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  1. discuss this tip... Be sure to check back next month for another exclusive off-road riding tip from Shane. You can learn more about Shane and the Dirtwise Academy of Off-road riding at http://www.shanewatts.com/
  2. STAY WARM! How to Ride Longer and Further Into the Season As the Summer turns into Fall and the leaves signal that snow isn’t too far off, many riders will put away their bikes until Spring…but what if you could ride longer, squeezing in valuable seat time while Mother Nature does her best to convince you otherwise? Whether you’re an off-road, dual sport or street bike rider, we’ve spent some time talking to industry experts and experienced riders about how to gear up when it gets cold out. OFF-ROAD Off road riders have a limited selection of gear to help keep warm when out on the trails or track. First off, when we ride motocross, we don’t tend to wear anything extra gear-wise when competing because of the abundance of body heat generated. But there are still options for motocross/enduro/hare scrambles riders including and goggles, thermals, gloves and socks. From top to bottom let’s see what’s smart. Head and Face When keeping your head warm, nothing works like a balaclava. I personally find these way too hot to wear while riding MX or trails but some riders swear by them. I’d recommend that if you try this method, you use the lightest weight balaclava that fits well under a helmet - like the Terramar ThermaSilk or Fair Isle Yowie (which can be used to make a number of garments like facemask, neck warmer, etc. and it wont freeze on you when you drool on it). One good thing about these items is you can easily pull them down and out of the way if your core temperature gets too high…and the head is where a tremendous amount of heat will escape. Many times we’ve stopped as a group of riders and when the helmets come off, the rider’s body heated moisture can easily be seen escaping off the top of the head. While talking about your noggin, I’ve never seen anyone use a specific “winter helmet” for off-road riding, so you’re on your own there, but I have seen some goggles that are specifically made to be used during the cold weather such as the Oakley Ambush Snow and the Smith Turbofan which has a small fan in the goggle (I’ve used these and they work!) These goggles feature anti-fog coatings and dual lenses, all designed to keep from fogging when you’re riding. Remember that your breath is your enemy while riding in the cold, the differential between the outside air and your heated breath is huge - and this makes any type of eyewear fog up, especially prescription eyeglasses…so try to use contact lenses if you have them. Thermals This is one solution that seems to be popular among many riders and even some cold-weather racers and this segment is filled with many high tech products that crossover to other outdoor sports like skiing and snowboarding. It’s important to use the right type and stay away from old-school cotton thermals…as they get wet and never dry out, making you even colder when you stop. Most high tech thermals use polyester and nylon for wicking sweat away from the first layer of your body and also feature elastin and spandex to give some stretchiness. We suggest using the microweight or lightweight offerings only unless you’re riding in the Arctic Circle. Vests Riding vests have been around for years and because they concentrate warmth specific to your body’s core area while not being bulky, they’re very popular among the off-road crowd. Passive vests are the choice for motocross and off-road riders as they don’t require a power source on the machine itself or any batteries. Some of the options here include the KLiM Torque and the Moose Expedition vest(s). Gloves, Liners and Hand Guards Wearing a heavier, bulkier winter type glove just isn’t an option when riding motocross, where you need precise control over your machine. To solve this, we use a glove liner with a regular non-vented motocross glove – both Under Armour and PolarTec have many selections in this regard and it’s best you try them on before buying, as fit is important.. This provides the ultimate in control, but other riders tend to use a heavier glove made for this purpose like the Fly Racing Title Long glove or the KLiM Inversion Pro. Stopping the wind is essential in keeping warm and hand guards serve that purpose as well as deflecting branches and protecting levers and controls. Look for larger hand guards such as the MSR Hand D-Flectors and if you want the ultimate in protection in this regard, look at a gauntlet type guard such as the Powermadd Star Series which features full coverage of your hands while operating the machine. Boots and Socks I like wearing motocross boots and wouldn’t consider wearing anything else while on my off road bike, and because of this I have a pair of boots that’s one size larger that I wear in the cold weather. It’s a bit larger to accommodate a sock liner and bulkier sock and still leave room for your feet to move around a bit in the boot…this is important to avoid moisture building up and also keeps the blood flow optimal to your feet, keeping them warm. Heat Sources Some riders use a much more directed method of applying heat and this is through the liberal use of those little heat packs. These little bags of iron powder, water, salt, activated charcoal and vermiculite heat up through an oxidation process, and can produce heat anywhere from 100°F to 180°F for duration of up to 10 hours. Some riders use these items in their boots, gloves and I’ve seen riders using the heat belt type as well to keep their body core at optimal temperature. DUAL- PURPOSE and STREET As opposed to motocross/enduro riders, when it comes to products to stay warm while riding your street and dual purpose bikes, the options are limitless…street riders tend to get much colder than off-roaders, due to the wind chill at higher speeds, coupled with the fact that they don’t move around as much as off-road riders do. Wind is your enemy when riding on a streetbike, because it sucks away any heat you produce and is always working to cool you down. We can’t look at every conceivable option, but from top to bottom let’s see what’s smart. Head and Face Helmet fit is crucial when riding in the winter because wind tends to seep in everywhere when it’s cold. We have a number of helmets here and we used two during this testing, one is the Bell Star and the other the ICON Airmada. While the Star is very lightweight with incredible venting, the air gets in everywhere…our Airmada is a tighter fit and just this small difference keeps out a lot of the cold air when we ride, so use the best fitting helmet you have in your arsenal to stay warmer and make sure the vents are closed when at speed. Keeping your shield fog-free is very important and riders address this issue in a number of ways. Many shields come with anti-fog treatment applied but I’ve never found this to be very effective in the long term. I use the old fashioned Cat Crap anti-fog treatment on my shield and find it works excellent. Keeping your expelled breath deflected from the shield is half the battle and some helmets and balaclavas can work together to help with this with problem, so look for a higher nose piece on the interior of the helmet and a specific area where you expel your breath on the balaclava. Despite all these precautions, you may need to vent the mouthpiece of your helmet, or raise your shield manually when you stop. We’ve read that some (insane) riders use a heated, dual visor snowmobile helmet and although this may sound comfy, we don’t ride when the roads get ice on them so we just aren’t in a position to test this out. As described above, balaclavas are the “hot ticket” for this application and many models are available. We suggest you use the full length models with extra wind protection in the chest and throat areas as this is where you are the most vulnerable to the wind getting in as long as your helmet fits well. We’ve recently tried a few of these here at the office and we liked the Dainese Windstopper and for the ultimate head roaster, try the Arctiva Dickie, it extends well into the chest area. Thermals When selecting some thermals for your street ride, we’d like to stress that those cotton old school thermals are not optimal as your base layer, but the new polyester/silk blends perform the important wicking functions that we know are important to stay in the saddle longer when it’s freezing out. We’ve used the KLiM Defender base layer with much success, staying toasty and warm even when the temps have hovered around 37 degrees (before wind chill is calculated). We also talked to riders who have been using the Dainese Map Windstopper Pants and they love them although quite pricey at almost $100. Jackets and Vests When looking at street and dual purpose jackets for the cold, we didn’t find any significant differences so we’ll group them together. One feature that rings clear again and again is layering of your jacket components, see end of this article for a better explanation. We tested two jackets made specifically for cold weather riding they have different features and price points. In the more economical category (under $200) was the Joe Rocket Ballistic Revolution Jacket. It’s a two-piece water resistant jacket with a removable, water resistant insulated liner (we rode in the rain and it never leaked), armour in the back, shoulder and elbows, with a two-way main zipper with storm flap, nine pockets and lots of reflective stripes. It also has a MP3 port as well as a comfy fleece lined collar with a Velcro closure at the top of the neck. It has a lot of sizing adjustment belts and straps…many of our staff took a ride in this jacket and amazingly it was adjustable enough to fit all of our riders here and everyone liked it. We rode in the freezing morning and evening cold, in the rain, the heat, you name it. This jacket stood up to all the bad weather (and good) that we could throw at it. The removable liner was the high point and made this jacket not only warmer, but addressed our layering concerns while providing a way to use the jacket when the temps rose…we just took out the liner and stashed it away. Photo: Joe Rocket Ballistic Revolution Jacket Next up was the KLiM Overland Jacket which was higher priced (under $450) but also feature packed with some very high quality construction which didn’t go unnoticed by our staff. It has a two-piece waterproof (as opposed to water-resistant) jacket that has a plethora of features and provides you with both your mid-layer and outer layer garment. We used the KLiM Overland jacket as part of the layering system that KLiM recommended to keep us warm and dry. The Overland jacket was the most comfortable we’ve ever used for this application. The venting system on the Overland was very effective and incorporates two large vents both in the front and rear panels, reflective hi-vis striping, CE certified shoulder, elbow pads and back protector. The multitude of weatherproof pockets wasn’t as abundant in this jacket as others in the segment, but there is a very cool MP3 port in the chest pocket! Photo: KLiM Overland Jacket We rode in all different weather in this jacket, from 37 to 65 degrees and surprisingly it was never too hot or too cold. Only when we wore the Defender base layer in over 50 degrees did the sweat level outstrip the ability of the base layer to absorb. The Torque insulated mid-layer jacket plays an integral part in the design and overall execution as doubles as a stylish jacket on its own. Many times we arrived somewhere and just removed the outer shell, keeping the Torque jacket on by itself and this proved very comfortable as well as convenient Photo: KLiM Torque Mid Layer Jacket Pants Winter riding pants are one item that we didn’t get to test extensively as the offerings are best paired with the correct jacket. Many jackets have matching pants that zip into the jacket and we’d recommend buying the jacket first with this feature in mind, as you can always add the pants later. Remember how important durability and waterproofing are in pants as they take a lot more abuse than jackets and are closer to the road spray, dirt, gravel and mud…so get the right pair for the job. Gloves Passive gloves for cold weather riding are always a trade-off, you sacrifice control for warmth. In the past, the warmer the glove, normally the bigger it was. But this is changing quickly and there are many good options and techniques available today. The first one we like is using glove liners paired with your everyday (not vented) street gloves. We’ve found this method to very comfortable in moderately low temps. We’ve used the Fieldshear house brand glove liners with great success. You can also purchase heated glove liners that allow you to pack in even more warmth but we’ve never tried them so we can’t comment on how much more effective they are. The second method we like is a heavier winter glove with no electrics, like the KLiM Caldera or the Racer Gloves Advanced Gore-Tex glove which features new 2 glove-in-1 technology so you can dial in both your grip and warmth levels with 2 separate insulation chambers. The “grip” chamber puts insulation above your hand for warmth and feel. The “warm” chamber puts much more insulation around your hand to provide maximum warmth. Another popular way to keep your hands is electrically heated gloves. These are all the rage these days and why not? They offer instant warmth when needed and both bike powered and battery powered models are available. Talking with riders about these gloves and then same name keeps coming up. Gerbing have been making this cold weather gear for over 30 years so it’s safe to say they’ve figured it out. One glove that riders really like is the Gerbing EX glove. It’s a 12 volt glove that is powered by your motorcycle and it heats up to about 135 degrees! Another popular glove in this segment is the FirstGear Heated Carbon gloves offer a bit more racer styling with prominent knuckle protectors and these also are powered from your motorcycle. One thing to keep in mind with these types of motorcycle-powered gloves is that using a heat controller is always recommended so you can prevent overheating and battery mishaps due to user errors. Vests Riding vests are also available in passive and heated units. We prefer to use a passive system like the KLiM jacket with a mid-layer jacket as opposed to a vest. Why? Because we believe that although very warm, these vests tend to interfere with the airflow needed for correct sweat dissipation that is engineered into these jackets and this makes you sweat even more…and then get cold…then the vest gets turned up again. Some riders swear by them but we firmly believe that a well engineered jacket will keep you warmer and more comfortable for a longer period of time. Windshields Sometimes one of the hardest problems can be solved by a most obvious solution. You want to stay warm? Then consider a windshield because when you want to stay warm you have to block the wind…and we don’t mean one of those tiny sport windscreens that cover your gauges…we mean the big old Plexiglas things. Some riders just hate the look, but fairings offer a huge amount of protection from not only the cold wind, but rain as well, and staying dry is key to keeping warm…not to mention it’s easily removable when it’s warm out again. Popular windscreens that are available include the Memphis Shades and SlipStreamer brands and most are priced at around $150 - $200 which is a real deal for the amount of protection they offer. Most come with simple mounting hardware and we easily installed one in under an hour. It’s an incredible, immediate and dramatic improvement if you want to ride in the cold weather. Heated Grips Another ingenious way to keep your hands warm is using heated grips. We first used these when riding snowmobiles, and it allowed us to ride using a thin motocross glove even when temps were well below freezing. And the same benefit can be had on your motorcycle. This technology is easily retrofitted to you r bike and to see how they worked we tried out a pair of heated grips from Oxford Products, as many riders we spoke with use and recommend these units. The model we used was the Oxford Heaterz Premium Grips, which came as a complete kit ready to mount on our test bike. These grips come in every handlebar size and this model came with the integral heat controller which allowed us finite control over the grip temperatures. Installation was really easy, took about an hour and they work just like the stock grips, except they’re toasty warm! The units fire up and get warm almost as soon as you turn them on and it’s easy to keep them right at the temperature you need, we even adjusted them while riding. They can get really hot if you don’t pay attention (up to a claimed 122 degrees) so the controller is a must with this type of item. Photo: Oxford Heaterz Cruiser Grips We were impressed with the Oxford Heaterz grips, they’re rainproof and use a soft rubber for better feel, and on days that weren’t as cold, we used a lightweight street glove for better control and less bulkiness with excellent results - our hands were never cold. Then when it did get colder, we switched to a heavier, gauntlet type glove which also worked out perfect. This is a highly recommended item for anyone serious about riding in the cold weather. In conclusion, there are a myriad of products available to keep you warm while riding and to help you ride longer into the season no matter what your budget. Layering is the key. We never recommend riding when temps are close to or below freezing as black ice is a huge danger and always remember to stay extra vigilant for obstacles, as cold tires don’t grip like they do in the Summer. Primer: Layering and Why It’s Important In the past, keeping warm was an exercise in putting on as many warm clothes as you could and still reasonably operate your motorcycle. This method has huge drawbacks such as overheating, no sweat dissipation, bulkiness and weight, not to mention it is wholly ineffective for riders in any discipline. But this has all changed as space age fabrics and techniques have proven that layering with intelligent fabrics… Mark Kincart from KLiM gave us some advice about layering in the winter and staying warm using their Overland jacket. Layering in the winter and staying warm is all about transportation of the bodies sweat off the skin. You sweat even when it’s cold. So the first “Defender” base layer is your transport layer. When you look at the fabric on the inside you will see raised pillows of material. These allow circulation of air and provide a large surface area for the moister to transport off the body.” Once it’s pulled into the garment and off your skin you set it up to be evacuated through the “Torque” mid layer provides loft and insulation for the really cold days. This provides not only breath ability through the jacket but the ability to control the heat loss through venting which happens to line up with the venting on the outer shell. Last is the outer layer comprised of the actual waterproof jacket (Gore-Tex shell). High-humidity air between your skin and thermal is always trying to escape to somewhere cooler. The wicking action happens when sweat and moisture move across top the fibers but not absorbed…it escapes to the outside through the tiny holes in between the fibers. So remember, don’t just stack up clothes on top of clothes without thinking about where the heat and sweat will go…and how you’ll get rid of it. You have to get that sweat off your skin and clothes…and then dry it by venting to the outside.
