How To Clean Boot Marks Off of An Aluminum Frame

Whether you’re going to sell your bike, or you just want to make it a look a year newer, getting rid of the black marks on your bike’s aluminum frame will help accomplish either.

First thing to do is wash your bike. Any dirt or mud stuck on it will make the process more difficult. Now grab some steel wool that is more on the fine side. You can either spray a little water or WD40 on the frame; both work about the same. After spraying the area of the frame you want to clean the boot marks off of, scrub it with the steel wool. I usually take a few passes, spraying it with the hose every time, just to keep it clean and see where the black marks still are.

YZ125 Frame With Boot Marks

After I get done with one side I spray it down with the hose again and move on to the other side. Once all said and done I wash the bike with soap and water so that there’s no residual metal/WD40/boot material left on the bike.

There you have it… a pretty much new looking bike again! Well, it may just be the frame, but it definitely gives the bike a “newer feel.”

"Fresh" Aluminum Frame

Now when you Haul Your Bike to the track you can impress your friends with your fresh aluminum frame. They may be so envious that you could make a couple bucks from doing it to their bikes too!

If you don’t want to have to clean the marks off every few rides, I would suggest you look into getting some Frame Guards. They’re pretty cheap, and protect your frame from boots. Good luck, and stay safe riding!

-Tom Stark

 

Dirt Bike Trails


Motocross is my favorite thing to do on a dirt bike, but when I’m not able to go to a track I love to ride on trails. Dirt bike trails are usually safer than motocross tracks, and they are a lot of fun to ride on, especially if there are challenging obstacles. This article will give you an idea what dirt bike trails consist, the dangers that can lurk in them, and some tips on how to protect you and your bike.

Dirt Bike Trails

Trail riding is a cheaper alternative for riding your dirt bike instead of motocross racing. There are many trail riding areas in pretty much every state, so finding one within a reasonable distance shouldn’t be that difficult for most people. For those of you that don’t have state or local trails near you, or riders that just don’t want to pay for a state trail sticker, you can make trails on your own property if you have woods. I make my own dirt bike trails and they are a blast to ride on, especially with some buddies.

There are many aspects that make trail riding unique and unusually exciting. First of all, when else are you going to be blitzing through the woods with trees flying past your face on a vehicle? It’s the adrenaline of trying to master the obstacles in the trails that makes it so exhilarating. The things that make dirt bike trails challenging are the traction-less hill-climbs, the trees smacking your hands, roots causing you to lose balance, or the hills that you happen to high-side and fall down. Other things like the fallen trees or added obstacles such as big rocks, logs, cars, wooden walls, and anything else riders can think of make it all the more exciting. It’s that “I think I can” spirit combined with the adrenaline rush that makes trail riding so purely awesome.

Fallen Trees

Getting over these objects is easier said than done. Riding over big trees is not always simple to do, especially if the tree is at an awkward angle. To get over big trees you can’t just go fast and hope for the best. You want to go nice and easy, otherwise you’ll end up tipping over or the bike will land on top of you. To get over a big tree you should sit more towards the rear of the bike and raise the front of the bike up with the throttle and arm strength, then once you get on top of the tree you should move your weight to the front of the bike so you don’t flip. It often happens that the bottom of the bike will hit the tree. This will scratch up the frame and possibly the engine. Don’t let this happen, so guard the frame and engine with a Works Connection Skid Plate.

Hill-Climbs

 

I love riding up big and steep hills on my dirt bike, and it’s even more fun when there’s trees, branches, and ruts that you must surpass in the woods. To have great trails you must have elevation change, and that is sometimes difficult to come by if you don’t have state trails nearby. So if you have a good amount of hills then you are lucky. Riding up hills often requires momentum, traction, power, and balance. Of course you don’t always need all of these, but they are the things that will help get you up those nasty slopes. Getting momentum is simply building up as much speed before the hill as possible. This takes skill and guts sometimes, but also makes riding a lot more exciting. Traction comes from body positioning/balance, a good rear tire, and throttle control. Normally you should put weight on the rear of the bike to get traction, unless the dirt is really tacky, and rolling on the power instead of snapping it will allow the tire to hook up more. It’s the rider that makes it up the hill and usually not the bike, but a little extra power doesn’t hurt (check out my “FMF Fatty Pipe Review” for more power).

Roots/Ruts

Roots and ruts…. “What’s the difference?” you may ask, and I will tell you because you don’t want to get them confused when talking to another riding buddy. Roots are the vines of the trees that come up on trails usually from a lot of use and rundown. They are usually not difficult to ride over, but if there are a lot of roots that criss-cross and face every angle they tend to mess up your balance at times. Probably the easiest way to get over roots is to stand up and stay neutral on the bike, that way you can shift your weight more easily if you need to, and you might have to use your legs as suspension if you hit a rough root or three.

