So we decided to take an extended Alta hillclimbing. . .

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10/16/2018 8:32 PM

Just wanted to share a little bit about a project I was a part of a few weeks back. Those who follow Alta on social media or subscribe to their email listing may have already seen a little about it.

The short version of how this all came about was an idea a friend of mine and I had about taking an Alta hillclimbing. After riding one, I was under the strong impression that the bike would seriously excel in this discipline, and Alta ended up feeling similarly enough that they let us borrow a 18 Redshift EXR for a few weeks to get some extensions outfitted on it and race it at the 2018 Carnegie Classic Hillclimb. I work as a ME, and I've been dabbling into designing some sets of extensions for the last year or so in partnership with XTNDED. Some of you who read Dirtbike Magazine may have noticed they recently did an article on Kyle Redmond's 450 build of the Great American Hillclimb earlier this summer. The extensions outfitted on that bike were a prototype set of ours, and extremely similar to what we outfitted our Alta with. Now, because of the insanely short amount of time we had to make this happen (about 3 weeks to design, machine, and test the extensions before the race), Alta was nice enough to mail me an old swingarm to take measurements off before we picked up the demo bike, and that's probably the only way this even got done because we were down to the wire.laughing A little CAD model tweaking and 3D test printing later, and the part files/drawing were sent to the machinist.

I'll spare you the boring design stuff, but basically we were able to get the extensions onto the bike, as well as a longer brake line and chain, a couple days before the race. The machinist did an absolutely incredible job on this set and they fit perfectly, not to mention it was done in a matter of days! We tested a bit mid week and took some photos of the bike, then it was off to the races. Eventually we worked it out that I would ride the bike in the stock length pro classes, and Austin "Superfly" Teyler would run the bike in the 450 and 700cc extended pro classes. Here are a few shots from the test session, the lighting and sky were absolutely perfect and I still can't get over how awesome this bike looked.

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Photo

Here is a video of all my runs from the weekend. I ran the Alta in the Hellclimb Challenge (stock length qualifier for Enduroclimb) and the Enduroclimb Shootout (starts at 3:06). I actually ended up having a great weekend in pretty much every class but the 700 pro, and all my finishes are detail at the end of the video. I was lucky enough to be able to borrow an Open class bike for the weekend, and had I not slammed myself into terrafirma I probably would have been able to win that class with the run I had going, but that's just how it goes sometimes. I was more than happy just to be able to walk away sore and beat up, that was a scary one for sure. Something about 4 cylinder engines in dirtbike frames tends to make consequences and speeds a little higher. . .

I have to say, I was seriously impressed with how the Alta performed all weekend. Austin put down some incredible runs on it against some seriously built 450s and 700 class bikes, and even came away with a 4th in 450 pro. In my classes the lack of clutch and incredible rear wheel traction was much appreciated. I pushed pretty hard to be able to run the bike at least in the enduroclimb shootout because I honestly thought I could do better than I could on my yz250, and now that everything is all said and done I think I was absolutely correct. It's amazing how easy it is to go through some gnarly sections and hit hillclimbs when you don't have to shift or cover a clutch, it's like a jetski you just point and go! I really wish we could have had more time with the bike but they needed it back right after the race was oversad Regardless of what this leads to in the future though, it was just awesome to see how excited people were to have one of these at the race and see a manufacturer express any interest in hillclimb. We've been on the back burner forever it seems like so it was really exciting for everyone, and I literally had zero negative feedback from people all weekend about the bike. Seriously, there were people in our pit constantly on Friday afternoon and evening looking it over and asking questions. There were some who were skeptical of how it would do, which is a reasonable train of thought, but after the races were over I don't think there was a single person doubting that this was very likely to be the future of hillclimb.

This was a lot of fun to be a part of and hopefully if you made it this far it was somewhat interesting to read about. As far as I know this is the first extended electric hillclimb bike in history, so if nothing else we can claim that!tongue There is plenty of other content on Alta's instagram page as well as the @elevatedactionsports page if you want to check it out.

