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    Kevin from Wiseco
    When it comes to overall strength, there's no beating a forged piston. But what is the process that yields the toughest parts in the racing world? We'll show you. 
    When it comes to turning raw metal alloys into useful things, two processes dominate - casting and forging. Both have their place, but when strength and light weight are priorities, forging is the method of choice. Though it’s been around for more than six millennia, forging processes continue to advance the state of the art, bringing us everything from sharper, more durable kitchen knives to more fuel efficient jet engines, plus things much closer to our heart: lighter, stronger pistons.

    Although forging is a metalworking process thousands of years old, it’s still the best method to produce components with the highest strength and durability.
    Forging is defined as the controlled deformation of metal into a desired shape by compressive force. At its most basic, it’s a blacksmith working a piece with a hammer and anvil, and those first metalworkers toiling at their forges discovered something important about the pieces they were crafting – compared to similar objects made from melted and cast metal, they were stronger and more durable.
    Though they knew the finished product was superior, what those ancient smiths didn’t suspect was that the act of forging was changing the internal grain structure of the metal, aligning it to the direction of force being applied, and making it stronger, more ductile, and giving it higher resistance to impact and fatigue. While a cast metal part will have a homogeneous, random grain structure, forging can intentionally direct that structure in ways that give a finished part the highest structural integrity of any metalworking process. 
     
    Wiseco forged pistons start as raw bar stock in certified 2618 or 4032 aluminum alloy. Once they’re cut into precisely-sized ‘pucks’ they’re ready to be preheated in preparation for forging.
    Although many performance enthusiasts might put billet parts at the top of the heap in terms of desirability, the reality is that the billet they are created from doesn't have the same grain properties of a forging. 

    The Wiseco Forging Process
    Today’s state of the art in forging technology is far removed from the smith’s bellows-stoked fire and anvil. In Wiseco’s ISO 9000-certified forging facility, pistons begin life as certified grade aluminum bar stock, cut to precise lengths to form slugs. The choice of material is critical - conventional wisdom has always said that a forged piston requires additional piston-to-bore clearance to allow for expansion, leading to noise from piston slap until the engine gets up to temperature, but per Wiseco’s Research and Development Manager David Fussner, “Forged pistons do require additional room temperature clearance. However, the 4032 forging alloy we use has about 12% silicon content, and this significantly controls the expansion to nearly the same as a 12% silicon cast piston. The 2618 alloy expands a bit more and does require a bit more room temperature clearance than 4032.”

    Pistons are forged in a ‘backwards extrusion’ process where a moving punch presses the raw material into the die to form the rough shape. The process takes only a fraction of a second (longer in the isothermal press), and the speed of the press helps determine how material flows, and therefore the internal grain structure of the forging.
    While 4032 is more dimensionally stable across the typical operating temperature range seen inside an engine, it does give up a small advantage in ductility to 2618, which has a silicon content of less than 0.2 percent. This makes 2618 a better choice for applications where detonation may be an issue, like race engines running high boost or large doses of nitrous oxide. The low silicon alloy’s more forgiving nature in these instances makes up for the tradeoffs in increased wear and shorter service life compared to 4032.
    Once cut to the proper size, slugs are heated to a predetermined temperature and moved to the forging press itself, which is also maintained at a controlled temperature. There are two different types of presses employed at Wiseco; mechanical and hydraulic. Both have a long history in manufacturing, and each has specific strengths. Mechanical forging presses are well-suited to high production rates, helping to keep the overall cost of high-quality forged components affordable. Hydraulic presses have the advantage of variable speed and force throughout the process, allowing greater control of material flow, which can be used to produced forged components with even more precisely controlled physical properties.

    Wiseco’s isothermal hydraulic press forging machines use precise digital control of the temperature of the raw material, the punch, and the die, as well as the pressure exerted during the full motion of the forge. This allows very close control over the physical properties of the finished forging.
    Regardless of the type of press, pistons are forged using a “backwards extrusion” process where the material from the slug flows back and around the descending punch to form the cup-shaped forging. Picture the stationary part of the press (the die) as the mirror image of the piston top, and the punch as the mirror image of the underside. As the punch descends, the puck is transformed into the rough piston shape with material flowing up along the sides of the die and punch to form the skirt. This entire process takes place on the scale of milliseconds (on the mechanical press), and the all-important flow stresses of the material are determined by the strain rate (or speed) and load applied by the press.
    In addition to three mechanical forge presses, Wiseco also has two isothermal hydraulic presses in-house. These state of the art forges maintain the temperature of the piston slug, the die, and the punch very accurately through computer control, delivering more precise dimensions and geometry for the finished pieces, as well as allowing for more complex designs to be successfully forged, and even the creation of metal matrix composite forgings.

    Once the puck (left) has been transformed into a forged blank (middle), it still has a ways to go before becoming a completed piston (right).
    The Heat Is On
    Once the forging process is complete, the components next move to heat treatment. Wiseco’s aerospace-grade heat treatment facility is located in the same plant as the presses, and here the pistons go through a carefully controlled process of heating and cooling that relieves stress induced during forging, increases the overall strength and ductility of the metal, and provides the desired surface hardness characteristics. 
    While casting can deliver parts straight out of the mold that are very close to their final shape, forgings require a bit more attention in order to get them into shape. Fussner explains, “In a dedicated forging for a specific purpose, the interior of the forging blank is at near-net as it comes off the forging press.  And in some cases, we also forge the dome near-net with valve pockets and some other features. Other than these items, most other features do require machining.”

    Pistons aren't the only thing Wiseco forges and machines in-house. Wiseco clutch are also forged and machined, as well as finished with hard anodizing. The forging (left) allows the basket to closer to the final shape before machining. The basket shown here is just post-machining.
    One basic forging may serve as the starting point for many different types of finished pistons, unlike castings which are typically unique to a single design or a small group of very similar designs. Regardless of the manufacturing method for the piston blank, some degree of final machining needs to take place to create a finished part. “As a ballpark percentage, I would say about 75% of the forging blank would require machining.” Cast pistons also require finish work on the CNC machine, but this is almost always less extensive than a similar forged piston. “That’s the main reason why forged pistons are more expensive than a cast piston,” Fussner adds. 
    Another reason for the added expense of forging is the significant cost of the initial tooling for the die and punch, which must be made to exact specifications and be durable enough to survive countless forging press cycles. Per Fussner, “We control these costs by making all our forging tooling in house at Wiseco headquarters in Mentor, Ohio.” The ability to make their own tooling, doing their own forging, and their in-house heat treatment facilities make Wiseco the only aftermarket forged piston manufacturer in the United States with these unique capabilities.
    Once the machining process is complete, Wiseco pistons can also receive a number of different proprietary coatings to fine-tune their performance. These include thermal barriers as well as wear reduction treatments.
    Though forging is a technique literally as old as the Iron Age, it’s still the undisputed king of manufacturing techniques for light, strong, durable components. Wiseco continues to refine the process with the latest methods, materials, heat treatment, and machining to provide the highest quality aftermarket components available, at an affordable price.

    Wiseco forged pistons provide superior quality and performance at an affordable price thanks to the company’s close control over every step of the manufacturing process.
    Bryan Bosch
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Honda Broadens CRF Lineup with Expansive New-Model Launch
    Largest performance off-road release yet includes new models for diverse applications

    IRVINE, Calif. (May 23, 2018) – During a recent “CRF Collective” unveiling ceremony at Fox Racing headquarters, Honda announced its most far-reaching range of performance off-road models ever, expanding the group by three and significantly improving the four returning models. Leveraging the brand’s unparalleled experience in the manufacture of dirt bikes, Honda’s performance off-road lineup now includes CRF machines for riding applications including motocross, closed-course off-road, pure off-road, and even dual sport.