Ruts are the grooves that form after continuous use of one line. The tracks of ruts often get so deep on dirt bike trails that your foot pegs drag on the ground. The deeper the rut is the nastier it will be to get in and out of it. The key is to get maximum traction so you can ride through the entire rut. To have traction you must be smooth with the throttle and sometimes have momentum coming into the rut. You want to get the most traction so you can get through the rut, and so you won’t roost and eat away the dirt. Roosting is fine if you want to do it on your own dirt bike trails, but try not to on state trails because it just ruins it for other riders.

Get some on road practice with one of these Lexmoto 125cc motorbikes and improve your riding awareness.

Rocks

Rocks can be very difficult obstacles to overcome. It’s not just the size of the rock that’s intimidating, but the shape also matters because it requires a lot more strength to keep the bike balanced while riding over them. Getting over a rock is similar to riding over big logs, except you have to be more careful with your weight distribution and throttle control. Too much throttle and you’ll tip over, and you’ll fall if you are not balanced. There can be luck involved with getting over big rocks, but it’s mainly skill and experience. Rocks can be dangerous to you and your bike. Your elbows can easily get scraped or punctured, along with the rest of your body. You can protect them with some Fox Racing Elbow Guards, or your entire body with EVS Body Armor, you’ll be glad you did. Pipes can also get damaged; rocks dent, crack, and puncture pipes, sometimes beyond repair. Protect your two-stroke with a Pipe Guard By E Line.

Branches/Trees

 

What is more annoying than your hands constantly getting whipped by trees and branches while trying to hold on to the handlebars? I know I hate it, and I’m sure you don’t enjoy it. A good way to dodge branches is to stand up so you can easily tilt and turn your handlebars. But to do this you need balance, strength, and stamina. After a while it gets tiring if you are moving the bike, so instead of using up all of your energy you could protect you precious hands with a pair of Cycra Hand Guards.

All of these obstacles that I mentioned and more give the challenge that riders want. Riding on dirt bike trails is a relatively safe activity for dirt biking (check out my Dirt Bike Trails Protection article if you want to stay safer). It’s even more satisfying when you ride on trails that you personally made. So if you have some land, go out and make some trails, even if there are state trails near you. Either way, get out and ride some trails, especially if you haven’t tried it. They are are blast, I can guarantee it!

Good luck, and ride safe.

-Tom Stark

 

 

 

Dirt Bike Trails Protection


Dirt bike trails can be a lot of fun for any rider, but whats not fun is your bike getting damaged, or even worse, you getting injured. That is why there are many options and add-ons to protect you and your bike. Any rider that has hit a tree or another similar object while blitzing through dirt bike trails would have to agree that it hurts and they wouldn’t want to do it again (Unless of course you are on the show “Jesse James Is A Dead Man” and one of you ‘deadly’ stunts is riding a dirt bike over an off-road course). Anyway, protecting you and your dirt bike for riding on trails can save you some big money, especially if you “accidentally” tip over a lot. Don’t worry, these tips will help keep your bike in better shape in the end, and yourself as well if you choose to listen to me.

Protective Gear (For You)

BJ22 Ballistic Jersey
EVS Body Armor

The first thing to do before you go trail riding on your dirt bike is to buy protection gear for your body. Your bike may be expensive, but it’s much more beneficial if you save your own butt rather than the dirt bike. Remember, the bike is replaceable, you are not. At least not in this life you aren’t. The basic protective gear is obviously a DOT approved off-road helmet, a good pair of motocross boots, and some long clothes. Now to really protect yourself from all of those trees, rocks, roots, and other hard objects that you would hit when or if you fall on the trails, good body armor is the best protection you can get. Some people may say that they are very uncomfortable to wear, they are itchy and hot, or they’re just plain annoying to wear while riding. Most of those people probably have never even tried using one while trail riding, let alone even trying one on.

Body armor/suits are good for any kind of riding because they are full upper-body protection and many come with kidney belts that help prevent too much back stress, which is somewhat common when riding on dirt bike trails because you sit down a lot. I use one when I go racing, trail riding, and when I ride my dirt bikes with friends, and I don’t really have anything to complain about. I use a BJ22 Ballistic Jersey and will say that it was a good investment. I won’t go into too much detail about it, but will say that it is awesome protection. It doesn’t bother me much and it’s not extremely bulky. Fortunately this body armor has good ventilation and is still usable in hotter conditions without making me die from sweat. This suit comes with chest protection, shoulder pads, elbow guards, back-plate protection, and a kidney belt. If you want to give your upper body a break when you wipe out or hit something, try putting on some armor; your body will like it.