  3. MXEditor


    Photo: Does this look familiar? Then read on... If you do a search for off-road, motocross tires or dual-purpose tires, the myriad of choices can be fairly mind-boggling…with so many options available, how do you select the right one? We spent some time on two wheels and then behind the keyboard before bringing you some helpful tips on choosing the right tire for your off-road bike. WHERE ARE YOU RIDING? For example, answers may range from “rocky steep trails” to “sandy motocross tracks.” And as different as these two answers are, so are the tires required to do the job. There are so many different kinds of off road riding and racing we can’t cover them all and be accurate. We talked to Michelin about this question and here's some of what they had to say: “Our Starcross range is designed to provide optimum performance in the various soil conditions found on the typical motocross track, all while providing the durability riders expect from a Michelin product. For the Enduro/Off-Road applications our S 12XC and M 12XC products provide excellent performance with an increased focus on longevity, with over 25% extra tire life over our previous generation (S 12 and M 12).” So we’ll look at these three types of off road tires: 1) MOTOCROSS TIRES You’ll hear terms like “soft” and “hard” tires and we’ve always found this confusing. The experts at Michelin describes it like this: “Other than different readings on a Shore Hardness rating scale, from a design and performance standpoint, the tread rubber compound is only one component that contributes to the overall performance of a tire in any given condition. The tread sculpture, knob height and spacing, along with casing construction and rigidity all affect a tire's specific performance capabilities.” Simply for us who are not scientists, soft tires are for hard terrain: rocky, hard-pack tracks that can get blue grooved. These tracks require a soft compound tire so the knobs can wrap around and conform to the track surface, thereby achieving more rubber on the ground for better traction. Quality tires choices in this category include the new Dunlop MX52, the Michelin MS3 and Bridgestone M204. Hard/Intermediate tires are for softer terrain: muddy, sandy or lots of loam covered tracks that can get very deep with wide ruts. These tracks require a harder compound tire so the widely spaced knobs can dig in and create their own line, thereby achieving more rubber on the ground for better traction. Quality tire choices in this category include the Dunlop MX32, Michelin MH3 and the new Pirelli Scorpion MXMH 554. 2) ENDURO and HARE SCRAMBLES TIRES The same terms as noted above are used for these types of tires but there’s even a wider range of choices and sizes, as enduro bikes can use either an 18”or 19”rear tire. Some enduro pilots like to use a motocross tire but with the advances in tire compounds and tread patterns, you’d be better off looking at what’s made specifically for this type of riding if you’re looking for optimal performance…and who isn’t? Dunlop Tire states "Tires for enduro and hare scrambles are similar since both are primarily run in softer, wetter, muddier terrain with slippery rocks and areas with exposed tree roots. Since some areas of these courses can be hard and slippery, the tires must account for this as well. The tread compound used in these tires must provide an optimum balance between wet and muddy terrain traction and long-wearing durability. Casing constructions must flex readily for riding over slippery rocks and tree roots, yet provide good puncture resistance. The tread pattern should clean well, even under the worst conditions, yet offer predictable handling in dry terrain.” Keeping this in mind, the Dunlop D606, Pirelli Scorpion Pro (highly rated by riders and racers we spoke with) and Metzeler MCE 6 Days Extreme are all good choices. 3) DUAL PURPOSE TIRES Dual purpose is a tricky area to address as the bikes vary in size and weight as well as terrain ridden. For example this category can range from small on/off bikes like the Honda XL250 all the way up to ADV bikes like the KTM 1190 Adventure, so no broad choices are evident. Here’s what we’ve found after talking to riders and the manufacturers such as Michelin: Michelin has seen a “noticeable increase in sales” of their 50/50 use tires such as the T63 and AC 10. The Anakee III, which is an 80% on-road tire, has been well received as a popular choice for adventure riders who venture off road occasionally. To capitalize on this growing segment, Michelin plans to expand the Anakee range for BMW GS riders who are looking for a high performance off-road oriented tire(s) next year. How much you ride on vs. off-road? This is the key in determining your tire choice. Are you a trail rider who only sees pavement on the way to the trails? You’ll need taller, more aggressive tread pattern with wider spacing. Are you a street rider who occasionally wants to cruise down a fire road? You’ll need low profile, closely spaced tread pattern. Dual purpose tires are required to be DOT compliant and that mandates the tires meet some guidelines that many off-road and racing tires do not such as width, load capacity, speed ratings and minimum air pressures. Another factor to keep in mind is that unlike some other off-road tires, matching dual sport tires up in a set is important to avoid handling issues on pavement and uneven wear front to back. For example, a 90% street and 10% trail rider may pick a tire like the Michelin Anakee 3 (pictured below), if the ratio is more like 50% street and 50% trail, a good pick is the Dunlop D908RR and if you ride mostly dirt, the Pirelli XCMH should provide good hookup when in the loose stuff. Photo: Michelin Anakee 3 In closing, selecting the right tire for your off-road motorcycle is critical to both performance and safety, so take your time and read as much as you can before you make your selection - and the forums here at ThumperTalk.com provide some rich analysis of the options available. Keep the rubber side down!
  4. As motorcyclists, we yearn for that extra bit of excitement, to go just a bit faster, to corner just a bit better, to wheelie just a little farther…and to facilitate these activities, we seek out environments that are favorable to achieving these goals. And some, well some are just better than others. We talked with our fellow two-wheeled travelers and tour companies to come up with just a few of the places you should ride before you die and we’ve presented them here. This certainly isn’t the definitive list of “best places” and this list only represents a bit of Central and South America, so stay tuned for many more installments in this series - but these are a damn good start if you crave a lot more seat time than just a casual afternoon ride. COSTA RICA Costa Rica is a small Central American country located full of incredible scenery and natural terrain such as volcanoes, jungles and beaches…and unlike in the USA and EU - most of it can be explored on two wheels. The country features awesome single track everywhere, miles of wide open sand across the incredible beaches...you can spend years in Costa Rica and never hit the same trails twice. Ride from sea level to 10,000 feet, stare at mountains begging to be climbed, cross rivers, hold it wide open down a stretch of coastline, and experience first-gear single track through the tropical rain forests. If you like wildlife, you’ll be amazed by the monkeys, birds and crocodiles sunning near the riverbeds… Want to climb a volcano, do a loooooong wheelie down a beachfront and master some high altitude single track all in the same day? Then Costa Rica is for you. One of the bigger players in the Costa Rica off-road tour scene is Costa Rica Unlimited and they offer quite an enticing array of tours. They offer bikes ranging from 2015 Yamaha WR250/450F to 2015 KTM250/450XC-F’s. Riders can use the CRU private MX tracks and stable of 2012 YZ250Fs before riding back to the race shop (outdoor showers, open air lockers, gear cleaning service) and resting up with a cold beer overlooking the ocean in luxurious accommodations. Choose from unlimited non-moto adventure options when not in the saddle, including zip-lining, river rafting, and surfing the local breaks and much more. Located in the hills of the surfing community Playa Hermosa, you’ll be a short 10 minute ride from Jaco, the main tourist town known for its active nightlife, casinos, restaurants and bars. CRU representatives say: “Tours range from $2,100-$2,500 and include bikes, accommodations, fuel and guides…just bring your gear, a couple of T-shirts and shorts, and we’ll have you taken care of for the week. Make your next adventure your best adventure; we hope to see you with Costa Rica Unlimited soon!” PATAGONIA Patagonia is the country that occupies the southernmost tip of South America and it is amazing in its depth, beauty and natural terrain. Bordered by two oceans and graced by the Andes, Patagonia is a “go-to” country for enthusiasts of many adventure disciplines, not just off road riders. We spoke to Eric at RIDE Adventures, the folks that have been doing some of the most exciting Patagonia and Peru/Bolivia motorcycle tours we’ve encountered. Riders can cross the Andes Mountains and Argentine border multiple times on their journey. The combination of open plains or "pampas" regions with intimate rainforest canopy is only complimented further by having such a wide range of weather conditions. Seeping into Patagonia’s endless display of bright blue lakes and rivers, year-round snow-capped mountains, awe-inspiring glaciers, and bright green rainforests, it might seem like a motorcycle rider's paradise. Sites like Torres del Paine, The Perito Moreno Glacier, The Carretera Austral, and Mount Fitz Roy are all typically included in the routes they ride through, and if your goal is to reach Ushuaia at what is referred to as “The End of the World,” that can be the ultimate moment in your Patagonia adventure. Eric said: "Perhaps the most fun guided group tours we've led are the ones where things don't go as smoothly as planned. There have been instances of rock slides that block off key routes we use, or unexpected rain in otherwise arid regions that can make for terrain that is a real challenge for heavy adventure bikes to be ridden through.” Eric continued: “Whether we're guiding a private group of friends who all knew each other before the trip, or individuals from around the world who just met each other, it's so much fun to see riders overcome challenges together. Perhaps that's the charm of Patagonia: It's a seemingly endless collection of incredible scenery, full of topographical changes, varied terrain, micro climates, and therefore inevitable challenges. Riders need an adventurous spirit to ride in Patagonia." RIDE Adventures tours typically run $400-$800 per day depending on motorcycle used, tour type, level of accommodations, etc. Typically included are the motorcycle of your choice (Kawasaki KLR 650, BMW G650GS, F650GS, F800GS, R1200GS, or R1200GS Adventure), bi-lingual tour guide if guided tour chosen, 3 to 5 star hotels, cabins, and ranch accommodations and meals (including traditional barbeque). Also typically included are a support vehicle, satellite phone service for emergencies, 3rd party motorcycle insurance, paperwork and insurance for crossing international borders and some tours will include special “side” tours like flights, boat tours, etc. RIDE Adventures has one of the most informative websites we’ve seen in this market – it’s certainly worth a visit so take a minute and check it out. SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT: MOTOMISSION PERU ThumperTalk member and contributor Scott Englund runs MotoMission in Peru, which is a socially conscious motorcycle adventure tour business that donates its profits to help build a facility for The Altivas Canas Children’s Project. Scott has 20 years of riding experience which includes a 6th place finish in the 2007 Baja 1000! (Open Pro Class 22). Scott enjoys pushing other riders to improve and stretch their comfort zones a bit. Scott can take you and/or your private group to the limit by way of tight trails, ridges, hill climbs, and any other terrain that is available. MotoMission has partnered with Quintina and the Altivas Canas Children’s Project to positively impact the lives of these amazing children. The mission is currently reaching 25-30 kids daily in the afternoon program and another 10 younger kids during a morning program. At the end of the day, the kids have their homework done, have been fed a nutritious meal, and have had some social interaction and physical activity. They return home each evening where they can spend quality time with their mothers who have been working hard all day. A typical MotoMission Base tour is all inclusive at $350-$500 per day and airport/hotel pickup, food/drinks, hotel, fuel, bike rental of a Honda CRF450X, riding gear, guide, helmet cameras, and a fully equipped support vehicle(depending on the route) and the options are limitless with MotoMission’s custom/private tours. For more information on MotoMission and customizing a trip just for you and your friends, contact Scott at MotoMission. In conclusion, if your riding lifestyle is looking to add an experience that's completely different then what you've been doing, this may be your ticket to two-wheeled freedom and adventure. Been to a bucketlist location? Tell us about it in the comments section below. We'd love to hear about your experience! All photos used are with permission from the contributor(s). Copyrights are in effect and all rights are reserved. Photos can only be reproduced with specific permissions.)