    All seven models are based on the platforms of Honda’s revolutionary motocrossers, the CRF450R and CRF250R. Those two machines return for 2019 but with important updates, as does the closed-course off-road CRF450RX. In addition, Honda is offering a factory-replica version of its full-size motocrosser called the CRF450RWE (“Works Edition”). The trail-ready CRF450X is entirely new for 2019, and it’s joined by a road legal CRF450L that enables customers to connect trails via asphalt. Finally, Honda is also introducing an all-new CRF250RX closed-course off-road machine.
     

     
    CRF450L Dual Sport
    The trails are calling, and the all-new road-legal CRF450L answers, expanding customers’ off-road possibilities by enabling access to the best riding trails, even when that means connecting them via asphalt roads. Street legality is achieved via features like LED lighting, mirrors, and a dedicated exhaust system. Equally at home in the woods or desert, the CRF450L has a wide-ratio six-speed transmission for maximum adaptability, while a lightweight, 2.0-gallon tank offers great range. Compared to the CRF450R motocrosser, crank mass is up for tractability in technical conditions, where a large-capacity radiator keeps things cool.
    Color: Red Target Price: $10,399 Availability: September Info: https://powersports.honda.com/2019/crf450L.aspx >>> More pictures, video, specs & discussion on the 2019 Honda CRF450L <<<


     
    CRF450RWE (Works Edition)
    For the 2019 model year, you don’t have to be Ken Roczen to enjoy a CRF450R with factory enhancements, as the new CRF450RWE features a number of upgrades based on the bikes in the Team Honda HRC race shop. Rocketing to the top step of the podium through the use of a specially designed cylinder head with hand-polished ports, Yoshimura titanium slip-on muffler, and special ECU settings, this new model offers increased low- and mid-range torque. It also features the same graphics as Roczen’s No. 94 race bike, including a Throttle Jockey factory seat cover. Upgraded black D.I.D LT-X rims are included, along with black triple clamps and a gold RK chain. Titanium nitride-coated fork legs and an updated, titanium nitride-coated shock shaft increase traction and bump absorption.
    Color: Red Price: $11,499 Availability: August Info: https://powersports.honda.com/2019/crf450r.aspx

     
    CRF450R
    Already the industry’s top-selling motocrosser and the winner of the 2018 Daytona Supercross at the hands of MotoConcept’s Justin Brayton, the CRF450R receives a number of important updates for 2019. Better engine performance is achieved through a new combustion-chamber shape, as well as improved over-rev characteristics through a refined oil-management system. The frame and swingarm have been revised for optimized rigidity and weight reduction, while the braking system has been updated with a lightweight front brake caliper featuring a large-piston design. As a result of the weightsaving measures, the CRF450R is 1.76 lbs. lighter than its predecessor. For added performance and increased comfort, the 2019 model features new ECU settings, HRC launch control, a Renthal Fatbar® handlebar and adjustable handlebar position. Black rims and redesigned fork protectors are also new. This is how you convert the “Absolute Holeshot” into moto wins.
    Color: Red Price: $9,299 Availability: August Info: https://powersports.honda.com/2019/crf450r.aspx

     
    CRF450X
    Having featured heavily in Honda-mounted teams winning 20 of the last 21 Baja 1000s, the CRF450X gets a complete overhaul for 2019, based on the modern CRF platform but with off-road-appropriate features. A true off-road machine that’s ready for racing or trail riding, this model features a headlight, taillight, and side stand, as well as an 18” rear wheel and lightweight 2.0-gallon fuel tank. For maximum versatility in challenging terrain, the CRF450X also features a 49mm Showa fork with dedicated settings, wideratio six-speed transmission, and higher crank mass than the CRF450R.
    Color: Red Target Price: $9,799 Availability: October Info: https://powersports.honda.com/2019/crf450X.aspx

     
    CRF450RX
    Currently campaigned by JCR Honda’s Trevor Bollinger and Trevor Stewart in GNCC and WORCS competition, respectively, the CRF450RX inherits the same performanceenhancing features of the 2019 CRF450R, including an updated cylinder head and refined oil-management system, while still featuring off-road-specific features like a 2.2gallon resin fuel tank, 18-inch rear wheel, and aluminum side stand. Suspension is specially tailored to the CRF450RX and uses low-friction fork oil. For added performance and increased comfort, the 2019 model features new ECU settings, HRC launch control, a Renthal Fatbar handlebar, and adjustable handlebar position. Black rims and redesigned fork protectors are also new.
    Color: Red Price: $9,599 Availability: September Info: https://powersports.honda.com/2019/crf450rx.aspx

    CRF250RX
    Based on Honda’s successful 250cc motocrosser, the all-new CRF250RX joins the CRF450RX as a weapon for closed-course off-road competitions throughout America. Equipped with a larger-capacity, 2.2-gallon resin fuel tank, 18-inch rear wheel, and aluminum side stand, the RX makes quick work of challenging situations, its dedicated suspension and ECU settings helping the rider work through even the toughest trail sections. As with the CRF250R, HRC launch control, a Renthal Fatbar handlebar, and black rims are standard.
     
    Color: Red Target Price: $8,299 Availability: September Info: https://powersports.honda.com/2019/crf250rx.aspx

     
    CRF250R
    Newly introduced in 2018, the CRF250R has seen the GEICO Honda and TiLube Honda teams earn multiple wins in AMA Supercross and Arenacross competition, respectively, while also achieving success in amateur national races. For 2019, the model is revised with increased low-to-midrange engine performance for improved corner exiting. Inspired by the factory version, the Double Overhead Cam engine features updated cam profiles
    and intake- and exhaust-port profiles, a 50mm shorter right exhaust pipe, and a 2mm smaller throttle body. Riders can select from three engine modes for ideal performance depending on conditions, while HRC launch control has been adopted for improved race-start performance. A Renthal Fatbar handlebar sits in a four-position-adjustable top clamp, while the braking system has been updated with a lighter, CRF450R-inspired caliper with larger piston for optimum braking performance. Black rims are standard.
    Color: Red Target Price: $7,999 Availability: September Info: https://powersports.honda.com/2019/crf250r.aspx

     
    CRF150R / CRF150RB
    Raced by Amsoil Honda hotshot Hunter Yoder on the amateur national circuit, Honda’s smallest motocross machine returns for 2019, featuring a Unicam four-stroke engine thatoffers a spread of ample, useable power and torque across the rev range. Suspension duties are handled by Showa, with a 37mm inverted fork and Pro-Link rear link system. In addition to the standard version, Honda offers the CRF150RB, which features larger
    wheels, a taller seat, a longer swingarm, and more rear-suspension travel.
    Color: Red Target Price o CRF150R: $5,099 o CRF150RB: $5,399 Availability: August Info: http://powersports.honda.com/2019/crf150r.aspx
     
    ABOUT AMERICAN HONDA
    American Honda Motor Co., Inc., is the sole distributor of Honda motorcycles, scooters, ATVs and Side-by-Sides in the U.S. American Honda’s Motorcycle Division conducts thesales, marketing and operational activities for these products through independent authorized Honda retail dealers. For more information on Honda products, go to powersports.honda.com.
    Bryan Bosch
    Featuring Key Upgrades Husqvarna 2019 Enduro Motorcycles Again Set The Benchmark for Quality, Technology & Performance
     
