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  1. EXP-2 was never a production engine and never had a hard emissions target like Euro5 to meet.
  2. Just the fact that they've used a DOT 1/2 lid to showcase the technology is enough for me to think they just don't get it. Who in their right mind wears one of those and thinks there is any protection involved? Right on
  3. http://newatlas.com/honda-two-stroke-with-fuel-injection-patent-filing/38529/#p354262
  4. 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!!
  5. Thanks for the comments - How does it track users in real time without a connection?
  6. Many motorcyclists gravitate towards newer technologies, especially in the realm of engines and suspensions and more recently in terms of applications and technologies that can further enhance the riding experience. When we first discussed this aspect of our sport with our older peers, many simply said "I don’t use any kind of new technology when I ride" and we did find that a majority of vet riders and racers could care less about their smart phones when on the track or trail…but even a quick look at their bikes shows that they can't escape the grasp of progress. But we also found many new (read younger) riders and racers who embrace these new applications and technologies...and are among the first adopters, providing valuable beta testing and feedback to the creators. As we looked at what was available, it was initially evident that the majority of motorcycle based apps look like ExciteBike and were game-based!! We didn't want that. We were looking for smart phone apps that had the potential to add some benefit to the riding experience, and were suited for off-road motorcycles (or at least ADV based) and we didn't find a lot but the ones we’ve noted here are applicable to most motorcyclists except competition (on track) based. Many are familiar with some of the larger, more popular motorcycle applications such as Rever or Waze, but what about the some of the lesser known apps that aren't geared specifically towards street bikes? We didn't find hundreds of apps there really, just a few that we thought our readers may want to know about. Obviously this is a smaller, newer market and not a lot of developers have hooked into it yet, but as more and more riders have access to technology platforms like smart phones, smart helmets and even smarter motorcycles, we expect the market and selections to expand greatly. The first app that we found that we liked was CRADAR. CRADAR stands for CRash Detection And Response and is an application that uses the accelerometer in your phone to detect a fall and sends a text message alert to a specified emergency contact, using the GPS to include a link to a map with your exact location! Obviously good for riding alone or when you get split up from a group. This feature is very important when riding alone and because it is automatic, the rider doesn't have to get involved with the process. We spoke with Jay O'Leary who developed CRADAR and asked him some basics about it: TT: What's the unique feature of CRADAR? CRADAR senses when you fall, waits 30-120 seconds (whatever you set it for), and if it doesn't see you move at least 8 feet, sends a text message to your emergency contacts telling them you might be hurt. This gives your contact a chance to call you to see if you're OK. In the text message is a link to Google Maps with your GPS coordinates. If they don't get an answer, they know exactly where you are, and have the GPS coordinates so other people can find you too. TT: Is it specific to motorcycles? CRADAR was developed for motorcyclists who might not always keep the rubber side down, but has been adapted for several other sports. Anyone who might go down hard, in a place where they might not be found quickly, can make good use of CRADAR. TT: What platforms does it run on? Android only TT: What does it cost? Free - no ads TT: Where can we get it? CRADAR can be downloaded here: Google Play Store Next up we looked at BEST BIKING ROADS. Best Biking Roads is a smart phone application that helps motorcyclists find different roads, trails, routes, etc. This information populates a database so other users can quickly access and contribute as they find new routes. We found out that this app has a LOT of user data and that makes it really good. Many motorcyclists before you will have been down the same roads and can share the experiences as well as add tip and tricks to help you get the most out of your journey, and the app has a large library of photos and video of motorcycling routes as well which you can contribute to. TT: What's the unique feature of this application? BBR is used primarily to look up roads and routes in new areas for trip planning or weekend motorcycle rides. There is a lot of usable data - there are currently over 9,500 motorcycle routes logged from a community of around 34,000 motorcyclists. TT: Is it specific to motorcycles? Yes, this project is only for motorcyclists, no one else need apply. TT: What platforms does it run on? iOS, Android and Internet Browser TT: What does it cost? It’s free, and a premium version is available for $3.99. Users are encouraged to make donations by becoming a 'sponsor' to help support the project and keep it growing. Users can also volunteer to help the project in many other ways. TT: Where can we get it? BBR can be downloaded here: App Store, Google Play and online at www.BestBikingRoads.com Then we talked to the folks at WOLFPACK (great name!). WolfPack is an application that is designed to be used as a group...or "pack" - hence the name - and addresses the key issues related to traveling in groups: staying together, planning experiences together, staying in sync, and communicating safely while out on the road, forest, trail system, desert, mountains, you name it. When hitting the road, it takes you and your "pack" on a shared navigation experience (everyone follows the same route). While riding, it offers you the ability to send each other preset (but configurable) messages with a couple taps of your finger. TT: What's the unique feature of this application? Most unique in WolfPack is our radar - on top of your map you see where the other riders in your group are in relation to you. TT: Is it specific to motorcycles? No - the technology works great for any group travel situation - motorcycle, bicycle, car, on foot, or even while skiing. TT: What platforms does it run on? WolfPack has apps for both Android and iOS. TT: What does it