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Why Do Dirt Bikes Need Top End Rebuilds?

Dirt bikes are an expensive bit of kit, and yes, they will need rebuilds. It’s something to really factor in if you’re buying a used one.

Top-end rebuilds are necessary on dirt bikes because of the aggressive riding nature of the individual. Most dirt bikes will need a rebuild done at least once per year, while the competitive motocross racer needs their motorcycle rebuilt every few weeks to remain competitive throughout the season.

Essentially, dirt bikes that race need to be rebuilt much more often, especially if they’re ridden in the mud and sand. We’ll provide some more insights throughout this post.

Dirt Bikes and Regular Rebuilds

It can be a little confusing which leaves newer riders scratching their heads. After all, street bikes and adventure motorcycles don’t really need rebuilds…so why dirt bikes?

It’s all got to do with the thrashing. If you’re subjecting any motorcycle to high outputs, constantly high revs, being lightweight and throwing it around on gnarly tracks and trails, then it aint gonna last long. Motorcycles on the street will see 2% of this over their lifetime.

Oddly enough, some people go years without doing a top end rebuild. They’ll be riding for months and months without anything more than say topping up their oils. Really – that’s it.

2-Stroke vs 4-Stroke Rebuild

There is a difference between engine rebuilds between both types of dirt bikes. Given that 2-strokes are ridden much more often on motocross tracks, and the fact that they rev harder and have seriously high output, they’re rebuilt more often. 4-strokes can get by for longer.

You might get a few thousand miles between rebuilds on a 4-stroke while that 2 banger you have might need a rebuilt within a few hundred miles. It all depends on how aggressive you ride and what tournaments you’re trying to win.

If you’re the Sunday cruise who’s just looking for easy fire trails, then you’ll get away with never needing to rebuild your engine. In fact, it’s much more like a street bike than it is a dirt bike. Enduro bikes are a crossbreed between the enduro and amateur trail bike riding world, so yes, they will need rebuilding but not so often.

Cost to Rebuild

This is really a piece of string analogy. While you might spend a few hundred dollars with one make/model, another might cost you several thousand. Sometimes it’s easier and cheaper to just buy a new trail weapon than it is to rebuild that engine.

To reduce the costs, you can look up on Craigslist and Gumtree or even eBay for some parts. Sometimes riders have clapped out their dirt bikes but they have spare parts on the shelf at home not being used. They’ll list these and hope someone buys them which is your gain.

In Summary

So this all comes down to the competitive nature of riding. The harder you ride, the more often you’ll need to pull everything apart. Chances are though, if you don’t rebuild your engine, then you can send it in for an early retirement. That is – the junk yard.

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How Do I Transport My Dirt Bike to the Tracks & Trails?

Ever wondered how you can transport your dirt bike from point A to point B? Well, there are numerous methods worth trying.

Dirt bikes are transported in trailers, inside vans, on tailgates and on the back of trucks (otherwise known as utes in Australia) between private homes and riding areas. This is because some dirt bikes aren’t able to be ridden on the road due to a lack of highway gearing, non-registered status or simply a rider preference not to ride on the road.

Frontaer is going to help you with several ways to get the job done and some tips we’ve personally learned along the way. Let’s begin.

Main Ways to Transport a Dirt Bike

As we mentioned, there is more than one way to skin a cat here. If you have a dirt bike, then you don’t need to do what the next guy does as there are numerous options available.

Here at the main ways that dirt bike riders haul their dirt bikes around:

1. Use a Dirt Bike Trailer

Using a trailer is easily the cheapest way to get the job done. You can buy a dirt bike trailer often for less than $1,000 that is lightweight and holds 2 to 3 dirt bikes. Loading them up is easy as the working height is low and the straps go on very easily. Unfortunately, the downside is that these trailers are often made cheaply with tires that aren’t the most reliable.

2. Buy a Truck or Ute

Owning a truck is typical for dirt bike riders (Australians call them utes) where you simply drop the tailgate and then buy a dirt bike ramp to load up your beast. No towing required! If you have a long tray, then it’s possible to have two dirt bikes and still close the tailgate which means everything is snug and secure.

