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What is a CDI Box on a Motorcycle? (Solved)

So you’ve had this odd-looking box sitting under your seat. It’s been there for years, but what does it do exactly?

A CDI Box, known as a Capacitor Discharge Ignition, allows a motorcycle to store energy for later usage, much like a regular battery, yet release energy almost instantly. The CDI is a trigger mechanism and is found on many modern-day motorcycles and determines when it’s time to zap the spark plug, while also being able to discharge capacitors.

Further more, a CDI box can control your rev limits and the timing advance surrounding your spark plug. In essence, it’s in direct control of your spark plug.

CDI Boxes Under The Seat

You’ve probably pulled open your seat and see those black box with some wires dangling from it. They’re almost always make up of the same gear: the box, some coils and a sensor.

Now – some motorcycles operate differently and may not use capacitors in the same fashion. The most popular alternative to a CDI is a TCI, though they operate very similarly and you can troubleshoot them pretty much without an issue.

CDI’s have been around for quite a few decades now and massively increased the efficiency of motorcycles, much like the advancement of fuel injection from the olden days of carburetors. They have fewer moving parts and generally are maintenance-free, but that isn’t to say they’re problem-free at all.

Dealing with CDI Problems

Some issues you can diagnose yourself and others you’ll need the expertise of an auto electrician. When it comes to spark problems with your motorcycle, the first point of call often is the CDI box.

You might have suffered some backfiring issues, cylinders which are dead, regular misfiring and really strange movements on your gauges. These are tell-tale signs that your CDI box is giving you issues.

Unfortunately, it’s not easy to trouble-shoot these and so we recommend eliminating all the other variables first. Or, as some riders like to do, simply order a replacement CDI right off eBay. These are relatively affordable aftermarket and their installation is quite simple.

You’ll find these CDI black boxes have numerous electrical components which do wear out after time. If you’re like many adventure riders and actually take your bike off the beaten track, then you’ll find that corrogated roads, moisture and heat certainly are strong enemies of many electrical components of your motorcycle.

Going Aftermarket

While you are replacing your CDI, do your research first and look for the best-in-class solution. The most reputable motorcycle dealers will have the best units available with warranties to last thousands of miles.

Not only will you have a new unit that will potentially last tens of thousands of miles, but you may get a mild performance increase. This is because some newer units alter the trigger mechamisn so it fires sooner and thus, you gain slightly more power.

There is much to learn about the engineering behind these units which you can find online. From Facebook Groups to Forums and countless YouTube tutorials, you’ll certainly find a good match for your make and model.

Who would’ve thought that such a small unit would make a massive advancement in how we operate our motorcycles?

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How to Clean and Repair Leaking Dirt Bike Fork Seals

Leaking dirt bike seals are quite common but so few riders actually fail to recognize that their seals are leaking. It’s actually quite easy.

To check for a leaking seal, you simply need to check the inner tube of the fork. This is just below the dust seal and if it’s leaking, there will be oil on the outside of the tube.

If you don’t regularly check this then the oil will continue draining out of the fork. Not only does this reduce the performance of the suspension, but can turn your motorcycle in a dangerous weapon out there on the trails.

If you do discover that they’re leaking, then replacement of the seal is the best remedy. You don’t need to replace the entire fork (that’s expensive…man!), you just gotta replace the seal itself. Dirt bike mechanics can do this for reasonable rates but with this simple tutorial, you could easily get it done yourself.

Leaking fork seals: Common Causes

It’s frustrating when you discover a leaking seal on the front there. How did it happen? Well, the most common reasons for leaking fork seals on dirt bikes are:

  1. General wear and tear. When you’re blitzing through the trails at 60 miles per hour, you have no idea how many up and down movements of your forks actually happen per MINUTE. Bolt a Go-Pro on to the front next time and you’ll realize just how much your suspension is working hard.
  2. Dust and dirt. Our arch-nemesis or perhaps a necessary evil to have fun out there. Once a little bit of dust gets wedged in the seal, it essentially opens the doorway for more to get in.
  3. Poor-quality inner tubes. We see this more commonly with Chinese Dirt Bikes but the Japanese and Euro brands do sometimes ship out forks with bad batches. It’s the last thing you’ll ever check but one of the most important things to keep your dirt bike in a tip-top condition out there.
  4. Lack of care and maintenance. Just like you service your car often, you need to do the same with your bike. If you’ve just bought one, then maybe the previous owner didn’t quite look after it properly and now you’re inheriting some problems. Relax, because luckily this one is minor and has nothing to do with the engine.

Cleaning Fork Seals on Dirt Bikes

We recommend cleaning the fork seals after every 2 to 3 rides, assuming it was just a few hours of play in the trails. If you’ve gone for a full-day ride where you covered 200+ miles, then you’re probably going to want to get those seals cleaned right up.

