Tag Archives: motoz mountain hybrid

In it for the fun . . .

I’d been contacted a few weeks back by John from the Atlanta-area. We met in 2013 while riding at Red Bird with Charlie and Steve from Indy. I had served as their “guide” around the loop that day and most all of the group made it intact.  That was a good day but unfortunately the weekend ended on a bad note. [Click here to read more about that adventure]

John and his friends Tom, also from Atlanta, and Tim, from down in Pensacola, Florida had a half-week of riding planned. Their itinerary started with a day in Georgia, one in Tennessee, another at Red Bird, and the final day with Jesse and I at our riding area. The forecast had looked great for many days but it turned to hell in hurry. By the week’s end, there was a 90% chance of rain for the area and it had been raining steadily down that way all week long. Saturated is the term that comes to mind.

I touched based with John and he said they rode part of the Red Bird loop in the rain on Friday and were up for more “in the rain” riding on Saturday. Ok. It was a go. We were going to ride rain or shine! John said they were ready for an adventure and Philip commented they were going to the right place!

Tom (GasGas) & Tim (KTM) Riding Red Bird in the Rain
Tom (GasGas) & Tim (KTM) Riding Red Bird in the Rain

The plan was to meet at 9am but I was up and out of the house early. On the way down I noticed the nice, neat rows of golf carts that Kevin had lined up at the golf course. If folks were going to play golf in the rain, then we could surely handle riding in it. It was drizzling at the house and it rained on and off most of the way. But, when I pulled into park at 8:30am it was barely misting. Good deal.

Ready to go!
Ready to go!

I unloaded my bike and put it inside to keep the seat dry and got all my gear on. The forecast called for “numerous showers” and a high in the low to mid-50’s. It was 48 when I turned off the truck. I made the decision at that time to not wear my Klim Traverse pants as honestly, I knew they’d be too hot with the level of exertion that I’d likely experience. But my Klim Traverse jacket was a different story, that was the perfect day for putting it to the test once again. It was loaded up with d3o pads in the shoulders and elbows, the back vent was fully opened, the underarm vents were unzipped about 3 inches, and the pockets were stuffed with spare gloves, batteries, paper towels, and other essentials for the day.

The “Southern Crew” showed up right on time and Jesse was not far behind. David stopped by as we were getting ready and got to meet everyone. That was good. We all appreciate the opportunity to ride where we do.

Tom and Tim at the Staging Area
Tom and Tim at the Staging Area

Things got better as when we rolled out, it was not raining. There were no breaks in the clouds, but at least it was not actively precipitating. Yes! This was much better than I’d anticipated.

As we made our way along the trails I noticed how dark it was. Some of the valleys are deep and there just wasn’t much light. A fresh layer of leaves was covering the ground and obscuring most little obstacles like rocks, roots, and logs. The kinda stuff that’ll grab your front wheel and throw you to ground. Caution was the name of the game. Below is a clip of some trail we rode before first break.

We made our first stop around 2.5 miles into the initial loop so I could see how everyone was doing and make sure they were pleased with the pace and trails. All seemed to be good. They really liked what they’d ridden so far and were ready for some more. By the way, we learned at this stop that John was running a new style Yamaha front fender on his “real” Husky WR250. I’d never noticed if he hadn’t brought it up. What happened to his stock front fender? Still no rain.

Our First Break
Our First Break

A notable section of the first loop was our drop into one of the rock-littered, slick-bottomed, washed-out creek beds we like to ride. It is like a jungle down there in the summer with all the lush vegetation. This was one of the first really technical sections we tackled and everyone enjoyed the challenge! Here’s a little video clip of the descent.

We made it back to the staging area around 11:30 with over 13 miles on my trusty Trail Tech odometer. Within a couple minutes, it started raining. Not really hard, but enough that it would not be fun to ride in. The group sat in the dry barn, ate some lunch, and did some bench racing. All of sudden, the sound of rain hitting the metal roof started to subside so we got our stuff together and headed out on the trail once again. Great timing!

The second outing included a small loop on the south side of the property and a decent sized loop on the north end. Both of these included some fun “goat trails” that were a little more interesting due to the wet conditions. I just wanted to make sure these guys got to enjoy some of the more technical stuff. The video clip below from Tom shows a portion of what we call the “Cat Cave Hill” goat trail.

Onward! Still no rain! This was good. Their plan was to be on the road and southbound towards Atlanta no later than 3pm and we were on track to make that happen. I don’t blame them for wanting to get home at a reasonable hour.

I made sure to hit the new switchback downhill and the tight single track up the main creek on the north end and rounded out the loop with the primary goat trail above “the bowl”. There was 21.55 miles showing on my odometer when I pushed the bike up into the truck. Not bad for a nasty-wet day, and based on some commentary, they were more than pleased with the whole experience. Something tells me our friends will be back for another adventure!

