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Know a little something about maintenance, fixing, tuning, or modifying MX, offroad, & dual sport motorcycles, ATV or UTV? Or, maybe you have mad skills riding or racing them? Whatever the case, if you have valuable knowledge & experiences that relates to motorcycles, ATVs, or UTVs, please help your fellow riders by sharing your best tips, tricks, and how to articles.

    Husquire
    Tired of your ride and want to try something new? Bike too big or too small and think you need a size adjustment? Here are a few pointers on how to trade what you have now for that perfect bike you’ve been dreaming of at little to no cost! If you are thinking of swapping dirt bikes there are a few strategies that you must be familiar with to be successful.  
    The first strategy and the hardest part of trading off road motorcycles is getting one in the first place if you do not already have one. Riders do like to swap bikes, however it is uncommon that they want to trade it for something other than another dirt bike. The only people who are usually looking to get out of the sport are those that either have been injured or those who have a new family and no longer have the time to ride. In either case both those types of people are usually looking to maximize their profits to help out with their respective causes.
    If you do not already have a bike I found that there are two main items people usually swap one for. The first are ATV’s. People who have dirt bikes tend to be hooked to off road riding, though some find dirt bikes too hard to too risky. These are the types of people that want to swap for an ATV. It’s been my experience that most people prefer 4X4 ATV’s instead of the race ATV. I find this I mostly due to again race ATVs being too fast and higher risk. Also some people prefer them because you can have a passenger and is cheaper to ride 2 up on an ATV then have 2 bikes. If you don’t have an ATV to trade the second most popular trade item sought are boats. The most popular boats accepted as trades seem to be bow riders. After contacting a few of these people, it seems that they no longer have the time for both their fishing and biking past times and they chose fishing as their primary activity. Lastly if you have neither an ATV nor boat to trade you can try household items such as riding lawn mowers, snow blowers, hunting equipment etc. I was able to secure a 1984 Honda CR 125 by trading some camping equipment I had just sitting in my basement. I did have to drive over 6 hours but seeing as how I was looking for trades for a few months at that point I jumped at the chance.

    The second strategy of trading is if you have a two stroke then trade it for a four stroke or vice versa. We all know the two vs four stroke debate. Some people just prefer to ride the one style vs another. This is your opportunity to profit by finding someone who just rode their buddy’s horse from a different pasture and trading with them. Nobody likes to lose out in a deal but you can turn that feeling of joy they felt in riding the other style bike into value in your bike. What I mean is people will trade their newer bikes for ones a few years older simply because they feel that style is better for them. This may take some convincing by reminding them how great that snappy responsive two stroke is vs their heavy slow four stroke, or how much smoother and more neighbor friendly your four stroke is vs their two stroke. The main point here is find out why are coveting their neighbor’s goods and play on that. Most of the time people are willing to sacrifice to trade for your bike that’s a few model years older to get what they want.

    The third way to trade up bikes is to trade one in perfect running condition for one that is not. The purpose for this would be to trade from an older model of either stroke to a newer one. For this you will need some mechanical prowess and a few dollars depending on what needs to be done. I wouldn’t really recommend trading a fully functional bike for a nonfunctioning one unless the nonfunctioning one is significantly newer. One of the main points here is that the newer bike should have a greater value when running then your old bike plus the amount of money you’re going to sink into the new one to get it running. This is how I was able to get from my 1984 Honda CR125 to a 2005 Yamaha 250F. The owner could not start it and just wanted a bike that ran. As it turns out all the bike needed was a valve shim (At this point in my riding career I was just starting to work on bikes and made a fatal error in placing the new shim causing a catastrophic failure but none the less the bike was able to start and run. Had I done the work correctly I would have been well ahead but more on this in a later blog) Beware of people who claim it just needs a carb clean, as this is almost never the reason it’s not running. Be prepared to replace the whole valve train.
    Another way of trading and the fourth on this list is trading from a motocross style bike to a trail riding model or vice versa. Often times a racer will want to give up on the motocross scene and get into the relaxed world of trail riding. This may be your opportunity to trade your slightly older comfortable Cadillac cruising trail bike for their newer high revving beast. On the contrary others may opt to want to get into the fast paced world of mx racing and give up their newer modded trail riding pony for your motocross bike. I personally traded my 2005 Yamaha 250F for a 2004 Yamaha WR250F for the reasons stated above. The race bike was all I could trade for at the time, but it gave me leverage to get into the WR. A fellow in my town build a new mx track so I was able to capitalize on someone trading in their trail bike to get onto the track. Most people are wary to get a bike that has been raced, but if you’ve taken care of it, have a log of the work that’s been done and can show receipts of work you will have a much easier time. I tend to trust racers who know their bikes inside and out more than I do the backyard trail riders who have never checked their shims or cleaned their oil screen. There are however some racers who bag the crap out of their bikes then dump them, and trail riders who meticulously care for their princesses so you have to ask the questions. What have you done, when and how many hours.

    Lastly the fifth method of trading is for power. There are plenty of people out there who bite off more than they can chew and are looking to trade their 450 four stroke or 250 two stroke for the next smaller size down. This also works in reverse for people who have outgrown their bikes and are looking to trade up. Many times they are willing to sacrifice a couple of model years to achieve this, or go from a more expensive brand to a less expensive brand to get what they want.

    Some other points when it comes to trading are to be patient. Frequent all of the different online used sites. Some people include a willingness to trade in their ad, others don’t, I would ask everyone who has an online ad regardless on if they say they will trade or not as often times they have just never thought of it. Never trust anyone at their word on what the bike needs to be repaired unless it’s backed up by a repair shops written opinion. Be willing to travel and check your neighboring town’s ads as well. Its rare, but you may also benefit by trading your bike for something not necessarily what you wanted, but something that is more trade-able or more desirable then what you have as a mid-step to trade for what you want.
    Do you have a good trade story? Share it in the comments below!

    Paul Olesen
    There’s nothing more alarming than realizing your four-stroke powered pride and joy is burning and consuming abnormal amounts of oil. Whether it’s a first-hand account or lending a sympathetic ear to a buddy dealing with the problem, we’ve all been there to some degree. I recently had a customer detail his machine’s oil consumption problems and logically explained away all the possible reasons why the engine could be burning oil. He had always changed his filter routinely and oiled it properly, he changed his oil every 10hrs, and he always kept up with his maintenance. So what the heck causes our four-stroke engines to consume oil and how do we figure out what we’re dealing with on a case by case basis?
    Points of entry
    The power cylinder of a four-stroke engine isn’t all that complicated. We have intake and exhaust valves in the cylinder head, and we have a piston assembly that features compression rings and an oil control ring. Knowing this oil can only migrate into the combustion chamber one of two ways, either past the valves or past the oil control ring.   
    Causes
    Causation is another story, and the list of possibilities is a bit longer and depends on the unique circumstances of the situation. Contributing factors can range from the person who performed work on the engine, to the environment (dusty conditions and type of dust), to the general design of the engine. Here’s a list of some common causes which ultimately lead to engines that inevitably consume oil:
    Improper air filter maintenance - Your engine’s air filter is the primary device that separates out the dirt from the air and ensures your engine consumes highly filtered air. Filters that are improperly oiled or maintained will compromise your engine, especially if you are operating in dirty, dusty environments. Even the tiniest of dirt particles that breach your filter can have quick and adverse effects on the durability of your engine. Dirt ingestion will lead to accelerated wear of piston rings and valves, ultimately driving an increase in oil consumption. The oil control rings and cylinder bore become compromised when the dirt is ingested into the engine.

    Poor air filter seal - An air filter that does not fully seal to the airbox provides an unfiltered leak path for dirt saturated air to make its way into the engine leading to the previously mentioned durability problems. A leaking or poor sealing intake system - From filter to the engine’s intake manifold, all the joints and connections must be airtight. An improperly seated throttle body, for example, will allow dirt ingestion to occur.  Bad maintenance habits - Any time you open up an engine, you create a rich opportunity for self-inflicted dirt ingestion. For example, swapping out a dirty air filter for a clean one without first cleaning the entirety of the airbox is a common way engines become saturated with dirt. Our machines are tightly packaged, and it’s incredibly easy to rub your hand against a dirty component, causing dirt to fall into the intake tract or engine itself if performing more extensive maintenance.

    Improper assembly of engine components - For a select few, installing parts such as oil control rings incorrectly can be the reason the engine consumes oil. Similarly, valve stem seals can be installed wrong or more frequently be damaged during a hasty installation. On some engines, where the engine and transmission oil are separate, directional crank seals can be installed backward, leading to migration issues from one cavity to another.  Infrequent oil changes - An engine’s oil has a threshold for the amount of dirt and other contaminants it can suspend before accelerated wear occurs. Operating an engine for too long without changing its oil significantly increases the likelihood of the oil becoming an abrasive slurry causing its internals to wear out.

