How to Fix a Dirt Bike With No Spark: Step-by-Step Guide

Nothing is more disappointing than trying to start your dirt bike, hoping for a ride only for you to realize your dirt bike won’t start. Trying to figure out what the issue is with your bike can be even more frustrating. If you are a rider, it’s only a matter of time before you experience this “no spark” condition.

To fix a dirt bike with no spark, you must remove the spark plug from the cylinder block, put it back in the ignition coil, and kick start the bike to check for the spark. If there is no spark, replace the plug with a new one and double-check all the electric components and repeat the process.

The rest of this article will list a step-by-step guide to fix a dirt bike without a spark and discuss other topics related to this question.

Start With the Rather Obvious Issues

Confirm you have fuel in your tank. Most riders will check the fuel gauge, which may display a full tank. It is, however, worth noting that gauges can malfunction. Listen for a slosh of gas in the tank when you joist your bike before assuming the worst. If you confirm there is fuel in your tank, you can go ahead to check for other components.

While ensuring the kill switch is off looks quite apparent, your bike may fail to start. Most riders rarely use the kill switch; therefore, leave it on after use and forget to switch it off, or someone else might have flipped it on by mistake. Consequently, it is worth checking since the engine is cut off when the kill switch is on, meaning it cannot start. Besides, checking out the kill switch will only take you a minute and could save you lots of time.

Make sure to engage the clutch before you start the bike. This might be common knowledge to an experienced rider; however, a newbie may easily forget about it. It could be the reason why your motorcycle won’t start. It is also possible that your clutch switch is damaged. Pumping the clutch a few times could help you reset the switch; however, you may need a more permanent solution, maybe a clutch replacement.

If your bike has a fuel valve, ensure that it is set to an on position. If it is set in the wrong position, your bike will not start. Please turn it on, and then give it a few minutes for the carburetor float bowls to fill.

Check if the Battery Is Good

After you have ensured that all the basics are set, it’s time to check if the battery is okay. Your battery could be the issue if you have the following signs:

  • Dim running lights
  • You hear a clicking noise every time you turn your key
  • A short-lived crack of the starter

If you are still not sure if your battery is in good condition, then it is time to inspect and test it. A visual inspection of the battery will involve the following steps:

  1. Check for a broken terminal.
  2. Check the battery for leaks.
  3. Look for bumps or cracks on the battery case.

If all is okay, it is time to check for the voltage. You can decide to do it yourself or take your battery to an auto shop. You will use a digital voltmeter to load test the battery. The voltage readings of your battery should read between 9.5 and 10.5 for approximately 30 seconds. If the readings stay stable, your battery is all good, and your bike most probably has another issue. 

Fortunately, it still does not mean you have to call a mechanic or cancel your trip. There are still other things you can troubleshoot to find out why your bike will not start.

Check Your Spark Plugs

The no-spark issue is statistically one of the most common problems for riders. You should note that it does not mean you start disassembling your bike right away. The very first place to start is your spark plugs. 

To test your spark plugs:

  1. Remove plugs from the cylinder head.
  2. Plug them into the plug cap.
  3. Holding the plug up to the head bolt, turn over the engine.
  4. A yellow or blue spark bridging the gap signifies that the spark is strong enough to ignite the cylinder’s fuel/air mixture.
  5. In case there is no spark or the spark is too weak, consider charging your plugs and try again.
  6. If the spark seems strong, but your bike still won’t start, you will need to keep testing. 

You can also visually inspect your plug wires and caps to ensure that they are okay. Usually, your bike will still run even when they are in bad shape; however, you will not have a smooth ride. You must make spark plugs checking a part of your routine maintenance as it will improve your bike’s general condition.

Sometimes, the spark plug might be okay; however, the connections to it might be faulty. Ensure that you inspect both the spark plug and the connections to it, to make sure that everything is good before you check another thing.

Ensure That Your Bike Is Turned On

This may seem obvious, but it should be noted that the ignition switch can fail. Newer bike models have an anti theft feature that prevents the bike from starting when the switch is bypassed by hot wiring. The switch must be turned on for the bike to start. When switched on, the multi-tester will display a positive electric flow from the switch to the coil. If this is not the case, then it is a sign the switch is broken.

Ensure That the Power Leaving the Switch Gets to the Spark Plug Caps

In step 2, you ensured there was power leaving the switch. Now, you will need to ensure that this power is reaching the spark plug caps. For this test, you will need to use a bulb tester or a multimeter. The tester will display an on and off reading for every engine revolution. If there is no record of an alternating flow of current, you may need to replace the spark plug wire or the spark plug cap.

Ensure Your Battery Is Fully Charged

Sometimes with a no spark situation, the problem is not severe; it could be a little as an undercharged battery. Therefore, it is imperative to check every component of your bike without jumping to any premature conclusions. An undercharged battery will not be able to build up enough cranking speed making ignition impossible.

Check your battery to ensure it is fully charged. If it is fully charged and your bike still does not start, you can go on and check elements of the ignition system.

Carry Out a Wiring Inspection

Make use of a wiring diagram to carry out an inspection. The wiring diagram of your dirt bike can be found online. Every wire should have continuity between its terminals. Get a visual of every wire, its connection as well as its path. Also, ensure that it is secured; use your finger to ensure it feels tight. A ground wire should be continuous to the ground, while non-ground wires should not have continuity.

However, the wires should have continuity with themselves at the system. A wire without continuity creates an open circuit, which will cause the ignition system to act as if the pickup coil is faulty, resulting in a no spark condition. A dirt bike is often exposed to harsh conditions that could easily cause an open or a grounded circuit, broken insulation, which leads to a no spark condition. 

Statistically, wiring problems are more common than component problems. It’s thus imperative that you inspect your wiring thoroughly. Motorcycles have fuses that can blow just like in a car. Having a fuse kit with you is essential as you will be able to replace the blown fuse. If your fuses keep blowing after you have replaced them, this could sign a more serious electrical issue in your bike’s wiring. 

Check the Fuel System

Your bike may not start because of fuel issues, especially if stored for a long time. The fuel in your fuel tank could destabilize over time and therefore fail to combust. In this case, all you need is fresh gas in your tank to have your engine come to life. 

When your bike has been stored for a long time, its fuel system is likely to dry out, resulting in cracks and plugging of the fuel filters. These will result in less fuel or none at all, passing through and causing your bike not to start. 

Once you have identified the issue is with a clogged petcock, rattling the petcock could help dislodge a blockage. However, you might need a deep cleaning or a replacement before your bike can start and run again.

Your bike may also fail to start because it is flooded. If this is the case, the solution is to unflood your engine. Follow these steps to unflood your engine:

  1. Remove the spark plugs.
  2. Turn off the choke and turn over the motor until the excess gas has dissipated.
  3. If you are not in a hurry, you can allow your bike some time for the extra fuel to evaporate.

Besides fuel, your dirt bike will need air to start and run. Your motorcycle needs the right amount of air mixing with the fuel. A broken vacuum line can cause too much air to get into the combustion chamber, which will alter the fuel/air mixture, causing the engine to fail to ignite. Ensure you check for holes or a crack on your vacuum lines. Resealing the cracks and holes will solve your problem.

Sometimes, resealing may not be possible, which may force you to have a replacement before you can have your bike running again. It is also possible for your issue to be too little air. Ensure that air can pass through your filter; in case there is an issue here, cleaning your filter could quickly fix up the problem.

Test the Specific Component of the Ignition System

Sometimes troubleshooting the general problems will not be enough. To conduct specific components testing, you will require a few tools, a multimeter that will be used to measure the voltage as well as resistance, and a PVA to enable the multimeter to read the rhythmic voltage, where the voltage fluctuates significantly over a short time.

  1. Spark plugs should be installed in the cylinder; functional plugs should also be installed on the caps.
  2. Ensure that the spark plugs on the caps are grounded to the engine.
  3. Place all the ignition circuit buttons in the run position.
  4. Plug-in the connector to be tested for peak voltage.
  5. Use the electric starter or kick-starter to turn over the engine.
  6. Use the multimeter and Peak Voltage Adapter (PVA) to measure the peak voltage. 
  7. In case the peak voltage is not within the specified range, test other possible locations such as the crank position; test the sensor peak voltage at this position as well as the ECM connector.

Use your service booklet to inspect the ignition coils, including peak voltage testing and resistance testing. In case the peak voltage testing specifications are not provided, measure the primary resistance between the ignition primary coil’s two terminals. If the loop has only a single terminal, measure the primary resistance between the terminal and the ground.

Additionally, test out the secondary resistance between the principal ignition terminal and the spark plug top. If the ignition has two spark plug wires, test the secondary coil resistance between the two plug caps. Check the resistance with the caps removed from the wires; also replace the ignition spark plug, coil, wires, or caps if the resistance is out of range.

Next, you need to check the pickup coil, exciter coil, and crank position sensor for peak voltage and resistance following your service manual. Please check this from multiple locations such as the ECM connector and the coil connector. This way, you will determine if the element is running correctly, as well as if the wiring is in one piece.

You will also be required to inspect the switches in the starting system to ensure continuity and ensure using your service booklet or wiring illustration. Generally, the controls involved include the ignition switch, side stand button, gear position switch, tip-over, and the reverse override, among other safety switches in the ignition system. In case of faulty switches, make sure to replace them and their corresponding wiring.

Determine Whether the ECU or ICM Is Faulty

In most cases, the only way to determine that the ECU or the ICM is faulty is by ruling out all other possibilities; resistance checks for the Ignition Control Module (ICM) or the Engine Control Unit (ECU) are carried out only on rare cases. Unfortunately, most riders want to jump onward and conclude that the ICM or ECU is faulty without inspecting the whole system. 

