Know a little something about maintaining, repairing, tuning, or modifying motorcycles, ATVs, UTVs, snowmobiles, or PWC? Or, maybe you have mad skills riding or racing them? Whatever the case, if you have valuable knowledge and experiences that relates to power sports, please help your fellow riders by sharing your best tips, tricks, and how-to.

Chris Cooksey
Monster Energy Supercross: Detroit, is it time for change in Supercross?
The 12th round of Monster Energy AMA Supercross concluded in Detroit leaving behind some hard to ignore layout deficiencies on the Ford Field.  While the series progresses to St. Louis I find myself asking more questions about the overall structure of the series (as it continues to grow and become more mainstream) and less questions about who will or will not be crowned the champion.  At the pinnacle of Supercross why was there not enough dirt to cover the stadium floor and how did the stadium floor start peeking through after only 2 laps in the first 250 heat?  Is it time to look at different track building techniques?  Here are some different ideas :
Another series challenge is the need of updated timed qualifiers.  I would like to see the top 20 timed qualifiers split in the heats.  Rewarding the top half of the field, top 10 in each heat get a 2 second advantage over the other half of the gate, prevents slower guys from becoming moving road blocks.   The rest of qualifying should follow suit, if you don't qualify out of the heat or win your semi, during the Main event you take off in the second wave.  Again, this will reward the top qualifiers.  This will also give us the elite matchups in the front of the field, Dungey vs Tomac and the moving roadblocks like Alessi and Friese won't be in the way.  Every other major form of racing rewards fast qualifying.  This will also make the first turn far safer, and while it's cool seeing 22 of the worlds fastest 450’s funnel into a couple lines, the bikes are too fast and have outgrown the current starting procedure.  This will help keep the stars healthy and on the track, but still maintain the  entertainment factor.
The final issue in review is how quick the riders figure out the fast lines.  With dartfish and overlapping video these teams have taken out the guesswork of finding the fastest line.   If part of the track was not opened until the night program, riders may have more difficulty discovering the fasted line before the race has started.  Give the guys a hot lap and then turn them loose!  While this doesn’t seem to promote safety, it rewards riders who can learn new sections quickly, making the series more interesting as we will see different rider’s skills outside of dirt preference.  Also, the much debated “chase” format has been discussed and in this era of short attention spans, smart phones, and instant gratification we have lost the appreciation for a season long war.  If we want to attract a new generation of fans, we need to up the intensity and make sure the champion is not crowned halfway through the series (like Dungey in 2016), we can't count on Eli making it interesting every year.
These are just a couple things I feel need to be addressed for the future of Supercross, what do you think?  Should we add a shark pit or have riders change a tire for starting position? Let me hear your ideas.

JASO Explained PART 1:
JASO 4-Stroke Engine Oil Specification
       The Japanese Lubricating Oil Society or JALOS is the organization that regulates the performance of various motorcycle specific engine oil types. JALOS is the organization that regulates and oversees the implementation of the JASO motorcycle engine oil specifications. For motorbike applications, there are two separate JASO categories for 4-stroke and 2-stroke applications with numerous subdivisions within each category. For this article I am going to focus on explaining the 4-stroke category.
       Let’s begin with a quick background of the 4-stroke JASO specification. In 1998, JALOS organized the first widely accepted standard for evaluating performance of motorcycle engine lubricants. This was necessary due to an increasing number of automotive oils meeting the energy conserving and resource conserving specifications through the additive technology of friction modifiers. Because these friction modifiers are not designed for compatibility of wet clutches, problems were occurring in motorcycles with combined engine and transmission oil sumps. The MA specification was launched in 1998 with the attempt to differentiate between products that were suitable for wet clutch applications and those that weren’t. This was done in collaboration with the major motorcycle manufacturers of Japan at the time, so it was a fairly industry-wide desire to identify the products that worked most effectively. The first two categories introduce by JALOS were the JASO MA and the JASO MB performance specifications. The MA category was originally meant for good clutch compatibility and MB was for products not compatible with wet clutches, or in other words; products that contain friction modifiers and cause clutch slipping.
       In 2006 the T903:1998 specification was replaced by the T903:2006 specification which underwent a big change to the clutch friction test results and their interpretation. The MA specification for JASO performance in wet clutch applications was further broken down into three oddly distinct yet overlapping categories. In 2011 the T903:2006 specification was then replaced by the T903:2011 specification in order to further refine those friction result ranges for each category. The charts below lay out the exact ranges for each category during each update and make it simple to see how they are currently broken down.

Table 1: JASO T903:1998 Clutch Friction Specification

Table 2: JASO T903:2006 Clutch Friction Specification

Table 3: JASO T903:2011 Clutch Friction Specification

Table 4: JASO T903:2016 Clutch Friction Specification
MB – To be classified as MB, at least one of the three results needs to be within the MB ranges. It can be any one of the three, it could be two of three or it could be all three, but at long as at least one result is within the MB range, the entire oil performance is considered MB. MA1 – To be classified as an MA1 oil, all three of the results must be within the MA1 range. MA2 – To be classified as an MA2 oil, all three of the results must be within the MA2 range. MA –  To be considered MA, all three results must be within the MA range. Since the MA range encompasses both the MA1 and the MA2 specifications, it can become a little confusing. Technically, if a particular oil meets the MA1 specification, a lubricant marketer can call it an MA oil and the same applies to an oil that meets the MA2 specification. If an oil’s results are mixed and some of the results are within the MA1 range and some are within the MA2 range, then it can only be classified as MA.        So that is how the clutch compatibility is currently tested. The SAE #2 bench test is the most current testing protocol to determine performance at the time I am writing this article. To put it simply, MA covers the entire clutch compatible range, MA1 is the lower friction half of that specification and MA2 is the higher friction half of that specification. These friction test results are the only differences between the four JASO categories for 4-stroke motorcycle engine oil.
       The result names of DFI, SFI and STI are kind of nondescript and difficult to assign a practical property to. It took me quite a long time in the industry before I found a adequate enough description of each one to fully understand the results myself. Here is a basic description of what each one means:
Dynamic Friction Index (DFI) – Is a measurement of how power is transferred while being operated under slipping conditions or in other words, how the clutch feels as it is engaged when already spinning.
Static Friction Index (STI) – A measure of how much torque can be applied to an already fully engaged clutch before slipping occurs.
Stop Time Index (STI) – A measurement of how much time it takes for the clutch to engage when the lever is released.
    There are other tests that are required for JASO compliance that relate to performance characteristics other than wet clutch compatibility tests. Here is the exact specification followed by a brief description of each item. (Warning: there are a lot of technical terms coming up that you might want definitions for, many of these terms and tests are already listed in the glossary page at