    Unrealistic expectations - High-performance four-stroke engines have a finite life to them before they require a rebuild. The amount of life any engine has depends on numerous factors, including how it is maintained, what it is used for, and the environment it’s operated in, to name a few. If you have a high time engine that is starting to consume oil, consider being grateful for the trouble-free hours you’ve gotten out of it and take on the rebuild to return it to its trouble-free days. Bad rebuilds - Uneducated builders can cause their own problems by attempting to cut corners during their overhauls. A common way to do this is by installing new piston rings to a worn-out cylinder bore. A worn cylinder bore can make proper ring sealing impossible due to both inadequate cross-hatch and out of tolerances in bore taper and roundness. Diagnostics
    There are a handful of ways to try and pinpoint where problems are originating. No method is entirely foolproof, and a bit of judgment is always required when making determinations. Here are a handful of diagnostic options you have at your disposal:
    Leak down testing - Leak down testing permits a quantifiable way to determine how well the cylinder is sealing and, if it is not, where leaks are originating. When diagnosing oil consumption problems leak down testing can overlook a faulty oil control ring if the compression rings are still sealing well.

    Compression testing - Performing a compression test is one of my least favorite ways of diagnosing four-stroke problems, but I am mentioning it because it can be used in a pinch. The main problem with compression tests stems from the incorporation of decompression systems, which significantly reduce peak pressure readings. Oil sampling - having your engine oil sampled by a lab can provide a great deal of information in regards to what is going on in your engine. For example, an oil sample containing high amounts of silicon is indicative of dirt ingestion. An excess amount of other elements can also suggest ring or bearing wear. Bore Scope - Checking the cylinder bore’s condition by using a borescope can be an excellent way to evaluate the health of the bore. Visible scuffing or deep scratches can be paths oil can sneak past the rings and into the combustion chamber. Closing Remarks
    I hope you’ve enjoyed this write-up on contributing factors leading to oil consumption and how to pinpoint them. While the problem is no doubt frustrating, there is no reason it has to be a reoccurring one, nor should you have to stew for days trying to determine the root issue. If you’re interested in more engine building knowledge, check out my Engine Building Handbooks, which arm you with a comprehensive knowledge base for overhauling your two and four-stroke engines. The Four Stroke Engine Building Handbook contains over 300 pages of highly detailed practical knowledge and over 250 high-quality color pictures. The books’ consistent five-star reviews on Amazon are a testament to how beneficial they are to our customers. To learn more, you can check them out on our website or on Amazon.  

    -Paul
    Paul Olesen is an powertrain engineer, author & long-time rider living in Wisconsin.

    Rob@ProX
    We know this is technically 'Thumper'Talk, but we also know a lot of you have 2-strokes in your garage. We want to share some tips we put together that will help you prevent and diagnose potential problems with your 2-stroke engine. Bookmark this maintenance guide to help keep your bike on the track or trail and off the bench! Article by Paul Olesen.
    Two-stroke engines have a storied history of being finicky beasts. If you’ve been around two-strokes for any length of time, you’ve probably heard stories that start and end to this effect: “It was running amazing...then the next thing you know - it blew”. We find these stories interesting, and empathize with the unfortunate owners or riders who tell them. At the same time, however, it is often wondered if there were any signs that could have predicted the fateful date with destruction.

    Photo: Steve Cox
    We're going to discuss and share a number of observations and diagnostic tests that can be performed to help identify whether or not your engine is going to leave you in the unfortunate role of the broken engine storyteller. While many operators are insistent that their engine gave up without warning, this is often not the case. We’ll start by going over observations that can be made with the engine running, and progress into diagnostic tests that can be routinely made to assess engine health.
    Recognizing Symptoms
    Startability
    Does the engine struggle to start when kicked, but is more prone to coming to life when the electric start is used or when the machine is bump started? Poor starting under normal conditions is not an inclusive sign that the engine is doomed to a spectacular failure, but it is a sign that something is amiss. Carburetion or injection issues are possible, but the bigger potential issue to be aware of resides within the cylinder. 

    Worn piston rings can cause incomplete sealing, resulting in lower compression and more difficulty in starting.
    Worn piston rings or reed valves that are no longer sealing properly may be the cause of the poor startability characteristic. When the piston rings don’t seal properly, the engine doesn’t build good compression, so when kicked, the engine struggles to come to life. Similarly, if the reed petals are damaged or broken, less air will be trapped in the cylinder. Push the machine or use electric start, and the compression event is shortened via faster rotational speeds, which may be just enough to bring the engine to life. 
      
    Damaged or worn out reed petals will allow air to leak out, creating less cylinder pressure and starting/running difficulties.
     
    Inconsistent Performance
    Does the engine struggle to hold a tune, or seem like the jetting constantly needs attention, despite relatively stable atmospheric conditions? Sporadic running is not always a death sentence, but should be investigated further. A dirty carburetor or worn spark plug can contribute to this behavior, but the problems that can lead to catastrophe are worn engine seals or gaskets. Stator side crank seals, leaking base gaskets, or intake manifold gaskets are all examples of seals that will result in air leaks which can lean out the air fuel ratio. Lean air/fuel ratios when running at full power can result in excessive combustion temperatures, which can melt a hole in the piston or seize them in the cylinder bore.

    Ignoring the possibility of a bad gasket or seal isn't worth the potential damage, especially with the affordability of OEM quality gasket kits from ProX.
     
    Gearbox Oil Consumption
    Loss of gearbox oil is abnormal, and in all cases should be able to be traced back to leaking seals or gaskets. In the unlikely event the bike tipped over or cartwheeled, gearbox oil can occasionally exit via the gearbox/crankcase breather. If the gearbox is losing oil but the leak path cannot be identified externally, there is a good chance the drive side crankshaft seal is leaking and allowing the gearbox oil to migrate into the crankcase. During the scavenging process the oil is transferred up into the combustion chamber and burned.
    Tracking down a leak like this and finding you need new crankshaft seals will commonly turn into a bottom end rebuild job. If you're going to tear into the bottom end to replace seals, that same amount of wear the seal experienced could be evident in other components as well, including your crankshaft and bearings. Not only does ProX make it easier to tackle a bottom end rebuild with our rebuild guide (10 Tips for a Dirt Bike Bottom End Rebuild), but one of the most recent additions to the OEM-quality replacements parts lineup are complete crankshafts. Dropping in a complete ProX crankshaft paired with a main bearing and seal kit is an affordable option for reliable performance.
     
    ProX crankshafts are assembled with double-forged, Japanese steel connecting rods, as well as Japanese big-end bearings, crank pins, and thrust washers, all manufactured by OEM suppliers.
    Excessive Smoke After Warm Up
    Since the engine is burning pre-mix oil we have to be careful here, because blueish-white smoke is a normal occurrence of two-stroke engine operation. However, excessive smoke after warm up can be an indicator of a couple problems.
    Blue smoke exiting the exhaust pipe after the engine has warmed may be a sign that gearbox oil is burning in the combustion chamber. While I would never encouraging sniffing your exhaust, combusted gearbox oil will have a different odor than the normal pre-mix oil the engine is using. White smoke exiting the exhaust pipe after the engine has warmed may be a sign that coolant is burning in the combustion chamber. The root of this problem is typically a leaking cylinder head gasket or o-rings. Excessive Coolant Exiting the Overflow Tube
    While it is common for coolant to exit the overflow tube when the bike has been tipped over or when it has overheated, it should not occur regularly. Coolant blowing out the overflow tube is another good indicator of a leaking head gasket.

    Note where your coolant overflow line runs, so you can keep an eye out for overheating issues.
     
    Coolant Weepage
    Dribbles of coolant exiting the engine around the coolant pump are indicative of a faulty water pump seal. If left unattended, the entire cooling system will eventually empty, causing overheating and an incredible amount of damage.
    Excessive Top End Noise
    Isolating top end noise in a two-stroke is easy since the only moving component is the piston assembly. Discerning what is normal takes a trained ear and familiarity with the particular engine in question. However, audible cues often present themselves when components wear or clearances loosen up. The most common noise associated with a two-stroke top end is a “metallic slap”. This is commonly referred to as piston slap, and is a result of the piston rocking back and forth in the cylinder bore as it reciprocates. This phenomena is normal, but the intensity of the slap will increase as the piston skirt and cylinder bore wear. Left unattended, excessive piston slap can result in failure of the piston skirt.
    Check out our complete 2-stroke top end rebuild guide here.
     
    Excessive piston slap can cause damage to the piston and weaken the skirts. It's important to check piston-to-wall clearance when installing a new piston to ensure a long operating life. 2-Stroke pistons fitted with skirt coatings also help reduce friction and operating noise.
     
