I Rebuilt My YZ125 In A Closet!?

It was more like a hallway, but the work area was still smaller than I wanted. I picked up a 2003 Yamaha YZ125 that had some major frame damage. The bike ran well but was not ride-able. The two options were to scrap the main and sub-frame, or take the time to bend and weld them back to their somewhat original form. Either way I would have to strip the entire bike down to the very last bolt and tie-strap. Just by looking at it I could tell this was going to be a difficult, yet exciting project.

I got to work tearing down everything on the YZ125, starting with taking the engine out of the frame. There were a lot of nuts and bolts from the plastics, engine, radiators, frame, and other miscellaneous parts that I had to organize into little zip-lock bags so I wouldn’t lose track of where they went when I put them back on the bike. In the middle of this process I got the sub-frame bent back and welded so that it would fit like normal. Being me, I decided to go the more challenging route of getting the main frame welded instead of paying a couple hundred for another one. Once I took everything off of the main frame my dad helped me by welding it.

I wanted to make this bike look good when it was finished, so I sanded and cleaned off the main frame to get it ready for painting. It took a while, but I managed to find some paint that was close to stock color shade. I then painted it with a few coats to make sure that it wouldn’t peel or chip right away.

Tear Down Process
Tear Down Process

The rebuilding process began just after the paint on the frame dried. This is the part where I had to move everything inside…. I started with the foot-pegs, front-end, rear shock, and swing-arm. Those went on pretty easily, so I then took the whole engine and bolted it up to the frame. The rear-wheel and handlebars with controls were next to go on. After that it was just the electronics, carburetor, plastics/tanks, seat, and a few miscellaneous things, such as the exhaust system.

Rebuild Process - Frame painted, front-end, rear shock, and swing-arm on
Rebuild Process - Frame painted, front-end, rear shock, and swing-arm on
Rebuild Process - Engine in, rear-wheel, handlebars on
Rebuild Process - Engine in, rear-wheel, handlebars, and controls starting to go on

After working inside for some time, this project was well worth the outcome. In the end I think the bike looks good, and I learned quite a bit more about rebuilding these modern dirt bikes (Check out my other article, “How I Built A YZ250F With A Box of Scraps” if you liked this one). Let me know what you think, and if you want to see more projects like this just give me a shout. Thanks!

-Tom Stark

Finished '03 YZ125 Project
Finished '03 YZ125 Project

KX250F & RMZ250 2004

2004 Kawasaki & Suzuki 250F

2004 RMZ250

If you’re looking at getting an older 250f, and possibly a Kawasaki or Suzuki, then you should probably consider some of this info. When these companies made their 250f, it was more like a Kawazuki 250f, because Kawasaki and Suzuki had partnered up. So most of the parts on these bikes are interchangeable. This was their first year making the 250f, so just by that you should be a little worried.

2004 KX250F

As some might expect, these bikes were not the greatest reliability-wise in 2004. Although they were fast bikes, they had an overheating problem caused by a bad/weak water-pump. Another defect these bikes had was in the valve-train that caused the valves to burn-up more quickly. These problems can get bad and scared me away from buying one of these bikes. This is not to say that these bikes do not perform. They have plenty of power, and if you really want to get one then I suggest you get a newer style complete cylinder head and get and aftermarket water-pump and impeller to fix the overheating problem. If you do that then the bike should be fine, but by the time you spend all that money on parts you could have bought a newer bike more than likely. Good luck, and remember that no matter what you ride, have fun and stay safe! Thanks

-Tom Stark

 

How I Built A YZ250F With A Box of Scraps

What do you get with a bin full of dirt bike parts and an eager mechanic looking for excitement and satisfaction? A great project rebuild! If you are a dirt bike grease monkey like me who not only likes riding their bikes but sometimes working on them too then this is for you. I enjoy project rebuilds and love the oh-so greatly anticipated finished product even more. Ever since I got into dirt biking I have gained more knowledge about how they work and how they are put together. So after doing many rebuilds myself I thought that I would share the experience with you fellow riders.

Photobucket

I bought this 2003 Yamaha YZ250F in pieces as a project bike thinking that I would have some fun and get some more experience putting another bike together over the next month after I bought it. It came needing a complete new top-end at the least. I managed to get one and put the engine together in a reasonable amount of time. I then slapped the engine in the frame and started the process of puzzling the rest of the bike back together; this is where the fun started. It only took a few short minutes of bolting parts on to find that there was stuff missing. The more I put together the more parts I found that were missing or broken, and they were not all at the same time. So one-by-one I had to buy parts that I needed to piece this thing back to its somewhat original form. These parts consisted of, including engine parts, clutch plates, radiator shrouds, timing chain, timing chain slider, a different piston, head pipe, a couple crank bearings, engine/frame mounts, air filter, cylinder head breather hose, chain, gas tank, clutch perch assembly, a shift lever, and maybe a couple other miscellaneous things. Figuring out that we had to find and buy these parts got a little frustrating because we were told that the bike was complete and that it just needed a new top end.