The truth is that a corrupt wire is a more likely cause for your trouble than a defective component. Therefore, it is essential that you trust the process and first inspect the system without rushing to any conclusions. Do not consider replacing your ICM or ECU lest you are entirely sure it is the faulty one. 

Bear in mind that this is only possible if you have carried out a full diagnostic to ensure that every ignition structure, components, wires, switches, and connectors are perfect. If you jump to conclusions, you may end up spending a lot of money and time unnecessarily.

The following is a video on how to fix a dirt bike with no spark:

Things You Shouldn’t Do When Trying to Start Your Bike

There are quite a number of things you should do to troubleshoot your bike; however, there are some that you should not try.

  • Do not overlook the small things. There are some seemingly simple things to consider when your bike will not start and end up saving you both time and money. Start with the straightforward stuff before you head to the complicated stuff.
  • Do not jump start the battery with a car. You might feel tempted to check if the reason for your bike’s failure to start is the battery, and you might want to jumpstart it like you would your car. Note that jumpstarting your battery might not be the way to go as the spike in voltage could fry your microprocessor and your bike system due to the voltage difference.
  • Do not void your warranty. If you have a warranty for your bike, avoid rendering it void by carrying out repairs. Avoid taking measures that go against your warranty terms; instead, get approval from the dealership or manufacturer first.

Conclusion

Having a dirt bike that won’t start can be frustrating but before you lose your mind over it, take your time to cross off some of the simple pre-trip list things. Sometimes you will manage to get your bike running again without much of a hassle, but sometimes you will need professional help. These steps will help you figure out what could be wrong with your bike and get repairs started.

ATV or Dirt Bike for Kids?

Maybe you grew up riding both ATVs and dirt bikes and are torn because you love both or you might be completely new to the sport and might not have a clue where to start and that’s ok. When it comes to your child, understandably, you would want to do a thorough analysis of each of these off-road rides before deciding which one is best suited for your kid and we are here to guide you.  

Deciding on a ATV or a dirt bike depends on factors like age, previous experience, and how the kid intends to use it. ATVs are great for someone who is a beginner and offers greater comfort in riding, while dirt bikes offer more suspension travel, can have greater speed, and quicker acceleration.

This article discusses in detail the various factors affecting the safety, ease, and durability of these two machines. It will help you understand the benefits that each of the bikes offers as well as inform you of the things you need to be aware of so that you can make an informed decision. Keep on reading to find out more about some of these major differences that set the two rides apart.

It Is Easier to Learn ATV

It has been seen that ATVs are much easier to learn compared to dirt bikes. All your kids will need is a basic set of instructions, and they will be all set to go for a ride. A dirt bike, on the other hand, will require your kids to invest more time in understanding the instructions, and it may take up to a few days before they can actually ride the bike.

Additionally, there is a much lower chance of crashing on an ATV, whereas with a dirt bike, you should just plan on knowinging they are going to crash. Knowing this means you could take more preventive measures by buying more safety gear. In this video, you can see the set of instructions that your kid can follow to learn how to ride an ATV:

ATVs Are an All-Terrain Vehicle

ATVs can be used for longer periods of the year compared to dirt bikes. For instance, ATVs can do quite alright on light snow while dirt bikes can’t handle snow and ice the same.

So, if you live in a cold climate that sees snowfall during the winter, then opting for an ATV will be wiser. ATVs will be able to get far more traction on the ground than a dirt bike, and so it will be more stable than a dirt bike.

ATVs Are Less Prone to Crashing Compared to Dirt Bikes

The likelihood of crashes happening with ATVs is far lesser compared to dirt bikes. ATVs are encouraged for leisurely outings on trails and farmlands where the possibilities of a crash are less likely. To ensure safety, kids should not be encouraged to go too fast too soon and push the limits of the vehicle. For this purpose, ATV bikes make more sense than dirt bikes.

ATV or Dirt Bike: Which Is Safer?

ATVs usually feel safer as they are steadier when riding compared to dirt bikes. They are relatively easier to learn as well and are often recommended for beginners. Due to these reasons, it makes the rider feel more secure.

On dirt bikes, riders often tend to be seriously injured with broken bones and sustaining injuries that are more than just a scratch. Sometimes, during a crash, the rider is flung off, resulting in further grievous injuries.

As an added safety measure, you can use the right gear when you are on your ATV or dirt bike. Investing in GV Driving Mirror Glasses is a good option.

Helmets are another important piece of gear that you need to invest in in order to ensure the safety of your kid. The ILM Youth Kids Helmet is lightweight and incredibly durable, making it a great investment for your kid’s ATV adventures.

ATVs Have More Functional Value Than Dirt Bikes

Dirt bikes do not allow for carrying any equipment or provide any sort of storage solution. ATVs are a better choice in this regard and is being used often when going out for camping trips. Carrying things at the back of a dirt bike seems quite impossible, but with ATVs, you could easily carry a small tent. Due to these reasons, the functional value of ATV rates is higher than a dirt bike.

It Is Easier to Carry Dirt Bikes

If you are planning a weekend trip where you plan on going quad biking, dirt bikes are easier to haul because of their lightweight. ATVs, on the other hand, are far more heavyweight and will not be easy to carry at the back of a truck or van if you are going away for the weekend.

A dirt bike weighs 200 lbs while an ATV weighs close to three times that. This makes it easier to move and load a dirt bike around compared to an ATV.

Dirt Bikes Are Suitable for Those Seeking Adrenaline Rush

Dirt bikes are made for adrenaline junkies. It gives a rush to the rider, and they are constantly at the edge of their seat when driving a dirt bike. ATVs do not cater to this kind of adrenaline-seeking crowd. It is meant for comparatively slow-paced biking.

ATVs Can Carry Passengers

ATVs can accommodate passengers on it in addition to the rider. Though there are many ATVs out there that do not have a passenger seat, many choose to take a passenger along anyway as the ATVs have proven that it is possible to carry passengers even on a single-rider machine. This, however, is not recommended.

Dirt bikes have provision for a single-rider only. If you are planning to take your young one on a bike ride, then using an ATV over a dirt bike is recommended. Opt for ATVs that have provision for carrying passengers when you are taking your kid along.

ATVs Cost More Than Dirt Bikes

If one were to avert one’s eyes from the safety perspective for a moment and only consider the cost of the vehicle, then perhaps the dirt bike will come across as the winner. For the sake of comparison, you can look at the chart below:

MakeATV CostDirt Bike Cost
Mid-Grade Honda$7,300$4,500
Mid-Grade Suzuki$8,500$7,700
Old Mid-Grade Honda$4,700$3,000

However, it is important to note that the severity of the injury, should any occur, is likely to be far more for a dirt bike than for an ATV. So, pinching pennies when purchasing a bike may not always translate to savings in the longer run.

Conclusion

If your kid is just beginning to learn quad biking and intends to go out on leisurely rides or use it more as a functional machine, then opting for an ATV makes more sense. On the other hand, if you are looking for something that is easier to haul and ride and relatively more lightweight, then the dirt bike is a better option for your kid.

It is important to remember that no matter what you choose for your kid, you will have to ensure that all proper safety measures are taken at all times in order to avoid any mishap and make the experience more enjoyable. 

2 Stroke Dirt Bike Maintenance: A Complete Guide

2-stroke dirt bikes are amazing machines with a power band all their own making for a very unique riding experience. 2-strokes are said to be somewhat maintenance free but that doesn’t mean that you can just keep getting on and riding without ever giving it any love.

2-stroke dirt bike maintenance involves cleaning the air filter, checking the oil, maintaining the carburetor, cleaning and lubricating the cables, chain, and sprocket, and keeping everything clean and free of mud and dirt after every ride.

Read on to learn more about how a 2-stroke dirt bike works, signs that you may be neglecting maintenance, and some essential maintenance tips to ensure everything is working properly and you get to ride and enjoy your bike.

How Does a 2-Stroke Dirt Bike Work?

A 2-stroke dirt bike engine fires and produces power, once for each revolution of the crankshaft. Every time the piston goes up, it’s filled with a balanced combination of petrol and oil. That combination is compressed, and the spark plug ignites it, which results in an explosion. That action forces the piston to go back down, and the process repeats itself. 

What Is the Difference Between a 2-Stroke and a 4-Stroke?

The difference between these two engines is the combustion cycle process depends on the frequency the piston moves up and down during every cycle. 

For a 2-stroke engine, the whole combustion cycle requires one piston stroke to be completed. There is a compression stroke and an explosion of the compressed fuel. The return stroke means the exhaust is let out, which allows fresh fuel mixture to get into the cylinder. The spark plugs will fire every single revolution, and this produces power once every two strokes of the piston.

What’s more, you need oil to be pre-mixed in with the fuel with 2-stroke engines.

However, for a 4-stroke engine, the piston completes two strokes during each revolution. That involves one exhaust stroke and one compression stroke. They are each followed by a return stroke. The spark plugs fire once every other revolution, and this produces power every four strokes of the piston.

The 4-stroke engine does not need pre-mixing of oil and fuel as it has a separate compartment for the oil. 

Lack of proper maintenance will not only cost you in terms of the fees for replacing the parts, but it could also mean you may not enjoy your ride as much as you’d like. Below are some essential maintenance tips.

Engine Maintenance

The engine of a dirt bike plays a critical role in the overall performance of your dirt bike. The advantage of 2-stroke engines is that they don’t have valves, something that reduces their weight. They also have low output in horsepower and fire once each revolution. 2-stroke engines can function in any position as oil flow isn’t a problem. 

On the downside, 2-stroke engine parts wear out a lot. These engines also use more fuel, which means dealing with a lot of pollution. Failure to maintain the engine means you would need to replace the parts often, which is expensive. 