3. Own a Van

Some riders prefer to buy a van to haul their dirt bike. Sounds like overkill? Not really. When you buy a van, you actually have a place to not just to secure your dirt bike properly. Essentially, if the straps break, then the dirt bike isn’t falling on the highway at 70 miles per hour. What you do have is a place to sleep at nighttime without needing to put up the tent. Just bring an air mattress and you’re good to go! Likewise, a great place to securely store your dirt bike.

4. Use a Tailgate

If your dirt bike is light enough, then we can recommend buying a tailgate for the back of your truck. It really depends on the weight of both your dirt bike and vehicle here. If the dirt bike is too heavy or your car is too light, then we wouldn’t recommend this approach for hauling long distance. Tailgate loads for dirt bikes are best for those hauling less than 30 miles.

5. Use a Boat Trailer

While not a recommended approach, we have seen some people using their aluminium boats as a means in which to transport their dirt bike. Essentially, they leave their boat tender on the trailer and then load the dirt bike straight on top. This makes for a tricky loading/unloading experience unless you have a loading dock at your riding location and at home.

6. Ride to the Track

Some dirt bike riders simply ride to and from their favorite riding destination. This is typical of adventure riders and dual-sport enthusiasts who will load up with several days supply of camping gear and plenty of fuel. As a dirt bike rider, you simply need yourself and the bike without the kitchen sink to experience your local trails, provided your dirt bike is registered and you’re licenced to ride on your own.

7. Call in the Tractor Trailer

When you’re reading to call in the big guns, go for the tractor trailer. These are generally reserved for team riders racing at a national or international level. Motocross team riders use these to haul between locations and sleep in the truck at night. If you happen to have your own tractor trailer, then there isn’t any reason you can’t do this…apart from the fuel burn and lack of access into areas with low hanging trees, that is.

Getting started

There we have it! Some great ways in which you can get your dirt bike around the state. If you don’t have any of these options available to you, then you can just call upon one of your buddies to help you out. They can also help you with loading up your dirt bike and tying down the straps.

If you’re just getting started, then we’d go with a simple open trailer setup first. You can find these relatively cheap on Gumtree or Craigslist. Rust is a common problem with these and so they are only likely to last a few years.

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🌲 How To Go Camping With Your Dirt Bike (And Arrive Home Safely)

🔧 7 Tools Every Dirt Bike Rider Must Carry (To Avoid Those Awkward Rescue Calls)

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Can I Ride My Dirt Bike in My Backyard?

So you’ve got a dirt bike and a backyard that’s big enough to ride, but small enough that you think you’re breaking the law.

It could be a grey area here and there are laws, regulations and legislation changes between states, territories and even countries. That said, Frontaer will give you a general guideline as it relates to riding at home.

Generally speaking, you’re allowed to ride your dirt bike during daylight hours in your backyard provided you aren’t causing excessive noise, dust or any other type of disturbance to your neighbors. While it’s perfect legally to ride an unregistered dirt bike on your own residential land, you can still be fined for causing a public disturbance through your actions.

There are also public liability issues to consider. For example, if you’re riding around and crash into the fence and injure your neighbor’s family pet, then you’re liable for all damages.

Backyard Dirt Bike Riding

We know it’s exciting to have a dirt bike but hauling it to a riding area takes work. Sometimes you just want to twist that throttle for 20 minutes to let some steam out.

You’re allowed to ride any type of motorcycle on your own private property. This includes motocross, trials, pit bikes, ATVs and anything else you might want to ride. Where the problems arise is your neighbors.

They may not share the same enthusiasm as you. That thumping engine and epic wheelies might look cool, but they might just see this as wreckless behavor. Our advice is to get them on your side right away.

Making the Neighbors Say Yes

The biggest show-stopper to you having the freedom to ride in your own backyard isn’t the government. They’ll happily let you do it because you’re paying taxes and the like. It’s your own property there. It’s the neighbors.

