Why put away your dirt bike in the winter when the trails are snowed in! Install a ski up front, a track out back, and hello year around riding season! Timbersled, MotoTrax, CMXBK, Yeti Snow MX, or Camso snow bike conversion kits, this is the spot to discuss them and the sport in general.
About every year or two I need to replace my riding pants and jackets. The Pac NW is really hard on gear and this time time around I wanted to try something new to me. I saw an ad on RMATV/MC for Motorfist Ranger gear, they looked really good, and were reasonably priced, so I reached out to see if they'd send me some to beat up for this review.
Motorfist Ranger Jacket & Pant, ready for battle at Walker Valley OHV
I'll start with a quick rundown on the pants. They're over-the-boot style made of 600 Denier Polyester on the inside and 900D out. There is stretchy material in the crotch, knees, and upper seat for freedom-of-movement. Out front the pants have two large zippered (YKK brand) vents, zippered hand pockets, and two large cargo pockets with folding flaps. One of my favorite features is the back zipper that pairs to the jacket; more about that later.
At the ankles is elastic so that the pant holds snugly to your boots, something I liked immediately. On the inside is a mesh liner to aid with cooling, but most of my testing has been in sub-freezing temps. Last but not least, there are 3M reflective strips that definitely made me feel better when riding on the street in the dark.
In terms of the jacket, its build materials and key features such as stretchy material (elbows & shoulders), mesh liner, & reflective strips all carry over from the matching pants. The jacket also has lots of storage options that include hand pockets, bicep pocket, a large lower back pocket, and four inside pockets, including one specifically for your phone. In terms of venting, the jacket offers two zippered front and rear exit vents. Finally, the jacket and pant can be "paired" together via a rear zipper and both pieces can be further upgraded with insert-able armor.
Despite referring to the sizing chart from the Motorfist website, the first set of gear I received was too small. I exchanged it for one sized larger and everything fit perfectly, so keep that in mind when ordering. Getting everything adjusted for my first ride was easy, with all the zippers and snaps being thoughtfully located and worked without any tricks or frustration.
Each time I rode in the Motorfist Ranger gear it was either snowing, pouring down rain, or in the 20's. Anything but ideal conditions to test venting, so they were zipped closed the whole time. I'm fortunate in that I can dual sport up to my local riding area (Walker Valley, WA). It's about a 15 minute ride with speeds ranging from 25-55 mph. Despite the crisp winter air, the pant and jacket kept me warm, even at highway speeds. The pant and jacket perform more like a wind breaker than an insulated garment, so I wore layers that included an undershirt, jersey, and chest protector.
With the street section out of the way, I hit the trails. I enjoy riding technical single track and this was a great way to test the flexibility of the gear. Initially, I wore the gear without pairing the pants and jacket and the pants seemed to ride on the low side. This reduced my range a motion a bit. However, once I rode with the gear paired, the pants settled in where they should, and I didn't noticed any restricted movement. While the actual intention of pairing the two pieces isn't indicated, it worked well for me.
Wind, rain, and mud were well resisted. A slight amount of mud worked its way through the seat of the pants, but the pants are not marketed as "waterproof", so not entirely unexpected. Some rain did eventually seep through the jacket as well, but I never became cold. So, this wasn't a big deal for me. Also, for you OTB pant haters out there, with the elastic ankles, not a single snag on my bike or trails hazards.
About my only gripe is the jacket cell phone pocket. It's too small for larger smart phones, so I had to stuff it in the pant cargo pocket. However, I recently got a new phone that is about andinch shorter (5") and it fits the cell phone pocket just fine.
Nice looking w/o being overly flashy.
Good quality construction.
Good freedom-of-movement (when paired).
No-snag elastic ankles.
Pants ride too low when not paired w/ jacket.
Phone pocket too small for some larger phones.
After all the woods riding with some highway transit sections, I found the Motorfist Ranger gear to pass the test of the Pacific Northwest. It withstood snow, mud, rain, bushes, and high-speeds. I was impressed with the overall function and durability of both pieces, not having noticed a single thread coming loose. They also clean up nearly new when machined washed and hung up to dry. My riding buddies said that I looked like I was ready for the Dakar; not a bad compliment for a full set of riding gear for under $400 bucks US.
Freshening up the top end in your dirt bike or ATV is a critical part of preventative maintenance. However, it’s not as simple as purchasing a new piston kit and dropping it in. Properly preparing your cylinder is equally as important as installing a quality piston. Cylinder prep recommendations are always included with the piston when ordering from Wiseco. Depending on your application, it will either say “deglaze / hone” or “bore & hone” or “bore / replate.” We’ll take a look at exactly what these different terms mean and how to perform these steps.
Deglaze your Cylinder
A common question is “Do I need to deglaze my cylinder?” The answer is: yes, unless it’s time for a replate or resleeve. If you’re engine has any time on it, the glazing process has begun. The term ‘glazed’ in this context refers to the motion of the piston ring(s) flattening out and polishing the surface of the cylinder wall during normal operation. The more time on the engine, the more glazed the cylinder is going to be. However, depending on how much time is on your engine and what type of cylinder you have, you may need to replate or resleeve, which we’ll discuss next.
Notice the shiny surface of the cylinder wall. This cylinder has become glazed over time.
Plated vs. Sleeved Cylinders
If your Powersports engine was made in the last 2 decades or so, chances are it is plated with a Nikasil (Nickel Silicone Carbide), chrome, or electrofusion plating. Nikasil has been the latest and most commonly used cylinder coating due to its wear resistance qualities, but they do still wear out. We recommend checking your manual for normal top end rebuild times, but generally if your engine has long hours, the overall condition of your cylinder will need to be closely reviewed. This will include not only the bore size and plating condition, but also the cylinder roundness and taper in reference to OEM service specifications. There are a number of good companies that offer replating services, just do your research and choose a trusted company. Your cylinder should come back with fresh plating, honed, and ready to go after a quick cleaning.