cost? The basic tier is free. Advanced features are part of WolfPack Premium, which is $1.99/mo. or $19.99/yr. Where can we get it? WolfPack can be downloaded here: Google Play and Apple App stores. Here are a few more apps that we liked but haven't tested extensively: EAT SLEEP RIDE ESR is a popular motorcycle application that enables you to explore, track and share your motorcycle rides and discover routes and riders nearby. ESR features CRASHLIGHT which automatically detects a crash and notify pre-set contacts with your location. ESR can analyze your speed and distance on every turn and you can potentially meet other riders using the application. Another cool feature is you can share your recorded ride, trimming the start and end points to maintain privacy as well as a “Live Tracking” feature to share your location with family and friends in real-time. RAIN ALARM This weather app alerts you when rain is approaching. The alerts are a reliable short-term forecast based on near real-time data and it has DIY alerts to every type of precipitation, whether rain, snow or hail. How many times have we all misjudged the weather and either got caught out in the rain or maybe cancelled a ride and it actually never rained? This app can really help there. FIRST AID This application is published by The American Red Cross and is pretty comprehensive; with simple step-by-step instructions guide you through everyday first aid scenarios, fully integrated with 9-1-1 so you can call EMS from the app at any time. One thing we really liked was the preloaded content, which means you have instant access to all safety information at anytime, even without reception or an Internet connection. In conclusion, technology is becoming more and more prevalent and you just can’t escape it. Whether you’re actively using it with an app like WolfPack or passively with a recording app like Best Biking Roads, it’s working its way into our sport. We’re still in somewhat the beginning stage when it comes to off-road motorcycling, but many are using what tools we have to make our riding better, and there is a lot more of this stuff coming, from active drones with AI to follow you and report back on your technique and training progress, to engine tuning tools that respond to voice commands in real time and so much more, the future is now. Q: What apps are you using that contribute to a better riding experience and what do you like most about it? Hit us up in the comments section below!
  7. Off-road riding takes dedication, commitment...and money!! Lots of money for motorcycles, fuel, gear, parts, EZ-ups, coolers, emergency room visits, you name it...so most of us buy what we can afford and call it a day. But what if you won the lottery? We've all seen the newer generation of "Toy Haulers" and they look amazing - that's what we'd be rolling up in. We've decided to take a look at some the best (and expensive) premium toy haulers and give you something to think about. These aren't the "economy" or budget units here, no, these are the best of the best of the badass toy haulers that you would give your left nut to own! So let's get beyond the basics and look at what you can get when you have a bank account like a Saudi sheik or US pharmaceutical executive! What's inside these luxury toy haulers? We'd want these features at a minimum: Amazing motorcycle/quad storage garage area with tool storage, full kitchen with refrigerator, stove and microwave, interior/exterior entertainment systems and restrooms with full sized showers and options like fireplaces, power awnings, on board fueling stations and skylights in the toilets! Let's get started! Grand Design Momentum Toy Hauler It's an incredible unit that features everything we've mentioned and can be kitted out for even more if your wallet permits like a fireplace and fueling station. Options abound with items like Rockford Fosgate stereo systems, king sized bed upgrades, electric bunks, massaging sofa's and home theater seating. Wow! This wild toy hauler features many different floor plans and various garage lengths up to 18 feet which was the largest we've seen so far. Checkout the pics... Action Mobil Global XRS 7200 Have a cool $1.1m burning a hole in your pocket? Want to be able to haul your toys almost anywhere? The Action Mobil Global XRS 7200 6X6 is right up your alley! This Austrian honey weighs in at a massive 18 tons and is motivated by a 720hp diesel engine. Amenities include satellite TV, washer & dryer, and the best part... a fully integrated hydraulic lift to carry your bike! It even has big, chrome letters in the grill that reads, "MAN". If you're lacking, this unit will make up for it. Cyclone by Heartland Another amazing hauler, the Cyclone Series features a 13' garage area and sleeps up to 7 people. It has some cool packages and options for the cost is no object buyer including items like dual pane windows, rear electric awning and a 40" outdoor TV! Heartland also offers the S5 package and it has even more cool stuff like a second 20 gallon fuel cell, 40" garage TV and massage chairs with USB ports...wow, we need that after those long days of riding. Full House by DRV Suites Another wild luxury toy hauler, the Full House sleeps 7 and had the exterior graphics we thought really stood out, it's a very cool looking vehicle. It also features garages up to 13.6' and ultra thick walls and floors, walk-in closets and things like an on-board fuel filling station! This hauler had options to suit every taste and bank account including gourmet kitchens, hardwood steps, LED lighting, 55" TV's, rain sensors, keyless entry doors and home theater systems, you name it, it's available, amazing! Last but not least is the Seismic by Jayco Jayco is well-known in the industry and they offer the Seismic which is their luxury toy-hauler offering that sleeps 8. This hauler has tons of standard and optional features including heated sofa with massage, Simmons mattresses and a 23 cubic foot refrigerator! Want more? How about 50" LED TV's, full speaker systems in garage area, Corian countertops and Bluetooth everywhere...is that luxurious enough? In closing, if you have the cash you can buy the flash! These luxury toy-haulers are nicer than some people's homes and can be outfitted with just about anything you want except maybe a swimming pool or helicopter deck. Money no object, which toyhauler would you buy ??? What feature(s) are really tripping your trigger? Hit us up in the comments section below... we'd love to hear your thoughts!