  5. Looking to buy a used dirt bike? If so, read on because we’re going to give you some solid advice on how not to get burned in the process. Years of experience coupled with some expert advice from our industry sources provide a step-by-step guide to buying that pre-owned bike of your dreams. Buying used recreational toys like dirt bikes are among the best values in motorcycling today. Historically, off-road motorcycles endure huge monetary depreciation and other factors such as rider attrition and economic hardship helping expanding that vast pool of used machines available… when people need to pay the bills, motorcycles are among the first items to go. With that in mind, not all the deals out there are good ones. Many unscrupulous sellers are just waiting to steal your hard earned cash in trade for a good looking piece of junk. Let’s look at how to avoid many of those pitfalls that await you as a prospective buyer. KNOW YOUR BUDGET Cash is king and going to see bikes that you expect to low-ball the sellers by vast margins is unrealistic and a waste of time for everyone involved. Know what you have to spend, have it ready in cash when you leave the house. WHICH BIKE TO BUY? Determine what kind of bike you want. This choice should be based solely on the kind of riding you actually do, not what you see Ryan Villopoto and Kailub Russell do because you aren’t that good (yet). So if you ride motocross, get a moto specific ride, if you ride enduro/woods, look for a good woods mount. They’re worlds apart and you’ll need the right tool for the job. Next is the 2-stroke versus 4-stroke question, one of the most hotly debated subjects in our sport today. Let’s try to objectively examine a few pros and cons of each when buying a used machine. It’s my personal opinion that to be competitive in the two larger MX and SX classes, a 4-stroke is required to be part of the mix, so with that said; 2-Stroke Pros Low cost of entry Easy and inexpensive to rebuild 2-Stroke Cons Less manufacturers support Rebuild more often 4-Stroke Pros Easier to ride fast More usable torque at all RPM’s 4-Stroke Cons Heavier More expensive to rebuild RECRUIT A FRIEND Bring a friend who rides regularly, knows off road bikes backwards and forwards and bring them with you. Discuss what you’re looking for and have them look at the prospective purchases, whether on eBay, CraigsList, ThumperTalk Classifieds, or whatever. Always demand recent photos of the bike and don’t accept dark, cloudy photos as a reason to drive 40 miles to see an old junker - gas is expensive these days last time we looked. DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ Just because the bike looks good (new plastic is cheap) or is amazingly cheap, don’t believe a bit of what you read. Talk (and words) are cheap so make sure you go into every deal as a skeptic and remember that emotion plays a huge role in impulse buying. Don’t be a sucker and jump at the first thing you see. In our experience, this is a rookie mistake and can have big consequences. BE PROMPT, BE POLITE, DON’T BE A JERK When making a time to see your prospective purchase, make sure you stick to what you say and if you’re going to be late or not show, call the seller and tell them! Being late, being rude and making disparaging remarks about the bike to the seller almost always results in a less than friendly dialogue and usually results in you paying a higher price…being polite costs you nothing and could result in a better result at the end of the deal. BE AWARE We like to meet buyers at their home garage or workshop to see the general state of their mechanical abilities. Does the seller have other machines and are they in good working order? Is the garage/work area clean and free of old broken parts and such? Are there maintenance items like oils, lubes, and sparkplugs in sight? Just remember, this is where your prospective purchase was maintained…is it up to your standards? ASK QUESTIONS It doesn’t cost anything to ask the hard questions that can help determine the true condition of the bike and things you may need to pay attention to right away. Here are some sample questions to ask: Any problems at all? How often is it ridden? Has it been raced? How often do you change the oil and air filter? Has it sustained any major damage or repairs? Are there any aftermarket parts and are the stock parts still with the bike? Does the seller have the title and bill of sale ready for transfer? Regarding race bikes versus all others, our friends at Cycle Trader said “The old myth that buying a race bike is just a myth…would you prefer the practice bike that never had the oil changed, or the farmers kids bike that was left out in the rain, your choice!” “If you find a true race bike, it will have been maintained better than any other, as it is important that it finished the race. But still the question needs to be asked, why are they getting rid of it?” TEST EVERYTHING Make sure you and your moto-buddy test as many things on the bike as possible such as engine, suspension, bearings, fork seals, etc. Many of these tests can be performed in a stationary situation, but being able to start and actually test ride the bike makes a world of difference. On motorcycles, cylinder compression is king. If the bike won’t start due to low compression then you’ll most likely need to rebuild the engine before actually having fun with it. If it doesn’t pass either one of these standards, you’ll probably want to walk away as running bikes in decent shape aren’t that hard to find, so why settle for junk? On 2-strokes this is easy to test and experienced riders can tell with a few kicks whether the bike will reliably start and has decent compression. On 4-strokes it’s a whole different ball game as many factors effect the compression cycle, not just the rings. Factor in valves, cam, cam chain, etc. and it can be a lot of expense and labor…so how can you avoid this? Bring a compression leakdown tester, that’s a good start, and you can buy one from MotionPro for around $150. All engines have different cylinder pressure figures, but most engines fall in the 110 to 190 PSI range. Components that wear over time like rings, valve seals, and cylinders can cause huge problems and engines that exhibit low compression should be left for some other unlucky buyer. Here are some key items to inspect when looking at a used bike: Suspension: Inspect fork seals for leaks, check rear shock for same. Inspect steering bearings and swingarm bearings by putting the bike up on a stand to test that the suspension moves thorough its travel with almost no clunking or squeaking noises noise(s). Frame: Visually inspect the frame for any cracks, welds, or bent areas. Look carefully at frame cradle area for deformation. Brakes: Inspect discs for gouging and cracking and check for correct fluid level at master and slave cylinders on bikes equipped as such. Check for proper pressure at lever and let off, then check if the brakes drag or make any bad noises due to warped disc, worn pads, etc. Clutch: Pulling the clutch cover and inspecting the basket for chopped sides, and the plates for their thickness, is another common thing to check as a clutch setup can easily cost you $400. Spokes: Most people over tighten spokes, and this causes them to stretch and become weak. Unscrew a spoke and see how far the threads go through the rim, at some point they will start poking through the rim strap, and you will see a lot of flat tires. It’s also a safety concern. Replacing spokes is not difficult, you can do it yourself one at a time once the tire is off. General Maintenance: Check for a clean air filter, fresh gear oil and decent tires. Check both sprockets and the chain for excessive wear, pull the spark plug and see what it looks like. Refer to our previous spark plug chart to see what’s been going on in the cylinder while the bike was running. Is the bike straight? Are the bars/levers bent? Inspect the heads of the screws and bolts…are they in good shape? Our experience has been that lazy riders don’t maintain their bikes and if it looks bad on the outside, just imagine the work the seller may have messed up on the inside? Some other tools to bring include a small, bright flashlight, spark plug wrench, some rubber gloves and a bike stand so you can inspect items like fork seals and bearing play. And don’t forget a truck/van/trailer in case you actually do buy the bike right then and there. HAGGLING Every seller expects you to negotiate the price, unless it says “firm”, but don’t go into any deal thinking you’ll get something for half of what someone is asking. Normally, sellers who discount at this level are selling junk and it’s worthless to begin with. It’s normal to try to get up to 30% off the asking price when it comes to recreational toys like motorcycles. DOCUMENTS AND STOLEN BIKES Now is the right time to sit with the owner and ask for the title and bill of sale. In our experience, buying bikes without titles is a sure way to get some stolen product. Make sure to ask for the driver’s license of the seller and take down that information, checking that it matches the title and VIN number on the frame. If you purchase a stolen bike without doing due diligence, you will have to give it back to the rightful owner and you will lose your money…and you may be charged with receiving stolen goods too! DON’T FORGET After the deal is done, don’t forget to ask for and collect any parts or accessories/riding gear you may have purchased with the bike.
