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.
I bought a 1995 XR650L a couple weeks ago, and after seeing the wiring diagrams that were available online, I decided to create a more user-friendly version. If you see any errors, let me know.
FYI, I will update this graphic as I make edits.
If you are unfamiliar with the topic, it is worthwhile for you to read my article about Base Fluid Types. Knowing the basics beforehand will help you understand this article more easily.
I often see or hear the statement about how “full synthetic” oils are not really synthetic and they are actually highly refined group III (Grp III) petroleum oils instead. While it is certainly common these days for “full synthetic” oils to be made using Grp III base oils, it is not always the case. There are brands making full synthetic products utilizing group IV (PAO) base oils as implied by the “full synthetic” moniker still. I refer to these products as “true synthetics”.
Group V (ester) base fluids are another type of synthetic but they are uniquely different from both Grp III and PAO oils. Grp III and PAO are extremely similar in how they are utilized in lubricating oils. They can often be directly substituted for one another without major formulation concerns. So the comparison of those two is where I am focusing this article. Most synthetic oils use some amount of esters in them regardless of whether they use Grp III or PAO as the main base oil, but I’m not going to go in too much depth about esters in this article.
The big difference that most people focus on is the price and rightly so. True synthetics are just plain expensive. No matter which company makes it or how it’s made, PAO and ester base fluids can be 1.5 to 4 times more costly than Grp III oils. True synthetics just cannot compete on price with Grp III oils and even with the economies of scale, that can’t be helped.
As refining technology has improved, Grp III oils are now extremely close to PAO oils in many performance categories. However, Grp III base oils can only approach the performance of PAO base oils so much because refining processes can only change the molecules so much. Since no process is perfect, there will always be some unstable molecules in the refined oils. This instability is mostly caused by unsaturated bonds in the molecules, which are openings for oxidationto occur. PAO synthetic molecules have fully saturated molecules making them less prone to oxidation.
Although viscosity modifiers contribute heavily to low and high temperature viscosity performance, the natural viscometric stability of PAO is better than Grp III. So after being used for several hundred miles, the polymers may be sheared to a point that the natural viscosity characteristics of the base oil have a big effect on performance. When that is the case, PAO has an advantage over Grp III.
There are two performance advantages that typical Grp III has over PAO that are not widely known. The first is most additives have better solubility in petroleum oils like Grp III so they mix more easily than they do in PAO. That is one reason why esters are so commonly used in synthetic formulations because the ester base fluids increase the overall additive compatibility. So it is rarely an issue in either type of oil, but the Grp III does have a better natural ability to keep additives from separating.
The second advantage Grp III has is its sludge handling properties and it is a bit more complicated than the additive compatibility issue. Sludge is produced as an oxidation byproduct. So Grp III actually produces more sludge than PAO does. However, Grp III keeps that sludge from separating for the same reasons it keeps additives from separating. This dissolved sludge increases the viscosity of the oil but resists separating. PAO, on the other hand, does not dissolve sludge as easily. So even though PAO produces less sludge through oxidation, the sludge that does form has a higher tendency to separate from the oil. Similar to the additive solution, ester base fluids blended with the PAO can stop this from happening, but still, Grp III* has the natural advantage in this property.
*As a matter of fact, it is actually the “impurities” of the Grp III base oil that help in this regard, so the less refined an oil is, the better this ability can be. A Group I or a Group II oil could actually outperform a Group III in sludge tests if the antioxidant performance is adequately high.
One additional difference that true synthetics have compared to Grp III is the drain interval. Most PAO based full synthetics tout extended drain intervals that make the upfront cost more reasonable. By the time the extended interval has elapsed, it can be double the mileage in some cases; and having to buy oil (and do oil changes) half as often is a valuable consideration for many people.
Which One to Choose
On one hand, “close enough” is good enough for many riders, and taking that stance is unlikely to result in any problems for most people. The performance benefits of true synthetics are there, but most real world motorcycle applications rarely stress the oil enough to fully realize those benefits. Racing applications or extreme environments, like snow riding, mudders, or desert riding, will push the oil to its limits, but the average riding situation won’t be brutal enough to necessitate a true synthetic.
On the other hand, some people just want the “real thing” and want to get what they pay for, which I can absolutely relate to. Since Grp III is much cheaper than PAO, that cost difference should show in the retail price. So if I were buying a Grp III oil, I would expect the price to be much less than a comparable true synthetic product.
Some people simply want the very best product they can get; even if the benefits of it are hard to see or quantify. Peace of mind can be a powerful thing, and the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are using the best possible type of product can make it worth the added cost. A more tangible possibility is that the performance benefits of true synthetics may be the difference between an ugly failure and business as usual in a critical situation.
Is a failure like that probable? No, but that isn’t to say it doesn’t happen.
I’ve heard enough stories from customers and other riders about bikes running on the ragged edge, which kept going long enough to get into the shop before catastrophe struck to convince me that it does happen. So those extreme circumstance mentioned above (racing, desert riding, mudders, and snow riding) can definitely warrant the use of a true synthetic and sometimes a worn machine that is over-stressed can push the oil to its limits.
It would be impossible to truly attribute the differences between Grp III and PAO base oil as the cause or demise of an engine in the case of a failure, but I would be surprised if it hasn’t been the case in more than a few engine failures and near misses.
How to Tell the Difference:
So how do you tell if a company uses “true” or Grp III synthetic base oils to make their product? One way is looking up the safety data sheet (SDS) for the product. SDS’s can be a bit cryptic and some companies just don’t include as much information in theirs as other do, but often you can gain some information from them. There are two areas of an SDS that can give you some clues, sections 3 and 15. Section 3 of most SDS’s is the composition section and section 15 is the regulatory section. Section 3 will often give you a clue as to the type of base oils are being used. If section 3 is too unclear, section 15 may have additional information.
Here is a list of the commonly used words for the different types of base fluids in SDS documents:
Ambiguous (Maybe PAO or ester but possibly Grp III):
A good thing about most true synthetic base oils is that they are not often considered hazardous. That is great for our health and the environment, but it also means they are typically excluded from SDS’s since the document is meant to illustrate potential hazards. So they are not always listed on the SDS. However, petroleum base oils are rarely excluded so the lack of any base oils on the list tends to point to at least some true synthetic content.