    May 17, 2018 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – Husqvarna Motorcycles are proud to lift the covers off their complete range of 2019 enduro models – a sophisticated line-up of premium machines that perfectly embody the brand’s pioneering spirit and feature the most advanced technology ever seen in the offroad motorcycles segment.
    Husqvarna Enduro TE 250i MY19
    The whole range features state-of-the-art, powerful and light engines, together with the most advanced engine management systems. With innovative, recently introduced electronic fuel injection on the 2-stroke TE 250i and TE 300i models, all 4-stroke machines benefit from traction control with electric starters fitted as standard on all models apart the TX 125.
    Husqvarna Enduro TE 300i MY19
    For model year 2019 Husqvarna Motorcycles introduce a list of carefully-considered updates across their enduro line-up. Combining top-level performance with unprecedented ease of use across all terrains, the 2019 enduro models are here to deliver a next-level enduro riding experience.
    KEY FEATURES ACROSS THE RANGE

    For model year 2019 Husqvarna unveil an exciting new generation of seven [eight with the TE 150 for the US market] new 2-stroke and 4-stroke enduro machines.
    Husqvarna Enduro TX 125 MY19
    Remaining true to their commitment to never-ending development, for MY19 Husqvarna Motorcycles’ engineers introduce a new series of settings for both the WP Xplor 48 forks and the WP DCC shock. The latest suspension on all Husqvarna enduro models provides advanced damping characteristics with a stiffer setting for more bottoming resistance, to suit the needs of a wide range of offroad riders.
    Husqvarna Enduro FE 250 MY19
    Updates for MY19 include the new Diaphragm Steel Clutch on the TX 125 and TE 150 and the new clutch cover with improved wear resistance on all models.
    Husqvarna Enduro FE 350 MY19
    Retaining their dynamic, sharp and sleek looking bodywork, Husqvarna’s 2019 enduro models feature a futuristic design in their brand new graphics, which stylishly acknowledges the brand’s Swedish heritage. Coinciding with the unveiling of the enduro range, Husqvarna Motorcycles are pleased to introduce a new line-up of clothing and accessories.
    Husqvarna Enduro FE 450 MY19
    Combining Swedish inspired design with premium quality, the 2019 clothing range offers casual and functional garments to meet the needs of all dedicated fans. Enriched for 2019, Husqvarna Motorcycles’ range of accessories contains premium parts designed to enhance and protect all enduro machines.
    Husqvarna Enduro FE 501 MY19
    The new Husqvarna Motorcycles MY19 enduro range will be available in Europe from May 2018 onwards, at all authorised Husqvarna Motorcycles dealers.
    For all details on pricing and availability, please refer to your national Husqvarna Motorcycles subsidiary or importer. Media Partners,
    The full Media Kit is available for download here:
    http://bit.ly/HQV_ENDURO_MY19_MEDIA_INFORMATION
     
    Husqvarna Motorcycles. Tradition on two wheels since 1903.
    Husqvarna Motorcycles are widely known and respected in the off-road world for a heritage of competition and numerous motocross and enduro world championships. Originally founded in Sweden in 1903, Husqvarna Motorcycles have been designed and manufactured in Mattighofen, Austria since 2013.
    Source: Husqvarna Motorcycles GmbH

    Rob@ProX
    We have a used 2006 YZ450F that we're rebuilding step-by-step, and documenting along the way. In this part 1 feature, we'll go over how to replace a 4-stroke piston. Click here to watch the quick tip video to go along with it!
    The top end in a four-stroke can be split up into two major sections: the head, and the cylinder and piston. They both require specific attention and critical steps to ensure proper opertation once everything is back together.
    We replaced the worn stock piston with an OEM quality forged ProX piston kit. It includes the rings, wrist pin, circlips, and installation instructions. The pistons are available in A, B, and C sizes, to accomodate for the size of your cylinder as it wears.
     
    Our new ProX forged piston compared to the stock, used piston. Carbon deposits on the crown are common after running hours, but can decrease power and efficiency.
    Disassembly
    To prepare to disassemble your head and cylinder, you'll need to remove the seat, gas tank, exhaust system, and carburetor (or throttle body). While not always required, removing the sub-frame, shock, and air boot make accessibility to the engine a lot easier in most cases.
    Once those major components are removed, you'll need to remove any other components attached to the head or cylinder, such as clutch cable guides, spark plug boots, and electrical connections.
     
    Removing the subframe, airboot, and shock, in addition to the other components, provides much better access to all sides of the motor. Don't forget to remove any cable guides or other items bolted to the head/cylinder.
    Next, remove the cam cover, loosening the bolts incrementally until they are all loose. With that off, it is best to make sure your camshafts are not fully compressing any of the valve springs before you loosen the cam caps. You can do this by slowly rotating the crankshaft via the kickstarter. With the cam caps removed, loosen and remove the cam chain tensioner next. This will give you the slack to remove the timing chain completely. You can now lift the camshafts completely out, handling carefully.
    Now you can loosen the head bolts in incrementally in a crossing pattern. Remove the head and place it aside, handling it carefully. Next, do the same for the cylinder bolts, and carefully remove the cylinder. As you remove the cylinder, the piston is going to stay on the connecting rod, so it helps to hold the connecting rod steady as you wiggle the cylinder off the piston. It is always a good idea to fill the opening of the cases with a lint free rag to prevent debris or loose parts from falling in.

    Remove the cam cover and head bolts incrementally until loose. This prevents the chance of warping.
     
    Finally, you can remove one wire lock from the stock piston using a pick or small screwdriver. Slide the wrist pin out, and remove the piston from the small end of the connecting rod. Be very careful no to drop anything into the cases during this step, and throughout the entire process.
    Cleaning
    With everyting removed, you'll need to clean any old gasket material and other residue off your sealing surfaces. This includes the base for the cylinder on the cases, top and bottom surfaces of the cylinder itself, and the bottom surface of the head that seals to the cylinder.
    For large or difficult pieces of material, it is common to use a razor blade for removal. However, be gentle and careful not to put deep grooves or scratches in the surfaces. Also, don't cut your finger open, or off.

    Scrape old gasket material off carefully, being cautious of any grooves or scratches in sealing surfaces and personal injury.
     
    Final cleaning commonly consists of using carb cleaner, or a similar chemical cleaner, and a rag to achieve completely clean and flat surfaces.
    Cylinder Prep
    Before you go and put that cylinder back in with your new piston, you'll want to inspect it for signs of wear, and measure it to make sure it's within spec (refer to your owner's manual for proper specifications). If there is minimal glazing on the cylinder, no grooves worn in, and it's within spec, you should be ready to reinstall after a good honing. Always use a diamond tipped honing brush for resurfacing work. If you're unsure about performing any cylinder prep work yourself, talk to your local dealer about cylinder shops, where any prep work required can be performed.
    ProX pistons are available in multiple sizes to accomodate for cylinder wear, so be sure your bore measurements correlate with the size of piston you're installing.