                              Table 5: JASO T903:2016 laboratory bench testing requirements. These specifications control the chemical and                                   physical properties of motorcycle specific oils.
Density – A measurement of mass per given volume
Flash Point – A way to measure the flammability characteristics of a fluid. It is measured by determining the temperature at which the oil vaporizes rapidly enough to make the volume of air directly above the liquid flammable.
Kinematic Viscosity - A measurement indicating a fluids ability to flow. The more viscous oil is, the thicker it is. This is sometimes referred to as low shear viscosity. While the result at 40°C only needs to be reported, the result at 100°C must correlate to the designated SAE viscosity grade on file for the product.
Viscosity Index - A number which is calculated using the kinematic viscosity of a fluid at varying temperatures. Simply put, it is a measure of how stable the viscosity is over a wide temperature range. The higher the viscosity index number is, the more stable a fluid is with regards to viscosity.
Low-Temp Viscosity, CCS – The low temperature viscosity of an oil in high shear rate conditions.
High Temp. High Shear Rate Viscosity at 150°C (HTHS) – The high temperature viscosity of an oil in high shear rate conditions.
Sulfated Ash – The metallic ash content of an oil after it burns. This is a part of how to evaluate an oil’s cleanliness.
Acid Number – The acidity of an oil. This is sometimes referred to as Total Acid Number.
Base Number – The alkalinity of an oil. This is sometimes referred to as Total Base Number.
Evaporative Loss – The mass of oil that will evaporate at a specified temperature. This relates to oil consumption rate and an oil’s viscosity stability.
Foaming Tendency – The resistance an oil has to a head of foam both forming and persisting on its surface measured at three different temperature conditions.
Shear Stability – The resistance for an oil’s molecules to be sheared or reduced. This property relates to viscosity stability.
Color – I sincerely hope this needs no description
Elemental Analysis – A quantitative measurement of the concentration of chemical elements in a material. Phosphorus is the only element that is controlled or limited by JASO.
Infrared Absorption Spectrum Analysis (IR Scan) – A type of scan that identifies chemical bonds.

Figure 1: Example of an IR scan
       This stuff can be confusing, I know. So if any of it is still unclear to you, feel free to PM any questions.
      You may have noticed that most of the tests on this list are only reported to JASO and don’t actually have any required values. This is because many of these tests are simply used as identifiers. JALOS periodically does “secret shopper” testing and pulls products off the shelves to make sure that the oil being sold matches the formula which was filed with JALOS. This has the dual purpose of ensuring that the originally filed results were accurately reported and that formula changes were not performed without re-qualifying the oil with JALOS. With so many different properties being reported, it would be easy to identify a simple manufacturing variance compared to an actual formula change, so it effectively keeps lubricant marketers from being dishonest when advertising a JASO registration.
    So that is the entire JASO 4-stroke engine oil specification minus the labeling requirements and then all it takes is a deposit of ¥40,000 (approximately $400 USD) to the JALOS bank account to be added to their list and to display a JASO box such as the one below on the back label of an oil.

Figure 2: JASO registration box for rear labels of motorcycle engine oils.
Only products that are officially registered with JASO and are included on the JASO filed engine oil list are permitted to display this box on their label. So if you see the box, you should be able to look it up on the list to confirm its registration. You can also find the company that owns each formula and if you read the oil code you can tell exactly what country that product is manufactured in. By looking at digits two, three and four of the oil code, which are specified by a corresponding country code in Appendix 3 (Page 19) of the JASO T903:2011 specification document, you can tell the exact country of origin for every product on the list.