  6. In my world, things always happen for a reason. Sometimes the reason makes no sense other than the fact that it gives us a crazy unbelievable story. That might be the case here. I was the guide, and normally, I would have some sort of a plan. In this particular case, the customers wanted something spontaneous. I believe the words were, "Scott, just give us a good time. We just want an adventure." I put a few possibilities together. One being a journey to the deepest canyon in the world, Cotahuasi. Grasp, if you dare to imagine two Grand Canyons on top of each other, it would get you close. Our plan was to reach the canyon, spend a day or two exploring, then head back to Cusco to fly home. We had some flexibility in our number of days. Watch this tour video to see the action Phil and Henry were repeat customers. In fact, they were my first customers. They came back a year and a half after their first ride. I was honored. I put a tentative tour together to meet their request for a "good time." We left Cusco on a couple of KLR 650's(these guys rode their own bikes from the US) and a CRF 450x. We wound our way through some legendary country. The Andes Mountains are big. They are beautiful. They are daunting. But Supercool! We had a decent map and some idea of places that may have gas, food, and shelter. Up and down through the mountains is a simplification. The bottoms of the canyons lay about 7000 to 8000 foot elevation. The tops run up to about 15,000. High jungle at the bottom, where they can grow papayas. So cold and desolate at the high points, that only the toughest of alpaca herders dare to live. Henry and Phil after a great breakfast at the best place in Peru to have a great meal...and all the profits go to support a local children's project In order to reach the Cotihuasi Canyon, we had to pass over a number of these high spots. We call them altiplanos=high plains. It is usually hot when the sun is out, and freezing when it's not. The altiplano ain't for sissies. Phil, Henry, and I found ourselves on day 3 working our way through the altiplano heading south towards the Valley of the Volcanoes. We were a bit behind the flexible schedule, but the grins on their faces led me to believe that it was irrelevant. We pounded out the route towards a small community where we found gas. We topped off the tanks, grabbed a quick snack, and created a big stir with the locals. Not sure when the last tourist passed through, but the curious town folk seemed to have forgotten. We asked for directions to the next town with amenities. Peru is a paradise for motorcyclists This is where the story turned. The locals giggled when they realized we were heading up to the altiplano. They knew something that we didn't. The locals clarified their concern for us by pointing out that the lighting would soon be arriving. We had a small window of opportunity. We geared up and took off to beat the storm that was somehow going to replace the cloudless sky in a short matter of time(sarcasm noted). We were tough. We had good gear. No worries...The boys told me they wanted an adventure...We were headed straight there. We climbed for what seemed like days. Back and forth on the switchbacks to finally come over the top of the canyon. There it was...The altiplano. A desolate and cold eternity that lay between us and our destination. Within moments, little white balls of ice began pelting us. How did those little boogers get through to my cheeks? With icy misery challenging us, the second wave began; the thunder. Not to worry as it was a ways off in the horizon. We rode in its direction. Within a few minutes, the length of time from the lightning flash to the crack of the thunder decreased to hardly anything. We were in the eye of the storm. The day had been long. We had covered a lot of miles. According to the locals, we had about 2 hours to our destination from where we filled our tanks. We had to be close. We trudged on through the storm. It sucked. There wasn't a tree in a hundred miles. No shelter...just a slimy two track road heading toward the next town. We battled the storm for a solid hour. We were certain that our destination would be around the next bend. We kept on. We finally hit our limit. Our bodies had no more to give. The miserable cold had taken its toll on our balance. Phil had a couple of close calls. Henry and I were beginning to think we would have to figure out some sort of shelter. There was no town anywhere near. In fact, we had gone many a mile without seeing any sign of life; houses, herds, or people. We stopped, huddled around our exhaust pipes in some sort of heat worship ceremony, then discussed our options. Phil was done. Henry and I were about out of juice as well. We talked about heading back to the last civilization that we could remember. It was a long way back...not a great option. Henry looking like a thug...but well prepared It was at that moment that Henry piped in about a rock hut a ways back that sat off the road and down the hill. Phil and I didn't see it. We both kind of thought Henry was having hypothermic hallucinations. Regardless, it was our best option. I agreed to head back and hopefully find some sign of life, while Henry and Phil would follow at a safe pace. I finally found what Henry was talking about. What I found was not much, but I would say it was better than nothing. I rode down to the decrepit rock structure and found life. It was an older Quechua(native to the area and spoke Quechua as well as a little bit of Spanish) lady down below her house, rounding up a small herd of alpacas for the night. It was almost dark. I asked her about the town that we were looking for. She chuckled and told me there was no town by that name. It was actually a spot in the road where that alpaca herders would bring their pelts , pile them on the truck, and send them to market. Certainly no town, no food, no gas, and a long way away from any kind of place to spend the night. With a long pause after I asked about anyplace close to stay, I gave my best puppy dog eyes. I glanced around at the lack of options. She hesitated a moment, then gave me an offer that felt like a gift from heaven. She had a four walled structure with a couple of tin metal sheets laid on top. It had an opening about 4 feet tall to enter. Inside, well, let's just say it looked like something from a biology lab mixed with a pantry and a morgue. I accepted the offer with a smile. By that time, Phil and Henry had arrived and were anxious for a hot shower and comfy bed. This lady lived off grid and my guess, may have never had a hot shower in her entire life. A comfy bed, well, let's just say, the amenities were primitive. I did my best to translate for the guys. We were all so thankful to have something around us to get us out of the weather and the mess that we were in. We brought our wet and frozen stuff to the door. There was no light except that which entered through the holes in the walls. We had a small flashlight. We each entered through the troll door that stood at best, 4 feet high. One by one, we entered to find ourselves face to face with a couple of strings stretched from one side of the shack to the other. Draped over the strings were a variety of animal parts. It could have been the last motorcycle guys that stayed there, but it felt better to believe it was just some type of animal meat for food. This little church could not be passed up without taking a picture Along the back wall was a makeshift shelving system with some staple items such as rice, noodles, and flour. Dispersed with the clutter and food items were countless decaying skulls from a variety of animals. Some of the skulls still had remnants of meat for some reason. It was a bit creepy. We were grown men. We could handle this lady if she tried anything funny. We remained open minded...There wasn't much choice. In the corner, was our saving grace; A shoulder high stack of bloody alpaca pelts. With not much room left for the dirt floor, the three of us decided on the sleeping arrangements. There was a flat spot, more like a table than a bed, with a few soft items laying on top. There were a number of unidentifiable items that made up the "bed." We were better off not knowing what was underneath. There was one real blanket to share. Certainly, it was not enough. Henry and I cuddled up on the table structure with the blanket and as many alpaca pelts as we could stand. Phil resorted to the dirt floor. Phil, like any survivalist would do, made a nice alpaca mattress, covered it with alpaca sheets, then draped a fresh alpaca comforter on top of that. He looked like a human sandwich with nasty alpaca pelts being the bread. We also placed anything and everything else on top of us to help retain any kind of heat. We wore everything we had in our possession with the exception of our helmets. It was bedtime. Exhausted, frozen, creeped out, and unable to breath because of the sheer weight of the makeshift covers, or possibly the 14k plus altitude, we called it a night. Our goal was to sleep. It was a failure in every way. The howling wind that worked its way through the rocks that were stacked up to make the walls, insulated nothing. My nose stopped running, not because of my heat index, but rather, the snot was frozen. For countless hours, we all struggled to maintain any type of comfort; absolutely miserable. I was like a kid looking forward to Christmas morning...our present to receive; some sort of heat from the sun. It couldn't happen fast enough. The dreaded night finally ceased its torture on us. The rays of light somehow snuck through the holes in the side of the rock. There was no wind. The air was moist, but like dew, not rain. Another day, blessed to be alive. We couldn't wait to get outside and take in some radiant heat from the Andean sun. With no pollution, being that close to the equator, and at an elevation as close to the sun as many will ever get a chance to be, the sun was strong. We got up, shared our harrowing tales of suffering , laughed at each other, and went outside to enjoy the heat. The little lady invited us over for breakfast. We gladly accepted. We were a bit concerned what it might be, but any type of hospitality while we were in a situation like that was a welcomed blessing. We brought our food to share as well. As we climbed into another small rock hut, the door even smaller this time, it opened into a one room studio complete with a fireplace, and some wooden furniture that was built for people that stood no more than 4 foot tall. We were offered the best seats in the house, given a rusty tin cup full of tea, and were told that breakfast was served. Perfect! We had a great cultural exchange. The husband and son had arrived in the middle of the night. The whole family was there. I did my best to translate, but with the Quechua and Spanish mix, it was hard to understand much. We shared stories, laughed, and gave the kids their first ever raisins to try. The little girl couldn't eat them fast enough. Phil picked through his trail mix bag and extracted every single raisin for the little girl. It was a nice time. We had good weather outside, and so had to get going. We confirmed our directions with the mister, gathered up our things, left the family with a nice donation for their incredible hospitality, and said goodbye. As miserable as it was, it turned out to be one of the highlights of the ride. Riding through the Altiplano and subsequently up and down more Andes mountains, we came across countless scenic valleys, small communities(3-5 houses), and many a herd of alpacas. It was just what these guys wanted to see; Peru... in all its natural state. The ride for the day concluded with a little get off. Phil was on a tight switchback, grabbed a little too much brake on the loose corner and went down breaking his foot. We were close to the next town, which is where we would be able to get some help, hopefully. Henry stayed with Phil while I went for help. As I arrived in town, the first thing I came across was a government health clinic, complete with an ambulance. I couldn't have dreamed of a better situation. Notice the blood from the previous patient...Phil was not so impressed with the Peruvian medical standards I went inside to begin the rescue process and quickly found out that the ambulance had not been moved in over 5 years. Besides, there was no key to the gate. I asked for options and also found out that there were no taxis, and the three people that owned cars in the town were all wasted drunk because of the carnival festivities. I found one of the drunks, offered to pay to use his truck, but he insisted on driving himself. I've done some stupid things in my life, but even I have limits. Our best bet was to flag down a truck from the mine traffic that would be coming down the hill. The doctor told me that we were running out of time. I quickly returned back to the crash site. Upon my arrival, Henry had managed to flag down a large truck, heading into town. We loaded up the bike and Phil and headed to the clinic where the doctor was ready to put Phil back together. The doctor and staff were great... Our ride was over. We spent the night at the clinic to stabilize Phil and make a plan to get back to Cusco. A truck was hired, we loaded the bikes and headed back to where we started. These guys wanted an adventure. They got everything they bargained for. What I find so satisfying is that the part that will forever be talked about is the bloody alpaca pelts. The tales of suffering, together, a group of guys, all sharing the same moto adventure. We have a common bond...Motos. It doesn't matter what color you ride, what size of motor, two stroke or four. That is a community of which I am proud to be a part...Scott A little about Motomission...We are the only enduro tour operator in Cusco, Peru, South America. We are also a social enterprise where all of the profits from the operation go to support the Altivas Canas Children's Project. Our backyard is the Andes Mountains. We specialize in hard enduro, tight and technical singletrack rides through untouched areas. Our fleet of Honda CRF 450X bikes as well as a couple of other options are ready to be put to the test. We focus on private groups of 1 to a 4 riders(we can handle other groups as well). We can also do lighter trails for those that want to see Peru on a moto. Young and old, intermediate to advanced riders are welcome to join us. Please message us if you would like more information or visit our website at www.motomissionperu.com or check out our videos on our Youtube channel at MotoMission Peru Dirtbike Adventures.