    Make sure your cylinder is the correct bore size for your piston, and properly cleaned and honed, as pictured here.
    Reassembly
    When you have your cylinder prepped and ready, now is a good time to double check your piston-to-wall clearance and ring end gap. For piston-to-wall, measure the size of your ProX piston using a micrometer only. Measure the piston on the skirt, 90 degrees from the wrist pin bore, at the point on the skirt that is 1/4 of height of the piston from the bottom. Refer to your manual for acceptable piston-to-wall clearance range. When measuring ring end gap, install the top ring and second ring (seperately, and if applicable) approximately 1/4" into the bore. Use a feeler gauge to be sure ring end gap is within the dimensions specified in your piston kit instructions. ProX rings are pre-gapped, but it is always good practice to double check.

    While ProX rings are pre-gapped, it's still a good idea to double check your ring end gap.
    Install the rings in the proper order and location on your pistons. Refer to the instructions that come with ProX piston kits to be sure you are installing the rings in the correct fashion and location. After this, install one wire lock into your piston, being sure it is properly seated.
    Click here for our tips on installing wire locks.
    Use your finger to put a layer of motor oil on the cylinder wall. Next, put a layer of oil on the outside of your new piston (on the outside of the rings, on the ring belt, and on the skirts). You don't want your new piston and rings breaking in under dry conditions. Use the normal motor oil you use in your 4-stroke.
    Piston installation can be done via more than one method, but in our case, we installed the piston in the cylinder before attaching it to the connecting rod. Either way, be sure your piston is facing the correct direction, meaning the exhaust valve reliefs line up with the exhaust side of the head. There will be markings on the crown of ProX pistons to indiciate which side is the exhaust side. Also, make sure your rings remain in the proper location as you slide the piston into the cylinder. 

    The arrow shows the marking on the piston crown that indicates that is the side of piston that needs to face the exhaust.

    Before installing the new base gasket, piston and re-installing the cylinder, make sure the surface is clean and the crankcase is free of debris. While the top end is off, this could also be a good time to make sure your crankshaft is in spec.
    Next, lay your new base gasket on the cases, lining it up properly. Install the piston (which should remain in the cylinder) onto the connecting rod by lining up the pin bore with the small end bore, and sliding your new wrist pin (put a layer of oil on this before installing) completely through, until it stops against the one wire lock previosuly installed. With the piston secured to the connecting rod via the wrist pin, install your remaining wire lock, and make sure it is properly seated. You can now slide the cylinder all the way down to meet the cases. Note: Make sure you take any rags out of the cases before reassembling!
    You're now at the point in reassembly where you will install your rebuilt head (details in part 2 of this top end rebuild soon to come) with the proper head gasket, and re-install all the items previously removed. Be sure you are following all proper torque specs specified in your manual.
    Head back for part 2 of the the top end rebuild, where we'll show you some great tips on assembling a four-stroke head with new valves and valve springs, re-installing camshaft(s) and timing chain, and checking and adjusting valve clearance.
     
    Our new ProX piston and freshened up clyinder successfully installed. Note the dot on the piston crown, indicating that is the exhaust side.
    Stay tuned, more rebuild tips to come!
    GasitandCrash
    The pruner and saw are pretty easy to carry.  The lopper is more problematic.  Here is how I carry mine.  So far carrying it here has been a total non-event.  It hasn't  caught on anything or interfered with my riding in any way.
    There are two velcro material loops (https://www.harborfreight.com/3-4-quarter-inch-x-35-ft-roll-hook-and-loop-cable-strap-96215.html)  holding the Lopper.  The one on the riders right is looped through the handguard and is just large enough to slip the blade of the lopper through.  The one on riders left just loops around the metal of the handguard  It is adjusted to that the "top" handle of the lopper will fit in it when the blade is in the other.  The bungee holds the lopper firmly against the headlight. 
     

    To install the lopper I hold the lopper upside down,  I slide the "top" handle through the loop on the riders left.  Then insert the blade in the loop on the riders right.  I then swing the lopper down so that the bottom handle sits on the headlight plastic and connect the bungee.  One hook on the bungee hooks to the handguard metal, then down around the lower headlight mount, up and around the "bottom" lopper handle then around the handguard metal, and back to hook on the "bottom" handle of the lopper.
     

     
    By inserting the blade in upside down and then rotating it down captures the curved portion of the blade and keeps the lopper from moving left to right.
     

     
    You can see that the riders left velcro loop is loose.  That loop is probably unnecessary, but at least it will hold the lopper somewhat in place if the bungee fails.  The lopper might flop around in that case but it won't immediately fall off.
    Yes, carrying it this way has marred the headlight plastic.  I do have a piece of velcro material around the "bottom" handle to minimize the marring after I noticed the damage.  
     

    There is a small space behind the headlight plastic that the pruner fits into nicely without interfering with anything.  I put a rubber band around the clutch tubing and looped it over the pruner handle to keep it from jumping out.
    That's it.  I hope it gives you some ideas on how to carry your tools.
    Good Luck
     
    MotoTribology
    The short answer is no, unless there is a very good reason for it.

    The long answer includes explanations as to why the answer is usually no and can be read below.

    Aftermarket or over-the-counter (OTC) oil additives come in a few general variations:
    Performance Additives Viscosity Modifiers Cleaners Inhibitors Magic & Sci-Fi There can certainly be other types, but a vast majority of OTC additives fall into one of these categories.

    Performance additives generally include anti-wear, extreme pressure, and friction modifying additives. They often have some root in traditional oil formulations; meaning they are commonly used in existing oil formulations and advertised as "performance boosters". For the most part, as OTC additives, they are unpredictable at best, the marketing claims for their performance is rarely supported by any credible evidence, and they usually don't live up to the expectations.

    A big problem is: more rarely equals better for these additives, and simply adding them does not increase the advertised performance reliably. Many of these types of additives experience diminishing returns with regard to performance and their proportion of the lubricant formula. Other groups of them actually experience decreased performance with increased concentrations. So adding them to oils that already have additives providing this performance results in neither additive groups doing the job right.

    Another problem with these additives is their ability to disrupt the surface activity the additives of the original lubricant were designed to do. So by adding one of these chemicals, it is likely to diminish the original performance of the lubricant and substitute it with a potentially less effective replacement.

    There are undoubtedly many anecdotes of these types of additives doing good, but that is more than likely due to either luck or a placebo effect. Every oil formula is different and adding these random amount of random additives is unpredictable at best without knowing the original oil formulation and exactly what you are adding at what quantity. No additive I have ever come across would work in every formula at the exact same concentration.

    Viscosity modifiers are typically either high viscosity oil or a polymeric fluid. They are usually un-additized and therefore dilute the original lubricant's additive concentration. This is bad for similar reasons stated above regarding changing the additive concentrations. By changing the formula concentrations, you may be changing performance aspects that were balanced in the original formula to an unbalanced concentration. These additives can be useful in a few circumstances though. They can be temporary fixes to compression issues and leaks, but even in fixing those problems, you may introduce unintended consequences such as engine efficiency and oil supply through the pump. If it is the only way to get the bike somewhere for maintenance, it might be the best option, but still not good for normal use.
    Polymer fluids in motorcycles add an increased risk. The increase in viscosity is usually very temporary because these polymers are not often shear stable. So once they shear, you have no increase in viscosity and a diluted bulk of oil. So it is a lose-lose in that situation.

    Cleaners come in two main varieties: detergent/dispersant additives and flushing compounds.
    Detergents and dispersants are similar to the performance additives in the sense that they are very surface active and can disrupt the surface active additives of the original oil to its detriment. Detergents, dispersants, anti-wear, and friction modifiers are carefully balanced in oil formulas and increasing the detergent concentration can prevent those other additives from interacting with the metal surfaces where they normally would. Generally speaking, unless you have an engine in absolutely terrible shape, with regard to sludge and carbon deposits, a good oil already has more than enough of these additives in it to do the job.