RC2 Race Collar
EVS Race Collar

Another good protective piece of gear for trail riding is a neck brace/collar. This is another thing that is neglected, especially when riding on dirt bike trails. Most people that have one only use it when they ride on the track because that is usually the most dangerous type of riding. But if you are blazing through dirt bike trails there is a good chance of injuring your neck as well if you crash. I use an EVS Race Collar and am glad I got it (Click here for a review that I made for this neck collar). It can save a neck injury or collar bone if you fall and land on your head or if your bike hits you. I always ride with it on and will say that I never notice it. The only time it restricts the head is when you turn and try to look backwards, otherwise it’s great protection with good comfort. Trust me when I say these will pay for themselves probably after one bad crash.

Protective Gear (For Your Bike)

Once you get all of the necessary equipment for yourself then you can start protecting your precious bike. Probably the most important part to protect on a two stroke dirt bike for trail riding is the pipe. The head pipe/expansion chamber can easily get damaged if you crash, especially if it hits rocks or other hard objects. A simple way to keep it from getting badly dented or cracked is by buying a pipe guard. E-Line has Pipe Guards that will fit many two and four-stroke dirt bikes. These will make your pipe last much longer than without having one. It’s a cheaper alternative than buying another new pipe, and they hardly add any weight to the bike.

Hand guards are one of the most popular dirt bike modification for trail riding because they protect your hands from hitting annoying trees, weeds, branches, and other objects in the woods that would hurt your hands. Pro Taper makes many different Hand Guards for pretty much every off-road bike possible. They have many models with several colors to match your needs. If you want to protect your hands from roost and trees, you need some hand guards!

Devol Engineering makes Front Disc and Rear Disc Guards to protect your brake rotors from getting damaged or bent from hitting rocks and other stiff objects on the trails. This is a cheap way to keep your brake discs/rotors safer and cleaner.

Works Connection has Aluminum Skid Plates that will protect the underside of the engine and the frame. This is another common modification that trail riders do to their dirt bikes because logs and rocks can really do some damage to the under part of your bike. Stop the wreckage with a skid plate before it’s too late. They are light, easy to install, and don’t add bulk to your bike.

Radiator Guards can help prevent twisting and breaking of radiators that result in costly repairs or replacement. Works Connection also has Radiator Braces that will fit almost every name brand dirt bike with radiators out there. These Guards are a lot cheaper than buying new radiators and will increase the longevity of them.

Protecting you and your bike for trail riding is smart, it will save you money, and most likely a lot of pain. There are many more parts to add on to your bike to protect it, but these are the most common modifications that riders have.

You can click on the links or go to Amazon to view these.

Thanks for viewing, and good luck protecting yourself and your bike. Stay safe, and have fun riding.

-Tom Stark

How To Adjust Suspension On A Dirt Bike

How To Adjust Your Dirt Bike’s Suspension

Here’s a quick tip on how to adjust the suspension on your dirt bike if it has adjustable forks or shocks. The purpose of adjusting it is to make the suspension perform at its best on certain types of terrain or size/shape of obstacles. The faster you go, the stiffer you’ll want your suspension to be. If you are a trail riding, then you will want it to be softer than it would normally be for riding on a motocross track.

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Front Suspension/Forks

There are two things you can do to the forks without changing your springs, and these are adjusting the compression and rebound speed. As seen in the picture above, number one shows where the clickers are for adjusting the rebound on the bike, and number two shows where the clickers for changing the compression speed on the forks are. To slow down/stiffen either the compression or rebound on the forks, you will want to turn the clickers in/clockwise with a screwdriver. You will hear a “click” about every half turn, and all the way in is about 15 clicks for most bikes. You do the same thing for speeding up/softening the compression and rebound, but instead of turning the clicker in you will turn it out/counter-clockwise.

Rear Suspension/Shock

It’s basically the same routine for adjusting the shock, but the clickers aren’t in the same spots. Number three shows where the rebound clicker is on the shock, and number four is where the compression clicker is. The shock is usually around fifteen clicks also.

Setting it up for your style

If your bike still has stock suspension and it’s not extremely worn out, then the stock springs are usually set up for about a 130-165lb rider for motocross. If you weigh more than that, you’ll want stiffer springs, but if you weigh less than that then you’ll want softer springs. Another pointer when you’re adjusting you clickers is that you want the forks to be equally adjusted. What I mean by that is when you adjust the right side of the forks compression or rebound, then you will want the left side to be the same, otherwise it might not feel right or be as consistent. This does not mean that you have to have the compression adjusted the same as the rebound for either the forks or the shock. I usually keep them the same because I am not the fastest rider and tiny adjustments like that aren’t really noticeable for me. If you are picky about your suspension then you make little changes by having different combination settings (check out the Adjusting Your Spring Rate article for more tips on suspension). If you have any questions, feel free to comment. Thanks for viewing, and good luck!

-Tom Stark