Signs You Need to Maintain Your Engine

Some of the signs that you may be neglecting your engine include:

  • Diminishing engine power. If you’ve noticed that engine power has diminished, this could be due to a clogged air cleaner, restricted fuel flow in the carburetor, worn rings, worn valves and seats, ignition problems, leaking gaskets, or a stuck valve. 
  • Hard to start engine. Another indication of a dirt bike engine maintenance problem is when starting your bike becomes an issue. That could be attributed to a stuck valve, worn valves, worn rings, ignition problem, leaking gaskets, the decompression system could be out of adjustment, or the cam timing could be off. 
  • Noisy top end. A loose cam chain, worn cam bearings, a worn cam chain guide, or out of spec valve clearances could all result in a noisy top end. 
  • White smoke. When a head gasket starts leaking, you may notice white smoke as soon as the engine starts burning coolant. 
  • Blue smoke. Blue smoke is an indication that the valve seals could be allowing oil to leak past them. Also, the piston rings may no longer be sealing correctly. 
  • Creamy engine oil. Creamy engine oil is an indication that moisture could be getting into the engine oil. Too much moisture in the oil should be a concern as this shows the water pump seal could be leaking.
  • Engine consumes oil. If you notice that your engine is consuming too much oil, it could be entering into the combustion chamber from worn piston rings or worn valve seals.
  • Big pieces of metal in the engine oil. Although metallic particles can be found in engine oil, large metal pieces could indicate damaged parts.
  • Engine that vibrates excessively. Worn counterbalance bearings, out of place crankshaft, a loose clutch, or a mistimed counterbalancer could cause excessive engine vibration. 
  • Noisy bottom end. Bottom end noise could be due to gears that are lubricated improperly, damaged stuck bearings, and a worn bushing and needle bearing between the clutch basket.

Tips on Engine Maintenance

Engine maintenance involves engine oil, air filters, and coolant.

Engine Oil

Dirt bike engines are small and work more with high compression ratios. 2-Stroke dirt bike engines require frequent oil changes. You should change the engine oil every ten hours of riding. It doesn’t matter the type of oil you choose as the frequency is more essential.

Pressure and heat can break down oil, and this leaves the engine vulnerable to heat buildup and performance loss. 

Changing oil on a 2-stroke dirt bike is simple. It takes a few minutes, and it’s one of the critical maintenance procedures. 

Below is a step by step guide on how to change oil.

  1. Start with a clean bike. Always start with a clean bike. You can warm up the bike as oil drains well when hot. All you need is to take the dirt bike for a spin and turn it off.
  2. Unscrew the oil cap. Place the bike upright and unscrew the oil cap on the engine casing. Ensure that no dirt drops into the transmission.
  3. Drain the oil. Put a bucket under the bike and unscrew the drain plug. That will allow the oil to drain out. You need to ensure you get rid of the oil by tilting the bike from side to side.
  4. Screw the drain plug. Once you drain out all the oil, it’s time to screw the drain plug back. Make sure that you don’t over tighten it or cross thread as this could damage the drain plug. Replace the drain plug if it gets damaged. 
  5. Put the transmission oil. Use the top filler hole to pour in the recommended amount of transmission oil. Your manual should tell you the correct amount. A few bikes allow you to check the oil levels through the check bolt on the side that you can unscrew. 
  6. Screw the oil cap. Wipe any dirt from the oil cap. Check if the washer is in proper condition to make sure it seals tightly. Screw the oil cap back, but don’t over tighten it. 

Air Filters

Air filters play a critical role in your dirt bike engine performance. A dirty air filter means airflow is affected, which means your bike won’t function as expected. What’s more, they can damage the engine by allowing dirt particles in the combustion chamber. These particles end up scratching the chamber and messing up with the piston and other parts.

The air filter could also collect moisture, and that means interfering with air filtration. That’s why it’s critical to inspect your air filter regularly. When checking your air filter pay attention to the filter oil coverage, and check for the presence of sand and silt. 

It’s recommended to clean the air filter after every ride to avoid wearing out the engine. A simple way to do this is to follow these simple steps:

  1. Get a cleaner, oil, and rim grease.
  2. Put some caps of the cleaner into warm water.
  3. Dip the dirty air filter into the warm water.
  4. Avoid turning and twisting the filter as this could damage it.
  5. Squeeze the filter and rinse it off under running water.
  6. Remove any excess water and allow it to dry.
  7. Apply oil on the filter evenly once it’s dried completely.
  8. Don’t forget to clean the rim and apply rim grease.
  9. Put the air filter back and enjoy your ride.

Coolant

Having sufficient coolant in the radiator is critical as this is what ensures the engine remains cool always. You may have changed your engine oil and cleaned out the air filter, but failure to have enough coolant could damage your engine.

Make sure you have enough coolant before each ride. If you can’t spot the level of the fluid, that means you have insufficient coolant, and you need to fill it up. When it’s too hot outside, this equals heat. Flush the radiator and put some coolant. 

Brake and Brake Pads Maintenance

Another part you should never neglect when doing maintenance is the brake and brake pads of your dirt bike. Front brake pads undergo harsh conditions and are responsible for most of the work. That’s why it’s essential to inspect the brakes and brake pads regularly to ensure you get the strongest performing braking system.

Having functional front brakes comes in handy when you are hitting the ramps since stopping distances are tight when competing. 

Front Brakes Maintenance

Start by checking the hydraulic system for adequate pressure or leaks. Simply grab the front brake lever and squeeze it to check for pressure. Inspect the front brake system from the master cylinder to the caliper, while checking for signs of dirt accumulation or wetness. 

After inspection, here are some tips on how to maintain brakes for smooth functionality:

  • Replace brake fluid. It is time to replace the brake fluid if it’s old or dirty. The fluid absorbs moisture and may require flushing. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when replacing the fluid.
  • Adjust the brake lever. Placing your brake lever incorrectly can lead to the constant pressure of the pads on the rotor. Also, you may be dealing with insufficient pressure. Check to ensure it is adjusted, and everything works correctly. 
  • Clean the brake pads. Clean up the brake system and the brake pads when cleaning the rest of the bike. 
  • Clean the clutch cables. The clutch cables are critical parts of your dirt bike. These cables offer access to vital controls, and that’s why you need to keep them in good condition if you plan on using your bike for a long time. You need to clean and lubricate the throttle and clutch cables after every ride. 
  • Lubricate the clutch cables. When cleaning and lubricating the cables, you need to remove the cable from the lever and perch. Disconnect the carburetor end when dealing with throttle cables and use a standard contact cleaner to do the flushing as this will clean off any grime and dirt. Also, lubricating the cables prolongs the longevity of your cables and prevents the accumulation of mud and dust. 

Chain and Sprocket Care

Another essential aspect of a 2-stroke dirt bike maintenance is the chain and sprocket care. Sprockets are critical as they help transfer power to the rear wheel through the help of a drive chain. The sprockets need to endure heavy energy loads and maintain structural functionality. 

With this regular stress, the result is constant pressure on the rear sprockets and countershaft. The parts begin to wear out. Avoid riding on dry chains and sprockets as this only damages the bike. It’s advisable to lubricate the chain and sprockets if you are looking for a smooth riding experience. 

Inspect your bike for any signs of wear and tear in the chains of your dirt bike. In case of any tear, replace the chain to avoid any accidents. Waterproof lube works best for 2-stroke dirt bike chains as it doesn’t wash away. 

Check the Transmission Fluid

Most transmission problems on a dirt bike start with the transmission fluid. The fluid resembles the engine oil as a few dirt bike models use similar oil in the transmission. Check to see if the transmission fluid is fresh and clear. 

A dark brown or black cloudy oil shows that the transmission oil is overdue for a replacement, and you need to replace it. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when replacing the fluid. Furthermore, you should always check the transmission fluid level a day before riding. 

Running the dirt bike with low transmission fluid could damage the internal components and lead to overheating. Low transmission fluid levels also cause wear and tear on the clutch and gears. Check the manual to know the type of oil to use and when to change the transmission fluid. 

Pipe Maintenance

The pipes are prone to corrosion and rust due to exposure to weather and road conditions. Moreover, the part between the cylinder and exhaust spigot that contains the rubber O-ring is often overlooked. 

Check the seal for cracks and other problems. It’s advisable to replace the O-ring. You can use silicone if the new ring doesn’t fit properly. 

Spoke Maintenance

Spokes often get lost, and also sometimes they can break, leading to a crash. In some cases, the spokes can get caught up in another part of the wheel. You need to check and tighten the spokes if you get a new wheel or when you have a new bike. 

When it comes to inspecting the spokes, you need to avoid going through every spoke in a row as this could make the wheel get out of true. Once you’ve tightened the first spoke, skip the next two, and check the third spoke. That means you’ll go through the spokes three times around the wheel. In case of any loose spoke, your wheel won’t be going out of true when you go around it three times.

Another thing to note is to not over tighten the loose spokes as this could get the wheel out of true. Tighten the loose spokes equally to ensure that it stays in place. A spoke torque wrench is a fantastic tool to help you tighten the spokes properly. Read the owner’s manual to understand how to tighten each spoke based on the recommended torque setting. 

Carburetor Care and Maintenance

The carburetor is the part likely to fail first if left unchecked. It keeps your dirt bike functioning at peak efficiency. Having a dirty carburetor affects performance, and this could make your bike fail to function.

Some of the signs that indicate it’s time to clean the carburetor include:

  • An engine that fails to starts
  • The engine begins to run lean when the balance of gas and fuel is thrown off
  • Presence of dirt or debris in the carburetor, causing fuel flow out
  • An engine that runs rich shows the fuel is excess, and there is insufficient air

Get the required tools before you remove the carburetor and disassemble it. You need to get: 

  • Safety gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • A service manual
  • A wrench
  • Compressed air
  • A socket wrench
  • A small screwdriver
  • A hex key
  • Rags
  • A carburetor cleaner
  • A low strength thread locker 

Start by cleaning the carburetor. However, you need to be careful. The service manual will tell you the specific tools and their size required for cleaning. 

