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Know a little something about maintenance, fixing, tuning, or modifying MX, offroad, & dual sport motorcycles, ATV or UTV? Or, maybe you have mad skills riding or racing them? Whatever the case, if you have valuable knowledge & experiences that relates to motorcycles, ATVs, or UTVs, please help your fellow riders by sharing your best tips, tricks, and how to articles.
    Spider Tech
    Think of a clutch basket as the back-bone of your entire clutch system. Precision CNC machining combined with innovative world-class engineering allows Rekluse clutch baskets to safeguard your vital internal components, keeping you on the track or trail a lot longer. Read on as we dive into the function and construction of clutch baskets and dampers and learn more about how Rekluse billet baskets can protect your clutch system and engine.
    Like we mentioned, the clutch basket is the back-bone of your bike's entire clutch system, but clutch modulation is not its only responsibility. In fact, an arguably even larger responsibility the clutch basket carries on its shoulders is being one of the main transfer points of load experienced back and forth between the rear wheel and the engine's rotating assembly. Not every bike utilizes a dampened clutch basket - dampened here meaning there are rubber cushions between the clutch basket and the primary gear. Small but mighty, these dampers are tasked with dampening any load transferred from the rear wheel and through the drive system, protecting the engine's internal components from potentially damaging, jolting forces.

    To put this in perspective, think of hitting a metal object with a standard metal hammer vs. hitting that same object with a rubber mallet. The rubber mallet absorbs much more of the energy whereas the hammer transfers it to your hand and arm. Obstacles like whoops, square edges, braking bumps and even landing off a jump under acceleration are common riding situations that force load on the drive system through the rear wheel. These repetitive occurrences over time, as well as excess clutch heat, can break down the rubber dampers, putting internal engine components at greater risk of damage.
    This risk can be mitigated through normal clutch maintenance and equipping your system with new dampers, but the problem is that stock clutch baskets in dampened designs are not serviceable, meaning the primary gears are riveted onto the basket and removing the gear to replace dampers renders the basket unusable. 

    On the right is an OEM basket still assembled with the primary gear. On the left is the same OEM basket with the rivets and gear removed. Even though there is now access to the dampers, having to drill out the rivets has rendered the basket unsafe to reuse.
    Rekluse billet clutch baskets for dampened systems are designed with allen screws that can be easily installed and removed, making rubber damper replacement not only possible, but fairly simple with common garage tools. Replacement dampers for Rekluse baskets are designed to provide at least three times the life over OEM and are made available to help riders keep to service intervals, but those service intervals can vary by make, model, and even year. Be sure to do a little research on what's recommended for your machine, and feel free to chat with the tech experts at Rekluse as well.

    Rekluse clutch baskets are serviceable, meaning just the dampers can be replaced through normal maintenance without having to
    replace the entire basket.
    So, we've discussed damper wear, but what about other common basket issues? Many will say basket notching is a highly common issue with basket wear that typically constitutes replacing the basket all together once it gets bad enough. However, basket notching can actually be attributed to worn our dampers as well. Once dampers are worn to the point where they lose their ability to sufficiently absorb force, undue forces make their way through the clutch system and the rest of the engine, part of which means the impact of clutch fiber fingers on basket tangs will be greater. To help combat this type of wear in between damper replacements, Rekluse has developed basket sleeves - replaceable, thin alloy sleeves that slide between basket tangs, protecting the basket itself and theoretically allowing the basket to last for the life of the motorcycle, especially when paired with Rekluse TorqDrive clutch products.

    Rekluse basket benefits don't end there:
    Made 100% in-house in the USA in our Idaho manufacturing facility Billet aluminum hard anodized construction Enhanced clutch modulation Extreme durability resists notching and extends clutch life Exclusive replaceable cushions protect your transmission even under the most extreme conditions Tightly controlled tolerances ensure smooth operation, less drag and reduced clutch noise
    Rekluse Clutch Baskets are machined from one piece of solid aluminum, giving them better precision and greater durability than OEM cast baskets.  #MadeInTheUSA
    Because in-house research, testing, and development can only go so far (and we take it as far as possible), we lean on our partners in professional racing to provide further data and feedback that we translate back into our shelf parts. Just some of these teams are:
    Smartop / Bullfrog Spas / MotoConcepts Honda Star Racing Yamaha XPR Motorsports EBR Performance AmPro Yamaha BWR Racing Merge Racing Technologies
    Want to learn more or order now? Visit Rekluse.com and use the "Select your ride" feature to find the right basket for your motorcycle. 

    Paul Olesen
    Whenever purchasing a used dirt bike, no matter how well inspected, there is always an element of chance involved. The possibility of an engine failure is what worries everyone the most and is a costly disaster to deal with. For those mechanically inclined, seeking a blown up bike can be alluring because it allows the new owner a fresh start. While this may seem like an ideal situation how often does it financially make sense and how do you decide to make the purchase?
    At DIY Moto Fix we just picked up a 2006 Honda CRF250R “Project” over the weekend, and I want to share the financial reasoning that went into the purchase as well as discuss the critical inspections we made which led me to pull the trigger. Over the next several months we’ll see if I made a good decision!
    The criteria I intend on using to determine if my purchase was justified or not will depend on a couple things. First, if I sell the bike will I net more money than I have into it, or at the least, break even? Second, could I have spent an equivalent amount of money elsewhere and gotten a bike that has a freshly rebuilt engine, which to me, equates to a machine that will provide countless hours of trouble-free riding?
    The bike will also be the subject of several blog posts and perhaps videos. However, these uses will not be factored into the valuation of the decision. No corners will be cut throughout the rebuild, and the end result will be a robust bike that I would be proud to keep, should I choose to. That said, let’s take a look at what I picked up!
    The Bike
    I found the bike listed on Craigslist for $1000. There wasn’t much detail behind the ad, and it consisted of a couple of sentences. In summary, the ad basically said everything was there, a new crankshaft and main bearings were included as well as a new top end. A half dozen pictures were presented and the engine was neatly laid out.

    I contacted the seller and inquired if any engine components were missing or needed replacement. I was reassured the only things missing were the valve keepers! While it would be great to think the engine could easily be reassembled, I had my doubts. I needed to investigate in person.
    If you’re ever in a situation where you need to collect an engine in pieces, don’t rush and forget to come prepared. Some engine components shouldn’t get mixed around or interchanged and it’s incredibly helpful to keep the hardware separated by subsystems. Here’s a list of the storage aids I brought with:
    Sharpie marker Ziplock bags Boxes Plastic part bins The Real Story
    When I arrived, I was greeted by an avid rider who was friendly and had four seemingly well-kept bikes in his garage plus a bunch of moto-related parts, not a bad start. He showed me the 250R he was selling and I began my inspections.
    In most cases the engine internals aren’t accessible when looking at used bikes for sale, so as funny as it may sound, it can be really easy to get caught up in the excitement of the potential sale and forget to look at a lot of critical parts. Each major engine component that gets overlooked can be a several hundred dollar mistake and make or break the profitability of the purchase. I want to cover the engine internals I carefully inspect to estimate the cost of the rebuild.

    VIN Number
    I’m a practical person and highly recommend ensuring the VIN number is unmolested and the seller’s “sale story” remains consistent throughout the sale. Don’t bother inspecting anything else if the VIN number has been tampered with. On some bikes, such as this one, cable chafing wore through part of the VIN number. This type of wear is easily discernible from intentional tampering.
    Crankcases are one of the most expensive parts on an engine to replace, so look carefully for cracks and other damage. Scrutinize bearing bores, seal bores, threaded holes, cam chain guide slots, gearbox features, and mating surfaces.

    In this particular case, both the left and right case halves were damaged. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me to try and bring these back. We’ll discuss welding crankcases in an upcoming post!
    Check the crankshaft to ensure it is at the very least serviceable. Look for surface damage, worn or broken gear teeth, and pitting. I recommend always assuming the crankshaft will require a rebuild even if it feels okay. Fortunately for me, this bike came with a new Wiseco crank assembly.
    All the engine bearings should be checked for notchiness. Any bearings that are gritty or bind when rotated should be replaced. For this particular engine, I’m planning on replacing them all.
    I recommend installing a new rod in conjunction with servicing the crankshaft. However, if you’re considering using the crank assembly, inspect the rod small end and feel how the big end rotates. Look for pitting and signs of distress in the small end. Notchiness in the big end warrants further investigation.
    Inspect the cylinder walls for damage. Any defects you can catch your fingernail in should be cause for concern. The cylinder that came with this engine will either be replated or replaced.