    Diagnostic Checks & Tests
    Engine Coolant
    Coolant contaminated with black specks can often be traced back to a leaking head gasket or o-rings. Combustion byproducts are forced into the coolant system due to the high pressures in the combustion chamber during the combustion event. These black specks will often float and show themselves as soon as the radiator cap is removed.
    Gearbox Oil
    The composition of the gearbox oil can provide a lot of clues as to what is happening within the engine. For starters, what color is it and what is in it? Oil that appears milky is a good indicator that moisture is finding its way into the gearbox oil. The most common culprit is a faulty oil side water pump seal.
    A keen eye can spot various metallic particles within the oil itself. Aluminum will appear silvery gray. Bronze particles will have a gold shine. Ferrous particles will be dull and are often more discernable by dragging a magnet through the oil. Accumulation of all of these aforementioned particles will be normal in small quantities, but excessive amounts of any of them could be cause for concern. Fortunately, since gearbox and power cylinder lubrication are separate the number of causes for problems is limited and more easily pinpointed.

    Other than changing your gearbox oil regularly, keep an eye out for metallic particles, as those can be a sign of accelerated wear on internal parts.
     
    Cylinder Leak Down Testing
    While less commonly prescribed on two-stroke engines, performing a cylinder leak down test is by far one of the most definitive diagnostic procedures that can be performed to determine the health of the piston rings, cylinder bore, and cylinder head seal, whether gasket or o-rings. If any of the previously mentioned symptoms are observed, a leak down test is almost always a great next step.
    A leak down test pressurizes the engine’s combustion chamber and compares the amount of pressure going into the combustion chamber to the pressure that is retained. Pressurized air is administered via the spark plug hole and two pressure gauges are used to make the comparison. The piston is positioned at top dead center. Air exiting the combustion chamber can then be traced back to the piston rings or cylinder head seal.
    Compression Testing

    A compression test can be an tell-tale indicator of the health of your top end components. Be sure to compare your reading the manufacturer's recommended compression measurment.
     
    A compression test aims to quantify how much pressure builds during the compression event. A compression tester which is connected to the spark plug hole consists of a pressure gauge and a one way check valve. The engine is kicked repeatedly or turned over a number of times using the starter. The resulting pressure that is recorded can then be used to assess the health of the cylinder bore. Low pressure readings can then be attributed to problematic piston rings or leaking cylinder head seals.
    Crankcase Leak Down Testing
    A crankcase leak down test is utilized in order to assess the sealing integrity of the crankcase and cylinder. Personally, this is one of my favorite tests to perform because of its ability to isolate a number of potentially problematic seals and gaskets all at once. Components such as crank seals, base gasket, and power valve seals can all be checked to determine if they’re leaking.
    In summary, a crankcase leak down test is performed by sealing the intake manifold, exhaust outlet, and any power valve breathers. Then the crankcase is pressurized under low pressure. Typically, the goal is to retain the pressure in the crankcase over a set length of time. Loss of pressure is indicative of leaks, which can then be traced to their cause.
    Preemptively replacing components before the engine suffers a major failure is both safer and more affordable than dealing with the problem after the engine has stopped working entirely. Most problems that can occur within the two-stroke engine can be mitigated by servicing components such as pistons, rods, rings, bearings, seals, and crankshafts. Many riders dread the thought of having to service these items due to the excessively high costs associated with OEM or premium aftermarket parts. Fortunately, brands such as ProX offer a comprehensive lineup of OEM-quality components at reasonable prices, many of which are produced by OEM suppliers. Depending on what you need to service, components such as piston kits, connecting rods, crankshafts, bearings, gaskets, and seals can all be found in the ProX catalog.
     
    Replacing components as part of preventative maintenance can save time and money, especially with the availability of affordable, OEM quality parts.
    Find ProX parts for your machine here.
    Discussing specific time intervals in regards to when things should be replaced is futile. The reason is simple: different engines, maintenance practices, and applications will all have different intervals. Installing an hour meter on your engine so that you can log the number of hours the engine has run can be one of the most insightful ways to establish maintenance and replacement intervals specific to your engine, riding, and maintenance habits.


    ThumperTalk
    At their core, backpack-style hydration systems have remained relatively unchanged for some time. Fill the bladder, bite a valve and suck to drink. This design is simple, cost effective and functional, but is this as far as performance-oriented moto hydration systems can go? Is there still room for meaningful improvement? The folks at LiquidAider certainly thought so when they designed and perfected the world’s first push-button wireless hydration system.
    How’s LiquidAider work? Who’s LiquidAider for? What are LiquidAider’s benefits? We caught up with Matt Steele, inventor & CEO of Arapaho Technologies to answer these questions and more.
     
    TT: Matt, push-button hydration is self-explanatory. What is the rest of the story?
    LiquidAider: The idea behind LiquidAider is that we do not see hydration bladders as a complete solution to hydration. Dangling suck tubes are no good when the going gets tough. And when you are simply exhausted, sucking water sucks! Drinking less at a time but constantly to match exertion is the concept here and by doing that, you will pee less, retain focus and maintain your hydration level.
     
    TT: So what is LiquidAider?
    LiquidAider: It’s simple: Push button. Drink water. 
    We provide a small wireless button that mounts next to your grip and a small pump that plugs into any hydration pack’s quick connect port. There is a magnetic disconnect that connects the pump tube to the helmet tube. A small adjustable nozzle mounts inside the front of your helmet. As you ride, and I mean in any situation or terrain or speed, you can drink water by hitting the thumb button. No reaching for a tube, and no bite valve. And we add only 8 ounces to your pack, as much weight as a cup of water.

    TT: That’s actually pretty significant. Look at the pictures of any group of trail riders or race photos and even the top pros have a dangling tube not being used. And nobody wants a lot of weight added to their already heavy packs.
    LiquidAider: Exactly true. Staying hydrated is why we all wear hydration bladders. And no matter how good you are, there are times where you need to drink but cannot take your hands off the controls. The harder the exertion, the harder it is to hydrate with a suck tube. LiquidAider pairs with that partial solution and makes it a total solution. Even if you like a bite valve, you can power the bite valve with LiquidAider and not have to suck water.
     
    TT: So is this only for pros?
    LiquidAider: No, not at all. Our customer base spans all ages and the entire spectrum of casual trail riders, to adventure bikers, road racers, and all forms of 4-wheel off-roaders. I think trials and motocross are the only 2 market segments where LiquidAider is not present.
     
    TT: What are some of the features?
    LiquidAider: We engineered some very cool features into it. Burst Mode can be set as you ride and it changes the operation to a 2, 3, or 4 second burst of water with a single quick press of the button.

    You can pair the button to any number of pumps so imagine a team race like the Baja 1000. One rider gets off and another gets on the bike. The second rider has his own LiquidAider pump and helmet nozzle and he can use the button to hydrate.

    A magnet disconnect pulls apart to separates the backpack from the helmet. Take off your helmet and it disconnects. Then lay your pack on the ground and water will not run out your pack. With the disconnect separated, pushing the button will not pump water.

    And we will replace any broken part for 50% of the online price. I recall we have had 2 cases where something broke, and it wasn’t the button or pump. In both cases I just sent the parts for free. I was impressed they managed to break something! I know one Canadian rider cartwheeled his bike down a 200 foot whoop section and even without using the supplied button guard, the button was intact and undamaged.
     
    TT: Battery powered?
    LiquidAider:  Yes. The LiquidAider button is about 10mm wide, and inside of it is a coin cell battery that you can replace. But even though the button never turns off, always is running, that the internal battery will last all riding season if not the year. The pump battery is rechargeable. It will pump somewhere up to 40 liters before needing a charge.

    LiquidAider can be used with virtually any hydration bladder, even children's.
     
    TT: Care to drop some notable customer names?
    LiquidAider:  (Laughing) Ha! Well, we have shipped LiquidAider all over the world. We have a lot of talent trusting our product to give them a major advantage over guys with suck tubes. 
    Certainly not a complete list, but Jackson Davis (factory Sherco racer), Ron Ribolzi (7x ISDE), David Knight (5x FIM World Enduro Champ) all use it. Cody Webb has been extremely generous to us by using it and testing early versions, and we designed the button to fit his available bar space. 
    At the Mint 400, Damon Bradshaw picked up a kit and then brought a friend over to buy one. Then Damon, as nice a guy as you’ll ever meet, stood at my vendor tent for about 45 minutes demonstrating LiquidAider to desert racers who probably didn’t know who he was!
    Mason Klein who I met at the Parker 250 race this year is 18 years old and finished 3rd in all stages of the 2020 Sonoran Rally except the first one. This means he finished behind Ricky Brabec and Skyler Howes but ahead of a stellar cast of racers and he credits LiquidAider for contributing to his amazing performance. Mason gave us a video of his thoughts about LiquidAider and it’s on our website and YouTube channel.
    We do not pay anyone to use LiquidAider, so if you look over and see our button on the handlebars next to you, it’s because they bought a key advantage to beating you and they know it! 

