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How does Chucky’s bike feel compared to his teammates, Sam Sunderland’s Dakar winning machine? We ask Grabbo, who has ridden both.

I know it was only his training/testing bike, but I did get to ride Sam Sunderland’s Factory GASGAS 450 Rally in the desert sands of Dubai only a month before Sam went onto winning Dakar.

Sitting on both bikes there was nothing crazy different in feel, that is no surprise as neither rider runs any funky setup, nor is there a huge difference in stature between both riders. Even though I sampled both bikes in totally different countries, terrain and while running different fuels, they both felt pretty similar in power delivery. Both engine packages felt like they would reward a rider who charges hard and kept the rpm high.

The suspension department was the only area that both these bikes had quite a different feel. Up front they both run the Factory WP 52mm Cone Valve fork and neither setup was that different in action to the other. The rear shock was where they felt worlds apart. Unlike Chucky’s firm, very controlled shock feel, Sam’s shock action was very lively, it felt a lot softer when hitting small bumps and felt a lot faster in the rebound.

The advantage of Sam Sunderland’s setting would be more comfort and less fatigue on stages that have a lot of small chattery bumps or stones. The downside would be how easy it blows through on the bigger bumps meaning you cannot attack sections at the same speeds you could on Chucky’s setup. You could argue that Sam’s setup is the better option as he got the Dakar win with it.