  8. Even though our sport isn’t that “old” compared to some others, it has its own share of beliefs, some rooted in truth and some not so much. In this feature we’ll be looking at different things riders and racers say about off-road motorcycling and try to determine whether they are true or false…or maybe somewhere in-between! We sat with a few of our staff and asked them to name a few of the pervasive and persistent beliefs that they felt were indicative of the theme stated above, so lets look at each of them and see what we find out. (Editor’s note: In researching this article, many that were interviewed gave very long technical explanations to our questions. We normally edit these answers for the sake of length and clarity, but in this case we let the responders give longer, technical answers. Part of this is due to reader demand so let us know if this “works” for you, the reader, thanks!) #1 HAULING YOUR BIKE WITH FORKS COMPRESSED BLOWS YOUR SEALS We’ve all seen different and sometime creative ways of transporting off road motorcycles but the ubiquitous tie-down strap arrangement has to be most common. This involves attaching tie-downs to the handlebars and cinching the forks down until they don’t move…there’s no science to how far to pull the forks down and everyone seems to do it a bit differently so right away you have differences in technique and implementation. But is this a good way to blow fork seals? Is this phenomenon fact or myth? Obviously anytime fork seals are under compression they are being stressed, let’s agree on that. But are they stressed enough to help blow the forks seals? We spoke with James Burry of Risk Racing who had this to say: “Your forks and fork seals are designed to take big hits, and therefore a lot of pressure when that happens. Of course that is for short period of time, which they are good at. The issue occurs over time, and is compounded when people over tighten their tie-downs. A new fork seal is soft and will “stretch and flex” with the added pressure, as there are designed to do, but as they age they lose their flexibility and their ability to hold the pressure over long periods of time. Eventually they will leak. It is best to just leave them at rest or reduced pressure during transit if possible.” OK, so keeping them stressed all the time can be an issue…how about using a fork brace that sits between the front tire and underside of the fender? He continued: “The fork brace can help protect your fork seals because it prevents the fork from being over compressed and therefore limits the overall pressure. When the fork brace is squeezed between the fork and the tire, the tire becomes the “flexible” member of the group rather than the suspension. The real benefit to the brace is to prevent the bike from compressing during transit. If you use tie-downs, and are nice to your suspension by not over compressing, then you stand the chance for your suspension to compress further during transit when the vehicle hits a “g-out” style bump. This can compress the suspension more causing the tie-downs to lose tension and possible become disconnected from the bike or vehicle…end result is a bike flopping down the highway. So, the fork brace is easier on fork seals because it allows the user to tightly secure their bike without over-compressing the front suspension, and also prevents the suspension from compressing any further during transit. OK so fork braces are a good accessory to use with tie-down(s) to prevent additional stress on the form seals, except when hitting a large bump which can loosen the whole arrangement. What about the newer stationary systems that attach to the floor of the carrying vehicle and to the footpegs or frame of the bike? Burry continued: “The Lock-N-Load system responds to all concerns when transporting a bike. It reduces pressure on the fork seals, limits the travel of the bikes suspension (and) eliminates the potential for a tie down to break. Of course the trade off is the (expense compared to) a cheap pair of straps.” On this same subject, we had a look at two other factors that may play a role in raising or lowering pressure during transport and we came up with two items to explore: Atmospheric Pressure - In theory, air pressure in your fork tubes stays static if all environmental factors remain identical, but that doesn't happen in the real world. One factor would be the altitude at which you transport the vehicle, because as you increase your height geographically, atmospheric pressure decreases. For example, atmospheric pressure is approx. 14.7 PSI at sea level, but drops drops to about 10 PSI at 10,000 feet... So that means atmospheric pressure increases with decreasing height! So the pressure in your fork tube can rise or fall depending upon your location, but not dramatically at no more than a 5 PSI swing for 10,000 feet. So tie down solutions that exhibit static pressure in the fork tubes can have that value actually increase, causing even more stress on the seals. Air Temperature - It doesn't immediately come to mind when thinking about suspension components except at the pro level, air temperature can also contribute to stress on fork seals when under load as in transporting. Temperature affects air pressure by causing the air to either become more or less dense, which expands or lowers its pressure. Warm air is less dense than cold air, and as air becomes less dense, its pressure increases. Standard rule of thumb for evaluating pressure to air temperature ratio is tire pressure will increase by 1 PSI for every 10 degrees of ambient temperature increase, and this is true in reverse as