Figure 3: JASO oil code example.
Why JASO is Important
Now you may be asking yourself, is registration really that important? It is true that registration is not required to market a product for 4-stroke motorcycle use, but the fact that a product is registered does give assurance from an independent third party that a product does perform as claimed. There are many many brands and products out there that claim to “meet JASO MA requirements” or they may say “meets JASO performance specifications” or something else along that same line. If there is only a claim and no box, then you simply need to take that company’s word for it that they comply, and if there is no official registration, it is only that company’s promise that they are formulating honestly. The products that claim to meet JASO requirements more than likely do, but there is certainly a higher chance that a company that does not register may not be testing to ensure that performance.
Registering with JASO does have a downside. It makes it difficult to improve formulas any more frequently than once every few years because of the cost involved for each reformulation, so it can make it difficult to adapt to quickly advancing technologies.
The JASO specifications give a benchmark for motorcycle specific oils that highlights the performance needs that are different from standard automotive oils. By addressing those differences and working with both motorcycle manufacturers and lubricant manufacturers, JASO continues to update the specification every five years or so to remain in step with the most up-to-date technologies; by keeping up-to-date with the technology advancements always happening, it makes sure that oils are able to advance without risking the loss of their JASO registration simply for trying to improve or do things possibly outside the ordinary to create a uniquely performing product.
What’s Next?
       The T903:2016 specification was released in April, 2016 and is now implemented. There was an attempt to bring in a new test to quantify gear protection, but there were problems validating the test procedure so it is not planned to go into effect until 2021 now.
       The clutch test was revised to give a more accurate differentiation between the categories. So the updated ranges and test pieces now offer a more precise and useful test.
       As mentioned above, gear pitting is an issue they want to address. It was not able to be implemented in the 2016 specification but it is still of interest for eventual inclusion into the specification.
       The FZG Gear Test was the original test considered to analyze gear pitting performance. Unfortunately the FZG test method proposed for measuring pitting protection has been deemed too unreliable to be standardized. There is a lack of repeatability between laboratories performing the test and the cost of each test was determined to be too costly in the end.
       An alternative test called the Thrust Needle Bearing Test has been suggested as an alternative to the FZG as an indicator of gear pitting protection. The test result has a close correlation to the FZG results and is very cheap to run relative to the FZG gear test. Unfortunately this test is also experiencing a lack of repeatability between laboratories at this time.
       Unfortunately before the specification can include a new test, the test must display a strong correlation between facilities and a highly repeatable test method. Different users and laboratories must be able to obtain results within a reasonable margin of error, but until that happens, this new test will not be part of the specification. By 2021, they may have a new procedure developed that can work for this purpose.
Here are some links to the JALOS website for anyone who would like to review the official documents:
JASO T903:2016 Specification
JASO 4T List of Filed 4T Engine Oils
Chris Cooksey
This past weekend Fly Racing launched their 2017.5 Kinetic Mesh just in time for the summer.  Fly racing is based in Boise, ID, many former professional racers now work at Fly (Jason Thomas “JT$”, Cole Siebler, Kyle Gills, Jeff “NorCal” Northrop) and the designers take their input seriously when designing the gear.  Fly Racing gear is founded on quality and comfort, including high end features at a mid level price point.  
After riding in 80-95 degree heat last Saturday at MesquiteMX I’m still blown away by how well the gear fits. The Kinetic Mesh gear isn't the “pajama style” vented gear from 3-5 years ago.   The older gear left me looking and feeling ridiculous with an untucked jersey and sagging pants.  With the new 2017.5 Kinetic Mesh, if it wasn't for air flowing through me I would have thought I was wearing regular gear. 
 The Kinetic Mesh Pants retail for $114.95 and $38.95 for the Jersey.  Go to for more information, all sizes and colors are available in the TT Store.   Check out Jeff “NorCal” Northrop as he explains further the features and benefits of Fly 2017.5 Kinetic Gear.

Chris Cooksey
Eli Tomac showed up and did exactly what was needed to close the point gap on Ryan Dungey.  Now Tomac must work hard to avoid giving any points back to Dungey.  Dungey’s horrible Main event began with Marvin Musquin smashing into the starting gate, causing both Jason Anderson and Dungey to flinch leaving them with horrible starts.  Dungey rode determined to a disappointing 4th place finish battling horrible vision, he had no tear offs after the 10 lap mark.  The track was one lined and typically this is where I would blast Ricky Carmichael for his poor design, but with all the restrictions placed on the use of space Carmichael did a great job, other than the sand section.  A couple of weeks ago I was very critical of the sand in Atlanta, saying sand was alright if it was in a turn.  I was wrong, sticky beach sand has no place in Supercross!  All it did was ruin Goggles and force single file racing.  Adam Cianciarulo used the Dunlop Sand tire last night both Reed and Dungey were out of tear offs about halfway through the main event.  I understand Daytona is a different beast when it comes to Supercross, but with a sandy base why add a stickier version in two turns?
The biggest surprise last night was Jeremy Martin, at one point I thought he might win the Main event.  But should I have been surprised?  Martin is a two time outdoor National Champion who grew up riding in Millville, MN, which has similar dirt to Daytona.  Martin hired Ryan Villopoto as his riding coach last Monday.  I believe he is angling for the vacant spot at Honda left by Ken Roczen in 2018.  I don't think we will see Roczen until 2019, if ever.  Roczen still has some serious recovery time as he mentioned in his TV interview last night he needed cadaver cartilage replacement in his elbow and he was waiting on a donor.  I am somewhat familiar with this process, as I need knee replacement surgery myself.  This is a somewhat new procedure (here are couple links to explaining the process  ).  I also heard he has extensive nerve damage and after 10 plus surgeries this is to be expected.  Nerves are weird, nerve healing is not an exact science.  Different doctors will give you different theories but all seem somewhat unsure exactly how long, or if nerve damage will ever heal.  This led me to the sad but likely scenario that Roczen might be done.  On the bright side I hear his contract is guaranteed for 3 years.
Adam Cianciarulo was the feel good story, after years of injuries and many people writing him off he got the win putting himself in title contention.  Adam chose to use a sand rear tire and it paid off!  Every time Joey Savatgy got close he was blasted with beach sand.  Hopefully this is a second beginning for the likable Ciancirulo, he has paid his dues over the last few years.  Points leader Zach Osborne had his worst night so far, he had a good start but multiple mistakes on the one lined track left him salvaging a 5th place finish.  Now heading into Indianapolis only 7 points separates Ciancirulo, Savatgy and Osborne.  There is destined to be a battle to Vegas, there was no Crown!

Chris Cooksey
More drama in Toronto surrounding FIM Competition Director John Gallagher!  Multiple people witnessed the untelevised incident of Brock Tickle slapping Justin Barcia on the back of the helmet after the heat race.  This appeared similar to what Jason Anderson did to Vince Friese at A2.  John Gallagher stated in his past TV interview in relation to discipline, “it's been very consistent in Supercross, as long as I have been involved.  If it becomes physical on the race track, like a couple years ago [Reed Black Flag] or off the race in track, in the pits, immediately that's a disqualification for the evening.”  It appears Mr. Gallagher needs more consistency himself, especially when TV cameras don’t catch the action.  Does he only disqualify riders if he gets an interview, like when he black flagged Chad Reed and disqualified Anderson?  Like I said before, John Gallagher is not a guy who should have the authoritative control he does.  His ego changed both Reed and Anderson's seasons potentially costing them money, sponsors and future opportunities.  Come on guys!  This is Supercross racing at the highest level and I don't think Reed, Anderson or Tickle deserved disqualifying.  Gallagher based the Anderson and Reed decisions on emotion and ego.  I bet if the Tickle and Barcia incident was caught on TV and Gallagher got his TV time there would have been a disqualification.
Now to the actual Toronto Supercross results; and then there were two.  The 2017 champion has narrowed down to Eli Tomac or Ryan Dungey.  Eli did his part by winning the race, and Dungey overcame a bad start to finish second.  Dungey’s creativity with his line choice after the finish line proved his tenacity.  Dungey found a line that allowed him to square up the straight away and miss the exposed concrete.  He made almost every pass here.  The only rider who picked up on the same line was Brock Tickle (who should have been disqualified by Gallagher’s past standards) who held on for a strong third place and the first podium of his career.  Marvin Musquin barely finished the race placing 13th as he was battling a serious illness.  Unfortunately, his 13Th place finish seriously hurts any championship hopes he might have had.  
Early in the Main event it looked like Eli would take a nice chunk out of Dungey's championship lead, but in the history of Supercross I have never seen a rider better than Dungey at managing bad nights, injuries and illness.  Dungey’s bad nights end in 2nd or 3rd place finishes.  The only rider in Supercross history that could compare to him is Jeff Stanton, but Dungey has had more longevity and speed than the six time National and Supercross Champion.
In the 250 class Zach Osborne has established himself as the fastest guy week in and week out.  With Joey Savatgy going down late in the Main Event Osborne has a 12 point lead in the series.  Zach has mentioned he is moving to the 450 class next year, but I think that's only if he wins the Championship.  Clearly he has planned on winning this for a while, as fans we are just finding out now.  Let’s see how he handles Daytona.  