    Flushing compounds are usually some sort of high solvency fluid meant to dissolve sludge and carbon deposits in dirty engines. These can be useful in very dirty and neglected engines as long as care is taken not to overdo it. If an engine has a high level of sludge and deposits, it is possible to release too much all at once and cause unintended harm by blocking oil flow or forcing that bulk of contaminants into areas it can do harm. So an engine flush can be useful, but care should be taken when doing so.

    Inhibitors usually take the form of antioxidants. These are safer than some other additive types because they aren't generally surface active chemicals. They do still dilute the overall additive concentration somewhat and can possibly throw off the balance of a formula to produce worse overall performance though. There is less risk in using these types, but still, your typical oil should have more than enough antioxidant additives in it to begin with and there is rarely a need for more to be added.
    One final thing I'll cover here is the "magic" and "sci-fi" group of additives. These are the types that usually make some pretty unbelievable claims. They are usually unbelievable for a reason; because they are nonsense. The claims by the "manufacturers" (usually marketers, not chemical manufacturers) are very lofty, always unproven and supported by anecdotes, and typically backed up by lots of buzz words and little substance in any true technical sense.
    Typical claims are:
    large increases in power and efficiency rebuilding of metal surfaces from the inside out fixing leaks with no effect on any other property of the oil "nano" (This prefix above all other things makes me cringe and look closer at marketing claims. Yes I will admit I am prejudiced against "nano" materials in lubricants, but I will also be the first to admit it when I see one that is proven to actually work as advertised.) Typical results are:
    nothing harm benefits claimed with zero evidence lighter wallet and again, nothing For a motorcycle with a wet clutch, one thing to especially look out for with any additives is whether it will affect the clutch. Some additives are right up front with it and say not to use it with a wet clutch, but others are less obvious.
    So in summary, yes there are a few circumstances where benefit can be had from using an OTC additive. In most cases though, there's not much to gain and they either result in a performance decrease or no change at all.
    Kevin from Wiseco
    Proper engine break-in is equally as important as a proper rebuild. Here, we'll go over a checklist to make your build will last, as well as a step-by-step break-in process.
    Putting in the time and money to rebuild your motorcycle engine is both a critical job and a prideful accomplishment. The feeling of an engine failure right after a rebuild is a sinking one, and will most likely stir up a mixture of frustration and disappointment.

    We want to help as many people as we can avoid that feeling. So, we've put together a review checklist for your rebuild, followed by a general engine break-in procedure, because your motorcycle should bring joy and fun to your life, not take tufts of hair out of your head.
    We'll start with a quick review on the motorcycle top end rebuild. Be sure these critical steps and precautions have been taken. If you find any concerning discrepancies, it's worth it to pull back apart and double check.
    Be sure that you have proper piston to cylinder clearance. Recently, a cylinder was bored with requested .0035” clearance. This machine shop has been in the area for over 30 years. When complete, it looked like it was tighter. He slipped the piston through the cylinder a few times and said, "It's okay." He was asked to check again, which he refused, and said that it was correct, and that he was too busy. Back in the Brew Bikes shop, it was double-checked, and clearance was .0015”.  Yes, way too tight. Don’t just take someone’s word that clearance is correct, always double check it!


    Always double check your piston-to-wall clearance.

      Was the honing of the cylinder properly done? Honing is required to be done after boring, and if the cylinder was not bored, it still is needed to deglaze the cylinder for proper ring break-in. Different honing tools are better used for different applications, with common tools being brush hones and flex hones. Safe grits and hone materials depend on the cylinder finish, so check your manual or with the cylinder shop for a recommendation. Be sure that the crosshatch is at 45 degrees. The proper crosshatch will retain the proper amount of lubricating oil while allowing the rings and piston to break-in. Too little of crosshatch or too much will not allow the rings to break-in correctly and never get the proper sealing they were designed for. Read our full guide to cylinder prep.

    After proper honing and deglazing, your cylinder wall should have a consistent, 45 degree crosshatch.
      If the bike is a 2 stroke don’t forget to chamfer the ports. If it has a bridge in the exhaust port, most pistons require this area to be relieved. READ the piston specs, and if you don’t understand, be sure to reach out to Wiseco for specifications. Read our guide to relieving the exhaust bridge in 2-stroke cylinders.

    A critical step in 2-stroke cylinder prep is port edge relief and exhaust bridge relief. This will help ensure smooth piston and ring operation, and combat accelerated ring wear.
      Be certain that the ring gap is within specification. Don’t assume it is correct, check it.

    Always double check your ring end gap. With your compression ring in the cylinder, measure the end gap with a feeler gauge to ensure it's within the spec included in your piston instructions.
      Proper cleaning of the cylinder. Before you start cleaning make sure the gasket areas are clean with no residue of gasket or sealers. First, use a cleaning solvent with a brush and then again with a rag. This is not enough, and you will need to clean with dish soap and water. Using a clean rag you will be amazed on how much grit from the honing is still in the cylinder. Be sure to clean the piston also.

    Thoroughly cleaning your cylinder for a rebuild is critical. Be sure all old gasket material is removed, and use a 2-step cleaning process of solvent with a brush and rag, followed by soap and water. When the cylinder is clean and dry, you should be able to wipe the cylinder wall with a clean rag and not see any honing material residue.
      Then before assembly, use plenty of assembly lube on the cylinder and the piston. Don’t forget to lube the piston pin and bearing along with the rings.

    Assembly lube on the piston, rings, cylinder, pin, and bearing is important for proper break-in.
      Many rings have a topside for proper sealing. Double check this and be sure the proper ring is on the proper landing on the piston. Again, read the instructions that came with the piston.

    Piston ring markings vary, but the marking should always face up when installed on the piston.
      The gaskets and quality play an important part of engine rebuilding. If a gasket is thicker than the original, it could result in a loss of power. Worse yet, a gasket thinner than the original will result in less deck height (piston to head clearance). This reduced clearance may result the piston to come in contact of the head causing permanent damage. After placing the gaskets, be sure while assembling the piston in the cylinder that the ring gaps are in proper placement. Check your engine manual for proper placement of the piston gaps. Then, install the head.
      Many motorcycle manufacturers have a desired head nut tightening sequence. Refer to their procedures while doing this. Most companies give the head nut torque rating with the washers, nuts and studs being clean and dry. That means if you use oil or a thread locking compound the studs will be over-stressed due to the over-tightening of the head nuts. Engines have been damaged by this. Now you know, follow what the engine manufacturer recommends!