well. So it's not a huge figure but between it is a contributor to elevated (unexpected) fork pressure. The pressure in your fork tubes can increase as the temperature rises, and this again can cause additional pressure in the fork tubes causing even more stress on the seals. Conclusion: Pressure on fork seals can be high and for long periods of time when transporting a motorcycle using the tie-down method, potentially leading to premature failure, and using a fork brace or stationary transport mechanism can diminish or eliminate this pressure extending the service life of your fork seals. #2 HANDGUARDS CAN BREAK YOUR ARM Riders and racers we spoke to had strong opinions about this statement but lack of real world examples hampered their arguments. First of all let’s define what we mean by handguards…this would be a wrap around metal or plastic “bar” that stretches from the end of the handlebar around the rider’s hands and attaches to the front of the handlebars, creating a loop. This “loop” of metal is the culprit at hand so to speak, in theory and in practice it can create a situation in which your arm can go through the loop and then be at the mercy of anything else that happens. You may leverage your arm and snap it…maybe get your arm caught in there as the bike drags you into an injurious situation - the possibilities are endless when you think about it. But does it happen often? Is this phenomenon fact or myth? Since we didn’t actually know any riders who this has happened to, we searched the Internet for some clues. Many of the responses came from threads just like these: https://www.thumpertalk.com/forums/topic/556585-handguards-causing-broken-arms/ https://www.thumpertalk.com/forums/topic/645172-handguards-and-broken-wristsis-this-an-urban-myth/ The theme of these threads seems to be “it can happen…but usually doesn’t” and most riders/racers have never seen these happen…and if they have, it may have been due to other factors such as mounting the guard too high or so loose it wrapped around and “bit” the rider. Conclusion: The myth of handguards being the culprit in broken arms and/or wrist injuries just doesn’t hold water. We’ve spoken to countless racers who’ve admitted they’ve never seen this happen. We aren’t saying it doesn’t ever happen but the notion that these components are so dangerous because of it just isn’t true, and most racers agree that the benefit of the guards far outweighs the risk of injury by not running them. #3 GOTTA HEAT-CYCLE THE ENGINE TO SEAT THE PISTON We just received a big bore 2-stroke engine back from our builder and we asked him…”how do we break in this engine, and is there a certain way you like to do it?” and as with almost everyone we’ve spoken to, he has his own way to “break in” the engine. But with today’s tight tolerances, computer machining techniques and improved quality control is this really necessary? How different are the requirements for a 2-stroke vs. a 4-stroke? We figured asking some engine builders would be the best way to find out as they deal with this question all the time. One of the best responses we got was from Tom Zont of TZR Racing and his extensive insight and experience dictated that we publish his comment in entirety. Tom Zont: “The need to methodically heat cycle a new engine has changed over the years. With better materials being used, higher precision in the manufacturing of the parts themselves, and with most engines being liquid cooled, lengthy and methodical break in procedures are generally not as necessary on today's engines as they once were. This is particularly true with the newest 4 strokes.” “On any new motor, 2-stroke or 4, parts like pistons, rings, valves and cylinder walls will indeed ‘wear in’ as the engine is run. The piston rings (contact) against the cylinder wall is an area that has a measurable effect on overall output being as good as that engine can be. There are some differences between 2 and 4-strokes in what is critical during the initial ‘break-in’ however. “ “On modern 4 strokes, there is no need to "seat the piston" thru methodical heat cycling. With electro-fusion/Nikasil cylinders, ultra precision cast and forged pistons, and the relatively uniform temperatures achieved with liquid cooling in a cylinder with no ports, damaging a 4 strokes piston is extremely hard to do as long as the engine has oil in it of course. With so much quality oil being splashed and pumped to lubricate the cylinder walls and piston skirt, there is really no need to ‘seat’ or ‘wear-in’ a 4-stroke piston when new. The rings themselves will indeed ‘wear in’ to the cylinder walls over time, creating a better ring seal at the 1 hour mark than when they were brand new. This will happen regardless of how many times you warm up the motor and let it cool (heat-cycle). We have and can put a brand new 4-stroke motor (bike) on a dyno, and as long as we simply warm it up to full operating temperature, we can run it wide open to measure its power output and not damage the piston or rings. The power will go up slightly but measurably, as the parts like the rings wear-in, and the engine becomes a more efficient air pump.