Lacing your Rims

Whether you are changing the design of your wheels or you want to give it a decent clean, I can’t go wrong with taking everything apart and doing it right. It is the best way to see what items need to be replaced or what could become an issue in the future.

Luckily, half of the job is easy, which is stripping the wheel and betting everything apart. Of course, you will need to remove the tire, tube and the protective skin on the inside of the rim, loosen all the spokes and carefully take them out. Remember, when taking out the spikes, be sure to relax all of them equally, which would avoid bending the spokes and even the rim.

It is essential to pay attention to the disassembly you’ll find some spokes are longer than others. Of course, once you’ve seen them up, you can measure them and see the different lengths.

Reassembly and Lacing

The first step is to provide your spokes according to the length. Most wheels only include two measurements that will be laced through the inside and outside. Some wheels will have three spoke designs, so be sure to pay attention to each spoke, the bend of it and how long they are.

Next, place the room with the model numbers downwards and set the hub with the brake disk side down in the centre. Don’t worry about lining them up correctly as you’ll need to move it around a little while lacing and we’ll tell you how to balance it perfectly when tightening.

Start with the longer spokes that will go into the inner holes (closest to the centre of the hub). You will see each spoke has a bend at the top, which leads the spoke to the nipple it needs to attach to on the rim. The holes in the hub will guide you to as where they need to go. Next, take the shorter spokes and lace them through the outer holes and place them over the inner spokes.

On the rim itself, some holes point up and others that point down. The side you’ve just laced will line up with the holes pointing up as the others will be used for the other side of the hub.

To line up the spokes with the right holes, ensure the inner and outer cross. When you lift them, you’ll see they naturally line up with holes with a downfacing gap between them. Apply some anti-seize and begin to attach the nipple to the spoke.

Once all the spokes are done, do the same on the other side, but don’t tighten any of them. Once all is lined up, begin to tighten them evenly, but again not too tight. Then start going around the rim and give each spoke half a turn, then torque the spokes and check if they are balanced by spinning the wheel.

Maintaining your Gear

Whether you ride off the road, on the road or both, your gear is one of the most expensive parts of your entire kit. Not only do these kits run well into the thousands, but you can’t take shortcuts either, which is really where the expensive part comes in.

Since we spend so much on these kits, there’s no doubt about a certain amount of pride when it comes to the gear, and we want it to last as long as possible, look good for much longer than expected and merely protect us when we need it. The best way to get the best results for it all would be to look after the gear, maintain it and keep it on the same level of service as the bike you ride.

In this guide, we look at some of the best ways to keep your gear in excellent condition and working as well as the day you go it for longer.

Keep it Clean

Though many might think this step applies more to dirt bike riders, it plays a role for all types of riding. There are loads of things on the road that could shorten the lifespan of your gear, including dust, the sun, grease, gas and much more.

It’s important to keep the gear clear as these harmful chemicals and dirt could eventually build up and damage your equipment to a point where you can’t get it back to looking decent anymore. Leather might be tight, but it positively doesn’t react well to being dirty as it gets hard over time and starts to crack the leather along with the dirt that’s built up.

There are loads of unique ways to look after your gear, including special treatments for leather jackets, special cleaners for boots and even your gloves. You don’t need to go out and buy a cleaner for each, but instead, use a cloth and wipe down your gear after a ride and be sure to treat it with oils to ensure fading and cracking from the sun is kept to a minimum.

Fix the Fixable

Whether the soles on your boots are warn, your jacket has been torn, or your helmet’s visor has a scratch, don’t rush to replace these items as there are loads of ways and businesses that can fix it and make it look as good as new at just a fraction of the price.

Some of you might think the stitching would be visible or the soles won’t be the same, but you’ll be amazed how well these items come out after being fixed. There are so many unique ways to get these items in perfect condition without showing any trace of it ever being used, never mind damaged.

If you fix your gear, be sure to follow the steps to maintain them and keep them new as long as possible, which is sure to save you even more cash or repairs and replacement.

Keeping your Dirt Bike Newer for Longer

While most focus on maintaining the mechanical parts of their dirt bikes, there’s a lot more to keep your bike looking and running new. Whether it’s the deep blue colors of a Yamaha, the bright orange of a KTM, the yellow of Suzuki or even your design. There’s something about the appearance of a dirt bike that makes it stand out and look great.