Off-road riding means getting dirty, not just the rider but also our machines…and while we take a quick shower and we’re ready for a night out, our motorcycles don’t have it as easy!
There are many different schools of thought when it comes to how to properly wash your dirty/muddy/sandy motorcycle after riding, so we took a look at some of the popular techniques and did some investigation into “what’s right and what’s wrong” when it comes to cleaning your ride.
Although most of our readers are pretty sharp, most of us aren’t detailing experts so we reached out to some industry experts for their insight and advice and they are quoted here.

Modern motocross bikes (and even older more exotic machines) can have a myriad of different types of metals and plastics that can present a problem when you want to quickly wash your bike after a day in the dirt. Materials like titanium, aluminum, magnesium, carbon fiber and hard/soft rubber may have different requirements when it comes to cleaning.
We spoke first to Boris Mahlich at Motorex who stated “Certain cleaning chemicals are harsh on the finishes, glossy and matte finishes in particular and metal surfaces. Aluminum, magnesium and titanium in particular are susceptible to staining, etching and corrosion from harsh cleaning agents not suitable for such metals. Another thing to consider (is that) rubber seals which can dry and crack when continuously cleaned with harsh cleaning products or solvents.”
“Solvents and cleaners that are overly acidic or alkaline (high and low pH values) are not good. Stay away from extremely alkaline cleaners and extremely acidic cleaners typically used for industrial and household applications.” 
Andrew Hodges at Bel-Ray offered this insight: “Highly caustic chemicals can damage certain surfaces if left on for too long, so it is a good idea to either spot check a cleaner before applying it, or checking with the chemical’s manufacturer for their usage guidelines. Solvent based cleaners can also have a negative effect on some painted and plastic surfaces.”
Brian Wilkinson of Slick Products said: “Any cleaning product that does not have a neutral or low pH of 7-8 should be used with caution. High alkaline products are very corrosive and will etch soft aluminum and will discolor those expensive anodized parts on your bike.” 
In talking to these experts, it seems a safe way to go is to use cleaners that have a neutral PH not too high or low, and stay away from your rubber components where possible.

Walk down the automotive aisle at any big-box or automotive store and you see many offerings in the vehicle washing section. They are cheap and have great marketing…in fact I use them on my power equipment, but not on my motorcycles.
What are the pros and cons of using some of these more popular mainstream “general purpose” products such as Power Purple and Simple Green? We asked our experts their honest opinions and here’s what they said. 
Hodges: “General purpose cleaners usually fall into that highly caustic group I mentioned before so using them should be done with care. They are generally very good at cutting through grease and soils, but they don’t stop there. So if they are left on a surface for too long it will eventually start affecting the surface. If a part such as a plastic guard has any surface defects in the clear-coat, those highly caustic cleaners can get under the clear coat at the damaged area and spread the damage. So, they can be used, but there is more generally more risk in doing so compared to a buffered, surfactant based cleaner.”
Wilkinson agreed and added: “The simple answer is that (these products) are not designed to be used on motorcycles. Industrial and household cleaners often have higher pH making them more corrosive on soft aluminum. In some cases etching and discoloring will occur in seconds while other cases corrosion tends to slowly occur after every wash.” 
“In addition, do not overlook the fact that a motorcycle needs lubrication (and) using a degreaser as an overall bike wash will strip lubrication from bearings and pivots points. Unless you’re a professional mechanic who takes their bike apart every week to re-grease you should be using a product like our Off-Road Wash that removes heavy dirt and mud without stripping lubrication.”
Other industry experts mentioned they were concerned with not only potential harm to the end-user of these more aggressive cleaning products, but also the effects on the environment as a whole. As with all off-road chemical products, it’s important to not only remember proper application and usage, but also think about where these products may end up, so always observe proper containment and disposal requirements.