“ “On a modern 2 stroke however, there is some merit into ‘heat cycling’ a new piston. Because of the elaborate casting of the ports throughout a 2-stroke cylinder, the temperature of the cylinder itself is not as uniform as in a 4-stroke. Temperature variations mean that the cylinder will not expand as uniformly as the engine temperature changes. This can lead to parts of the cylinder that do not expand as much as others. (Aluminum expands dramatically as its heated) You also do not have as much oil available to cushion moving parts as in a 4-stroke. Three to four ounces of oil per gallon of gasoline is not much when you think about how long that one gallon will run your engine for. With less oil to stay between the moving parts, the chances of parts rubbing together without adequate lubrication to prevent seizure or heavy wear are increased.” “We want the piston to be very close fitting in the cylinder bore. That way it cannot tip or rock back and forth, so the rings will stay tangent to the cylinder walls and create a good seal. That new, exceptionally tight fitting piston is at risk for seizure against the cylinder walls if it expands too much or too quickly, in comparison with the cylinder that it is in. This is where the heat cycling can be a benefit. By methodically warming the piston up to incrementally hotter temperatures, we would gently, GRADUALLY scuff away material where the piston is running out of room to expand. The key here is the very gradual ‘scuffing’ away of material, ONLY in places where it has run out of clearance. Running a new 2-stroke engine for short periods, each time slightly longer, getting it slightly hotter than the last time, can indeed "seat the piston" gradually enough so as to prevent a full on seizure the first time the engine reaches maximum temperature under the most severe operating conditions.” “The term ‘seating in’ is more appropriate to the pistons rings themselves, and I prefer the term "wearing in" when referring to the piston. ‘Wearing in’ the piston essentially means that you will allow the new piston to very gradually rub away areas on its skirts that become too tight in the cylinder bore because of un-even expansion, both of the piston itself, or the walls of the cylinder. Heat cycling is a cautious way of letting this process happen in a manner that is gradual enough so as not to have what we call a piston seizure. By engine builder’s standards and terminology, a piston seizure is not always a piston that becomes completely stuck, melted or wedged in the cylinder. A heavily ‘scuffed’ piston skirt on an engine that never quit running can still be considered ‘seized’ by many, to varying degrees anyways.” “Many factors involved can influence how critical it is to ‘heat cycle’ a new 2 stroke engine to ‘wear in’ the new piston, and too many to list here. But as a general rule, it would never hurt anything by heat cycling a 2-stroke a few times before running it at full race pace. Don't confuse ‘heat cycling’ (to break in or wear in new parts) with a standard "warming up". Every modern 2 or 4-stroke should ALWAYS be warmed up gradually, as close to full operating temperature as possible, before going wide open down a holeshot straightaway. Letting all internal moving parts expand to their normal operating size somewhat gradually, will reduce wear on parts that are expanding at different rates. Not just in new engines, but for their entire lifespan.” Conclusion: The belief that “heat cycling” your engine before full operation is important, even more so for a 2-stroke versus 4-stroke. It’s not detrimental to your new engine and can result in an engine that will run longer and realize its full performance potential. #4 OFF-ROAD BIKES REQUIRE THE HIGHEST OCTANE FUEL AVAILABLE Most of us love our motorcycles and want to give them the best fuel available…but what does “best” really mean when it comes to off-road motorcycles. With bikes like Honda’s CRF250R coming stock with over 13:1 compression, this is becoming more important. Higher octane doesn't give your bike more power, it burns slower to avoid detonation in higher compression engines. Detonation is a very destructive force in an engine and should be avoided at all costs. You can find more in-depth reading on octane HERE. What does the manufacturer of your bike recommend? This is extremely important because all engines are different. You must base your decision on what grade gasoline to use by knowing the minimum grade recommended by the manufacturer. If they don’t recommend high octane gas for your bike, then you're just throwing away money by using it…there is no real benefit…except if you detect pinging or knocking when using lower octane gas, that would require you raise the octane rating to compensate. Conclusion: The answer here is a lot more evident than some of the other items we’ve covered in this article. Always use the fuel with at least the octane rating specified in your owner’s manual. Using a higher grade is of little detriment in most cases except to your wallet…but using a lower grade that could encourage detonation can do a lot of damage and why risk that for the sake of a few pennies per gallon? #5 BANGIN' OFF THE REV LIMITER IS BAD FOR THE ENGINE If you’ve been to the local MX track in the last few years or watched Arenacross/Supercross on television, you’ll hear riders and racers revving their 4-stroke bikes right up to the limits…until the rev limiter kicks in and interrupts the ignition circuit, lowering the revs and then allowing the circuit to re-energize and do it all over again, causing that familiar 4-stroke “panic rev” sound that used to associated mostly with trying to lift the front of your bike before impending doom. Justin Barcia comes to mind… Now many riders just do it for a variety of reasons that we won’t get into here…what we want to know is whether it’s bad for the engine? It sure sounds like it would be…but we see racers run their bikes like this constantly during a racing event without seeming to cause damage…is it because of the rev limiter? We’d just assume that this is a bad way to run your