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Make Hillclimb Great Again

Ratbeach Racing

Instagram / YouTube: @485Josh

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10/16/2018 8:33 PM

Here is a short edit they made from the event as well:

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Make Hillclimb Great Again

Ratbeach Racing

Instagram / YouTube: @485Josh

3dpmoto.com



10/16/2018 9:02 PM

Very cool! Love the design that went into it. I, for one, would love to get a peek behind the curtain of that.

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10/16/2018 9:08 PM

Was it an otherwise stock EXR? Or did you change gearing?

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10/16/2018 9:13 PM

That was bad ass to watch. You hillclimbers are a special brand of nuts.

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10/16/2018 9:14 PM

Nice build thats awesome thought the vids were pretty cool. insane to see what that alta can do against 450s. Very cool!

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10/16/2018 9:27 PM

That's so cool. I really appreciate Alta's willingness to branch out into other forms of dirt bike racing. I have admired hill climb for awhile but don't know much about it.. it seems so technical

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10/16/2018 9:33 PM

theycallmeebryan wrote:

Was it an otherwise stock EXR? Or did you change gearing?

We changed the gearing to 13/43, aside from that it was completely stock. The soft enduro suspension posed a bit of a challenge, but with the time frame we had we just ran it and did what we could. Aside from that minor setback the bike is pretty damn amazing in stock form, nothing on the electronics side varied from stock.

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Make Hillclimb Great Again

Ratbeach Racing

Instagram / YouTube: @485Josh

3dpmoto.com



10/16/2018 9:39 PM

jdsmooth wrote:

That's so cool. I really appreciate Alta's willingness to branch out into other forms of dirt bike racing. I have admired hill climb for awhile but don't know much about it.. it seems so technical

You pretty much hit it in the head, it’s extremely technical, but you also need to be able to ride like you’re on a moto track. It’s tough because you have to be absolutely perfect from bottom to top to even have a chance at placing. It’s not like a motocross race where you can say “oh shoot, I blew that corner, I’ll have to pick that time up somewhere else”, you do that in a hillclimb and you just threw away any chance you had at placing. Hills can often have turns and jumps in them also, so moto skills are becoming a necessity, but you also need to be able to deal with rocks, ledges, etc. Its fun but man can it get frustrating, some weekends you’re just on a roll and put great runs down, and others you just can’t catch a break to save your life! It’s like golf honestly, the mental side is very important and it’s easy to get flustered and just start a downward spiral if things aren’t going your way.

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Make Hillclimb Great Again

Ratbeach Racing

Instagram / YouTube: @485Josh

3dpmoto.com



10/17/2018 7:41 AM

Good stuff Josh. Talk about making something happen in a short amount of time! Cool that Alta supprted the effort.

Definitely a traditional ICE motorsport that has had so much violent power and sounds associated with its long history. Must have been weird for some to see/“hear” that Alta make its traverse. Thanks for sharing.

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10/17/2018 7:48 AM

theycallmeebryan wrote:

Was it an otherwise stock EXR? Or did you change gearing?

JM485 wrote:

We changed the gearing to 13/43, aside from that it was completely stock. The soft enduro suspension posed a bit of a challenge, but with the time frame we had we just ran it and did what we could. Aside from that minor setback the bike is pretty damn amazing in stock form, nothing on the electronics side varied from stock.

Do you mean a 13/53, or did you really run a 43 rear? 13/43 is a really low final drive ratio! Stock MXR is 12/53 and stock EXR is 14/53.

Did you play around with gearing or just ballpark it?

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10/17/2018 7:52 AM

Awesome!

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10/17/2018 3:24 PM

Very cool!

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10/17/2018 3:28 PM

Good stuff!!

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10/17/2018 8:41 PM

HazemG wrote:

Very cool! Love the design that went into it. I, for one, would love to get a peek behind the curtain of that.