    Factory Sherco rider Jackson Davis hydrates in the heat of battle with LiquidAider.
     
    TT:  Is it difficult to install?
    LiquidAider: No, it’s actually easy when you realize all you are doing is installing a nozzle inside your helmet, plugging in our pump, and connecting the tubes with the magnetic disconnect. I highly recommend watching our YouTube videos because it makes everything really easy to understand. Our included written instructions are over the top in detail for anyone wanting that.


    Handlebar control switch  is easy to reach and takes up very little space.
     
    TT: And what is the future for LiquidAider?
    LiquidAider: We are aware of other applications including military, bicycles, etc. and we are pursuing them. Ricky Johnson helped another entity with a similar concept, probably focused on Trophy Truck racing, but I heard they had issues and are not to market. The technology involved for such a simple concept is very advanced and challenging to implement. We’d welcome conversations with anyone about partnerships or applications. As a side note, I gave Ricky a kit
    when I met him at King of the Hammers in February and he seemed genuinely blown away at the product quality and packaging and I think it caught him by surprise that this existed in a final production form. I hope he uses it and gets back to us.
     
    TT: Closing thoughts Matt?
    LiquidAider:
    Think about this. We have done everything to our bikes and spent a ton of money to upgrade and give us an advantage over the next guy or just be able to ride better. Suspension tunes, anti-vibration additions, pivot pegs, steering dampers, billet everything. Then a guy goes riding/racing and hopes his body can do what he asks and comes back to the pits with half a bladder of water and is wiped out for a day of recovery. The bike is perfect. The body is shouting “Hey! What about me?!”. LiquidAider is the one thing that you can do for your body, right now, and have an immediate advantage over anyone with a suck tube. All things being equal, the rider with LiquidAider will win every time. And it’s not expensive. Why would you not want that major advantage?
     
    TT: Thanks for taking the time Matt!
    LiquidAider is available at https://liquidaider.com. Use coupon code : TT20 for $20.00 off & free shipping (US orders).
    You can follow LiquidAider on Instagram and like them on Facebook @LiquidAider.
    YouTube videos make the installation and operation very simple to understand.
     

     
    Paul Olesen
    How many of you become disheartened when spokes break, bend, or a rim becomes permanently damaged necessitating a rebuild of the wheel? I know a lot of people think rim building is a black art and are willing to shell out serious dough to avoid the job altogether. This week I want to debunk the black art of wheel building and provide you with an overview of the process, allowing you to take on your next wheel build yourself. Next week, I’ll cover the second half of the project by showing you how to true the wheel.
    As you can see I have a great example of a wheel assembly that is way past its prime. The spokes are bent, loose, and the nipples are mostly all stuck. On top of that, the rim is cracked in a couple spots necessitating further repairs.

    Before getting started disassembling the wheel, measure the distance from the rim to the ground. When the wheel is built the rim will need to be blocked up at approximately this height. Blocking the rim up will make the wheel much easier to assemble.

    The spokes will be offset from one another. Often times this offset necessitates the use of different length spokes. The spoke kit I received came with two different length spokes and there was no indication of which went where. If there are no instructions provided with your spoke kit and your wheel features spokes of different lengths you will need to determine the correct layout of the spokes. This can easily be done by removing two of the old spokes, measuring them, noting their lengths, and positions.

    Once you have determined the spoke length you can go to town cutting the rest of the spokes out of the rim using a cutting wheel or other suitable tool.

    Remove all the old spokes, then closely inspect the rim for damage. On my rim I had two nice size cracks I had to deal with.

    Once the rim has been replaced or repaired, preparations for lacing can begin. Since the wheel will be exposed to dirt, mud, water, and whatever else nature throws at it, I like to coat all my spokes with anti-seize before assembly. The anti-seize will provide a little extra protection against corrosion and help keep the spokes turning freely for a long time.



    Separate the spokes according to their lengths so that there is no confusion during assembly.

    Next, center the hub and block up the rim. Refer back to the measurement you took to establish the correct block height. As long as the rim is not offset to one side or the other it will not make a difference whether you start with the sprocket or brake side.

    The outside spokes will be laced first. If you try the inside route you will quickly find that maneuvering the outside spokes into position won’t be possible. Simply install a spoke into its corresponding hole in the hub then align the spoke with its corresponding hole in the rim. The rim may require some rotating to align the spoke with the correct hole in the rim, however it will be glaringly obvious where the spoke must go since the holes in the rim are all angled.

    As the spokes are installed, thread on nipples to retain the spokes. Only engage a few threads as you install the nipples. Keeping the rim loose will allow all the spokes to be installed easier as you go.
    Once all the outside spokes have been laced in one side, lace all the inside spokes on that side. Don’t be afraid to pull the rim a little bit from side to side to help generate enough clearance so that the end of the spoke can easily pass through the hole in the rim. The rim may also have to be moved up and down a little bit to help center the spoke.

    Next, flip the wheel over and begin lacing all the outside spokes on the remaining side. Pulling the rim from side to side and up and down will be necessary to get all the spokes aligned with their respective holes. By the time you are finished lacing you should have a nice fresh wheel assembly.

    A good way to check to make sure the spokes have been installed correctly is to compare the thread engagement on each spoke. With all the nipples tightened only a few turns the remaining threads showing on the spokes should be about the same. If the remaining thread length is vastly different between the inner and outer spokes there is a good chance the spokes have been installed incorrectly. If this is the case, the longer spokes will need to go where the shorter ones currently reside to even things out. If this isn’t done, there is a good chance some of the spokes will run out of threads when the spokes are tightened.

    After the wheel has been laced, the nipples on all the spokes will need to be tightened with a spoke wrench. Tightening of the nipples should be done evenly and gradually. An even pattern can be used to tighten the spokes so that the rim does not become offset radially in one direction. Most wheels either feature 32 or 36 spokes. Every 4th spoke can be tensioned to create an even 8 or 9 step tightening pattern. Once this pattern is completed, the next spoke in the sequence can be tightened and the whole process repeated until you have worked through all the spokes. In the picture below all the red arrowed spokes are tightened first, followed by the greens, then the yellows, and finally the blues.

    As the nipples are tightened, checking for evenness among the remaining threads is a nice way to gauge symmetry. You may find that there are small differences between the inner and outer spokes in relation to the remaining threads left on them. Instead of comparing the inner and outer spoke threads to one another, only compare similar length spokes as you work. The more care you take to ensure the spokes are tensioned evenly now, the less work it will be to true the rim later on.

    Check to make sure that the heads of the spokes fully seat in their holes in the hub. Some heads may get hung up and will require a tap with a punch and hammer to seat them. Relying on the nipple to pull the head into position doesn’t always work well.

    Another sign that the job has been done properly is that the spokes will not pass through the ends of the nipples.

    At this point you should have a rim that feels tight, is tensioned evenly, and is ready for truing.
    Do you have any helpful tips you want to add? Please leave a comment below and share your experiences!
    Paul Olesen
    DIY Moto Fix - Empowering And Educating Riders From Garage To Trail


     
     
    Paul Olesen
    In my last blog post I covered how to lace up a wheel assembly with new spokes. This week I’ll discuss how to properly true the rim. Truing the rim is actually not too difficult. Once you understand the interaction between the spokes and rim, you will make quick work of the job.
    To get started a truing stand of sorts needs to be set up. This doesn’t have to be anything special and I used a bench vice, adjuster block, rear axle, spacers, a series of old bearings and washers, and the axle nut. The reason I went to the trouble of clamping the hub in place was to eliminate any possibility of the hub sliding back and forth on the rim, which would make my truing efforts difficult.


    This is by no means the only way to create temporary truing stand and you can use your imagination to come up with alternatives. Temporarily installing the wheel back into the swingarm may work equally well if you don’t have a bench vice.
    Next, some sort of gauge will be needed so the amount of runout can be seen. I used a dial indicator attached to a magnetic base, however more simple solutions could easily be fabricated.

    It isn’t absolutely necessary to measure runout, especially right away when major adjustments may need to be made. Instead you only need to see how the gap between the end of the pointer and rim changes as the wheel rotates. A coat hanger, piece of welding rod, or even a pencil could all be used to the same effect as the indicator shown.
    Axial (side to side) runout will be corrected first. Here you can see there is a noticeable difference in gap size between the rim and pointer through a full revolution of the rim.

    The goal is to tweak the tension in the spokes so that the gap between the rim and pointer is even as the rim is rotated.