    The condition of the piston and rings can help determine what may have led the engine to be sold in pieces, however, reusing it isn’t something I’d recommend. Get in the habit of automatically budgeting for a new piston assembly anytime you come across a project bike.
    Cylinder Head
    The cylinder head is an expensive assembly to replace. While you always want it to be okay, I’ve found that by the time the bike reaches “project” status many of the internals, including the cylinder head, are in need of major TLC. Occasionally the valve seats can provide insight, however, I prefer to look at the valves themselves. Inspect the combustion chamber, head gasket sealing surface, and threaded holes in the cylinder head. Stripped fastener holes in the cylinder head can be very challenging to fix.

    On this engine, the valve seats will need to be recut or replaced, at a minimum.
    Take a look at the valve faces for signs of recession and damage. Severely worn valves will be visible to the naked eye. This is the case with my new acquisition.

    Inspect the cam lobes and any associated bearings for damage. Any pitting present on the cam lobes will warrant replacement. I’ll be installing a new cam in this engine.

    The gearbox shafts and gears should be inspected carefully for damage. On machines that don’t shift well and pop out of gear, damage to at least two mating gears will preside. Look at the gear dogs for excessive rounding as well as the mating slot. On this 250R the gearbox is in great shape.

    The clutch is an easy component to inspect visually. Look for basket and hub grooving which signifies a worn out clutch. In my case, this was easy to spot.

    Bike Inspections
    I’m not going to deep dive into the bike inspections since we’ve discussed this in a previous post and put together a comprehensive guide on the subject, which you can find here. In this particular situation, based on the amount of distress the radiators displayed I have to assume they will need to be replaced. The rest of the bike was in okay shape and luckily for me, the seller had some spare plastics, spare seat, and new tank plastics, which helped sweeten the pot.
    Rebuild Estimate
    Replacement parts for different makes and models vary, but I tend to make rough estimates based on the table shown below.

    The table is presented in a la carte style so cost estimates can be determined depending on what components must be replaced. The next table details the components I’m expecting to replace on the Honda.