SDS’s can usually be found on either the manufacturer’s website or through a quick internet search using the name of the product and either “SDS” or “MSDS” (~product name here~ sds or ~product name here~ msds)
There is another way to find out information about the composition of the products you are buying. This method should result in you knowing exactly what you are buying and answer all of your questions. Call the manufacturer! Call the technical service department for the brand you are curious about and ask them direct questions. Some companies may be guarded with their information and be reluctant to tell you anything, but I’d bet a fair share of them will be very forthright and answer your questions. The trick is to ask questions with yes or no answers or questions that require very direct answers. Questions like:
Do your full synthetic products use group III base oils?
Do your full synthetic products use Group IV or Group V (PAO or ester) base fluids?
What types of base fluids are used in your synthetic products?
If the responses you get don’t really answer your questions and you have people telling you about “synthetic performance” rather than synthetic content, you can be pretty sure that they are not using true synthetic base oils. Regardless, you will have learned something about the products and gained some knowledge, so it is worth the phone call either way.
So Does it Really Matter?
Grp III base oils have extremely good performance and really do compare well against PAO in a lot of performance categories. They are much more stable than their group I and II counterparts in the range of petroleum oils. They lubricate well and are very versatile for formulators to use due to better additive compatibility and lower costs compared to PAO. The performance benefits of PAO over Grp III mentioned earlier in the article are real and quantifiable in lab tests. However in a real world situation such as a motorcycle engine, those benefits are much harder to quantify and likely imperceptible to most riders.
If you were hoping to have a clear and definitive answer by the end of this article, I’m sorry to disappoint you. From a technical standpoint a true synthetic is the better option. From a consumer standpoint, the added cost of true synthetics might not be worth it for the average rider. For racers and people riding in extreme conditions, I think true synthetics are the way to go.
In the end, the only person who can decide what is right for you, is you; but I hope now you can make that decision with a better understanding of what you are choosing.
This and more technical articles can be found at www.mototribology.com. If you have questions about this or any other lubrication related topics, feel free to PM me your inquiries.
The process of breaking in, or “running in” a new engine is a subject that has much more controversy surrounding it than it probably should. It is steeped in old rumor, myth, hard fact, and half-truths, with a healthy blending of real science and pure BS. Part of the reason for this jumble of fact and fiction is that the technology at the core of the internal combustion engine has evolved so much in just the past 70 years, and another part is that there is within the engine itself a kind of conflict of interest regarding the needs of various sub-assemblies as they are first put into service.
One school of thought is that the engine needs to be treated gingerly for the first little bit of run time. Another camp insists that if it isn’t subjected to heavy loads very early on, it will sacrifice part of its performance potential.
The fact is that, like a lot of things, there is some truth in most break in philosophies, and the empirical record is full of folks who followed any of several approaches and were successful, ending up with long engine life and extended performance in spite of the advice of the proponents of alternate methods. Why? Let’s examine the issue.
What is “Break In” in the First Place?
In any machine, when there are two freshly machined parts that move against each other, there is a basic problem of preventing them from damaging each other due to too much friction under too much force. Obviously, this is why the machine uses some form of lubrication at such points of contact. In fact, the fundamental goal of lubrication is actually to completely prevent the two surfaces having any direct contact whatsoever.
There two basic states, or modes, of lubrication. These are “hydrodynamic”, wherein the moving parts glide over each other totally separated so that they “plane” on the oil like a skim board, and “boundary”, wherein the two parts have forced their way past the oil film and have come into actual physical contact. “Anti-wear” additives are added to the oil to prevent damage during boundary conditions. More in this in a minute.
Next, there is the fact that even the most perfectly machined surface is never perfectly smooth. When looked at under a microscope, “asperities”, which are craggy looking high and low spots resembling a mountainous landscape, can be seen. If two such surfaces are moved across one another, the high spots of one dip into the low spots of the other, creating friction. This naturally has a tendency for the two parts to knock the high spots off of each other in the process known as wear. The unwelcome byproduct of this process is the debris that results from knocking down all those high spots, which is the major reason break in oil needs to be changed sooner than normal.
With that in mind, the basic goal of running in an engine is to minimize this wear process while promoting a kind of polish between the two moving surfaces, which then reduces the operating friction, makes hydrodynamic lubrication easier to achieve, and extends the useful service life of the assembly. Make sense?
Conflict of interests
As mentioned earlier, different kinds of moving components operate differently, are subject to different kinds of stresses, and have different needs during break in because of that.
“Plain bearing” surfaces like bushings, the bearing inserts on common automotive crankshafts, piston skirts, and the camshafts in typical motorcycle cylinder heads, need to be kept well apart from one another initially until they can develop that high degree of polished compatibility mentioned above. One means of helping this process along are “boundary lubricants”, the anti-wear compounds I spoke of. These are usually metallic compounds of zinc, phosphorus, molybdenum, sulfur, etc., whose purpose is to become embedded in the low asperities of the metal surfaces so as to prevent the neighboring high spots from digging into them. This takes place by running the oil parts together under moderate pressures with a film of oil containing these compounds for a period of time long enough to allow it to take place. Once accomplished, the surface is in effect, “flatter”, which supports the oil film better, improving hydrodynamic lubricity, and the two parts can bear on one another with very high pressures without significant wear taking place, even under “mixed film” conditions where the oil is beginning to fail to separate them. There are two major advantages in this process. First, it reduces the amount of actual wear required to produce a good polish, and that reduces the amount of debris generated during break in. The second is that these boundary lubricants can now permanently protect the moving components against damage at times when lubrication is marginal, such as during startup, or when the stays running while the bike lays on it side after a fall.
Image Courtesy of DIY Moto Fix
Another hazard is “adhesive wear”, which is the transfer of metal from one part to the other. This is seen as a “smearing” of metal from the bearing or piston skirt surface onto the shaft or bore surface it runs against, and from the standpoint of break in, is the result of too much pressure applied to the parts before an adequate amount of the boundary lube additives become embedded in the surface of the parts. It usually always involves the softer of the two metals being transferred to the harder.