  7. In the world of off-road riding, there’s a kinship between riders, racers, and their crews…a Brotherhood of Dirt such as it is. And outsiders sometimes just don’t “get it” when they see us ride or even just heading to the track with our gear. There are a lot of misconceptions about this crazy sport and the crazy life we live in pursuit of our favorite flavor of adrenaline rush. We took some time to note a few of these and while researching this feature, we found some real nuggets in our ThumperTalk Dirt Bike Forum. So take a look at what we found to be 7 Funny Things People Say About Our Sport Number 1: “YOU JUST SIT ON THE BIKE AND TWIST THE THROTTLE Photo: Goulart Contrary to popular belief, motocross is among the top 10 most strenuous sports in the world and certainly in the top 5 among motor sports racing. Many other competitive sports such as football or hockey require extreme physical endurance for short periods, but motocross races can last for 20 minutes or more and this requires even more conditioning and endurance training to remain competitive. Dr. Steven Augustine, DO, a Jacksonville, Florida specialist in action sports competition and injury and has conducted extensive research into this subject and said this about what he discovered: “Anyone that is involved with the sport or who has ever raced knows how physically demanding it is, yet the average sports fan still believes that the motorcycle does all the work. This wide spread misconception is definitely not the case, as the results speak for themselves. This type of research validates our sport on a scientific level. It gives our sport the respect it deserves in terms of exercise intensity and the fitness demands required to compete in this sport.” Number 2: “I USED TO RIDE A BIKE BACK IN THE DAY” Photo: Brad Love Lots of people who say this have no clue what a modern motocross or off-road bike is or what it’s capable of. When they rode it was on some converted streetbike/on-off machine with bald tires and confined to the backyard or worse yet the street and they shouldn’t be allowed to demonstrate their skills on your machine. Our forums are filled with stories of inexperienced individuals with cloudy memories who rode “back in the day” being put on a big old 2-stroker and left to it…which normally results in the inevitable huge wheelie, trip to the emergency room and 15 minutes of YouTube stardom. Number 3: “PLAYING VIDEO GAMES HAVE IMPROVED MY RIDING" Photo: Sony Playstation Public Although some studies have shown improved hand-eye coordination from repetitive video gaming, the fundamentals of riding a motorcycle are not addressed. Let’s think about what it takes to ride a dirt bike: 1) Strength: Not one study has shown any correlation between sitting on the couch and building of any muscle besides some atrophy of the forearm and hand/thumb connection. 2) Endurance: Being able to stay on an off-road bike while in motion for any length of time requires endurance well beyond the casual button push. 3) Balance: A good sense of balance as well as understanding how a motorcycle responds to the rider’s input(s) takes practice and experience to master not provided by the sensory feedback provided by animated video game. Riding a motorcycle off-road is a tremendously taxing and strenuous activity. Although it may seem that practicing making braaaaaap noises while pushing buttons could be beneficial to your riding, it’s actually counter-productive as you could be using that time to actually ride. Number 4: “YOU THINK YOU’RE COOL BECAUSE YOU RACE DIRT BIKES” Photo: Sean Goulart Actually this statement has a lot of truth to it. 73% of the motocross and off-road racers agreed that they were in fact “cool”. The other 27% responded with a list including “dope”, “wicked fast”, “the best, “fastest in my class” and “Do you even ride, bro?” Although viewed as bragging or veiled narcissism, and not proven by scientific study, these sentiments seem to indicate that the majority of off-road riders have a heightened sense of self-esteem and self-confidence, which apparently allows them to compete at higher physical level during competition. Judging by these responses and the unanimous nature therein, this statement seems to hold some basis in fact. Number 5: “MY (INSERT OLD RACE BIKE HERE)” WOULD GO 100” Photo: Brad Love This statement is commonly uttered by that “friend of a friend” who sees your bikes in the truck or garage. There is always some reference to “she was fast” or “they don’t make the old two-strokers like that anymore” and maybe a discussion about different sized powerbands…when you ask them what kind of bike it was the answer is something like “Kawazuki 350” or something like that. OK, let’s fact check a bit. A stock 1986 CR250 will do about 73MPH at BEST with some wind, a downhill and a fearless rider, a bit more with the right (not Bonneville) gearing. But 100MPH is fiction and unless the “friends” name is Ricky Brabec or Destry Abbott…he’s probably lying. Number 6: “RIDING A MOTORCYCLE IS SO DANGEROUS” Photo: Sean Goulart According to the trustworthy (not) folks at the NHTSA, riding a street motorcycle does result in more injuries and fatalities than driving a car. In 2006, 13.10 cars out of 100,000 ended up in fatal crashes. The rate for motorcycles is 72.34 per 100,000 registered motorcycles. Motorcycles also have a higher fatality rate per unit of distance traveled when compared with automobiles. But those numbers mostly (73%) involve both interaction with other vehicles (cars, trucks) and the remaining percentage were single rider accidents (slides, overbraking) and neither of these numbers apply to riding motorcycles recreationally, especially in a race track setting. We didn’t find any studies that specifically cited off-road rider injury statistics, the New York Times said “The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission in Washington, estimated that nearly 51,000 children ages 5 to 14 are hurt annually riding all-terrain vehicles, mopeds and minibikes, with the number also including traffic accidents. By comparison, the commission estimates that among the same age group there are nearly 81,000 soccer injuries, 130,000 baseball injuries, 172,000 football injuries, more than 193,000 basketball injuries and 340,000 injuries in bicycling. So, there is evidence that shows that although it can be a risky sport, it’s not the most dangerous and accounts for fewer injuries than popular conception. Number 7: “YEAH, MY BROTHER’S COUSIN WAS SPONSORED BY PRO CIRCUIT” Photo: Sean Goulart Fallacies about what “sponsorship” really means are rampant in motocross. Many riders are casual amateur racers who claim to be “sponsored by xxxxxx” when in reality the truth is a bit different. Many gear companies use different channels to sell their products. They sell wholesale to distributors (Parts Unlimited or WPS) who in turn sell to retail outlets (ThumperTalk store) and this is the most prevalent “channel” or market system in which to sell their products. But other channels exist as well. Some manufacturers enter into agreements with sponsorship aggregators (HookIt, MXSponsor) to sell gear directly to riders at a determined discount. Most of these deals don’t rely on your race resume…just pay the money, get the discount on the gear and you are “sponsored”. Well not so much! You’re really just getting a discount based on your membership to the aggregator. The real world of high level race sponsorship programs have nothing to do with the retail channel and are based more on the trading of sponsor product exposure for free or heavily discounted product, and in many cases it includes actual salaries and cash bonus structures for the rider and the rider’s team based on success. There you have it, 7 Funny (and stupid) things people say about our sport. But, we're sure that there are some good ones out there we've missed, so please share the doozies that stick out in your mind with us! If you're logged in to ThumperTalk, comment below. Or, on social media.. FacebookGoogle +
  8. kapieters22

    Need help - white smoke coming from exhaust

    Looking for some help/advice on my bike. I have a 2002 Yamaha TTR 125 dirt bike. I've been riding it all year and went for a long ride yesterday, but started having some trouble. The bike was sounding a bit funny, kind of rumbling, and had white smoke coming out the exhaust. After noticing it was riding weird I was heading back home but it quit on me. Kind of sputter, maybe a small backfire, and shut off. I trailered the bike home from there. Noticed the oil was low so I changed it and it was very black. Put fresh oil in and it started right up first kick. Still has white smoke coming out. Don't notice any strong smells to it, but it seems to get worse the longer its running. Any advice? What can I check first? Not a mechanic by any means but like to try to work on the bike and fix what I can before taking it to the shop. Thanks!
  9. Hans Schmid

    Back to the "other" darkside...

    Bought a Yamaha, it's a 2t......
  10. I bought this motorbike second hand a while back, ever since it had a strange idling problem, it would idle up high in its own. I tried changing the air fuel mixture to many different setting but it never seemed to do anything. so i just learnt to ride it how it was, but only recently i was checking the tappet clearance it was all within specs. i also checked the cam chain, it was one tooth out, it should be 17 pin but it was 18 instead. changed this to specs. put it back together and it runs even worse than before, it wants to miss \back fire into the carby. I'm sure the previous owner/s had been into the engine before, and have no clue what they have done, the cam chain may have been on purpose? would this have affected the engine idling high or not properly? another thing i noticed was the slide in the carby had excessive wear, and i was wondering if air could be getting sucked passed this when the slide is closed and causing it to mix with fuel vapors making it idle high? If you can help or have any information about it please let me know thanks. I don't really want to take it to the shop as its only a muck around bike.
  11. I came across this and thought it was a pretty good deal, depending on the condition, and if it's legit. What do you think? 2010 KTM 250 XC Priced for Quick SALE!!! Merry Christmas! Great price and well maintained. Suspension upgrade, $1300.00, re-valve, forks and springs. Just finished refreshing the KTM. New brake pads, bearings and bushings in swing-arm and wheels. New FMF header pipe. 20 hours on new top end. Needs nothing. Ready to trail ride or motocross, good condition. $2999.95
  12. The air box on the modern motorcycle is very open to allow a lot of airflow through the filter and into the engine for maximum power. This is not so good though if we’re going to be riding through a lot of water in very wet conditions, or crossing rivers. This water has easy access into the air filter and to possibly get sucked into the engine. It’s beneficial is such conditions that we want to try and tape up as much of the airbox vents and seams as possible. Don’t cover up the whole thing so as to restrict air flow and cutting the engine out by starving it of air, but enough to help hopefully prevent water getting into the filter. With a little bit of duct tape you can seal those problem areas up and definitely prevent the water getting in. Now you are ready to go submerge your bike and keep the engine running. When you are applying new grips to the handlebars you can either try to stick them in place by using some grip glue (hard to put the grip all the way on before it gets stuck) or you can spray some spray paint into the grip, and to the handlebar, and then slide it on quickly before it sets. You may want to use a rag on the grip for added strength. In a short amount of time the paint is going to dry up and get very very sticky and tacky. As an extra back up feature you need to wrap some quality tie wire around the grip to make it fully secure. First off you need to cut the wire to a length of two wrap-arounds. We want to start the wire at the bottom of the grip, wrap it around twice, and get back to the starting point. From there you twist the ends and use some pliers to keep on twisting it tight - pull down on the wire ends every so often, and then release the pressure while twisting to make sure the wire digs down into the grip. Cut the excess ends off and bury the remaining portion into the grip. On the throttle side you don’t want to twist the wire quite as tight so as not to squish the throttle tube onto the handlebars. Wrap the wire around in three different spots on the grip – the inside, middle, and outside. There is definitely no chance of the grips coming off as you’re going through those muddy conditions now. Shane About me Training Resources
  13. Not a hate forum, just wondering what I should do..... I have a 2004 crf250x, not exactly a good bike for anything. But for a while I wanted to do woods racing, and was focusing on that. But I was at a MX track yesterday, and I really want to do that as well. So, I have some concerns. 1) I'm 99% sure there is a rekluse underneath my christmas tree for my bike. Maybe I could return it if I didn't install it??? Don't want to feel bad about getting almost no use out of a rekluse that my parents bought me. 2) Which is safer, MX or Woods, I have a concern about being basically stranded in the woods. But, I also have a concern about MX being just crazy. 3) Which is more expensive? I feel like they're about the same cost, except for me Moto has more races. 4) I have MANY more times to practice moto, but I'm better at woods(as of now, I'm just more used to it), would the more practice REALLY result in better finishes compared to woods? Just in a predicament, either way I'll have fun, just weighing some pros and cons. I don't think I will do both, not enough time or money to do that.