Is there a right and wrong way to clean your bike? We’ve always felt as long as it looks clean at the end that what matter, right? Well, we’ve heard a lot of different advice when it comes to washing your bike. 
Use pressure washer, don’t use pressure washers, stay away from all seals, never wash o-ring chain, etc. 
Some of these tips seem to make sense and some may be based on old-school habits that die hard so we asked the panel their thoughts on this topic.
Eddie Cole from Matrix / 1.7 Cleaning Solutions offered some tips on washing your motorcycle correctly:  
“It's best to let the motorcycle cool down before washing it and lube the things right away that need to be lubed after washing. (Don’t) get water into the exhaust system and into the air filtration system, there are exhaust plugs and air filter covers on the market (that are) designed to keep water out of those areas, and use a Spray and Shine with rust preventing agent.” 
Cole continued: “We think it's (also) important to dry the motorcycle properly and make sure everything is dry and in working order and we recommend cleaning the air filter right away before restarting (making sure to) remove the exhaust plug before starting the bike.  Check that that the controls, brakes and the throttle are in good smooth functioning order before starting and/or riding the bike again.”
Hodges from Bel-Ray elaborated on mistakes they see riders make when cleaning their machines and this includes:
“Not spot checking cleaners on aftermarket parts before coating the entire bike in cleaner. If the parts utilize a unique or uncommon surface finish, this can be problematic for cleaners that are designed for the more typical surface finishes. These parts may need some more individual attention for cleaning. Using a pressure washer to rinse the bike - the pressure washer risks pushing water and displacing lubricant or flooding into places you don’t want water.”
He continued: “Thinking that a bio-based cleaner is fine to just drain into the soil or a drain. Just because it is bio-based doesn’t mean it isn’t detrimental to the environment. Water based, biodegradable cleaners are generally safe for that practice, but any solvent based cleaner (bio or not) should be disposed of properly.”
Wilkinson from Slick added: “The worst mistake is a permanent one. Since being at Slick Products we have so many customers who used a product that (has) caused damage and want to know how to fix it. You can't un-corrode metal, so when you spend $8-$10K on your dirtbike don't spray a $2 cleaner on it.”

Some products made “for motorcycles” can be expensive when compare to their automotive counterparts, so we’ve been somewhat reluctant to buy them as frequently and figure many of our readers feel the same.
We asked the experts what makes their off-road products “motorcycle specific” so we could gain some insight into what products to buy and why.
Hodges from Bel-Ray went first: “Bike Wash is a water-based, buffered, and the cleaning power is based on surfactant technology. It penetrates and lifts grease and soil from surfaces allowing for easy rinse off. A short time on the surface is all it takes for the dirt to be loosened, so by the time you spray the last area of the bike or ATV, you can begin rinsing the first area and work your way around. Unless the machine is extremely dirty, it usually requires no scrubbing or physical cleaning.”
Hodges also mentioned the Bel-Ray Foam Filter Cleaner & Degreaser is designed specifically to remove dirt and the high tack filter oils common in motorcycle and ATV applications.
Mahlich from Motorex explained: “Motorex products are engineered and designed by our in-house laboratory in Switzerland specifically for motorcycle applications. That means they are not industrial products that may just work on a motorcycle. The sole purpose for these products is for the care and maintenance of your motorcycle and that is what they are designed to do.”
Cole from 1.7 Cleaning Solutions offered: “1.7 Cleaning Solutions were developed specifically for motorcycles,  we spent months interviewing and testing with the top mechanics in professional racing to develop a product line to meet their professionals needs and expectations.”
“We needed a multi-purpose cleaning product that would attack the dirt, oil, grease grime quickly but leave a bright finish when dry. The wash needed to work and be compatible with plastic, aluminum, steel, magnesium and titanium without harming or attacking powder coated finishes, anodized finishes or chrome, (so) we developed motorcycle specific products for specific purpose that include our Formula 1 Wash Degreaser for motorcycle finishes, our Formula 2 Spray and Shine for the complete motorcycle (plastics, motor, suspension and components) that gives a factory "new look shine" and light silicone lubricant finish.
Wilkinson of Slick added: “We have worked very hard to create specially formulated non-corrosive cleaning products designed for motorcycle riders, by motorcycle riders to offer a faster, safer, and easier cleaning experience. Each one of our cleaners serves a unique purpose in the cleaning process to help maintain the life, look, and value of your bike.”

Many riders wash their bikes and stick them in the garage…don’t. Putting a motorcycle away for any length of time makes them susceptible to oxidation and corrosion and that’s not good. This is more of a problem for riders in colder climates with shorter riding seasons like the Northeast and there is more than one school of thought on how to put your bike away.
So we asked the experts why and how to clean your motorcycle before storage.
Hodges from Bel-Ray offered: “A thorough cleaning is always a good idea, but more importantly it’s what you put on rather than what you clean off when storing a bike. Cleaning the chain and applying fresh chain lube with strong anti-rust properties is the first and easiest thing to do.”
“A rubber preservative for any external hoses or seals is a good idea for long term storage (and) cleaning grease and grime from electrical contacts and applying a non-conductive protectant or grease to electrical terminals is advisable. Any protective surface coatings for plastic, metal, rubber or vinyl surfaces can only help in preserving the condition of the bike.”
Mahlich from Motorex added: “To keep metal finishes from oxidizing while a motorcycle is stored, cover the surfaces with a protective spray. Motorex Moto Protect is formulated to protect all painted and metal surfaces from corrosion and oxidation. Simply spray the surfaces leaving a thin protective film that will ensure your motorcycle comes out of storage looking as good as it did when it went into storage.”
In conclusion, by observing some simple protocols and using common sense when cleaning your motorcycle, you can keep that factory look and that not only makes you feel good but also preserves your hard-earned investment for future resale. Today’s motorcycles are expensive and use exotic materials that are important to the overall look and function of the machine, but there are products available that can not only clean your ride properly, but help preserve these materials so they can perform as they were originally designed.
Have a though to share? Hit us up in the comments section below!

Grease is a tool used so universally around the world but remains somewhat of a mystery for many of the people who use it. Every motorcycle needs grease at some point and there are several different areas where it is applied. Although grease manufacturing is a somewhat complex process it is somewhat seen as an art and each company’s methods and exact formulas are different. This results in sometimes subtle but sometimes drastic differences in products.
The basic formula for grease is this: base oil, thickener and additives.
Base oils can be anything from petroleum to synthetic to plant based oils. There are several different commonly used thickeners. The most common types are lithium, aluminum and calcium sulfonate. The additives used are dependent on the type of grease and the purpose of the grease. Base Oil:
The base oil composition of a grease will impart a few crucial properties:

Table 1: Basic base oil comparison
The reason synthetics are less versatile than non-synthetic base oils is because of synthetic types likes silicone and poly-alyklene glycol (PAG). These types of oil are usually only meant for very specific industrial applications and are unsuitable in many others, so care is needed when selecting grease to avoid these types of synthetics in many instances. With that same reason in mind, additive selection is also more limited with these alternative synthetic options. However, plant based oils are still generally less versatile due to the temperature constraints they are typically limited by to.
Different thickener types have different performance attributes distinct to each type. Here are the most common types of base grease thickeners used for multipurpose motorcycle greases.
Lithium offers a good water resistance, heat tolerance and mechanical stability. It is currently the least expensive type of grease to make so it is very prevalent in the marketplace. The drawbacks of it compared to other types are that it is not completely waterproof and will accept moisture over time.
Aluminum is practically waterproof but is more expensive to manufacture than lithium grease. It offers high temperature stability, but is slightly less mechanically stable than other types.
Calcium sulfonate has excellent high temperature, low temperature and inherent properties that allow it to use fewer additives to obtain certain performance levels. Its water resistance is excellent and it is often compatible with other greases. The big drawback to calcium sulfonate is the price. It is typically much more expensive than either of the other two types to produce.
A grease complex is a variation of the standard base grease that is possible to make with lithium and aluminum. Aluminum and lithium complex greases exhibit higher temperature limits and better mechanical stability than their uncomplexed counterparts.
All three of the grease types listed are often compatible with one another up to around 25% contamination with one type and 75% of the other. Beyond that 3:1 ratio though, incompatibilities are more common and certain properties may be sacrificed if mixed.
There are many other types of thickener types I haven’t mentioned but those are rarely, if ever, used for the types of greases commonly used for motorcycle.
Common additives for greases include: anti-oxidation, anti-corrosion, anti-wear and extreme pressure(EP) additives. Additional types are certainly used, but those are going to be found in a lot of greases with perhaps the exception of extreme pressure additives if the grease is not labeled as EP grease.
One last fairly universal additive is dye. Most greases are dyed some color and many people believe these colors mean something. Let me be absolutely clear here so there is no confusion; THE COLOR DOES NOT MATTER. The colors are arbitrary and chosen by the manufacturer for aesthetics and nothing else. They may have their own standards and reasons for why they color certain grease a certain way, but it is not to conform to any industry standard.
Grease Applications & Properties:
Grease has some advantages over oil in certain applications. It can be applied in open areas without a sump or reservoir. It forms a significantly stronger physical barrier on a surface making it more suitable in extreme applications. It can utilize solid lubricants more effectively than liquids can.
There are basically two types of greases commonly used in most motorcycles. They are assembly grease used during engine building or repairs and multipurpose greases for everything else. Multipurpose greases are usually good for bearings, axles, pivots and really any grease point on a bike. Assembly lubricants usually contain a high level of solid lubricants and provide lubrication to machine internals that are normally lubricated by oil or special applications that require a high content of solid additives.
The purpose of assembly lubricants is to provide lubrication on parts that have never been exposed to engine or gear oil yet, so when the bike is started for the first time after maintenance; those parts have some protection before the regular lubricant begins circulating. These assembly greases are usually washed away by the oil and are removed from the system during subsequent oil changes. Another application for these products are areas such as final drives where a high content of solid additives can be beneficial for surface protection.
Most grease points on motorcycles are fairly low load compared to more extreme grease applications in commercial applications. This means specialized grease is rarely needed and a single multipurpose grease is usually able to serve all of those grease points. They go into places that are open and exposed, high load or in places that oil films cannot be maintained. Bearings, axles and chassis linkages are common applications for these greases. They generally will provide extreme pressure protection and decent anti-wear protection. Because they form a physical barrier against water and oxygen, corrosion protection is inherently high, but this is also often boosted further by additives to protect against rust and corrosion. They should maintain a physical barrier to keep out moisture and dirt from these applications that would self destruct very quickly if contaminated. Grease does all of this through both physical and chemical means and there are a few key points to consider when choosing the right grease for your application.
First and foremost is the grease consistency or hardness. This property for grease is just as important as the viscosity is for oil. Using an incorrect grease consistency can quickly result in part failure and under-lubrication.
Grease is categorized into different grades by the National Lubricating Grease Institute (NLGI) scale based on a grease’s penetration test result. Grease penetration is a measurement of the depth at which a calibrated metal cone will penetrate into the surface of grease when dropped form a standard height. Penetration is represented in decimillimeters (tenths of a millimeter), and the penetration is often taken under two different conditions: worked and unworked.
An unworked grease is fresh from the container and has never been used. A worked grease is one that has been put through mechanical stress to simulate usage. The purpose is to indicate the stability of the grease with regards to its consistency. Working grease is a standard process that involves a piston churning the grease a standard number of times using an instrument known as a grease worker. The standard method uses a plunger with 60 holes in it and it is pushed a pulled a total of 60 times in 1 minute.

Figure 1: Mechanical Grease Worker (please imagine there are 60 holes in the piston face)
After that minute, the grease is considered worked and can now be tested for NLGI consistency. The grades identify significant differences in the hardness or softness of greases. The simplest way I find to describe them is to compare them to common foods.

