Electric Dirt Bike vs. Gas Dirt Bike | The Ultimate Guide

The electric dirt bike and the gas dirt bike are very similar, but with a few key differences. Whether you’re a beginner buying your first dirt bike or an expert looking for an upgrade, it’s important to know the difference between these bikes to know what’s right for you.

An electric dirt bike is powered by a lithium-ion battery and therefore saves on operating costs, whereas a gas dirt bike is powered by either a two-stroke or a four-stroke engine and has more power. Electric bikes tend to be more expensive, but are easier to maintain than a gas dirt bike.

This article will discuss the differences between gas dirt bikes and electric dirt bikes, as well as their similarities and some things to take into account when purchasing a dirt bike or maintaining one that you already have. 

Know Your Environment

Before you make a choice about the right dirt bike for you, you should develop a clear picture of how and where you’ll want to use the bike. Most bikes can be used in multiple kinds of environments, but you’ll find that knowing what environment you’ll be riding in will help you find a bike that is especially well suited to your needs.

There are two main kinds of dirt biking: motocross and off-roading. Within motocross, there are three primary forms of competition: racing, freestyle, and supercross. There are also competitive forms of off-roading, with the main being enduro.

Motocross takes place on an outdoor track that is groomed for bikers. You’ll know what to expect as you take laps around the course and move through the preset ramps and turns. Motocross is both a recreational activity and a competitive sport. 

Motocross Racing

During an official motocross race, about 25 to 30 riders ride around the course for a certain number of laps, and the first to finish is considered the winner. In championship events, the fastest riders compete in a series of rounds leading up to a final race.

Freestyle Motocross

Freestyle motocross is like motocross racing in that it is performed on a set motocross course, but instead of being judged based on speed, riders are judged based on acrobatic stunts as they complete laps. 

One kind of freestyle motocross is big air, where the riders are given two major jumps covering a distance of 75 feet in which they can perform a stunt. In this kind of event, judges consider originality and difficulty and give a rating on a scale of 100. 

Another kind of freestyle motocross, simply called freestyle, involves two routines, each lasting 14 minutes and 90 seconds. During this time, the rider takes laps around the motocross course, performing a series of jumps at different lengths and at different angles. In this case, judges also evaluate the skill and originality of stunts and give a rating on a scale of 100. 

Supercross

Supercross is an indoor form of track racing that is very similar to motocross but technically considered its own sport. These courses are shorter than motocross courses and involve steeper jumps and harder obstacles, which are less similar to the natural terrain. Supercross tracks are also shorter than motocross courses.

Off-Road Dirt Biking

Off-roading, or trail riding, takes place on natural trails that span hundreds of miles and have endless unknown obstacles: rocks, holes, steep slopes, and tight corners. Off-roading bikes need to have bigger tires with more rubber padding and softer suspension to be able to handle these obstacles. 

Off-roading is also more doable with a push-button start than a kick start because you’ll need to start and stop the bike more often. These bikes are also often heavier than racing bikes because they have bigger gas tanks (if applicable) and more features built for comfort. 

However, all kinds of dirt bikes can be ridden for motocross or for off-roading. Different models simply have better performance in different areas. 

Enduro

Enduro racing happens on off-road courses, and are given points based on the rider’s timing. The race takes part in stages, and riders are allowed to re-fuel or service their vehicles at certain stops along the way. If they do not keep to this schedule for stops, they can be penalized and lose points.

Endurocross

EnduroCross is a mix between enduro racing and supercross, and is usually conducted on indoor tracks. Riders are judged based on both the time that it takes them to finish the course, like in enduro, and based on how well they navigate course obstacles, like in supercross. 

In EnduroCross, obstacles generally resemble outdoor obstacles, including rocks, boulders, fallen tree trunks, water, and mud, as well as giant tires and other obstacles. 

Gas Dirt Bikes

History

Gas-fueled bikes have been used since the 1800s, and racing came soon after. Motorcycle racing became popular in the early 1900s. These events all occurred on rough, open terrain, and races became official by the 1920s in the UK, funded by factories like BSA, Norton, and Matchless.

By World War II, motorized bikes took a lighter form with less rigid frames, better shock absorption, and suspension, looking more like the dirt bikes that we see today. The speed and power of these bikes improved due to these and other innovations in engineering.

By the 1960s, motocross became popular internationally, both in the United States and Japan. Major auto manufacturers Suzuki and Honda began producing dirt bike models designed for off-roading.