  14. er·go·nom·ics: a science that deals with designing and arranging things so that people can use them easily and safely: the parts or qualities of something's design that make it easy to use (Webster). In our previous installment, we talked about how to improve the ergonomics of your machine in a number of different ways, including some simple yet effective methods of changing the dynamics of the rider to bike interface. These included products like longer/shorter brake and shift levers, bar risers, larger/offset footpegs, seat modifications and handlebar options. In the world of riding off-road motorcycles, the ability to “get your feet down” so they can support you when unstable is paramount. Without it, riding in off-road conditions is extremely difficult as well as unsafe. Because of the serious nature of this issue, we’ll focus on items like lowering links and the associated family of products because this is the “last stop” for shorter riders looking to modify their machines for optimum control. The geometry of a motorcycle is a precise thing. Modern manufacturers use sophisticated computer testing algorithms coupled with CAD/CAM modeling and human interface testing to arrive at a product that offers maximum safety and stability. Frame specifications like rake and trail become of paramount importance and trying to preserve these ratios and setups is important when modifying a motorcycle to be lower to the ground. When modifying the rear suspension for a shorter seat height, it’s common to use a lowering link. Simply put, this is a replacement for part of the stock linkage that allows the motorcycle to sit lower and offer a shorter seat height. But these linkage modifications don’t come without drawbacks…behavior such as headshake and insufficient ground clearance can become problems if not addressed when adding lowering link. Some more serious riders and off-road racers don’t like lowering links for a variety of reasons and some of them make sense. But the modifications they champion such as spacers and shortened forks and shock/springs also have their drawbacks like limited suspension travel, complexity and expense. My personal feeling is that if you are an extremely fast amateur or professional racer, you may want to consider trying to keep your feet up and going faster as opposed to changing the geometry of your race machine, but if you are a weekend warrior, trail/enduro rider who needs help getting your feet down, this could be an answer for you. Keep in mind these lowering links normally cost under $200 and on some bikes the installation is under an hour! Different manufacturers offer lowering links and also items such link guards, which can offer a slight bit of lowering coupled with added protection for exposed linkages and we’ll look at a few of these offerings. Devol Racing has been offering lowering links for some time and is known as a leader in this segment, offering links for both motocross and enduro-style machines with up to 1.5” drop. Devol claims many features for these units, including being lightweight and stronger than stock as well as improving front end stability and rear end tracking. Ride Engineering offers both lowering links as well as full linkage assemblies and they claim that the full assembly can improve the suspension action and handling entering corners (by holding the shock up in the stroke more) and is more plush on acceleration chop exiting the turn. By offering both components instead of just the outer or inner one, ride height remains unchanged (0-2mm drop depending on year). ProMotoBillet offers the Fastway Linkage Guard, which is a different take on a lowering link and offers both linkage protection and a modicum of adjustability for riders. Fastway claims multiple suspension adjustments: stock, .6mm, 1.3mm and 2mm, potential for lower seat height, improvement in front end steering and cornering, protection for your expensive shock and linkage from damage all resulting in better over-obstacle traction. Photo: Fastway Link Guard We took some time to ask around the business and see who would be a good resource for some of this information and one name kept coming up: Norman Kouba. Norm runs Kouba Link and offered a wealth of information on this subject. Let’s get a bit of his insight on lowering links and the associated benefits and drawbacks of using them. ThumperTalk: What is a lowering link and what does it do? Norm Kouba: A lowering link is a longer than stock link (or links) that lowers the rear of (your motorcycle) by changing the starting point of the swingarm arc. In most cases (lowering) links are used to connect the frame to the rear suspension and swingarm on linkage style rear suspension motorcycles. The advantage of the linkage style suspensions on most bikes is (that) you have a rising rate suspension that gets stiffer the farther you get into the travel. TT: What happens to the bike's geometry when JUST the lowering link is used? NK: Installing a lowering link only lowers the rear so if the same geometry is desired then the front requires some attention. Just keep in mind that lowering the rear more than the front slows the steering but also makes it more stable on the straights and vice versa. TT: What can riders do to "equalize" their bike's suspension after installing a lowering link? Can riders get the rake/trail back close to stock if needed? NK: In most cases the fork tubes can be slid up (in the triple clamps) enough (to compensate) as long as the OEM recommended race sag or less is maintained. Usually the longer links put more leverage on the rear spring so the spring requires more preload to maintain that amount of race sag. Photo: Kouba Link Installed The best advice is set the bike up for the conditions you ride most as the stock geometry may not be the best for all riders and/or conditions. We usually recommend less race sag for the best performance but that does take away from the lowering amounts of the longer links. Lessening the race sag will put the suspension in a less progressive part of the travel which is plusher over the small stuff, and also gives you more travel remaining for the bigger hits. TT: What other things can be done to lower a motorcycle for shorter riders? NK: Not a lot of things can be done economically other than cutting down the seat or lessening the race sag until the feet touch the ground. The problem with those two (solutions) are you either harm the riders bottom or you harm the bike's suspension. You can also slide the fork tubes up until they almost touch the underside of the handlebars but be careful going much more (by installing handle bar risers) as you may not know how far the fork tubes can be slid up without allowing the tire to hit the fender when bottomed out. The other options are lowering links, shortening the shock and/or forks internally, cutting down the rear subframe Ricky Carmichael style, or going to smaller diameter tires. That is all that comes to mind other than built up boots! Conclusion In conclusion, although there are certain drawbacks such as decreased ground clearance and potential rake/trail issues when using these products, these can be compensated for with some due diligence. We believe that professional racers and faster amateur riders may not want to explore this option and could be better served with shortening the suspension components individually, but for the average rider, these lowering link solutions can offer an inexpensive and easy-to-install answer for providing a lower chassis for shorter and beginner riders.
  15. So my son is ready for his next bike. He's now on a TTR 125 and keeps talking about wanting the next bike. He also rides his brothers CRF150F witch actually fits him better since he's very tall for 12 at about 5'8". Don't know his weight but he's a tall drink of water thin! He says the 150F feels very close to his 125 and is bored with both. I also feel he is ready for the next bike or I would not be considering it yet. I think its time for him to get in a real MX bike now since we ride pretty much all MX. I'm thinking CRF 150R or an 85 2 stroke. He's a novice level 12 year old rider, pretty conservative, not a big risk taker and rides at his own level. He rides the pit bike track & beginner tracks at out local track Milestone MX. He thinks he wants a 2 stroke but has never ridden one. I lean to 150R. Anybody willing to let a kid try out either one or both of these bikes at Milestone? Any input?
  16. It’s no secret that riding and racing off road machines can be insanely expensive. Sure, maybe not as much as many other forms of motorsports, but pricey none-the-less. Engine modifications, suspension upgrades, complete exhaust systems, these all cost a fortune but can help give you the edge when riding or racing. But what about performance on the cheap? We looked at a bunch of upgrades that come in around $200 or less, and some can really wake up your machine for busting berms…without busting your wallet. When we started researching this article, we set a $100 limit on the items to be covered…but we quickly found out that by extending that ceiling to $200, we were able to include a lot more valuable products into the playing field. CHANGING GEARS First up we looked at gearing. Gearing your bike correctly can make a huge difference in winning holeshots as well as keeping your bike (whether two or four stroke) in the meat of its powerband…and this modification can be especially effective when your bike has a six speed gearbox. Changing gearing can be as simple as changing your front or rear sprocket, but for consistent results, changing both sprockets and chain is the best method…but beware, big changes to sprocket and gearing can result in massive changes in the way your bike performs, so never do dramatic changes in gearing. One tooth up or down on the front or a few teeth either way on the rear is the maximum you should be experimenting with. Simple primer on gearing: When changing sprocket sizes you will change the overall gearing of your machine. Simply put, this is changing how the power is delivered to the ground via the drivetrain. When increasing rear chainwheel size, you will influence the bike to deliver more torque with less top end. When decreasing rear chainwheel size, you will influence the bike to deliver less torque with more top end. When changing your front sprocket, the opposite is true...and keep in mind front sprockets are cheap and easiest to change so this is a good place to start for the inexperienced. Always read up in the ThumperTalk forums to determine some rational changes for your specific model of machine before embarking on this journey. Some quality chain and sprocket options that we’ve used with good results around $200 (and less) are: Renthal Chains Renthal Standard, Ultralight and Grooved Front Sprockets Renthal Twinring and Ultralight Rear Sprockets SunStar Works Chains and Works Triplestar Rear Sprockets Tag Metals Front and Rear Sprockets Vortex V3 Chains and Cat5 Rear Sprockets TAKE A DEEP BREATH Intake modifications abound in the off-road world, and some are rooted in years of experience (jetting) while others use newer engineering techniques to achieve their goals. Jetting your bike correctly has to be one of the biggest modifications offering the most gains that bike owners neglect. Some bikes come jetted from the factory notoriously lean to meet EPA guidelines and can really benefit from changes in jetting, as well as the fact that many owners change exhaust systems which increases airflow, thereby necessitating changes in fuel delivery to obtain optimal performance. For riders and racers in higher elevations, these modifications are vital. Changing exhaust components without changing jetting usually results in lower overall performance and can also cause lean conditions, dangerous to the engine itself (detonation). We normally purchase jetting kits, which usually supply multiple pilot jets, main jets and proprietary needles for your application. Of these three kits, we’ve used the JD Jetting Kit and it’s considered the gold standard in this category. Some jetting options well under our $200 target are: FMF Racing Power Up Jet Kit JD Jetting High Performance Jet Kit Moose Racing Stage 1 and Stage 2 Jet Kit PUSH IT GOOD For two strokes specifically, reed and reed valve upgrades can offer some real snap to your engine. These reed petals sit over a block fits between the carb and the engine and pulse as the engine rotates, feeding the fuel/air mix. Because they vibrate at such high RPM, they tend to wear and crack or chip during hard duty cycles like racing. Upgrade options from reed upgrade/replacements all the way to products like modified reed block holders have undergone extensive testing to bring out the beast that lives within your brapmonster. This segment is dominated by two companies, and we’ve used both the Boyesen and Moto Tassinari products with great results. Some reed and reed valves options meeting our sub-$200 target are: Boyesen Superstock, Power, Carbon Tech and Pro-Series replacement reeds Boyesen RAD Valve Intake System Moto Tassinari V-Force 3 Reed Valve System (starting at approx. $143.00) FROM THE INSIDE OUT Intake modifications abound in our sport, and they range from common sense to the edge of gimmickry but all claim improvements at a low cost of entry. We talked to riders about some of the products they felt actually made a difference, and we’ve included those here, but keep in mind, your mileage may vary. First up are the products that claim to increase the performance characteristics of the air/fuel mixture flowing to the cylinder. Some install into the backside of the carburetor where the air boot connects and some occupy the boot itself. Some intake modification options well under our $200 target are offered by: Boyesen Power X-Wing FMF SNAP Scary Fast Power Now Valve GETTING STARTED Four strokes have gotten a lot easier to start and keep running without bogging or stalling…but most riders can use all the help they can get when racing or hardcore trail riding, due to weak designs of stock carburetor accelerator pumps. Many carb setups in their stock configurations do not supply enough fuel to satisfy the demands of a modified engine, especially as it gets hotter. These stock pumps were not only designed for a purely stock intake and exhaust setup, but are kept quite lean as the try to meet EPA regulations for (less) unburnt fuel out the exhaust. In the case of the Boyesen Quickshot, Boyesen claims it features a “tunable leak jet circuit” that “maximizes volume of fuel and duration of fuel spray for any condition.” Boyesen along with others have stepped up in the segment and offer some help in this area. Some carburetor modification options under our $200 target are: Boyesen Quickshot 3 (pictured above) Boyesen Quickstart R&D Racing Powerbowl NEW SNEAKERS Of course with a $200 ceiling tires made our list…and there isn’t a lot on this list that can make such a dramatic performance improvement as new tires. We’ve all felt what a new set feels like and for me, it’s like a new lease of life with my YZ. So we’ve included some of the tires that we like and feel offer a good brap for your buck: (Note: All tires below are rated for motocross/intermediate terrain) Bridgestone M404/M603 combination Dunlop MX32/MX52 combination Michelin Starcross MH3 combination CONCLUSION In conclusion, even though the sport we love is costly, some performance upgrades aren’t. Most of the products listed here aren’t made of shiny chrome or carbon fiber, but they shine brightly when installed and in use - and they cost a lot less than you’d expect for the amount of brap for the buck they deliver!