    In this particular case, I’m estimating I’ll have $1630 into the resurrection of the bike and engine. I bought the bike for $800, so I’ll have a total of $2430 into the machine if my estimate is correct. Keep in mind this excludes monetary consideration for my labor. Since I’m going to use the bike for multiple projects, accurately tracking my labor will be challenging. If you’re looking to turn a profit fixing project bikes though, it’s essential to have a handle on the labor associated with each project.
    Resale Value
    I did a quick search on Craigslist to see what 2004-2007 Honda CRF250R’s were going for. I found a smattering of list prices and reasoned that I could sell this bike for at least $2000. Now, going by the numbers that put me out $430, again excluding labor.
    Was it worth it?  
    As you can see from a financial standpoint this project probably wasn’t worth taking on, or was it? Apart from picking up a broken low-value machine and then completely rebuilding it, is there any other way to pick up a used bike that undergoes transformation and starts its life in your hands with a completely rebuilt engine? I highly value understanding the condition of my machines before I entrust them to carry me at high speeds past trees or over jumps so assessing the heart of the machine whenever practical is valuable to me. I also get incredible satisfaction from working in my shop and resurrecting a machine that may have otherwise been slated for the parts section of eBay.
    What about you? What is your take on project bikes?
    If you’re looking to expand your arsenal of skills when it comes to wrenching so you can take on more challenging projects, take a look at our two and four-stroke dirt bike engine building handbooks! The dirt bike engine building handbooks are nearly 300 pages apiece and share a wealth of knowledge you won’t find in your service manual when it comes time to rebuild your engine. Check them out on our website or on Amazon .
    Thanks for reading and have a great week!
    Paul Olesen
    How Much Does it Cost to Rebuild Your Four-Stroke Engine?
    What costs are associated with rebuilding your engine? This is a topic that I see over and over again here on the forums and I have decided to take it head on. This question has many layers to it, and in order to answer it properly there are a few more questions that need to be asked. Are you going to let your wallet get roosted at the shop and trust that the mechanic does their job? Are you going to brave the tool box and try do it yourself? The bottom line is if you want to save money and be sure that your bike is well taken care of the answer involves a little bit of both.
    To start I wanted to get an accurate picture of what shops are charging across the country to do a full rebuild, top end servicing, and other various maintenance tasks. This includes what the OEM dealers are charging and recommending as well as the non-dealer private shops. Along with the OEM vs. Non-OEM differences I wanted to see if there were any differences between geographical regions. I guarantee you, this experiment was nothing short of interesting.
    The Plan:
    I would call eight shops in total across four different regions of the United States. In each region I would call one OEM shop and one non-OEM shop. To be a bit more specific, the regions I focused on were the Midwest, the South, the East coast, and the West coast. All the shops were found using Google Maps and then selected based on the quality of their website appearance. If I found on their website that they were qualified to do engine rebuilding and servicing, then I considered them a worthy candidate. Another grading system I used to select which shops to call was the Google rating they had when you searched for them online. This includes the number of reviews and a 5 star rating scale. Whichever shops in each region had the most reviews and the highest ratings I selected to experiment on. As consumers we are drawn to professional well-organized websites that have testimonials that instill trust, so all else being equal, I decided these were the best ways to select the shops for my experiment.
    The Scenario:
    Along with getting prices for services, I wanted to see what shops were recommending when it came to service intervals and part replacements. The best way to do this was to introduce myself as a fairly new rider who just bought an eight year old bike. In my eyes, new riders are the most vulnerable when it comes to being mislead or price gouged so they would be a perfect subject to use for the call. I also assumed that shops would be more willing to answer my “new rider” questions because it ensures that they help beginner riders get going in the sport, as well as want to come back to their shop come service time.
    I began each call by raising concerns about the integrity of the bottom end of the engine. I stated that the bike was a 2006 Honda CRF450 with around 200 hours on it. I asked if the bottom end should ever be replaced and what a full rebuild would cost. I also asked if there were any tests that could or should be performed to check the integrity of the bottom end.
    Once my bottom end questions were addressed, I proceeded to ask about the top end and how often the piston should be replaced. I asked about the price of top end services and what that service entailed. I also asked specifics about the inspection of cylinder head and if the valves ever need to be replaced.
    The Outcome:
    Naturally conversations shifted and answers took me by surprise, thus making simple side-by -side comparisons of all the shops’ answers impossible. So for your enjoyment (or dismay) the most fair and accurate way is go through each individual shops’ conversation with me ,summarize them, highlight their price, and recommendations. Prepare yourself for the good, the bad, and the ugly.
    Midwest OEM
    I introduced myself and explained to the service department that I had a 2006 Honda CRF450 that I was considering having fully rebuilt. I was a new rider, the bike was raced from time to time by the previous owner, and it had over 200 hours on it. I wanted to know what a full rebuild would cost and if they thought it was necessary.
    The service department asked me a few questions about the top end and if there was any damage to the bike, and asked if I wanted just the top end “freshened” up.
    I said no, there was no damage to it. I replied that since the engine had so many hours on it I was worried about how long the bottom end would last.
    He put me on hold for about 10 seconds, then picked up and told me that a full rebuild would be, “very, very expensive, many hundreds of dollars,” then asked for my name and number, and said he would get back to me on a price.
    It’s been over 10 days and this shop still hasn’t returned my call.
    What are my thoughts on this? Out of all the shops I phoned I felt like this one may have been the most fishy. No other shop I called willingly let me talk them into rebuilding my bottom end and they all told me it wasn’t necessary. My conversation with the service department was short and they really didn’t have much advice for me but were willing to do the work. “Many, hundreds of dollars?”, a full rebuild will most likely cost over 2000 dollars. I don’t think the right questions were asked on their end about the maintenance history of the bike, the price was misleading, and from what I gathered they didn’t have much experience working on this particular model.
    West OEM
    I introduced myself, my concerns with my ‘06 CRF450, told them about the 200 hours on it, and asked about a full rebuild or any advice they could offer concerning caring for the bike.
    The shop guy who answered said with 200 hours that the bike has to have had a few top end replacements done already.
    I questioned him on the need to do the crank bearings and he immediately said, “Not necessary, not necessary. I’ve got an 02’ myself and it has the original crank in it.” He then went on to assure me that all the problems come from, “...top-end stuff. Valves and pistons, not crankshafts.” But then he immediately contradicted himself and someone he knew blew a crank out, “But to predict it and just throw a crank in because of maintenance, that’s all up to you. That’s a couple thousand dollars worth of work.” Instead he suggested just doing a valve adjustment, “With a valve adjustment we could tell what size shims are needed to adjust the valves and from there tell how much wear and tear is on the top end.”
    I then asked if there really was no way to know when a crank will blow out and he said, “It’s more about maintenance, making sure the oil is clean, and things like that that take care of the bottom end. If you blow a clutch up and don’t clean out the bottom end properly those pieces can contaminate the bottom end and cause other problems. If you’ve been taking care of the bike and changing the oil then the bottom end should be fine.”
    He then told me that the piston needed to be replaced every 15 hours of riding per the factory service manual recommendations. He then offered to do the valves for me, but said we might as well get a new piston in while we are at it. I asked him how much this would cost and his reply was, “Depending on what’s going on you’ll spend 500, 600, or 700 bucks. I’d say I’d have 500 to 1000 ready to go depending on what’s wore out. You know 700, 800 bucks is usually pretty close.”
    I then asked him about the service interval for the valves, just to get a picture on how much this would cost me over time.
    He then stated that it was related to the maintenance of the air filter, “If the air filter isn’t maintained properly, it has a little rip in it, or gets a little dirt in it that is what wears those valves out. You can have bad air filter maintenance and wear those valves out in one ride because they are titanium and hard coated. Once that hard coating wears out then that valve wears out extremely fast. So if the engine ingests a little bit of dust or dirt then the valves can go away pretty quick. Stainless valves are a lot more durable. The valves that we put in it are out of the TRX450.”
    I thanked him for his input and said I would think about it.
    My thoughts? I thought that this shop was the best out of all the shops I spoke with. I think the service guy did the best he could to help me however I still think there were some contradictions and flaws with the advice he gave me. One of the troubling things that is a theme throughout my conversations is the bottom end question. All the shops were adamant that it’s not necessary to replace the crankshaft or bearings yet as highlighted in this conversation even the service guy knew someone who had a bottom end let loose. So as consumers the question has to be “should the bottom end ever get replaced or not?”. This in my opinion is dependent on the type of riding that is being done.
    Being told the piston must be replaced every 15 hours bothered me a little bit too. I understand that the factory service manual states this and I know that is the reason the service guy told me this however the service manual intervals are for bikes that are being raced. I wasn’t asked how I was riding the bike and think for anyone not racing replacing a piston every 15 hours is a bit excessive and expensive.
    The service man’s general info on maintenance and the repercussions of not maintaining the oil and air filter are spot on along with his input on valve maintenance. The shop rates while fluctuating I think are in the ballpark for what someone might expect to pay since the amount of work required on a top end can be minimal or significant depending on the condition of the engine.
    South OEM
    Service manager was out to lunch. A message was left but my call was never returned.
    My thoughts? As a business I would think it could be profitable to return a customer’s phone call?
    East OEM
    I introduced myself and my bike, as well as my concerns about servicing it after 200 hours, as usual I asked for a full rebuild, raised concerns about the bottom end, and if the crank needed to be replaced.
    The shop told me right off the bat that you never need to touch the bottom end on a four-stroke. It never needs to be serviced or replaced.
    I asked again, just to be sure, and brought up the fact that I knew that some two-strokes could come out of true, and he assured me, “Nope, nope, that’s the beauty of having a four-stroke.”
    So then I raised concerns about piston replacement and the valves, to which he replied, “Valves, yeah, not so much replacing them. Just making sure they are in spec. What year did you say? 06’?
    I said yes and he put me on hold for two minutes.
    When he picked up he informed me that on my make and model I need to come in at least every 10 hours of riding to have the cylinder head inspected and perhaps the valves adjusted. It would cost me around $160 each time, or $200 if the shims needed replacing. (This service involved disassembling the head and using a valve guide gauge to check the diameter of each valve guide)
    Cue my mind exploding. Then he went on to tell me that if I just bought it to get it done regardless, “Because you know, I think something in there is aluminum on the older models and they heat up and not hold up and then you get the cherry red exhaust pipe. That’ll end up messing up your head.”
    He also told me that, “the newer ones were made with magnesium, and like, tougher things, so, you know.” (Magnesium is softer than aluminum, has a lower melting point, and unless combined with another alloy would never be used for any part of a cylinder head by the way).
    I asked him about the piston, to which he replied, “Now that’s one of those things like the crank. Being that it is a four-stroke it is not taking a beating like the two-stroke bikes. You leave that alone. If it goes, then that’s something that happens but there’s no replacing those either. It’s mainly all valve jobs on that thing.”
    I thanked him for his wisdom and time.
    Where do I even begin on this call? Sometimes I think the folks answering the phones at the shops feel they must give you at least some advice, right or wrong, when it would be much preferred if they just conceded that they don’t actually know. In this case the man I spoke with chose the route of telling me lots of wrong things. This call was by far one of my worst conversations, and I was left wondering how the service men that were fielding my questions are in the roles they’re in. The advice on never changing the piston is wrong, the head does not need to be taken off every 10 hours to check the valve guide bores, and I’m certain magnesium is not the saving grace for the newer Honda cylinder heads.
    Midwest Non-OEM
    I introduced myself and my bike, I asked about the bottom end needing servicing, what it might cost to service the piston and the valves, and I told the guy I was trying to familiarize myself with maintenance schedules.
    The guy told me it all depends on parts availability and pricing. He said his shop charged $60 an hour.
    I asked him again about the crank or the valves, trying to get some more information on service intervals, etc. But he replied curtly that it would be about an hour and a half of servicing, so $90 in total.
    I thanked him and hung up.
    My thoughts? The theme I noticed with the non-OEM shops is that they were all much less familiar with my particular make and model. This I believe is due to the fact that they work on anything and everything and don’t see the same type of bike frequently enough to proficiently give sound advice. In the case of this shop my main questions were dodged and the best I could do was get a shop rate and a price for adjusting the valves. The person on the phone was not particularly helpful nor pleasant to speak with making it hard to want to continue my conversation or consider doing business there.
    West Non-OEM
    Per usual I introduce myself and my bike, tell them I’m a new rider, ask about the bottom end and other services.
    The shop guy told me that the best way to know would be to bring it in and have them look at it. He took a moment to speak to the service department and another guy got on the phone with me and told me, “You don’t have to check the bottom end at all. It’s usually all top end stuff. Unless your bottom end is going the only way I can check that out is by tearing your motor apart. And there’s no reason you should be tearing your motor apart.”
    He asked me again about the history of the bike and cut me off mid sentence and said that an oil change and valve servicing would be imperative.
    I asked again about piston replacement and he told me that it would cost $1000 to $1500 minimum. What? He told me, “Yeah, because I have to tear down the top end of your motor and rebuild it.”
    He then quizzed me about the type of riding I was doing, two points for them, and I told him I wanted to do a little bit of motocross practicing, but then he cut me off mid-sentence again and told me, “I think every 15 or 20 hours you’re supposed to have the valves inspected.”
    I started to ask a little bit more, but he curtly said, “Is there anything else cause I got customers standing in front of me.”
    Whoa, okay. I asked him one last time on the cost of the piston replacement and if that included the valves being checked to which he said, “Don’t hold me too that. That’s why I said it could be 1000-1500 dollars. It could be a little bit more.”
    I thanked him for his time and hung up.
    My thoughts? The service man on the phone was pretty rude, asked a few of what I consider the right questions, and then gave me an awfully high price to overhaul my top end. I wanted to know more about what his top end overhaul entailed but he clearly didn’t have time to help me so the conversation was cut short. As rude as the man was I would think it would be difficult to attract business if he acted that way all the time.
    South Non-OEM
    After introducing myself and my bike, asking about the bottom end, the piston, etc. They guy told me to just take it to a Honda dealership. He said there was no way of checking the bottom end without tearing the engine down. He told me with approximately 200 hours on the thing, “I wouldn’t be that concerned about it.” He prompted me again to call a Honda dealership to get more maintenance interval information, but that his shop could perform any of the work needed.
    Right. I asked him again about the cost of replacing the piston. He stalled and said that he would have to get back to me on that one. He took down my number and told me he would call me back.
    It’s been over 10 days and the shop hasn’t returned my call.
    My thoughts? I appreciate this shop’s honestly. The person I spoke with wasn’t that familiar with my bike and didn’t hesitate to try and point me in the right direction by directing me to a dealer. The advice he gave was indicative that he didn’t know a whole lot about the bike. While it’s possible he was fully capable of performing any work I would prefer the person doing the work know a bit more about the bike.
    East Non-OEM
    I introduce myself, my bike, ask my gamut of questions. The shop guy tells me, repeatedly, you can’t check the bottom end without removing the top end.
    So I ask about the top end and tell the shop guy, “Well the previous owner said he did it every 40 hours and there are about 20 hours on it since he last did it. Was his service interval right or should it have been done more or less?”
    He asked about the type of riding the last owner was doing, two points for this guy, and I told him a little bit of racing, to which he replied that those intervals were normal. So I asked how much it would cost to overhaul the top end and he told me, “Well the cylinder head has to be sent out so you’re probably looking at around 750 bucks.”
    He asked me how I was planning on riding the bike and I informed him just around on the trails, nothing too hard, and his advice was, “Yeah, I would ride it. When it starts losing power and becomes hard to start that means the valves are going to need to be looked at and at that time we can check out the top end.”
    I thanked him for his advice and hung up.
    My thoughts? I’m going to assume the service man was talking about checking rod end play, small end diameter, and axial free play when he said the top end would have to come apart to check the crank. With the crank still in the engine the run out wouldn’t be able to be accurately checked.
    As I wrote in one of my previous posts about service intervals offering specific advice on when to service a particular part is difficult. It was refreshing not to hear every 15 hours or never replace the piston. Whether every 40 hours is right or not would require further information on the experience level of the past racer.
    The cost to service the top end sounded like a competitive price especially if any head work was going to be done. The service man’s advice on when the bike might need attention was also in alignment with what I have previously written.
    As you can see the information provided by the various shops was sporadic, lukewarm, and in some cases - plain wrong. This is a complete shock to me, I have to be honest and say that I expected a bit more out of these shops, OEM and non-OEM alike. I assumed that the training of those running and working in these establishments was to a high enough level that the only thing that would vary would be the cost of a particular service. I never imagined the advice and service intervals would be so terribly misleading. This whole experiment became a can of worms, but I am glad I took it upon myself to do it because it shows me that educating myself and working on my own bike all these years was the better choice.
    Based on the answers the shops gave me, it is imperative that consumers do some serious research before selecting a shop to perform internal engine work. You need to be asking the right questions and the shop needs to instill the confidence that they are capable of doing the work, before you hand over $2000+ for a full rebuild, or $750 to $1500 for a top end overhaul.
    The lesson here is if you want a shop to do the work, take the time to be absolutely sure you are getting your money’s worth and that they are a knowledgeable source. Based on my experiences dealing with the shops I think a consumer can greatly increase their chances of finding a great shop by searching for shops that specialize in a particular make, model, or segment of the market. For example I would expect the competency of dirt bike specific shops to be much higher than the all make and model variety.
    Here’s the thing about running a shop though- the prices they charge are justifiable because that high price is what keeps their business going. I understand that and I wouldn’t mind paying them if the majority of theses shops could provide a concrete answer to my questions. The problem for some folks is that power sports are expensive enough, without bringing in a mechanic to help repair their engine. If a consumer can't afford to have a professional fix their bike they either have to do it themselves or they end up leaving the sport. With land closures, environmental regulations, and the high costs associated with dirt biking - the sport is already in decline. We cannot afford to lose riders because they don't know how fix their own bike or can't afford to bring it to a shop. I see this as a serious issue because the life of this sport is dependent on a bike that runs and a rider that is excited to get out and tear it up. So how do we keep the money in our pockets and make sure our bikes are cared for properly?
    After seeing for yourselves the varying degree of information given by shops some of you might be wondering why I haven't disclosed the names and locations of the shops I called. In some cases I would like to, but the point of this article is to outline the costs, varying degrees of knowledge, and competency of the shops. I want this write up to be an educational insight into the industry and don't intend to harm individuals or businesses. As consumers you are the ones that need to decide for yourselves who does your work by asking the right questions and educating yourselves about your machines.
    There is something indescribably cool about knowing how your bike and engine go together. Whether it’s saving yourself a chunk of change, knowing how to care properly for your bike, or just learning something new and mastering it.
    So how much does a full rebuild cost you when you do it in your own garage? When you are using OEM parts, which includes all new bearings throughout the engine, a cylinder head, new valvetrain, new crank, new piston, new cam chain and tensioner, and a freshly honed cylinder, the cost comes to $1300 to $1500. I have a complete parts list you can check out by clicking HERE. So compare that price to $2000+ and suddenly doing the work yourself doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, also add in the coolness factor of learning how your bike goes together and knowing you rebuilt an entire engine on your own. Another thing to consider is that you will have this knowledge forever and it will extend the life of your bike(s) and your bank account for many years to come.
    And how about the cost of a top end overhaul in your own garage? This could run you as little as $260 for a piston replacement, which includes a new piston, rings, circlips, head and base gaskets, and a freshly honed cylinder. Pretty inexpensive right? On the flip side a severely worn out top end which needs every bell and whistle replaced, aka the cylinder, the head, and valvetrain components could cost you $900 in OEM parts as well as machine work being done on the head and cylinder. Again, compare this to the $750 to $1500+ range for an in-shop piston replacement. 