    To do this the gap can either be increased or decreased depending on which spokes are tightened or loosened. To decrease the gap, tighten the spokes originating on the side of the rim where you want the gap to decrease. In the previous photo I’m tightening the right side spokes, and in doing so I am pulling the rim to the right. An ⅛ to ¼ turn of the nipple is enough to induce a change. For the given area of the rim that must be pulled over, evenly tighten at least three of the surrounding spokes on the side being pulled. If the rim needs to shift a lot, loosen the opposite side spokes the same amount you have tightened the pull side spokes. This will help keep even tension on all spokes and help to shift the rim.
    The process of tightening and loosening the spokes to pull the rim from side to side can be performed at all the high and low points surrounding the rim. Continue to turn and rotate the rim around until the gap between the rim and pointer evens out. Some areas may require tightening the spokes and pulling the rim one way while other areas may need to be loosened to allow the rim to move back the opposite way. Take your time and make small changes as you go. As I mentioned before, it doesn’t take much to see a significant change in rim location as the spokes are tensioned.
    As the rim is fine tuned for side to side runout, the pointer can be moved closer to reduce the gap. Reducing the gap as the rim is trued will make it easier to see smaller differences in runout. To really fine tune things I like to use a dial indicator, setting the contact point up on the outer edge of the rim. Again, this isn’t absolutely necessary and similar accuracy could be achieved with a simple pointer.

    Here I’ve snapped photos of the high and low points on the rim. The total runout is the difference between the high and low points. In the left picture the needle is 0.0075” (0.19mm) to the left of my zeroed point. In the right hand picture the needle is 0.008” (0.20mm) to the right of the zero. This gives me a total runout of 0.0155” (0.39mm). Most service manuals suggest a max runout of 0.079” (2mm) so I’m well within spec! Quite frankly I was very pleased to get the rim to 0.0155” since the rim is old and slightly dinged up.
    The rim I was working on is centered on the hub. Some rims will be offset and it will be more important to pay attention to the relationship between the edge of the rim and a feature on the hub (usually the brake disc machined surface or the machined surface for the sprocket). Your service manual will provide specs for measurement points and specify how much offset should be present. Setting the offset correctly is important because if the offset is off, the front or rear wheel will not be inline with the other wheel. This can make the bike's handling very interesting! I don’t think a little misalignment is too noticeable on dirt, but it is definitely a problem on asphalt.
    A straightedge can be used to measure from the indicated surface, outer edge of the sprocket, or brake disc to the edge of the rim. If measuring off the sprocket or brake disc, you’ll need to subtract the thickness of the sprocket or disc from your measurement.

    If the rim is not quite positioned right after all the side to side runout has been corrected, it can be shifted at this time. To pull the rim one way or the other, simply evenly tighten all the spokes on the side you are trying to pull the rim to. The opposite side spokes can also be loosened to help allow the rim to shift over. Once the rim is set where it needs to be, half the battle is over!
    Next, the radial runout must be corrected. To do this move the pointer so that it sits past the outer edge of the rim.

    The gap between the pointer and outer edge of the rim will be monitored and tweaked to achieve evenness throughout the rotation of the rim.

    This time to induce change in runout, all the surrounding spokes in the area will either be tightened or loosened evenly in unison. To increase the gap, as I’m doing in the following photo, all the spokes are tightened which pulls the rim inward, enlarging the gap between the pointer and edge of the rim.

    To decrease the gap in a specific area all the spokes in that area can be loosened allowing the rim to expand outward towards the pointer. Just like with side to side runout corrections, the nipples only need to be turned an ⅛ to a ¼ turn to make noticeable changes in the gap.
    As long as all spokes in the affected area are tightened or loosened evenly, the side to side runout will not be affected. Slowly rotate the rim and make the necessary tweaks until the gap between the edge of the rim and pointer is close to the same as the rim rotates around. The pointer can be moved closer and closer to refine the roundness of the rim. The surface of my rim was too beat up to take accurate measurements so I simply relied on eyeballing the gap to set its roundness.
    Once the rim has been trued both axially and radially, the spokes will still be relatively loose. The spokes will all need to be tightened gradually and evenly so that all the efforts of truing the rim are not wasted. Since the majority of rims are either 32 or 36 spoke rims every 4th spoke around the rim can be tightened. This results in an even 8 or 9 step pattern which is repeated four times to tighten all the spokes. First all the red spokes are tightened, then the greens, yellows, and finally blues. Tighten each spoke ¼ turn at a time.
    Alternatively, forum member @ballisticexchris suggested a pattern where every third spoke is tightened. This would allow the tensioning of both sides of the rim within the same revolution of the wheel. I've always had good results with the pattern I've outlined but believe his suggested pattern will work equally well and is another option for you to use.

    As the spokes are tightened, not surprisingly, the nipples will become harder and harder to turn. The evenness of the spoke tension can be checked by tapping the end of the spoke wrench against the center of the spoke. The spokes will emit a ringing sound and the pitch will be different for spokes which aren’t the same tightness. Continue to work your way around the rim gradually tightening the nipples until all the spokes are similarly tensioned.
    Next, use your hand to squeeze the spokes which are parallel to each other together. Squeeze all the spokes evenly around the rim. Squeezing the spokes will help gauge the tension, ensure the heads are fully seated, and help relieve stress built up in the spokes.

    After squeezing the spokes together, check the tension in the spokes one final time. Most spokes should only be tightened up to 6Nm and the rim I was working on called for 2.2Nm of torque. A spoke torque wrench is the appropriate tool to use to set the final torque of all the spokes, however I didn’t have one on hand and some of you may not either. Instead I based the final spoke tension on how the new spokes felt in relation to a previously laced rim. This method worked okay, but it is always best to use the right tool for the job.
    After you’ve finished tightening all the spokes it is never a bad idea to check runout both axially and radially one final time to confirm the rim hasn’t shifted. As long as the spokes were tightened evenly, changes in runout should not be an issue. Once you have checked runout one last time you are all set to install a new rim strip and put on the tire.

    I hope you enjoyed this two part series on building and truing rims. Now that you have the info to feel confident building your own wheels from here on out, and are able to save some cash in doing so, go for it!
    If you have tips and tricks pertaining to wheel building, I’d enjoy hearing them. Please leave a comment below!
    Paul Olesen
    DIY Moto Fix - Empowering And Educating Riders From Garage To Trail


     
     
     
    ThumperTalk
    When thinking about your motorcycle and what are the most important components, would you say spark plugs is one of them? Most people wouldn’t…but they should. Because spark plugs can make or break your bike! Let’s take some time to see why spark plugs are so important and how to harness the power of your plugs in the real world.
     
    What’s New in Spark Plug Technology?
    Glancing at a modern spark plug, you’d barely see any differences between it and one from years past, but a closer look under the cladding reveals spark plugs have gotten a lot more efficient…and more expensive.
    Standard plugs are designed for a much shorter life when installation is in cast-iron heads, and that cycle doesn’t require newer electrodes with gold, platinum or iridium because you replace them before they exceed this replacement interval.
    Fast forward to today, and plugs are designed to last 100K miles and require these advancements in order to meet the newer longer-life specifications.
    This expense is due to a number of advancements that spark plug manufacturers have incorporated into their products, things like:
    Iridium - Iridium is the new “miracle metal” that is the main reason for the higher cost of premium spark plugs and is also in demand for usage in cell phones and sunglasses. What advantages does Iridium offer?
    Iridium is up to six times harder than platinum, and has a much higher melting point which makes the plug last much longer. Iridium allows for a much smaller surface area electrode, resulting in a more concentrated spark pulse and requires a lower voltage to reach ignition point. Iridium is highly resistant to corrosion and demonstrates a lowered arc erosion specification.
      These all seem like great things, and they are, but they come at a cost.