Ball and rolling element bearings don’t break in in this way because their components don’t slide over each other as plain surfaces do, but they still depend on hydrodynamic separation, and on the embedding of anti-wear compounds into their contact surfaces. They take considerably less time to receive a viable level of boundary protection, though, and can survive nicely on remarkably little hydrodynamic lubrication after a very short run in period.
Then there are the piston rings. This is a major conflict area, since they do need to be protected from excessive localized wear and adhesive damage, but at the same time, their primary job is to form an effective seal against the walls of the cylinder bore. Therefore, they have to have a particular balance of anti-wear protection together with enough actual wear to produce a nearly complete match to the shape of the bore in which they run.
So, with that understood, what exactly is the answer to the question of how to properly break in a new or freshly built engine?
In the world of engines that was, it was normally the accepted practice to run the engine for a significant distance at not much more than half its potential output. This was true for a number of reasons, one of which was lubrication technology. Highly effective anti-wear compounds such as those currently available didn’t exist in the early fifties and prior, so the process of polishing off the asperities without wreaking havoc on the bearing surfaces had to be approached somewhat more cautiously, and given enough time to take place without the benefit of the filling in process modern phosphorus and moly compounds provide. Now that those additives are available, and generally included in premium motor oils, break-in periods spanning thousands of miles or scores of hours are no longer needed.
Add to that the fact that modern metallurgy and manufacturing methods are now capable of producing much more accurately machined parts that fit together almost perfectly out of the box, and there is much less wearing in necessary in the first place. Twenty years ago, the idea that there would be one size cylinder and one size piston made for an engine, and they would always fit together with the specified clearance range would be considered impossible. Now it’s standard operating procedure for several models including high performance engines.
One of the persistent myths surround the break in process is that synthetic oils can’t be used during the period. This may have been true 50 years ago, but not any more, and perhaps not even back then. The myth is centered on the notion that synthetic oil lubricates so much better than conventional oil that none of the wear required to polish and match things up will take place quickly enough, and that in particular, the piston rings will not wear into a good match to the bore fast enough. If the rings take too long to seal, the story goes, they will build up a glaze from the combustion gasses blowing past the incomplete seal.
One part of this is true; if the rings don’t seat fast enough, they can actually develop a coating of partially burned fuel byproducts, and that will prevent them from ever being close to 100% effective in sealing the force of combustion up in the combustion chamber where it belongs. However, really significant advances in piston ring technology have all but eliminated this problem. More on that in a bit.
The two parts that aren’t true are one, that synthetic oil lubes better, and two, that too much lube during break in is a bad thing. Synthetic oil is almost always the same basic chemical compound that conventional oil is at its base. The difference is just that instead of being dug out of the ground and having a bunch of undesirable stuff removed from it in the refining process, it’s created from scratch in a lab, with none of the bad stuff included. And in fact, while Group IV and Group V synthetics are completely lab created, the so-called “synthetic” Group III oils are conventional oils that have undergone a higher level of refinement than other conventionals, and are allowed to use that term. So there really isn’t a difference in them in terms of their ability to keep two metal parts separate from each other, only in their durability under severe conditions. Frankly, the only sensible reason not to use them during break in is that they tend to be more expensive, and break in oil should be changed after a much shorter interval because the break in process normally produces a lot more debris than will be present after the process is completed.
Even if it were true that they lubed better, that would actually argue in favor of their use. Remember that the wear surfaces of new parts are rougher than we want them to end up being, which creates undesirable friction and more wear than we’re looking for. Good lubrication is more critical during break in than at any other time, so the use of a high quality lubricant is extremely important.
And whether it’s synthetic or not, the use of an oil containing a lot of anti-wear additives is critical during break in because of how important the embedding of the new parts with those additives is to the entire process.
What about the rings?
Ah, yes, the piston rings. Back in the medieval times of the 1950’s, piston rings were almost universally made from simple cast iron. The process of machining both the rings and the cylinder bores was much less accurate than is currently standard, and they required a fairly significant amount of time to wear in to a good fit with the bore. Newly machined bores at the time were considered passably round if their radius varied by less than .0015”, while modern standards are about half that. Rings could not always be expected to be perfectly round once compressed to the bore diameter, either, which produced uneven pressures around their circumference, and uneven sealing to go with it. This was actually made worse by the introduction of chrome faced compression rings, which were brought into common use as a means of extending the wear life of the rings so they didn’t require the undesirably frequent replacement that iron rings did. However, the greater resistance to wear also extended the break in period, the time between installation and the development of a complete seal. Because of that, chrome rings were actually very much subject to becoming glazed over by combustion byproducts, and that was indeed a real problem.
Image Courtesy of DIY Moto Fix
The modern solution was to machine a shallow hollow face into the top ring and fill it with a hard compound of molybdenum. This served two functions; it reduced ring friction, and provided a small amount of sacrificial wear to the ring face that both sped up the “seating” process of the ring, and also protected the bore from wear by depositing the moly compound onto the bore walls, filling in the asperities there with what amounts to an anti-wear coating.
Another benefit of this is found in the fact that since the top, moly-filled ring seats and seals so much faster, almost immediately, in fact, that it protects the second compression ring under it from as much exposure to combustion gasses as it would otherwise get well enough to allow the use of a long-wearing chrome ring without the associated problems of glazing while wearing in.
Combine all that with current machining practices that produce rings and bores that come off the machine almost perfectly round and in matching sizes, and there’s not very much wear even necessary to seat them.
So with all of that having been said, the ideal break in process for a new or completely rebuilt engine is a matter of achieving a kind of balance of causing wear where it’s desirable, and preventing it where it isn’t. Ball and roller bearings don’t need to be dealt with very cautiously, but plain bearings need some respect and gentle treatment. The rings need some force applied.
One popular school of thought is that the engine should be warmed up fairly judiciously to at or near normal operating temperatures, and then placed under heavy loads of at least 85% of the engine’s potential output as soon as practical in order to seat the rings. This method will in fact usually produce a good ring seal that will last a long time, but it carries obvious hazards to any plain bearing surface, including, most importantly, the piston skirt.
