OFF-ROAD TESTING: BIG BEAR DUAL SPORT GRUELER

Last weekend we pointed it to Big Bear, California to ride in the Big Bear Trail Riders National Dual Sport run.  The Big Bear Trail Riders have been putting this event on for 27 years and it has a reputation as one of the toughest rides in the National Dual Sport schedule. Riders who finish the hard loop (over 200-miles) get a plaque and it has gained prestige for the hard-core off-roader as a bucket list goal. This list of heroes who have ridden this in past range from Ty Davis to Larry Roeseler and Honda’s Johnny Campbell.   In order to finish all of the hard loops, riders start at 6am, some have dry brakes for quick gas stops and it is way more race, then ride and enjoy the mountains. The run is GPS navigated, has easy/hard and adventure loops to choose from.

Our group- TWebb, MWebb, Rodney Smith, Brian Palmer and Shane Nalley opted to pick and choose the loops that would test them, but hopefully not kill them. The ‘Ricky Johnson’ was slated to ride with them, but had hand surgery 2-weeks earlier so he and Scott Cox came as pit support. It’s a bit weird having an all-time hero handing you a sandwich, but RJ is a great friend and totally down to earth.

Here’s a quick look at our team and the drama/hilarity that infected our assault on conquering the Big Bear DS Run.

The Realtor, Mike Webb, Ricky Johnson, Wolf, Rodney Smith and Shane Nalley made up our team.

 

Brian (the Realtor) made it through the brutal first section and a portion of the second when his rear tire erupted and spit out its mousse. It was all pilot error as he broke the bead during installation.

 

Rodney Smith used any tools that might act like a tire iron (since no one had any with them!) and worked the tire back onto the rim. Brian attempts to help.

 

Rodney wired the tire on in hopes of keeping it on the rim. No luck. The Realtor stole Tom’s spare wheel when the team finally got back to the base camp and they finished the final hard loops of the event.

 

Ricky and Scott Cox picked up Subway for the riders. Palmer barely made it here. Mike Webb was struggling with sickness and packed it in.

 

MWebb, Wolf and RJ discussing the fact that Big Bear is a beautiful ‘looking’ vacation spot that is really nothing more than a giant boulder field!

 

TWebb used the Trail Tech Voyager Pro for the first time at the GPS laid out event. This requires getting acclimated  with the device- it’s modes and the ability to follow the tracks. As the long day wore on it got easier and easier to navigate.

 

On the trail with the Wolf and his KTM500EXC. He modded the suspension via Kreft, sparked up the engines appetite along with a gaggle of other mods. In his words the results were spectacular.

 

The Realtor Brian Palmer on the trail with his Rekluse clutched HQV FE450.

 

Our final loop featured the very tough 38-Special hillclimb. The run is long, lacks a good approach and is brutally rock infested.

 

38-Special requires tenacity and some luck to get to the top clean.

 

Dust creates horrendous obstacles when you attack a nasty, rock blistered hill climb.

 

Three old dudes with a superstar on top of 38-Special. Wolf, Shane Nalley, the infamous Rodney Smith and Brian Palmer yuck it up around the 8,000-foot level.

 

This Beta pilot was smart. He dropped the rear tire air pressure to 3 or 4 psi at the bottom of 38-Special, got to the top and then via a pump he carried, plugged it in and refilled his tires. Nice!

 

Rodney Smith, one of Americas’s most decorated racers is employed by Beta working Press Relations for the company. This man loves to ride, hauls butt and is the ultimate jokester. Always a hoot riding with Julio!

 

Shane Nalley has worked as a factory mechanic for decades, most famously having Mike Kiedrowski as his rider. Shane now lives in So Cal, owns a very sano KTM 350EXC and he is a very talented pilot. Too, a riot to ride with!

 

The final portion of the hard loop was all single track and very tight. Our group loved it! In the end we put in 110-miles of pretty intense riding, especially cool considering we were on street legal machines.

 

 

 

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