Table 2: NLGI grades and consistencies.
Another important property of grease is the base oil viscosity. During the manufacture of base grease, the ingredients of the thickener are mixed with oil. When the grease reaction takes place, that oil becomes part of that grease. Typically the higher viscosity the oil, the more heavy duty application it can withstand. However higher viscosity base oils usually limit the low temperature performance, so for general purpose grease, a base oil blend balanced for moderately high and low temperature performance is preferable.
Assembly grease typically contains a high level of solid lubricant meant to withstand high pressure and remain in place in the absence of the regular lubricant that would normally protect the surface. The reason this regular lubricant needs replacing is usually because the machine is rebuilt and hasn’t had the oil circulation system running yet. These greases don’t need to have a very long usable lifespan since they are designed to be used up fairly quickly, washed away by the oil and removed by either a filter or through the next oil change. Therefore, anti-oxidation and long term stability are not key features for assembly lubricants. However, another application for assembly greases comes from the typical high level of solid lubricants. Since these solid lubricants will resist extreme loads there are applications in some bikes that call for a grease like this such as final drive shaft gears.
Grease application is an aspect that a lot of people have difficulty with as well. I often see comments implying to just pump in as much grease as a bearing can hold and that is how much it should use. That advice is almost universally bad. Over-packing a bearing can lead to some very bad failures. Alternatively too little grease is also a problem for more obvious reasons; under-lubrication and all that goes with it being the biggest of them. You can read about the pitfalls of these mistakes and how to avoid them here.
So I hope that gives you a good basic starting point to look at greases and you are now armed with the knowledge to at least ask the right questions when trying to choose between different brands of grease.
Chris Cooksey
Round 8 Atlanta: Dungey’s Revenge!
The past week was full of message boards and journalists (myself included) asking, “What's wrong with Dungey?”  He came to Atlanta ready to silence his critics.  I stand by my analysis that he is battling an illness, but clearly he is getting better.  Dungey did look fatigued towards the end of the race as opposed to Eli Tomac who remained fresh.  With that said, Dungey got it done and this is what defines him as a Champion!  He can seemingly raise his level when needed while taking what's given on other days.  Marvin and Eli have to be frustrated, both guys were faster than Dungey all day, including the Main event but bad starts caused both guys to struggle.  
The Atlanta track wasn't ideal for passing and the sand section was downright silly.  Why put beach sand on the backside of a wall jump?  I like the sand sections when built in turns.  Wall jumps without sand cause guys to get blasted with dirt, again putting sand there was ridiculous.  Another part of the track I didn't like was the dog leg before the triple.  Maybe they had to build it that way to fit the stadium, but in any form of racing a dog leg creates single file racing unless it is followed by a double apex 180 degree turn.  
In the 250 race, Zach Osborne finally reached the top step of the podium!  Osborne took the long road to the top.  For those who don't know his story, here is the short version.  Osborne was highly touted coming out of the Amateur ranks signing with Factory KTM.  This didn't work out and he ended up earning the dubious nick name “snack pack,” the name given to him from outdoor national commentator at the time David Pingree.  After losing his ride at KTM the only option to continue his career was to take a ride in Europe.  Osborne fought hard and earned himself a ride with Geico Honda but after a couple years of not reaching his potential they let him go.  Zach then signed with the Rockstar Husky team.  While last year was filled with disappointments, this year is proving different.  Almost 10 years after becoming a Pro he earned his first SX win.  Osborne took the hard road showing through dedication his old nickname, “snack pack” was lifetimes ago.  I put him as the East title favorite, but this coming week will be telling.  Is this going to make him want to win every race, or is this just the monkey off his back?  I am predicting the competition is in trouble.
Alex Martin and Jordan Smith seemed a lock for 2nd and 3rd in the 250 main until Martin cleaned out his teammate.  Smith missed the on/off jump and was out of the normal rhythm, still Martin shouldn't have jumped in there and cleaned him out.  It makes senses if they were battling for a win, but when both TLD KTM riders are in podium spots with little or no chance to catch Osborne, it becomes a stupid move.  Team manager Tyler Keefe has to be pulling his hair out.
Although Dungey’s performance was great, it's a 17 race series!  Tomac and Musquin can't allow Dungey any more breathing room.  Let's be real though, if Dungey is up more than 30 points after Daytona this is likely over.  

Chris Cooksey
Product Spotlight: Alpinestars Tech 7 Boots
These days expensive protective equipment saturate the market, but Alpinestars has a motocross boot that offers high dollar protection with high end quality at the average man’s price.  I have worn the Sidi Crossfire 2, Garne SG-10, SG-12, and Alpinestars Tech 10 boots.  While these top-line boots all share impressive features my favorite is the Alpinestars Tech 7, with the low retail price of $349.  Once Western Power Sports became a distributor for Alpinestars I immediately tested the Tech 10 against the Tech 7 boots.  
My initial thought was I would prefer the highest priced boot, the Tech 10.  While this boot is amazing, I felt like I could literally jump off the roof and have no ankle injuries (not recommended), I struggled with the lack of flexibility.  I am 6’4” and have suffered many foot and ankle injuries throughout the years, the most recent was a ruptured Achilles’ tendon.  I tend to look for boots that offer support and protection, yet allow me the freedom to ride comfortably and the Tech 7 meets this criteria.  If I was riding AMA Supercross I would opt for the Tech 10, but for me and my Vet B riding level the Tech 7 is heaven on my feet! 
Look for both the Tech 7 and Tech 10 boots available in the TT store.
• New dual compound sole is seamlessly integrated into the base structure for superior durability and features high performing rubber grip patterning and enhanced feel. The sole and footpeg insert are replaceable.
• The anatomically profiled shin plate features a dual closure system with an internal microfiber flap attached with Velcro® for a precise fit closure while the rugged and durable shin plate attached securely with a precision adjustable buckle.
• Wide entry aperture for convenience and allows broad ranging calf fit adjustment and support.
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• Redesigned instep and Achilles accordion flex zones construction for superior comfort, control and support.
• Extended microfiber gaiter helps prevent excessive water and dirt entry.
• Internal lining includes anti-slip microfiber suede on the heel to help keep foot in position.

Viscosity is a measurement of an oil’s ability to flow. Oils can range from viscosities as thin as water to viscosities as thick as asphalt, so there is quite a large window of possibilities to work with when formulating lubricants. There are two varieties of viscosity in which to measure oil. The first is the kinematic viscosity which is measured by the flowing characteristics of oil. The second is called the dynamic viscosity and is measured by the resistance oil exerts on an object pushing through it. Although dynamic viscosity is used to measure properties in motorcycle lubricants, the kinematic viscosity is the biggest factor in classifying oils for various motorcycle applications.
Kinematic viscosity is the main measurement used to differentiate the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) various grades of engine oils and gear oils. This is essentially a measurement of the “thickness” of oil and specific ranges of viscosity correspond to specific SAE viscosity grades. At the time of this writing, the SAE currently has six active viscosity grades (60, 50, 40, 30, 20 and 16) with another two (12 and 8) being set for future implementation.
In addition to the kinematic viscosity requirements for an SAE grade, there is an accompanying high temperature high shear (HTHS) viscosity measurement to go along with each grade. Although its name would suggest otherwise, this is not a measurement of the shearing protection an oil provides but instead the viscosity measured under different conditions than the normal kinematic viscosity that can be likened to how the oil will slide over top of itself as opposed to how it flows.
One last point of the SAE viscosity grades is a pair of low temperature viscosity requirements which are related to the “W” grades or the winter grade of an oil (the W stands for winter, not weight as commonly believed). These two measurements indicate the oil’s ability to be pumped through an orifice (its flow) and its ability to let an object pass through it (its solidity).