One more note about the Klim Traverse jacket . . . that is one awesome piece of gear. It is so tough and perfect for all the briar and branches we endure and although I did get a little warm, my upper body was dry and comfortable. Gore-tex is a wonderful material and Klim knows how to incorporate it into their higher-end gear. You can ride anytime of the year as long as you have the right gear and can get motivated to get out in the nasty elements!

A special thanks to the Southern Crew for having nice quiet 2-strokes and for appreciating the riding opportunity. John provided the photos, Tom contributed some video, and Tim entertained Jesse while he struggled with the MotoZ Mountain Hybrid on the gnarly Kentucky terrain. Great Times!

I’d venture to say that not many folks would have loaded up on a rainy day with a 90% chance of rain to go ride. You really have to enjoy the promise of an adventure and truly be “in it for the fun”. We could have just sat at home but where’s the fun and adventure in that?

See you on the trail!

Kenda Equilibrium: Report #1

In the quest for the perfect tire that is suited for the varied terrain east of the Big River (Mississippi) I have now acquired a new Kenda Equilibrium. Actually, Jesse ordered two and I got one of his.

The version I have is  4.50″ x 18″ and my first impression was that it is super sticky and the knobs are very pliable. I’d have to say that it is not quite as soft feeling as the Michelin or IRC Trials Tires, but it is significantly softer than the Motoz Mountain Hybrid and the Pirelli MT-43. As for sidewalls, they appear to be thicker than the IRC and Michelin Trials Tires but not as robust as the Pirelli and Motoz which are both DOT-rated.

Kenda Equilibrium
Kenda Equilibrium

A positive point is that the Tire Balls worked VERY well in this tire. It is almost like it was made for them. The shape and size of the carcass is perfect for the balls I use. As usual, I lubed up the tire quite well and put some lube on each ball as I inserted it into the tire. The whole process went quickly and much to my delight, it was a breeze to mount. Just about as easy as mounting an 18″ Trials Tire.

It popped up on the rim with ease and the outline of each ball is visible along the sidewall. Pushing down on the knobs causes it to collapse like a trials tire and the 8 lbs. of air in the Tire Balls seems right on target.

Well I took it for a spin today and was very impressed. It does really well climbing over logs, crossing streams, traversing sidehills, and it seems to hook up quite well in the mud. What really surprised me is how it handled this long uphill that is covered with small loose rocks. The VE-33 does fine on it, but the Kenda Equilibrium rides on top of the loose rocks much like a trials tire. I did a lot of “exploring” today but the plan is to put some miles on it tomorrow.

Kenda Equilibrium
Kenda Equilibrium

I’ll give it a thorough test tomorrow by hitting all our trails down in Casey County. Putting 20-25 miles on in the widely varying terrain should let me know what it is all about.

See you on the trail!

MOTOZ MOUNTAIN HYBRID: TEST #2

A couple weekends ago I stuffed my new Motoz Mountain Hybrid tire full of Tire Balls. Each ball had 8.5 lbs. of pressure and was well-lubed. The inside of the tire carcass was lube up as well. The tire seemed a “little” softer than when I first mounted it up with a tube but that was probably due to it being ridden flat on its previous outing.

This past weekend promised to be warm and it was going to be fairly dry for February in Kentucky. With that in mind, I put the Motoz wheel on the YZ for another test. Just like last time, I took a spare wheel with my IRC VE-33 ready to go.

I got a late start on Saturday but it was sunny and around 50 when I left the truck. Jesse has gone down in to the bottom to start cutting a new trail in the valley. I took an alternate route that was a bit too adventurous but I made it down with no drama and found Jesse working near the creek.

Cutting Trail with the Motoz Mountain Hybrid
Cutting Trail with the Motoz Mountain Hybrid

The tire was doing well but it did not like sidehills, especially those covered in leaves. Rocks, not a problem and creek crossings were great. Traction was good on an all dirt logging road, but get it on a damp sidehill covered with 8 varieties of leaves from Kentucky’s deciduous forests and it just does not excel. This where the VE-33 would have done quite well and a even standard trials tire might have performed better.

While exploring a bit I learned that at times it would just stop hooking up. Slick logs and some loose dirt on the side of a big root ball were giving me fits. I really think it needs to be run with less air or something. Basically, it needs to “squat” more to be effective.

So . . . I think my plan is to give it a rest until sometime next summer when things a bit drier. This just isn’t the right time of year to test a “trials-like” tire in the Bluegrass State. Jesse is going to give a shot with his Tubliss system and about 6 lbs of air. That may be the ticket!

UPDATE (03/26/15) :  The Motoz is no longer on the 18″ rim as a new Kenda Equilibrium has arrived. “Hills Rider” is vacationing down in the desert Southwest and has this to say about the Motoz:

“Seemed like the MotoZ wore down to the depth of the sipes pretty fast. All edges feathered as it wore down suggesting the rubber is somewhat soft. I think it will work good in the hills (Black Hills) but it is a little sketchy down here in some loose rock situations and hard pack with loose gravel on top of it.”