What you need to do then is to remove the carburetor from your dirt bike. However, before that, turn off the primary fuel supply and use a tiny screw in the bike’s chamber base and a hose to drain the float chamber. Here are the next steps:

  1. Remove the slide and control cable once you’ve removed the carburetor from the engine.
  2. Turn the carburetor upside down and locate the four screws that house the float chamber.
  3. Remove the screws and use the handle of your screwdriver to loosen the chamber from the gasket.
  4. Once you remove the float chamber, you’ll see the primary jet, main floats, and jets. Remove the floats as they are delicate. 
  5. Remove the air or fuel adjusting screw in the bike’s carburetor.
  6. Check the location of the screws to determine the type your carburetor has. 

Some of the steps you should take to clean the carburetor include:

  1. Clean the float bowl. Get a carb cleaner and a rag. Use this to clean the float bowl, while checking all other components of the carburetor. 
  2. Flush out all the holes. The next step is to flush out the holes in the carburetor’s body. You can use a carburetor cleaner and compressed air to blow through these holes. Ensure that you use goggles to cover your eyes from the dirt particles and fluids that may splash from the holes.
  3. Reinstall the carburetor. The process of assembling the carburetor is similar to the disassembly process. The only thing different is that you need to check the float heights before reconnecting the float chamber. You’ll need to fine-tune the air adjusting screw every time you assemble the bike carburetor. Once you’ve reattached the carburetor and started the engine, give it time to warm up to normal temperature.

Reed Maintenance

Does your 2-stroke dirt bike always become hard to start, or do you experience carbon deposits on the exhaust opening? That could indicate an issue with your reed. Failure to check the outer corners and surfaces of the reed located within the reed cage could affect your dirt bike performance.

Monitor the reeds when you start experiencing problems with your bike. The other alternative would be to replace the reed pedals. 

Remove the screws that hold the pedal in place and install a new pedal. All you need is a screwdriver. Use a thread-locking agent on the screws to fit them in place. Moreover, use a fresh gasket when installing the reed cage back in the motor. 

Spark Plug Maintenance

The spark plug determines the running condition of your dirt bike’s engine. Cold spark plugs are used on high rpm engines, while hot plugs are used on low rpm engines. If you are having issues with fouling, you should use the stock heat range plug as a start point.

On 2-stroke dirt bikes, oil is mixed into the gasoline, something that allows the spark plug to foul out quicker than 4-stroke dirt bikes. Nonetheless, this is dependent on carb tuning. You’ll need to tune the carb on the rich side to hasten along the plug’s fouling. 

Avoid replacing the plug far outside the recommended heat range. Also, it’s best to have a spare spark plug on hand for the unexpected days. Remember that elevation affects spark plugs on 2-stroke dirt bikes because of tuning. That means it will foul faster when you overstretch your dirt bike limits. 

Another point of concern is that bad spark plugs could interfere with your dirt bike’s performance. Some signs of a bad dirt bike spark plugs include:

  • Having a flooded engine
  • A misfiring motorcycle
  • Dealing with backfiring
  • Physical indicators like rust, burn marks, corrosion, and broken tips

All of the above show that you are dealing with bad spark plugs, and you may need to replace them. 

Aging is one reason why your spark plugs could go bad. With time, the plug’s knobs on the end wear out due to sparking. A bike that detonates gas too late or too early means that all the back pressure builds up on the spark plug.

It’s recommended to replace the spark plug every five years. Fortunately, they are simple and affordable to replace. 

Plastic Maintenance

Your dirt bike comes with fenders, mudguards, and side paneling. All these plastic parts help to protect your bike from debris and dirt. These plastics also come in handy in case of a crash. The last thing you want is faded or dull-looking plastics on your bike.

It’s critical to clean the plastic regularly and keep them in top shape to prevent them from deteriorating. Sometimes you may need to get plastic repair if you break the fender or shroud while you are at the track. 

The simplest way is to stitch up the plastic by drilling some holes on both sides of the crack and running zip-ties across. You’ll need to drill a hole at the end of the crack to ensure the cf an inch apart. It’s an easy and quick way to fix the repairs while on track. 

Tire Maintenance

Dirt bike tires have an inner tube that sits inside and holds air to keep the tire attached to the rim and inflated. The tire pressure ranges from 8=18 psi, that’s because some types of terrain and riding need less or more tire pressure.

One essential thing you need to do is to check your dirt bike’s tire pressure. The best way to check for pressure is to use a pressure tire gauge. Monitor the pressure at the trail or track and not at home. If you notice that your dirt bike tire doesn’t have the right pressure, you need to use a bike tire pump to hand pump. 

Dirt Bike Maintenance Schedule

Having a dirt bike maintenance schedule is essential as it helps you keep track of areas you may have overlooked. A good maintenance schedule needs to include washing, inspection, and lubrication. It should also involve cleaning the air filter, changing the engine oil, checking tire pressure, among other things. 

Conclusion

2-stroke dirt bike maintenance is simple. All you need is to check the owner’s manual on the maintenance schedule to follow. The above tips will help you keep your dirt bike in top condition and ensure you don’t have to spend too much money replacing expensive parts.

Can You Ride Dirt Bikes in National Parks?

Most of the country’s national parks look like the perfect place to crank up your dirt bike. The winding path, cutting through picturesque woods, is always very inviting, but is it legal? Are you allowed to ride in any park you choose?

You can’t ride dirt bikes in national parks. However, the laws will vary from one state to the other. Most states have banned dirt bikes and other ATVs from national parks, but some have provided recreation areas, allowing some ATV use in some parks, National Forests, and BLM land.

The rest of the article will take a look at what you need to know about riding dirt bikes in national parks and the laws guiding them. You’ll also see some of the most popular parks in the country that allow dirt bikes.

Laws Guiding National Parks and OHV Use

Two main laws are guiding against the use of Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV) such as dirt bikes on federal lands. The first one is the Executive Order 11644, February 8, 1972, which defined the types of banned vehicles from federal lands. A subsequent amendment to the order, E.O. 11989, May 24, 1977, removed military and emergency vehicles from the definition of banned vehicles.

However, the law gave the administrators of any federal land the authority to immediately close off a trail or area if dirt bikes and other OHVs are causing or can damage vegetation, soil, or wildlife in an area. 

So, if there is no way to accommodate OHV activities in a park without endangering flora and fauna, you can be sure the park will get closed off to dirt bikes, quads, and other such vehicles.

National Parks and Dirt Bikes Today

The National Park Service currently limits OHV use in the park system to these four land units:

  • National preserves
  • National lakeshores
  • National seashores
  • National recreational areas

The regulations guiding the service also require the service to make special rules, considering public comment and environmental impact analysis to come up with routes and areas for dirt bikes and other OHVs in the different parks. Their policies allow OHV use in locations that won’t have any adverse effects on the land’s cultural, natural, scenic, and aesthetic values.

The National Park Service is designed to provide enjoyment to the public, but they are also charged with conservation. Presently, they always tend to favor conservation when there’s a conflict between recreational use and preservation.

This is why the National Park Service has few lands open to dirt bikes and other OHVs compared to other agencies in charge of federal land management like the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. In 2013, the National Park Service reported over 286 million recreational visits for 2012, using OHVs soaring in popularity.

They have since designated 12 out of the 398 park units as open for ATV use. These units include the following:

  • Cape Lookout National Seashore
  • Padre Island National Seashore
  • Gulf Islands National Seashore
  • Fire Island National Seashore
  • Assateague National Seashore
  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore
  • Lake Meredith National Recreation Area
  • Cape Cod National Seashore
  • Big Cypress National Preserve
  • Gateway National Recreation Area
  • Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
  • Curecanti National Recreation Area

Different levels of use are also allowed in each of these parks.

Riding Dirt Bikes in National Forest and BLM Lands

There are no collective regulations for dirt bike or general OHV use in National Forests. This is because each forest has its specific restrictions.

This makes things a bit difficult to find out what works where, but the National Forest Service is unrivaled when it comes to providing information for where ATVs or OHVs are permitted. All you need to do is visit the specific National Forest website to see what is allowed.

Don’t know the website? A quick Google search should show you the website. Once there, click on the “Recreation” tab on the left, and then choose “OHV Riding” to see all the details you need. You can also use this resource on the Motor Vehicle Use Map for each National Forest. Everything is organized by state, making it easy to find the specific forest you’re looking for.

With BLM lands, there’s a lot more freedom on where you can ride dirt bikes. Only 6% of the BLM land (13.1 million acres) is closed off to OHV use. On the remaining lands, OHV use is restricted to either specific trails or completely free of any restrictions.

If you’re in Alaska, the bulk of the BLM lands are very much open to using, as most of them are not designated. To find out exactly what each BLM land permits is more difficult, but the BLM maps site does a decent job.

The Best Location for a Legal Dirt Bike Park Experience

Are you looking for the perfect place to go for an outdoor adventure with your dirt bike without worrying about breaking the law? You’ll find some of the best below:

Taylor Park, Colorado

Taylor Park is a top dirt bike riding location that attracts many enthusiasts all year round. This mountain playground has everything you need for a great riding experience. When you want a break for your bike, you can go fishing or unwind at the designated camping grounds.

Windrock Park, Tennessee

Windrock Park holds 300 miles of trails spread over 72,000 acres. It’s the largest privately owned park in the country, welcoming all kinds of OHVs all year round.

There are trails for riders of all experience levels, so you should research carefully before deciding on the park areas to explore. Stairsteps, gavel washes, mountainside trails, it has it all. The knowledgeable locals on the ground will guide you anyway, but it doesn’t hurt to be adequately prepared.

Red River Motorcycle Park

As the name implies, this park offers over 2,500 acres geared towards dirt bikes and motorcycles. You’ll find a wide selection of moderate to advanced trails to test your skills, with surfaces made of sand, clay, rocks, etc. However, the park is only open on weekends.