This cylinder has been replated and prepped for the rebuild. The cylinder wall surface is no longer reflective and glazed-looking.
Other forms of cylinders that aren’t plated commonly have iron or steel/alloy sleeves. If your cylinder does have a sleeve, you should be able to see the seam between the sleeve and the actual cylinder. If you’re still not sure, check to see if a magnet sticks to the cylinder wall. If it sticks, it’s a sleeve, and if it doesn’t, it’s plated.
Much like replating a cylinder after normal top end rebuild time, your sleeved cylinder should have a new sleeve installed. The same cylinder shops that do replating should do resleeving as well, and it will come back honed and ready to go back together.
In short, if your engine has enough time on it to need a full top end rebuild, we recommend replating or resleeving your cylinder. Technically you can have your previously plated cylinder sleeved, but we recommend sticking with how it came from the OEM. If it is just freshening up with low hours on the engine, you should be able to just deglaze / hone.
What is Honing and Why do I Need It?
When your engine was made brand new in the factory, the cylinder was honed. Honing is a process of conditioning the surface of the cylinder wall to help with lubrication of the piston ring(s) during operation. Honing creates fine cross hatch imperfections on the surface of the cylinder bore. You can think of these imperfections as peaks and valleys in the surface of the metal. These are essential because it helps the cylinder wall retain oil to assist with piston ring lubrication. Theoretically, the idea is for there to be a very thin layer of oil between the edge of the piston rings and cylinder wall. If there was no oil to lubricate the constant contact with the cylinder wall, there would be too much friction and both the rings and cylinder would wear out quickly.
The term ‘deglazing’ simply refers to re-honing your cylinder to put those peaks and valleys back in your cylinder wall.
This crosshatch pattern on the wall of the cylinder is the goal of the honing.
How to Hone your Cylinder
The most common tools you’ll find for honing small engine applications are rigid or brush hones and ball hones. Hones can be ordered by size according to your cylinder bore, just cross reference your bore size with the information from the company you order your hone from. The hone company should also have recommendations on grit and material type based on what type of rings you have.
After disassembling your top end, inspect your cylinder wall and ports for damage. If you had a piston seizure or something break, chances are the cylinder was damaged. Depending on how extensive the damage is, sometimes cylinder shops can repair them. If you see any questionable damage or deep scuffs, we recommend sending your cylinder to a trusted shop for their best recommendation.
If your cylinder is in normal condition with no damage, and you’re just changing rings between top ends, honing should be the only thing required. If the glazing is minimal and you can still see a fair amount of cross hatch marks, you should be able to get away with using a rigid or brush hone to just restore those cross hatch marks. You should only have to hone for about 10 – 15 seconds at a time until you can see consistent cross hatch marks.
A soft hone brush like this is one of the tools that may be used to prepare the interior surface of the cylinder.
The ball hone will be a little bit more abrasive, which is why we don’t recommend using a ball hone on plated cylinders unless they are specified to be safe. If you do need to use a ball hone for heavier glazing on your sleeved cylinder, attach it to your drill and lubricate it with a light coat of motor oil. Make sure the cylinder is secured and stationary, and the ball hone is spinning before entering the cylinder. Hone the cylinder back and forth for about 10 – 15 seconds, then switch to the opposite spinning direction and repeat. Check the cylinder for the desired cross hatch marks, and repeat if necessary.
After honing is complete, be sure to clean the cylinder thoroughly until there is no residual material.
When reassembling your top end, always be sure to double check your piston to wall clearance.
Do I Need to Bore my Cylinder?
If the instructions for your new piston say “bore & hone” or “bore / replate,” it’s because you ordered a piston that is larger than the stock bore size. Instructions to bore and hone your cylinder means your cylinder did not come plated from the OEM, and only requires to be machined out to the correct size for your piston. However, if it is a sleeved cylinder, consider having it resleeved depending on the time on the engine. Instructions to bore and replate your cylinder means your cylinder came plated from the OEM, so the only work required is to have the cylinder machined to the correct size for your piston, and then replated / honed.
We recommend having your local trusted cylinder shop do your boring and replating work.
In any case, we recommend having the cylinder bored by a professional machinist with the proper equipment. Cylinder shops that replate and resleeve usually have the capability to bore as well.
Don’t Forget to Chamfer and Clean Up
After any boring or honing work on a cylinder, it’s important to chamfer all ports and the bottom of the cylinder. Chamfering is smoothing out any sharp edge to leave a symmetrical sloping edge. Creating sloped edges on the bottom of the cylinder allows for easier piston and ring installation. You also want to make sure that the edges of the ports in the cylinder have a nice slope as well so the piston rings don’t get caught on any edges during engine operation.
If your cylinder has an exhaust bridge, be sure it is relieved .002” - .004” to allow for expansion.
Exhaust bridge relief is important in certain 2-stroke applications. Read more about exhaust bridge relief here.
Lastly, be sure to properly clean any parts that have been worked on. Cylinders that have been bored and/or honed will have residual honing grit. This must be removed by washing with warm soapy water until an oil dampened cloth does not show any grit after wiping the surface of the cylinder wall. Once clean, apply a thin coat of oil on the cylinder wall before proceeding with your rebuild.
Always be sure to cover all your bases when freshening up the top end in your machine. Giving the required attention to all areas will help you be sure you’re getting the smoothest performance and most reliability out of your engine.