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What Do You Love and Hate about Today's Machines?

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Today I want to shift gears, open the floor for discussion, and talk about the state of dirt biking as it relates to the bikes we buy, ride, and maintain. In my relatively short existence, a number of things have happened in the industry which has been interesting to see. A few examples, which are not by any means exhaustive of all that has gone on, include the emergence of the four-stroke power plant, electronic fuel injection, improved tire technology, electric bikes, and the development of air forks. On a more micro-level we’ve seen improvements to materials, new manufacturing processes, and coating processes which have allowed ever increasing performance.

As a fellow rider and someone who has no bias or stake when it comes to manufacturers and product offerings, I’d like to hear your thoughts as they relate to today’s machines.

  • My question to you is a simple one, are your needs as a consumer being met by today’s manufacturers and bikes? 
  • What aspects of today’s machines do you love and what are pain points for you? 
  • If you could do things your way, what would you change?
  • Are there machine variants that aren’t being offered? 

Leave a comment below that addresses these questions or share your historical perspective! I look forward to your responses.

Thanks and have a great week!

- Paul
https://www.diymotofix.com/ 

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Love: suspension and weight. Newer bikes are really good to ride right out of the box. 

Don't love: engines seem to be tuned to the max and don't have the same user friendly maintenance routines. I can adjust my RFS valves in half an hour and only had to barely turn them at 100 hours. 

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The bikes today are getting pretty expensive when you consider how dirt ready are they really.

The quest for weight reduction has to some extent seen outer engine casings shaved to a minimum

Fuel tanks keep getting smaller

factory supplied bash plates and hand guards are only token gestures.

Suspension is really set for 75/85 kg riders.

Make side stands that work properly and are strong enough to help mounting the bike.

Bikes like the KTM 690 and Husky 710 have rediculous tank sizes and the gearing is really crazy-to high down low and to low up high.

Standard exhausts are typically too heavy.

Foot pegs are only just big enough-should be made wider and a tad longer.

Plastic rear ends have a dubious life span and no real carrying capacity. Also fuel in the rear really upsets the back end when ranging between full and low fuel levels.

Some OEM rims are getting very light and prone to bending-once again in the quest for lightness.
 

Some recommendations:

New purchasers should be able to nominate their weight and have appropriate  fork springs and shock spring installed at no extra cost.

Bike shops should spend the time to assist with sag etc at time of delivery.

Stop specifying a particular

brand of oil-we all know that is a commercial kick back

First service at 100K to be free.

 

 

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"to high down low and to low up high"

I know people are sensitive about spelling corrections, so how about this. You spelled "to" correctly. It's just the wrong damn word. How about figuring that out so the rest of us don't need to read your stuff twice. And if your answer is nobody is making me read it, my answer is nobody is making you write it, and nobody is making you read this.

 

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1 hour ago, RichardU said:

"to high down low and to low up high"

I know people are sensitive about spelling corrections, so how about this. You spelled "to" correctly. It's just the wrong damn word. How about figuring that out so the rest of us don't need to read your stuff twice. And if your answer is nobody is making me read it, my answer is nobody is making you write it, and nobody is making you read this.

 

You are funny.  I guess you like to bloviate rather than add something of value to the discussion.  "Too" or "To" ; the message is delivered.  Like you are "too much".

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Gotta love electronic fuel injection.  I live at 7500 ft and frequently ride above 12000.  On my previous WR250 with a carburetor, every ride was a compromise and the high altitude performance was often barely acceptable.  Now I just climb on my EXC 500 and ride anywhere and the electronics takes care of the mixture.  

Same goes for the street-legal status of the EXC right out of the box.  With the EXC about 1/2 the time I just ride the 20 miles of street from my house to the trailhead with no need to hook up the trailer.  Saves time and gets me out more often.  

Modern bikes are very durable, cost-effective to maintain and while still being extremely capable.  I spend more time riding and less time fussing with the bike.  I perform a major maintenance in the spring and then just keep an eye on conditions for the rest of the year and address them if something gets out of whack like when I pack it in and break something.  It's rare to even lose a fastener on a new bike. Oil coated air filters are still a time suck.