The Grand Canyon National Park Arizona

The trails in this National Park are some of the most challenging you’ll experience. It’s divided into a North and South Rim, with the latter typically the busier.

The North is the best if you are an experienced rider looking for a little or no disturbance while riding. However, the North Rim isn’t safe in the winter as the snow can get very deep, making it impossible to get around, let alone ride your bike.

These are just a few outdoor dirt bike trials that deliver an exhilarating experience. As you’ve seen above, most of them are not protected by the National Park Service. However, you’re sure to enjoy an experience similar to what you’ll find in most of the National Parks, or better, especially compared to the National Seashore Park units in the list above.

Conclusion

The National Park Service’s regulations mean you can’t ride dirt bikes in most of the 398 National Parks. However, some of the parks have been designated for some OHV use. Go over the 12 of them listed above to see if they are close to you and also have bike trails worthy of your experience level.

If you are just looking for a great outdoor experience on your bike, you can explore the National Forests and BLM land in your area using the tips we’ve covered above. Alternatively, you can visit some of the private or local parks in your area.

Why Do Dirt Bikes Have Large Front Wheels? 18-Inch vs. 19-Inch

There are all sorts of mysterious features on dirt bikes that might make you wonder why they exist. The differences between the front and back tires are one of the most common questions from beginners. After all, it could lead you to believe that you’d be slanted backward when you’re riding.

Dirt bikes have large front wheels because it allows you to roll over the terrain easier. The rear tires are small so you can accelerate quicker. If you’re trying to choose between 18-inch and 19-inch wheels, know that 18-inch wheels provide more control, whereas 19-inch wheels have more comfort.

Throughout this article, you’ll also learn the following information about why dirt bikes have large front tires:

  • Various reasons that people have different-sized tires on their bike
  • Comparisons between 18-inch and 19-inch tires
  • Whether or not dirt bikes can have two of the same-sized tires

Here’s Why Your Dirt Bike Has Large Front Tires

Most dirt bikes have slightly disproportionate tires, with the larger tire sitting in the front. You might be curious why every bike you come across has this same feature. Even regular trail bikes often have slightly larger front tires, so there has to be a reason, right? You’re in luck!

Below, you’ll find five reasons that your bike’s front tires are a bit bigger than the rear tires.

  1. As mentioned by Moto Sport, the front tire is often bigger because it provides more comfort when you’re riding off-road. If you’ve ever driven on dirt, mud, snow, or sand, then you know that it’s not always the most comfortable experience. A large tire keeps it a bit smoother, allowing you to stay relaxed.
  2. Large tires have few rotations per minute, which means you’ll have more control over the situation. When you’re riding over rocky terrain, you need to have as much handling as possible. Large tires with textured surfaces provide the best control and handling that you could ask for.
  3. Since the tires in the front are large, the rear tires will inevitably be smaller. What this placement means is that you’ll be able to accelerate significantly quicker than if both tires were the same size. Small tires require less force to rotate and the surface area is small, so you’ll move much faster.
  4. The front tire takes the bulk of the impact. It’s no secret that you hit everything head-on with the front wheel, so it makes sense that it needs to be a bit bigger. The textured grooves are often slightly deeper as well, providing better traction, which leads to the aforementioned control boost.
  5. Having a big wheel in the front raises you up a bit. You’ll be able to see further, preventing you from running into rocks and other debris in your path. Furthermore, you can plan your route long before you get to your destination. Tires have quite a large range, so choose the ones that fit your preferences the most!

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to get a dirt bike with larger tires in the front. You’ll have more comfort, control, acceleration, and more. It’s an unbeatable deal for most riders.

If you want to learn about the differences between different tires sizes, then proceed to the next section.

Should You Get 18-Inch or 19-Inch Tires?

Dirt bike tires come in a wide range of sizes. If you’re getting a bike with a large front tire, then you’re likely to encounter the front tires ranging from 18 to 21 inches and the rear tires ranging from 17 to 19 inches.

Take these notes into consideration when you’re choosing between 18-inch and 19-inch front tires for your dirt bike:

Pros of 19-Inch Tires

  • As explained by BMX Mania, having the 19-inch tire upfront will allow you to have a bit smoother of a ride than the 18-inch tire. It won’t be a huge difference, but many beginners and experts will find the 19-inch tire provides optimal comfort and better handling in the long run.
  • Large tires are easier for beginners to ride with, so you’ll have a better experience if you’re new. If you’re trying to learn the ropes, consider sticking between 19 to 21-inch tires before you start moving down. Many high-end dirt bike riders stick with this range because of the aforementioned benefits.
  • These tires are typically easier to work on if you’re trying to DIY repairs and replacements. Since they’re bigger, you have much more room to use your tools and figure out how everything works. As you get more proficient in the industry, you could consider moving up or down a notch.

Pros of 18-Inch Tires

  • Although there are many benefits of 19-inch tires, there’s no denying the speed of 18-inch tires. More rotations equate to quickly accelerate, which allows you to get out of the gates slightly faster than someone with 19-inch tires. If you’re going off-road, then they might not be the best choice.
  • You’ll get a bit more power out of a smaller wheel in the front. Getting 18-inch wheels allows the engine to propel your bike over rough terrain, pushing over obstacles that might otherwise prove difficult. Note that the ride might be a bit bumpier than if you had larger tires.
  • Some people find that they have more traction with 18-inch tires, but that’s still up for debate. If you want to know which size is best for you, the only way to find out is to try them both out. Rent a dirt bike or ask a friend who has 18 or 19-inch tires so you know which set you’re more comfortable with.

FAQ

Can you feel the difference between tire sizes when you’re riding a dirt bike?

Although it might not seem like a big deal, you’ll feel the difference from getting bigger wheels. A change as small as one inch will change the way you ride and what kind of challenges you can take on. The tire size range is so small because every bit counts. It’s essential that you find the right combination for your style.

Is there a noticeable change when you upgrade the tire size?

As mentioned above, tire size changes can make a big difference. When it comes to the height of your bike, you’ll feel quite a bit higher from the smallest changes. One inch is enough to make most riders have a better view, but that doesn’t always mean it’s a better choice. You should be able to firmly plant your feet on the ground.

What size wheels should beginners ride with?

Beginners far too often think about the size of the engine rather than the size of the tires when they’re choosing a dirt bike. Your feet should be level and you need to be able to cruise over whatever terrain you’re going through. If you’re off-roading, then get bigger front tires (20-inch to 21-inch), but if you’re on a smooth dirt path, choose smaller front tires (18 to 19 inches).

Conclusion

Dirt bike tires are often forgotten when it comes to the size. People worry about all of the other specs, but the size of the front and rear tires is just as important as everything else. The front tire needs to be bigger for a smooth ride, while the rear tire offers quick acceleration.

If you’re trying to decide which tires are right for you, start by putting your feet flat on the ground. Your range can consist of any size that allows your feet to stay that way.

Apollo vs. Yamaha: Complete Dirt Bike Comparison

Dirt bikes are fast, fun, and reliable. These bikes have grown in popularity over the years, prompting many traditional manufacturers to focus their attention on them and start making them in larger numbers. The companies that are doing it for a while and who are known for their dirt bikes are Apollo and Yamaha.

Between Apollo and Yamaha, Apollo’s dirt bikes are inexpensive and provide more bang for the buck. If you don’t have the budget for relatively expensive dirt bikes, Apollo bikes will be ideal. However, if money is no concern and you want the best dirt bike, Yamaha offers both quality and variety.

Dirt bikes are ideal for off-roading; however, not all dirt bikes are made the same, and the company that makes them play an important role in how much you enjoy riding them. Yamaha and Apollo are among the two unavoidable dirt bike makers, with Yamaha being among the industry leaders. Keep reading to know how they fare against each other.

Yamaha: The Japanese Manufacturing Giant 

P.S. This comparison article intends to focus more on Apollo than Yamaha as the latter is a well-known global company that requires little to no introduction. The name “Apollo,” on the other hand, doesn’t ring a bell among non-riders as much as Yamaha does and, therefore, would be discussed at much greater length.

Yamaha is a Japanese multinational company with a diversified outlook. It’s a manufacturing conglomerate that makes a wide variety of products that include boats, scooters, water pumps, car engines, music equipment, dirt bikes, etc. Despite having its foot in a wide variety of businesses, it has managed to excel and be successful at all, at varying levels.

As far as motorbikes go, Yamaha makes a wide range of them. Head to its official website to learn how serious it is about bikes. The company has been making dirt bikes since 1955, under the Yamaha Motors motorcycle division, and has been dominating the segment ever since. Needless to say, professional racers and dirt bike enthusiasts look forward to new Yamaha dirt bike announcements and launch dates each year.

Yamaha Dirt Bikes: The Road Taken 

Having made dirt bikes for decades, Yamaha has quite the collection of racing dirt bikes in its lineup. It sells bikes in the 125cc, 250cc, and 450cc (and above) engine displacement categories. Their small, light and agile bikes have won multiple races and are known for their solid handling and suspension.

ModelEngineTransmissionMax. Speed
YZ125125cc; 2-stroke; liquid-cooled5 or 6-speed70 MPH (112 KPH)
YZ250250cc; 2-stroke; liquid-cooled5-speed89 MPH (143 KPH)
YZ400F400cc; 4-stroke; liquid-cooled5-speed80 MPH (128 KPH)
YZ426F426cc; 4-stroke; water-cooled4 or 5-speed80 MPH (128KPH)
YZ450F449cc; 4-stroke; liquid-cooled4 or 5-speed90+ MPH (145 KPH)

Kindly note, 125cc engines are considered mid-range or the norm for dirt bikes. There are, in fact, dirt bikes with 110, 70, and even 50cc engines. Those, however, cater more to pre-teens and under. Dirt bikes with engine displacements of 250cc or more are usually viewed as being in the higher end of the spectrum.