Keep your bike looking new and younger for longer. There are a few things you can do, which doesn’t only keep it in great shape, but ensures you get top dollar when you sell it and you’ll save massive amounts on replacing plastics, stickers and more.

Clean it Properly – Every Time!

It’s a lot of fun taking the bike out all day, getting it full of dust, mud and all types of other dirt you come across along the way. Unfortunately, these have a severe effect on how long your bike looks new, especially when you don’t clean it afterwards.

Luckily, there are many ways to keep the bike in tip-top shape and super clean without spending the whole day cleaning it. There are loads of special foams and sprays that are available online and at most retailers that merely require you to spray it on, leave it for a couple of minutes and use the hose to rinse it off.

These sprays are concentrated to get the toughest muds loose and also getting into the tightest spots to get out all the dust. Not only does this keep the bike clean and keep your plastics looking good by getting the dirt out of fine scratches. It also helps keep the bike in good running condition, not to mention a much easier job when it comes to maintaining the bike.

The high-pressure cleaner is another great addition as they make it a lot easier to remove even more dirt, especially in combination with the sprays and foams. Be careful with these though and try to keep the pressure away from electrics and the chain as too much pressure might damage your seals and remove the lubrication needed to make it run smoothly.

Use Traction Pads and Clear Vinyl

Stickers and plastics can be expensive, especially if you like keeping your bike in top shape with a few scratches and marks as possible. The best way to keep both the plastics and stickers looking new without forking out money for new ones would be to use traction pads or clear vinyl.

Traction pads are the most recommended as they are a lot thinker and serve an additional purpose as they allow you to grip onto the bike better while you ride, which is essential for just about any obstacle.

Clear vinyl is excellent for the areas where you don’t have traction pads. You can’t see these, allowing the graphics and colours of your stickers to remain the star of the slow. The great thing is, once the bike looked a little tired and scratched, peel off the clear vinyl, add a new one and it will be looking as good as new in no time.

Keeping Your Dirt Bike Looking New

Companies such as Honda, Yamaha, KTM, Husqvarna and many others produce incredibly attractive off-road motorcycles that always come bright graphics and sticker kits that we fall in love with from the very second we see the bike.

To some extent, we almost want to be careful with the bike and not get it scratched up and damage the graphics it comes with. Sure, you can go out and buy a new sticker kit and put it on, which is why most tend to ignore it the first time these get scratched or damaged.

It is a whole other story when it comes to the plastics of the bike as these might also be replaceable, but they are indeed a lot more expensive and could stop you from riding the bike in the meantime. Luckily, there are a few ways to protect these plastics and keep them in tiptop shape, allowing the bike to look good even when no sticker kits are on it.

It is best to maintain the plastics when you are changing the sticker kit as this allows you to take them off and give them a decent overhaul while the stickers are off and you can work with them. Be sure to remove as many of the plastics as possible and start by giving them a good cleaning to get all the dirt, mud and other unwanted materials off it. Before you apply a new sticker kit, ensure that all the glue from the previous kit is entirely offered, which you’ll be doing during the plastic maintenance process anyway.

Removing Scratches

Once the plastics are all nice and clean and don’t have any oil or other substance on them, you can easily see that condition. Of course, the ideal circumstance would be a bright and shiny surface that reflects the light perfectly. If this is the case after a wash, chances are you’ll already service them, or your bike is still very new.

Unfortunately, with some terrains and even dust, these plastics can get scratched up real quick and start to look terrible within just a few weeks of riding. Therefore, it’s essential to maintain them properly when possible.

For removing scratches, the best way is to heat the plastic with a blow torch. Of course, you don’t want to go too close and burn a hole in the plastic. Instead, watch the flame up and down over the scratched area, and you will see the surface become shiny as the fine scratches melt away. This technique doesn’t work to deep scratches, but it helps bring the colour back into the plastic as well.

Buy Decent Stickers

The worst thing you can do to fresh-looking plastic it put some cheap paper-based stickers on it. These don’t last long as they tend to get bubbly and tear off the moment they get wet for the first time. Get proper vinyl that’s a bit thinker if possible, and you’re bound to see the advantage with both maintaining the plastics and keeping the stickers looking good for longer.

Is it Worth Insuring a Dirt Bike?