    Example: A “standard” Honda XR250R spark plug cost is $2.50 and the “iridium” version costs $10.99, so that’s a huge price differential.
    Expanded electrode surfaces - This is a fancy name for the new field of funky electrodes you see on plugs such as the Bosch “+4, +4 and IR Fusion” and the E3 “DiamondFire” plug types.
    E3 claims the development of a diamond shaped design with a center electrode tip that exposes multiple edges to an engine's combustion space creates higher efficiency. And because electrical impulses naturally follow the path of least resistance, the E3 electrode provides a well-formed spark. When tested, this configuration resulted in a better burn of the compressed air-fuel mixture before the beginning of the exhaust cycle.
    Bosch claims the Platinum+4's firing technology combines surface air gap technology, four “yttrium-enhanced” ground electrodes, and a heat-fused center electrode with the most platinum, creating “the most powerful spark you can buy.”
    It makes sense that expanded electrode areas would provide additional areas to arc to, creating a more efficient ignition phase.
    Capacitive element technology - This is a secondary advancement in spark plug technology and has been pioneered by vendors such as Pulstar.
    This is simply a capacitor-type element that is contained in the body of the spark plug, and this element stores input ramp voltages until it reaches peak power, releasing the voltage to the electrode at point of best ignition. Pulstar claims that this technique increases peak power and current during the resistive phase of the spark, as well as increasing electrical to plasma transfer efficiency to over 50% from less than 1%.
    Pulstar also has with inconel centerwire electrodes, which perform at higher levels than fine wire iridium electrodes, which also outperform conventional inconel electrodes found in conventional spark plugs.
    In talking with Pulstar’s President and Founder, Louis Camilli, we asked: “What factors make the Pulstar plug more (or less) attractive to motorcycle owners?
    And his reply was:
    Capacitive plugs are at the high end of the manufacturer’s offerings today, but have shown some promising results in both standard and higher performance vehicles.
    We used some of the Pulstar plugs as part of this article in our 2008 YZ125 and so far so good. We were going to take photos but the plug still looks brand new!
     
    So if you replace your plugs often, do you need these more expensive alternatives?
    We believe the answer in most cases is need…no, but do you want these attributes…yes!
    Why? Because many ThumperTalk members own recreational use motorcycles that see short-duration, extreme heat/duty cycles in competition events like motocross, enduro and enthusiastic track days, and this places added stresses on the electrode and surrounding materials, breaking them down and in turn losing efficiency in the process.
    Another advantage for these newer plugs is special nickel plating to avoid seizing to aluminum heads, so it can be money well spent.
     
    How to select the right plug for your bike
    Most motorcycles have a spark plug specification in their user’s manual, so why would you need to “select the right plug”?
    While we agree that the factory recommendation is the best starting point for selecting spark plug type, readers are highly encouraged to learn how to “read the plug” to accurately provide the best model for their particular application.
    Here is a reference guide to reading and selecting the right plug based on your usage:
    Start with the factory-recommended plug for your bike, and install as instructed here. Ensure you have the proper plug and check the spark gap to factory specification. If out of specification, re-gap it. When gapping spark plugs, the most accurate way is to use a set of gapping pliers. To open the gap, gently pull the ground electrode back. Do not force a feeler gauge between the electrodes and pry them apart. If you want to close the gap, gently tap the spark plug on a solid surface to bend the ground electrode. A little conductive anti-seize is recommended prior to installing in a cool engine. Make sure the spark plug holes are free of any contamination and install with fingers first to guard against cross threading. Screw in until finger tight and torque to factory spec for aluminum or cast iron heads. Note: The crush ring (washer) provides a gas tight seal between the plug and cylinder head through the cold-hot-cold operation of the enginext
    Reading Your Plugs
    Now, after running your machine in a variety of RPM’s and load scenarios, extract the plug and compare against this chart below.
    Keep in mind a light tan or gray color indicates your plug is performing correctly. Darker coloring, such can indicate a rich condition, a cold range plug or too large of a gap.
    Continue to follow these instructions until you get your plug(s) to show the best coloration that you can achieve, using this chart as your basic guide (in the Green/OK sections).
     
    Chart photo: NGK
    Appears Oil Fouled – Possible Adjustments
    Try hotter range plug (longer insulator)
    Change fuel ratio for less oil and more fuel in mixture (2 strokes)
    Inspect and test for valve seals/worn rings (4 strokes)
     
    Appears Cold or Rich - Adjustments
    Try hotter range plug (longer insulator)
    Adjust fuel/air mixture (more air needed)
     
    Appears Hot or Lean - Adjustments
    Try colder range plug (shorter insulator)
    Adjust fuel/air mixture (less air needed)
     
    Maintenance
    Maintaining your plugs is fairly simple. When attempting to manually clean the plug you must be extra careful, paying special attention not to change the preset gap. If you do clean the plug you must re-check that the gap is within specification.
    There are purpose-built spark plug cleaners that operate off of compressed air with a small bag of silica that’s used as the cleaning material and we recommend these units over manually trying to clean the plug with solvents and wire brushes.
    If you want to clean a spark plug, here’s how NGK recommends doing it:
    If the firing end is wet, make sure you clean the spark plug with
    a quick drying cleaner. (Examples: contact cleaner or brake cleaner). Sand blast the spark plug using low air pressure and use a dry compound. Completely blow all the sand from the spark plug. Using a wire brush clean the threads and re-gap.
      The Bottom Line
    Today’s new iridium based spark plugs can provide a hotter spark and a cleaner burn under many different load conditions, and can remain cleaner for longer durations than the conventional copper plug.
    The new capacitive element plugs like the Pulstar have shown to provide additional benefits over the iridium plugs including moderate fuel savings and lowered hydrocarbon emissions.
    The bottom line is for longer life, cleaner burns and less maintenance, using the newer types of spark plugs as described here are worth every penny.
     
    Resources
    Bosch Enerpulse/Pulstar E3 NGK
    Spider Tech
    Different machines, types of riding, and skill levels may benefit from different clutch setups. So how do you decide which clutch is right for you? Here, we break down each of Rekluse's clutch offerings to help you make an informed decision.
    While riding a motorcycle may seem elementary to an experienced individual, it’s not the act of riding that’s so impressive as how a motorcycle works. Very few people take to the time to think about all of the minute steps required for a bike to even start, let alone be ridden. Of course, there’s the piston pumping up and down, fuel igniting in the combustion chamber, and the crankshaft turning energy into rotary motion. One of the most overlooked components of an engine is the clutch system. In fact, it’s generally considered an afterthought; that is, until it stops functioning properly.

    Never overlook the importance of a properly functioning clutch.
    Motorcycle enthusiasts may view the engine’s clutch as a small piece of a large puzzle, unnecessary to worry about until new clutch plates are required. However, the clutch can actually be a huge performance advantage. Rekluse, an Idaho-based company that has been making their own line of clutch systems for 17 years, knows this all too well. Their first centrifugal automatic clutch (known as the Z-Start), put them on the map. Top off-road racers across various disciplines have raced, and won, with the Rekluse auto clutch. As an aftermarket company, reaching the pinnacle of the sport can’t be accomplished by offering an inferior product. Every component is tested to its maximum capabilities before ever being used in a race situation.

    Today's Rekluse clutches are the result of 17 years of development, engineering, and testing. This is an ever-evolving process that fuels Rekluse's continued development.
    Rekluse offers six different options across the auto and manual clutch categories for dirt bikes. Although known for their automatic clutch systems, Rekluse makes state-of-the-art manual clutch packages. Which one is right for you? Auto or manual? RadiusCX or EXP 3.0? Core Manual TorqDrive or Core Manual? Read on to find out. 
    Understand Your Options
    Think about your preferences, expertise, and shortcomings as a rider. Are you a beginning motocross racer, focused on mastering throttle control and maintaining corner speed? Perhaps you’re an avid trail seeker, searching for unconquered terrain in the most hostile environments. Whatever the case, it’s important to understand that your bike’s clutch can either help or hinder your goals as a rider. Understand that you have options.
      
    Different riders will benefit from different clutch setups. Read on to understand which of the various options will be most beneficial for you.
    Conventional clutch systems can be easily abused, leading to premature wear and eventual failure. Constantly pulling in and releasing a clutch lever causes fatigue. Automatic clutches can help solve those problems. Is there a drawback to using an auto clutch? Some may find the technology foreign, requiring practice in order to achieve comfort. Wrap your head around the idea of coming to a stop with the bike in gear and your hand off the clutch. Fortunately, Rekluse covers the spectrum of clutch configurations.     
    Rekluse Technology
    Through extensive research and development, Rekluse created three technological advancements that are shared among various clutch systems in their line. These components are a telling sign of Rekluse’s commitment to achieving clutch mastery.
    EXP
    The Houdini of clutch tech, Rekluse’s EXP disk is responsible for engaging and disengaging the clutch based on centrifugal force. When the motorcycle reaches a certain rpm, the EXP wedges slide out to expand the disk and engage the clutch. All of this is happening from engine idle to about 3,000 rpm. The point at which the clutch engages can be fine-tuned with different wedges and springs for a customized feel.

    The EXP disk is the key to auto clutch performance. This is the piece that automatically expands and contracts based on RPM to engage and disengage the clutch.
    Austin Paden, Rekluse Product Manager/Race Development, elaborates, “There was a lot of thought that went into the ramp angles during the development process, and how the wedges would ramp out while rotating. Small changes to the wedges made a big difference in how the auto clutch performed. Our goal was to make something lightweight, easy to adjust, and functional.”