Since then, the engineering of motocross bikes has developed to improve speed and overall performance, but the basic design of the gas dirt bike has remained the same. 

Maintenance

Gas dirt bikes require regular maintenance of the engine, as well as the exterior of the bike. This includes washing and drying the bike and keeping a close eye on its performance, as well as changing the oil and air filter like you would for a car. 

The following steps are important to take for a gas dirt bike. Some of these are the same as what you’d do for an electric dirt bike, and some are unique. Generally, a gas dirt bike will require more steps in the maintenance routine.

  1. Gently wash your bike after every ride, using brushes and water, but avoiding getting water or dirt into the engine. You can, however, use a powerful stream of water, even a power jet.
  2. Dry the bike before checking for hardware problems. You can use a leaf blower to make the drying process faster.
  3. Check for oil leaks.
  4. Check for leaks in coolant and brake fluid.
  5. Clean dirt from the chain and let it dry.
  6. Inspect the chain for weak points or tension issues
  7. Lubricate the chain with chain lube like this Klotz UpLon lubricant or this Maxima Racing Oil.
  8. Lubricate the levers and cables, any moving parts.
  9. Inspect and tighten bolts.
  10. Check for frayed or bent control cables.
  11. Check your throttle for twisting issues.
  12. Make sure your air filter is clean and coated with oil.
  13. Check your tire pressure after every ride.
  14. Change your oil at least after every 8-10 hours of riding.
  15. Grease your engine to seal out water and dirt.

Technology

A gas dirt bike engine comes in two varieties: two-stroke and four-stroke. Both are internal combustion engines with pistons, cylinders, fuel, exhaust, and a crankshaft, although the four-stroke varieties operate more similarly to large vehicles like buses and cars. 

The dirt bike engine works by igniting a combination of fuel and air to move pistons up and down inside the cylinder, turning the crankshaft, which then turns the rear wheel of the bike. The clutch and the transmission allow you to control the rate and intensity at which this happens. 

Most gas dirt bikes are classified according to the size of the combustion chamber, measured in ccs. 1,000 cc is equal to about 0.22 gallons, and most engines are somewhere in the range of 250-350 cc. You may also find bikes classified according to the number and shape of cylinders, like in cars.

It’s important to note that the lubrication process is different between a two-stroke and a four-stroke engine. A two-stroke engine mixes oil and fuel, and so either needs a fuel pre-mixed with oil or needs oil injected into a reservoir that combines with fuel on intake. 

Having an oil reservoir means that you don’t need to worry about measuring the proper ratio of fuel to oil, but if something breaks in the pumping system, your engine can undergo serious damage.

The four-stroke engine is only ever lubricated through the use of an oil reservoir, which does not mix oil with fuel. 

Electric Start Gas Bikes

Some gas bikes have an electric start mechanism, making them hybrids mostly reliant on engine power but with a small battery and some electric features. The push-button start is the most common electric feature and allows the bike to start more quickly and smoothly.

Best on the Market

250cc Hawk Dirt Bike 5 speed Manual transmission, Big wheel, Electric kick start
250cc Pro-Hawk 5 speed Manual transmission, Big wheel, Electric kick start
125cc X-PRO Kids Dirt BikeBuilt for kids, 4 speed Manual transmission, Kick start, Big wheel
110cc X-PRO Kids Dirt Bike Built for kids, 4 speed Manual transmission, Electric kick start
Fit Right 49cc Kids Dirt BikeBuilt for kids, Aluminum big wheel, 2 stroke engine

Electric Dirt Bikes

History

Electric bikes were invented first in the 1890s, then evolved throughout the 1900s along with gas-powered bikes. However, very few electric bikes were available on the market for purchase at this time, even though they had been invented. It wasn’t until the late 1990s and early 2000s that electric bikes really became available to consumers. 

During this time, electric bikes moved through a heavy lead-acid battery design to a lighter lithium-ion battery design, which made for more lightweight bikes. This led to speed improvements and extended the range that the bikes could go before needing to be charged. 

Maintenance

Electric dirt bikes require regular maintenance to prevent failure and injury, and to keep you from having to pay for repairs. Make sure to wash your bike after every ride, and to inspect components for hardware issues before they become a problem on the track or trail.