    These at-home mechanic perks are dependent on you putting the bike together correctly though, because if you don’t it can cost you big time. When I first started tearing into my own bike I made a lot of mistakes that I wish I could have avoided because it did end up costing me in the long run. Looking back now on those rookie rebuilds, after my education as a powertrain engineer and having designed and built an entire race bike, there were so many things I could have avoided. The only thing available to me back then was a factory service manual, but without good pictures and a well written step-by-step process it was a complete headache. For someone who is just getting into the whole rebuild world, those manuals are like trying to read another language. All I kept on wishing is that I had a mentor to learn these things from properly. Trying to watch free how-to videos online is a complete mess as well. After watching as many of these free videos online that I could find, as a professional I wish I could shout from the mountain tops to beware. These videos are poorly made, the information is spotty at best, and the mistakes that can be accrued from trying to reference them can be costly. So how and where do you even begin to learn how to rebuild correctly?
    When I truly began to learn how to fix things the right way, was when I started pursuing an education and career in the motorcycle industry. By working with highly skilled and experienced engine builders and engineers on a vast array of different engines, I learned that attention to detail is such an important aspect of rebuilding a healthy engine. Another key to success was having the right tools (look forward to a future blog post on this) and taking the time to measure things precisely (again, a future blog post). As I began to rebuild engines more and more, I realized that there are steps in which you need to trust a professional to do the work. For any at-home mechanic guy or gal, you can honestly do 90% of the work yourself and save a huge chunk of change. That other 10% can be farmed out to a competent machinist or shop at a miniscule fraction of the price versus trusting a shop to do the whole thing. So how do we bridge that gap for the riders who want to learn how to rebuild their own engines the right way and save themselves money?
    My aim is to empower riders from garage to trail. That means teaching you how to professionally tear open your own dirt bike so that you save money and know the work is done right. DIY Moto Fix is a business that wants to work with riders that want to learn how to work on their own engines, learn something new, and become an at-home mechanic master. Maybe you don't want to pay the high costs associated with a professional shop or you don't trust the work performed by professional shops. Perhaps you're just starting out and don't have a mentor that can teach you the ins and outs of rebuilding your own engines. I feel as if there are a lot of riders out there that would love to do the work themselves, if they could only find a credible source to learn from, and that’s where DIY Moto Fix comes in.
    Learning the Professional Way:
    We put together high quality HD how-to videos that teach you how to professionally rebuild your own engine. These videos are instantly downloadable, you can watch them on your mobile phone or home computer, and they come with a wealth of information that teaches you about your engine step-by-step. The beauty of these videos is that they include absolutely everything you will need to do a full rebuild - all the necessary torque specs, tool call-outs, new part numbers, and sequences. It completely eliminates the need for a service manual, any online searching for tips or tricks, or the endless quest to reference dealer part numbers. In addition, we teach the how and why behind each step so you come away with a better understanding of how the engine goes together.
    These videos are a credible source of information created for the everyday rider. Think of them as an Engine Rebuild Master Class. I am so excited to bring this level of knowledge and skill to the people who could benefit from it the most. This is the way we keep this amazing sport alive, by empowering and educating ourselves and saving money. If DIY Moto Fix could create an army of knowledgeable at-home wrenchers - we could die happy.
    Conclusion on Rebuilding Your Own Engine:
    When you think of the amount of money you can save over time by learning how to rebuild your own engine, when shops charge between $60 and $100 an hour, we’re talking thousands upon thousands of dollars. Another way to look at it is the amount you would save on one full rebuild at a shop is equal to the amount you could invest on the proper tools to do it yourself, over and over again. I would love to invite you to become a professional grade at-home mechanic and learn the correct way with DIY Moto Fix, whether you are a rebuild rookie or someone who is working to become a DIY master. If you are a CRF450 owner, someone who is interested in learning more about full engine rebuilds, or our master rebuild class - sign up by clicking the button below and we will send you all the information you need to get started.
    Send me the FREE Four Stroke Engine Rebuild Tools Guide
    For those of you that enjoy reading about engine rebuilding, I published a comprehensive book which details the fine intricacies often overlooked by amateur engine builders. The book covers a variety of topics including diagnoses, how engine parts are manufactured, precision measurement tools, disassembly, inspection, and correct assembly techniques.
    Do you have a shop horror story you want to share? Did you recently have your engine rebuilt and want to share how much it costs? Do you like the idea of educational how-to videos that teach you how to rebuild your engine? What other things could we produce for you that would help you as an at-home wrench and rider? As always, I enjoy hearing your thoughts and comments.
    Moto Mind- Empowering and Educating Riders from garage to trail
    Thinking of entering your first race? Have no idea what you’re doing and don’t know where to start? Great! I have learned a few things that may help you prepare and enter your first race.
    The first step is gathering information on what you can expect. Second step is to get a dirt bike, third step is to learn to ride it really well so you don’t embarrass yourself,….At least, that’s what your probably thinking. I urge you to ignore step three, step one is a good idea and step two is kind on non-negotiable unless you want to make a statement by showing up at the line riding a pedal bike, though I think you may end up timing out and camping in the woods for the night. I just started riding dirt bikes last year and earlier this spring I went to my first Enduro race. I will tell you that entering a race is one of the best ways to up your game in very short amount of time. You may be confused on how it’s organized, you may fall, you may get beat by 12 year olds, you will have to get over yourself.
    Once you have it in your mind that you would like to enter a race, you better get your body and bike race ready. There are a lot of youtube videos out there to show you some great exercises to get in shape, and riding itself is a great way to become physically prepared. If you are entering as a novice there is most likely a shortened course. The shortened course can be anywhere from 2-4 hours of riding. It’s a good idea to ride 4-5 hours each practice standing the whole time in preparation.  I don’t want to get into too much detail on the physical and mechanical prep as there is a ton of info on Thumpertalk and various videos already. Very good idea! Make sure you bring gas, tools etc in case of last minute adjustments. Do not be that guy who sits there revving his engine in the prep area a hundred times to dial in the carb. Do this at home.