It does depend on the conditions. If you’ve ridden in the mud or dusty, then you’ll certainly see a massive amount of build up on the forks and so you’ll definitely want a clean up. Then again, if you’ve ridden on hard-packed stuff and forks are spotless, then you probably don’t need to do a clean today and can wait until next ride.

Cleaning the seal is easy. You just need to slightly and carefully pry open (using a very small flat-head screwdriver) the edge of the seal. Be mindful as first-timers typically damage the seal or cause indents or scratches on to their forks because they’re too aggressive. This is like heart-surgery for your dirt bike!

Once you’ve got some space open, use a lint free cloth from your local grocery store to clean out any mucky build up that you see. Try and get up under the lip as best you can. Once this step is done, slide the fork seal back up into position.

Use this as a precautionary measure. If you’ve already got leaks happening, then it’s time to drop into your local dealer mechanic for assessment.

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Adventure Fairings: Why You Should Fit One

Adventure motorcycle fairings are quite popular on those who head out on anything from a multi-day to a multi-year adventure.

These fairings have massive advantages and despite the price and sometimes complicated fitting instructions, are well worth the investment.

In this guide, Frontaer will give you several reasons to get an adventure faring.

Reasons to Fit an Adventure Fairing on a Motorcycle

Assuming you’re like us and enjoy being out there on the open road. Wind in your hair and your eyes planted 200 yards in front and looking for the next hazard. That’s the way forward.

The challenge is…it can get seriously tiring to ride into the wind for hundreds of miles per day. Simply ask Adam Riemann who has ridden tens of thousands of miles on dirt bikes without adventure fairings and windscreens and you’ll discover his complaints. This is why, today, he doesn’t leave home without one unless he’s carving up the trails on an afternoon with some mates.

These are the reasons to get an adventure fairing:

1. The Wind Sound and Pressure is Reduced

It gets seriously windy at the cockpit when you’re cruising along at 70 miles per hour, or 110km. That pressure just puts more pressure on your body which means you need to grip harder with your hands and knees to keep yourself stabilized.

This leads to fatigue. We both know that fatigue leads to poor judgement, and poor judgement leads to bad decisions and accidents. At highway speeds, you certainly don’t want poor judgement. Let’s not forget the cold air either as wind-chill can be seriously fatiguring.

2. They Improve Your Motorcycle’s Aethisics

Frontaer was reluctant to mention this one, but it’s genuinely a reason to fit a fairing. A dirt bike or adventure motorcycle that looks epic is just begging to be ridden. If yours looks smick, then you’ll want to spend more time putting miles on the odometer.

If you get a custom-made adventure motorcycle fairing, then you’ll have a machine that no one else has. There is a sense of individuality that comes with riding motorcycles (most of ride solo) and having a unique ADV bike is right on point.

3. Your Motorcycle Is Harder to Steal

Because you’ve got a custom fairing which is somewhat complicated to fit, it’s also complicated to take off. You’ve probably had to make specific screw holes and adjustments to your cockpit to accomodate it. This means you’ve got a unique motorcycle already.

When a thief sees your motorcycle, they’re more likely to pass. You’ve got a one-of-a-kind design that is easily trackable. Load the entire bike up with branded stickers and some DataDots and you’ll be well served.

4. More Mounting Space in the Cockpit

Fitting an adventure fairing is going to give you up to twice the amount of space to mount extra gear. This is why Dakar Riders fit these because, not only do they stop the wind pressure, but thre is also now ample space for a map roll.

Now, you certainly don’t need a map roll for riding around the world. However, you’ll definitely want a GPS and one that is fitted beyond the handlebars where you can look ahead, not simply down. You’ll also have space for a phone mount and dash cam if you need.

5. A More Upright Riding Stance

This one probably isn’t so evident to most riders, but if you’re an adventure rider, you’ll notice that dirt bike riders crouch so much at highway speeds. Meanwhile, adventure riders are almost like a meerkat behind the bars. Why?

The fairing is deflecting the wind chill, the pressure and the noice. ADV riders then can ride normally and ergonomically, leading to an enjoyable ride out there. This is why it’s not uncommon to do 500+ miles per day both offroad and onroad, while dirt bike riders would’ve pulled up to a camping spot much earlier with a sore back, shoulders and neck.

In Summary

They certainly don’t come cheap, but neither does your motorcycle. Even if you’re not seeking to head out on a global expedition just yet, fitting a fairing is one that will last years and give you a lot more comfort. Being comfortable behind the handlebars means that you’ll ride your bike more often.

…And riding your motorcycle more often is what we all crave. If you’re going to ride it and spend money on quality gear, you may as well be comfortable at highway speeds.

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Why Don’t Dirt Bikes Have Kickstands?

Have you just bought a dirt bike but it didn’t come with a kickstand? It probably left you scratching your head.