If you want them on your side, this is what we recommend:

  1. Speak to them first. Go and talk with all your neighbours within 200 yards of your home. This lets them know that you’re genuine yet friendly, and are considering their needs as well as your own.
  2. Set out specific riding times. Don’t simply start riding at 7am on a Sunday morning or tearing up the backyard at 9:30pm at night. That ain’t cool and you give responsible dirt bike riders a bad name. You should tell your neighbors about a specific time that you’ll be riding, such as 10am to 2pm. Do ask if any of them work nightshifts and some may be sleeping during the day.
  3. Keep the dust down. Don’t go out there riding if it’s a complete dust bowl. You should aim to ride a day or two after the rain. This way the ground is still moist yet isn’t a complete bog hole. After the noise issue, dust is the most common reason why you’ll get complaints.
  4. Don’t do revving competitions. This isn’t a place to show off. That noise is tough for most neighbors to handle, so don’t go revving hard just to show off. Keep the revs in low to mid-range and you won’t catch the attention of the neighbors.
  5. Time it for when they go out. If you see your neighbors cars away, then that’s the perfect time to go riding. They can’t complain to you and they’ll come home to a quiet home once you’re done.

Closing thoughts

Like we say – get the neighbors on your side and you’ll be set for life. That said, consider heading to a proper area to go riding. You’ll probably get bored of riding your dirt bike at home after a while, even if you have a few acres. So much more land out there to explore!

We can recommend that if you do want to ride in the backyard and this will become a frequent activity, that you actually buy yourself an electric dirt bike. They are not just significantly quieter, but their service intervals are much longer and they throttle response is unbelievable.

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Dirt Bike vs Pit Bike: What Are The Differences?

If you’re new to the offroad motorcycling world, then it may not seem like there’s a difference between pit bikes and dirt bikes.

Yet there is a clear and concise difference between these two motorcycles. One that we can answer so clearly:

Dirt bikes are much more popular than pit bikes, with larger engines and more horsepower for the rider. Commonly, dirt bikes are used for recreational riding, enduro races, motocross and other competitive events with excellent performance specifications. Pit bikes are much smaller in their frame, with less power but they also cost 50% to 80% less than the equivalent dirt bike.

This is a pit bike which is popular for small race tracks and casual riding on flat terrain.

One motorbike is a stallion and one is a pony, yet the pony can be a heck of a lot of fun with the engine thumping along. We’ll cover the differences more acutely with the information below.

Manufacturers and Pricing

Pit bikes typically come from China and use inferior parts and build quality. They have created a reputation for not quite lasting past 5,000 miles while a dirt bike can rack up between 15,000 and 30,000 miles quite easily, depending on the rider and the routine maintenance performed.

Historically, dirt bikes have been made in Japan and Europe with mainstream manufacturers including Honda, Yamaha, KTM and Suzuki. An entire industry has stemed from this with off-shoots into racing, adventure motorcycling and stuntwork. In recent years, some Chinese dirt bikes have come into the market offering reasonably good performance for less than the price of a typical dirt bike.

You can get into pit bike riding for less than dirt bike riding, though the longevity and parts availability is questionable.

Engine and Performance

Dirt bikes are considered the standard-offering in the offroad motorcycling world. Their engines are between 250cc and 690cc for adults, with 250cc and 450cc being the most common. Typically you’ll choose a 250cc for forest trails because they’re light and nimble, while a 450cc is best for long sweeping trails at higher speeds, including some highway riding.

Dirt bikes are much more powerful beasts designed to win championships and to jump over obstacles.

Pit bikes are just smaller motorcycles overall and you won’t really see anything past 250cc. In fact, they’re generally smaller than this. 150cc isn’t much of an engine and for an adult weighing 200 pounds, it’s going to be a struggle to get this up to speed fast.

A dirt bike will always accelerate faster than a pit bike. Further more, the top speed of a dirt bike is 2x to 3x of even the most powerful pit bike.

Body Shape and Design

Pit bikes are small. In fact, they’re so small that you can fit one into the back of some SUV’s. That is…if you fancy the smell of rubber and fuel while you’re hauling down the highway.

Because they’re small, they’re easy to throw around on the trails. This makes them an ideal choice for kids and teenagers who want to get into riding, but don’t quite want to become a superstar on the throttle just yet. They certainly make a great dirt bike for learning without the massive capital outlay.

Dirt bikes can feel quite large in comparison. This larger size is there to accommmodate a big engine with a large fuel tank and bigger tires. Even the suspension needs to be made larger to compensate for this additional weight.

Which One: Dirt Bike vs Pit Bike?

Essentially, which one do you want to choose? Each sounds like a good deal.

This often comes down to several points:

  • How often you want to go riding
  • What your budget is to buy a new motorcycle
  • The terrain that you’re likely to be riding

If you’re committed towards riding on gnarly tracks, sand dunes and forest trails, then you’ll certainly want a dirt bike. Sure – these will cost you a few pennies but will reward you with many smiles for years to come.