    Next you have to figure out what race is right for you. There are many styles of racing, and I will not detail each one as there are plenty of resources out there doing just this. I will tell you to choose one close to home, because you will be sore for the drive home. It’s also a good idea to look on youtube, there are plenty of people who post their gopro footage of the race. This will give you an idea of what the terrain and course looks like.  Also check out the area for camp sites, hotels or other places if you are spending the night. I spent the night in the prep area sleeping in the back of my car. I folded down the back seat and spend the rest of the night ensuring that I found every single metal bracket in the back of the seat with my back. Once I was sure I had the brackets fairly well mapped out I was able to get some sleep. In the morning a fellow racer told me he puts down a small piece of plywood in the back of his car for just this reason.
    Once you get to the race location you must sign in/sign up. Bring cash! Some locations require extra money on site for various fees, entry sign ins, race monitoring devices etc. Not everywhere is covered with cell signal so bring cash in case their machines do not receive signal to accept debit/credit cards. Once you have signed in and got your transponders (in enduro) you then go to the noise check station. This would be the guy who looks like he’s checking out guy’s butts as they rev their engine. No he is not some moto perv, well actually, he may be, but he is also checking to make sure your bike isn’t too damned loud to be on the course. This person has an actual decimeter, and is not using a phone app. I have tested these phone apps and they can be way off, do not rely on them. After the noise check you then have a while to wait before the pre-start meeting. Quite a few guys do not gear fully up until after the pre-start meeting as it can be a few hours from the start of sign ins to the pre-start meeting. After the meeting where they thank sponsors and lay out the rules for the gas stops etc then they start lining up for the race. Do not line up too early and congest the start area, hold back a bit and talk to other riders to see what line they are in and adjust yourself accordingly.

    There are a few things to take note of when starting the race. First is what position you want to start in. The lower the number the earlier you start. An earlier start can mean better trail conditions, however it also means that more people are behind you to pass you. It was my experience that I lost most of my time from moving out of the way to let other riders pass. The later the start the less people there are to pass you, however the track may not be in a very good condition. Remember when you looked for youtube videos from previous racers? See if they commented on what row they were and look at the track conditions. I started at row 30 out of 50 and found that to be perfect. Race pace is also very important, and there are a variety of resources online that speak about this as well. Basically you do not want to go too fast you burn yourself out.

    When I was racing I had to move over quite a few times. If you practice your balance you will be able to ride slow on the side of the trail allowing others to pass. If you don’t have very good balance you may have to stop and put a foot down, loosing quite a bit of time.
    In reality the first race will be a race against yourself. This is the time where you need to figure out the process of entry and dynamics of how the race structure works. Don’t be hard on yourself if you place last, just work on learning how to race and its an accomplishment just to finish. If you can, buddy up with someone when you get there who has done a few races and get them to show you the ropes. The guys we have in the off road community are usually great and don’t mind helping out someone new.
    One of the most important things to remember is not to take yourself too seriously. If you are afraid to enter because you’re afraid to come last or look like you don’t know what you are doing, you’re missing out on a huge part of off road riding!
    Husqvarna Motorcycles North America, Inc. is pleased to introduce the 2022 off-road and dual-sport range. The seven-strong lineup of 2-stroke and 4-stroke machines boasts a host of innovations, delivering light and manageable machines without rival in conquering all types of terrain. The new TE, FE and FEs models further the reputation of Husqvarna Motorcycles for its winning combination of dynamic performance and advanced ergonomics, designed for riders of every level.
    Revisions to the damping and action of the WP XPLOR forks and XACT rear shock featured across the models let riders make the most of the torque and power of their choice of TE, FE or FEs machine. The reworked suspension works with the chromium-molybdenum steel frame – designed to deliver precise flex and progressive bodywork – as well as the 2-piece carbon composite subframe to provide consistent damping, exact handling and unmatched rider comfort. 
    All models come with a new BRAKTEC hydraulic clutch system. Ensuring light action with perfect progression and reliable performance in all conditions, the hydraulic system is also self-adjusting and almost maintenance-free. Furthermore, new BRAKTEC brake systems front and rear offer superior stopping power with outstanding sensitivity and modulation in conjunction with high-performance GSK wave discs. 
    All models in the off-road and dual-sport range come with an electric starter as standard and feature the latest electronic fuel injection technology for efficiency and economy. The off-road FE 350 and FE 501 models continue to feature two switchable engine maps plus traction control, while the 2-strokes have two switchable ignition curves for rider-selectable control in all conditions. Additionally, the TE 250i has revised final drive gearing for improved low-end response.
    For those looking to begin their ride directly from home with no trailering required, the advanced FE 350s and FE 501s dual-sport models take the best from the off-road FE platforms to deliver exhilarating performance in the dirt, while still being legal on the street. The Continental TKC 80 tires keep everything rolling with confidence by providing the ideal mix of off-road and street traction.
    In addition to technical innovation for 2022, Husqvarna Motorcycles has also paid attention to aesthetics with new colors, trims and graphics, bringing additional style to the Swedish-inspired design. A new seat cover blends in with the updated design without compromising on rider comfort or control. 

    NEW IN 2022:
    New colors, trims and graphics with rugged grey and electric yellow accents are a distinctive and stylish adornment for the Swedish-inspired design New BRAKTEC hydraulic clutch system – perfect modulation and reliable performance in all conditions New BRAKTEC brake system and high-performance GSK discs – superior stopping power with outstanding sensitivity and modulation Revised suspension settings for improved performance and rider feedback Oil bypass in the outer fork tubes reduces friction for smooth, consistent travel through the stroke and a revised cartridge joint offers added damping performance Revised shock valve seals with reduced hardness (Model Year 21 = 90 Shore / Model Year 22 = 70 Shore) offer improved feedback and consistent damping performance New 13:52 gearing on TE 250i for improved low-end response Ensuring all off-road and dual-sport riders can fully enjoy their next ride, Husqvarna Motorcycles offers the Functional Off-road Apparel Collection 2021 – a range of high-performance gear and protective equipment that considers the unique challenges of off-road riding. Furthermore, the Husqvarna Motorcycles Technical Accessories catalog features a host of performance and suspension parts, machine protectors and workshop equipment to customize and maintain your TE, FE or FEs models. 
    The 2022 off-road and dual-sport range will be available at all authorized Husqvarna Motorcycles dealers from May 2021 onward. Complete details for MY22 Husqvarna Motorcycles TE, FE or FEs models can be found at www.husqvarna-motorcycles.com/us/.