The following steps are important to take for the maintenance of an electric dirt bike:

  1. Very gently wash your bike after every ride, using brushes and water, but avoiding any powerful streams of water. It is very important not to get water into the electrical components.
  2. Dry the bike before checking for hardware problems. You can use a leaf blower to make the drying process faster.
  3. Check for leaks in coolant and brake fluid.
  4. Clean dirt from the chain and let it dry.
  5. Inspect the chain for weak points or tension issues.
  6. Lubricate the chain with chain lube like this Klotz UpLon lubricant or this Maxima Racing Oil.
  7. Lubricate the levels and cables, any moving parts.
  8. Inspect and tighten bolts.
  9. Check for frayed or bent control cables.
  10. Check your throttle for twisting issues.
  11. Check your tire pressure after every ride.
  12. Don’t store your bike in direct sunlight, or anywhere that the battery might overheat.
  13. Avoid opening electrical components, as they are difficult to seal and susceptible to water damage.
  14. Recharge the battery.

Technology

Most electric dirt bikes today are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which can be charged by removing the battery pack from the bike, turning it off, and plugging it into a general power outlet. Some bikes come with a spot for the charger on the bike so that you’re sure to have it when and where you need it.

Most electric bike batteries will charge within 2 to 6 hours, depending on their range. Some charge at a rate of about 15 miles per hour, while others charge faster, at a rate of 25 miles per hour. Generally, the bigger the range, the faster the battery will charge. 

Some more expensive models charge the battery as you ride, transferring energy each time you use the brakes. This can extend the life of your battery by 5-10%, although it also makes pedaling more difficult. 

Batteries last longest if they are charged before they run out of power, and so you’ll want to recharge the battery after every use if possible. There is no harm in unplugging the battery before it is fully charged. 

Many bike owners carry an extra battery so that they can make long trips and extend their range without worrying about stopping to charge. Without recharging, an electric bike will generally make it to about 22-56 miles, although some can go for over 70 miles.

You can extend the life of your battery by using the appropriate gears for different speeds and situations and by using a lower assistance setting on the bike. 

Lithium batteries tend to last 500 charging cycles before losing much of its power, and up to 1200 cycles on some bikes. This translates to about 10,000 to 30,000 miles of total bike usage. 

An electric bike can usually reach about 20 miles per hour, although some can go up to 28 miles per hour.

Best on the Market

Electric dirt bikes have become more advanced in recent years, now including high-quality brakes and suspension systems. These are ten of the best electric dirt bikes currently on the market:

KTM Freeride E-XCGreat for off-roading, Energy recuperation technology that means charging less often and for less time
Zero FXAllows you to adjust settings for different kinds of terrain, Includes Eco-friendly mode, Includes Sport mode, Top speed of 85 mph
Cake Kalk ORMade for off-roading, Unique design, Innovating engineering
Cake Kalk INKSimilar to the Cake Kalk OR, but sturdier, Top speed of 50 mph, Range of three hours
Cake Kalk&Street legal, Similar in style to the Kalk OR design
Oset 24.0 RacingBattery-powered, Appropriate for a wide range of ages
KTM SX-E 5Made for beginner, junior riders, Quiet, ideal for noise-restricted areas
Husqvarna EE 5Suited for kids, Adjustable seat height, Range of two hours for general riding, 25 minutes for racing
Oset MX-10Starter bike for young kids, Maximum speed of 22 mph
Oset 12.5 RacingBuilt for young, beginner riders

Similarities Between Electric Dirt Bikes and Gas Dirt Bikes

History

Both electric and gas-powered bikes were invented in the 1800s and improved in performance and style throughout the 1900s. 

Maintenance

Both gas and dirt bikes require regular maintenance to keep performing well and prevent the occurrence of mechanical failures, which can cause major accidents and injuries. All dirt bikes are also expensive to repair, so maintenance is also important from a cost-saving perspective.

No matter which kind of bike you have, it’s important to wash and dry it after every ride, and make sure that no liquids are leaking, no matter whether or not oil leaks are a concern. There is also coolant and brake fluid to consider, which both kinds of bikes have. 

Both kinds of bikes also have chains that need to be checked and cleaned, as well as bolts and control cables. Tire pressure and brake liquid levels should be maintained in either case, too. 

Technology

Both gas and dirt bikes are powered and need to be re-supplied with energy from time to time, and work through the use of a clutch and transmission. For this reason, the experience of riding and guiding a bike is generally similar between an electric and gas bike.

Differences Between Electric Dirt Bikes and Gas Dirt Bikes

History

Although gas and electric bikes came onto the scene at roughly the same time, gas bikes were available to consumers at a much earlier time and were at the heart of early motorized racing. It wasn’t until about a century after their invention that electric bikes became purchasable and usable for racing purposes. 