engine, bouncing off the rev limiter when not needed, but many newer riders use this technique and report that it actually helps them concentrate and stay focused, almost blurring out their opponents and the outside world with this wall of noise. So we reached out to some a few professionals who have a better insight into the specifics of how and why this technique can affect your engine. First up was Brent Kirk from Fastheads, who crafts amazing motocross cylinder heads and valve train components for all motorcycle brands. They offer world class precision seat machining, modifications, porting repairs, and general head servicing, so we figured Brent would be one good guy to ask about this. Brent Kirk: “Rev limiters keep the RPM’s within the limits engineers have designed the engine to operate. On 4-strokes the valve train is the most crucial factor in setting limits for RPM (because) valve springs are limited to how high of RPM they can efficiently be operated. At a certain point they can't keep up with the speed of the valve and cam and this is due partly to harmonics. As a shock wave flows up and down the length of the spring and can actually deaden it ability extend and when the cam can not control the valve due to the spring, all kinds of devastating problems can occur. Valve float is when the valve is moving so fast that it slings itself of the end of the cam lobe and if it doesn't meet up with the back side of the cam before it closes, the valve will slam the seat and bounce. During this uncontrolled time valve shims can fall out, valves can break along with lifters, retainers, keepers and springs. The best engineered coil springs won't perform much over 14,000 RPM.” Kirk continued: “On a stock 4-stroke race motor engineers limit the RPM’s so the valve spring keeps the valve train under control and within its operating range…this done by retarding the timing when the crank reaches and per determined RPM. We normally only see engine failures when the valve train is tampered with or not maintained.” Next up we spoke with Derek Harris of Harris Performance Engineering, who specializes in building custom racing 2 and 4-stroke engines in his state of the art performance shop located in Marion, Texas. Harris: “With the involvement of the factory teams into amateur racing at an aggressive level, (Justin) Barcia was signed to a large salary with endless bikes, equipment with a full-time mechanic. He would rotate practice motors once every 2 weeks or so, or more frequently if it broke. Matt Biscgelia was on the same program, and while Matt doesn't ride like Justin - it was at least once a month he would have pieces thrown out of his cases....Kids saw Barcia and the video coverage at the same time and the rest is history.” “So a production motorcycle IS built to run on the limiter all day, however, not many people follow OEM service manual suggestions. Example; Honda suggests cranks every 15 hours with full engine inspection/tear down on their 250F. Parts are stressed proportionally to RPM. The more RPM, the more stress. So if you spend time on the limiter - the bike will wear out more quickly. What's most sad is all the engines with exception of the new KTM 250F's do not make good power at the limiter. It's faster to shift before then.” “In summary - the more you rev your bike consistently - the shorter it will live. “ Conclusion: The belief that “hitting the rev limiter all the time can ruin your engine” has some basis in truth. Yes, rev limiters are set to kick in before potential damage to the engine occurs, but only in a perfect engine. Any weakness in engine components is magnified and there is a much higher potential for failure of these components at high RPM’s. #### What do you think of this article? Where did we hit? Miss? Have something to add or correct? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
  9. I'd to see more old-school two-stroke stuff - braaaaaaaaap
  10. Wow that sucks!! I also like to use WD-40 as a finisher
  11. Off-road riding means getting dirty, not just the rider but also our machines…and while we take a quick shower and we’re ready for a night out, our motorcycles don’t have it as easy! There are many different schools of thought when it comes to how to properly wash your dirty/muddy/sandy motorcycle after riding, so we took a look at some of the popular techniques and did some investigation into “what’s right and what’s wrong” when it comes to cleaning your ride. Although most of our readers are pretty sharp, most of us aren’t detailing experts so we reached out to some industry experts for their insight and advice and they are quoted here. #1: YOU’RE HARMING THE EXPENSIVE FINISHES ON YOUR BIKE Modern motocross bikes (and even older more exotic machines) can have a myriad of different types of metals and plastics that can present a problem when you want to quickly wash your bike after a day in the dirt. Materials like titanium, aluminum, magnesium, carbon fiber and hard/soft rubber may have different requirements when it comes to cleaning. We spoke first to Boris Mahlich at Motorex who stated “Certain cleaning chemicals are harsh on the finishes, glossy and matte finishes in particular and metal surfaces. Aluminum, magnesium and titanium in particular are susceptible to staining, etching and corrosion from harsh cleaning agents not suitable for such metals. Another thing to consider (is that) rubber seals which can dry and crack when continuously cleaned with harsh cleaning products or solvents.” “Solvents and cleaners that are overly acidic or alkaline (high and low pH values) are not good. Stay away from extremely alkaline