Limegate. Lime disease. Lie-monade (let the cover-up theories commence).
Call the latest drama affecting the 2019 Monster Energy Supercross season what you will but an excessive amount of lime used on the track in San Diego for Round 5 obviously damaged bikes and bodies. And, we're not talking the fruit that completes a vodka tonic, either.
Lime is often used for soil stabilization by reducing the moisture content and many a gardener has probably used it with good results for their lawn and flower gardens. A little bit works wonders for soil prep but use an excessive amount on a dirt bike track you have a caustic cocktail no one wants to drink.
Lime has probably been used before, quite often actually, just not in the quantities dumped on the San Diego Supercross track that was already flooded from rain. All the lime in the world would not have helped Noah, same goes for the track at Petco Park on Saturday. But, lime is not the only thing present in soil that can ruin the finish on a dirt bike or cause irritation on human skin. Just one reason why washing your dirt bike shortly after a ride day keeps it running and prevents premature aging. You don't go to bed after a day of riding without hitting the shower, right? Nor should your dirt bike sit in the garage completely soiled.
Is Justin Barcia grimacing from riding in mud or is his face burning from the lime?
So, let's run down some of the crap you probably ride in all the time that unbeknownst to you slowly eats away at your ride and your hide, especially if left untreated.
Might as well start with the star of the San Diego Supercross. Lime comes in several forms and if this was chemistry class we would break down the difference between calcium oxide and calcium hydroxide. You might know it as quicklime or burnt lime or hydrated lime, caustic lime, builders' lime, slack lime, cal or pickling lime. (Thank you wikipedia!) Yes, lime is also used in food prep.
But lots of people drink Coca Cola and we all know what that does to rust. So in small concentrations lime isn't all that bad and neither is Coke. But in heavy doses it's rot gut stuff. Literally.
So, if you suspect an abundance of lime-infused dirt has infiltrated your dirt bike and/or body wash it off immediately. Seek medical attention for yourself, if needed, and as for your bike, well, you probably want to replace metal parts like the chain, sprocket and brake components. Use a metal polish to remove the tarnish on the frame and Maxima SC1 on the plastic.
But, but, we ride in sand! Correct. You also probably ride in lime. But that doesn't keep you from rolling the throttle. Sand riding or dune riding requires some pre-ride preparation and, no matter what, you can also expect a shorter life span for all of your bearings. Sand gets everywhere despite your heroic preventive attempts. Use pantyhose or a filterskin over the air filter for added engine protection. A super, extra thick lubricant on the chain keeps you running but don't forget a thorough cleaning back at home. Read ?How To Prep Your Dirt Bike For The Sand Dunes? for more information.
By the way, some sand tracks have volcanic ash, pumice and, wait for it, lime, all of which like to destroy dirt bikes and irritate human skin. Most likely you won't encounter any problems but leave that muck sitting on your bike for the next week then don't be surprised at the difficulty of removal and when parts start falling off prematurely in a few months.
3. Salt Water
If you live in the Midwest then you know full-well what salted roads do to the undercarriage of cars. Same thing happens to your dirt bike when spinning wheels on the coast and tempting waves with your riding bravado. If not taken care of immediately salt water eventually rusts the metal especially all those bolts and screws that keep your machine together.
Not human poo, well maybe in Portland and San Francisco (you ever walk downtown in those cities?), but those who ride in rural areas or even on their own farms have likely plowed through their share of excrement from the following animals:
And, since manure pretty much looks and acts like dirt then it should come as no surprise if your local rural-based Motocross track mixes in cow poop during regular track maintenance. Think about that the next time you land face first in a berm.
This dirt bike needs a washing and some extra attention after racing in lime-infused mud
How To Prevent the Effects of Lime and Other Acidic Substances on Your Dirt Bike
Wash your dirt bike like normal using a mild cleaner designed for motorcycles after a day of riding to prevent premature wear. Shine the plastic with SC1 or equivalent and use an aluminum or chrome polish to remove any discoloration on the frame or other metal parts. Once dry, follow with an appropriate lubrication.
Since you generally have no idea what lurks in the soil, you should not wait too long to clean your dirt bike. We suggest an immediate post-ride clean-up but certainly within 24 hours. The longer the dirt remains on your bike the more time you give the existing acidic compound to do some damage.
Since we're on the subject, your dirt bike might take home noxious weeds and other invasive species. In some areas of the country, law requires you to wash all off-road equipment before heading to your next destination to prevent the spread of non-native plants and animals.
Thoroughly cleaning your dirt bike after every ride prevents the spread of invasive species and keeps our riding lands open.
Written By: AndrewT