Image of a 2021 Yamaha YZ250X

Yamaha YZ250 

The Yamaha YZ250 is a two-stroke dirt bike considered iconic in the off-road racing and motocross world. This is thanks to its multiple championship wins. It, in fact, goes down as among the best dirt bikes ever made. The first YZ250 was released in 1974. The air-cooled motor was later replaced in 1982 by a liquid-cooled engine.

During the early 2000s, almost all dirt racing bike manufacturers moved on to making four-stroke engine bikes. Yamaha stuck to its guns and continued making bikes with two-stroke engines. The success of the YZ250 had a major role to play in Yamaha, maintaining its stance.

The 2020 YZ250 replaces the steel frame with an aluminum frame, bringing down the bike’s overall weight to 212 lb (96 kg) in the process. The motor outputs around 49 horsepower, ensuring a solid power-to-weight ratio. The bike is also great to tune and work on. Not to mention, it’s extremely fun to ride.  

7th Generation 2021 YZ450F

Yamaha YZ400F 

The YZ400F is often attributed with having changed the dirt bike landscape across the globe. For a long time, the two-stroke, 250cc engine models were ruling the roost and became quite the standard in the dirt bike circuit. The introduction of the YZ400F with its four-stroke, liquid-cooled engine created a thud across the industry. The bike was so ahead of its time, Yamaha’s competitors couldn’t come up with anything comparable for the next five years.

The YZ400F sort of launched the four-stroke revolution in the dirt bike racing circuit. At that time, during 1997, four-stroke dirt bikes were not taken seriously. Even though brands such as Husqvarna were making four-stroke bikes for motocross, those were not reliable and/or affordable. YZ400F was not just a dirt track-ready, four-stroke engine bike, but it also rendered two-stroke engines difficult to ride and outdated.

The Yamaha YZ400F’s claim to fame was its excellent motor. It ensured the bike ran, unlike other four-stroke bikes prior to it. The high flowing head design mated to a short stroke configuration, and an extremely lightweight slipper piston gave the motorbike a free-revving feel. The bike’s head was devoid of RPM-limiting and power-robbing features, such as rocker arms, which made it easy to rev the bike safely up to 11,000 RPM.

Kindly note, the aforementioned bikes may not be current or available for sale directly from Yamaha. However, they feature on the list because they did well during their time and set the standard for later bikes. If these bikes are not available for purchase, you can always get their more modern variants.

2nd Generation 2001 YZ426F

Yamaha YZ426F 

Launched in 2000, the YZ426F was the updated version of the YZ400F, increasing engine displacement to 426cc for greater throttle response and power. Also, the jets and carburetors were made better to address the minor starting troubles of the YZ400F.

In 2001, the original steel valves were replaced with titanium ones. They were at least 40% lighter, permitting softer and lighter valve springs. That, in turn, allowed quicker revving engines, great rev ceilings, etc.

The crankshaft was reshaped too, and the entire assembly was redesigned. Besides changes to the motor, some transmission-related modifications were made to contain power and ensure endurance. The suspension underwent minor overhauls, too, with the objective to decrease weight and ensure smoother stroke action. Carburetor tuning was altered to counter off-idle and starting difficulties.

All these overhauls and tweaks resulted in a bike that earned the “benchmark” label very soon after its release. With multiple versions of the YZ426F having been released, the bike’s success has been phenomenal, to say the least. Even Yamaha would not have expected the model to fare so well, particularly with the popular YZ400F already in its ranks.  

Apollo: The Chinese Value Proposition 

Having set up shop in 2003 in Wuyi, China, Apollo doesn’t possess the history and heritage of Yamaha and other market leaders. But it’s certainly a company growing in market size and value within its niche globally, thanks to its unbridled passion for adventure bikes.

Specializes in Adventure Bikes 

The company specializes in making off-road motorcycles, e-scooters, electric bicycles, and a variety of other recreational vehicles. Apollo is so invested in the manufacturing and sales of its products that it has dedicated production workshops for different vehicles spanning several thousand square meters.

From forging, molding, and casting to engine assembly, gear machining, painting, and welding, Apollo’s integrated manufacturing setup is capable of them all. With total assets worth more than 200 million, Apollo rolls out 200,000 motorcycles each year.

Attention to Details 

One of the major reasons why Apollo is so strong at its craft is its attention to product details. The company understands the significance of precision tolerances, proper frame geometry, and usage of metals to provide high-quality bikes that deliver excellent performance. Components fabrications are core to the business’ ethos, in fact. Since 2014, the company has been allying with like-minded businesses to boost the technical attributes of its products.

Has Dedicated Research and Testing Teams 

Apollo carries out its research and testing in-house. The company, in fact, puts a lot of emphasis on testing, design, and development. This clearly indicates the company knows what it’s doing and that it isn’t just rebadging offerings of other companies. 

Though its budgets for research aren’t as massive (yet) as some of its Japanese and European counterparts, it does manage to put in a lot of thought and effort into its bikes with its comparatively scarce resources.

Apollo’s Dirt Bikes Stable 

Apollo strives to strike the right balance between performance, fun, and price with its dirt bike offerings. The company offers multiple options, which could make it difficult for potential buyers to zero in on their ideal motorcycle. Here are some of the company’s top offerings in the dirt bike segment:

ModelEngineGear TransmissionMax. Speed
DB-X18125cc; 4-stroke; air-cooled4-speed55 MPH (88.5 KPH)
DB-X29 X-PRO250cc; 4-stroke; air-cooled5-speed70 MPH (113 KPH)
AGB-36250cc; 4-stroke; air-cooled5-speed72 MPH (115 MPH)
DB-007125cc; 4-stroke; air-cooled4-speed45 MPH (72 KPH)

Apollo DB-X18 

The Apollo DB-X18 is a well-built dirt bike equipped with a single-cylinder, four-stroke engine. It’s not the biggest dirt bike Apollo has to offer, but the motorcycle is certainly capable. It, in fact, more than makes up for its slightly underwhelming guts with its excellent power delivery and performance. Not to mention, the bike is easy to handle and maneuver even on the most challenging paths.

The 125cc air-cooled engine is middle of the range, but the four-stroke prowess clearly indicates the engine is no slouch. The smaller stance and 150 lb (68 kg) curb or kerb weight mean the bike suits people of all ages and varying sizes. However, it is more suited to amateur and intermediate riders. Teens and young adults who would like to learn to ride dirt bikes would find the DB-X18 ideal.

Apollo DB-X29 

The DB-X29, also called the X-PRO, is a 250cc bike that is bigger and more powerful compared to the DB-X18. With an 8-liter (1.8 gals) fuel capacity, the bike has a carrying capacity of up to 440 pounds (199.5 kg), which means it can shoulder up to two fully-grown adults at once. The high horsepower and torque numbers indicate the bike is almost ideal for competitive racing events.

The five-speed gearbox, large tires, great maneuverability, etc. make this bike almost ideal for riding on a variety of terrains, which include mud, dirt, and sand roads. The bike is affordable, and for its price, it offers some serious value – like most Apollo bikes.

If you thought Chinese motor vehicles are inferior, the DB-X29 would be a pleasant surprise and may even force you to reassess your preconceived thoughts. The bike affords top-quality components at a relatively low price. Not to mention, the bike is available in a range of colors, with the metallic look being the standout hue.

Apollo AGB-36

A tad too powerful for newbie riders, the Apollo AGB-36 250cc overcomes all shortcomings of its parent’s 125cc offerings. It’s an easy-to-assemble bike, despite not being at the very low end of the segment. The bike is rugged and fun to ride. The front and rear-knobby wheels are 21 and 18 inches, respectively, which ensure solid traction on a range of terrain and tracks.

The 55.9 in (142 cm) wheelbase offers great riding control and comfort. The 70 MPH (112 KPH) top speed and horsepower of 16 make it clear that the bike is not meant for serious riders. However, if you’ve been riding 125cc and much smaller dirt bikes, the AGB-36 250cc would be a solid upgrade.

P.S. The bike models mentioned above (both Yamaha and Apollo) are not purchase-recommendations. The larger objective of this comparison is to showcase the technology and prowess of the two companies and how far they’ve come over the years. If you’re out in the market to buy a bike from either, the information above shall help you make a sound purchase decision.

If you are looking to buy a dirt bike on Amazon, irrespective of price and brand, this video should be a good guide:

Apollo Dirt Bike Pros and Cons 

Before you buy an Apollo bike, here are a few things you should consider, or could be constantly reminded of by your co-riders:

Solid Value for the Money 

Apollo has managed to create a legion of fans in a short time due to its ability to churn out inexpensive bikes that are comparable to or on par with the motorcycles of bigger brands, such as Yamaha and Honda, on the performance front. If you are testing out dirt bikes, getting started with Apollo bikes makes a lot of financial sense.

Chinese Roots 

Despite offering solid products time and again, Apollo consistently gets berated for its China base. Chinese products are cheap, but they are not known for their quality. Many potential buyers, as a result, are skeptical about buying Chinese items, such as Apollo bikes. Though industry experts and insiders find these concerns valid to an extent, they feel not all are justified.

When Japanese companies first started making bikes, their bikes met with widespread skepticism and some scathing reviews in the West. Over the years, the perception changed. Japanese manufacturing and technology are now considered industry-standard.

Chinese manufacturing is currently undergoing a similar phase. China’s manufacturing capabilities have come a long way, and it could take quite some time for the perception of China-made products to change. Companies like Huawei and Apollo are spearheading that change.

P.S. Most of the Japanese bikes are being currently made in China.