Dirt bikes are a lot of fun and allow you to do so much more as there’s no traffic to spoil it, cops to get in trouble with or any road rules you need to follow. These high-performance machines are geared towards fun with knobby tires, a suspension good enough to jump with and an edge that loves to ride hard.

For the most part, dirt bikes are meant for, well dirt, and they don’t usually come with road-legal equipment such as headlights, indicators and mirrors. Of course, there are endurance options that still provide the perfect off-road machine but can be used to ride home as well.

When it comes to insurance, you’ll need to consider a few things before you start looking at options. Firstly, the state you live in as some make it mandatory for all dirt bikes to have insurance. This is to cover you as the rider, your bike and any property you might damage in case of an accident.

Secondly, you’ll need to carefully consider what the bike’s purpose would be. If you’re planning to ride the bike from home to off-road trails or a track your insurance needs would be geared more towards regular motorcycle insurance. However, if you’re planning to load the bike on a trailer and never ride on the road, you won’t just save a lot on insurance, but you’ll also save on licensing fees.

Types of Insurance

There are various types of insurance to choose from, which once again depends on the way you answered the questions above.

Comprehensive and Theft insurance is about the most basic you get, but the least everyone should take. It covers everything from vandalism through to it being stolen, which is all you need if you’re only going to ride off-road. Since full off-road MX bikes don’t require keys, having theft protection is a must, no matter where you are!

Collision coverage is another excellent choice for dirt bike riders as it covers you when the bike gets damaged when you fall. It also provides protection for those who have enduro bikes that are road legal. Of course, this would cost a lot more as the chances of damage are high with dirt bikes.

Property damage insurance is a great idea if you ride alongside farms and other houses where there might be occasional traffic on the dirt roads. It covers you for third-party damage, meaning anything you accidentally ride into and fall onto will be covered as well.

Roadside assistance is usually an optional extra and only useable for those who ride in areas where cars can get. If you’re always close to a road, it’s still a good option as this allow you to get help when you bike breaks down, or you injure yourself in a way that you can’t ride to get back to your car or home. It’s also a must for those using bikes on the road.

Difference Between Mx and Enduro Bikes

Sure, you get some huge endure bikes, some offering over 1000cc while MX bikes tend to be for the track and usually limit at 450cc. While many think the 450 is the best, the pros tend to choose the 250s, 300s and 350s for their weekend toys while going hitting the track for some huge jumps.

More often than not, you see beginner riders try to make an MX bike work as an enduro bike, meaning they use a bike that’s meant for the track and use it for riding over rocks, slow up hills and technical sections. At the time, as a beginner, you might think it’s perfect, and the bouncy ride and long gearing is just part of how it all works. However, when you compare an MX and Enduro, you’ll quickly see why these are on completely different levels.

Instead of trying to compare a 450 to one of the big endure bikes, we’ll take a look at the 250cc bikes as they come in both MX and endure. On top of that, they’re actually the most popular in both cases, especially with riders who like the idea of additional power.

Gearbox

This is a huge difference in these bikes and completely changes the way you ride, how much grip you have and just quickly that back tire begins to spin when all you’re trying to do is get through a low technical area.

It’s actually quite simple, think about how often an MX rider would use first gear, just to get going right? That would mean the MX box has a really long and snappy first gear, allowing maximum power off the line. While this is great and it does really quick in a straight line, you don’t want that kind of power when you’re on the rocks and trying to ride up a huge hill as just a small twist would send the power through, and that back wheel will just start spinning, whether you’re ready or not.

The endure gearbox is much like the bike that are meant for dual purpose, meaning it’s similar to a road bike, but not quite the same. It’s actually between the two, giving you the best advantage of both. It also has more flywheel effect, allowing you to keep going at low RPMs without stalling the whole time.

Suspension

Again, think about what MX riders do vs. what you want to do. MX bikes have really hard suspension as they are used to jump and land really hard. Therefore, it has to be stiff, not flex and certainly not bottom out. Using that for enduro won’t just wear you out from vibrations over rocks and logs, but it’s too hard to catch grip between technical sections, once again leaving you with wheelspin.

Enduro suspension is far from too soft or unable to do the jumps. Sure, they won’t do what an MX bike does as often as it does, but it can certainly do nearly as much. The difference is, the enduro suspension gives you a much better grip and makes it a lot easier to ride as the wheels stay on the ground more.

