by Kevin Driscoll
OK, ‘The Boy’ has a Yamaha PW80. It is one of the few great starter bikes out there for the young-uns. The PW is indeed a great, dependable, bullet-proof bike, but starts lacking when the rider’s skills improve, and it gets used outside its intended open trail/back yard design, or the rider grows a few inches too tall. ‘The Boy’ hit all three of these at about the same time.
When he advanced to single track trail riding, the bike would hang up on everything. More than a few times he had both wheels spinning in the air as the chassis or foot pegs balanced on a rock or roots! When we used it for beginner trials it couldn’t hop a thing. He dug the pegs into the ground on tight corners. Then ‘The Boy’ just became a little too tall, but not tall enough to be comfortable on a bike the next size up. Lastly, since the bike still runs strong, is virtually maintenance free, and just plain fun to screw around on, I really didn’t want to let it go. The answer? The X-Tender! I found this little piece of glorious, machined steel on the web and it solved all my small bike issues.
Basically, it is a spacer that attaches to the top of the shock rod, thus pushing back the rear shock and the swing arm down. Installation was simple once I figured a way to compress the spring enough to remove the keeper. The result? A full 4” lift to the back swing arm! It is amazing what those few inches will do for getting over obstacles. The pint sized Yamaha went from getting hung up on most anything to clearing most everything. It made trail riding much more fun when I didn’t have to go help ‘The Boy’ wrestle his bike off of every outcropping on the trail. It’s been a while since I last heard “Dad! A little help here!” With my son’s riding it has, so far, eliminated peg scraping around corners. Even though the front remains untouched, the bike still handles as good as ever.
After two years of my 200+ pounds flying over jumps, it has yet to break. The PW is a tough bike and the X-Tender is at least as tough. The raised back end even gives the PW that cool motocrosser look. The X-Tender works on Yamaha PW80s and TTR90s (They have the same frame) and is priced at $24.95. Hey! It’s $15 cheaper now than what I paid two years ago! So, if your urchin is out-growing the PW80 or you’re looking to turn it into a ‘Pit Bike’ for the adults to thrash, this should be your first step. Find out more and order at www.x-tender.com. MMM