Well, I just got back from a weekend trail ride at one of my favorite spots. This place has over 150 miles of mountain trails, everything from nice, groomed trails to rutted, rocky, and I mean ROCKY stuff. A lot of it is relatively tight and twisty, there are some very healthy hillclimbs, in a nutshell, you get a little of everything and the riding there is great. There was still some snow in areas, and it was pretty muddy in spots. So, on to my thoughts....
Keep in mind that I had been riding a Raptor for 5 years, so I was really used to it, it was like an old pair of your favorite shoes. I was pretty nervous too about riding the XX too hard in the woods right off the bat, cuz' it's pretty easy to end up wrapped around a tree or tag a small stump if you are not on top of your game. As we hit the trailhead, my group insisted that I lead, so I was already going to be pushing it more than I had planned. So I headed down the first trail, it is smooth, groomed, then tightens a bit into some nice turns.
First gear is definitely short, second was very nice. The bike handles very well. It is very nimble in the trees and turns very easily. The only time I felt it "push" was in a big wide sweeping corner. If you didn't go into it very fast and use some body english, it would definitely push a bit. The front end will come up on demand, even in third gear if you are going fast enough. The suspension worked very nice, although it did feel a little stiff in the rear. The power is smooth, it doesn't hit really hard, and it is a bit "linear", I guess. It really seems as though the exhaust is pretty corked up. As the day wore on, I rode it a bit harder, getting used to the bit of tippyness it has in real tight turns. Going thru the rocks was pretty sweet, I would go over stuff that I would normally hammer with my skidplate on the old Raptor, and I would just sail over it. I have to say this is the first time I have ever rode where my hands and forearms were more fatigued than my back. A set of Flexx bars would make this thing very smooth! After our first 3 hour ride, I was relatively pleased, but still not so sure about how I felt about the XX.
The main reason for my uncertianty was that third gear definitely has some warts. When I was riding, second gear worked pretty good, but when the trails opened up a bit I would hit third. Third gear is very wide, and if you kept on the throttle it was fine. But it does not like to lug down AT ALL. It will bog down real bad, and will not pull out of it if you let it get too far. So you have to downshift a lot more than you should have to. Hopefully opening up the exhaust and and reprogrammiing the EFI would help this? You could even get it to bog down a bit in second, although you could normally roll on the throttle and get it to pull out of it. When this first happened, I was pretty dissapointed. I could ride in third for 40-50% of the time if it didn't do this.
When we went out later that day, I was getting more used to the way she handled and started to like it more and more. I did notice on the fire roads that the engine does vibrate a little more than I thought it would at the higher RPMs. I started riding it harder and harder, and it seems to perform better in all aspects the harder you ride it. It does not have a stalling issue as was first reported, you can creep thru big rocks and stuff just fine. At the end of the day, I definitely felt better about my purchase.
Then yesterday morning, feeling good and refreshed, I rode that sucker like I stole it. I got used to the bogging issue and how to handle it. A buddy on a Scrambler and myself took a two hour ride, non-stop.. at on the edge speed. I was loving it. I rode up this nasty ass trial with big ol' rocks (not rock crawling), and I could just pick my way up and thru them, without ever touching anything underneath. I rode it faster and faster, hard thru the turns, blasting thru the washouts and ruts, just having a blast.
At the end of the trip , I was very, very happy I bought it. It has good power with the potential to be great. It handles very well, I would have never EVER thought that it weighed as much as it does. Never did I feel that it was heavy at all. The suspension is very good in that environment. It is nimble, and it flies from turn to turn with ease.
I think this thing is a great trail machine. If something can be done about the bogging, it could be perfect. A buddy of mine said that there is a pretty good possibility that the low end circuit may just be too rich from the factory. I don't think it is a gearing issue, it is fuel delivery. In my opinion, changing the front sprocket would be a mistake, it would make first gear useless and second way too short.
All in all, it is great machine. My only complaint is that black plastic gets trashed way too easy! Mine is definitely broke in, to say the least! Oh, well, it was beautiful for the three days I had it before I took it out anyway! Sorry I've rambled a bit here, it was a long, great weekend and I'm still draggin'!
HMF Ballance QRS slip-on, HMF/Dobeck programmer, Velocity filter, EHS lid, Razr rear tires, 22" Razr 2 front tires, Pro Armor Fat Peg Nerfs, Pro Armor XC bumper, Fasst Flex Bars, Trail Tech billet logo clamp, PRM a-arm skids.