Well, after weeks of picking at my wallet this bike has finally been put together and is running. It just needs a couple things put on to be ride able. So once I get those together I’ll take it out for a spin. The process was long and somewhat miserable, but I think I learned a lesson and gained more experience and knowledge about these modern four strokes that basically took over the world. In the spring, if not sooner, I will be putting on some new bling to make this baby look new, but as of right now it’s a clean bike that runs. Thanks for checking out this rebuild process, and make sure to check back in the near future for another bike rebuild! (If you liked this article make sure to check out my other rebuild, “I Rebuilt My YZ125 In A Closet!?

-Tom Stark

P.S. I might update this article with some pictures and/or video once I get this bike looking good. Questions and comments are welcome.

When I got the bike (as you can see, I had my work cut out for me):

Photobucket

Photobucket

Pic of the damaged cylinder head:

Photobucket

After I cleaned it up and the engine was together in the bike:

Photobucket

Put the wheel and handlebars on:

Photobucket

Photobucket

The bike put together (added sub frame, carb, electronics, old plastics, seat, exhaust, cables, etc.):

Photobucket

The finished product…

 

How To Sell A Dirt Bike

How to sell a dirt bike or motorcycle

Almost every single dirt bike or motorcycle ad I see has at least a couple defects in it. This makes it more difficult to sell a bike, especially in this poor economy. So if you want some tips on how to make your ads more professional and how to sell a bike more quickly, listen up!

Making a bike look good:

People will be a lot more interested in your bike if it looks nice. That’s starting with making your bike clean. I always spray my bike with soap and water, then I scrub everywhere I can get to with a tooth brush. Taking the plastics off makes it easier and you can get into a lot more spots that you couldn’t before. If you don’t mind spending a little bit of money on New Plastics and/or graphics, then I highly suggest doing it. It will allow you to sell the bike quicker and you might get your money back doing it. It makes the bike look really nice and fresh because not everything is scratched up anymore. Make sure you don’t go overboard on replacing or refurbishing parts, such as repainting the frame, case covers, etc. along with plastic and graphics to make it literally look new, otherwise buyers might think there is something suspicious and get scared away. Make sure not to just clean it before someone comes to look at it, but also for the pictures, because it’s not very inviting to look at a bike that is dirty in the ad.

Pictures:

Pictures is an absolute must if you want to sell a bike. People don’t want to travel far without seeing a bike and find out that it’s an absolute wreck. I suggest that you post at least one or two pictures of your bike/item.

 

Title:

One of the first things you want is a good title, which isn’t very difficult, but I have seen quite a few ads that are titled, “Dirt bike for sale.” Now that may be true, but does that say much about what it is? Not really, and not many people are going to click on it if they just say that. So if you want a good title, make sure you have most if not all of the model info. For example, a good and simple title is. “(Year of bike) (Make of bike) (Model name).” It’s that simple. Here is a title that I have for one of my dirt bikes, “2001 Yamaha YZ125.” It’s really that easy.

Description:

This is where I see the most mistakes or defects in peoples ads. Anything from spelling, grammar, to too much detail and too long. To have a professional looking ad you want to write just enough info for people to see so they don’t contact you asking a million questions. All you have to write is a little bit about the bike, such as a sentence or two about its history, what’s been done to the bike, what aftermarket parts it has, and anything else that a buyer should know.

Price

The price is one of the most crucial pieces to selling a bike. Many sellers think their bikes are worth gold because they have thousands in aftermarket parts, or that they just put two grand into rebuilding it. Aftermarket parts add next to no value to bikes. In fact, some people would rather buy a stock bike, so if you have stock parts, I would suggest you put them back on and keep the aftermarket parts, or just sell them with them off of the bike. Just because you put 1500 into rebuilding the engine does not mean it’s worth that much more, it means that they blew the bike up and other parts will probably need replacing soon. Rebuilds DO NOT add to value because they are just maintenance. Now for figuring out your price, it depends on the model, year, and what kind of shape the bike is in. If it’s in good shape then take a look at other ads people are posting. Usually they are asking 10-25% more than the bike is worth, so I suggest you post it for a little less than the average.

Replying to buyers:

First of all, if you are using Craigslist and are not going to check your email every day or two, then please put a phone number so someone can reach you!!! I see hundreds of ads that do not have a phone number, so I have to wait for them to reply on email, that is if they reply at all. If you do check your email every day then you should be good, but I would still say that a phone number is a must.

Selling the bike

When a buyer arrives, make sure you are kind to them and do not get upset or have an unusual behavior at all. Probably the number one rule I use when selling bikes is “being honest.” You have to tell the truth and not hide anything to the seller so that they won’t come back to you after buying the bike complaining about something you lied about. It is much easier for everyone if you’re out front with everything about the bike, that way you can be confident in selling your bike. Also make sure that the buyer knows that this is an as-is sale, and if something happens to the bike there is no warranty if it’s a used bike. If you happen to sell it you will either want to give the seller the title or make a bill of sale telling who bought it, who sold it, what the price was, VIN # of bike, name, number, so that nothing will come back it you if it’s stolen or something.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reply. Thanks for viewing, and good luck selling your bike!

