If I could just eke out a little bit more...
Tinkering with a dirt bike often means trying to find an edge in power and performance without having to install an expensive aftermarket part or buying the latest year model. A go-it-alone or do it yourself approach especially for weekend warriors offers the preferred approach to increasing horsepower without spending a whole lot of cash.
Unfortunately, a simple solution to increasing horsepower on your dirt bike doesn't mean a fuel additive or a new throttle tube. To get a racing edge or turn your dirt bike into a seriously competing ride, you need to invest in a number of upgrades all of which take extra time and money to complete. Outside of this, the weekend warrior can achieve significant gains by doing the most obvious, but first let's discuss actual performance enhancing upgrades for those looking to turn their dirt bike into a race ready machine then we'll offer those obvious insights for the rest of us.
How To Add Horsepower to Your Dirt Bike
1. Race Gas
Yes, race gas helps and though most riders simply use good ole premium pump gas, putting the equivalent of an energy drink through the veins of your dirt bike actually adds quite a bit of pep in the overall performance. You won't see any of the pro racers using pump gas for a National so think about that for a second.
Race gas isn't cheap but sounds easy enough to pour a gallon and a half in your fuel tank right? Well, you need to either re-jet your 2-stroke or send the ECU tuner on your 4-stroke to a professional to map correctly for the fuel adjustment.
2. Upgrade the Clutch
Swap out the factory clutch for a Hinson or Rekluse. You don't exactly get a boost in overall horsepower because of the new clutch but you do experience more power to the ground resulting in better pick-up and overall speed.
You can install a new clutch in relatively short order - about an hour - but the expense stops most riders from pursuing this route.
3. Install a New Silencer or Slip-On
A new slip-on (4-stroke) or pipe (2-stroke) offers a far less daunting task than upgrading the full exhaust system. In fact, you probably need only about 15 minutes to swap out the muffler or pipe which entails removing a few bolts but like the clutch, an aftermarket pipe ranks on the higher side of upgrades.
Also, keep in mind some mufflers help with bottom end power, while others aid in top end power but you probably won't feel much of a difference in either if you cannot haul the mail. Giggity.
You can really get into the weeds in terms of finding additional power from expensive engine work that includes porting, oversized or high compression pistons, stroked cranks, and aftermarket cams but don't expect massive power gains from all these and often, if you upgrade one component, sometimes you have to upgrade others. Time, money and maintenance expertise all factor in to this decision and even amateur racers generally don't jump on board this train, just yet. Therefore...
How To Get More Horsepower Out of Your Dirt Bike
Universally, dirt bikes arrive to the showroom with enough performance and 99 percent of riders (ok, 98 percent) cannot utilize the in-house horsepower anyway. Once you get your bearings (and keep the metal ones on your ride lubricated) that allow you to rip pretty good around a Motocross track then you can think about next level gains.
However, the best way to get, find and keep horsepower on your dirt bike comes from general maintenance and upkeep. Follow the manufacturer's recommended service intervals for the make, model and year of your dirt bike in respect to the following, and enjoy a continuous amount of horsepower that tests your skills and strength for years to come: