To the trails!
Summer winding down and the racing season coming to an end doesn't mean you have to put your dirt bike away. Trail riding becomes quite popular in the fall as riders enjoy cooler weather and take in a bit of nature and scenery.
But I don't have a trail bike.
Well, you don't need a straight-up trail bike. With a few modifications you can turn your Motocross bike into a trail eating machine without permanently altering your ride for next year's gate drops. Heck, you don't have to do anything if you don't want but we'd advise adding some reinforcements and bringing along some extra gear to ensure a long and successful day trail riding.
Trail Accessories for Your MX Dirt Bike
Put on a skid plate. And, not that cheap flimsy one that came stock. Some dirt bikes come with a skid plate others don't. If yours came with one take it off and put on a real one. Trail riding takes you places untouched by the Motocross track which includes riding over large boulders and tree stumps. A strong, sturdy skid plate saves your engine casing from significant damage.
You may already ride with hand guards, many racers do, so if so, feel free to move along. If you opt out installing hand guards, well then, we will see you the day after because after enduring an afternoon of angry tree branches whipping at your hands you probably won't get out and ride until you get some protection.
Acerbis X-Factor Handguards
Body Parts and Other Bike Protection
A true switchover from a Motocross bike to a trail bike includes a full set of armor:
- Master Cylinder guards
- Disc guards
- Linkage guards
- Pipe/exhaust guards
- Lower fork guards
- Swingarm protector
Riding trails feels much like navigating a minefield at times and at any time you can get bit. Familiarity with the terrain you plan to ride helps in making some of these decisions that add parts to your dirt bike and extra cost to your planned excursion. If trail riding turns even part-time invest in some extra armor so you have something to ride next summer when the gates drop.
If you expect multiple outings on to the trails then swap out the MX tires you currently ride with a pair girded for the off-road. Check out selections from Goldentyre and Artrax that keep you on two wheels without breaking your budget. And while you have the tires removed...
Heavy Duty Tubes
Michelin Bib Mousse
East to install and once you hit the trails you will know why we suggest adding a kickstand to your Motocross bike.
Depending on where you ride state law might require the use of a spark arrestor. Don't risk a fine or worse, forfeiting your bike to the authorities, because you screamed around the trails on your race exhaust.
Tools and Parts
If anything goes wrong at the Motocross track you have a short walk back to the pits and a quick fix. Trail riding doesn't afford you the luxury of having tools and parts at your disposal so you need to bring along the basics to at least get you home if things run awry.
Small and compact, taking a spark plug offers easy insurance in case your current one fouls. And for a few dollars more, a spark plug protector keeps it secure and clean. You'll want a spark plug wrench too.
While you eat up miles of trails, the trails get their fill from bolts, nuts and washers that fall off your bike. A small hardware kit holds at least one of each of the most common bolts, buts, washers and screws that keep your dirt bike together but often find a new home embedded in terra firma somewhere. Skip the zip ties or steering with one hand while the other holds on to an unattached part and put your bike back together as it belongs.
A set of hand tools comes in handy at this point as using your fingers to tighten a bolt doesn't exactly bode well to prevent the same thing from happening. Grab a Trail T-Handle set that conveniently stores a compact T-handle and a set of sockets that answer the call when you need it most far away from the ship at home. A spool of safety wire also comes in handy if the grips begin to slip and need reinforcing or a crash takes out a spoke (use the wire to attach the broken spoke to an unbroken spoke) or damages exhaust bolts.
The Extras Only Trail Riding Demands
Trail riding not only requires a different set-up and style of riding, but parts and gear you'd never bring on to the Motocross track. Don't think of the following as must-haves but more like convenient necessities that if you were 20 miles away from camp and suddenly needed you'd give anything to have at your fingertips.
You probably already wear a hydration pack. If not you need one so check them out here. But what about extra fuel for your bike? Not exactly a hydration pack but a fuel bladder allows you to safely and conveniently haul along extra fuel, just in case, or to keep going another hour. The Giant Loop Gas Bag Fuel Safe Bladder holds one or two gallons (your choice of size) and easily refills your fuel tank for continued riding.
First Aid Kit
You can get your bike patched up but what about you in the event of a get-off? First, that's why we'd recommend never riding alone. Second, always carry a first aid kit to address minor cuts and sprains.
Now you can blaze some new trails off the track. We don't want you to feel the need to tap into your racing funds in order to enjoy a day of trail riding. Consider much of the suggestions above as safeguards to ensure a productive day on the trails. As you ride expect to find the trails an extension of the race track that challenges you with varying terrain and new obstacles that requires a different approach by you and a separate configuration from your dirt bike.
Love the trails? Check out the following articles to help get you up to speed:
- How To Convert a Motocross Dirt Bike to a Trail Dirt Bike
- Top Off-Road Dirt Bike Modifications
- The Do's & Don'ts of Trail Riding: Dirt Bikes & ATVs
- 10 Reasons You Should Trail Ride Rather than Race
Written By: AndrewT