Table 1: SAE J300 Engine Oil Viscosity Specification
Table 1 illustrates the differences between each possible grade of engine oil defined by the SAE. Multigrade oils come with a few rules. The winter grade comes first (for example: 5W-40, 10W-30, 20W-50), any oil that has a multigrade designation needs to meet all of the requirements of both grades indicated, and oil marketers are required to print the highest performance grade that the oil meets on the container of oil. This means that oil companies cannot produce a 10W-50 grade oil and market it as a 20W-50 even though it would technically meet and exceed all of the specifications of a 20W-50 because 10W is higher performance than 20W
Gear and transmission oils follow a similar set of requirements with required ranges of the kinematic viscosity at 100°C and a low temperature viscosity requirement.

Table 2: SAE J306 Gear & Transmission Oil Viscosity Specification
The two tables presented above are the one and only standard way to classify engine and gear oils in the motorcycle lubricant industry. There are other ways to categorize products for use in industrial applications, but they have no place in these discussions. Oils can either be mono-grade meaning they only claim to meet one viscosity specification (ie. 80W transmission oil and 50 weight engine oil) or they can be multi-grade meaning they meet the specifications for two of the classifications (ie. 5W-40 and 25W-60). The specifications are created so that only one winter grade and one weight can be claimed at any point.
Many believe that the winter grade designates how thick an oil will be, as in thinking a 10W-50 will be thinner than a 20W-50 but this is not true. Remember, the winter grade only correlates to an oils behavior at subzero temperatures. The fact that the two oils are 50 weights says that they need to meet the same viscosity range at high temperature. That being said, the tendency for an oil to have a lower viscosity at low temperature (which is desirable) does tend to also make it seem thinner at room temperature so this is where this myth probably originates, but most people see the oil at ambient temperature as they pour it out of a bottle and not as it pumps through a motor at 100°C so it is an understandable belief. However, this is the fact to take away, any 50 weight engine oil (or 20, 30, 40 or 60) behaves exactly like any other 50 weight engine oil (or 20, 30, 40 or 60 respectively) at the operating temperature of an engine. The lower the “W” grade of an oil, the more thermal stability it generally has which is a desirable property in oils, but it is not a given so I don't recommend assuming one oil is better than another just based on that property.
Viscosity is the most basic property of oil and it is without a doubt the most important feature of any oil. Using the appropriate viscosity oil is the first correct choice to make in selecting any lubricant for use in your machines. The machine manufacturers designed the engine or gearbox to operate with a specific lubricant so things like the oil channels, oil pump and clearances are all specific to the recommended grade of oil. The one and only exception to this is the winter grade. You can always go to a lower “W” grade as long as you maintain the regular grade (ie. you can use a 10W-50 instead of a recommended 20W-50). You can sometimes go to a higher “W” grade as well, but that depends on the application and environment and is only advised when the climate does not approach freezing temperatures.
Chris Cooksey
As the series hits the East Coast swing Ryan Dungey normally hits his stride by clicking off wins and asserting his dominance.  This year is proving different.  Musquin and Tomac are stronger and can sense a vulnerability in Dungey we have not seen before.  Are we witnessing Father Time catch up with Dungey?  Is he injured?  Did the Roczen injury mess with his head?  These are all factors I hear fans discussing.  I have a friend who is close to the riders at the Bakery who told me Dungey is suffering from an Epstein Barr/Mononucleosis type of illness.  While I am not 100% sure about what's going on with Dungey, clearly something is off.  Riders who are overworked and under fed (Aldon’s program) is news we have heard before, most recently Ken Roczen was extremely critical of the program.
Assuming this is Dungey’s issue, Musquin has to know what is going on.  Training alongside your competition with an “iron sharpens iron” philosophy is how the riders in the Bakery train.  This can be a huge benefit to the riders, until they are attempting to hide a weakness from their main competitor.  While Musquin was riding high with confidence after his win in Dallas, maybe he had inside knowledge about Dungey struggling late in the races and that is why he charged hard late in the race.  I can't ever remember watching Dungey get repeatedly caught and passed at the end of races.  With 9 races, and two riders within 24 points of Dungey, the championship is wide open.  While 3rd place isn't a bad finish, Tomac gained 5 points and Musquin gained 2, it’s getting interesting.
Loved seeing the 250 East guys.  Every rider wanted to come out swinging and establish themselves as “the guy.”  Confidence is important in Supercross, probably the most important thing a rider can have as the first race establishes the pecking order.  Joey Savatgy did what most experts predicted.  While his performance didn't overwhelm the competition, a win is still a win.  Jordan Smith may have found what had been missing the last few years.  In the past we’ve seen flashes of speed followed by spectacular crashes.  He rode solid in the Main event providing him the confidence needed to make him a consistent podium guy and maybe get his first career win this year.  Zach Osborne is desperately trying to get his first win and it shows, he is not content with a podium finish.  He will win or crash trying.  Round Two in Atlanta will be make or break for both Alex Martin and Christian Craig.  Martin’s night ended in the first turn with a vicious crash, hopefully he will be alright for Atlanta.  Craig had a bad start and got caught up in first round mayhem earning him a 12th place finish.  He will need a podium in Atlanta to get back in this championship.
We are seeing the attrition of Supercross taking a toll on the field.  Last night we lost both Cooper Webb and Justin Bogle, not sure how bad their injuries are but both walked off and Bogle said via Instagram that he will be racing in Atlanta.  Webb’s injury looked severe, when somebody grabs their arm and immediately walks away from the track, not even removing their goggles, I get worried.  These guys are gladiators and being dramatic about injuries is not something they do, this isn't Soccer or Basketball.  Hopefully his injury isn't serious, we’ll find out in Atlanta.