    Regardless of the type of motorcycle engine you're working on, there should be a tightening sequence and torque spec for the head nuts. Pay close attention to the specs in the manual, as these are critical to prevent damage and for proper operation.
      Use the proper engine oil and fill to the proper level. The fuel you use should be fresh and of the proper octane. If your engine is a 2 stroke, mix to the proper fuel/oil ratio. For just about any 2-stroke, whether vintage or a newer, a 32:1 fuel/oil mixture is very common, but check your manual for the recommended ratio. Not only is it important for piston lubrication, but also for the crank bearings and seals.
    After all this work has been done, and you feel confident with the rebuild, what else can go wrong?
    PROPER ENGINE BREAK-IN!
    So many mistakes can happen while breaking in the piston and rings, resulting in rings never properly sealing or/and piston galling. Many builders have their own procedures, but most all do heat cycling for breaking in engines.
    Before we get into it, please note that this is just one of many methods that work well for engine break-in. Many people have many different effective methods, this is just one example that has worked well for us.
    Use this break-in procedure as a guideline for your next fresh top end:
    It's important to ask yourself if the rebuilt engine is still using the same carburetor, air cleaner, exhaust system, cam, compression, or if a 2-stroke, the same port work configuration? Any changes can result in air/fuel mixtures to be either too rich or too lean, resulting in engine damage. If your engine is fuel injected and in good working order, the ECU and O2 sensor should keep the air/fuel mixture correct. If you have access to an air/fuel meter, or if a 2-stroke, an EGT (Exhaust Gas Temperature) gauge, check the air/fuel mixture. Even with these tools, spark plug readings are still recommended.

    Spark plug readings are a sure-fire way of knowing if your engine is running too lean or too rich. We'll get into more detail in a later article, but generally the plug will look white when it's too lean, and dark brown or black and wet when too rich.
      At first start up, keep the engine just above idle and give it a few revs up and down. This power on and power off RPM breaks in the piston and rings evenly on the intake and exhaust sides. If air cooled, once the engine builds up heat where it becomes too hot to touch, shut the engine off. If water-cooled, once the engine coolant starts rising in temperature, shut the engine off. This initial warm up takes just a couple minutes.
      Now wait a few minutes until the engine is slightly warm to the touch, repeat #2, letting the engine get slightly hotter. Be sure to keep the engine RPMs above normal idle and keep the RPMs going up and down slowly. Let it cool again till it is slightly warm to the touch.
      This time, start and run longer until the engine gets near operating temperature. If air cooled, be sure you have a fan pushing air from the front. You now can rev the RPMs up a little higher, being sure not to hold it at a sustained RPM, but revving it up and down.
      Let the engine cool completely. Check all fluid levels to be sure there is no loss of engine lubricant, or, if water-cooled, engine coolant. After engine is cool, do a plug reading to be sure it is not running lean. Because the engine has run a few heat cycles, the gaskets may have compressed. It is VERY IMPORTANT to be sure engine is totally cooled down, and then check the torque of the cylinder head nuts. Most times the cycling head nuts will need some re-tightening. DON’T over-tighten; just tighten to manufacturers’ specification as you did when assembling the engine.
      Next, warm up the engine for a couple minutes as you did in the other procedures. Ride the bike, revving the engine up to normal riding RPM. Be sure NOT to keep the RPM too low and don’t lug the engine. These low RPM’s actually puts much more stress on the engine parts. If this is a dirt bike, running on a track is best due to the up and down RPMs the engine will experience. Don’t be afraid to run it normally. If this is a road bike, a curvy road is best due to the RPMs going up and down, this is a must! Don’t lug the engine and don’t go on an open highway that keeps the engine at a sustained RPM. This first initial ride will only be about 5 minutes. Let the engine cool till you can touch the engine.
      Follow the same procedure as above, but this time running for 10 minutes.
      This will be your last break-in run. Follow the above procedure and run for 15 minutes.
      Now is the time to let the engine totally cool down again. Check the fluids as you did before after the engine has completely cooled down, and do another spark plug reading. It is now time to do another check of the cylinder head nuts for proper torque. Sometimes no additional tightening is needed, but don’t be alarmed if you need to, because this is normal

    Check all your fluids once more after the engine cools, inclduing coolant and oil level. At this time, the rings and piston should be broken in. Go out and ride it. The first few times, just be sure not to get the engine overheated, but your ride times are not restricted. It never hurts to do another spark plug reading and double-check the head nuts after your first long ride. Enjoy your rides, and be safe!
    eddster500r
    2009 DRZ400sm I bought this bike with a little less then 600 miles.  I have since put down more 60000 miles on the bike.  I thought I would share a little about my bike and the modes i have been able to do.  
    1. Gearing I Run a 16 tooth front sprocket and a 37 tooth rear.  And you can go all the way down to 35 tooth if you wanted to slightly modify the rear hub. I would advise against this.  My opinion, a with mildly modified DRZ(exhaust and 3x3 mod) I would not go with taller gearing than 16-39 or 15-37.
    2. Rear Tire, You can run up to 160/60 R17,  My opinion 150/70 R17 is the best handling. 
    3. Rewiring Charging cable, by shortening and using a thicker gauge wire that is routed from the battery over to the starter relay and then back into the loom.  As well as bringing down the Fuse AMP down to 15amp.  15amp is enough to operate 100 watts of light.
    4. 4mm Stroker, Can be installed using the stalk piston and 91 pump gas.  5mm stroker needs to modify the crank case and replace the piston.
     
     
     
    Kevin from Wiseco
    Freshening up the top end in your dirt bike or ATV is a critical part of preventative maintenance. However, it’s not as simple as purchasing a new piston kit and dropping it in. Properly preparing your cylinder is equally as important as installing a quality piston. Cylinder prep recommendations are always included with the piston when ordering from Wiseco. Depending on your application, it will either say “deglaze / hone” or “bore & hone” or “bore / replate.” We’ll take a look at exactly what these different terms mean and how to perform these steps.


