My Alta Redshift MX race...

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7/31/2017 1:27 PM
Edited Date/Time: 8/1/2017 5:02 AM

Yesterday it was time to race the Alta Redshift MX at the Snow Ridge GP in Turin, NY.

The format was as follows; a 30 minute moto starting at 10:00am, and then a second 30 minute moto starting at 11:30am. Perfect for the Alta, the race time-wise and enough time between motos to recharge the battery.

We assembled at the start, and we got the option to do a parade lap, which I opted to do. About a minute or two in, I came to a huge mud pit. There were a couple riders already stuck, but I told myself, self, you got this. But I didn't. I chose a line where halfway through my front wheel got sucked down about 2 feet, and I came to a sudden stop. The bike was completely stuck, and it even stood upright when I got off it.

This is one of the first times that I noticed the weight of the Alta. It is a heavy bike to begin with, but you don't notice the weight of it when you ride it. It feels as light and nimble as a 250F, maybe more. That is, until you are trying to get it unstuck, and then you fall over, and then the bike falls on top of you. Yep, I was pinned underneath my Alta. And I though we were besties. I couldn't move for a little bit, but eventually the Crossfit kicked in, and I was able to leg-press the bike off of me. Another rider helped me pull it out, and I thanked him over and over. In the meantime, sweat was streaming down my face, my googles were wasted, and I was exhausted, and the race hadn't even started yet!

I rode back down to the start, with the mud hole in the back of my mind, wondering how I was going to get through it.

The turnout was a little light, so my class, 45-51 B (the fastest and most competitive... OK, maybe the most enthusiastic) lined up with the am riders. We put our left hands on our heads, with engines running, or in my case, the motor on, and when the starter raised his flag, you went. Well he went down the line, pointing at each of us, and then raised the flag, and BAM, the race was on. I got the holeshot, and led until I came to the mud pit. That damn mud pit. I hesitated for a second, got passed, but then I went way to the left and made it through. Hooray! It wasn't so bad if you chose a good line, but there were riders stuck there every lap.

I was fortunate and I made it through the 5 or so laps I did. And, I won my class for moto one!

Moto 2 was similar, and I got the holeshot again, against all of those pesky 250 2-strokes and 450 4-strokes. They seem loud and angry when they are behind you. And the promoter bypassed the mud hole this moto. I was actually a little sad about this, as I had started to like the mud hole, because I was starting to get the hang of it.

I won my class in the second moto, and for my efforts I got a t-shirt and a championship medal. Not sure, but the medal might be solid gold... at least it is to me.

Photo
45-51 B Champion!

The Alta worked great for both motos, and we are besties again. There was a bit of everything on the course; fast rough uphills and downhills, a slick tight woods section, a grass field section, and of course a mud hole. I would switch into map 2 for the mud hole and tight woods section, and then switch to map 3 for the fast uphills, downhills, and field sections. The Alta worked great on all of it... when I stayed upright.

Photo
418 and counting!

I have 418+ miles on this thing (~30 hours?) and I haven't even had to clean the air filter or change the tranny oil. The owner's manual should say "Ride. Wash. Lube chain. Repeat." My only plans for this thing is to upgrade the software so that the display will show me true hours, which I heard is available now. I will also put on a new pair of grips (stupid mud hole), and I will treat it to some white plastic and new graphics once the season is over.

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7/31/2017 1:38 PM

Awesome! I want one. (someday)

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United States of America

7/31/2017 1:50 PM

Thanks for the info. Its interesting to hear owners experiences using these bikes in the trenches.

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7/31/2017 2:15 PM

Sounds like another great outing. Now that you have been riding it, what are your takeaways of the style that works best for an Alta, and where it is good, and as you explained, bad.

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2015 Beta 500 RS, history: 99 KTM 300, 87 CR250, 84 KLR 600, 82 GPZ 550, 81 KX 250, 80 KX 250, 79 Montesa 414 VE, 78 250 VB, 77 360 VB, 76 360 VA, 75 YZ 125, 74 TM 125, 72 TS 125, 60's West Bend Go Boy Kart

7/31/2017 3:20 PM

That's interesting because Gavin Faith raced one amateur day at Millville. 4 laps on the fast setting and the battery overheats.

You get about 20 minutes to a charge, and the he is on his 3rd battery. The bike is 3 months old.

It has potential, but it's FAR from being close

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7/31/2017 3:26 PM

That's some great wallet talking. Congrats!

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7/31/2017 3:31 PM

Pretty awesome OP, I can't imagine all that happening before the race and you still won 2 Motos!

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7/31/2017 3:39 PM

Great job and write up.

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7/31/2017 4:07 PM

Nice write up... Stank Dog raced one at PIR last Thursday night and was rippin!! I noticed before the moto that they had towels around the battery, not sure if they were hiding something or if they had some cooling packs on it to go into the race cold?? It's just so strange to not hear the bike when they go flying by.

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7/31/2017 4:14 PM

Nice and I appreciate you sharing

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7/31/2017 4:26 PM

Thanks for the write-up. Even a 125 will feel like 500 pounds when you're stuck in mud. Mud is the worst.

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7/31/2017 4:27 PM

BigDaddyG wrote:

Nice write up... Stank Dog raced one at PIR last Thursday night and was rippin!! I noticed before the moto that they had towels around the battery, not sure if they were hiding something or if they had some cooling packs on it to go into the race cold?? It's just so strange to not hear the bike when they go flying by.

Probably cooling it off with towels that were soaking in an ice chest.