Mine is going to hang out in the “stack” for a while and when the conditions are more ideal we’ll give it another spin!

See you on the trail!

Motoz Mountain Hybrid: Test #1

Well there seems to be lots of buzz surrounding the new MotoZ Mountain Hybrid tire. The sales guy at bike show promises wonderful traction in all conditions, notes the DOT rating, and the 18″ form factor with some nice rim protection. Slavens has a good video on it as well but I haven’t seen any test results.

At just under $100 per tire, the MotoZ appears to be a great deal. Most good trials tires will run you $130+ . . . however . . . when you consider the milage you’ll get it is certainly worth it. So, I ordered one from Slavens and had just over a week from when I placed the order. Not bad considering it was coming from Colorado.

For the first time that I’ve seen, my tire was delivered in a box. Yes, a big flat cardboard box. It also had the paper work shrink wrapped around the tire but that was in the box with the receipt and so forth. Nice box.

One thing I noted is that the box was heavy. After opening it up I was shocked at how wide it really was. And rounded, not flat in terms of its profile. It is definitely as heavy as my IRC VE-33 and the carcass is very tough. Also, I think the knobs are just as tall as the VE-33 but rectangular and distributed across the tire in a trials tire-like pattern.

Motoz Mountain Hybrid
Motoz Mountain Hybrid (far right)

The next evening I spooned it onto a spare rim and for the first time in over 5 years I installed a tube, not Tire Balls, in my tire. It was a relatively quick process that I did just before dinner. When airing it up it literally “popped” onto the rim. That sounded good! You could see the excellent rim protection. But, it seemed really “hard” when compared to the other trials tires in the garage. So, I set the air pressure at 8psi and called it a night.

The weekend rolls around and I am anxious to give it a try. Mid-20s the night before means the ground will be frozen until about 11am or so. After that, the ground conditions will get just plain muddy and nasty. That should be a good test as we typically remove our trials tires after the first good freeze and run a knobby until June or so.

I was the first to get suited up the day of our ride so I headed out for a short loop. It was a still a bit hard and didn’t squat like I wanted it to but considering the frozen ground, it performed no worse than a knobby. After about 1 mile I headed back and let a little air out of the tire. Probably down to 6psi at this point.

Shortly thereafter we all left the truck for a good loop. The Motoz Mountain Hybrid was doing good on most everything that was not totally frozen. The knobs were staying clean and it hooked up in some muddy ruts where I expected it would struggle. Most of the rocks and roots were slick with a fine layer of ice or they were just plain wet. Surprisingly, it did well in those situations.

At about 5.1 miles into the ride we came to a frozen and rocky uphill where there was not a good way to carry your speed past halfway up. Unfortunately, I slid over into the rut and had to crawl up hill over rocks and roots and some frozen ground. Not too stylish, but I made it up. Now waiting on the rest of the crew.

The interesting thing is that all 3 Yamaha YZ’s ended up making it to the top, but not the KTM 250XC . . . The orange bike made it on the fourth attempt as we joked about putting some Yamaha stickers on this bike. More to come on this . . .

While waiting at the top I noticed the tire as low. It was now squatting and an 8″ section was off the bead. Not good! I got the little hand pump out of my Klim Nac Pac and grabbed the valve stem. Hmmm . . . it was loose, spinning in the rim. Obviously torn from the tube. Actually, not all is lost . . .

I’d thrown another wheel in the bed of the truck that morning, complete with a barely worn IRC VE-33 loaded full of Tire Balls at about 8psi. The rest of the crew forged onward to complete a good loop and I headed back down the hill and took the path of least resistance back to the truck. Some tools from the backpack (and the stand I now require to be able to step up into the truck without ripping the crotch out of my pants) were all I needed to complete a wheel-swap in less than 4 minutes.

After waiting around for a bit, the crew arrived back at the barn. Everyone ate lunch and we grabbed some more water. During that timeframe, Jesse applied a Yamaha Sticker to the back of Kyle’s helmet . . . you know, the KTM rider that didn’t make it up the first gnarly uphill? Well both Smith and Dean were having a ball getting photos of Kyle’s helmet and specifically the Yamaha sticker. Their tag-team approach acquired some good photos and video!! See below!

Yamaha Sticker on KTM Rider's Helmet (1)
Yamaha Sticker on KTM Rider’s Helmet (1)
Yamaha Sticker on KTM Rider's Helmet (2)
Yamaha Sticker on KTM Rider’s Helmet (2)

So at the end of the day we’d netted about 23 miles of good riding, enjoyed the great mid-winter weather, and had some good times! Better than sitting on the couch all day!

I know it is cold and nasty, but you need to get out and ride!

See you on the trail!