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Electric start, larger tank & WR lighting on the YZ250X, would be perfect. Make the Australian kit available in the US for the lights would be the minimum.

Edited by MitchPeters

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I like carbs. Hate FI. Don't like off-idle snatchiness, nor having to buy a spendy Vortex ecu in order to get proper fueling. Would rather re-jet a carb. Also leery of too much wiring, complexity, and failure points on FI bikes. Especially on bikes with shoddy wiring like KTM's (and I do love my KTM - with a carb)

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In 40 years of riding I have had 1 or 2 electrical problem but lots of mixture related issues.  The nice thing about computers is if they get it right once they get it right a million times. Re-jetting is so much fun when the rest of the group is sitting around waiting for you to get your sh*t together.  If you live in a location where a thousand feet of elevation change is a big thing a carburetor might suffice.  If your rides have you making several thousand feet of elevation difference in a day you will really enjoy what EFI can do for you. Broken wires are easy to fix as they are digital, either on or off, and a simple splice will fix the issue.  Carburators are complicated and definitely not on or off with a slew of contributing factors including jet size, load, temperature, oxygen content, fuel quality etc.  Mostly a bunch of stuff you can't objective;y measure when you are on the trail.  Can you really decipher the color and condition of a spark plug?  Do you have the time to do it repeatedly until its correct? Work hard to know your bike and understand where the wiring harnesses go and what they do. I learned that lesson after watching a KTM rep debug why my headlight that would turn off during a left-hand turn.  He had it diagnosed and repaired in less than 10 minutes, beer in hand, because he knew the wiring harness which enabled him to look for the point where the wires were stretched.  Just like in a good marriage its all about knowing your partner. 

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On ‎5‎/‎30‎/‎2018 at 8:21 AM, alpha_tango_victor said:

Love: suspension and weight. Newer bikes are really good to ride right out of the box. 

Don't love: engines seem to be tuned to the max and don't have the same user friendly maintenance routines. I can adjust my RFS valves in half an hour and only had to barely turn them at 100 hours. 

The pros and cons, all the new bikes now dont have a kickstart, they are more exspensive using less material in the cases[shaved way down] and yes fuel tanks are under sized. I realize they open the doors for a lot of your aftermarket companys wich is not a bad thing unless you get the ones who try to price gouge you, they just dont seem to be made as well as the old school days granted technology has improved like suspension is much better no more dual rear shocks, seats are not very comfortable especially on long rides but that really never has improved in my opinion unless again aftermarket seats wich are a lot of money. braking has def improved and lighting now in the world of led!.

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On ‎6‎/‎4‎/‎2018 at 10:16 AM, Wallowa said:

You are funny.  I guess you like to bloviate rather than add something of value to the discussion.  "Too" or "To" ; the message is delivered.  Like you are "too much".

you sound like rc51. lol'

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I would like to see them detune the bikes a little bit for engine longevity, more air cooled models, bit bigger gas tank for range, and lighten them up. Efi on some more 2 strokes and oil injection as well on more. And in the realm of less weight offer a kick start only model as well as electric as an option on them.

Many I miss kick starting and air cooling.

 

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Bikes are near perfect as is... 6spd, big tanks, fat stators, great suspension, reliable and light... 

If I had a gripe, it would be that you can't 'build' the model you want. With say a F150 pickup, you can by the XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum Edition, but there are also various levels of those models too... To be able to buy a bone stock basic bike for like $5-6k and add the extras afterwards would be such a bonus. Say it comes with silver rims, spring forks, no frame guards etc... You could then build and customize as you go such as having a XC package, but then you could go a little farther and get a XC+ package which comes with AER forks, frame guards and Stabilizer... 

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Can't stand estart for the MX track. Just adds price and complexity, and even weight. For off road, I get it. It sucks being stuck on a slippery hillside and trying to kick a bike. I also am not a fan of hydro clutches. I don't need another system to bleed or maintain the seal/diaphragm.  But I respect that guys like the way they feel. I've owned a few KTMs, and I prefer Japanese bikes with the kicker & cable clutch. 

I also find it funny when magazine tests or consumers complain about off road bikes not coming with handguards. Hell, most guys want to choose what set they like anyhow, manufacturer, style, full wrap or flag, etc.

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