    MURRIETA, CA – May 5, 2021 – (Motor Sports NewsWire) –  KTM North America, Inc. is pleased to announce details of the 2022 KTM Motocross and Cross-Country lineup, the most complete and technologically-advanced machinery available on the market. Featuring models that cater to all competitors, the updated KTM SX and XC range is set to cut the dirt and bring championship-winning performance to riders across the world.

    After decades of development, courtesy of the close relationship between the race paddock and KTM’s production line, the complete 2022 KTM SX and XC range is closer than ever to the title-winning factory machines of racers like Cooper Webb, Marvin Musquin, Taylor Robert and Kailub Russell. Engineered on the racetrack and meeting KTM’s exacting standards for performance in their updated 2022 livery, the new models are the absolute benchmark for offroad competition worldwide.
    Built for those who know the importance of a solid technical base, the KTM SX-F model range is the choice of winners. The 2022 4-Stroke range includes three models that take advantage of KTM’s considerable success in the segment and feature the latest WP XACT suspension technology and advanced electronic solutions including Traction Control, Launch Control, variable engine mapping and reliable starters.

    The purest definition of advanced motorcycle technology, the 2022 KTM 450 SX-F is an extremely compact package that produces an unrivalled power-to-weight ratio with power put to the ground in the most effective way possible. Further proof of this formula’s success came this weekend at the final round of the AMA Supercross Championship in Salt Lake City, where Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Cooper Webb earned his second-career title in the 450SX class aboard the KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION. As a stablemate to the championship-winning KTM 450 SX-F, the KTM 250 SX-F features unmatched outright speed in a class that pushes the boundaries of 250 cc performance, while the KTM 350 SX-F ideally mixes 250 agility with 450-like engine grunt. Both the KTM 250 SX-F and KTM 350 SX-F feature a new counter-balancer shaft bearing for 2022 to reduce friction and increase durability.
    Building upon a legacy of class-leading performance for aspiring and experienced racers alike, the 2022 2-Stroke range includes three distinct models. A benchmark in the division, the KTM 125 SX occupied seven of the 12 top spots in the 2020 EMX125 European Championship. In its updated 2022 trim, the KTM 150 SX can battle with the potent 250 4-Strokes, while the KTM 250 SX is a 2-Stroke powerhouse with the same light feeling.

    Based on the same dominant platforms as the SX models, the 2022 KTM XC range takes the best of KTM’s motocross engineering and adds cross-country specific features like large capacity tanks—to power through long offroad circuits—a 21”/18” wheel combination with Dunlop Geomax AT81 tires, WP XACT suspension with XC settings and the ever-convenient side stand.
    Often considered the most dominant force in offroad racing, the FMF KTM Factory Racing Team has brought home scores of hard-fought championships aboard the KTM 450 XC-F, KTM 350 XC-F and KTM 250 XC-F motorcycles. These nimble yet powerful 4-Strokes have been specifically tailored for the rigors of offroad competition, and the results speak for themselves.

    The 2-Stroke KTM 250 XC TPI and KTM 300 XC TPI models feature industry-leading fuel injection technology and an electric start, accelerating these 2-Stroke weapons well ahead of the pack. The KTM 125 XC, introduced to the XC family last year, also features electric start, making it the ultimate entry point into cross-country competition.
    All full-size 2022 KTM SX and XC models feature frames powder coated in racing orange to further reinforce the connection to the championship winning machines of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing stars. The updated frame aligns perfectly with the new blue seat cover and the fresh colors in the graphics to emphasize the close link to KTM’s factory machinery.

    Complementing KTM’s 2022 SX range is a series of minicycles that share the exact same race-driven development approach as KTM’s full-size Motocross bikes. Junior riders that climb on any of the KTM 50 SX, KTM 65 SX and KTM 85 SX models can do so knowing that they are experiencing class-leading performance, state-of-the-art WP suspension, high-end brakes and minimal weight. For tech-savvy riders, the wheels can start rolling with the 2022 KTM SX-E 5, the latest incarnation of a high-end electric mini-crosser that can grow together with the young rider on it.
    Trying out the 2022 KTM 450 SX-F and KTM 125 SX production models, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing stars and distinguished FIM Motocross World Champions Jeffrey Herlings and Tom Vialle logged impressively competitive lap times. They both share their unbiased feedback in a video intro found on the Motocross Discover page: https://www.ktm.com/en-us/models/mx.html
    The 2022 KTM SX and XC models will be available at authorized KTM dealers from May 2021 onwards.
    Source: KTM North America, Inc.

    Change the oil, clean the air filter, lube the chain – these are general maintenance items for dirt bikes and ATVs. But how many other maintenance items should you be keeping an eye on? Unfortunately, there are many more items that need attention that owners are unaware of, and that’s proven in the 300+ page ProX dirt catalog containing thousands of performance replacement part numbers.
    Ensuring the bearings on your bike or ATV that come in contact with dirt and dust (which is all of them outside the engine) are properly lubed and maintained is an essential part of off-road maintenance. It’s important to ensure your wheel, steering stem, swingarm, and linkage bearings all get the attention they deserve, and we’re here to help with some tips on getting this done properly. It’s easiest to take things one step at a time, so let’s begin with linkage bearings.

    Normally, tracking hours or close inspection will tell you when it's time to service linkage bearings. In this case, however, no closer inspection was needed.
    The first question you may ask is, “how do I know how often to inspect and service these bearings?” The owner’s manual supplied with your bike is the first place you should reference followed by your bike’s factory service manual. Most service manuals specify similar inspection and service intervals. As an example, a commonly referenced interval for linkage bearing service/inspection is 3 races or 7.5 hours. 
    What may come as a surprise is how often these bearings are supposed to be getting inspected. The good news is these inspections – and even the parts replacements – are fairly easy to do. For the purposes of this article, we’ll dive straight into assuming you’re ready to replace linkage bearings and show you how you can accomplish this with basic tools in your own garage. If you’re not sure if they need to be replaced, scroll to the bottom of this article for our inspection tips below.
    Replacing the Linkage Bearings
    The linkage we’re working with here is from a 2003 Kawasaki KX250. This bike overall, let alone the linkage bearings, had excessive neglect in maintenance and the bearings were extremely overdue to for lubing and needed to be replaced completely. This is more common than you might think. Along with a constant feed of dirt and grime (the linkage is essentially under constant roost spray from the front wheel), water from the pressure washer can get past the seals and sit in the bearings for an extended period of time, leaving the needles rusted and ultimately damaged through extended use.

    This is exactly how your linkage bearings SHOULD NOT look. Especially the one completely rusted solid.
    Removing the Old Bearings
    The most ideal tool to press bearings in and out is a hydraulic press, but we realize not everyone has one of these in their garage and they may not want to go out and buy one. Therefore, we’re running through this process by simply using a bench vise and various-sized sockets.
    There are five bearings in a typical dirt bike linkage knuckle - two in each larger opening and one in the smaller end. Depending on the model, your bike may also have a linkage arm that contains one or two bearings as well. The process outlined below applies to each of these components. The bearings themselves consist of an alloy shell/housing that houses the needle bearings, a rubber seal for each side of the linkage openings, and a sleeve or pin that inserts into the bearing and rides on the needles.

    If you're at the point of a complete linkage rebuild, be sure the bearing kit you order includes all needed components.
    Before pressing out the old bearings, remove the sleeves and the seals. These should come out fairly easily by hand, but if any are extremely rusted-in, it might require some additional force.

    Once these components are removed, we’re ready to press out the bearings. What you’ll need is two sockets, spacers, or something similar that’s cylindrical and hollow. The smaller socket should be almost the exact size of the bearing’s outer housing, so it just fits inside the opening of the linkage and rests firmly on the bearing housing. The other socket should be big enough to rest completely around the opposite of the linkage opening, inside this socket is where the old bearing will fall once pressed completely out.
    Choosing the proper sizes for this is critical, so take your time and carefully inspect where the socket will be putting pressure. If you choose incorrectly sized sockets, you risk marring the machined lips where the bearing seal lies.

    Choose your socket sizes carefully. Mock them up on each side to make sure you're not at risk of damaging the linkage knuckle itself.
    Once you have your sockets chosen, place the small socket against the housing of the old bearing and the big one against the opposite end, and line up the entire thing between the vise jaws with the small end against the sliding jaw and the big end against the static jaw, just as pictured below.

    Now, take your time and slowly clamp the vise in small turns, continuously ensuring your small socket is entering the linkage opening straight and not jamming sideways. If it ends up crooked, back it out, reposition, and start again. Patience is key here, damaging the inner wall of the linkage opening could mean buying an entirely new linkage knuckle. Linkage bearings are an interference fit, so a modest amount of force will be required. If it seems you’re having to apply excessive force for very little movement, you can try heating up the outside of the linkage knuckle with a torch or heat gun. However, be careful not to apply too much heat so you don’t cause permanent damage to the alloy, and always use extreme caution.

