You about ready for fall?
Not a fall but riding in the fall. Dirt Bikes! Now that summer and sadly, Motocross, is over it's time to change gears but no need to lose focus on riding. Just because the sun dips quicker below the horizon and temperatures cool doesn't mean your dirt bike gets the next eight months off.
For many, the best part of fall bike rides is the foliage. Tree leaves in some parts of the country have already started to change but come October expect the usual dazzling display of colors. Dirt bikes get you in deeper parts of forests and woodlands a car or even walking can't provide.
The competitor fear not. Autumn months don't necessarily mean the end of racing. Off-roading remains big in parts of the country. The Grand National Cross Country series took the summer off and continues through the end of October. Local indoor Arenacross and other racing events help keep the fire alive and in Southern states where the sun shines year round Motocross tracks remain open.
But for most of the country when the temperature dips and the rains arrive, riding the usual summer parts and gear doesn't exactly cut it. The good news is you don't need to change out all the fluid in your dirt bike unless the regularly scheduled maintenance is due. If your area is susceptible to freezing temperatures, especially long term, then it might be wise to replace your existing coolant with one that has antifreeze properties. Race coolants generally don't do well under freezing conditions. Other than that, just keep using your favorite oil and fluid products.
The biggest change when embarking on an autumn ride is protection - for you and your dirt bike.
Expect mud. Even if it doesn't rain the day you ride, prior rain and even heavy accumulation of dew doesn't evaporate as readily as it did a few months ago. Mud equals wet which means cold. So grab a pair of gloves like the MSR 2016 Mud Pro Gloves. Designed for warmth and a constant grip even in the muddiest of conditions these gloves include a mini wiper blade on the index finder for your goggles!
Speaking of goggles, even with the wiper blade you'll still want to invest in a pair of goggles that feature a tear-off system or roll-off system. Mud gets everywhere so even if you're not getting roosted by faster riders at the gate expect to get blindsided every now and then.
Finally, grab a mud jacket. The Alpinestars Mud jacket works for track and trail rides with a clear PVC shell that makes jerseys visible while keeping you dry in the worst of conditions.
Now as far as your bike...
Get handguards. If you're already off-roading it's likely you have a pair but sometimes track riders think they're unnecessary. In addition to protection from roost and tree limbs whipping your hands they serve quite well as wind breakers. Cold air eventually penetrates the thickest of gloves, so cut down on the wind chill factor and keep your hands toasty and functional.
Upgrade your foot pegs. Slipping off the pegs especially when cornering or managing other track and trail challenges isn't just annoying it can end your day. The redesigned Fastway Evolution Air Footpegs offer more traction than OEM that allows the rider to rest their entire foot sole on the cleats.
You'd never think engine overheating a problem while riding in cold, wet weather. But when mud and other wet debris like leaves accumulate thereby clogging the radiator, even in brisk 50 degree weather, you won't ride far when circulation is cut off. Twin Air Radiator Sleeves eliminate clogs by preventing muck from sticking.
Of all the parts on your dirt bike, the fork seals tend to get beaten up the most when out for a fall bike ride. Mud, grit and grime enjoy drubbing the seals then when you get home it takes extra effort to get them clean further adding to the wear and tear. Give those seals some protection by adding the SKF Removable Fork Mud Scraper Kit which protects seals from the elements including the sun. Heck, these protectors are good to have all year round.
Earlier we said you don't need to change your lubricants or fluids for an autumn bike ride but you might need to change out the tires. Riding on tires meant for hard or even intermediate terrain might put you in the mud, literally, so grab a pair designed for soft terrain, muddy conditions or off-roading.
Lastly, when the fun is over you've got some work to do. Clean up can be a, well, you probably get the idea. Cut your cleaning time by quickly scraping the mud off your fenders and anywhere else it accumulates. A quick stroke or two from the Polisport Ultimate Mud Remover or Polisport Ultimate Mud Remover gets the thick stuff off so the rest of the cleaning process is a bit more manageable.
Additionally, scraping the mud off in between rides can reduce the weight of your bike by as much as 20 pounds. Realistically, you won't wash your bike between Motos or when you head in to camp for lunch so remove what you can before heading back out. It also helps to spray SC1 on the fenders before riding to help prevent mud accumulation.
Written By: AndrewT