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Know a little something about maintaining, repairing, tuning, or modifying motorcycles, ATVs, UTVs, snowmobiles, or PWC? Or, maybe you have mad skills riding or racing them? Whatever the case, if you have valuable knowledge and experiences that relates to power sports, please help your fellow riders by sharing your best tips, tricks, and how-to.

MXEditor
In today’s challenging economic climate and this election year, the off-road motorcycle industry is moving slowly. Racing programs are being cut or even eliminated, and new bike sales are only up slightly. 2015 sales numbers have just been tabulated by the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) and at 730,000 units the total of motorcycle and ATV sales combined was only up 2.2% over 2014.
 
Many riders are feeling the pinch and to that end we’re keeping our bikes longer and spending more money on maintenance and upgrade items than saving up for a new ride. Putting miles on off-road machines is hard on your equipment and your motorcycle requires at least the basic maintenance to get you through the day without mechanical or safety-related failures.
 
With that in mind, we’ve put together 7 great inexpensive, cheap or even free ways to keep your older ride ready to hit the track or trail…
 
#1 - EXHAUST PACKING: WHY YOU SHOULD CHANGE IT
 
Experienced riders and racers know that a dirty, spooge-filled exhaust can limit an engine from reaching its full potential because you can just hear the difference once you spend enough time around these machines…but we never realized how much until we talked to the good folks at FMF Racing about how this maintenance items can impact riders and racers.
 
Research by FMF has shown up to a 2 horsepower loss from blown muffler packing and that regular replacement can help restore top end power, improve throttle response and extend muffler life. Maybe the best reason is to reduce sound levels and help keep our riding areas open!



 

To inspect your exhaust for packing issues, it’s best to remove the rivets and replace, depending on how many hours the machine is operating. Signs of needing replacement include excessive noise and pieces of baffle material leaving (being blown out) the canister. We’ve done this procedure many times and it’s rare that we see a muffler unit that isn’t past due for it to be done so if you stay on top of it you may always have an extra horsepower or two more than the rider next to you and that’s always a plus.
 
FMF also has a good video explaining this process and you can see it here: REPACKING VIDEO
 

 
#2 - OVERSIZED FOOTPEGS: GET CONTROL OF YOUR RIDE
 





Photo: Footpegs have changed dramatically over the years


 

If you’ve ever wondered why larger footpegs on off-road machines are so popular, you need to look back in the evolution of our machines…in the 60’s and 70’s even though motocross was becoming popular in the USA, the machines ridden had footpegs that were narrow, easily packed with dirt and mud, slippery when wet and weak.
 
Controlling your motorcycle has a lot to do with being able to react quickly to obstacles when presented in real-time and being able to distribute your weight with the maximum amount of control and balance…and if you’ve ever had these issues due to inadequate pegs when riding you know they can make a fun day short or a short race really long when they aren’t right.
 
To address this problem, aftermarket companies began to produce lighter, wider and stronger designs which incorporated open sections that were tapered in order to facilitate shedding debris faster, keeping the teeth clear for better boot to tooth contact.
 
Fast forward to the present day and footpegs have achieved the status that they deserve and not only have the factory production pegs improved greatly, but some aftermarket examples like the Fastway Evolution III from Pro Moto Billet offer even more features like a reversible collar system that gives the capability to raise or lower the footpegs roughly 8-10mm, giving taller riders extra leg room, replaceable traction cleats for easy maintenance and adjustable camber for added comfort and control.
 

 
#3 - BEARING REPLACEMENTS: BORING BUT EXTREMELY NECESSARY
 
Bearings…they keep our machines rolling and operating smoothly but who wants to go through their ride looking for bearing issues? It’s certainly not as cool as installing a new pipe or engine upgrade…but it’s even more important! Bearings are the foundations upon which our machines run and roll and without them working correctly - disasters await.
 
Bearing failures are always serious and can cost you many weeks of missed riding due to engine/mechanical issues, not to mention chance of serious injury to your person, so let’s see what we can do to avoid that drama entirely. Front to back some of the bearing sets you need to pay attention to include: front wheel bearings, steering stem, swingarm, shock linkages and rear wheel bearings as all of these take tremendous abuse in off-road motorcycles.
 





Photo: Swingarm bearings live in a brutal environment


 

We talked with the folks at Motion Pro (who make some of the best tools to make replacing these items easier) about what kinds of bearings need the most attention.
 
“Kind of an open question, it really does depend on what part of the country, the type of riding, weather and maintenance…also how much power washing is done. Swingarm (and associated linkages) and PDS bearing seem to get the most abuse…….they are moving parts that are exposed to the elements. Steering stem bearings (and) races are probably the most neglected. Wheel bearing get hammered a ton and most home mechanics should be able to replace them on their own….’’
 
Motion Pro makes some of our favorite tools for these jobs like the Steering Head Bearing Race Driver and Deluxe Suspension Bearing Service Tool which are the right tools for the job and can make these procedures much easier and precise.
 

 
#4 - TIRE PRESSURE: FIVE MINUTES CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE
 
Sometimes the simplest of maintenance items are the ones we overlook and one of those is certainly tire pressure, but it's vitally important and should not be overlooked. This small patch of rubber is your interface to the trail and holds the key to great handling in it's bag of tricks.
 
We asked some questions of our friends at Michelin North America about off-road motorcycle tire pressures and some reasons why it should checked every time you go riding.
 
How should riders properly check their tire pressures, should the tire be hot/cold?
 
Pressure should always be checked before riding, especially if the motorcycle has sat, because air pressure decreases over time, typically at a rate of 1psi per month. It should be checked and adjusted when the tire is cold, meaning the tire’s temperature is equivalent to ambient temperature and riders should check pressure using an accurate, trusted pressure gauge.
 
What type of installation and inspection should be done on both the tire valve and rim lock?
 
When installing a tube, the valve should be positioned perpendicular to the rim (pointing directly towards the center of the wheel) and should be monitored regularly during the life of the tire to ensure that the valve stem is not beginning to lean. If the valve begins to lean, this indicates that the tire is slipping on the rim, and if not addressed, will result in a flat tire once the tube tears at the base of the valve.
 
One common mistake riders make is tightening the external valve nut down against the rim which mechanically holds the valve stem in place, preventing the rider from seeing the warning signs of a leaning valve stem. Michelin recommends using the external valve nut as a locking nut against the valve cap to allow the rider to see any signs of the tire slipping on the rim and to ensure that the valve cap doesn’t come off, exposing the valve core to potential damage from debris.
 





Photo: Pay close attention the the valve stem position


 

What tire pressures are good for what? For example, should riders use less pressure for more traction?
 
For motocross and off-road tire applications, tire pressure is a very subjective setting and often times riders’ base pressure settings vary depending upon their combined rider / motorcycle weight and the conditions in which they ride.
 
For the new Michelin Starcross 5 tires, we recommend a base setting of 12.5 psi to 13.5 psi for optimum performance in a variety of terrain. Consumers can use a slightly lower pressure for muddy conditions as this will allow more casing flex of the tire, which can help facilitate mud evacuation from the contact patch. Lower pressure will increase size of the contact patch and can improve traction in certain conditions. For extremely rocky or challenging conditions that increase the chance of a puncture or pinch flat, consumers should use a slightly higher pressure to provide a more robust tire / tube combination.
 
Are there any tools that are recommended like a low pressure gauge?
 
Michelin recommends making air pressure adjustments for off-road tire applications in 0.5 psi increments to evaluate the change in tire performance and impact on suspension settings and it’s best to use a quality low pressure gauge to ensure these subtle changes are accurately measured.
 





Photo: Use the correct equipment when checking tire pressures


 


 
#5 - FORK OIL: WHATS INSIDE THOSE TUBES?
 
Suspension is key to your motorcycle’s handling and safety and it’s made up of several parts that work in unison, including your front forks and rear shock. Many machines come setup for 160 pound riders and many riders never even change these settings, much to their detriment. Today’s multi-adjustable suspensions provide amazing compliance when tuned and serviced correctly, and provide correspondingly bad performance when overlooked.
 
One area that we know escapes the inspection by many bike owners is the fork oil. Fork oil provides the ability for your forks to change characteristics rapidly as the terrain demands, through different valving and spring combinations that use fork oil for compression and damping features.
 
We spoke to our friends at Race Tech for some advice on how to insure your fork oil stays fresh and up to the task.
 
Race Tech recommends rebuilding your suspension with fresh fluids every 20-30 hours because an over-used fork fluid will begin to break down changing your damping characteristics and potentially allow expensive damage inside your suspension.
 
All suspension fluids are not created equally; do your research. We prefer Race Tech Ultra Slick Suspension Fluids because they are slippery, temperature stable, long wearing and non-foaming suspension fluid. As far as, weight/oil level, it can be found easily on the Valving Search per model.
 





Photo: Forks are precision instruments and should be serviced regularly for best performance


 

If thinking about upgrading or working on your suspension, check out the to the Tech Support button at RaceTech as there is some good information there.
 

 
#6 - BRAKING MAINTENANCE: TO GO FAST YOU NEED TO STOP FAST
 
Another often overlooked player in the off-road motorcycle equation is the braking system(s). Many riders don’t address the brakes until braking performance suffers to the point of being dangerous. Conditions that can adversely affect braking performance can include master cylinder reservoir fluid level dropping rapidly, brake noise modulating and brake lever and/or pedal travel increasing when applying the brakes.
 
There are different aspects of your brakes you need to keep on top of and the first are the actual brake pads and rotors, because they see the most wear and have a such an important role in slowing and stopping your machine.
 





Photo: Many different components must be inspected to insure braking performance


 

As your brake pads wear, the metal backing will eventually surface and start to actually contact the rotor, causing damage and many times requiring a replacement so you can’t allow this to happen. Rule of thumb is to change your brake pads at the first sign it’s required and you can check your owner's manual for specs on at what point brake pads should be changed. It’s easy to see approximately how much material is left on the pads and it’s a usually simple procedure to drop the pads out of the calipers and check the thickness when you think you’re getting close to the wear limit.
 
Brake rotors can be visually inspected for signs of stress cracking and warping before riding and these conditions can sometimes be felt while applying the brakes. Run your fingernail across both sides of the disc…are there any deep grooves or excessive scoring on the surface? Are there any visible cracks? If you see any of these conditions, you’ll want to find out why they’re happening and correct the situation immediately.
 
Next up is to visually inspect your brake lines and all associated fittings for any signs of seepage or leaking of brake fluid. The fluid must be absolutely clean and free of any type of contaminants and if not, must be replaced immediately. Brake fluid is also corrosive to painted surfaces and can react with other types of chemicals in a negative manner so caution must be used during the handling and storage.
 
Check the top(s) of the brake reservoirs…are they clean and dry and hardware tight? Is the fluid at the appropriate level as specified in your owner’s manual? Does it look clean and clear? If not, time to delve deeper into the problem and fix it before riding again.
 
Brake fluid comes in different types and it’s important you use the correct type and volume as specified in your owner’s manual…failure to do so can result in damage to both expensive components as well as your body after not being able to stop!
 

 
# 7 - SETTING YOUR SAG: YOU NEED AN ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT
 
One of those mystical procedures in our sport is this thing called “setting your sag” and I never see riders doing it! I’ve done it many times but still don’t know if I’ve got it down perfect and it’s not something I look forward to doing, but when I do get it done, I can feel the results. The rear of the bike is especially compliant with my light weight and the rebound fells like its hugging the ground on the smaller stutter bumps… as well as being easier to set up into fast sweepers and switchbacks where the bike loads and unloads the suspension fairly rapidly.
 
So it’s worth doing and doing it right…we asked the experts at MoTool about setting sag properly, why you should do it and a bit about their new digital Slacker scale which can make this task a lot simpler, faster and with more accuracy.
 
Riders should be concerned with setting their sag because every bike is designed to sit in a certain posture regardless of the rider’s weight and this determines how the bike handles. The suspension should compress or “sag” the same amount for every rider. The key is to preload the springs more or less depending on the rider. Sometimes you may even require softer or stiffer springs depending on your weight and the particular bike.
 
Sag can also be adjusted for varying conditions. For fast conditions, run a little more sag in the rear so the bike is stable at speed or, for tighter conditions, you can run less sag which produces a steeper fork rake and thus the bike turns better. This is the most misunderstood and overlooked settings when it comes to suspension setup. If the bike is not setup properly it will become unpredictable and unsafe. This setting is definitely as important for casual play riders as it is for seasoned pros as it assures it will perform as the manufacturer intended.
 
How is it done conventionally?
 
Conventionally it took at least two people to take the measurement. One, taking the measurements and two, the rider that has to be on the bike. A measurement was taken with the suspension unloaded then another was taken with the rider. The second measurement was subtracted from the first to get the actual sag measurement. It always required at least another person and there was a lot of room for error in how/where it was measured and in making sure the math was right.
 





Photo: The MoTool Digital Slacker sag tool


 

How is it done using the Motool Slacker digital sag scale?
 
With Slacker, you simply put the tool on the bike with the suspension unloaded and turn it on or you can use the new Auto Zero feature if the suspension is not unloaded when Slacker is mounted. Then just mount the bike and it will show you the measurement in real-time on the remote display as well as the main unit which is attached to the axle. This allows a single person to quickly and easily take a precise measurement by simply leaning against a wall or vehicle with an elbow to balance and looking at the remote LCD display.
 
Even if you have a helper, Slacker is much faster and more accurate than a tape measure or sag stick. No matter how you do it, you should be checking your sag regularly and adjusting for different conditions pretty much every ride.
 
Note: Setting your sag can sometimes be a long and complicated procedure, so our friends at Race Tech have devoted a page to show you how to do it.
 

 
In conclusion, maintaining your off-road motorcycle is vitally important to staying safe and being fast while piloting your iron steed. By properly keeping maintenance items as described above at the top of your riding checklist, you not only insure you maintain the highest performance your bike is capable of, but also increases the safety, handling and control of your machine…it just can’t be overlooked as your life can depend on it.
 
Of course, this list isn't meant to be exhaustive; we know there are more ways to improve the feel of your bike. That's where we'd like to hear from you! Hit us up in the comment section below and share your methods for bringing back the like-new performance and feel of your not so new ride.
 
 





Chris Cooksey
The Monster Energy Cup is the most significant offseason race for 450 Supercross teams, allowing riders an opportunity to measure their progress with their existing team heading into the 2018 series.  And we can’t forget the million dollar grand prize to any rider who finishes first in all three main events.  For other riders like Justin Barcia, MEC is an audition for any future potential team exploring options.  The unfortunate truth is riders get hurt while preparing for Anaheim 1 in January.  If a team is in need of a last minute fill in, a standout MEC performance can move a rider to the top of the possible replacements list.  
The MEC is unlike other Supercross races in format and track design.   Adding in a Joker’s Lane that Marvin admitted in the postrace press conference he forgot about in his first race.  Feld (the promoter) utilizes the Monster Cup as a trial to test format and track changes.  It also allows for amateurs who qualified via Loretta Lynn’s Amateur National a chance to race on a tamed down (highly debatable) Supercross track in front of thousands of spectators, live on TV.  While I enjoyed watching these kids take center stage I also wondered about the safety hazard of sending kids in the middle of puberty (makes them crazy and irrational) out on a track with such aggressive obstacles. The first couple of practices and qualifying sessions looked more like Russian Roulette than Supercross racing. The amateurs represent the epitome of “whatever it takes” and at such a young age unfortunately, some of them need to be protected from themselves.  With that said I thoroughly enjoy watching them show off their incredible talents, but am conflicted if this is good for them or if they are being exploited for entertainment purposes.
It only took 7 years, but Marvin Musquin finally duplicated Ryan Villopoto’s inaugural MEC win.  Heading into the first main event the biggest threat to Marvin was Eli Tomac, but Eli went down hard in the first race and was unable to continue the rest of the night.  With Eli out, the race quickly became Musquin’s millions as he easily cruised through three wins to take home the million.  The only rider who appeared to be formidable competition was Jason Anderson.  Both Marvin and Jason train at the Baker’s Factory so it was difficult to imagine a pass from Anderson in the third main event, Anderson’s lap times reflected his lack of aggression.  Let me be clear though, I do NOT think Anderson gave Marvin the win however, if Blake Baggett was the rider going for the million dollars JA would have charged a little harder.  At the postrace press conference I asked Marvin what his thoughts were being “the man” heading into the offseason and in typical Marvin style he downplayed his ride.  He expressed it felt great but it really didn’t carry much weight when Anaheim rolls around.  What was more interesting was the look Jason Anderson shot me when I called Marvin “the man.”  Jason looked as though I had insulted his mother.  While I am sure he is happy for his teammate the truth is these guys don’t achieve the highest level of racing by accepting someone’s performance as better than them.  I suspect tension will come to a boil at the Baker’s Factory this offseason.
Eli Tomac remains a mystery.  At times he would lay down a few sections looking like the fastest guy on earth but then he would follow up with a major mistake.  He has a few months to figure things out, but right now Marvin Musquin looks to be the favorite going into 2018.  We all know Ken Roczen says he will be at Anaheim 1 and according to Jeremy McGrath he looks very fast.  The MEC might have created more questions than answers heading into 2018.  Let the bench racing begin, we have a few months to debate and lock in our predictions for 2018.
 

Nobody was taking a knee during this National Anthem!  Great tribute to the victims of the Vegas shooting too.
 

After getting throttled by Stephane Roncada while testing out the new Supercross game I decided to sit back and learn.  Game will be released Feb 2018 and it is insanely realistic!
Chris Cooksey
I just finished the Monster Energy Cup press conference and practice session.  It’s been a while since I have asked questions at a press conference so I was a little nervous.  It was intimidating sitting next to Motocross Journalists Steve Cox and Steve Giberson (aka, GuyB) as they are the gold standard for print journalists in our sport. The pre-race press conferences are usually the most boring of any press conferences because the riders are focused on the upcoming race.  I would love to throw a couple hardballs at the guys, but I don’t think that’s fair as they are in getting into their racing mindset.  I really wanted to ask Eli if he was well rested after skipping the Des Nations, but this was not the time or place.  I did ask Barcia why he was on a Honda, all summer he was campaigning to ride the Factory KTM.  While that didn’t materialize I thought if he showed up on a privateer KTM and showed them what he could do on a KTM they might rethink their decision and add a third bike to the team.  This was the most crowded press conference that I have attended, the room was jam packed.
 
After the Q&A the riders hit the track for about 30 minutes, they lined them up like a start and let them practice dropping down the 30 foot embankment onto the stadium floor.  Unfortunately for Justin Barcia this is as far as he made it before swapping out and crashing hard at the bottom of the start ramp.  He was alright but his new Honda was twisted up pretty bad. He missed almost the entire session.  The surprise was Tyler Bowers on his #69 Kawasaki, he was the only rider consistently clearing a double coming out of the sand section and was one of the first riders to go 3-3-3 in the rhythm section coming back into the stadium.  I wouldn’t be shocked to see Bowers get a podium.  Eli Tomac looked like the same guy who rode his bike back in New Jersey (awkward and stiff), but that could change if he wakes up on the other side of the bed.  Marvin Musquin looks like the “guy” this year, he has a quiet confidence and will no doubt win one of the 3 main events tomorrow.  Jason Anderson and Tim Gajser both looked good and will no doubt be in the mix.  I can’t wait for tomorrow to see who steps up and if anyone can want the million.
 
 

Eli doing his best “Blue Steel”

Bogle explaining how easy it was to join JGR


Barcia barley made it to the Dirt before sampling it...



Big man Benny Bloss showing off the Fly MEC LE Gear 


Watch for Bowers tomorrow night, he is riding good!!!!


 
Bryan Bosch
Kirsh Helmets Debuts With CHM-1, the Toughest, Lowest-profile, DOT-certified Half-shell Helmet on the Market
SCHENECTADY, NY – October 11, 2017 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – Kirsh Helmetsa member of the Impact Technologies family, both founded by Jason E. Kirshon, are poised to effect a sea of change in the motorsports and other helmet industries. For decades, legacy compression polystyrene technology (aka foam) has been the standard in helmets, from motorsports to football to snowboarding and any number of other impact sports and activities. No longer. “Has been” is the right way to frame it, because Kirsh Helmets, with its patented fluid-displacement-liner (FDL), is about to make foam to helmets what rotary phones are to cellular technology—obsolete.
“We see Kirsh’s fluid displacement liner as a game changer,” said Donnie DeVito, President and Chief Operating Officer of Kirsh Helmets. “It works better than foam, it’s safer and it’s adaptable to any number of sports and high-speed activities.”

Kirsh Helmets, Inc., a member of the Impact Technologies family, was formed in late January 2017 to take up the challenge of commercializing the innovative, patented technology invented by Jason Kirshon. Focusing first on solving the problem of unsafe—but popular—novelty half-shell motorcycle helmets, Kirsh’s CHM-1 outperforms “competing” helmets by orders of magnitude in independent testing.
At one half of an inch thick, the CHM-1 is the lowest-profile half-shell helmet on the market. Made from the highest-quality materials, coupled with the most-advanced impact technology available, it is also Department of Transportation–certified and entirely manufactured in the U.S.A.
Since their inception, the thinking on helmet design has been “more is better.” More foam equals more protection for the head in the event of impact trauma. The independent testing conducted on the Kirsh CHM-1 proves this is not the case. Foam does little to slow down or prevent the brain from slamming into the skull after impact. And the bulk necessary for foam helmets requires more mass, which, in turn, translates into more torque exerted upon the head and neck in the event of a crash.
The Kirsh FDL’s silicone and fluid construct mimics the body’s natural protective functions. The brain sits in fluid in the skull. With the FDL, the skull sits in fluid within the helmet. This allows for less mass, reducing impact torque, and a fluid buffer that more effectively protects the skull and brain. And the malleability of the liner ensures that it conforms uniquely to each user’s head, insuring better protection and a custom fit, which means much greater comfort.
Size and style are key components that influence consumers. Despite overwhelming evidence that helmet use reduces the likelihood of injury for motorcycle riders, many go without. Kirsh is looking to help change that and reduce traumatic brain injury across the board by offering stylish, low-profile helmets that are safer and work better than their larger, bulkier predecessors. Another compelling feature separating the CHM-1 from all other helmets on the market is its ability to sustain multiple impacts without compromising the helmet’s integrity. And the versatility of the FDL allows for application in half-shell and full-shell helmet designs for any sport or activity that requires the use of head protection, meaning its potential goes far beyond motorsports.
So, a question: What do rotary phones, the Ford Edsel, the answering machine, and the foam helmet have in common? Answer: They’re all obsolete relics. Kirsh Helmets is offering the next generation of helmet technology, today, and, for the motorcycle rider, the world is a safer place because of it.
About Kirsh Helmets
Kirsh Helmets, a member of the Impact Technologies family of companies, is an All-American-Made Helmet Company. Our unique technology brings together style, safety, comfort, and improved performance.
Source: Impact Technologies

Coach Robb
Dating back to 1775 and the research completed by a biochemist by the name of Joseph Priestly, it was discovered the importance of oxygen associated with sustaining life.  Ironically, he also discovered the dangers associated with the utilization of oxygen as it related to health and wellness.  As you breathe and your body utilizes stable oxygen (O2) molecules, and converts them to a free radical molecule.  Scientists now associate oxygen free radicals with every major chronic disease, including heart disease and even cancer.  Free radicals play a major role in the gaining process.  It is important to become aware of these potentially harmful substances, what increases their production and how to control them in order to reduce the negative effects on your health, performance and the aging process.  Increases in oxidative stress, whether from too much free-radical production, too little antioxidant activity, or both, speeds up the aging process. 
According to Dr. Maffetone, different levels of exercise intensity can produce varying amounts of free radicals.  Low intensity aerobic training (according to your personal heart rate zones), produce little or insignificant amounts of free radicals, and the smaller amount is more than likely well controlled through the body’s natural defense system, especially if enough antioxidants are present.  A well-developed aerobic system has its own antioxidant effect.  Fat burning and free radical breakdown occur in the mitochondria contained within aerobic muscle fibers.  With this in mind, people in better aerobic shape are more capable of controlling free radicals compared to those who are out of shape.  Research validates that individuals with a higher percentage of aerobic muscle fibers have more antioxidant production and therefore more antioxidant capabilities.
However, exercising at high intensity levels (above HR Z4) and lifting weights can have the opposite effect.  Such intense activity produces more oxidative stress – some research indicate as high as 120% over resting levels.  This is the result of physical damage to muscles, lactic-acid production and highter oxygen uptake, which may increase tenfold during activity.  Higher injury rates are also associated with increased free radical production.  Additionally, the development of more anaerobic muscle fibers means less aerobic mitochondria for free radical elimination.
This is (amongst others) why you will see the majority of your weekly volume based on aerobic effort.  Understanding intensity levels and their influence on your health, wellness and ultimately performance is another tool for Working Smart, Not Hard!
Yours in sport and health,
-Coach Robb 

MXEditor

Photo: KTM 300 EXC TPI - Six Days ISDE Edition 
Two-strokes are still a hot button when it comes to talking about dirt bikes these days. The old "two-stroke vs. four-stroke" debate has been beat to death and many of us are sick of it, but it rages on regardless. 
OK!! So four-strokes won, the Japanese factories, AMA and EPA got what they wanted and it's over...two-strokes, once the powerhouses of motocross, have now been relegated to the shed, gone out of fashion and not used by any top racing team in MX or SX. 
But the two-stroke is still gasping for air thanks to KTM and maybe even Honda... who officially stated they'd converted to a four-stroke company years ago, so that's a surprise! 
Why is it still here?  
Because it's awesome that's why...two-stroke engines pack more horsepower per pound than four-stroke engines, and even if that statistic was equal, the number of complicated, fragile and expensive parts in a modern four-stroke will always cost more to replace. 
Granted the replacement interval for four-stroke motorcycle engines has gotten longer and longer but you'll always have the complication and expense factors to think about...and that's good for the manufacturers...a nice balance between reliability and the need to replace worn parts makes for a good bottom line, but that's another discussion. Obviously less moving parts and making more HP/lb are excellent attributes that appeal to motorcyclists and maybe not so much to the manufacturers at large. 
Three years ago, I wrote an article that talked about advances in two-stroke technologies and the possibility that these technologies (EFI, DFI, TPI) could help the two-stroke gain more market share. One of the conclusions was that EFI using DFI was too expensive, bulky and heavy to be a reality on off-road motorcycles and that has turned out to be the case when looking at how the technology is presenting itself in production form. 
KTM have been the leaders in two-stroke motorcycle engine design and accompanying technologies so it was only natural that KTM would be the first major motorcycle manufacturer to provide a viable cleaner-burning technology to the two-stroke arena. The first bikes to display this technology are the KTM 250 EXC TPI and the KTM 300 EXC TPI. Honda also has filed a similar patent but has not put any examples into production and looking at the patent drawings, it appears to be an industrial design featuring a pushrod, not suited for high-performance applications.  
What does this advancement mean, and is this the saving grace technology that two-stroke fans have been waiting for? 
No. But OK, it's a great advancement in terms of the accomplishment - but how does it impact the market as a whole? It's great if you ride enduro bikes in the EU...but will TPI bring two-strokes back to off-road bikes?  
Maybe, but motocross only bikes won't be included. Why not?  
Because the Japanese factories have a lot of time and effort invested in four-stroke technology and it's not going away. They influenced the sanctioning bodies and promoters to implement unfair displacement rules that favor four-strokes. 
So why did KTM do it? 
Because a lot of folks ride two-stroke enduro bikes and KTM sells a lot of them both in Europe and here in the USA! Although KTM doesn't make two-stroke streetbikes per se, they do have two-stroke enduros with plates and lights and these enduro models are homologated for use on EU public roads, which means they have to adhere to tough new Euro4 emissions limits, as well as be prepared for the upcoming Euro5 restrictions. 
I've spent a lot of time in the EU and small bikes matter...in fact small motorcycles are the norm not the exception. You see lots of small two-stroke bikes and scooters...but the EU impose restrictions on emissions so these bikes need to have some kind of emissions/clean air technology if they are to survive and prosper.  

Photo: New for 2018 KTM TPI Unit
KTM has come to the conclusion that Transfer Port Injection (TPI) is the EFI delivery system that has won the war against its Direct Fuel Injection (DFI) rival which was the technology explored earlier by KTM. Why? 
DFI seemed good and had been proven on the street in a few smaller two-stroke applications and a bunch of four-strokes but when all the support hardware and electronics were installed on an off-road machine, things didn't play as well. Weight, expense and complexity all played into KTM abandoning the DFI technology. But they didn't stop looking for a cleaner burning two-stroke solution. TPI wins that war until something better comes along. 
TPI wins for now because of its unique new design which according to KTM features "two lateral domes, holding the fuel injectors supplying fuel into the rear transfer ports. Thus the loss of unburnt fuel is reduced for less emissions, a more efficient combustion and reduced fuel consumption. A little tube in the back of the cylinder is connected with an intake pressure sensor, which supplies pressure data to the control unit."  
KTM continued: "The TPI engine is fitted with a newly developed throttle body made by Dell`Orto. It features a diameter of 39mm. The airflow is regulated by a butterfly connected with a twin-cable throttle cam, which is operated by a new handlebar throttle assembly.  A throttle position sensor provides airflow data to the control unit, while a bypass screw allows the regulation of the idle speed. The cold start device also opens a bypass supplying more air. Via an oil intake tube oil supplied from the oil pump is mixed with the incoming air to lubricate crankshaft bearings and cylinder/piston etc." 
Another great advantage is no more pre-mixing the fuel with oil, there is now an oil tank and metering system controlled by the ECU and this allows a very precise, variable and minimal mixture of oil to be burnt resulting in lower emissions.  

Photo: KTM 2-Stroke TPI Engine for 2018
Smaller niche companies that make two-stroke off-road machines in the same niche could be expected to follow this trend, possibly by licensing the technology from KTM or creating their own variants. This could include brands like Sherco, Ossa, Beta, TM, Gas Gas and the KTM-owned Husqvarna brand. 
So more cool bikes in Europe but what does it mean for riders in the USA? 
It could mean a little or a lot. Could this mean that KTM will be able to certify two-strokes with an emissions label indicating for "on-highway use"? This would be the hurdle to cross...once they've passed emission in places like Californis, the whole pie is up for grabs – here is what the California regulation says now: 
"Off-highway motorcycles must have an emission label affixed to the vehicle indicating certification by the manufacturer for on-highway use when converting to on-highway or dual registration. Registration guidelines for off-highway motorcycles converting to on-highway or dual registration require verification of the emission label." 
For KTM two-stroke riders, this technology would make sense to scale to the whole two-stroke lineup from EXC to SX. Imagine a version of the 250 EXC with lights that's legal for the streets here...and you ride it to work like the ultimate hooligan, or just be able to get a street plate to ride to your favorite riding destination. 
In conclusion, most people thought two-stroke was dead but maybe, just maybe, technology like TPI will make it feasable for KTM to expand their offerings using this technology. The first step it seems would be the ability to pass emissions both in the EU and USA, then maybe apply it to US market machines.  
If that happens we'll be first in line to try them. 
__________________________
ThumperTalk wants Your Comments On This Article:
Is this a stopgap or a technological step forward?
Would you ride a two-stroke street bike?
Aren't those Six Day graphics awesome?
Tell us what you think below!!
Bryan Bosch
DANNY LAPORTE: WORLDWIDE OPEN

Always following his heart, never having the desire to repeat accomplishments, constantly looking for new, seemingly impossible challenges…few racing careers compare to the epic moto journey of Danny Laporte. Danny is and will always be part of our FMF family. Take a dive into the life of one of the most interesting personalities ever to race on two wheels.

