There's no doubt about it, riding dirt bikes is far from a low-cost hobby. If you're at the racing level competing every week or even just once a month then it's just downright expensive.
But there are ways to reduce your costs and save money riding dirt bikes whether you're trail riding or cranking out laps on a Motocross track.
Going cheap isn't the answer, either. In fact, buying cheaply made parts and accessories can cost you more in the long run both to your bike and your body. You really can't go wrong with any of the top brands in Motocross when it comes to which parts to buy. At this level it comes down to preference and what works best for your bike, riding experience and riding style.
So what's the #1 rule to save money dirt bike riding?
Don't neglect your bike or all those expensive parts. Maintaining your bike not only gives it longevity which in turn reduces the actual overall cost of ownership but it also gives you the edge in racing and makes your day on the track or trail safer and more productive.
You should already know about oil changes. Like your car, routine oil changes are perhaps the single-most critical obligation to dirt bike upkeep. Neglecting the oil and filter puts you on the fast track to costly repairs and even a new dirt bike.
Changing the oil in your dirt bike is just one of many ways to reduce overall costs of ownership
Now, maybe you have the oil changes down pat. This is just where it starts. Paying attention to the smaller details, just like during a Moto, can be the difference between a winning or losing, or in this case just feeling like a loser because you neglected your ride.
Routine maintenance on your dirt bike also includes the following:
- Cleaning and greasing bearings
- Anti-seize on your chain adjusters
- Checking torq specs on bolts
- Correct tire pressure
- Air filter
Combined, these minor details take less than 10 to 15 minutes to check and adjust if needed, but like the engine oil neglecting this part of maintenance often means costly replacement parts down the road. Many riders think the bike is ready for next weekend after pressure washing and shining up the plastic. That couldn't be further from the truth.
For example, properly caring for the bearings might actually mean never needing replacements. Neglect them and you'll be buying a linkage bearing set before the season is over. Use the owner's manual as a guide to know when it's time to clean and re-lubricate the bearings as well as all other scheduled maintenance.
See Routine Motocross Bike Maintenance Tips - 2 Stroke and Routine Motocross Bike Maintenance Tips - 4 Stroke for help on keeping your dirt bike ready to ride.
Keep that chain lubricated
Keep Physically Fit
You probably didn't even think of this one. Indeed, staying physically fit and riding within your limits often prevents a crash that can bust up your dirt bike or worse, you! Landing short on a jump or going down in a corner because you're exhausted either from too long a day or you're just not in shape is a recipe for needing replacement parts and/or a hospital visit.
Eating healthy, putting in practice time and getting your body prepared for the rigors of riding goes a long way to keep you upright, in contention and on the podium celebrating a win rather than nursing a wound.
Skip the Track, Ride the Trails
Racing Motocross is unlike any other sport but when you look at the costs involved it's like seeing all those line item taxes on your paycheck. Gate fees, practice fees, race fees, entry fees, local track membership fees, AMA fees (missing anything else?) - add them all up and it feels like you're halfway to a new dirt bike.
Skip the track every now and then and take in the beauty of your state's local OHV trails. Each state has its own rules and regulations so know yours before going but don't expect to pay more than $10 or $20 for an ALL DAY pass to ride at your leisure.
The other option is to befriend someone who has a backyard Motocross track. Hone your skills for little to no cost (be a good guy and help with track upkeep) and spend your money at the public track when you feel ready to smoke the competition for real.
Even something as simple as riding on the correct tire pressure can go a long way in reducing your costs
Shop Smart - (Read that as MotoSport)
Always be on the lookout for deals and bargains. MotoSport.com always runs specials and even if what's on sale is not needed at the moment, grab some savings so you have the part(s) under budget when the time comes. You know you'll eventually replace the brake pads, if your favorite brand is on sale, pick them up, save money and have them at your fingertips when the time is right.
Another cheap way to get parts is from friends and others selling the accessories and equipment they don't need. Hardcore riders often replace perfectly working stock parts with after-market upgrades. So, your bent handlebars can be replaced on the cheap thanks to someone else selling their unused OEM handlebars. Your local race track probably has a classified section of parts for sale or wanted so check there if cash is tight.
If you've ever watched a podium interview from a Supercross or Motocross event then you've also heard the rider thank a dizzying number of companies and sponsors, none of which you'll remember 30 seconds later. Believe it or not, the shout-out matters.
You can get those same sponsors too. If you're a casual rider feel free to skip this part however if you churn out laps at your local Motocross track every week, frequently enter races and step on the box more often than not, you could very well get yourself some sponsorships. Don't expect money, instead you'll get the products manufactured by whatever sponsor decides to put their name behind you. For some riders, that's better than money.
Hookit.com is a great way to get started and MotoSport also offers Amateur Rider support. Just remember, if you win or ever get any interviews - thank your sponsors. Just like a real pro.
Clearly, riding dirt bikes isn't a free sport but it doesn't need to break the bank. With some out-of-the box thinking and following the maintenance schedule on your dirt bike as well as post-ride clean-up you can get buy on a pretty tight budget. If you have other ideas that help you save money riding dirt bikes and Motocross, let us know below.