For casually riding around in the backyard or relatively flat area, the pit bike would be a good segway into riding. For someone learning to ride and doesn’t want all that weight and power just yet, then they’re perfect for learning the ropes before upgrading down the road.

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🔧 7 Tools Every Dirt Bike Rider Must Carry (To Avoid Those Awkward Rescue Calls)

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Why Does My Dirt Bike Backfire On Me?

That moment when your dirt bike backfires typically sends shivers down your spine. Have you caused irreversible engine damage?

Dirt bikes backfire due to a bad air-to-fuel ratio in the combustion chamber withint the engine. This malfunction results in the loud banging sound that comes from the exhaust pipe. This typically happens when a dirt bike is starting up, though it can happen at idle or when twisting the throttle.

Short-term, there isn’t much of an issue if this happens occasionally but damage can occur to internal parts and seals if left untreated.

Dirt Bike Backfiring Issues

Any petrol-driven engine can backfire if there is too much fuel or too much air in the mixture. This can be due to excessive heat from the exhaust which ignites the fuel or even has a flame emanating from the exhaust.

Explosions are designed to happen within the engine, hence the term ‘internal combustion’ and this is based on having the correct air to fuel ratio. Each engine is different and has been designed to operate at an optimum ratio. When this ratio isn’t met, backfiring or typical.

Running Rich vs Running Lean

Have you heard the terms ‘running lean’ or ‘running rich’ before with a dirt bike? They essentially refer to the opposite ends of improper combustion, and relate more towards the fuel.

Running Rich = Too Much Fuel and Too Little Air. You’ll probably smell the petrol when you’re idling your dirt bike and the engine is likely to be running a bit rough.

Running Lean = Too Much Air and Too Little Fuel. This is where your engine is just being starved of the fuel it needs to keep combusting because the air is in excess. From here, the fuel may pass into the exhaust and later explode due to heat.

If you need to calibrate the ratios, it’s actually quite easy. You just need to use a screwdriver and locate the carburetor (often called ‘the carb’ in the dirt bike world) and turn the screws a little each time until you hear the engine running as it should.

Common Reasons Your Dirt Bike Will Backfire

Frontaer has come across numbers reasons why dirt bikes backfire. These are:

  1. Faulty Spark Plugs. You can replace these very easily and cheaply. Takes about 10 minutes actually.
  2. Bad Fuel. That fuel that you’ve left in the gas tank for 4 months has gone bad. Also, you’ll want to use 95+ because 91 and lower just isn’t what your engine was designed for.
  3. Dirty Carb. The Carburetor does the mixing of air and fuel and it may be dirty or faulty.
  4. Poor Compression. The pistons require compression within the combustion chamber to move.
  5. Air Filters Clogged. Have you cleaned out your air filters recently? This is a common reason for backfiring.
  6. The Jets are Dirty. There are several parts within the jets that need to be kept spotless and with no dirt.
  7. The Fuel Injector Is Clogged. While more rare, you may have a partial blockage in your fuel injector.

A lot of these problems you can fault-find yourself. Mechanics will charge $150+ to look over everything plus you gotta haul your dirt back to and from.

Keeping Your Dirt Bike Fresh

Routine maintenance is necessary to look after your dirt bike. After all, you don’t want to have to replace it anytime soon if it’s what you worked so hard to buy.

To stop your dirt bike from backfiring often, you’ll want to ensure your fuel injectors stay cleaned, replace your air filters often and only use premium fuels. A regular service is also recommended by a qualified mechanic.

Backfires are an indicator that something isn’t right. It’s not bad for your dirt bike for this to happen occasionally, but left untreated, it will probably send your dirt bike for an early retirement. Look after your ride and it will look after you.

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👉 39 Most Common Dirt Bike Terms (How Many Do You Really Know?)

🔥 21 Awesome Dirt Bike Riding Tips ('Cause We Want You Safe Out There!)

🌲 How To Go Camping With Your Dirt Bike (And Arrive Home Safely)

🔧 7 Tools Every Dirt Bike Rider Must Carry (To Avoid Those Awkward Rescue Calls)

🥾 Best Dirt Bike Boots That Go The Distance (Who's Got The Best for 2021?)