cleaners and extremely acidic cleaners typically used for industrial and household applications.” Andrew Hodges at Bel-Ray offered this insight: “Highly caustic chemicals can damage certain surfaces if left on for too long, so it is a good idea to either spot check a cleaner before applying it, or checking with the chemical’s manufacturer for their usage guidelines. Solvent based cleaners can also have a negative effect on some painted and plastic surfaces.” Brian Wilkinson of Slick Products said: “Any cleaning product that does not have a neutral or low pH of 7-8 should be used with caution. High alkaline products are very corrosive and will etch soft aluminum and will discolor those expensive anodized parts on your bike.” In talking to these experts, it seems a safe way to go is to use cleaners that have a neutral PH not too high or low, and stay away from your rubber components where possible. #2: YOU AREN’T USING THE RIGHT PRODUCTS ON YOUR MOTORCYCLE Walk down the automotive aisle at any big-box or automotive store and you see many offerings in the vehicle washing section. They are cheap and have great marketing…in fact I use them on my power equipment, but not on my motorcycles. What are the pros and cons of using some of these more popular mainstream “general purpose” products such as Power Purple and Simple Green? We asked our experts their honest opinions and here’s what they said. Hodges: “General purpose cleaners usually fall into that highly caustic group I mentioned before so using them should be done with care. They are generally very good at cutting through grease and soils, but they don’t stop there. So if they are left on a surface for too long it will eventually start affecting the surface. If a part such as a plastic guard has any surface defects in the clear-coat, those highly caustic cleaners can get under the clear coat at the damaged area and spread the damage. So, they can be used, but there is more generally more risk in doing so compared to a buffered, surfactant based cleaner.” Wilkinson agreed and added: “The simple answer is that (these products) are not designed to be used on motorcycles. Industrial and household cleaners often have higher pH making them more corrosive on soft aluminum. In some cases etching and discoloring will occur in seconds while other cases corrosion tends to slowly occur after every wash.” “In addition, do not overlook the fact that a motorcycle needs lubrication (and) using a degreaser as an overall bike wash will strip lubrication from bearings and pivots points. Unless you’re a professional mechanic who takes their bike apart every week to re-grease you should be using a product like our Off-Road Wash that removes heavy dirt and mud without stripping lubrication.” Other industry experts mentioned they were concerned with not only potential harm to the end-user of these more aggressive cleaning products, but also the effects on the environment as a whole. As with all off-road chemical products, it’s important to not only remember proper application and usage, but also think about where these products may end up, so always observe proper containment and disposal requirements. #3: YOU AREN’T PROPERLY WASHING YOUR MACHINE Is there a right and wrong way to clean your bike? We’ve always felt as long as it looks clean at the end that what matter, right? Well, we’ve heard a lot of different advice when it comes to washing your bike. Use pressure washer, don’t use pressure washers, stay away from all seals, never wash o-ring chain, etc. Some of these tips seem to make sense and some may be based on old-school habits that die hard so we asked the panel their thoughts on this topic. Eddie Cole from Matrix / 1.7 Cleaning Solutions offered some tips on washing your motorcycle correctly: “It's best to let the motorcycle cool down before washing it and lube the things right away that need to be lubed after washing. (Don’t) get water into the exhaust system and into the air filtration system, there are exhaust plugs and air filter covers on the market (that are) designed to keep water out of those areas, and use a Spray and Shine with rust preventing agent.” Cole continued: “We think it's (also) important to dry the motorcycle properly and make sure everything is dry and in working order and we recommend cleaning the air filter right away before restarting (making sure to) remove the exhaust plug before starting the bike. Check that that the controls, brakes and the throttle are in good smooth functioning order before starting and/or riding the bike again.” Hodges from Bel-Ray elaborated on mistakes they see riders make when cleaning their machines and this includes: “Not spot checking cleaners on aftermarket parts before coating the entire bike in cleaner. If the parts utilize a unique or uncommon surface finish, this can be problematic for cleaners that are designed for the more typical surface finishes. These parts may need some more individual attention for cleaning. Using a pressure washer to rinse the bike - the pressure washer risks pushing water and displacing lubricant or flooding into places you don’t want water.” He continued: “Thinking that a bio-based cleaner is fine to just drain into the soil or a drain. Just because it is bio-based doesn’t mean it isn’t detrimental to the environment. Water based, biodegradable cleaners are generally safe for that practice, but any solvent based cleaner (bio or not) should be disposed of properly.” Wilkinson from Slick added: “The worst mistake is a permanent one. Since being at Slick Products we have so many customers who used a product that (has) caused damage and