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7/31/2017 4:42 PM
Edited Date/Time: 7/31/2017 4:44 PM

Funny you should mention getting trapped. Just last week I was on my Alta, fell and somehow got my boot stuck between the swingarm and the ground. I tried like hell but couldn't pull my leg out! A flagger had to lift the bike off me. I felt like one those Cowboys that get stuck under a dead horse. Never happened to me in over 45 years of riding, very embarrassing.

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Retired Mechanical Engineer, published technical writer, mscperformance.com, Bisimotoengineering.com,

7/31/2017 4:43 PM

RickA wrote:

That's interesting because Gavin Faith raced one amateur day at Millville. 4 laps on the fast setting and the battery overheats.

You get about 20 minutes to a charge, and the he is on his 3rd battery. The bike is 3 months old.

It has potential, but it's FAR from being close

Probably difference between pro riding it and 45-51B rider!

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7/31/2017 5:02 PM

Even though your bike isn't loud, I wonder if ear plugs would be a good set up for these bikes because I would imagine the noise from the bikes behind you would be pretty intimidating.

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Instagram: vanillaice782
Amateur helmet painter

7/31/2017 5:07 PM

RickA wrote:

That's interesting because Gavin Faith raced one amateur day at Millville. 4 laps on the fast setting and the battery overheats.

You get about 20 minutes to a charge, and the he is on his 3rd battery. The bike is 3 months old.

It has potential, but it's FAR from being close

My experience is the Alta does pretty good battery wise on flatter hard pack tracks. You throw in sand, a few hills, deep ruts, and a pro rider and it's going to put a huge drain on the battery pack and overheat some cells. The individual cells are very sensitive to over current and over temperature (among other things) and the system will cut back or shut down before it allows damage to the cells (or motor, or inverter).

I've yet to experience a complete shutdown but I've noticed some power reduction around the 20 minute mark (about 30% battery remaining). Could be the thermal control system kicking in or just a matter of lower voltages associated with the lower charge, or both. I've kept away from tracks like Glen Helen as I'm pretty sure it would be pretty tough on the pack/motor/inverter, even at my skill level.

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Retired Mechanical Engineer, published technical writer, mscperformance.com, Bisimotoengineering.com,

7/31/2017 8:47 PM

sounds like these would be great for inner city type tracks or at least small arenas, the lack of noise and air pollution and and not being drained like it would in deep loam outdoorsy tracks

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"If you feel in control, you're not going fast enough" ~Mario Andretti

7/31/2017 10:06 PM

RickA wrote:

That's interesting because Gavin Faith raced one amateur day at Millville. 4 laps on the fast setting and the battery overheats.

You get about 20 minutes to a charge, and the he is on his 3rd battery. The bike is 3 months old.

It has potential, but it's FAR from being close

I saw him on Thursday practice (or at least I assume it was him). Even though everyone has know about the altas for awhile it's still weird being passed by a silent bike

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2003 CR250R - 2006 KX250 (freessshhhh)

8/2/2017 7:35 AM

I have raced my Alta at several races with different formats: local mx where motos are 12 minutes long, and GP/J-Day style races where there are two 30 minute motos, with about an hour between the two.

I have not had any issues with the battery or battery life at all, once I figured out the charging while I am at a track. I use a Coleman Powermate 5000 generator. I bought the generator off of Craigslist for $200, and it charges the battery pretty fast at 220v. At my last mx race, I did three classes (6 motos) and I was able to be fully charged or close to fully charged for every moto.

For me, a 220 pound 51 year old B rider, the Alta works great. I prefer old-school mx tracks with a lot of hills, off-cambers, ruts, and other technical obstacles. Big double and triple jumps scare me, and I would rather lose 2 seconds a lap not doing a big double than losing 6 months of riding and racing because I am in plaster. I want to be that guy that is still racing at 60, then 70, ...

I feel less tired after a moto on the Alta too. I am not sure if it is because I am riding more than I ever have, or because it is easier to ride. I would say that it is both.

And I loved that I raced it Sunday, and last night I rolled it out of the trailer, still dirty from the race, and I was able to practice without feeling guilty because of a dirty air filter. With that said, I might have to clean my first air filter in over two months this Saturday, as my son wants to race his KX85 on Sunday!

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8/2/2017 2:15 PM

Thanks for the write-up. Keep us posted.

Thanks to all the other Alta owners chiming in.

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8/2/2017 2:22 PM

ben990 wrote:

I have raced my Alta at several races with different formats: local mx where motos are 12 minutes long, and GP/J-Day style races where there are two 30 minute motos, with about an hour between the two.

I have not had any issues with the battery or battery life at all, once I figured out the charging while I am at a track. I use a Coleman Powermate 5000 generator. I bought the generator off of Craigslist for $200, and it charges the battery pretty fast at 220v. At my last mx race, I did three classes (6 motos) and I was able to be fully charged or close to fully charged for every moto.

For me, a 220 pound 51 year old B rider, the Alta works great. I prefer old-school mx tracks with a lot of hills, off-cambers, ruts, and other technical obstacles. Big double and triple jumps scare me, and I would rather lose 2 seconds a lap not doing a big double than losing 6 months of riding and racing because I am in plaster. I want to be that guy that is still racing at 60, then 70, ...

I feel less tired after a moto on the Alta too. I am not sure if it is because I am riding more than I ever have, or because it is easier to ride. I would say that it is both.

And I loved that I raced it Sunday, and last night I rolled it out of the trailer, still dirty from the race, and I was able to practice without feeling guilty because of a dirty air filter. With that said, I might have to clean my first air filter in over two months this Saturday, as my son wants to race his KX85 on Sunday!

Not to be a smartass but you've got a silent bike but charge it at the track with a noisy generator!!

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