Another even more hazardous common practice is “dry building” the top end, wherein the piston and cylinder are not lubricated at all during assembly. The concept is supposed to encourage a more complete seal of the rings by encouraging them to wear quickly, before they have a chance to have any oil glaze onto their faces. On the one hand, this is just a little bit like kidding one’s self, because oil thrown off from the connecting rod bearing in a four stroke will hit the bore walls within 10 seconds of startup at most, in a four stroke, and in a two stroke, the incoming fuel/oil mix will contact the piston and bore below the ring grooves before it ever gets to the top end for the first time.
One thing that is avoided by dry building is an excess of oil behind the rings in the ring grooves that may cook down into a sludgy deposit and interfere with their ability to float freely in the grooves as the piston moves around in the bore slightly, but that can be avoided simply by not slopping the rings up to an excess.
So, then, how to proceed?
The ideal method of breaking in a top end is “dead running” the engine for a short time. The rotating assemblies should be lubed with an appropriate, reasonably generous amount of the same oil that will be used in operation. In a four stroke, the camshafts should be left out of the assembly altogether for this phase when practical. The piston is lubed only at the wrist pin, and the bore and rings are left dry. Then engine is then rotated by any convenient means, including the electric starter, if so equipped, for between 150 to 300 revolutions. On smaller singles, one can put the bike in gear and rotate the rear wheel by hand, or walk the bike around in gear. This will almost completely seat a moly filled top ring and coat the bore in the ring sweep area without placing any undue stress on the piston skirt. A dry moly powder product made for this precise purpose, such as Total Seal’s Quick Seat dry film lube, is a good thing to use in this step. Dust the rings with a little and wipe some on the bore.
After the dead run, remove the cylinder and place one or two drops of oil on each ring, rotate it in its groove to distribute it, and wipe away any oily excess from the ring lands of the piston (the area between and immediately above and below the rings). Wet your fingers with oil and wipe a film onto the bore walls, again wiping away any oil that is more than just a film, and reassemble the top end. In real life, the compression rings of a four-stroke are lubed only by gasoline. The assembly lube should be just enough to protect them during the first 30 seconds of their exposure to live fire. Complete the rest of the assembly, lubricating all rotating and moving parts like camshafts, lifters, etc. with engine oil. Moly “assembly paste” should only be used where specifically called for, and sparingly.
When it comes time to start the engine up live, pay close attention to odd noises, leaks, loose things, and verify oil pressure and delivery to the extent possible. Give it at least 30 seconds to run up normal oil pressure and fill the passages of the lube system. If you don’t have a good sized fan to blow over the radiators, it’s wise to hop on and ride it around fast enough to keep it from heating up too quickly.
Shut it off and let it cool a little while you double check things mechanically. This lets it “soak “ in its own heat a little, and evens out the internal temperatures. Then it’s time for phase two. While it’s still warm, start it up and ride at a level at least 25% of its capability, but not more than 60% for around 5 minutes, then increase that to from 35% to 75% for another 10 minutes. Here, you can take another brief break to recheck your work, then take it out and run it fairly hard, with cycles of acceleration and deceleration at about 90% of it’s full potential for around 10 minutes.
At this point, shut it down, change the oil and service the filter, and call the process done. Break in is over. Go out and ride.
Engines off the showroom floor
If you’re dealing with a brand new bike off the showroom floor instead of an engine you just went through, there’s even less to worry about. That’s because the factories usually do the dead run on the cylinders during the assembly. Methods vary from one brand to another depending on how automated the process is, but almost all of them do it one way or another. Then when the machine reaches the end of the line, it gets started and checked over for any problems. The factory approach to addressing issues that turn up at this point also varies, but any bike that makes it to the dealer has been run long enough to skip the initial steps above and go right to the second phase; run it for about the first 10-15 minutes at up to about 60-75% of its capacity, then step it up for another 10 to 15. You want to avoid thrashing it right at first, but don’t “baby it” during the process, either. Shut it down, look it over, and if all looks well, call it done and have at it.
The truth is that the break in period has been reduced to a less than one hour experience by improvements in metallurgy and machining methods, improved engine oils, and proper assembly practices. The main keys to success are to put it together right, avoid either being too hard or too easy on it at first, use a good oil during the period, and do a complete oil change early.
About the author
Richard Ribley, (aka grayracer513) was a professional motorcycle mechanic and fabricator for 9 years, then moving on to automotive dealerships, where he specialized in engine, transmission, and powertrain overhaul and repair for over over 27 years. He is an ASE and Chevrolet Master Technician certified. During the last 15 years he has maintained his own fleet of motorcycles and built engines and suspensions as a sideline for friends and associates.
Many motorcyclists gravitate towards newer technologies, especially in the realm of engines and suspensions and more recently in terms of applications and technologies that can further enhance the riding experience.
When we first discussed this aspect of our sport with our older peers, many simply said "I don’t use any kind of new technology when I ride" and we did find that a majority of vet riders and racers could care less about their smart phones when on the track or trail…but even a quick look at their bikes shows that they can't escape the grasp of progress.
But we also found many new (read younger) riders and racers who embrace these new applications and technologies...and are among the first adopters, providing valuable beta testing and feedback to the creators.
As we looked at what was available, it was initially evident that the majority of motorcycle based apps look like ExciteBike and were game-based!! We didn't want that.
We were looking for smart phone apps that had the potential to add some benefit to the riding experience, and were suited for off-road motorcycles (or at least ADV based) and we didn't find a lot but the ones we’ve noted here are applicable to most motorcyclists except competition (on track) based.
Many are familiar with some of the larger, more popular motorcycle applications such as Rever or Waze, but what about the some of the lesser known apps that aren't geared specifically towards street bikes? We didn't find hundreds of apps there really, just a few that we thought our readers may want to know about.
Obviously this is a smaller, newer market and not a lot of developers have hooked into it yet, but as more and more riders have access to technology platforms like smart phones, smart helmets and even smarter motorcycles, we expect the market and selections to expand greatly.
