2-stroke specific questions:

Have a question about technique?
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Bitteeinit
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2-stroke specific questions:

Post by Bitteeinit » 10:34 am Sep 09 2014

Ok so my KDX finally got a fresh topend, kips valves and a new no toil filter. I took her out for a spin this weekend. Felt good, kind of awkward at first but I quickly got used to it. It was one of my first times on a 2-stroke (first time on a smoker dirtbike). I was worried it would feel like riding /cornering on a 4-stroke with the clutch pulled... Instead it quickly felt more like riding a big mountain bike. Only faster, lol. I'm, still way slower than on a 4-stroke, but after only two days out I'm already way better.

I'm wondering about a few things technique-wise though:

1-Do you ALWAYS need to pull in the clutch when letting off the throttle? I really used to just coast/use engine compression. I always felt it gave me great control in corners on 4-strokes. Or at the very least keeping the same speed going with the throttle, but I remember reading you with smokers it's either full on throttle on braking (with the clutch pulled in). Is this correct? It already feels way more natural after a few days of doing this but it definitely felt weird to always be pulling the clutch whenever I decelerated/let off the throttle...

2-My second gear feels really short. Is this normal for KDXs? I was expecting a lot of range from second, but it seems like third is my “go-to” gear for anything slightly fast. Second is still decent but it tops out really fast. First is pretty useless (then again, first is useless for a lot of bikes). Just wondering if this is normal. I have 13-48 sprockets.

3-Clutchless shifting... An age-old debate?
http://www.kdxrider.net/forums/viewtopi ... 112&t=8948
http://www.kdxrider.net/forums/viewtopi ... 12&t=11670
I'm curious as to the percentage of riders here who clutchless shift. I use the clutch 98% of the time, but with my new (VERY STIFF springs) I'm considering changing my habit, lol. Or does anyone have any habits to soften up those new springs (besides putting the OEM ones back in)?

Thanksor any input/tips.

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Re: 2-stroke specific questions:

Post by 6 Riders » 10:45 am Sep 09 2014

Gas off, clutch and brakes or gas ON.....It will feel like the bike actually goes faster (for a second) when you chop the throttle, so brake and clutch techniques will need to be used.
2nd felt really short to me also. I started running a 14/47 combo to cure this. I use 1st a little more in real slow technical stuff. Racing at Washougal, using stock 13/47 gearing, first was crap, 2nd WAY to short, 3rd had a little to much power and 4th fell flat. I think that had I stuck w/ 14/47 gearing that I could have rode that track much smoother using 2nd and 3rd gear w/an occasional 4th gear hit instead of 2nd/3rd/4th all day long. But I had never rode a track before that, so I could be wrong.
I clutchless shift when in upper RPM ranges. Going slow I use the clutch. Think about it like this; KiPS open, no clutch....KiPS closed, clutch.
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Bitteeinit
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Re: 2-stroke specific questions:

Post by Bitteeinit » 11:16 am Sep 09 2014

Thanks! I rode the bike around town today to run some errands and had lots of fun "chopping" the throttle, so I now think I know what you mean by feeling as if the bike is going faster! Feels like I'm jolting myself forward a bit when I chop it. Totally different riding style from 4-strokes. I also keep giving short bursts of throttle to avoid stalling.

Good to know about 2nd, I was worried maybe it was just me. 2nd and 3rd are my "go-tos" for trail riding on my 4-stroke, so I found it weird that 2nd was so short/useless/lacked versatility. I have a brand new 14 tooth sprocket lying around that the previous owner gave me so I might give it a try when it comes time to changing them. I guess one would lose a bit of acceleration at first, but gain it back fairly quickly (I don;t find the bike accelerates particularly fast until reach third anyways). 1st feels totally pointless for anything other than getting the bike moving or going up a short steep hill. Second feels really short and third has tons of gusto. It's the gear that gets me to 50-60kph. What's nice is that it can be used from a fairly slow speed without feeling like I'm forcing the engine, and then quickly propels me forward if I need it. But I agree that it might feel slightly too powerful for more technical riding/cornering. 4th is also decent for me (might be SR gearing?).

Anyways, I'll get used to clutching all the time (it's actually becoming really fun now that the initial fear has let off) and I'll give that 14t sprocket a try when my current set wears out.

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2-stroke specific questions:

Post by SS109 » 12:18 pm Sep 09 2014

I don't use the clutch as soon as I get off the throttle unless coming in hot to a tight turn. Other than that, when I use it depends on the terrain, how much (if any) rear brake I'm using, and the speed I'm riding at. Basically, my belief is to use the clutch only when I have to.

2nd gear is on the short side. I normally only use it in tight or technical sections or when taking off from a dead stop. BTW, I rub 13/48 gearing. I don't like to run anything more (larger front/smaller rear) than 13/47 as I lose too much torque down low to get through the really technical stuff and large hill climbs.

I use clutchless shifting 99% of the time. It is so natural to cut or blip the throttle to change gears I don't even think about it. KIPS open or closed makes no difference IMO/IME. I ride hard all the time and have never had any problems doing so.
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Re: 2-stroke specific questions:

Post by MikeNZ » 03:00 am Sep 10 2014

+1 for not pulling in clutch as soon as you get off the throttle if you are in too higher gear change down (two strokes require you to busier on the shifter) . Two strokes do howeveer require more clutch work for example I usually always feather clutch to maintain 2nd gear on very tight technical turns (13/47 gearing) and also on hillclimbs when I want to stay in the power while maitaining a higher gear. Oh yeah and on steep tecnical down hills I just pull in the clutch and ride down like you were on a moutain bike (engine idling). Slipping the clutch (feathering) just becomes automatic the more you ride two strokes. If I was you I would just think about the clutch as a way of maintaining revs (to stay in the power) when you feel you would otherwise have to change down. Dont try and over think it, you will soon get to know when a little clutchwork would help in a given situation and it will become automatic. I usually ride with two fingers resting on the clutch lever I think this makes the process much easier.

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Re: 2-stroke specific questions:

Post by Bitteeinit » 05:58 am Sep 10 2014

Thanks. What about cornering? Would clutching while turning a corner be bad? Or do you slow down/brake before the corner, take the corner really slowly then power out once you've made the turn?

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2-stroke specific questions:

Post by adam728 » 11:28 am Sep 10 2014

There's so many variables it's impossible to say a "best" method.

In general the fastest way through is to get all your braking done in a straight line, then apply power through the corner, increasing on your way out. Very situation dependent though.
Slick, flat corner? May need to brake lightly as you enter to keep the front tire gripping, then snap power on to step out the rear wheel and "flat-track" through it.
Deep loamy corner? May need to be very aggressive on the gas and "steer with the rear" like your would in dunes.
Lots of braking bumps? Maybe take a more-inside line, get hard on the gas early, and slide up into the berm/rut mid corner, letting the extra speed compress the suspension and get good hook-up.


There's no cut-and-dry difference in 2 stroke and 4 stroke riding techniques. Extremely situation dependent. The KDX is very mellow as far as most 2 strokes go, and I would argue that more closely resembles a 4 stroke bike for most riding situations (aside from engine braking, obviously). I think many people take the 2 vs 4 stroke riding style differences too far when explaining on the internet, it's not like we are talking an XR650R vs a 125 mx bike.

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