day Gas Gas has decided his garden practice section is too difficult to do in the mud and snow as the tread pattern kept getting clogged. He states
he is aware of the trials regs requirements reference tires but thought he would see if he could make
an acceptable tire for the conditions.

Now we have all tried some experiments in our motor cycling career but this one is up there in the
truly dumb section! The question here is unless you have unlimited funds why in hells name would
you do this to a perfectly serviceable NEW tire? There is NO wear on this tire, but of course it is
worthless now, and you can see perfect tread blocks (those remaining) and all the mould strings
before the butchery. He claims he can’t ride his garden section on his trials bike as the snow and mud
keep clogging the tire and he spins to a stop whereas his MX bike doesn’t have the problem. So rather
than compare oranges with oranges and trying the section with a MX tire on the Gas Gas to get a
datum he decides to cut off every other block and compare oranges with apples ! His results so far
remain unpublished.

His wasted $100 of tire would have been better spent learning “grip” techniques which I often see as
sadly lacking in our current modern day rider. Sure they can hop & bop, take on rock faces that I would
never attempt and leap ravines at a single bound but when it comes to some of the basics like good
old deep mud or egg timer wash sand they are all at sea.

Historically in the days of the Dunlop Universal the OK pressure for trials riding was always 4 lbs,
and for just about all conditions that I ever encountered. When I started riding that was about right for
that tyre/tire. We never really considered other factors and let them down to that because thats what
our peers did. Things like temperature and altitude were not even discussed in the rural Kent
countryside and 4 lbs it was!

With the advent on the Modern trials tire from a variety of manufacturers if you want the best from your
tire you need to do your “own” experiments to see what is right for you and the tire of your choice.The
NEW Dunlops are as stiff as a brick and you can run these at the very low pressures wheras the tire in surgery is a very soft IRC which I normally use both for cost and performance. Just like all the medical
ads we see where we have to ask our Doctor “See if its right for you” and then the disclaimers……..
multiple unexpected 5’s, snaking of rear end on full bore climbs, sudden loss of traction, etc, etc.

Consider what we are trying to achieve by letting down our tires, very simple one word answer ….
TRACTION. If you let all the air out you have the same effect as a puncture or flat. The carcass will flop
about, will most likely pop the bead and will be impossible to control. What we are trying to achieve is
the best possible “footprint” from our 4″ friend without the nasties of a flat. So basically we are trying
to make 4″ into 6″…….. another one of man’s dreams!

I wonder what pressure this is ?

On arrival at the trials venue you can find a bit of muddy going and ride through it a few times with
various pressure settings. If you let out too much air the center of the tire will fold in towards the rim
and you will only be getting traction from the outside edges. So, for me at around 200lbs on a 200lb
Cub with a new IRC the best pressures are normally 5.5 rear and 6.5 front and maybe 1/2 a lb less
with a Michelin. With a very stiff tire like the Dunlop you could easily go lower.

Traction or the elsusive “Grip” is a basic of trials riding although here in America not many organisers
use mud holes on a regular basis and opt for big logs, rocks and super tight nadgery.  Again in the
US most trials are held in the summer months and are dry by nature and often up and down huge
pumice rocks which have grip a’plenty and don’t require traction finding skills. In 95% of US trials I
don’t suppose I’ll ever select anything other than first gear as it will usually be tight turns and little
squirts over obstacles where the line up was the critical factor.

Riding a good old mud section has much more to think about and line and preparation are the critical players. By the time you get to this section it may have developped into a quagmire and as you watch
rider after rider take a 5 don’t give up, study what they are doing and profit from their mistakes. I could
list all the common errors but a real mud section requires many things. Determination, technique and  general knowledge of the mud and what lies beneath. Is it a bottomless hole ? or deep goop over a
firm base ? will it get better or worse ?

Slippy yes, but goop over a firmish base

So having walked it numerous times, felt the suction on your boots, checked for hidden hazards like
roots and logs and finally the exit, which if anyone has got that far, will no doubt be very slippery with all
the goop deposited on drier ground, and in most cases there is a “transition area” where you come
out of the mud and get on firmer going. The Transition Area if often the hardest as this is usually some
sort of bank where most have come to a stop with a huge rooster tail of mud and all forward progress

If conditions are such that your tires are already clogged with mud and you are slipping and sliding everywhere then put the stand down, lean the bike over and give it a few high revving bursts to clean
the tire or ride through a river several times if one is available.

Find the driest entry line and enter with higher than normal speed, blipping the throttle to feel for grip,
as the wheel slows it will grip under momentum and the “on phase” will give you more forward thrust.
As the mud resistance builds the bike will obviously slow, so keeping legs very wide apart try flicking
the machine left and right to find sidewall grip in the slot. If the slot is deep any turning movement of
the bars will make the front wheel try and climb out of the slot, so be ready with weight coming forward
and as you hit the firm bank try rolling off the throttle and the bike will climb out with just a little
progressive power.

Front wheel out, weight coming forward, ready to roll off when the rear
hits the bank

If you have got this far now try and find a drier line somewhere near the tape or in unused vegetation,
accel on the flat, roll on the uphill and slippy bits and you might just be the first clean of the day !

Looking for a drier line at the edge of the section

Finally your $100 of fuel spent learning mud techniques will have been much more satisfyingly spent
than carving up a new tire like a Sunday roast ! Now of course there is some serious washing and
cleaning to be done but you will be keen to do it again.

Having just found all the photos of this section there will be a full rivetting expose of “how to” in the
next article with a lot of pics of “what goes wrong”

……. ah, mud, glorious mud!


What did you think of this article?

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  • 2/8/2011 9:53 AM Dan Sutherland wrote:
    enjoyable reading!
    Reply to this
  • 2/8/2011 6:49 PM Jimmy Allison wrote:
    Thanks for the trials school. I can’t wait for the next installment.
    Reply to this

    1. 2/8/2011 7:26 PM Tony Down wrote:

      Fortunately I have a load of pics of this section and hopefully I will be able to show the “why’s and wherefore’s” of what went wrong…… see what you think in 3 days time.

      Reply to this

  • 2/9/2011 7:00 AM alex wrote:
    Thanks again Tony.
    I enjoy almost all you write but this trials school stuff marks you out as one of the special people of the internet era.
    Keep it up.
    Reply to this
  • 2/21/2011 2:07 PM Jon Dearie wrote:
    …4″ into 6″……..another one of man’s dreams! Great analogy Tony.
    Reply to this
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