The first app that we found that we liked was CRADAR.
CRADAR stands for CRash Detection And Response and is an application that uses the accelerometer in your phone to detect a fall and sends a text message alert to a specified emergency contact, using the GPS to include a link to a map with your exact location! Obviously good for riding alone or when you get split up from a group. This feature is very important when riding alone and because it is automatic, the rider doesn't have to get involved with the process.
We spoke with Jay O'Leary who developed CRADAR and asked him some basics about it:
TT: What's the unique feature of CRADAR?
CRADAR senses when you fall, waits 30-120 seconds (whatever you set it for), and if it doesn't see you move at least 8 feet, sends a text message to your emergency contacts telling them you might be hurt. This gives your contact a chance to call you to see if you're OK.
In the text message is a link to Google Maps with your GPS coordinates. If they don't get an answer, they know exactly where you are, and have the GPS coordinates so other people can find you too.
TT: Is it specific to motorcycles?
CRADAR was developed for motorcyclists who might not always keep the rubber side down, but has been adapted for several other sports. Anyone who might go down hard, in a place where they might not be found quickly, can make good use of CRADAR.
TT: What platforms does it run on?
TT: What does it cost?
Free - no ads
TT: Where can we get it?
CRADAR can be downloaded here: Google Play Store
Next up we looked at BEST BIKING ROADS.
Best Biking Roads is a smart phone application that helps motorcyclists find different roads, trails, routes, etc. This information populates a database so other users can quickly access and contribute as they find new routes.
We found out that this app has a LOT of user data and that makes it really good. Many motorcyclists before you will have been down the same roads and can share the experiences as well as add tip and tricks to help you get the most out of your journey, and the app has a large library of photos and video of motorcycling routes as well which you can contribute to.
TT: What's the unique feature of this application?
BBR is used primarily to look up roads and routes in new areas for trip planning or weekend motorcycle rides. There is a lot of usable data - there are currently over 9,500 motorcycle routes logged from a community of around 34,000 motorcyclists.
TT: Is it specific to motorcycles?
Yes, this project is only for motorcyclists, no one else need apply.
TT: What platforms does it run on?
iOS, Android and Internet Browser
TT: What does it cost?
It’s free, and a premium version is available for $3.99. Users are encouraged to make donations by becoming a 'sponsor' to help support the project and keep it growing. Users can also volunteer to help the project in many other ways.
TT: Where can we get it?
BBR can be downloaded here: App Store, Google Play and online at www.BestBikingRoads.com
Then we talked to the folks at WOLFPACK (great name!).
WolfPack is an application that is designed to be used as a group...or "pack" - hence the name - and addresses the key issues related to traveling in groups: staying together, planning experiences together, staying in sync, and communicating safely while out on the road, forest, trail system, desert, mountains, you name it.
When hitting the road, it takes you and your "pack" on a shared navigation experience (everyone follows the same route). While riding, it offers you the ability to send each other preset (but configurable) messages with a couple taps of your finger.
TT: What's the unique feature of this application?
Most unique in WolfPack is our radar - on top of your map you see where the other riders in your group are in relation to you.
TT: Is it specific to motorcycles?
No - the technology works great for any group travel situation - motorcycle, bicycle, car, on foot, or even while skiing.
TT: What platforms does it run on?
WolfPack has apps for both Android and iOS.
TT: What does it cost?
The basic tier is free. Advanced features are part of WolfPack Premium, which is $1.99/mo. or $19.99/yr.
Where can we get it?
WolfPack can be downloaded here: Google Play and Apple App stores.
Here are a few more apps that we liked but haven't tested extensively:
EAT SLEEP RIDE
ESR is a popular motorcycle application that enables you to explore, track and share your motorcycle rides and discover routes and riders nearby. ESR features CRASHLIGHT which automatically detects a crash and notify pre-set contacts with your location.
ESR can analyze your speed and distance on every turn and you can potentially meet other riders using the application. Another cool feature is you can share your recorded ride, trimming the start and end points to maintain privacy as well as a “Live Tracking” feature to share your location with family and friends in real-time.
This weather app alerts you when rain is approaching. The alerts are a reliable short-term forecast based on near real-time data and it has DIY alerts to every type of precipitation, whether rain, snow or hail.
How many times have we all misjudged the weather and either got caught out in the rain or maybe cancelled a ride and it actually never rained? This app can really help there.
This application is published by The American Red Cross and is pretty comprehensive; with simple step-by-step instructions guide you through everyday first aid scenarios, fully integrated with 9-1-1 so you can call EMS from the app at any time.
One thing we really liked was the preloaded content, which means you have instant access to all safety information at anytime, even without reception or an Internet connection.
In conclusion, technology is becoming more and more prevalent and you just can’t escape it. Whether you’re actively using it with an app like WolfPack or passively with a recording app like Best Biking Roads, it’s working its way into our sport.
We’re still in somewhat the beginning stage when it comes to off-road motorcycling, but many are using what tools we have to make our riding better, and there is a lot more of this stuff coming, from active drones with AI to follow you and report back on your technique and training progress, to engine tuning tools that respond to voice commands in real time and so much more, the future is now.
Q: What apps are you using that contribute to a better riding experience and what do you like most about it? Hit us up in the comments section below!
The FMF 125 Dream race Triple Crown is our way of bringing back our roots. The origins of motocross was bred on premix and race gas, and some of these legends only dream of ripping a national track on a 2-stroke. After the kickoff in Hangtown that saw a packet gate and some intense racing, we took it Thunder Valley and finally Washougal this weekend where we will be giving away this custom built 2018 FMF Husqvarna TC 125. For the racers that competed in the first 2 races will have their chance to win the bike at the Washougal round. Winner will be chosen at random, so you don’t have to be winning, you just need to have the passion!