Sorry, I've been meaning to respond but I just now had the time to sit down and do it properly. The design process for something like this was a little interesting. Now, keep in mind I'm still pretty fresh out of school so my experience is limited, but here is how I went about things.

Basically my friend and I kicked around some ideas of what would be optimal for a set of hillclimb extensions that anyone could use, not just people who are familiar with extended bikes and swingarms. The biggest challenge, and one that we thought was important to tackle, was allowing the use of the stock axle and axle blocks. This allowed things to stay familiar in the chain tensioning department, and helped save a ton of weight for the overall system since stock axles are already extremely light. The other challenge was allowing the use of a stock chain guide. I hate when extension sets force you to use some random chain guide that it hard to find if you happen to destroy one, its much simpler and easier for the end user if the chain guide is stock. On my bikes I like to run a full chain guide near the sprocket, and using the stock mounts I like to bolt on a cut down inner section to keep chain smack at a minimum.

Now, it seems pretty simple on the surface. "Ok, you just make some aluminum sticks, bolt a chain guide and brake hanger on, and you're done. Big deal!" Well, yes, until you consider that there are three different length options, and within each length option there needs to be adjustment for the chain. Basically, the chain guide and brake hanger not only have to line up correctly, but they also need to be movable to accommodate different lengths, sprocket sizes, and even rotor sizes just like a stock bike can. If time allows I really prefer to do a test 3d print of at least the first hole on each side, literally bolt them to a test bike, and make sure everything lines up. If the chain guide or brake hanger are off even a little bit it can potentially cause a lot of premature wear and make taking the wheel on and off a total PITA. Almost invariably I've had to make minor adjustments for each bike (mostly because I'm not really all that smart and tend to overlook at least one stupid thingpinch ), and the 3d printed test pieces really help save time consuming and costly machined parts that aren't spec'd correctly.

The other question that I had to consider was, how strong is strong enough? Everyone wants the lightest parts possible, but how much can you really get away with taking off? I ended up taking what I considered to be a very well proven and respected design that's been made locally for years and years, determine what it was capable of withstanding, and design my sticks to be just as strong or stronger. Using Solidworks FEA and a few hand calculations to account for forces induced by the chain (these motors can put serious load on a chain!), I worked toward a final design that I felt was sufficiently strong and as light as possible. I've been running my set all season, as has Austin, and we've had no issues to hopefully that continues. Eventually I'd love to have these readily available to everyone who wants to give extended hillclimb a try, but there's some logistical issues to work out in the mean time as we continue to try to break these things.laughing On a serious note though, I feel that there's absolutely no excuse to release a part that isn't adequately tested and designed, that's just negligent and I'd never be able to forgive myself if someone got hurt because one of my parts failed.

Hopefully that gave a little bit of an idea of how I went about things. I'm still learning every day (I think we all are really) and this seems like the most rational way to go about a project like this with the tools available to me, but I'm sure someone with more experience could shed some light on how I could have done things better/differently. Safety in the design was priority number one for me, which is why the first set went on my own bike and was raced on by me only, and only after the design was proven did I give the OK have any others made.

Here are some better pictures of the ones on my YZ-450F.

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Photo

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Make Hillclimb Great Again

Ratbeach Racing

Instagram / YouTube: @485Josh

3dpmoto.com



10/17/2018 8:46 PM

theycallmeebryan wrote:

Do you mean a 13/53, or did you really run a 43 rear? 13/43 is a really low final drive ratio! Stock MXR is 12/53 and stock EXR is 14/53.

Did you play around with gearing or just ballpark it?

Shoot, sorry that was a typo, should have been 13/53pinch I'd be very curious to try different gearing on the bike, but unfortunately time just didn't allow it. For reference, on my YZ-450F I run 13/58 (not a typo, I had a custom sprocket made), which allows me to use 3rd gear more often. I often find myself questioning whether or not I can click up a gear or not mid run. If the bike will pull, you'll save a ton of time and really speed your run up, but if you judge it wrong and you end up having to click back down, you've now wasted precious tenths of a second and really hurt your finishing position. Hillclimb is seriously a game of tenths, not full seconds anymore.