Choosing the Right Bike Size

Most of us learn to ride motorbikes from a young age and continue to ride throughout our lives. Those who ride from a young age tend to buy bigger bikes, not only because they are fast, but they are comfortable as well.

However, if you’re anything over 15 years old and just getting into motorbikes, you might want to reconsider that 1000cc or even 600cc you’ve got your eye on. Everyone always says “I’ll be fine with a bigger bike” even when they have no experience. And sure, many riders are fine for a ride around the block, which usually ends in scratches and even worse.

So, where should you start to ensure you not only avoid making a fool of yourself, but also learn how to control the bike properly? Well, there are a few steps you need to follow, and if you’re willing to participate in the small steps, you’ll find yourself becoming a much better rider much faster, and you’ll have much greater control over the motorbike, even when you eventually move onto the bigger bikes.

Start with Off-Road

Let’s say you get on your 600cc bike as a beginner, open it too much around a corner and the back-wheel stars to spin a slip out under you, would you know what to do? If you don’t, the best place to start is getting a fun off-road bike and going to play in the dirt. Many of the dirt bikes are legal for on-road use as well, allowing you to commute and play with it on weekends.

Getting off-road is a lot of fun, and it allows you to learn control extremely fast as it throws obstacles at you that you won’t find on the roads in normal conditions. It is those conditions you need to be aware of and ready for as they end of being the ones that decide whether you’re going to fall or manage to save it.

You don’t have to get a tiny 50cc off-road bike either as most above 15 years old can handle a 250cc and still have more than enough power to play with. Whether you want to learn how to drift a bike, wheelie or just about any other tricks, when you have a dirt bike, there’s no better place to learn than on soft green grass.

Stepping Up from the Dirt

Once you’re confident in your dirt bike abilities and ready to hit the road with something a little bigger, go for the 600cc as you’ve have everything you need to handle it well, assuming you spent enough time on dirt roads and fell a couple of times at least.

You instantly feel a major weight difference with the bikes, which will be terrible to start with as the dirt bikes make it really easy to play. If you find you’re not a fan of a heavier bike, consider a motard and get the best of both worlds.

Deciding Between 2 and 4 Stroke Dirt Bikes

 It almost doesn’t matter what you search for dirt bike related, the argument involving 2 and four strokes is always involved, and no one can give you a straight answer as to which is better. You get the two stroke fans who love the power and sound of the bike, and on the other hand, you get the four stroke fans who enjoy the power through the revs.

So, how do you decide what bike is best for your needs? Well, it all comes down to what you want to do with it. Remember, it’s not just about the stroke, but also the gearbox and other feature of the dirt bike that plays a major role. For example, if you’re planning to do trains and adventure riding, an MX bike might not be the answer as their gearing is really short and they don’t have any lights. However, if you look at enduro bikes that has all the same features as an MX bike, but comes with a better seat, lights, longer gears and a bigger tank, you might just find exactly what you’re looking for.

Once you’ve decided on the type of riding you’re interested in, 10% of your deciding factor is done. Now, the major difference between a 2 and four stroke is maintenance and just how much fun you can have on the bike. At the end of the day, the two stroke and four straight bikes are identical when it comes to suspension, ride height and other features of the bike, including the gearbox. So, if you are comparing a two stroke and for stroke for any reason other than maintenance and the engine itself, you are simply wasting your time.

Maintenance

There is no doubt about it, a two stroke engine has fewer moving parts and is, therefore, cheaper to maintain and less likely to break, which is just one of the many reasons these engines remain popular to this day.

Unlike four stroke motors, a two stroke doesn’t require old changes as it doesn’t take any oil. Instead, it’s mixed in with your petrol. Of course, this can be undone when factor for some, especially those who could forget to mix oil into the gasoline before firing it up for a ride. If you do forget, it would cost you as the engine would seize, putting you out of riding until the motor gets redone.

If you are looking for an engine that doesn’t require regular maintenance in terms of oil changes along with multiple wear and tear parts on the engine, you simply cannot go wrong with a two stroke.

Power

If there is no denying that two stroke engines simply have more power as they fire on every single stroke. If you are a beginner rider deciding between a two and four strokes, you will find many say that a 125cc two stroke is about the same as a 250cc four stroke, which should be enough information to tell you just how incredible two stroke engines are.