The PulpMX show is arguably the best Podcast/Internet radio show for unfiltered Motocross and Supercross information. Steve Matthes would like his listeners to believe his antics are part of a “janky” radio show where he exchanges quick witted banter with his friends and MX/SX royalty every Monday night. The truth is, Matthes approaches each week with intensity and hard work as he grinds to uncover the endless information he delivers. His light hearted delivery style invites listeners to feel like they too are in the room bench racing alongside the crew and MX/SX guests. And if that isn’t good enough, you can actually be a part of the show as Matthes allows listeners to call in and ask questions of the guests.
Steve’s show prep is minimal compared to what I consider the work involved in creating a weekly 4-5 hour show. The reason is simple, the work is happening all week leading up to the Monday night show. With the TV packages available many media outlets choose to purchase photos from freelance photographers and regurgitate other news source’s information (looking at you MXA). Unlike other media outlets Steve is still pounding the pavement and networking at the races. It’s no accident Steve breaks the most stories in the sport. Matthes comes across as a funny carefree guy, but his dedication to his job is undeniable. Looking at him from afar, in his cargo shorts, he doesn’t appear to be a guy who takes anything serious. The reality is Steve probably spends more time texting, calling, e-mailing, writing and talking about the sport than anyone else. There is no such thing as a 40 hour work week at Pulp, and while Steve likes to joke about getting out of this media gig there is zero chance of his retirement. Nobody works this hard at a job unless they have a passion for what they do, plus he would be bored out of his mind after two weeks!
The show starts at 6pm Pacific time, I showed up at 5:45. I checked out Steve’s Honda Ridgeline in the driveway, not my cup of tea but a nice vehicle nonetheless. I knocked on the door only to hear a stampede of Basset Hounds barking to greet me. Steve's wife Angie (aka. Pookie) opened the door, and yes she is one of the sweetest people ever. I have only met her a handful of times, but she welcomed me with a hug and pointed me toward the kitchen where Co-Host David Pingree, Producer Travis Marx and Steve were enjoying some pre-show pizza. I shook hands with Ping and he said, “Nice to meet you Cooksey, that name sounds familiar did we race together?” I remind him we’ve previously met and raced together. Steve then asks Ping if he took me out and Ping did take me out! At the 1990 World Mini, Pingree T-boned me so hard his radiator exploded like a volcano spewing scalding hot water all over me, so yes I remembered racing him.
After some pizza and bench racing we headed upstairs to the studio for show time. Steve likes to call his studio “janky” but in reality it is a shrine to Motocross and Supercross. I have been in studio 5 times now and each time I am still impressed with his collection of memorabilia. The studio is in the loft of his home leading me to question Angie’s opinion regarding her house doubling as the studio. She said she was a fan of Supercross before meeting Steve, and supports him in all aspects of his job. They truly are a team, while she rarely picks up a mic Angie clearly has a big influence on the creative angles for the PulpMX Show. As big as the Pulp show has become, I asked her if she worried about safety or creepy stalker fans finding out where they live. Angie reassured this wasn't a concern as Pulp fans are respectful for the most part, although there was a guy who posted a picture of their house on VitalMX and that made her a little uneasy.
The first segment Steve interviews his scheduled guests, usually in an order based on time zones. The first segment is the most content filled segment, as they break down last weekend’s race. The first break doesn’t happen till about 2 hours into the show. The breaks are the most fun for me, the guys let completely unfiltered speculation fly. Steve only shares information on air if he has a trustworthy source, but during the break he discusses rumors and some of the unfounded information he knows. While this information isn't always trustworthy enough for air I have found it is usually accurate. Ping and Steve discussed the rumors around Factory KTM and who they are planning to hire for 2018.
During the breaks one might expect Steve to turn off his character, but what he gives on air is his authentic personality. The ball busting never stops, the Pulp studio isn't for overly sensitive personalities. If somebody takes life too serious they would surely be offended in studio, the show sometimes vibes like a comedy roast. This leads to the producer Travis Marx. Steve has truly found a guy of many talents in “Marx Dog.” Not only does Travis have a technical understanding of producing the show but he maintains his poise in an environment that could send others into years of therapy. The ribbing he takes from Steve doesn't start and stop with the show, it is non-stop. With that said Steve clearly values Marx and his talents. Look for big things from Marx in the near future as he is partnering with Steve and show contributor Jason “JT$” on a project that we will all enjoy. I would love to share their idea, but it is under Embargo….
In an industry that is behind the times and known as a “Bro Network” people have a habit of taking themselves too seriously. The PulpMX show is a breath of fresh air. If you take yourself too seriously you might leave their studio in tears, no fake façades allowed in studio. With Steve’s perspective and insight, PulpMX is changing the way Motocross/Supercross is covered. Steve explains what is really happening even if it makes him unpopular with the cool kids of the sport. The authenticity of Pulp is what makes it great. It is amazing that a guy from Manitoba in his loft has become ground zero for Motocross/Supercross media.
(The backfliping producer Travis Marx)
(Rocky was ready for bed during the last segment)
(Pookie snacks! Might as well be crystal meth... So good!)
The 450 class was believed to be The Eli Tomac Show. After Hangtown everybody was ready to crown him and move on to Monster Cup. With Ryan Dungey unexpectedly retiring after a heated Supercross battle with Tomac, most expected a Tomac runaway this summer (if you say you didn't, you’re lying). But Marvin Musquin, Jason Anderson and Blake Baggett all had other ideas.
Marvin showed everyone Eli was human during the first Moto in Glen Helen. Eli had another front brake problem in the second Moto at Glen Helen. Despite what Kawasaki says I believe it was the same issue as in Supercross. Eli allowed these guys to gain confidence. In Colorado Baggett did the unthinkable and ran down Eli for the win, and doubled down by making bold comments about how he “broke” Eli, even mentioning his famous father on the PulpMX show. This didn't sit well with the competition, but Baggett backed his comment in High Point by going 1-2 for the overall. The second Moto in High point Eli showed the rumors of his demise had been greatly exaggerated.
Eli has since corrected his mistakes and regained his early season form. A knee injury has all but eliminated Musquin from the championship but he seems to have recovered his speed at Red Bud. Marvin showed the speed that garnered him the overall win at round 2 in Glen Helen. Baggett has appeared to crumble under the “red plate” pressure. This season is proving that anything can happen. Jason Anderson is hanging around positioning himself perfectly and waiting to see if anything happens to Eli or Baggett.