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Make Hillclimb Great Again

Ratbeach Racing

Instagram / YouTube: @485Josh

3dpmoto.com



10/18/2018 2:42 PM

Cool project, that 4 cylinder put you down hard! A little Endurocross section to start things off. Who was on that Beta 2t? that dude was gone..

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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

10/18/2018 8:26 PM

JM485 wrote:

We changed the gearing to 13/43, aside from that it was completely stock. The soft enduro suspension posed a bit of a challenge, but with the time frame we had we just ran it and did what we could. Aside from that minor setback the bike is pretty damn amazing in stock form, nothing on the electronics side varied from stock.

theycallmeebryan wrote:

Do you mean a 13/53, or did you really run a 43 rear? 13/43 is a really low final drive ratio! Stock MXR is 12/53 and stock EXR is 14/53.

Did you play around with gearing or just ballpark it?

JM485 wrote:

Shoot, sorry that was a typo, should have been 13/53pinch I'd be very curious to try different gearing on the bike, but unfortunately time just didn't allow it. For reference, on my YZ-450F I run 13/58 (not a typo, I had a custom sprocket made), which allows me to use 3rd gear more often. I often find myself questioning whether or not I can click up a gear or not mid run. If the bike will pull, you'll save a ton of time and really speed your run up, but if you judge it wrong and you end up having to click back down, you've now wasted precious tenths of a second and really hurt your finishing position. Hillclimb is seriously a game of tenths, not full seconds anymore.

At a Midwest hillclimb, tenths are an eternity. I've been kicked off of the top step by two thousandths of a second and it can really eat at a guy knowing that one knob slipping could have meant the difference.
Cool project JM, I'd really like to ride an Alta and the news about the company this morning was a bit disturbing. I've been slowly gaining interest in them and had wondered how they would fare on the hill against the 450s.

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10/18/2018 9:10 PM

Johnny Depp wrote:

Cool project, that 4 cylinder put you down hard! A little Endurocross section to start things off. Who was on that Beta 2t? that dude was gone..

Austin was on the Beta, he put down an absolutely perfect run so I can't take anything away from him on that one. I wish I would have had the inside lane, but he qualified better than I did so he earned it. And ya, the open bike seriously humbled me, that was one of the worst crashes I've ever had. I don't know how I got lucky enough to be able to walk away with nothing seriously hurt but I'm thankful for it, that's for sure.

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Make Hillclimb Great Again

Ratbeach Racing

Instagram / YouTube: @485Josh

3dpmoto.com



10/18/2018 9:15 PM

reded wrote:

At a Midwest hillclimb, tenths are an eternity. I've been kicked off of the top step by two thousandths of a second and it can really eat at a guy knowing that one knob slipping could have meant the difference.
Cool project JM, I'd really like to ride an Alta and the news about the company this morning was a bit disturbing. I've been slowly gaining interest in them and had wondered how they would fare on the hill against the 450s.

Haha I know exactly what you mean, I've won and lost by hundredths before and it's maddening! I kind of wonder sometimes what the actual tolerance of those sensors is. . .

I've got to say, it absolutely ruined my day to see the news this morning. Those guys are so passionate about what they do and have put a ton of effort into promoting their company and going racing in unique segments of the sport, so to see it all just end like that was like a shot to the gut. I can only hope they secure funding from somewhere, because I promise you if you're able to spend some time on one of their bikes you will come away extremely impressed. Having an OEM express interest in hillclimb was such a huge deal for us and everyone there was super excited about what could potential come, so I feel like the dream just kind of came crashing down around me honestly.

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Make Hillclimb Great Again

Ratbeach Racing

Instagram / YouTube: @485Josh

3dpmoto.com