    Deglaze your Cylinder
    A common question is “Do I need to deglaze my cylinder?” The answer is: yes, unless it’s time for a replate or resleeve. If you’re engine has any time on it, the glazing process has begun. The term ‘glazed’ in this context refers to the motion of the piston ring(s) flattening out and polishing the surface of the cylinder wall during normal operation. The more time on the engine, the more glazed the cylinder is going to be. However, depending on how much time is on your engine and what type of cylinder you have, you may need to replate or resleeve, which we’ll discuss next.
    Notice the shiny surface of the cylinder wall. This cylinder has become glazed over time.
    Plated vs. Sleeved Cylinders
    If your Powersports engine was made in the last 2 decades or so, chances are it is plated with a Nikasil (Nickel Silicone Carbide), chrome, or electrofusion plating. Nikasil has been the latest and most commonly used cylinder coating due to its wear resistance qualities, but they do still wear out. We recommend checking your manual for normal top end rebuild times, but generally if your engine has long hours, the overall condition of your cylinder will need to be closely reviewed. This will include not only the bore size and plating condition, but also the cylinder roundness and taper in reference to OEM service specifications. There are a number of good companies that offer replating services, just do your research and choose a trusted company. Your cylinder should come back with fresh plating, honed, and ready to go after a quick cleaning.
    This cylinder has been replated and prepped for the rebuild. The cylinder wall surface is no longer reflective and glazed-looking.
    Other forms of cylinders that aren’t plated commonly have iron or steel/alloy sleeves. If your cylinder does have a sleeve, you should be able to see the seam between the sleeve and the actual cylinder. If you’re still not sure, check to see if a magnet sticks to the cylinder wall. If it sticks, it’s a sleeve, and if it doesn’t, it’s plated.
    Much like replating a cylinder after normal top end rebuild time, your sleeved cylinder should have a new sleeve installed. The same cylinder shops that do replating should do resleeving as well, and it will come back honed and ready to go back together.
    In short, if your engine has enough time on it to need a full top end rebuild, we recommend replating or resleeving your cylinder. Technically you can have your previously plated cylinder sleeved, but we recommend sticking with how it came from the OEM. If it is just freshening up with low hours on the engine, you should be able to just deglaze / hone.
    What is Honing and Why do I Need It?
    When your engine was made brand new in the factory, the cylinder was honed. Honing is a process of conditioning the surface of the cylinder wall to help with lubrication of the piston ring(s) during operation. Honing creates fine cross hatch imperfections on the surface of the cylinder bore. You can think of these imperfections as peaks and valleys in the surface of the metal. These are essential because it helps the cylinder wall retain oil to assist with piston ring lubrication. Theoretically, the idea is for there to be a very thin layer of oil between the edge of the piston rings and cylinder wall. If there was no oil to lubricate the constant contact with the cylinder wall, there would be too much friction and both the rings and cylinder would wear out quickly.
    The term ‘deglazing’ simply refers to re-honing your cylinder to put those peaks and valleys back in your cylinder wall.
    This crosshatch pattern on the wall of the cylinder is the goal of the honing.
    How to Hone your Cylinder
    The most common tools you’ll find for honing small engine applications are rigid or brush hones and ball hones. Hones can be ordered by size according to your cylinder bore, just cross reference your bore size with the information from the company you order your hone from.  The hone company should also have recommendations on grit and material type based on what type of rings you have.
    After disassembling your top end, inspect your cylinder wall and ports for damage. If you had a piston seizure or something break, chances are the cylinder was damaged. Depending on how extensive the damage is, sometimes cylinder shops can repair them. If you see any questionable damage or deep scuffs, we recommend sending your cylinder to a trusted shop for their best recommendation.
    If your cylinder is in normal condition with no damage, and you’re just changing rings between top ends, honing should be the only thing required. If the glazing is minimal and you can still see a fair amount of cross hatch marks, you should be able to get away with using a rigid or brush hone to just restore those cross hatch marks. You should only have to hone for about 10 – 15 seconds at a time until you can see consistent cross hatch marks.
    A soft hone brush like this is one of the tools that may be used to prepare the interior surface of the cylinder.
    The ball hone will be a little bit more abrasive, which is why we don’t recommend using a ball hone on plated cylinders unless they are specified to be safe. If you do need to use a ball hone for heavier glazing on your sleeved cylinder, attach it to your drill and lubricate it with a light coat of motor oil. Make sure the cylinder is secured and stationary, and the ball hone is spinning before entering the cylinder. Hone the cylinder back and forth for about 10 – 15 seconds, then switch to the opposite spinning direction and repeat. Check the cylinder for the desired cross hatch marks, and repeat if necessary.
    After honing is complete, be sure to clean the cylinder thoroughly until there is no residual material.
    When reassembling your top end, always be sure to double check your piston to wall clearance.
    Do I Need to Bore my Cylinder?
    If the instructions for your new piston say “bore & hone” or “bore / replate,” it’s because you ordered a piston that is larger than the stock bore size. Instructions to bore and hone your cylinder means your cylinder did not come plated from the OEM, and only requires to be machined out to the correct size for your piston. However, if it is a sleeved cylinder, consider having it resleeved depending on the time on the engine. Instructions to bore and replate your cylinder means your cylinder came plated from the OEM, so the only work required is to have the cylinder machined to the correct size for your piston, and then replated / honed.
    We recommend having your local trusted cylinder shop do your boring and replating work.
    In any case, we recommend having the cylinder bored by a professional machinist with the proper equipment. Cylinder shops that replate and resleeve usually have the capability to bore as well.
    Don’t Forget to Chamfer and Clean Up
    After any boring or honing work on a cylinder, it’s important to chamfer all ports and the bottom of the cylinder. Chamfering is smoothing out any sharp edge to leave a symmetrical sloping edge. Creating sloped edges on the bottom of the cylinder allows for easier piston and ring installation. You also want to make sure that the edges of the ports in the cylinder have a nice slope as well so the piston rings don’t get caught on any edges during engine operation.
    If your cylinder has an exhaust bridge, be sure it is relieved .002” - .004” to allow for expansion.
    Exhaust bridge relief is important in certain 2-stroke applications. Read more about exhaust bridge relief here.
    Lastly, be sure to properly clean any parts that have been worked on. Cylinders that have been bored and/or honed will have residual honing grit. This must be removed by washing with warm soapy water until an oil dampened cloth does not show any grit after wiping the surface of the cylinder wall. Once clean, apply a thin coat of oil on the cylinder wall before proceeding with your rebuild.
    Always be sure to cover all your bases when freshening up the top end in your machine. Giving the required attention to all areas will help you be sure you’re getting the smoothest performance and most reliability out of your engine.
    Bryan Bosch
    Industry’s Most-Iconic Helmet Brand Continues Tradition of Partnering with Category Leaders for
    Special-Edition Helmet Designs 
    SCOTTS VALLEY, CA – February 23, 2018 – (Motor Sports Newswire) –  Bell Helmets, an industry leader since 1954 in helmet technology and innovation, today unveiled its latest moto graphics from its 2018 Season One line. Additions include collaborative designs with premium moto lifestyle brands Fasthouse and Seven MX across the Moto-9 FLEX and Moto-9 MIPS helmet lines, as well as an all-new MX-9 Adventure MIPS graphic. All of the 2018 seasonal one line helmets are equipped with Bell’s advanced, state-of-the-art protective MIPS and FLEX technologies.
    Limited-Edition Fasthouse
    Bell has a long history of offering riders helmets that combine state-of-the-art performance and protection technology with innovative graphic designs that continually raise the industry standard. The new collaborative graphics are the latest in Bell’s continued partnerships with Fasthouse and Seven MX that have previously produced limited-edition designs for Bell’s innovative Moto-9 FLEX and MX-9 MIPS helmet. Overwhelmingly positive response to previous collaborations demonstrated the significant power of these partnerships and paved the way for the new releases.
     
     



     
    Limited-Edition Seven MX
    “We understand that riders demand helmets that perform and protect at the highest level, while at the same time, look incredibly cool and command attention, and these collaborations allow us take that to another level,” said Chris Sackett, Bell Helmets Vice President. “Fasthouse and Seven MX are powerful brands that compliment Bell’s history and values. Like Bell, both brands represent the authentic moto lifestyle, and clearly that is incredibly appealing to riders.”




    All-New MX-9 Adventure
    In 2014, Bell set a new industry standard with the Moto-9 FLEX helmet. Moto-9 Flex features Bell’s exclusive “progressive layering” technology, composed of three different materials each designed to protect against specific impact velocities. Combining these three materials at varying densities creates an unparalleled energy management system that protects against low, mid and high-speed impacts.
    The MX-9 features MIPS, Multi-Directional Impact Protection System, a technology that was first used by Bell in its bicycle helmets before being introduced to powersports helmets last fall. MIPS, which is designed to manage energy from rotational and angular impacts, uses a slip-plane system that moves inside the helmet, mimicking the brain’s own protection system. This system allows the head to slide independent of the helmet during the most critical milliseconds of impact, thus reducing the violence to the brain which significantly reduces the risk of a serious brain injury.




    The entire seasonal one line is now available at select retailers and online while supplies last. For more information on the helmets please visit www.bellhelmets.com.

    Ride Engineering
    At Ride Engineering, we pay close attention to handlebar position and bar mount height. You’d be surprised just how much a few millimeters from stock can make to improve your body position and overall control. Keeping the bars neutral is another important aspect. By this we mean keeping the bars parallel to the forks within a few degrees. Drastically changing them by raising the bars 25mm+ or moving them forward that much can have a totally adverse effect. This article’s main focus is to explain where the “sweet spot” is for maximum control reinforcing the proper riding position on track or trail. 