    The old bearing should push out the other side into the big socket, and voila, you’re ready to move to the next bearing. Repeat these steps for each of the other bearings in the linkage knuckle but be sure to choose the proper size sockets for each one, as the bearing sizes will vary.
    Installing New Bearings
    After the linkage is free of old bearings, clean everything up and make sure it’s free of dirt and debris before installing your new bearings.

    New linkage bearing kits can be sourced from ProX for a long a list of bikes and come complete with new needle bearing assemblies, seals, and inner sleeves. Pressing in the new bearings involves essentially the same process and equipment as pressing the old ones out.

    When you're ready to press the new bearings in, you'll take the same approach. Make sure to line up the new bearing as straight and even as possible against the bearing opening to ensure it presses in straight.
    Be sure to take your time and make sure you’re pressing the bearing in straight and not applying uneven stress that could break the new bearing or damage your linkage. Cooling the new bearings down in the freezer before installing is an easy way to help the alloy contract slightly, allowing them to press in without much trouble. Using this method should eliminate any need for heat unless you’re working in excessively cold temperatures.

    Notice the new bearing - between the linkage and small socket - is partially pressed in. Continue pressing in small and careful increments until it's completely in the opening.
    When pressing each new bearing in, reference your factory service manual to see if there is a specific depth they should be seated, otherwise you can make note of the old ones’ position before removing and match it.

    Once your new bearings are pressed-in properly, the next step is grease. Yes, they’re new, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need additional grease. Don’t go overboard and pack the whole opening with grease, but do make sure there’s a nice layer of waterproof grease worked into the bearing housings for the needles to settle into. Be careful during this process not to accidentally remove any needles from their housing, they are not fixed in place.
    Once the bearings are prepped, add a little bit of grease to each new seal and set them in place. Sometimes the smaller seals can be pressed in place by hand, but they'll typically need some gentle motivation to seat all the way in. If you don't have a seal driver set, the socket and vice method works for seals as well. However, take extra care not to damage the seal, they are easily bent or broken when applying force. Use the appropriately sized socket, line up the seal and socket evenly in the vice jaws, and press very slowly until the seal is completely and evenly seated. Seals will not require nearly as much force!


    Finally, insert the new sleeves and you’re ready to bolt your linkage back on the bike! As always, torque all fasteners to proper specs. Take your time and stay on top of this simple maintenance task. Trust us, your shock will thank you!

    Search for new bearings and other components you need for your machine here
    Shock Linkage Bearing Inspection Tips
    Look at the condition of the seals to be sure they are not tattered, torn or missing. Gently lift the rear of the bike and feel for free play within the shock linkage system. Another way to inspect the condition of the bearings is to push down on the seat and compress the rear suspension (bike off the centerstand). Assess the smoothness of the system as the shock decompresses. If there is significant free play or the suspension does not rebound smoothly these are indicators that the linkage bearings or bushings need to be serviced.
    Dual sport motorcycling is as popular as ever, so the folks at Dunlop decided a while back that it needed to expand its tire line-up by adding a purpose-built trials tire that retained all the characteristics that off-road riders love about them (amazing traction), while also delivering a solid on-road performance (stability, confident braking & long wear). We said, "a while back" because Dunlop development cycles are a bit on the longer side. They set a pretty high bar for themselves to ensure that the end product lives up to what they claim, so if you're thinking to yourself, "It's about time!", there's a good reason why.

    Dunlop K950 DOT legal trials tire
    Dunlop K950 Highlights
    Trials tires are popular among off-road riders who also enjoy a dose of pavement on their rides, and for that the street-legal K950 is ideal. The K950 delivers the kind of performance trials riders and off-road enthusiasts are looking for, with additional durability and on-road capability.
      The K950 features bias-ply construction, and compounds and tread pattern designed to tackle tough single-track terrain and challenging conditions. In both wet and dry conditions, the K950 excels when the course or trail turns hard-packed, rocky, or littered with tree roots.
      For dual sport riding, the K950 provides a smoother ride and longer wear than a traditional knobby tire on the street, while providing a high level of grip and bump-absorbing compliance in the dirt.
      The Dunlop K950 is only available in a 4.00-18 (110/90) size and weighs just over 11.5lbs.
      Made in Japan
    Dunlop EN91 DOT front and K950 DOT Rear tire

    Dunlop was kind enough to send a K950 our way for testing, so stay tuned for our full review late spring 2021.  Hit us up in the comments section below if there is anything specific that you'd like us to consider in our testing. We'll do our best!

    Contributing editor @2x1wheeler spoonin' on a Dunlop K950 for testing

    What do you think of the Dunlop K950? Please hit us up in the comments section below with your thoughts or questions.
    Rider Eh
    I decided to build my own pipe dent remover using the hydraulic (water) method. It was quite simple, as long as you have a drill press (or a friend with one and some beer) you should be able to get this done. This method is much safer than the air pressure/torch method, but both methods you need to take care and know of the risks.

    Items to Purchase:
    1-1/2" to 2" bearing puller. Note the throat diameter of my pipe was 44mm. Bolts and washers to suit bearing puller, approx 1-1/2" long. They are likely 3/8" bolts about 2” long. Qty (2) 1" rubber expansion plugs (normally used to close a block heater port in an engine block), get these from your local auto parts store.  Long carriage bolt to suit placing the two rubber plugs on (it's likely 5/16" thread) Plumbers tape Pipe hydrostatic pressure test hand pump rated to 50 bar or more. This is what I used, but theoretically even a grease gun will work, it will just take longer as it has low volume. I purchased mine off Alibaba. Old HD inner tube Teflon tape Rubber adhesive NPT Hydraulic fittings to adapt your pump to your 1/2" plate (this will vary depending on your build) Cost: <$100 CAD (for reference, does not include cost of tools) 

    Engine Side Build:
    1) I drilled (2) 1/2" holes to suit the holes in the bearing puller, measured out from the center from the plate. The distance between the hole locations were measured by first clamping the bearing puller to the throat of the pipe, then measuring the distance between the puller holes. Ideally these should be slotted holes so that you can do varying sizes of pipes. That's my next step, I'll probably have a friend machine mine into slots. There was a slight difference between my OEM pipe and my Gnarly throat diameters, I ended up just using a carbide grinder bit on a dremel to oval mine out a little.
    2) Drill and tap an NPT hole to adapt to the pump hose, I used ¼” NPT.
    3) Cut a piece of old HD inner tube to suit the plate, and glue it on. I used 3M spray adhesive I had kicking around, but rubber cement should work as well.
    4) Attach your fittings and hose to the pump and plate.
    Just a side note that I did grind my bearing puller to match the throat of the pipe just a bit, even a round file works fine so that you get the correct radius.

    Silencer Side Build:
    Take apart your rubber expansion plugs and reassemble and stack them on the new carriage bolt. Mine came with a small o-ring at the head of the square of the carriage bolt which I reused.
    I think 3 plugs would be ideal and my cause less slippage. It may also be a good idea to roughen up the rubber somehow so that it grips better, as this rubber is quite smooth.

    Assembly and Use:
    Watch this first as it explains a lot:
    Clean any carbon off the engine side throat so it doesn’t leak. A wire brush should work for this. Assemble the bearing puller to the throat and tighten it up, then place the plate over the holes so the old inner tube seals the throat.
    Tighten up the plate to the bearing puller. You don’t need to go crazy, just make sure you tighten down evenly and that there is a bit of resistance. If it leaks you can tighten a bit more.
    Clean carbon and oil out of the silencer side as well, I used a bit of contact cleaner and had a 1” wire wheel I was able to fit into the pipe. I used a cordless drill to clean it out this way.
    Next, fill the pipe completely with water. Keep rotating the pipe around to make sure there is no air in the system.