This season is anything but predictable and here are some of the ridiculous things to date:
RCH has a pit fire, and 45 minutes later Justin Bogle (who has never been on a 450 podium) dominates the first Moto in Colorado.
Eli has another front brake problem in Glen Helen.
Roger DeCoster runs to the tower mid race at High Point to tell the announcers Marvin Musquin has a knee injury and nothing is wrong with his KTM.
Yamaha’s reason for getting a factory race team back together (Cooper Webb) quits the second Moto at Glen Helen because of a poor handling machine.
Justin Barcia riding the JGR Factory Suzuki, the bike he asked for looks worse than he did on the Yamaha he didn't like. Rumor has it that he has been openly lobbying for a spot on Factory KTM for 2018, but he better show something or he might be completely out of a job in 2018. He looked good for 15 minutes at Red Bud…. for 15 minutes. He needs to get on the podium before KTM will take him seriously.
Dean Ferris showed up in a one off performance at High Point and got 2nd in the first Moto.
This is more action than I can remember in any season and we are only halfway through. Eli Tomac will have the Red Plate in Southwick next week, let's see if the “Red Plate” continues to curse whomever is running it. If Eli can go 1-1 at Southwick he could smash the confidence of the field, Baggett desperately needs to get some points back, but a thumb injury might be an issue. Anderson needs to put it together for an overall and Marvin could play spoiler. If this title comes down to Eli and one of the other three riders, will we see the team tactics play out like we did in Supercross? Stay tuned!
In the 250 class Zach Osborne is proving his program and confidence are exactly what he needed to become a contender. He has been consistent while Jeremy Martin has been fast but plagued with mistakes and a bike failure. This has put him 45 points behind Osborne. Many have pointed to Jeremy's switch from Yamaha to Honda as the reason he is struggling. I wouldn't count him out, he looks strong and could easily go on a run of 1-1 performances. Also Zach Osborne seems to be “ill” quite often. He was extremely congested in Colorado and said he battled an ear infection before Red Bud. This is the time of year that riders in the Baker Factory have historically been run down and at risk for illness. 45 points could vanish quickly if Zach has a couple 4-5 finishes while Jeremy goes 1-1. Don't crown Zach yet! Alex Martin is fast but I don't see him winning the title, he doesn't have that little extra that Jeremy and Zach seem to find when needed.
The disappointing performance of the year goes to the entire Pro Circuit team. From multiple bike failures and Justin Hill riding less than inspired, Mitch has to be losing his mind. Going into the season all four of his riders could make a case for winning the title, but other than Savatgy’s win in Colorado they haven't had much success. If Vegas gave odds on a Pro Circuit rider not being in the top 3 in the standings at the halfway point the odds would have been worse than Connor McGregor beating Floyd Mayweather. Let's not forget 2017 has been a crazy year, so who knows how the season will end, but we can guarantee it won't go as expected! Mitchell Harrison almost won the second Moto at Redbud…. What's next Nick Gaines winning Washougal?
All I am sure of at the halfway point is I am getting my money's worth out of my NBC Sports Gold App purchase. I also love the riders showing their personalities at the press conferences and on the podium. I used to skip the redundant sponsor mumbling, but now I am watching to see who will say what and how the other guys will react.
(aftermath of the Anderson on Baggett block pass at RedBud)
Months of training can quickly be erased if an athlete is not properly prepared for the expected weather conditions on race day. Since few of us have the luxury of putting our jobs and lives on hold and traveling to our key event four weeks early to acclimate, here are 10 key things that will help you endure the heat and realize your full potential on race day.
1. Boost Your Fitness
The best performances in the heat tend to come from the athletes with the best fitness. The effects of the heat are exponentially multiplied when an athlete's physiology is already struggling with the workload. Even under the best conditions, heat production in the muscles increases with the intensity of activity.
Arriving at the starting line in a state of peak fitness will not only set you up for maximum performance, but it will also enable you to manage heat stress better through greater efficiency (hence less heat produced at any given pace) and high blood plasma volume (hence a greater ability to transport heat away from the muscles). These factors lead to a lower core temperature, thus minimizing heat stress and discomfort.
One of the best ways to acclimatize is to travel to your race location well in advance of your event. But this involves added expense and time away. Fortunately, you can acclimatize to almost any environment from your home.
Start at least three weeks before your race by doing regular 60- to 90-minute indoor sessions of cycling, running, elliptical or Concept 2 rower at a low to moderate effort. Turn up the heat, limit the airflow and, if possible, add a humidifier. This will elevate your core temperature, resulting in an increased sweat and heart rate. Do this for five consecutive days, then, over the course of the next two weeks, be sure to repeat the session for at least 30 minutes, twice per week.
The results of heat acclimation seem to be cumulative, so if you have the opportunity to train in the heat earlier in the year at home, at another hot venue or at your race site, it should help you in the long term.
3. Determine Your Sweat Rate
Calculating your sweat rate is the most effective method of determining how much fluid you are losing and need to replenish. You may find that your sweat rate is different depending upon the discipline, effort level and environmental conditions. You should try to simulate the environmental conditions of your key race and your race effort.
In order to determine your sweat rate, weigh yourself without clothes before and immediately after exercise and account for any fluid consumed. An accurate scale will be required, and you will need to avoid going to the toilet until the measuring is completed.
Body fluids such as blood are made up of mostly water and electrolytes. Muscle is comprised of 75 percent water; therefore, it should come as no surprise that a loss of two to three percent of bodyweight due to sweating can significantly reduce athletic performance.
It has been well demonstrated that athletes, when training or racing, only replace about 50 percent of fluid losses; thus, despite our best efforts, slight dehydration is unavoidable in some circumstances.
To ensure you are well hydrated before an event, drink 10 to 25 ounces (250 to 750ml) of Nutritionally Green’s Energy Fuel (which I helped develop) and/or water two to three hours before the event. One hour before exercise, drink 10 to 18 ounces (250 to 500ml) of water, then do not drink again until after you visit the toilet 10 to 15 minutes before start time. Finally, consume another 8 to 10 ounces (250ml) of water, which will be absorbed as you start your effort and will never reach the bladder.