want to know how to fix it. You can't un-corrode metal, so when you spend $8-$10K on your dirtbike don't spray a $2 cleaner on it.” #4: YOU MAY NOT BE USING A MOTORCYCLE-SPECIFIC CLEANER Some products made “for motorcycles” can be expensive when compare to their automotive counterparts, so we’ve been somewhat reluctant to buy them as frequently and figure many of our readers feel the same. We asked the experts what makes their off-road products “motorcycle specific” so we could gain some insight into what products to buy and why. Hodges from Bel-Ray went first: “Bike Wash is a water-based, buffered, and the cleaning power is based on surfactant technology. It penetrates and lifts grease and soil from surfaces allowing for easy rinse off. A short time on the surface is all it takes for the dirt to be loosened, so by the time you spray the last area of the bike or ATV, you can begin rinsing the first area and work your way around. Unless the machine is extremely dirty, it usually requires no scrubbing or physical cleaning.” Hodges also mentioned the Bel-Ray Foam Filter Cleaner & Degreaser is designed specifically to remove dirt and the high tack filter oils common in motorcycle and ATV applications. Mahlich from Motorex explained: “Motorex products are engineered and designed by our in-house laboratory in Switzerland specifically for motorcycle applications. That means they are not industrial products that may just work on a motorcycle. The sole purpose for these products is for the care and maintenance of your motorcycle and that is what they are designed to do.” Cole from 1.7 Cleaning Solutions offered: “1.7 Cleaning Solutions were developed specifically for motorcycles, we spent months interviewing and testing with the top mechanics in professional racing to develop a product line to meet their professionals needs and expectations.” “We needed a multi-purpose cleaning product that would attack the dirt, oil, grease grime quickly but leave a bright finish when dry. The wash needed to work and be compatible with plastic, aluminum, steel, magnesium and titanium without harming or attacking powder coated finishes, anodized finishes or chrome, (so) we developed motorcycle specific products for specific purpose that include our Formula 1 Wash Degreaser for motorcycle finishes, our Formula 2 Spray and Shine for the complete motorcycle (plastics, motor, suspension and components) that gives a factory "new look shine" and light silicone lubricant finish. Wilkinson of Slick added: “We have worked very hard to create specially formulated non-corrosive cleaning products designed for motorcycle riders, by motorcycle riders to offer a faster, safer, and easier cleaning experience. Each one of our cleaners serves a unique purpose in the cleaning process to help maintain the life, look, and value of your bike.” #5: YOU AREN’T DETAILING YOUR MOTORCYCLE BEFORE STORAGE Many riders wash their bikes and stick them in the garage…don’t. Putting a motorcycle away for any length of time makes them susceptible to oxidation and corrosion and that’s not good. This is more of a problem for riders in colder climates with shorter riding seasons like the Northeast and there is more than one school of thought on how to put your bike away. So we asked the experts why and how to clean your motorcycle before storage. Hodges from Bel-Ray offered: “A thorough cleaning is always a good idea, but more importantly it’s what you put on rather than what you clean off when storing a bike. Cleaning the chain and applying fresh chain lube with strong anti-rust properties is the first and easiest thing to do.” “A rubber preservative for any external hoses or seals is a good idea for long term storage (and) cleaning grease and grime from electrical contacts and applying a non-conductive protectant or grease to electrical terminals is advisable. Any protective surface coatings for plastic, metal, rubber or vinyl surfaces can only help in preserving the condition of the bike.” Mahlich from Motorex added: “To keep metal finishes from oxidizing while a motorcycle is stored, cover the surfaces with a protective spray. Motorex Moto Protect is formulated to protect all painted and metal surfaces from corrosion and oxidation. Simply spray the surfaces leaving a thin protective film that will ensure your motorcycle comes out of storage looking as good as it did when it went into storage.” In conclusion, by observing some simple protocols and using common sense when cleaning your motorcycle, you can keep that factory look and that not only makes you feel good but also preserves your hard-earned investment for future resale. Today’s motorcycles are expensive and use exotic materials that are important to the overall look and function of the machine, but there are products available that can not only clean your ride properly, but help preserve these materials so they can perform as they were originally designed. Have a though to share? Hit us up in the comments section below!
  12. Agree with some of what you've said...but I don't think this article is aimed at "vintage riders". That group usually has a great grasp on basic maintenance. Keep in mind that for many casual riders an older bike is fine. When riding at a track or racing that usually won't cut the mustard. I have a 2001 YZ125/144 that I'm upgrading now and there are a lot of small improvements that can make this bike an amazing practice and casual vet racing bike...and that's just what I want to use it for! Thanks for checking out the article.
  13. But the problem is many riders don't grasp it! If everyone did you'd see a lot more older bikes out there.