Joey's Honda CRF80F
August 21, 2017
The thing about having kids is... as they grow so too, do their bikes. Joey out grew his Honda CRF70F, so we decided to upgrade to the Honda CRF80F. And with the new bike have come new challenges.
The biggest obstacle in this changeover has been the new (to him) concept of a clutch. After just four days of riding, Joey made a somewhat smooth transition
The New Motorcycle
We scoured Craigslist for a CRF80F thinking it'd be an easy transition from the four-speed, clutch-free CRF70F. He would have to learn to adjust to the clutch and new shifting pattern, but it would still be a Honda. We found a bike 100 miles from home and decided to pick it up after a weekend race. The test ride in the cul-de-sac went well. The 2005 was in mint condition; the plastic looked new, the motor was clean, and the Dunlop tires still had the hair on them. We loaded it up and headed home to test it out at the farm.
The First Ride
The farm has a grassy pasture, a mini-endurocross track, and ATV trails that we created specifically for this purpose: it's a safer, controlled environment close to home for Joey to experiment.
Joey warmed up on his old bike for about 30 minutes before we felt he was ready to take on an entirely different style of shifting. We discussed the clutch and the pitfalls of poor shifting, like being tossed off, or stalling out. We explained how he should shift, and when he felt confident, we hopped on the bike together, Joey driving and me riding passenger. To start, I operated the clutch and throttle to demonstrate to Joey. He kicked me off after two demonstrations, anxious to do it on his own.
He operated it flawlessly back and forth through the pasture, starting, stopping, shifting with ease. Once he was comfortable on flat ground, we moved to the endurocross track, where he made quick work of the rock, whoop, woodpile and tire sections. We were amazed at how easily he transitioned.
Joey and I decided to take a trip to the mountains along Deadman Road in Larimer County, Colorado during some time off of work. We arrived at our remote camping location, unpacked and decided to explore. For the first two days, Joey familiarized himself with the terrain on his old Honda 70, but on the third day, technical difficulties took it out of commission. He spent the morning riding around camp on the 80 and seemed to handle it confidently and comfortably, so we hit the trail. He was a natural! Water crossings barely made him blink, he glid over boulders like they didn't exist, and he dodged trees with grace and poise.
All Grown Up
Worries never had a chance to materialize during Joey's transition simply because he showed us he was capable and mature enough to handle riding a more complex model. He handled the bike well in the pasture, he practiced dilligantly, and he observed safety rules. The mountains could have posed a challenge, but he'd been riding in Colorado mountain terrain since the age of four. I fear it won't be long before he starts showing me up. I keep thinking about how when he was four, he told me if I needed, he could give me pointers on how to ride. It was cute then, and I laughed, but now I think the time that he'll start actually teaching me things isn't long off.