Maintenance

Electric dirt bikes are easier to maintain than gas dirt bikes because they do not require engine maintenance. Oil changes and leak checks, air filter cleanings, and engine maintenance are all unnecessary or not relevant to an electric bike, but are necessary for the owner of a gas dirt bike. 

However, the electrical components of an electric dirt bike are very sensitive to water and overheating, so it’s very important to be careful washing the bike with water and to keep the bike in temperature-controlled environments.

Technology

Where electric bikes are fueled by a lithium-ion battery, gas bikes are fueled by either a two-stroke or four-stroke combustion engine. Generally, the battery-powered model will have a longer range before needing a new supply of power, but the gas engine will top out at higher speeds. 

Cost

Although both electric dirt bikes and gas dirt bikes come in a range of prices, depending on the model, electric dirt bikes will usually be more expensive. However, gas dirt bikes involve more maintenance expenses, and so the cost can also build over time. 

How to Choose a Bike

When choosing which dirt bike to purchase, there are a number of factors you’ll want to consider. First, make sure that you understand the context you’ll be riding in. You should know what kind of terrain you’ll need to be ready for, how long you expect to ride, and how fast you need to be able to go. 

If you are a beginner purchasing your first dirt bike, you’ll likely want to choose a secondhand bike with a gas engine, which is easier to find and generally cheaper for the amount of power that you get. 

If you have some experience riding and want a bike that will go longer distances and be easier to maintain, and have the money to spend, you’ll likely be happiest investing in an electric bike. 

Consider these factors as you look through your options, whether you choose gas or electric. 

Bike Size

Your height, weight, arm length, and leg length are all relevant in picking a bike, and so the best way to find a good fit is to sit on the bike and see how it feels. Notice how heavy the bike feels, whether your feet can sit flat on the ground and whether you can reach the handlebars with a straight back and 90-degree angle in your elbows. 

You should have room to reach the pedals without more than a slight bend in the knees, without being cramped. 

Tire Size

Dirt bikes are made with a smaller wheel in the rear, which helps with fast acceleration, and a larger wheel in the front, which allows you to ride smoothly over rocks and other rough terrains. 

If you’re hoping to spend more time off-roading, find a bike with smaller wheels and more rubber, which can take more of a beating from rocks and other obstacles. 

In general, larger wheel sizes means for a more comfortable ride for beginners.

Motor Size

If you’re choosing a gas bike, check for a value measured in cc, like 250cc or 450cc. This stands for cubic centimeters and will tell you how big the dirt bike’s cylinders are. Higher numbers and larger cylinders mean that the bike will have more power, while lower numbers and a smaller cylinder size means less power. 

Note that high and low cylinder sizes do not always go along with the size of the bike itself. A smaller bike can have a larger engine, and a larger bike can have a smaller engine. Other factors, like ground clearance, can be a reason for differences in bike sizes. 

Two-Stroke vs. Four-Stroke Engines

In gas bikes, you will have the choice between models with a two-stroke engine and models with a four-stroke engine. Two-stroke engines will speed up more quickly, whereas four-stroke engines will have more consistent power and more reliable motors. 

Best Bikes for Beginners

The following are the best dirt bikes for beginners, based on ease of use and durability.

The Honda CRF250X – Beginner Dirt Bike

  • Electric, push-button start for quick and easy starting and stopping
  • High ground clearance good for inconsistent terrain
  • Four-stroke engine and consistent speed
  • Easy to find replacement parts
  • Easy steering
  • 250cc

The Honda CRF230F Beginner Dirt Bike

  • Reliable four-stroke engine
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable seating
  • Lower ground clearance
  • 230cc

The Yamaha YZ125 – Best Beginner Dirt Bike

  • Introduced to the U.S. in the 1970s
  • Well-known trick bike
  • Very lightweight
  • Easy motor to maintain, rebuild
  • 125cc

The Yamaha TTR-50 – Kids Beginner Dirt Bike

  • Tailored for kids
  • Four-stroke engine
  • Only three gears, can be left in one gear for learning
  • Training wheels
  • Speed control mechanisms to keep the bike from reaching its highest speeds
  • Highly available
  • Electric start

The Kawasaki KLX110

  • Highly customizable, upgradable
  • Four-stroke engine
  • Low center of gravity
  • Four gears
  • Easy to balance

Conclusion

Electric dirt bikes and gas dirt bikes are very similar in function, but are different in that electric dirt bikes tend to have less power but are easier maintenance and are more environmentally friendly. Electric dirt bikes also tend to be more expensive, and so are better for riders with more experience than for beginners.

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.