Video courtesy of FMF Racing - Uncle Donnie's Flying Machine Stories


 
Bryan Bosch

September 20, 2017 Motor Sports Newswire

PICKERINGTON, OH – September 20, 2017 – (Motor Sports Newswire) –  The American Motorcyclist Association has announced the professional competition numbers for pro-licensed riders competing in Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, and the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship for the 2018 season.
All riders use the assigned professional number for competition. In addition, the current champion runs the No. 1 plate instead of an assigned professional number when competing in the class or region in which the No. 1 plate was earned. When competing in a class other than the class where the championship was earned, the rider must use the assigned professional number.
2018 Top 100 and Career Pro Numbers for AMA Supercross and Motocross
* Career Numbers
** New Career Number for 2018
 


 
About the American Motorcyclist Association
Founded in 1924, the AMA is a not-for-profit member-based association whose mission is to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling. As the world’s largest motorcycling rights and event sanctioning organization, the AMA advocates for riders’ interests at all levels of government and sanctions thousands of competition and recreational events every year. The AMA also provides money-saving discounts on products and services for its members. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Pickerington, Ohio, the AMA honors the heroes and heritage of motorcycling. For more information, visit www.americanmotorcyclist.com.
Not a member? Join the AMA today.
Source: American Motorcyclist Association

FMFRacing73
STACYC, the innovator of the 12” &16” eDrive Electric Balance Bikes is ready to launch it’s Rider Creation Program to dealers in the US. The brand has successfully tested the market for this amazing new product by selling direct to the consumer since Christmas. The response from STACYC riders and their parents has proven that the “idea” was more than just one dads quest to build the ultimate training tool for his two year old son, it’s a movement that will change the way kids learn to ride their first bicycle or motorcycle. STACYC has been able to help parents Share the Love of Riding with their kids earlier and safer than ever before.
“We’ve engineered an electric balance bike that has redefined the process of getting kids Proficient on two wheels. The days of adding training wheels to a mini-moto or bicycle for the 2 – 5 year old are over. Our new bikes will engage kids in riding more often. The STACYC can be ridden in the backyard, the cul-de-sac or in the dirt anywhere they would ride a pedal bike. Waiting for the weekend for dad to get off work and take them to the off road park is not necessary any longer. Our vision is to help develop young riders earlier and safer than ever before. The seat time possible on a STACYC is the key. With hours of riding each week, kids begin to challenge themselves often and improve their riding almost instinctually. The skills
they learn on their STACYC translate directly to bicycle and motorcycle riding, in turn giving them more confidence in their riding and better chance at pursuing a lifelong, lifestyle on two wheels.” – Ryan Ragland Co-Founder & CTO
Checkout the video: https://vimeo.com/223400194
Mike Dettmers, Director of Sales, STACYC, Inc.: "At STACYC we believe that we can help combat the trend that seems to be the hot topic industry-wide. The lack of new blood coming into both the motorcycle and bike industry is not something to take lightly. At STACYC we are a group of parents that are dedicated and passionate about bringing the two-wheeled lifestyle to our kids and others around the nation. Our goal is to bring these new riders and their parents into their local bike and motorcycle dealerships so that they can become part of a community that supports their new passion for riding.“

The first dealers creating new riders in their local community are –
Malcom Smith Motorsports – Riverside, CA Berts Mega Mall – Covina, CA Escondido Cycle Center - Escondido, CA Incycle Bicycles – 4 locations in Southern CA AD Farrow Co. Harley Davidson – Columbus, OH WMR Competition Performance – Stuart, FL PH Extreme – Miami, FL Cycle Barn – Marysville, WA Innovation Cycles – Derby, KS
   
For more information about STACYC visit our website and social media channels
www.stacyc.com and @ridestacyc on Instagram and Facebook.  
For Dealer Inquiries reach out to miked@stacyc.com 



Chris Cooksey
Last year during the Red Bull Straight Rhythm, Alta Motors unveiled their Redshift motocross bike proving to critics the electric bike is no longer a novelty.  Recently, I had the opportunity to test ride the Redshift bike and tour Alta Motors.  I was blown away by the power of the bike and thought if someone replaced my gas powered bike (KTM350SX) with the Redshift I would not miss a beat.  The Redshift is comparable to any modern gas powered 250cc four stroke motorcycle, minus the noise pollution and emission of exhaust, but this article is not about the breakdown or the technical aspects of the bike.  
There are quite a few articles out there that already do an exceptional job of reviewing the Redshift, you can find the information at www.altamotors.com.  Having a competitive Electric Motorcycle that offers comparable or superior performance to a gas powered machine can open new opportunities to the Motocross world and ultimately expand the industry, key word expand not replace.  Electric motorcycles are the future, opening doors to new riding areas and attracting a fresh generation of enthusiasts.

Ripping in the city, causing no disruption.

As city populations grow, riding areas and racing facilities continue to decline. Racing facilities are coming under fire for noise pollution, and in some cases are pressured to close or relocate to a further distance.  This problem began with 2 Stroke motors but 4 Stroke motors have significantly amplified the issue.  Electric bikes are not completely silent, but they are quiet enough to ride in highly populated areas without disturbing neighbors.  Anyone with land can have their own track, it doesn't matter if it's next to a library, the bikes does not cause noise disruptions.  With quiet motors and no exhaust, indoor riding facilities become a possibility.  Earplugs and giant industrial sized fans will no longer be required to make an indoor facility bearable.  
Having fun while not bothering anyone.