Spare Parts Are Difficult to Find 

Finding spare parts for Apollo dirt bikes, including gas valves, carburetors, and exhausts – can be a challenge. As a result, Apollo bike riders are forced to settle with parts from other brands. Thankfully, the dirt bike spare parts market is quite robust, and finding compatible parts if you do some looking around is certainly not impossible.

The issue is relatively minor, but the fact that Apollo could have made sure or at least made public its commitment to strengthening its spare parts game is something that makes it a drawback. The after-sales support, on the contrary, is pretty responsive.

Conclusion 

If you want the best dirt bike, look at Yamaha bikes. Though you might end up spending more on a Yamaha bike, you are unlikely to buy a bad Yamaha. And if you somehow manage to land with a sub-par Yamaha motorcycle, there is the strong after-sales service and support that shall come to your rescue.

With Apollo, it’s kind of a mixed bag. If you do your research or know about dirt bikes in general, picking up a decent Apollo bike should not be that difficult. However, if you don’t do your due diligence, you could possibly end up disappointed. And the poor spare parts availability situation will only add salt to your wounds.

In short, Yamaha is for buyers with deep pockets and who want the best the market has to offer. Apollo dirt bikes are for budget-conscious buyers, typically young riders who are not necessarily seeking excellence.

Are Dirt Bikes Hard to Maintain?

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Dirt bikes are all about getting down and dirty and adrenaline-soaked adventures across formidable terrains. Dirt bikers will swear that no other sport can come close to motocross or trail riding. But how challenging is it to keep those dirt bikes running?

Dirt bikes require more frequent maintenance because they endure impacts and stresses more than common road bikes. To run at peak performance, they require frequent inspection and servicing. Yet most dirt bikes have more simple working parts and are easier to repair oneself than road bikes.

To understand a dirt bike’s maintenance requirements, we have created a list of common problems particular to this bike type. You may then have a clearer idea of the challenges you would expect if you decided to own a dirt bike yourself.

What Is a Dirt Bike?

Merriman-Webster defines a dirt bike as “usually lightweight motorcycle designed for operation on unpaved surfaces.” Dirt Bikes are made to be ridden on hilly and uneven terrain in all kinds of weather conditions. They are used in motocross racing popular in North America, Asia, and Europe. 

There are two larger categories within the term ‘dirt bike’ which are motocross racing and trail riding. Although the term motocross can be used for both, generally, motocross refers to the sport of dirt bike riding on a prepared outdoor track. 

Dirt Bike vs. Motocross vs. Enduro

Though every motocross bike is a dirt bike, not every dirt bike is a motocross bike. Motocross bikes are made for speed and agility and need a high degree of maintenance. Dirt bikes are less specialized and easier to maintain. Enduros are larger, heavier bikes with larger gas tanks for longer distance races.

Your average dirt bike has a long-travel suspension and rugged tires with a high seat position. These lightweights, single-cylinder bikes are designed to tackle any terrain such as desert woods or mountainous terrain.

Two-Stroke vs. Four-Stroke 

When it comes to dirt bikes, riders choose between a two-stroke (2T) and a four-stroke (4T) dirt bike motor. The 2T has one revolution of the crankshaft within one power stroke while the 4T has two. The 2T does not have a dedicated system delivering lubrication to the crankcase while the 4T does.

Common Maintenance Requirements in Dirt Bikes

Although two-stroke and four-stroke dirt bikes are easier to repair because of fewer moving parts, the maintenance necessary to maintain your bike properly is high compared to road bikes to prevent your dirt bike from malfunction or failure. 

Preventative Maintenance Requirements of a Dirt Bike

Many of the maintenance routines for a dirt bike are not excessively difficult or strenuous in themselves. These preventative maintenance requirements become a routine in a dirt bikers’ life and are part of the off-road experience.

Preventative maintenance saves dirt bike owners on costly repairs on their bikes and even prevents them from injury in extreme cases. Responsible riders follow a maintenance routine to get a longer lifespan out of their dirt bikes and overall better performance in the short term. The following is a list of what a dirt bike owner would be expected to do to maintain an optimally running dirt bike.

Wash Your Bike After Every Ride

Wash your dirt bike after each ride, whenever possible. Not only do you keep your bike’s parts free of debris and dust, but you also get a chance to look your bike over and check for any problems. A gentle wash is recommended with water and brushes or cloths. If you use a pressure hose, be extra careful to direct the water away from the bike and not into the engine or electrics. 

A great step to add to your dirt bike routine is to use your washing time to inspect your bike for problems. Preventative measures taken early can save you a lot of money in the long run with costly repairs and replacements.

Dry Your Bike Before Inspecting It

Many dirt bike enthusiasts recommend drying your bike after a wash down by taking it for a short spin. Whether you use the sun or a leaf blower to get the job done, make sure your bike is dry before conducting your maintenance inspection. Once your bike is clean and dry, you can easily spot oil drips or coolant and brake fluid leaks.

Check for Oil Leaks

Oil leaks may be a result of poor maintenance or just general wear and tear on your seals. The first culprits are usually the crankcase or a worn gasket, and a typical leak is from behind the front sprocket, which is called the countershaft seal. Wipe the oil from under your bike, visually inspect for leaks, and keep an eye out for any coolant or brake fluid.

Check your transmission oil levels and reference your user manual to determine your oil quantity and viscosity.

Inspect and Clean Your Drive Chain

If your chain is covered in mud, wait for it to dry and brush it off with a nylon brush. Once your chain is clean, lubricate it well with a high-quality chain lubricator. The lube fills in the cracks and notches where dirt can collect. 

Motocross and dirt bike riders tend to favor non-O-ring chains because they are lighter. This means they need to clean and lubricate their chains quite often, depending on the amount of riding time. It is better to lubricate your chain after your ride so that it has time to soak in and fully penetrate your chain.

Check Your Chain Tension

Your chain should always have some slack to compensate for the movement of the suspension. However, if you can remove your chain from the rear sprocket, it is too loose. The ideal amount of chain play is ½ inch (13mm) when the swingarm is parallel to the floor.

Inspect Your Bolts

Your bolts can sometimes be shaken loose under extreme vibrations and intensive riding. You should always conduct a check that your bolts are firmly in place to prevent anything shaking loose on a ride.

Check Your Bikes Controls and Control Cables

If your throttle and clutch cables show any signs of wear or fraying, you should replace them. You should also check your throttle control for the correct amount of free play. An excellent way to test this play is to:

  1. Place your bike on a work stand, start it, and let it idle.
  2. Rotate your handlebars to their full range of motion and listen carefully for any increases in your RPMs.
  3. If you hear an increase, your throttle needs more free play.

Also, check that your throttle is responsive, making sure it snaps back when twisted.

Check Your Air Filter

Your air filter plays an essential job in keeping sand, dirt, and debris from getting into your bike’s engine. A dirty air filter will affect your bike’s performance and cause damage to the piston and barrel. If you have a washable filter, you can clean your filter in warm water and a household cleaner, such as Simple Green. 

If you need to replace your filter, make sure you buy a high-quality one with a dual-stage bonded foam filter and thick sealing rings.

Check Your Tires

Your dirt bike wheel bears up quite a load, and your spokes could loosen, and your wheels may fall out of alignment. This leads to uneven weight on your hub and rim. A torque wrench is an excellent investment to ensure your spokes are the right tightness. 

Ensure your rims are round and have no dents or cracks and then check your tire pressure. It’s essential to ensure that you maintain the correct psi in your tires. You can use the TireTek Tire Pressure Gauge and ensure that your psi is correct. The average psi for all-round dirt biking is 12psi, but it can fluctuate between 8-18psi depending on the terrain.

Do an Oil Change

If you spend a lot of time in mud or your bike endures extreme duty, you should consider changing your oil more often. The frequency of oil change can depend on the particular bike, your riding conditions, and your dirt bike’s age. Your oil lubricates all the working components in your bike’s engine. 

When your oil levels fall too far, these metal components rub against each other, creating intensely high heat. This could cause your engine to seize and be permanently damaged.

Some dirt bikers advise an oil change each ride while others suggest 8-10 riding hours. Check your owner’s manual for your manufacturer’s recommendations for oil changes.

Check Your Fluid Levels

If you are racing, you should bleed your brakes every 20 hours, and recreational dirt bikers should do it every 40 riding hours. Brake fluid can go bad when it absorbs water and becomes contaminated. Off-road bikes generally use a DOT-3, 4, or 5 brake fluid, but you should check your manufacturer’s specifications in your user manual.

Grease Your Bike

Inspect your:

  • Air filter seal
  • Swingarm
  • Hardware
  • Wheel bearings and seals
  • Shock seals and forks
  • Steering head bearings

If necessary, grease these components to keep out moisture and debris and to provide lubrication. 

Check Your Brake Pads

Your brake pads may wear down over time, and if it wears down too far, it may even destroy the brake rotor. Worse yet, your brakes may fail. You need to routinely check your dirt bike brake pads and replace them at signs of thinning or visible wear. A rule of thumb is to replace the pad when 1.0mm (0.04 inches) of the brake pad remains.

Check Your Sprockets

Your sprockets transfer power to the rear wheel via the drive chain, and they endure heavy energy loads. Your countershaft and rear sprockets will wear out over time, and you should do visual checks often. A rule of thumb is to replace your sprockets when you replace your chain or every 15,000 miles. Refer to your owners manual for their particular specifications.

Other Common Dirt Bike Maintenance Requirements

Do a Compression Test

An easy way to check that your dirt bike engine condition is to perform a compression test. You may find motorcycle compression kits online, such as the OTC Motorcycle Compression Kit. The tester comes with multiple plug spark fittings and works by placing the hose and adapter into your spark plug hole. You then open the throttle and kick the bike over 5-10 times and watch for the reading at maximum pressure.

A well-functioning 250cc engine should read at about 175-200-plus psi, and a mini or 125cc should read at about 150-200 psi. If your compression is 20% lower than your baseline, you need to replace your piston and your rings.