We assume that it comes with a kickstand just like a bicycle or enduro dirt bike. Unfortunately, some MX motorcycles don’t come with them.

Manufacturers don’t include kickstands with some dirt bikes due to the weight savings and ground clearance. They also aren’t so secure and can slide down when riding on bumpy terrain leading to an accident. Motocross riders typically don’t ride long distance and are simply coming back to the pits where they have a hardstand under the crew tent.

We see this typically with Chinese Dirt Bikes but it can be on any dirt bike really, especially motocross. enduro and dual-sport motorcycles almost always have kickstands as standard.

Supporting your Dirt Bike Without a Kickstand

So then, how do you go about keeping your dirt bike upright without a kickstand attached? There are several ways:

  1. Lean it against a tree or fence post. This is most common with the weekend riding crew. Find a tree or fence post out there and lean the fuel tank against it. While it’s tempting to lean the edge of the handlebars against something solid to prevent scratches to the gas tank, it’s likely that the handlebars will twist if it gets windy and your dirt bike will come crashing to the ground.
  2. Buy a workshop stand. These are great for changing tires and doing regular maintenance work. You should throw one in the back of the truck whenever you go out riding as they will be well used, especially if you are out in the sand dunes and nothing to lean your dirt bike up against.
  3. Install a triangle stand. These are different than your typical dirt bike stand in that they provide more support to the dirt bike. Perfect if you live in a windy location or the terrain is a bit soft and you need that extra stability.
  4. Install a traditional dirt bike kickstand. Yes, you can certainly buy these from the dealerships or online, but their lengths do vary. You’ll need to find one which is the right size for your dirt bike. We recommend the Ricochet Kickstand which is adjustable.

When You Definitely Need One

If you’re often riding on weekends with a crew of buddies, then you’re probably going to get sick of trying to lean your dirt bike up against solid objects often. This is when you’re going to want to invest into a good stand as we outlined above.

A common reason why people install dirt bike stands is that they’ve converted their dirt bike into a supermoto. Imagine going down to the local burger joint and not being able to park your motorcycle anywhere because you don’t have a kickstand. Awkward!

Also, if you’re out exploring trails often and are regularly opening and closing farm gates, then it’s wise to spend the $30 on a quality stand. It will save you from constantly looking around for options or backing up 40m to that tree you spotted.

You Can Do Without

It’s possible to own a dirt bike for years and still be smiling without a kick stand. The weight savings are minimal (as are the cost savings) and with carbon fibre becoming popular and cheaper, there will be more manufacturers installing these even on the most competitive MX bikes. You can do without the stand and it’s somewhat of a cool factor not having one when everone else has.

The most challenging time is when you’re loading/unloading your dirt bike and don’t want to lean it up against the truck. But get yourself a workshop stand and you won’t need to worry about this at all.

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Kenda Equilibrium Tire Review: Are They Worth It?

Have you seen the new Kenda Equilibrium Tire? It’s quite interesting and certainly a shaker in the industry.

It appears to be best for those racing circuits on weekends, whether that be MX or enduro laps. It doesn’t work as well for the casual rider who’s out to have fun instead of winning laps and trophies.

From all accounts, not only does it look awesome but it also performs very well too. At least, they say. We wanted to review this tire ourselves and see how it handles the rough stuff.

Kenda Equilibrium Tire Review

This tire is unique in that it’s been inspired by the trials industry. The knobs are very soft and are mixed with a sticky compound. The shoulders are aggressive which means you can really lean it over in the corners and know that you’ll (probably) get out of the corner alive.

In the centre line are braking scoops. This will help you pull up faster and thus are likely to increase lap times. Again, this is a trait that comes from the trials world where riders must pull up almost instantaneously.

What we wonder is…is this really a gimmick or truly a reliable tire that can ‘cut it’ in the world of competitive motocross? Let’s have a closer look.

Negatives and Positives

The price is certainly up there making this tyre not so within range for the weekend warrior. For the racer who knows those extra 3 seconds over 10 laps will make or break their season, then this tire is for them.

On the circuit, it’s certainly a rock-solid tyre. It isn’t so good in the sand but excels in the hard-packed terrain. There’s hardly a hint of it losing traction or finding the edge as the knobs really hold their own.

We really loved the center scoops really slow us down unlike a conventional dirt or enduro tire, so it’s not all about the acceleration and cornering grip. It’s certainly a tyre that hooks you to the trail and don’t let go, apart from those challenging whoop sections.

Overall

This is a solid tire and one that contends well against the high-end knobbies in hard-packed terrain. Through its inspiration from the trials world, it certainly propels it up and beyond most of its competitors. And for the riders who choose this tire, you can too.

The only thing we’d love to see is DOT-approval. The equilibrium tire isn’t DOT-approved and if it were, it would get us dual-sport riders wet in the pants.

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