This is not to say electric bikes will not encounter their own challenges, run time was my main concern.  With that said, I hammered the Redshift (as fast as a 42 year old B rider can) on a motocross track for a solid 45 minutes and 18.9 miles before the battery was done.  It takes 2.5 hours to recharge, so if I had plugged the motorcycle in during my water break (about 30 min) I could have added approximately a quarter of charge back to the bike.  If I had charged the motorcycle it would have outlasted my fitness.  Alta Motors explained the bike would decrease power as the battery ran down, but I hardly noticed the difference.  The Redshift is the first generation of Alta Motors and motorcycle performance, and battery life will only improve from here.  With simple updates to your motorcycle’s software Alta motorcycle owners are constantly receiving the latest upgraded technology.  Rather than rebuilding your ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) motor, you can install an update.
A look inside the Redshift motor

I often ask people at motorcycle dealerships their opinion of electric and I receive instant resistance that is eerily similar to the past when motorcycles changed from 2 Stroke to 4 Stroke.  I remember the first 4 Stroke motorcycle I owned, it was a 2001 YZ426 and after 4 months I decided I was done with Motocross.  It was hard to start, it flamed out and handled like a bread truck. As gearheads we sometimes struggle with accepting change. For example, how much attention does any 2 Stroke event receive these days?  In 2004 after a few years of not riding, I was convinced to try a Honda CRF450 and to my surprise it started easy, had trackable power and handled like a motorcycle. I was back riding and hooked on motocross again!  If electric follows a similar development curve, bikes in the next few years are going to rapidly improve as the starting point is further developed than 4 Stroke motorcycles were in 2001.  Electric motors are simple and leave opportunities for manufacturers to create a plethora of bikes to suit all rider’s needs and budgets.  
The guys hard at work in the assembly line.
 
Today's kids are not riding motorcycles because they have iPads, Drones, Xbox and many other electronics to compete for their attention. If electric motorcycles create more urban riding areas and motorcycles with less bike maintenance, electric has potential to grab hold of the next generation.  My kids enjoy riding but don’t like the extremely loud sounds of 4 Stroke motorcycles and the 1-2 hour commute to our nearest track.  They would rather commute 10 minutes to the nearest BMX or skate park.  Imagine if parks could convert into an electric motocross track, far more kids would try motocross.  We need to involve younger kids in the sport we love or risk losing it.  I would love to see motorcross as a high school sport. Electric motorcycles will not take over all aspects of motocross, the electric motorcycle’s battery life may not be suited for sand tracks or long rides for quite some time.  There is definitely room for both electric and gas motors to coexist.  Motocross riders, myself included typically have more than one bike.  I would love to ride an electric track in town during the week and then hit the Sand Dunes on the weekend with an ICE bike.  Both can exist and compliment the industry and lifestyle.
I got the guys to smile for a pic, then right back to work.

I am a gear-head at heart and love the smell of burnt 2 Stroke oil, the vibration of an ICE motor and the sound of a full gate of motorcycles wide open waiting for the gate to drop.  These sounds and smells will never be replaced for me because they invoke memories that make up my entire life.  While electric bikes do not offer the sound or smell stimulations as and ICE bike they will open up new opportunities.  Have you ever wondered what Supercross riders say to each other after a dirty block pass?  With Electric bikes there is a good chance you will hear the conversation.  Will the electric generation of racers use trash talk?  No more need for pit boards, just yell!  The same joy I receive from the smell of 2 Stroke oil or hearing a bike roar will be what the electric generation receives from a buzzing sound similar to an RC car along with the sound of tires spinning.  Yes, I said the sound of the tires on the dirt.  About 5 minutes into my Redshift ride I stopped and checked to see if I had a flat.  Chad at Alta Motors erupted into laughter as almost everyone who rides the bike assumes the same.  Dirt Bike tires make a lot of noise, but the motorcycle usually drowns out the sound.  Hearing your tires might lead to advancements in tire performance, who knows?
Chad from Alta showing his Endurocross prowess.
 
The team at Alta Motors received homologation for FIM North America competition in the 250 class.  This unlocks Canada and propels them halfway closer to AMA Supercross, where they really want to race.  They have big plans this offseason.  Alta Motors is returning to Red Bull Straight Rhythm and including additional European Supercross events.  While racing with gas bikes proves they are not a novelty, attention should be focused on an electric only event too.  If the Electric bike is as fast as or faster than an ICE motorcycle the sport could expand to unthinkable territory.   All the major manufacturers have purchased Alta Redshift motorcycles to study and dissect.  They see the future and it’s ELECTRIC!
Another shot of Chad.
 
Here are some other articles and podcasts out there with information about the Alta Redshift:
https://www.altamotors.co/redshiftmx#redshift-mx https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/rocky-mountain-atv-mc-keefer-tested-podcast/id1245516386?mt=2&i=1000391436611 http://www.cycleworld.com/alta-motors-redshift-mx-electric-motocross-bike-full-test-review#page-3 http://motocross.transworld.net/videos/first-impression-2017-alta-redshift-mx/#eiydtZMiphJBuSgs.97  
 

Chris Cooksey
Ken Roczen is riding again!  Since his historic crash in Anaheim, Roczen’s career has been in limbo with only hints and speculations by industry insiders of his return.  Ken continued to fuel hints via social media by documenting his surgeries and sharing with his fans his road to recovery since the horrific crash that severely damaged his left arm.  To date he has endured twelve surgeries on his left arm leading many to question his future riding ability.  Today at Mesquite Motocross Park while burning some Pre-Labor Day BBQ calories I noticed a clean looking Honda 450 with the number #94 plate.  I had stumbled across the HOLY GRAIL, Ken Roczen on a motocross track! While he was clearly cruising and getting comfortable, his talent is undeniable in case anyone is wondering.  
Ken did two Moto’s roughly 30 minutes in length.  Until today I wondered if he would ever be the same rider he was before the accident.  After watching him ride I am confident we will see a dominant champion return.  I had the opportunity to chat with Ken, and while he did not want to answer any questions about his return, my guess is he will be ready for Anaheim 1.