Friday, February 13, 2009

Supermoto On A Budget

The past 12 months have been economically hard on everybody. On a personal level, my bonus down at the mortgage finance company where I work was only $4 million this year so, jeesh, having to sell the Ferrari to pay for the Lambo, not being able to buy that ranch on Maui that I had planned on, and only being able to vacation 3 months out of the year instead of 4, it's been almost unbearable. And yet, human kind's great March of Progress continues on, to what destination, we'll never know.

With budgets strapped and wallets full of lint or "postcards" from the bank, many folks are struggling to get the biggest BANG for the buck when it comes to supermoto these days. For others, like the permanent Mr. Cheap-o, it's a buyer's haven. With that in mind, here's some comments about getting into Supermoto on the cheap.

For starters, there's currently a glut of both new and used bikes on the market with folks needing to sell their used moto inventory to help pay other bills or for things like, breakfast. Some bikes are fully equipped professional rigs and others stripped to the bone skeletons or botched up Frankenbikes with two heads and a twitch. If the hurdle of affording a bike has been in your way before, it's a great time to find a bike on the cheap.

If you've got the cash, circle around your prey like a giant patient vulture. Craigslist and Ebay are obvious places for the Great Bike Hunt, but discriminating buyers will peruse the dark allies of the Classifieds on Supermotojunkie and other boards for that lonely post for the used bike and a garage full of parts that may go with it. Heck, you may even find a second hand wife in there! At the right time, crouch down and move in on your wounded prey like a Puma pouncing on a limping baby deer. Drag your near-dead catch back to camp and spend the rest of the night telling the tale of your hunt to your fellow tribesmen.

And there's tons of used parts out there. When buying used parts, make sure you're really getting a good deal will ya? I hate seeing guys buying used stuff for the same or more than new. If you're going to do that, just by the new stuff! Compare retail and sale prices from vendors like Motostranoand others. Otherwise it's just no fun. Used parts should sell for at least half the new price as a rule and if you're not saving big bucks by buying used, you may as well buy new to take advantage of warranties, fresh parts and the security you get from knowing all your virgin parts are there ready for their first love.

Baby stepping into Supermoto is just fine and nothing to be ashamed of. "Sportsman" supermoto racers are the true grunts, the first responders, of the track and the street. Often with little more than some less knobbyish tires, these guys are a terror and in it for the thrill alone. They're not pretty and don't usually dress much for the part either. You don't want to mess with these guys.

Going Sportsman at the caveman level can mean running some Avon Distanzias or Gripsters and forget the rest. For a few hundred bucks you're on the street or track with some DOTs. Done. Finito. Now let's go have pasta.

Dip your other toe in the water and upgrade your brake disc to the big 320mm. That's right, the big TREE, TWO, OHHHHH. EBC's Supermoto Brake "kit" is an easy gamble and even gifts you some sharp looking bling with the fancy red anodized rotor buttons free of charge. Free is good right? It's a full floater and even shakes a little. They should have called it the EBC Fancy Supermoto Rotor Kit. And since you're doing this on the cheap, make sure to shave less and run this rotor till there's no metal left at all. Use it till you can put a finger through the worn out holes carved from miles of use. For Sportsman riders, the more raggedy looking, the better.

For Sprortsman, that's really all you need. And why go further? Your're doing this supermoto thing just to hang out more with your buddies who are all supermoto red-eyed addicts, unlike you. You, you have control. You know when to say to NO, even if all your bad demons are telling you "YES, MORE".

And when you give in to those voices, you'll need to get wheels. Seventeens. The "streetbike wheels". Yes, Mr. Freebie, you won't be able to stretch 17 inch tires on your MX wheels to do supermoto. Fortunately for you though, various aftermarket companies knew you were coming and have paved a path of savings that let you "go all the way" with supermoto by, for instance, simply spending less time at your favorite strip joint.

One way to do it is to simply cut your MX spokes off with a heavy duty wire cutter and throw the scraps over in the neighbors yard.  There, you've just done what the tree hugging Californians have been begging you to do for years. Next, get shorter spokes and wider rims that measure 17 inches and weave them on to those now naked hubs. It's almost like knitting.

But if the thought of doing that sends a chill down your spine as you look up with sad eyes and fantasize about more days ahead in the dirt, ripping away at the earth's thin crust, there are complete bolt-on-ready wheelsets you can now get for something around eight hundred bucks. Keep your dirt wheels handy. Baby them even. Tighten a spoke or two for once, fondle a nipple, and then spin on some brand new wheels from DNA, Warp 9 or Gleiss, all of which you can get at Motostrano. These wheels work, are typically as good or better than OEM type wheels and keep you rolling on the cheap.

And that's it! Welcome to the Hotel Supermoto. You're in room 669. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

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