Check Your Piston or Rings

Average intensity riders should replace their piston and rings every 20 hours on an 85/125 and every 40 hours on a 250cc. If you don’t have an hour meter on your bike, you can install an aftermarket one as its a handy way to remind yourself that it is time to perform some maintenance. Sign that your piston and rings are worn is excessive smoke and a loss of power. Pistons come in different sizes, and it’s best to use the specs to replace the piston if it has excessive wear. 

Check for Main Seal Leakage

If you notice oil residue around the seal on the bike’s magneto (left side), you can check the crank bearings for looseness to determine the leak. Main seal leaks can cause air to be drawn into the crankcase and make the bike run lean or too much air and not enough fuel.

The main seal on your transmission side will cause the oil to leak into the crankcase. The signs would be excessive smoke, the bike running rich or too much gas, and the transmission oil will smell rank. If you are uncertain, a mechanic can run a crankcase pressure test to determine the leaking seal.

Check for Other Leaks

Head gasket leaks will typically cause your motor to misfire at high rpm or when it is hot and produce white smoke that may smell of coolant. You might find leakage will occur at the top of your head gasket, and air leaks may develop at the air boot and manifold. The head gasket should be checked that it is flat and in spec. Both gasket and intake air leaks may cause erratic acceleration.

Check if Your Exhaust Valves Are Clean

Your owner’s manual should tell you how often you should clean your exhaust valves clearance. If you don’t have access to a manual, the inspection should be 15 hours to 15,000 miles. Carbon can clog your valves, and you won’t get much top end, and you will notice your spark plugs are being burned through often.

Check Your Silencer

Part of your dirt bike maintenance routine includes repacking your bike’s silencer or muffler. As a rule of thumb, you should aim to repack your muffler after every 50 hours of riding. The owner’s manual should specify your particular bike’s requirements.

Repacking is simple if you follow these simple steps:

  1. Remove the slip-on from the rest of the exhaust.
  2. Remove the outlet cap on the end of the pipe. Usually, these are screwed in, but you may need a rivet gun if it has rivets.
  3. Take out the old packing wrapped around the inner core tube.
  4. Place your new packing and wrap it tightly around the inner core tube.
  5. Slide back into the exhaust pipe.
  6. Replace the outlet cap and the slip-on.

Check Your Reeds

Your reed valves control the air and fuel mixture that goes into the cylinder. As the piston rises, it creates a vacuum in the crankcase. The reed ensures that the mix won’t move back into the carburetor and only moves in one direction from the carburetor to the crankcase.

Reeds should ideally be checked every 10 hours of riding and replaced at least once a year. If your reeds are worn or damaged, you may have difficulty starting your bike.

Check Your Fuel

Always use fresh, high-quality fuel with a suitable octane rating for your particular dirt bike. Refer to your owner’s manual to ensure you are using the right fuel. Octane 87 is acceptable for fuel injected 4-Strokes, but in a 2-stroke, the best gas would be an ethanol-free 92 or 93 octane.

A lower octane can cause pinging or knocking noises caused by detonation when your fuel burns too fast. Try your best only to use non-ethanol blends where you can, but never have more than 10% ethanol-based fuel.

Conclusion

Dirt bikes are a hands-on affair with more frequent checks, tweaks, and required changes in other types of motorcycles. One must bear in mind the unique functions of these small but seemingly indestructible machines and the off-road experience.
It’s no surprise that some of the top MotoGP icons, such as Valentino Rossi, have a motocross background. For some, it’s the ultimate riding experience. You just may have to put in a bit more work.

Are Dirt Bikes Automatic?

Are you thinking of hitting the trails? If yes, you may be looking for a bike that will deliver the best performance on rough terrain; thus, ditching the manual clutch for an automatic machine may sound like the perfect plan. After all, this dirt bike should be easier to handle, right?  

Most dirt bikes are not automatic since automatic transmissions are unsuited to the wide variety of terrain that dirt bikes ride on. But with a manual transmission, a clutch allows you more control over rough, rocky, or muddy terrain. So, your choice depends on the intended use and your preference.

The main difference between automatic and manual dirt bikes is that manual dirt bikes sport a manual gearbox. Stick around to find out how both types work, which is better for you, and how to maintain your dirt bike. 

Automatic Dirt Bikes

In general, the term refers to an automatic motorcycle designed for off-road riding. It comes equipped with long-travel suspension, off-road tires, and other related accessories ideal for improved riding across rough terrain.

An automatic dirt bike doesn’t require you to change gears using a conventional manual clutch. What this means is that power is transferred from the engine through an automatic gearbox. To start moving, you only need to twist the throttle.

While most experienced riders believe that automatic transmissions are an oddity, the younger riders prefer them. This is due to their various advantages, as we shall see below. Automatic dirt bikes are:

Pros

  • Easy to operate
  • Agile, stable, and offer smooth gear shifting
  • Offer a smooth and comfy riding experience
  • Ideal for long rides since you don’t have to change gears
  • Versatile – you can use them on the streets, dirt roads, trails, and on rough terrain

Still, these bikes have their disadvantages:

Cons

  • Not very popular
  • An automatic transmission is heavier than a manual one
  • Not powerful

Automatic dirt bikes are suitable for newbie bikers, especially kids. This is because they are not powerful and strong compared to manual dirt bikes, and they also require minimum effort. Still, there are semi-automatic dirt bikes available, and these are much more powerful.  

Manual Dirt Bikes 

A manual dirt bike is a motorcycle that is designed for off-road riding. Manual dirt bikes dominate the market, but most inexperienced riders are very intimidated by these bikes because of one thing – the clutch lever. 

A manual dirt bike requires you to pull in the clutch when shifting between gears, which calls for skill and lots of practice. Similar to a manual transmission car, you have to find a balance between letting out the clutch handle and twisting the throttle to ease into each gear. Below is a video explaining how to ride a manual dirt bike:

Dirt bikes feature rugged tires, suspension, and a small, light frame since they are designed for mobility and jumping. The spring shocks and hydraulic tubes also allow the bikes to better absorb shock on the rough tracks and jumps. 

The fuel tank on a manual dirt bike is small since these bikes hardly venture out very far. Besides, a big tank would mean extra weight for the dirt bike. 

Below are the positive and negative sides of manual dirt bikes:

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Offer high speed
  • Large in size and have a big engine
  • A manual clutch allows for efficient use of engine power and technical maneuvers based on instant power delivery

Cons

  • It takes more effort to learn how to ride one
  • Pricier than automatic dirt bikes
  • The manual gearbox is heavy, thus making dirt bikes heavier than the automatic ones

How Do Automatic Dirt Bikes Work?

Most automatic bikes use a Dual-Clutch Transmission system, DCT. This system uses two clutches; one to control the even gears while the other clutch controls the odd gears. 

This system doesn’t require you to pull any clutch lever or manually shift gears. This is because onboard computers control the system. They sense when the gears need to move up or down and make it happen, leaving you free to concentrate on riding your motorcycle.  

Today’s DCT technology has evolved into a system that offers you a fully automatic experience, but with manual gear change too – on selected models. While you can opt for the latter, bear in mind that the gear changing is unlike that of a fully manual motorcycle. Rather, it’s more similar to vehicular paddle shifters

Automatic dirt bikes are easy to operate. As mentioned earlier, power comes directly through an electric motor, and all you get to do is twist the throttle and move. Due to the automatic transmission, there are no gears to adjust to match the terrain. Hence, if you want to increase speed, you only have to twist.

Riding an automatic dirt bike has its pitfalls. For one, your braking is different. While some modern bikes have in place a conventional foot brake for the rear, most have the rear brake mounted on the handlebar. As such,  you have the choice of going fully automatic or the option of using an upshift and downshift button to control the gears.

Next comes engine braking. On a conventional motorcycle, downward gear shifting allows for more controlled braking, but this disappears with an automatic transmission.

Is an Automatic Dirt Bike the Best Choice for You?

So then, which option is better; manual or automatic transmission? 

While biking diehards prefer the traditional dirt bikes with a manual transmission, the new and upcoming riders lean towards automatic dirt bikes.

The thing is, it depends on your preference and level of experience. As such, an automatic dirt bike would be an ideal choice for you if:

  • You are a beginner trying to familiarize yourself with two wheels
  • You would prefer a clutchless bike
  • You are looking to move from one place to the next and not concerned about perfect gear change execution  
  • You are looking for a long-haul tour without the additional stress of shifting gears

However, if you enjoy the thrill of controlling the clutch and shifting gears much more, then a manual dirt bike is the way to go. Better yet, you may be an expert rider looking for a thrilling experience, to enhance your skills, and take advantage of the massive power generated by a manual dirt bike. 

How to Maintain Your Dirt Bike

Whatever type of bike you finally settle on, the following tips will prove very useful in making the best use of your dirt bike:

  • Lubricate your chain periodically
  • Clean the air filter often and change the oil after riding for 8 hours 
  • Check your air pressure frequently
  • If you are a beginner, don’t buy a dirt bike with too much power as it will be challenging to control

Finally, remember that dirt bike riding is dangerous; always wear protective gear. This is especially so if you are riding a manual dirt bike since it delivers more speed and higher performance.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it. While not all dirt bikes are automatic, automatic dirt bikes are more of adventure bikes, ideal for when you want a different kind of experience. Manual dirt bikes, on the other hand, are suited to off-road pursuits. 

Automatic bikes are also clutchless and feature an automatic transmission, while manual dirt bikes come with gears and a clutch. They also require you to shift the gears manually.

For the experienced biker, a manual dirt bike offers more sporting fun than an automatic dirt bike – not to mention super fast speed and acceleration. Many expert riders would get very bored riding an automatic dirt bike. 

Yet both options are fantastic, so whatever your choice, go for the dirt bike that best suits your needs and riding style.