    This graphics illustrates the simple, but innovative, process of the EXP disk and how it achieves auto clutch functionality.
    EXP technology is utilized on the RadiusCX, RadiusX and Core EXP 3.0 automatic clutch systems.
    Read more about how EXP works and find clutch systems with EXP here.
    TorqDrive
    Exactly what the name implies, TorqDrive is based on the principle that using more friction plates in a clutch pack creates increased torque capacity. Rekluse accomplished this by decreasing the thickness of their plates in order to use more plates in the same confines, while developing their own friction material for increased durability.
    Check out how TorqDrive increases torque capacity.
    Paden states, “The idea was to increase torque capacity to the system. Ultimately, the goal was to allow for more tuning options, lighter feel at the lever, and lessen clutch operating temperatures. The world of Supercross and motocross is based around a standard functioning manual clutch. The market in that segment is very competitive. We learned that other companies were using standard-based friction plates. Yet race teams were still having issues with breaking friction plates and experiencing clutch fade, which was caused by expansion. Our goal was to find a fiber compound that was durable, even when the operating temperature became extremely hot, yet be thin enough to fit more fiber plates into that same working area.”

    "Our goal was to find a fiber compound that was durable, even when the operating temperature became extremely hot, yet be thin enough to fit more fiber plates into that same working area." - Austin Paden, Product Manager
     
    The friction plates are made out of steel, which bucks the trend of using aluminum. When subjected to extreme heat, aluminum expands roughly twice as much as steel. Expansion leads to clutch fade. Rekluse essentially solved an age-old clutch malady through metallurgy.
    Additionally, the steel-based friction plates have unusually shaped friction material totally unlike a traditional square or rectangle-shape. Paden explains, “We came up with our own fiber material and design, which is based around oil flow. That material is on a steel core, which maintains its integrity, even when the engine gets really hot. As a result, you don’t get clutch fade or constantly have to adjust the clutch cable in the middle of your moto. The Rekluse TorqDrive system contains 12 friction plates in most Japanese-manufactured bikes, versus seven or eight in a OEM/stock configuration.” Additionally, the TorqDrive pack comes with steel lining clutch basket sleeves to eliminate wear and notching to the clutch basket tangs. Rekluse left no stone unturned.

    Rekluse developed a more durable clutch fiber compound while simultaneously improving the pad design for better cooling. The fiber material sits on a steel core, creating a complete package that drastically reduces clutch fade.
     
    TorqDrive technology can be found in the RadiusCX and RadiusX auto clutches, as well as the Core Manual TorqDrive and TorqDrive Clutch Pack manual editions.
    Read more about how TorqDrive works and find TorqDrive-equipped clutch systems here.
    Core
    Heat is the mortal enemy of an engine’s clutch. Rekluse confronted that problem head-on by developing their own hub, pressure plate and clutch cover. Made out of billet aluminum and designed around optimizing oil flow to lower clutch operating temperatures, Core is literally cool.

    Paden states, “We made the parts lighter in order to create less rotating mass. In comparison to the competition, what’s noticeable about our hubs and pressure plates are that they have very open profiles. The bottom and top of the hub have features that basically act as a dam for the oil. Oil that makes its way into the center hub is directed through the clutch plates. More flow reduces heat. The pressure plate is also open, and any oil that comes from the front side of the clutch system makes its way to the center clutch.”

    Rekluse Core billet inner hubs and pressure plates are designed to promote better oil flow and less rotating mass.
     
    A close inspection of an OEM/stock hub will likely reveal oil holes and features that are located in the profile where the drive plates would ride. With this design, the holes are potentially blocked, preventing oil from reaching the clutch plates. Rekluse found a solution. Paden explains, “The Rekluse-designed hub has the oil holes and features on the ribs themselves. There are features in the drive plates, which act like pockets, so the oil is able to flow to the clutch plates without restriction.”
    Taking it a step further, Rekluse created their own clutch cover that allows for roughly 50cc more oil capacity. More oil equals decreased operating temperature.
      
    Rekluse billet hubs have oil flow features directly on the ribs, adding another measure to clutch plate oiling. Also, Rekluse billet clutch covers allow for additional oil capacity to keep things cooler.
     
    Core technology is utilized in RadiusCX and Core EXP 3.0 auto clutches, as well as Core Manual TorqDrive and Core Manual clutches.
    Read more about Core technology and find Core-equipped clutch systems here.
    Automatic: What are your Options?
    Rekluse offers three automatic clutch options – RadiusCX, RadiusX, and Core EXP 3.0.
    RadiusCX is the Taj Mahal of automatic clutch systems, featuring a plethora of Rekluse’s latest technologies. It contains the best features, as far as cooling and auto clutch performance. If you are a clutch abuser, the RadiusCX is for you. Like the other auto clutch options, the rider can use the clutch lever for manual operation. Given that it’s full of benefits, this is also the most expensive auto clutch in Rekluse’s line ($1,019).

    The RadiusCX is the ultimate clutch package for riders desiring the auto clutch. It includes the Core billet components, TorqDrive technology, the EXP 3.0 disk, and the billet slave cylinder for DDS models (shown here).
     
    Find RadiusCX for your ride here.
    RadiusX is the little brother to the RadiusCX. Featuring EXP and TorqDrive technology, the system comes with the EXP disk and clutch pack, as well as the clutch basket sleeves. It does not come equipped with the Core billet components, and as such, is priced at $629.

    The RadiusX features EXP and TorqDrive to deliver a great auto clutch experience, it just does not include the Core billet components to keep the price point lower.
     
    Find RadiusX for your ride here.
    Core EXP 3.0 ($919) utilizes the EXP centrifugal disk, meaning that you can come to a complete stop in gear with clutch out and not stall the bike. The package also includes the Core billet parts. OEM/stock clutch plates are required with the Core EXP 3.0.

    The Core EXP 3.0 includes the EXP disk and all the Core billet components, but utilizes stock clutch plates.
     
    Find Core EXP 3.0 for your ride here.
    Manual: What Are Your Options?
    Rekluse also offers three manual clutch options – Core Manual TorqDrive, Core Manual, and TorqDrive Clutch Pack.
    Core Manual TorqDrive ($949) was designed for serious racers, used at the Supercross level on down to the amateur ranks. It has the most adjustments as far as tunability, and outstanding durability. The kit comes with Core and TorqDrive technology.
    Find Core Manual TorqDrive for your machine here.

    The Core Manual TorqDrive kit inludes Core billet components and TorqDrive technology. The power delivery improvement and added durability is nothing short of impressive.
     
    Core Manual is essentially a billet replacement for the stock hub and pressure plate. Some riders may prefer the feel of riding with OEM/stock friction plates. If that statement explains you, then the Core Manual is your best option. It is priced at $519.
    Find Core Manual for your machine here.

    If you want the durability and cooling characteristics of the Core billet components but prefer the feeling of stock clutch plates, the Core Manual is your clutch.
     
    The TorqDrive Clutch Pack takes the clutch pack used in the Core Manual TorqDrive and puts it into a stock hub and pressure plate. It’s very affordable, and a good alternative for racers on a tight budget. At $349, it doesn’t break the bank.
    Find TorqDrive Clutch Pack for your machine here.

    The TorqDrive clutch pack gives you the advantages of increased torque capacity without the added cost of billet components. The most affordable way to get all the holeshots.
    What the Professionals Run
    Rekluse’s list of sponsored riders reads like a who’s who in all of the major forms of two-wheeled off-road motorcycle racing series. In fact, Rekluse relies on some of the world’s best athletes for product development and durability. 
    Given that Rekluse produces a variety of clutch applications, it makes sense that their fleet of sponsored riders have their particular favorites. The 2018 Monster Energy Supercross Champion, Jason Anderson, along with the rest of the Rockstar Husqvarna factory team, prefers the Core Manual system, which they pair with OEM/stock fiber plates. Dean Wilson opts for the TorqDrive clutch pack, as it easily drops into a stock clutch system. The Star Racing Yamaha team has been using the full Core Manual TorqDrive kit for roughly five years. In that span, the 250 program has won championships with Cooper Webb and Aaron Plessinger.
     
    Rekluse products go through multiple stages of testing and development, from in-house prototypes to detailed refinements with elite race teams.
     