  17. HOW TO RIDE LIKE A NINJA WITHOUT KILLING PERFORMANCE “It is possible to escape death by perching on your enemy's eyelashes; it means you are so close that he cannot see you.” – Ninja Kawakami Of all the issues surrounding off-roaders, noise has to be the biggest one. This article isn’t about whether noise hurts our beloved sport; we’re going to assume that’s been proven at this point. Most people who don’t ride don’t like the noise associated with our sport and it’s up to us to quiet ourselves down before they legislate us out of existence. With that in mind, we’re going to review various methods of making your ride quieter without sacrificing lots of power, because let’s face it, how many of us can handle the power of these stock machines? Are we so good that we need not only the stock power delivery, but we actually need to increase it and bring along with it the associated decibels that come with that choice? For 90% of us the answer is a resounding no. This article is primarily aimed at enduro/hare scrambles and woods/adventure riders, not hard core motocross racers. Racers in the top echelon and classes need every bit of horsepower they can wring out of their bikes at these closed-course competition venues. And many are governed by the AMA dB limits in order to race. Now let's look at how to make your bike or quad so it's got some degree of stealth, allowing you to Ride Like a Ninja. Stock vs. Aftermarket Exhaust Pipes and Silencers In order to begin the process of quieting your ride, your bike must be running in the optimal state. Many times the stock pipe and silencer delivered with your bike provides the best reference point on where to begin in the quest to Ride Like a Ninja… On most modern two-strokes, the pipe is a perfect piece of engineering, with lots of development time under its belt and is designed specifically to resonate at a certain frequency for optimal engine performance. We tend not to swap them out for aftermarket units until we’ve dented them up or the bike came delivered with some restrictive type of on/off road exhaust system. When looking at the OEM silencers delivered with stock 2-strokes, they seem to be among the heaviest and ugliest components on the bike, so they come right off and get sold on eBay. We have kept the KTM silencer as it’s actually pretty a decent size and gives great power while being very stealthy and ninja-like. When we do use aftermarket pipe and silencer setups, we’ve found the stock expansion with a FMF Racing PowerCore 2 silencer produces the best combination of sound and power for our Yamaha YZ144, and on our KTM 200EXC we find the FMF Gnarly pipe and stock silencer to deliver the perfect combination of torque and HP needed for tight woods and trails without being excessively loud. One interesting side note in regards to aftermarket two-stroke expansion chambers and the sound they make…we have a FMF “Gnarly” pipe on one of our KTM’s and it seems really quiet. We think the thick 18 gauge construction of the Gnarly pipe keeps the noise down. Four-strokes are a different story, with some variants being delivered with very restrictive exhausts systems straight off the showroom floor. In this case both head pipe and silencer replacement should be seriously considered. Some models actually are very loud and still quite restricted as delivered to the customer so the stock components need to be carefully examined when looking for the right combination of sound and power. We’ve heard good things about the Pro Circuit Ti-4R components and we’ve used the FMF Megabomb header with the standard Q4 muffler on a CRF405R. FMF claims the header will “reduce noises levels by as much as 1.5dB, but we didn’t really notice any noise reduction until we mounted the Q4 on the back end. So before you chuck that stock exhaust, carefully consider what component upgrades will deliver the best balance of noise vs. power, because what seems “fast to the ear” hardly is ever as fast on the dyno! To help you decide what to keep and what to swap out, let’s look at some ways to keep quiet and Ride Like a Ninja… Quiet Options: Silencers (2-Stokes) and Mufflers (4-Strokes) For both 2 and 4-strokes, the noisy end of your exhaust is where dramatic impact can be made in noise reduction...is your silencer/muffler doing its job of actually silencing the bike or is it just passing hydrocarbons and more importantly, noise? Many aftermarket exhausts are available that are high flow due to their slightly longer length and internal exhaust gas routing configurations, dramatically reducing audible output. One pioneer in this area is FMF Racing, who introduced their Q4 series to address just this issue. According to FMF: "The Q4 employs intricate chambers, baffles and proprietary multistage packing material” that makes it one of the least restrictive and quietest silencers available. Also available is the FMF TI Q4, which checks in at a whisper-quiet 92dB. Other manufacturers that have seen fit to address this issue are Pro Circuit with their 296 series of off-road silencers and exhaust inserts, the SuperTrapp IDS2 which is tunable via multiple restrictor plates and the Big Gun Exhausts ECO Series and their Vortex Insert (available pre-installed). In terms of silencers and mufflers, in our non-scientific seat of the pants testing, for our 2-strokes we found a stock expansion chamber with the FMF Q4 Stealth offered the biggest reductions in sound output without sacrificing gobs of power. On most 4-strokes, using the stock head pipe with the FMF Q4 Hex muffler offered the best balance of power and sound without using an exhaust insert. This would exclude bikes with excessively restrictive head pipes. Exhaust Insert Technologies Exhaust inserts have their pro and cons but are certainly a cheaper alternative to ditching your expensive and lightweight muffler, and that makes sense for a lot of reasons. The major player in this area is dB Dawg, which has been very successful in converting riders to their simple product. In fact the dB Dawg is so successful that some tracks encourage the use of the unit, which is especially effective on the larger bore four-strokes which are the loudest variety of bikes addressed in this article. We took some time to speak with Clif Euler from DirtWerkz about the dB Dawg and its usage. TT: Can you describe the dB Dawg installation process? CE: The external models insert into the end cap of the silencer and tighten using two Allen screw type fasteners, this installation takes 5 minutes. The internal models require removing the end cap of the silencer and then inserting the dB DAWG. The installation of the dB Dawg for the internal models are fairly easy and straight forward once the end cap is removed. Adding a tether is recommended for externally mounted units and can add a little extra time and effort to the installation. TT: Is it removable and/or replaceable? CE: The external models can be removed and reinstalled in just a few minutes, while the internal models require removing the end cap of the silencer. Once the end cap is removed, the internal model is easily removed and reinstalled in just a few minutes in most cases. TT: Does it work with pipes that have a spark arrestor installed already? CE: It depends upon the design. The requirement for the dB DAWG is that it needs a 2.5” straight of unobstructed clearance to support the insert. TT: Have you noticed a loss in power when using the DBD? CE: Personally on our family Honda CRF150 I noticed a drop on the bottom and also starting required a little more effort, but we easily fixed this by raising the needle clip one notch and that pulled it right back to pretty much where it was before. TT: Do riders complain of loss of power when using the DBD? CE: Generally speaking some of the 250’s or smaller bikes have reported some very minor loss on the bottom but with some minor carburetion, timing or injection tuning much of this can restored. Larger bikes don’t really seem to be impacted much at all. Most riders do not notice a difference, while some have reported a change in power delivery but not necessarily a loss. Hyde Racing claims to have documented that when testing the dB Dawg on the dyno, “the power reduction is well below 0.5%, in some case only 0.15%”, and also notes that the unit “tends to make most machines run slightly richer, you will need to check your fuel mixture and jetting” after installation. Other stand alone exhaust inserts available include the Pro Circuit Insert, the Vortex Insert, the Vance and Hines Quiet Insert (for XCR mufflers) and several varieties of the GYTR (Yamaha) Performance Quiet Muffler Insert. What’s That Noise? No silencer or muffler can keep the vibes mellow without being packed correctly. Many riders consider this a lost art, but we’ve done it many times and not only kept our rides at peak performance, but kept the noise down as well as increasing the longevity of our equipment. We’re not embarrassed to say one particular Pro Circuit Short 2-stroke silencer in the shop has been rebuilt about 8 times, with just packing and rivets. Here’s a quick overview of basic exhaust packing: First, obtain an exhaust repacking kit. This should include the exhaust packing material and the rivets you’ll need to re-assemble the can. Make sure you have a pop-rivet gun for re-installation, and you’ll want to wear gloves to avoid the packing material from getting on your skin. Take the can off the bike, remove the end cap from the body and drill out the rivets, being careful not to drill too deep into the core. Remove the core, the old packing material and clean the inside and core thoroughly. If you’re working with a generic piece of bulk packing, spend some time deciding the size and shape of piece(s) you’ll use. Do not over-pack. Wrap the new packing material around the core piece and slide the finished assembly in the muffler to test the fit. To help this we use tie-wraps or tape to secure the packing. In conclusion, there are a number of ways to quiet your ride and Ride Like a Ninja, and this article covers some simple ways to accomplish that goal. Staying as quiet as possible preserves your right to ride, so don’t lose it over a loud bike. Resources: FMF Racing Pro Circuit DirtWerkz
  18. For the last couple of years I have been riding a Yamaha DT175 (RT180). It has been a great bike to gain experience in and it is as reliable as a wood burning stove. At the end of last year, I was looking into getting a new bike and started out with big bore two strokes. After test riding some of them, I found them too brutal in the bush, as I ride technical single trail. Yes, the torque is lovely at some times but after 5 hours of riding, it is actually a burden. As a result, I did not pull the trigger on either the te300 or wr250 which were my main choices. After watching the local GasGas races, I saw that the first 4 positions were held by Husaberg riders, and all in 125's. This made me consider the smallest of the husaberg lineup. I just finished a 1 day enduro on one of these bikes and frankly, I'm in love. There is good low end, never forgetting it is still a 125 and when on the pipe it is just mental. It has much more usable power than the 250's and 300's and that is why I have decided to pull the trigger. If there are any exc 125/200 or te 125 owners, any feedback on setting the bike up will be immensely appreciated. Any thoughts on the 125's?
  19. cjjeepercreeper


    Starts in 2 days. http://www.dakar.com/index_DAKus.html
  20. They aren’t sexy…but behind the scenes steering stabilizers aid in handling and can help keep you out of trouble when putting the hammer down. Let’s look at how and why steering stabilizers work and some available options for off-road machines. We spoke to industry experts as well as enduro, motocross and desert riders and racers to get a good idea of why they feel stabilizers can be a necessary bolt-on. Who makes them? Fastway, GPR, Scotts, RTT and W.E.R. are covered here, and are among the leading manufacturers. They all have pros and cons and vary in some way so it’s important to read up and make the right decision. What do they do? Simply put, steering stabilizers are hydraulic dampers for the front suspension. They help control stress loads that can overcome both the front fork and the rider’s ability to control the steering. Think of it like this…if you’re riding and you hit a big, sharp edged rock or root…your handlebars want to turn very quickly to compensate, sometimes wresting the bars out of your hands...leading to a yard sale or worse. The steering stabilizer can make that situation manageable by dramatically slowing down the speed at which the bars deflect, thereby affording you time to react and not lose (as much) control. Steering stabilizers can also effectively minimize the “head shake” effect we all dread at higher speeds and contribute to less wasted movement extending ride time before onset of fatigue. When talking with Drew Smith at W.E.R. he put it this way; “The W.E.R. steering damper is a rotary hydraulic device, and the nature of a hydraulic damper is to resist very little when moved slowly and resist much more when a deflecting blow drives the wheel off line. Dampers reduce fatigue and are very helpful in rocky and route technical terrain.” He continued; “When using a damper for off road, keep in mind that more is not always better. If the damper adjustment is too firm the bike will have a swimming feel…you’ll feel your hands are always busy on the bars and you’ll be wasting energy in technical terrain…and saving energy is what a damper should be doing for riders.” What do they cost? These units aren’t cheap, but also not out of reach when you look at the price of a full exhaust or a new helmet. This market is a competitive one, with all costing approximately $400 - $500. Do your homework because depending on your stabilizer, as you made need certain adaptors, mounting plates and/or clamps to make it all work on your specific machine. Is installation simple? Some units are installed under the center point of the handlebars. This presents issues on many off-road bikes as they are designed to accept such additional hardware, but each maker has devised a way for this to be a fairly straightforward by making kits to keep the installation as simple as possible. For example, Scotts offers bolt-on mounting kits that include items like bar riser(s), link arm, handlebar clamp and frame bracket and even items like integral handguards that they claim reduces installation time to under an hour. They also offer under/over handlebar options as well. Scotts commented that “Most installations are very easy and can be installed by the home mechanic with basic tools. We provide a detailed set of instructions with color pictures specific to the customer’s bike the damper is being installed on.” Photo: Scotts SUB Stabilizer Installed They continued; “On most models of bike we offer fitment on top of the handle bars or SUB mounted underneath the handle bars which will normally raise the bars up 25mm in height. For many bikes that have bars that are solid mounted to the triple clamps we also offer a SUB mount that adds rubber mounting to the bars to help eliminate vibration and harshness on your hands or wrists. Since the off road industry is dominated by KTM currently we do sell more KTM units than anything else and slightly more rubber SUB mounts than anything else.” Raising your bars can drastically alter your riding position and