2019 MotoGP Predictions and Changes

The new year has basically just arrived, and every petrol head is already talking about the biggest sports and what might happen, including MotoGP. There is a lot of changes to the teams, and the bikes are also changing a bit, making the talks even bigger as we might see a mix up of events as they race around the biggest international circuits.

Interestingly, many aren’t looking at the front racers for the biggest changes, but rather in the mid-field as we could see some new opportunities. Sure, the winner of MotoGP is important, but we also see major fights for the other titles, including top rookie, best improvements and more.

When it comes to the actual title, it’s almost impossible to look past Marquez. In fact, most aren’t even wondering about if he would win, but rather wonder by how much. This is already a bold statement seeing as the season hasn’t even started, but there’s no denying that the RC213V Honda will be improved on its already amazing performance in 2018.

MotoGP Bike Changes

Sure, each team finds new ways to improve their bikes and focus on unique sections. For example, the HRC team once again focuses on top speed runs but redesigning the front of the bike, but we also see some new standards enter the race.

One of the biggest changes applies to the IMU device of the bikes, which is used to communicate with the ECU. This device tells the computer and team what the current leaning angle of the bike it, which is important for changes.

The IMU will now be a standard device across all the teams, meaning fine tuning won’t be an option anymore. This has brought changes to bring the field closer together and make it more exciting as everyone would be able to keep up more. We know, it’s not like MotoGP isn’t already a close sport, but why not make it more competitive, right?

New Racers

With loads of changes and interesting predictions, we also see some new racers joins the field who have already shown some amazing results. There are currently four teams getting new racers for the season ahead, each determined to lead. As we all know, MotoGP is on a whole new level, but if history is any indication, it’s well worth reading up on what they’re capable of before rushing off to place your bets.

We’ll get to see what these new rookies can do soon enough, especially since the first test is just around the corner. The first new face in MotoGP is Miguel Oliveira who is making his way to the Tech 3 Racing KTM. There’s also Francesco Bagnaia who forms part of the Alma Pramac Racing team. We also get to meet Fabio Quartararo who is ready to join the field with the Petronas Yamaha team. Finally, we also see a new face with the Team Suzuki Ecstar team, named Joan Mir.

Modern Single Cylinder Engine vs. Push Rod Engine

Push Rod engines to use technology that’s old and just don’t need to be as efficient as modern engines that have completely gotten rid of the pushrods and have the cam directly above the valves instead. However, both these engines are still being used to this day.


The majority of motorbikes use the modern engine setup, but there are still some Harleys and Chinese knock-offs that use the technology. To understand the difference, we look to look at how these engines work, which mainly revolves around the way the valves open and close. Sure, many other aspects of the engine have changed over the years, but to compare a pushrod engine to one with a cam over the valves, this is the best place to start.


Push Rod Engines


A push rod engine has a camshaft right above the crank but below the valves. A single cylinder engine has 2 lobes, ones opening the inlet valve and the other opening the exhaust valve, which is about the same as any other engine. Some might have more valves, but the concept remains about the same.


From the cam, the engine uses pushrods that connect to the valve rocket, which is a simple plate that can tilt back and forward. When the cam lobe comes around, it pushes the tappet that’s connected to the push rod, which then lifts the rocket on the one side, making the other side tilt down and force the valve to go open.


The valve closes with a spring and ensures the tappet remains attached to the cam lobe for the best performance. However, since the spring can vibrate at higher revs, the engines tend to lose power when you rev it really high, making them ideal for lower RPM needs.


Over Head Cam Engines


An overhead cam engine is what we see in most modern bikes. They work a lot better and can rev much higher since the cam is above the engine and connects more directly to the valves.


As with the pushrod engine, the car is driven from the crank as well, but instead of gear, it runs off a chain that runs from the bottom of the engine all the way up to the top where the cam is.


These engines also use 2 lobes, one controlling the inlet and the other opening the exhaust valve. As you can see from the picture, it is in stage 1, meaning the inlet valve is open and allows clean air to enter the engine along with petrol. On the next compression, the spark plug will ignite the mixture, causing higher pressure and forcing the piston to go down, giving you power. As the piston reaches the bottom, the cam would have turned to over the exhaust valve, allowing the dirty air to flow out and repeat the process.


Since the valves are controlled directly from the cam, they have a lot more control as they have more stability, allowing the engine to rev much higher without valve float or bounce.

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