During the race, aim to consume eight to 10 ounces (200 to 250ml) of Energy Fuel (which contains electrolytes) every 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Always Include Electrolytes
Salt is comprised of sodium and chloride, also known as electrolytes. Electrolytes help in the absorption and retention of water. As the duration of exercise extends beyond one hour, electrolyte replacement becomes increasingly important. If you notice salt on your clothing after workouts you are probably a "salty sweater" and should pay careful attention to electrolyte intake.
If you are heading into a hot race, eat saltier foods the week before the race and add additional salt to your meals (after receiving prior approval from your doctor). Salt pills can also be used during the race.
6. Up Your Carbs
Hot conditions tend to increase the body's need for fuel. The amount needed will vary with size of the athlete, but generally speaking you should aim for a minimum of 300 calories and 70 grams of carbs per hour.
7. Make a Plan
The best way to incorporate your hydration, nutrition and electrolyte consumption into a sensible routine is to make a plan. You may want to have a plan for different scenarios based on different environmental conditions. Practice these plans in training. Below is a sample plan.
8. Wear Cool Clothing
Light colors will enable an athlete to remain cooler than if he or she chose dark clothing. In addition, a looser fit and lighter fabric increases air circulation and helps to wick sweat away from the body. Wet clothing actually speeds up evaporation, cooling the athlete more quickly than if he or she were to change into dry clothes.
9. Develop Cooling Strategies
Remember that it is better for cooling to put a fluid in you than on you, but ideally you can do both. External cooling can be achieved by using cold water, ice or sponges in critical areas such as the back of the head, neck and chest.
In very humid conditions you may want to wipe the sweat off because the air is too saturated to do the job for you. Sunglasses can ease stress on the eyes.
10. Rehydrate and Recover
Effective recovery will help you become faster and stronger as your body adapts and super-compensates. Within the first 20 minutes after exercise, rehydrate with at least two to three cups of Energy Fuel for every pound of body weight lost.
Lower your body temperature as soon as possible by moving to a cooler area out of the sun with access to water and ice. It is also important to replace your glucose stores with easily digestible foods, such as fruit. Try to get a full meal including complex carbohydrates and proteins within two to three hours following the activity.
Following these guidelines will maximize your performance in the heat. Remember to keep cool, get the calories you need and keep hydrating. It will take some effort, but the results are well worth it.
If you have any questions or need anything clarified, please don’t hesitate to drop me an email (Robb@CoachRobb.com).
Yours in sport and health,
Coach Robb Beams http://www.completeracingsolutions.com/ Follow my blog on TT, "Speed Through Fitness"
HUSQVARNA MOTORCYCLES LIFT THE COVERS FROM THEIR EXCITING 2018 ENDURO LINE-UP
Husqvarna Motorcycles today launch their complete line-up of 2018 enduro models – a sophisticated new series of 2-stroke and 4-stroke machines that take the historic brand’s enduro model line-up to a whole new level in terms of technology and performance.
Introducing the next generation of 2-stroke machines – the all-new, electronic fuel-injected TE 250i and TE 300i – Husqvarna’s latest enduro offerings deliver unprecedented advantages in terms of performance, rideability, fuel consumption and ease of use. The introduction of electronic fuel injection by Husqvarna Motorcycles represents a bold new step into the future of offroad motorcycling.
Together with the fuel-injected 2-strokes, Husqvarna Motorcycles present a heavily updated range of TE and FE machines for model year 2018. Collecting feedback from top-level competition and combining it with extensive research, the brand’s engineers ensured that the 2018 TX 125, TE 150 (only for US), FE 250, FE 350, FE 450 and FE 501 remain true to Husqvarna Motorcycles’ commitment to offer premium motorcycles across their complete enduro range.
2-STROKE’S NEW ERA
Perfectly embodying Husqvarna’s pioneering spirit, the new from the ground up electronic fuel injected TE 250i and TE 300i machines feature engine technology that revolutionises the field of 2-stroke enduro motorcycles.
TE 250I/300I ELECTRONIC FUEL INJECTION HIGHLIGHTS
=>Fuel injectors at the transfer ports → Ideal amount of fuel in all conditions
=>Oil pump & oil tank → Convenient, eliminates pre-mix
=>39 mm throttle body → Regulates air flow, TPS relays airflow data
=>New EMS → Modern engine management, no need for jetting changes
=>Standard map select → Customise power characteristics
=>Frame integrated oil filler cap → Simple refills
=>Translucent fuel tank → Large capacity, fuel pump integrated
=>New intake snorkel → Adapted to throttle body
SETTING THE BENCHMARK
Combining the most advanced engine technology with a series of dynamic upgrades, all Husqvarna Motorcycles 2-stroke and 4-stroke machines set the benchmark in terms of handling, power, weight and aesthetics.
The new Husqvarna MY18 enduro range will be available worldwide from July 2017 at all authorized Husqvarna Motorcycles Dealers. For all details on pricing and availability, please refer to your national Husqvarna Motorcycles Subsidiary or Importer.
From the fire, metal, fumes of the So Cal Horsepower Factory to the rolling hills of Zaca Station join us as we take a ride with the Flying Machine Factory for the Fall 2017 Apparel shoot. Since 1973 Don Emler has been creating iconic clothing to follow his power bred FMF exhaust systems. Now over 40 years later the FMF brand is still having as much fun as ever playing with dirtbikes. Join our FMF Athletes, and friends as we twist throttle and hit the 805 Brewery.
Motocross is an addiction you have to know to understand. No one embodies the love for banging bars more than So Cal legend, Mike Sleeter. A born competitor... if Mikes riding he’d rather be racing.
We followed Mike at the recent Glen Helen 2-Stroke National. Then we sat down with our close friend and lifetime FMF rider to talk 2-strokes and life in the moto lane. Check out the video and slide into the mind of Sleetdawg.
Follow the links below to see Episode 002.
Full Story: http://flyingmachinefactory.com/mike-sleeter-episode-002/