-Tom Stark

 

 

How Much Does It Cost To Race Motocross

I’m really glad you’re considering participating in this extravagant and addicting extreme sport, but there are some downsides to doing it as well, unfortunately. Cost is the biggest reason why so many people aren’t able to race motocross, whether it be the cost of bikes and maintaining them, or having to pay for entry fees, gas for bikes, gas for vehicles, food, etc.

Dirt Bike

Your dirt bike is probably going to be the most expensive part of motocross racing. You can find a good motocross bike for $1500 or less, as I show you how in that article. But if you want to go the four-stroke route, you will probably have to pay more for the bike, and it will cost more in the long run to maintain and repair.

Bike Maintenance/Repairs

Depending on the route you go, the amount you can spend on keeping a bike running can vary greatly. Two-strokes generally require a little more maintenance, but when it comes time to rebuild the engine, they’re usually much less than a four-stroke. Now when I say maintenance, I’m talking about your regular oil changes, air filters, tires, chain, sprockets, and fluids.

If you’re going the four-stroke way (not that it’s bad, but it will more than likely cost more), maintenance should consist of changing your oil every 2-3 rides, and replacing the oil filter every other time you change the oil. Air filter should be cleaned/replaced every 1-3 rides, depending on riding conditions. This simple and cheap maintenance will keep your four-stroke running much longer, which is why they appear to be cheaper to race. You may end up finding out that this is not always true, unfortunately, when the engine grenades on you. It’s important to know When & Why to replace your valves and timing chain on a four-stroke, because these parts can fail in the blink of an eye. Many people fail to realize that these parts should be considered maintenance on a four-stroke motocross bike, so keep that in mind.

Rebuilding CR80 Top-End

On the flip-side, you don’t have to deal with a valve-train on a two-stroke, which is why they are cheaper to keep running in the long run. Maintenance is similar to a four-stroke, other than the oil filter, but you may go through top-ends quicker if you’re constantly wringing it out. This is another reason why many people think that two-strokes are just as expensive, if not more. But they are only looking at the intervals of engine rebuilds, when the real difference is how much they cost to rebuild. A two-stroke can last 15-20 hours, even with a fast A-rider on it. A four-stroke may or may not last longer than that before you start replacing engine parts.

Gas Hog

Next you have to consider gas, both for your bike and your mode of transportation. This all depends on what bike you’re running, what gas, how many classes you’re racing, and what vehicle. A two-stroke uses pre-mix, so oil will cost a couple bucks extra, but some four-strokes require race-gas (i.e. high compression), so they may even out. If you’re running two classes, that’s twice as much gas you’re going through (duh!), so consider that factor. Trucks and SUV’s can be gas hogs, so if you want to save money on that, either get a small truck (S10/Ranger), or you can get a Motorcycle Carrier to insert into the hitch of your van or truck instead of pulling a trailer.

Race Fees

Next thing to consider is the cost of entry fees and memberships. An average cost of one class of racing is $30 around here, and usually a little cheaper if you do more than one class. Yearly memberships (District and AMA) add another $40-50 each. So the cost of entry fees comes down to how often you’re going to race and how many classes.

Misc.

Don’t forget about food! You have to eat and drink, whether you pack for a picnic at the track or buy food there. Camping will also cost extra if you spend the weekend at the track, which many riders do if they have a camper or RV. Also, you will sometime or another have that unexpected problem; a blown tire, or crash on your bike that breaks several parts.

If you want to prevent a mid-life crisis, Dirt bike & health Insurance can save your butt in the case of a serious injury or stolen bike.

You Can't Get Enough Motocross

There are probably a couple more things you could have to add to the cost of motocross racing, but do you see now why so many people cannot afford it, especially when they’re not prepared? I really don’t want to scare people away from this terrific sport, I just want YOU to be well informed of how much you can expect to pay if you want to start and continue racing for years to come. After you figure out that you are able to do it or have enough money, check out my tips for first-time motocross racers so you won’t be left in the dirt. Also, don’t forget to get footage of your first race with an HD Helmet Cam!

That should cover just about everything, so here’s an overview of what it will cost (based on if you race about every other weekend:

Dirt Bike: $2000 (guesstimated cost of a good running bike)

Maintenance (Oil, filter, lube, etc.): $50 every couple races

Engine Rebuilds (Varies greatly): Two-stroke top-end $150 every 20 hours, $300-800+ every 25-40 hours

Gas: Depends on vehicle, $10-30 depending on how much racing

Memberships: ~$90 for District and AMA

Race Fees: $30 Each race (more if you do multiple classes)

Misc (also varies greatly): This is one category I cannot really determine for you. It all depends on how much/where you eat, what you buy, what breaks, and all that jazz.

You may not, and probably won’t go exactly by this last, because there are many factors in motocross that can cost more or less. Using guide as a reference will give you a good idea of how much this sport can really cost, and why it is slowly dying in some areas. Keep it alive if you can, and have fun riding!

-Tom Stark