to address this, GPR has cleverly devised a very low profile damper that allows for only a very slight rise in location by moving the adjustment dial to the left side and creating a dial that was easy to use but as small as possible, coupled with the creation of a "hollow" vane. The hollow vane allows for the damper to be mounted almost flush to the top clamp. Fastway has another take on this issue and offers both an underbar and overbar mounting kit…and this expands the mounting options drastically. The underbar kit provides some great protection for the stabilizer itself and because the Fastway units have “on the fly” adjustability and you’ll want it to be as easy to reach as possible. Fastway also offers KTM and Suzuki frame clamps which are two-piece which they claim “makes installation a breeze. No need to remove the front end of the bike – which is a challenge specifically on the KTM.” Photo: Fastway Stabilizer Installed To eliminate the raised bar issue completely, W.E.R. stays off the top triple clamp and attaches their damper to the lower triple clamp via the frame, and claims that it does “not interfere with handlebars, controls or time keeping equipment.” You can see the obvious advantages to this type of mounting system just by seeing the units installed and you barely notice the unit is there. W.E.R. continued; “The installation of the W.E.R. damper is in most cases easy, with a frame bracket attached to the frame by pop rivets or a bolt going through the frame gusseting from one side to the other. The damper itself attaches to the fender bolt pattern via a plate between the fender and the lower triple clamp, our location is unique and is out of the rider’s way.” Photo: W.E.R. Stabilizer Installed How does the rider control the damping? One important thing to keep in mind when examining these units is their “on the fly” adjustability, which is offered by all in one way or another. Many riders we spoke to actually “set it and forget it” when using these products. But as we talked to more serious racers who ride on more varied terrain (such as enduro or desert) they liked the instant adjustment of the damper and consider it to be a feature they wouldn’t do without. We don’t believe that many novice riders would be able to correctly use this feature without practice in a racing environment. Photo: Scotts Adjustments are by Two Knobs This feature is usually done by a dial on the handlebar-mounted unit, like the Scotts product that provides “on the fly” adjustment - whereby the damping can be adjusted while riding with two knobs for adjusting high and low speed circuits. Scotts had this to say about adjusting their unit; “Keep in mind that, much like your fork and shock, you will run different settings for different extremes of riding. Most riders will find a setting that works for the type of riding they do and not have to adjust the damper from there, but if you moto one weekend and hit the salt flats the next you will run the damper adjustments differently.” This adjustment capability is also a feature offered on the GPR V4 dampers, with the V4 featuring an ultra low-profile dial on the damper itself. GPR states; “The knob assembly rotates 360 degrees left or right allowing you to go straight from the softest setting to the hardest setting, if need be. It will not unload, unscrew, or pop out, disabling your damper unit. The lower the number, the softer the setting. The higher the number the harder the setting.” Photo: GPR V4 Dirt Stabilizer with Low Profile Dial The Fastway units boast the most adjustability in this segment with two models for adjustability of the damping features. First up is the System 3 which offers three fully adjustable circuits: high speed, low speed, and return to center. Next up in the Fastway lineup is the System 5 which offers five independently adjustable circuits: high speeds, low speed, return to center, cornering damping and cornering angle. Fastway had this to say about their two distinct stabilizers; “If you are the guy that is constantly playing with his suspension (clickers) and or making adjustments to your machine, we recommend the System 5. In addition, if you are doing a very wide variety of riding (like yourself) we also recommend the 5. The System 5 is sweet because you can go through a mile of sand whoops with your low speed cranked up and hit a 180 onto some tight single track and have the best of both worlds. The cornering angle allows you the ability of running a higher low speed setting while retaining the quicker steering ability of the low speed cranked all the way down. Then once you hit the next mile of sand whoops, you don't need to adjust your low speed back up.” Photo: Fastway System 5 Stabilizer Adjustments The RTT damper is different in the way you adjust it, it uses a remote valve on the handlebar and they claim “The seven position adjustment knob is coupled with a three level remote valve allowing for precise dampening...” Last up is the W.E.R. unit, which offers adjustability on the unit itself. The damper is installed on the lower triple clamp and the adjustment knob is on the unit itself, therefore “on the fly” adjustments are not possible. What do they weigh? Damper weight and associated mounting hardware can range from approx. 2-4 lbs in total…and the higher up you carry this weight, the more detrimental it can be so this is always a concern. Do they wear out? Yes dampers can (and do) wear out and most companies mentioned here offer a low-cost mail-in rebuild service. Scotts says; “The damper itself can be a lifetime investment with simple maintenance and will follow you from bike to bike with just buying the new mount for your new bike.” Should I get one? In our experience and when talking to off road riders, it seems to depend more on where you ride than how you ride when deciding on a steering stabilizer. We spoke to the folks at Scotts and they said; “The damper will apply itself for any type of riding you do and is adjustable so the same unit will work for the Baja rider doing fast, high speed riding to the woods rider doing tight, twisty riding.” We then talked to the folks at Fastway who offered: “Desert riders enjoy added insurance with the highly adjustable high speed dampening capabilities. This will reduce headshake/shimmy and if you have a high-speed impact such as a root and rock, the assistance of the stabilizer can even prevent some types of crashes. In addition, the high-speed damping circuit reduces the force of impacts through the bars to help reduce rider fatigue and keep the vehicle going in a straight line.” For Motocross; “Stabilizers reduce headshake and fatigue, allowing riders to loosen grip on handlebar allowing you to ride more with their legs. There is a noticeable difference in cornering and the stabilizer will help/assist in holding the line. And for Adventure bikes, they reduce fatigue by allowing riders to loosen their grip. In regards to Enduro, Fastway offered: Corning angle controls give riders the option to run a high amount of low speed dampening without slowing down steering in the tight sections. This adjustment controls resistance level when the handlebars are turned into the “cornering” range as set by the sweep adjustment. Basically, cornering or sweep adjustment establishes the “range” of protection, left to right, that you want. When the damper “breaks to free” this Cornering Damping level adjusts “how much” it breaks away.” We then spoke to both motocross and enduro riders who were in different camps. Talking to casual and serious motocross riders, the stabilizer seemed to be regarded as unnecessary on smooth MX tracks as the lack of sharp edged obstacles coupled with the additional price/weight tradeoff just wasn’t worth it. Some weren’t even aware that their motorcycle had one installed from the factory (like the Honda CRF250 and 450). But when we spoke to enduro and even casual vet woods riders, they all seemed feel it was a helpful item and the cost and weight tradeoff was absolutely worth it. Many commented on the fatigue reduction aspect and felt they could ride longer and faster with the steering stabilizer, but many confessed to not utilizing the on the fly” adjustments after they began their riding day unless the terrain changed radically. Desert riders and racers also swore by the units, calling it a “must have”, especially as the speeds increased. Most felt there was an appreciable reduction in high speed headshake as well as protection against unforeseen obstacles hit at lower speeds. In Conclusion Steering stabilizers offer lot of adjustability and light weight in a small package that can improve handling and your bike control at an affordable cost. If you ride motocross you may feel you might not need a steering stabilizer…but you probably could use one. If the factory is installing these units on the new bikes there is probably a good reason, and soon you may already have one installed when they build your new bike. If you ride desert, enduro or woods these units are a no-brainer. Just one crash due to unforeseen obstacles can wreck you and your equipment causing major damage or even worse, depending on the speed. The adjustability and control offered is valuable and can be exploited to achieve higher speeds and less fatigue while featuring a built-in safety measure that can save you from machine damage and injury. Resources: Fastway - ProMoto Billet GPR Stabilizers RTT Motorsports Scotts Performance Products Works Enduro Rider (W.E.R.)
  21. 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.
  22. hello all, long time lurker first post. i bought a xt350 without a title for $300 from a buddy. when i checked out it started easily and ran fairly well. it has about 3500 miles on it and seems in pretty good shape once i got it warmed up i noticed the idle was turned way up and didn't run at high RPMs until i had taken it a a couple blocks. so heres my problem: i'll get it started and let it warm up. it will idle just fine and rev up perfectly. but after i go about a quarter mile once i let off the gas and put it in neutral it will die. even if i dump the clutch and try and let it start with the rolling power it will die on me. it takes about 10 minutes to get it started again and it will do the same thing. i just disassembled the carb and it looks fairly clean but i don't know the most about these carbs. any ideas? thanks, cal
  23. Well, I recently dragged home a new hunk of junk for my youngest son and I to rebuild. Now that my oldest son and I have the kx almost complete, there was a little time to get started on the cr: Sorry, my camera takes crappy pictures: Sure don't dig those gigantic side panels from the '98 - '99 years, but hopefully she'll look good when we're done: ...and so begins the teardown: Pretty much ALL of the bearings on the bike look like this: ....and this: Previous owner was brilliant. This brand new piston was installed in a cylinder (with no circlips I might add) that was so badly worn, with power valves that were so badly worn, the right PV was able to extend into the bore and contact the piston. Priorities were a little mixed up on his part, as the bike was fitted with a new FMF pipe and Shorty and brand new tires....but yet it needed SO much work....lol. Kind of reminds me of the guys you see with lifted 4x4's and the tires and rims are worth twice what the truck is worth...lol. Fingers on the clutch basket had some pretty serious notching: Here's a look at the complete bike at present. Ain't she a looker??? Time to get rid of this old seat cover: Hmmmm......some new foam my be in order as well... After we tore it down and gave everything a thorough inspection: The positives: Brand new tires front and rear, new Wiseco crank (bottom end is nice and tight), and new 53T rear sprocket... Negatives: We placed an order for the following required parts: - New bearing and seal kits for: - Steering head/stem - Front wheel - Rear wheel - Swingarm pivot - Linkage - Upper/lower shock mounts - New cylinder - Piston kit - Air filter, mounting element and winged mounting bolt - Cometic top end gasket kit - Water pump oil seal, water seal, and bearing - Right and left power valve assemblies - Clutch inner collar and needle bearing....yet to be determined, but I might replace the entire clutch... - Main shaft right side bearing - New Renthal gold chain and 12T front sprocket - New chain slider - New seat cover - New plastics and graphics - handguards and grips Hopefully we'll have all the parts within three weeks and with any luck have this old treasure mobile once again. I'll post more pics as we progress.....
  24. Swiss

    Sub-200lb. Tire Weights

    TIRES: Note, tire weights can vary even with the same model tire. 18” liner 1.4 oz 21” liner 1.6 oz Rimlock Small ..............1.5” 2.4 oz Rimlock Medium ..........1.6” 2.3 oz Tube ...Ultra HD.............110/100x18 ....... 2 lbs 7 oz Tube 17” ........................used w/water..... 1 lb. 3.0 oz Tube Bikemaster TRC....2.75/3.00x21 .... 1 lbs 2.1 oz Barum .....used................3.00/3.20x21 ....10 lbs 3 oz .....Chuck.XR200 used Bridgestone 51M.............80/100x21 ........ 8 lbs 10 oz ....Chuck.XR200 used Bridgestone M23 ............80/100x21 ........ 9 lbs ..............Chuck.XR200 used Bridgestone M40 ............80/100x21 .........8 lbs 15 oz.....Chuck.XR200 Cheng Shin ....................3.25x21...............8 lbs 4 oz ......Chuck.XR200 used Dunlop ........D742 .........80/100x21 ..........8 lbs ........... .Chuck.XR200 Med-hard to med-soft Dunlop ........D756 .........80/100x21 ..........8 lbs 4 oz Chuck.XR200 Intermediate to soft (popular) Dunlop ........D803 .........2.75x21 ..............7 lbs 1 oz Chuck.XR200 Trials Dunlop ........D952 .........80/100x21 ..........7 lbs 14 oz Chuck.XR200...........................8lbs 8oz. H Bomb Dunlop ........D756F.........80/100x21...........7 lbs 3.5 oz Swiss 51M Maxxis ........IT ................80/100x21 ..........9 lbs 4 oz ... Chuck.XR200 Michelin ......M-12 ..........90/90x21 ............8 lbs 14 oz Chuck.XR200 Medium Michelin ......S-12 ..........90/90x21 ............8 lbs 7 oz Chuck.XR200 Soft Pirelli ...........MT21 ..........90/90x21 ............9 lbs 0 oz Chuck.XR200 Dunlop ........D752F ........70/100x17 .........5 lbs 1.1 oz ....used Cheng Shin ....................5.60x18 ..............14 lbs 6 oz Swiss Dunlop ........D756 .........110/100x18 ........12 lbs 5 oz Chuck.XR200 Intermediate to soft (popular) Dunlop ........D803 .........4.00x18 ..............13 lbs 8 oz Chuck.XR200 Radial Trials Dunlop ........D952 .........110/90x18 ..........10 lbs 14 oz Chuck.XR200 Dunlop ........D952 .........120/90x18 ..........13 lbs 4 oz Swiss 65M Michelin ......M-12 ..........120/90x18 ..........12 lbs 4 oz Chuck.XR200 Medium Michelin.......M-12 ..........130/90x18 ..........12 lbs 7 oz Chuck.XR200 Medium Bridgestone 604 ..............120/80x19 ......... 12lbs 6oz H Bomb Bridgestone 404 ..............110/90x19 ......... 12lbs............H Bomb Bridgestone 404 ..............120/80x19 ......... 12lbs 3oz H Bomb Dunlop ........952 .............110/90x19 .......... 11lbs 8oz H Bomb Dunlop ........952 .............120/90/x19 ......... 12lbs 3oz H Bomb Dunlop ........D756 ...........110/90x19 .......... 11lbs 10oz H Bomb Dunlop ........756RR ........120/80x19 ........... 11lbs...........H Bomb Dunlop ........773 .............110/90x19 ........... 12lbs 13oz H Bomb Dunlop 745 120/80/19- 12.2lb Info posted from Chuck,Swiss, ...H Bomb,