    Handlebars that are rotated too far out of parallel alignment with the forks can create adverse handling issues
    The first thing that you want to do is pick a handlebar bend that you are comfortable with. Typically, a lower bar will allow you to “muscle” the bike more, but it should still be relative to your height. For example, at my 5’6” stature I like the lowest bends. Currently, my favorite handlebar is the Husqvarna bend Pro Taper Evo. It's 80mm in height at the ends and a little less sweep that my old favorite, the Pro Taper Carmichael. If you’re a bit taller, you may like the SX Race bend with a height of 87mm. Those over 6’, may like the stock Honda bars at 97mm tall (Renthal 971).
    Since each bike is different, your favorite bar may still need further adjustment. For example, I love the Husky bar on a Husky or KTM with the stock bar height, but on the 2017 CRF450R, I preferred it 5mm lower. On my current 2018 RM-Z450, I prefer them 5mm higher. I tried the SX Race bend with the stock bar mount height, but they felt too tall for me, even though the net difference was only 2mm more. Also, due to my short arms, in every case I run the bar mounts in the back position. This gives me a good head over the bars posture and maximum control of the bike. Incidentally, the forward holes that come on a stock KX-F and YZ-F triple clamps are too far forward for most riders.
    Before you start shaking your head and tell me that the OEMs wouldn’t design it that way if that were true, let me explain further. Because they use a rubber mounting design, which I agree is way better than the old metal on metal system, they have no choice but to put the forward holes 25-30mm out. The rubber cones are over an inch in diameter, so it’s not physically possible to provide a second mounting position any closer than that. Remember, KTM used to have two positions. But back then it was only a 10mm bolt hole, so it was possible to add a second hole 15mm away. Then by using an offset bar mount you could make changes in 5mm increments. Now that they also offer a rubber cone system, they have eliminated the forward position all together.
    Ride Engineering bar mounts are typically made the same height as stock (except YZ bar mounts which are the same as the 2017 & older stock mounts and 5mm lower than the 2018) with plus or minus 3mm of adjustability forward or back. We also offer 5mm and 10mm spacer kits to raise our mounts (Ride bar mounts come with posts that unscrew to allow for a height adjustment or to replace in the event they are bent in a crash). Aftermarket bar mounts that are 20 or more millimeters higher that stock are going to put the rider in a less than ideal riding position.

    Neutrally mounted handlebars
    Many steering dampers also have this adverse effect. They mount over the stem nut and under the handlebar, so often raising the bar is the only way to make clearance (Ride Eng. offers a damper kit that mounts behind the front number plate, allowing one to keep the bar height standard). Some riders like to go on mellow trail rides for a couple of hours and have found really tall handlebars add comfort. The problem lies when you come across a rider heading in your direction or an unforeseen obstacle that needs an instantaneous reaction. A poor riding posture can contribute to a crash and getting injured. If that happens, any added comfort will be the last thing on your mind.

    Handlebar mounts w/ spacers

    Here’s how a few fast guys with a lot of riding experience set up their riding position:
    Sean Lipanovich Pro
    5’5” - 150lb - 27 yrs old  Years riding from 12 yrs old to present  Slmxschool.com Current ride: 2017 KTM450sxf Sean has raced professional supercross and motorcross, finished in the top 25 at the 2016 USGP, won the 25+ class at the 2017 Vet World championships and now trains young riders for SL MX School. He’s always couching riders to “put your head over the bars, squeeze the bike with your knees and be on the balls of your feet.”
    “I run the stock KTM handlebars (78mm tall) in the back position (bar mounts rotated back) with the Ride Eng. bar mount that is the same height as stock with the bars neutral (not rotated forward or back) to the forks. I feel this gives me the most control of the bike to get on the gas harder.”
     
    Kris Keefer Pro
    6’ – 170lbs – 40 yrs old Years riding from 9 yrs old to present Keeferinctesting.com Favorite bike: 2018 YZ450F At 24 years old, Kris started his testing career with Yamaha Motor Corporation which led him to a position at Dirt Rider magazine as associate editor, then eventually to Senior Test editor. Today he’s doing his own testing and pod casts as a new business owner for keeferinctesting.com. Throughout his career he’s raced professional motocross and supercross, the Canadian nationals, Vet World and Loretta Lynn’s. 
    “I use the SX Race bend on my YZ450F with last year’s bar mounts (5mm lower) in the back hole with the mounts rotated forward. I like to keep the bars fairly neutral and coach others to do the same. If you have your bars rotated too far back, it’s harder to get your weight forward on the bike when entering corners. If you have them rotated too far forward where the ends are pointing up, you don’t have the right leverage to initiate the turn.”  

    Ted Campbell Pro
    6’ – 210lbs – 42 yrs old Years riding from 12yrs old to present Current bike: 2017 CRF450R Ted has traveled the world racing professional supercross and motorcross and has made many lifelong friends because of dirt bikes. He obtained his first pro national number in 1999 and kept a top 100 number for 6-7 years of his professional racing career. 
    “I use the Mika Metal’s RC bend (this is a tall bar at 105mm), and like to set up my bike with my bars just behind the forks (bar mounts rotated back) in the neutral position so I can get over the front of the bike. I feel I have more control turning and it puts me more in the attack position. I run my bars back further than most being 6’ tall but it gives me the ability to really feel comfortable turning and leaning the bike over as I’m on top of the bars more.” Ted added a set of Ride Eng. CRf triple clamps which did lower the bar position 5mm and moved it 3mm forward from stock.  
                                                                    
    Cody Webb Pro
    6’ 3” – 185lbs – 29 yrs old Years riding from 3yrs old to present https://www.facebook.com/codywebb247/ Current bike: 2017 350EXC Cody is the 2010 AMA National Trials champion,  2014 and 2017 AMA Endurocross champion and has finished on the podium or won numerous other off-road races like the 2017 Erzberg Rodeo where he finished in 3rd place. 
    “I run the PHDS bar mount system (these have +/- 5mm of adjustability) with the Renthal 996 handlebars (93mm tall) on Neken triple clamps with no added bar risers although sometimes I hit my knees on the bars. We place the bar mount in the forward hole (these have two 10mm holes for adjustment) with the bar mounts rotated back. If I have the stock clamps on my practice bike, I run the mounts in the forward position. I also like the bars just a hair rolled back from the neutral position.” Cody’s race results speak for themselves and his “average Joe” set up works great even for a guy 6’3” tall (he only raised his bars 15mm from the stock height).  

    I hope this helps everyone understand regardless of your stature, you shouldn’t increase your bar height or move the bars forward too drastically. Small increments of 5mm is ideal. In many cases such as mine lowering the bars will be far more beneficial in reinforcing proper riding posture, getting your head over the bars and maintaining optimal control of your dirt bike. Happy riding.
    Adrian Ciomo
    President
    Ride-engineering.com
    Vet Int. 5’6” - 150lb - 53 yrs old Years riding from 14 yrs old to present Current ride: 2018 RMZ450  
    About Ride Engineering
    Ride Engineering Inc designs and manufactures the highest quality billet aluminum accessories to improve the performance of motocross and off-road motorcycles specializing in handling and braking components. The company combines hands on testing with feedback from past and present professional race teams to bring products to the average customer that are typically not available for sale. Located in Southern California, all Ride Engineering products are made in the USA. For more information on the company visit: http://www.ride-engineering.com/about.php


     

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