    Dubbed “Mr. Versatility” by Racer X Illustrated, Ryan Sipes has competed in a bevy of different off-road disciplines over the past few years. From ISDE to GNCC, Sprint Enduro and event Flat Track, Ryan’s clutch of choice is the RadiusCX. Another GNCC racer, Ricky Russell, has used the RadiusCX system for the past year and a half. It makes sense, given that GNCC races are gruelingly long at three hours, where hand fatigue and engine stalling can be major issues.
    Paden explains that Endurocross riders tend to bounce back and forth between auto and manual clutch options. “Auto clutches were incredibly popular for several years in Endurocross, and then racers started gravitating to manual clutches. Right now, we’re in this state where guys are going back to the auto systems. It’s one of those scenarios where if one guy who is winning goes auto, the rest follow.” Given that a motorcycle clutch is a beneficial aftermarket modification, it is a change that is quickly picked up and copied by the competition.
    Believe it or not, there are some riders who prefer to race Supercross with an automatic clutch. Paden explains, “I have done back-to-back testing with top privateers in Supercross, and most post faster lap times with an auto clutch. They couldn’t believe it. That’s because an auto clutch makes the bike's power feel smoother.” Smooth doesn’t feel fast to most riders, but the stopwatch doesn’t lie. Paden believes that more riders will start preferring automatic clutches in Supercross over time. It’s not a crazy theory, given that roll speed is an important part of clearing jumps and being successful in Supercross.

    While an auto clutch may not 'feel' as fast to some Supercross riders, many of those that have tested it have posted faster lap times. Could we see a migration to auto clutches in Supercross?
    If you’re still unsure of which Rekluse clutch to install in your motorcycle, give the clutch experts a call at 208-426-0659, or browse the Rekluse website at www.rekluse.com.
    ThumperTalk
    The motorcycle steering stabilizer has remained relatively unchanged since its introduction in the 70s. Few things remain unchanged forever and George Athanasiou, owner of Precision Racing Products (PRP) believes that he’s created the next level of off-road motorcycle steering stabilizers with his Parabolic Damper. PRP began with steering dampers for ATV racing where they racked up countless wins. Building upon this success, they set their sights on off-road motorcycle racing.

    Precision Racing Products Parabolic Motorcycle Steering Damper
    The most obvious and unique feature of the PRP Parabolic Damper is its mounting system which clamps to the center of the handlebars, avoiding the impact hazard of top mounts and the handling & ergonomic considerations of sub-mount systems that raise the handlebar. But, there is a lot more to a good steering stabilizer than its mounting location, so is this where the story begins and ends with PRP’s Parabolic Damper? We spent some time talking with George about his product, peeling the onion back a bit more.
    TT:  Are there any notable motorcycle riders or race teams using your damper in competition and what’s been their feedback?
    PRP: Before it was even for sale Factory KTM Racing and Factory Husqvarna Racing were already racing with it.  Since then, Factory Beta-USA Racing, Honda and Kawasaki support off-road teams have gone to it. The racers love it!  They have expressed that they had no idea that a steering damper could work so well. The KTM Crew Chief stated, “It's years ahead of anything we've tried.” It's great to have validation from riders at this level.
     
    TT:  A lot of time & effort went into the design of the frame bracket, linkage & damper arm. What do you want riders to know about this?
    PRP: We have been going to National races for 15 years and in talking to racers, they expressed that they didn't want a damper that raises their handlebars or one that mounts on top of their bars, possibly causing injuries.  After years of experiments and testing, the Parabolic damper was born, which is a damper that mounts at an angle to the steering stem and uses geometry with sealed and greased linkage to provide perfect ratios.

    TT: The Parabolic Damper has a thermal expansion reservoir. Is this unique to your design and where does it benefit a rider?
    PRP: This is a very unique system that we developed on our second generation of ATV stabilizers.  It basically works like a piggyback reservoir on a rear shock giving the oil a place to go as it heats up and expands.  Otherwise,just parking your bike in the sun can cause internal pressures of over 1500-psi which will bend covers or housings, causing fading or seizing.
     
    TT: From center to steering stop and back, what are the dampening characteristics of the Parabolic Damper and why did you set it up that way?
    PRP:  A flat bell curve best describes it with slightly more damping in the center and slightly less on the sides.  This helps you steer easier in the tight stuff while giving you more stability in the faster straight stuff. With a smooth transition between both, there is no sudden drop off like some dampers have. 


    TT: The Parabolic Damper has 20 low speed settings, but also an adjustable high speed circuit. How does the rider go about setting these two in relation to one another for the conditions they ride?
    PRP:  Low speed is your normal steering speed and high speed is anything faster than you can turn the bars (has nothing to do with the speed of the bike). With the bike on a stand, set the low speed to the setting you like the feel of.  Now, turn the low speed up two clicks to set the high speed. You want to feel the high speed start to grab as you turn the bars at full speed. Now, turn the low speed back down to where you liked it. You will be able to turn your bars as fast as you like without the high speed hitting, but if you hit anything that moves you bars quicker than that, such as roots, ruts, rocks, cross rutts, trees, etc.,  the high speed will catch you.
     
    TT: What sort of maintenance does the Parabolic Damper need and is it DIY or does it need to come back to PRP?
    PRP:  Maintenance is super easy.  You don’t need to open the damper for an oil change.  Just remove the two fill plugs squeeze fresh oil in one hole until clean oil comes out the other hole, then reinstall the plugs. Greasing the linkage is also super easy and the linkage is wear adjustable.
     
    TT: The floor is yours George, what else do you want riders to know about the Parabolic Damper that we’ve not covered?
    PRP:  I think most people understand that a steering stabilizer will help them with high speed head shake (death wobble).  What a lot of folks don’t realize is what this damper will do to control the rear of the bike. The way our damper is designed, the back end wants to stay behind the front end through whoops, breaking bumps and in muddy or slippery conditions. This allows you to stay on the pegs while others are on their seat trying to keep the backend behind them.

    The Precision Racing Products Parabolic Motorcycle Steering Damper is very light weight.
     

    Burly linkage arm w/ multi-faceted connection point to damper body eliminates deflection & play
    for a smooth, transitionless steering feel.
     

    Precision Racing Products Parabolic Motorcycle Steering Damper ready to go racing!
     
    Have questions?  Hit @George @ Precision Racing in the comments section below! 👇
     
    Huskyboy92
    The AMA (American Motorcycle Association) Supercross Official Rules and Regulations state that the intent of a rule will be determined by competent officials. Following the second 2020 Monster Energy Supercross race in Anaheim, I couldn't help but wonder. How competent are they really? Section A2 under general offenses and penalties says that actions that are deemed detrimental to the sport of motorcycle racing and which may result in a range of disciplinary actions 'Race Direction' may disqualify any participant or motorcycle from the balance of a race meet for violation of certain rules, insubordination or other actions deemed in the sole discretion of 'Race Direction' to be detrimental to the race meet and the sport. One of the those rules, specifically rule 22 on page 57 clearly states that any deliberate overly aggressive riding vengeful riding and/or careless riding leading to an adverse result. This does not include incidental or unintentional contact. 

    Let's go back a bit and look at the history books shall we. David Vuillemin and Stephen Roncada in 2002 having a nasty battle on track including some aggressive and dirty block passes, leading up to Stephen accelerating up to David's bike, and slamming into his back tire only to have David immediately retaliate by open handed smacking Roncada on his helmet with zero repercussions.
    On the very first lap of the season opener in 2004 the world witnessed a beautiful block pass by Kevin Windham on David Vuillemin, sending Vuillemin flying into the tuff blocks later resulting in Kevin being deducted 10 points from his standings which may have cost him the Championship, as we later go on to see that Chad Reed won that year.
    Just because they have smaller cc's doesn't mean they have smaller balls, and we witnessed that as 125cc riders Ryan Mills and Steve Mertons (also in 04' season) literally turned a corner of the Supercross track into an MMA octagon ring as they punched and even body slammed each other before race officials had to separate the two spartans. Not to be outdone, the 250 class also drew blood as Brad Langton went after privateer Jimmy Wilson post race showing him that he took his after school Taekwondo classes very seriously as a kid.
    The list can go on and on, but where is the line drawn in the sand? Why were these guys not punished? Why was Kevin Windham deducted 10 points for a 'deliberate and vengeful' block pass that mentioned before, could have ultimately cost him the championship that year? Okay fine, times were different back then and times have certainly changed. But have they? Let us take a look at how the AMA dealt with the Dylan Ferrandis on Christian Craig incident this year at Anaheim two. Was this incidental? or was this intentional and vengeful riding leading to an adverse result as stated in the rules and regulations? Or was this just good old fashioned "I want to win" racing? There are many factors to consider when one is racing through a track at a pace so fast that my own grandmother has trouble understanding what is happening on the TV screen, and although we must first protect the riders you can't squeeze the orange without getting some pulp in your cup. In other words, you can't take the racing out of racing. I would very much understand if Christian Craig was seriously injured after making contact with Ferrandis he picks his bike right up and starts riding again. If the AMA has to issue a 12-month probation period on Dylan Ferrandis for making a pass to win the race, mark my words this sport will soon turn into a no contact badminton match in our near future. Heck, that might be even more interesting to watch, instead of a bunch of riders tip toeing around a track, careful not touch ones sponsors stickers on the side of their bikes. 
     
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