    Next wrap a piece of plumbers tape around the top expansion plug, and stuff the works in the pipe. The water should be at the tip of the silencer side at this point, and as you push the plug in water should be spilling out so as to ensure there is no air inside.
    Tighten this plug down really well, until you don’t feel you can tighten it anymore. This is effectively squishing the rubbers together to create a seal, and gripping the rubber against the plumbers tape and pipe to create friction and prevent the plug from coming out.
    Wrap some safety wire around the end of the plug and around the pipe somewhere so that in case you do mess up (ie/ have air in the system), the plug doesn’t shoot out.
    Make sure the silencer side plug is facing away from anyone in case you do have air in the system.
    Slowly begin pumping. If you notice the pressure is not climbing after even the first pump, you have air in the system, stop what you’re doing, release pressure at the pump, and bleed any air out.
    You will need to pump to 500-600 psi. With thicker pipes like the Gnarly, I needed 600 psi. I then used a small hammer and hammered around the outside edges of any dents left, and they will slowly pop out. I chose to do this instead of pressurizing further as I didn’t want to damage the pipe or risk a weld bursting. This was also about the reference pressure in the video I linked to.
    Sometimes you will have pinholes in your pipe, and a small mist of water may come out. If water is enough to flow out and you can’t build pressure, you will need to get the holes welded first before this will work.
    Lastly, release the pressure on the pipe by the relief valve on your pump. If you’ve got a different setup make sure you add some way to relieve pressure, and measure pressure with a gauge.
    Disclaimer: I can not be held responsible or accountable for any damage or injury incurred from anyone attempting this. Safety is of utmost importance, do not attempt this if you are not comfortable using pressurized water or using any of the equipment.
    Wire locks are one of the most common wrist pin locks used in today's powersports pistons. Correct installation is crucial to avoid a catastrophic failure, but the task can be frustrating. Here, we go through important tips and tricks to ease your wire lock installation and make sure you're up and running reliably. The devil is in the details!
    When rebuilding an engine, there are a handful of tasks that—no matter what you do—aren’t particularly pleasant to perform. For some, it may be meticulously cleaning all the parts, while for others, it may be undertaking all the necessary measurements of critical components. However, the focus here is on reducing the frustrations many builders experience when installing wire locks in their pistons. Not only can wire lock installation be frustrating, but installing them correctly is incredibly important to ensure the engine performs well for a long time.

    Installing wire locks can be frustrating at times, but this critical step can go smoothly with some tips and tricks. Read on.
    Unfortunately, for many builders, installing wire locks can go south in a hurry. Catastrophic engine damage can easily be caused by improperly installed wire locks. This story isn’t all that uncommon, and many probably know of someone who had a similar experience.
    Wire locks serve an essential function and are used to retain the wrist pin in the piston in many engine applications. The wire locks themselves are merely circular shaped sprung pieces of wire. They are designed to locate in lock grooves in the wrist pin bore of the piston and stay in place via spring preload.
    Looking for a new piston for your bike? Search it up on JEpistons.com or give 'em a call at 714-898-9763. And don't forget to follow these tips!
    Wire locks are simply sprung pieces of wire designed to seat into the lock grooves machined into the pin bore of the piston to keep the wrist pin in place.
    Failures Caused by Wire Locks
    Wire lock related engine failures typically occur for a couple reasons. First, failures can occur because the wire lock was not correctly seated in its corresponding groove. Second, failures can occur because the wire lock was deformed during installation, and thus lost preload, allowing it to evacuate its groove during engine operation. Shoddy or poor wire lock installation efforts can also damage the wrist pin bore by marring the bore surface, which increases friction in the joint, and in severe cases, can cause the wrist pin joint to overheat, leading to a small end failure.

    Incorrect wire lock installation can easily lead to catastrophic failure. In this example, one wire lock was improperly installed in a motorcycle engine, allowing the wrist pin and small end to move freely.
    The orientation of the open end of the wire lock can be an important factor and should be carefully considered before installation. In combination with physics, the dimple incorporated into the piston to aid in wire lock removal plays a key role in determining where to position the open end. In many applications, the open-end position is usually designed for either the 12 or 6 o’clock positions. When the piston is changing direction at top dead center (TDC) and inertia loading is high, the wire lock presses harder into its groove when in 12 or 6 o’clock positions. While those positions are optimal from an inertial loading standpoint, many engine designs also utilize 3 and 9 o'clock open end orientations as well. The above statements are general advice, and you should always consult your service manual or the instructions supplied by the aftermarket manufacturer for orientation directions specific to your application.
    12 and 6 o'clock wire lock open-end orientations are common for many piston designs due to inertia loading during engine operation. However, always be sure to follow specific instructions provided with your pistons.

    Correct open-end orientation will vary based on piston design, but always be sure the open end is NOT in-line with the pick-lock relief. This relief is simply there to aid in wire lock removal. Running an engine with lock-ends lined up with this relief could result in wire lock failure.
    Wire Lock Filing
    Wire locks should be installed by inserting the open end into the groove first, by hand, without the use of any special tools. Prior to installation, ease of installation can be greatly improved by carefully rounding the ends of the wire locks with a small diamond file. Due to the manufacturing process used, often, wire locks have small burrs on their ends which make sliding them into their grooves especially troublesome. Carefully removing these burrs and rounding the ends greatly improves the lock’s sliding ability and reduces the likelihood of scratching the wrist pin bore.

    It's recommended to file down the sharp edges of wire lock ends before installation. This will make the process easier and lessen the chance of damaging the lock groove or pin bore.
    In many applications, it is possible and preferred to install one wire lock into the piston before assembling the piston to the connecting rod. Unless your service manual states that the wire lock must be installed in one side or the other, we recommend taking into consideration which side of the engine will be easiest to install the remaining wire lock. Engine architecture and considering which hand of the builder is dominant are often the primary drivers behind deciding on which side to install the lock first.
    Individual builders may have different hand motions and techniques when it comes time to installing the first wire lock into the piston. However, there are a handful of tips and tricks that can be applied to make the job easier. First, perform the installation over an area where botched attempts will not leave the wire lock inside the engine or forever missing on the shop floor. We can assure you many hours have been spent hunting for wire locks that have careened off course.

    Installing Wire Locks
    Insert the open end of the wire lock at about a 45-degree angle and use both thumbs to compress the wire lock into the wrist pin bore. Usually, by doing this, it’s possible to get the open ends of the wire lock started in its groove and the opposite end to stay stationary in the wrist pin bore. At this point, you can reposition your fingers so that the wire lock can be pushed all the way into its groove, or a small flathead screwdriver can be used to push the wire lock in the rest of the way. The wrist pin can also be inserted before attempting to install the wire lock to serve as a backstop while navigating the open ends into the groove. Once the lock is completely in the groove, push the wrist pin against the lock and give the opposite end of the pin a tap to be sure the lock is fully seated.
    Insert the open end of the wire lock first without using any special tools. Once that end is seated in the groove, you can either use your thumb or carefully use a tool to push the remainder of the lock into the groove.
    Once you believe the wire lock is seated in its groove, it is incredibly important to verify this is the case. Use a small screwdriver and apply light -to-moderate pressure to try to rotate the lock in its groove by pushing on one of the open ends. Any wire locks that can be rotated in their grooves have been damaged and should be replaced. A properly installed wire lock should not rotate in its groove under moderate load.

    Be sure your lock doesn't rotate too easily in the lock groove, as this could be a sign of a damaged wire lock.
    The same installation tips can be applied to the remaining wire lock once the piston is assembled to the connecting rod. One tip worth mentioning before installing the remaining wire lock entails lubrication advice. Since wire locks are not designed to rotate in their grooves, it is our preference not to introduce lube oil of any kind into the wire lock grooves. Thinking through the sequence of where and how assembly lube or engine oil is applied to the small end components can reduce the likelihood of getting lube into the remaining wire lock groove. Usually, it is best to carefully coat the wrist pin bore and rod small end bore, as opposed to the wrist pin, so that lube oil isn’t scraped off the wrist pin and deposited in the wire lock groove.
    Before installing the remaining lock with the piston fixed on the connecting rod, cover the crankcase with a clean lint-free rag so that the wire lock cannot get lost in the engine on a botched attempt. Remember to use the wrist pin as a backstop and install the open ends in the correct orientation. Once installed, be sure to check that the wire lock has fully seated and cannot be rotated.
    FMF Racing Powerbomb USA Goggle
    Recently, the folks at FMF Racing released a complete line of performance off-road goggles in an exclusive partnership with the 100% brand. The initial collection offers over fifty different goggles across two goggle platforms; PowerCore and PowerBomb. Complete with Youth and Adult sizes, film systems, over-the-glasses models, and a full range of goggle accessories, FMF Vision is set to bring a new VISION to athletes around the world. 

    Key Products & Starting Prices
    PowerCore Goggles from $22.50 PowerBomb Youth Goggles from $32.50 PowerBomb Adult Goggles from $42.50
    FMF Powercore "Flame" Goggle

    FMF Powerbomb "Spark" Goggle
    FMF Racing Powerbomb & Powercore Film System

    Osborne rockin the FMF Powebomb "Rocket" Goggle
    View the complete line of FMF Racing Vision Goggles

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