MX Trail Bike: Fuel & Armor Upgrades
If you find yourself spending more time on trails than on track, it’s time to add some armor. Sneaky rocks, stumps and trees are at every corner waiting to getcha!
Added fuel capacity should be another thing to consider, as ride times and distances get longer on trails. Trail riding is addicting – you’ve been warned. You get a taste, like it, and then you want more and more.
We kick off our MX Trail Bike series discussing the benefits of fuel & armor.
Fuel, yes we like fuel-powered machines and the joys they bring us. From the happy grins they produce to the heart-pounding excitement we get when romping a dirt bike in the hills. Trail riding can require more fuel than a stock motocross tank can give.
With most motocross dirt bike fuel tanks having a capacity of less than 2 gallons, going the distance takes on a whole new meaning. I’ll be the first to confess that running out of fuel when trail riding is no fun, especially when you have to scoot yourself back to camp 4 miles away. Josh Burns, ORC editor was there to witness the entire fiasco.
Your best bet is to upgrade to a higher capacity fuel tank, available from companies like IMS Products, Acerbis and Clark. The capacity increases to 3-, 4- and 5-gallon tanks. If you like riding tight trails, the larger ones tend to become heavy and awkward.
Two-stroke dirt bikes tend to use up fuel faster than four-strokes--especially if you need to keep them pinned at high RPMs to make hill climbs and such. The 3-gallon seems to be the sweet spot for most trail bike riders.
Whether you add a 3-, 4- or 5-gallon fuel tank--you’ll appreciate not having to worry about not having enough fuel to make it back to camp after an epic day of riding.
Rocky roads make riding interesting--for sake of words. First thing you want to do once you realize riding your dirt bike on trails is a lot of fun is to bolt on a skid plate. They’re easy to install, run under $100 and have the potential to save your engine case from splitting like a birthday piñata.
Companies like Enduro Engineering, Moose Racing and MSR make great skid plates built from aluminum, plastic or carbon fiber.
Some other armor goodies to consider are hand guards or “bark busters.” Depending where you live and what the trails are like, it doesn’t hurt to have some added protection for your hands. Simple hand guards can make a difference between getting cut or catching a branch. If you ride in very heavily wooded or rocky areas, you may need more protection--like “bark busters.” Both are available from Acerbis.
One area that gets too close for comfort is the rear brake rotor. We’ve been on trail rides where guys hit, bent or broke their rotors. This is not fun if you’re miles away from camp or counting on having that rear brake for the 1,000-foot hill decent that awaits you.
The best way to prevent a bent or broken rotor is to add a rotor guard. Companies like Enduro Engineering, Moose Racing and MSR make good pieces designed to protect the rotor. Some even have added protection for the caliper.
All of these upgrades can be done at your very own place with a few simple tools and by following the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
ON THE TRAIL
With added fuel capacity and bike armor, you’re ready to hit the trails with confidence.
We’ve just given you some of the essentials to shaping your motocross dirt bike into a trail bike. There are a number of other pieces that can be added to make your bike into a medieval jousting bike—but that’s beyond this Camelot.
Make sure to check back for our next MX Trail Bike series topic “Teeth & Roll.” We’ll cover chain sprocket sizes, gear ratios, tires and other ways to make your dirt bike even better on the trail!