Dual-Sport & Adventure

Dirt, gravel, street, whatever... Let's ride!

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  • Featured Content

    What Spare Parts Do You Bring To The Track or Trail?
    With warmer weather and the riding season around the corner for many of us, I wanted to cover a topic that can either make or break an event. Whether you’re competing in a racing series or traveling to the track or trail, let's talk about event preparedness. More specifically, what spare parts should you keep on hand? Plus, what methods do you use to keep your spares organized? Honestly, I struggled with organization until I started working on this post. I had no method to my madness. Every time an event came up I’d do the same thing; throw a bunch of stuff in a box or the back of my van and head to the event. The sad part is I now realize this was a weakness of mine for quite some time, but didn’t do anything about it! Maybe you can relate? I finally said enough is enough. I don’t throw my tools in a cardboard box when I go to a race, leaving what I bring to the fate of my memory. So why would I do that with the spare parts I bring? I started solving this problem by compiling a spreadsheet detailing what spare parts I keep on hand for ice racing and hare scrambles. I realize that each discipline will differ and may have niche parts that should be kept. The goal here is not to definitively define what spares one should keep on hand, but to have a conversation and provide a resource that can be used to help people get set up based on their own needs. Once I took inventory of everything I felt I wanted to bring to a race, I went to Menards and went hunting for the perfect organized storage bin/toolbox. Here’s what I ended up with: Naturally, once I returned with the toolbox, my list grew and I probably need to go back for a bigger one. I intend to store a copy of the spreadsheet in the tote so I can keep tabs on inventory and know exactly what I have available. Should I get another bike, this system is easily replicable and my plan is to get another organized toolbox that goes with it. This system is how I went from being an unorganized “throw it in the van at the last minute” rider to a more relaxed well prepared rider. I’d love to hear how you handle event readiness, what you bring, and how you keep track of it. My hope is that by sharing our strategies we’ll save someone the misfortune of having a bad day at the track or trail. Perhaps I'll even end up with more things I need to add to my list. -Paul If enjoyed this post be sure to follow my blog and sign up for my newsletter! DIY Moto Fix Newsletter      
    Posted by Paul Olesen on Mar 28, 2017

    Acerbis X-Move 2.0 Boots
    Off-road riding is a technical test for protective gear;  it must allow enough flexibility for rider movement, but also provide enough durability to protect in the event of the inevitable crash. For an off-road riding boot, the main aspects are ankle protection and the prevention of hyperflexion. Recently, I came across the newly released X-Move 2.0 hinged-style boot from Acerbis   and after reading about them, I had to give a pair a shot. Product Overview Right out of the box you can tell that the X-Move 2.0 boots   scream premium protection. Initially seen from their refined look, as you look closer, the features become more apparent. The nicely polished aluminum buckles function with an over-center attachment which are elegantly simple to use and really inspire confidence that they'll stay closed. The lowest buckle has an integrated ramp that doesn't allow passing brush to snag, potentially causing it to open. X-Move 2.0 build materials such as the full grain leather upper and the overall color scheme not only give a great look, but enough stiffness in just the right areas for abundant shin and calf protection. Acerbis   seems to have covered all the key areas of the rider's lower leg and foot in the protection department. They feel "solid" in hand with the pair weighing in at just under 10lbs. Sizing Sliding into these boots for the first time proves to me that they are ready right out of the box. Sizing was true, fitting into a US10 (EU44) with enough room for the toes up through the calf (14"). Fellow riders with the same shoe size also echoed true sizing and comfort with no other protective gear in place (knee guards/braces). When combined with in-the-boot knee protection, the upper calf adjustment became a bit limited with a max opening of 18.5", something for you large calf riders to consider. Function & Performance The four aluminum buckles have a secure “snap” open and close feeling and no matter what conditions I rode, they stayed closed. I rode a number of trails with plenty of boot height brush to potentially snag on, but even when trying to see if I could get a buckle to open, I came up empty handed. This is a real plus for wooded trail riders like me. The top buckle doubles to secure a two piece protruding plastic shin guard which encompasses the front of the boot. I did find that on some rare occurrences, the overlapping two piece design of the inner portion had the ability to get caught on the frame when squeezing my CRF. Your mileage may vary with different bikes and/or riding styles.  With the non-adjustable hinged design, it was easy to pivot my ankle into a position that felt natural for operation of foot controls, providing a positive, confidence inspiring riding experience. Despite several gritty, sandy terrain rides and wash downs with the garden hose, the hinge never became notchy feeling or bound-up. Also, short of dunking the entire boot under water, my feet stayed dry, even when hosing them down while wearing them during post ride clean-up. The sole of the Acerbis X-Move 2.0 is made from a super tough rubber material with a non-replaceable integrated foot peg bed that features a dimpled pattern. In most riding conditions, the boots stayed well planted on the foot pegs, but I noticed that rapid left to right weight transfers in the sitting position lead to an occasional slip off.  While my foot pegs aren't factory bike sharp, the teeth points have been maintained with a file, so my conclusion is that the sole of the X-Move is on the hard side. On the plus side, I expect sole durability to be quite good, even for the frequent and aggressive rider. In terms of comfort, when the ride was over, my feet where just as comfortable as when they were slid into the boots, so long days in the saddle or multi-day riders shouldn't be a problem. Pros   Ready to ride out of the box (no break-in). Hinged design offers excellent freedom of movement. Easy-to-adjust buckles that stay shut. Premium boot at a nice price point. Cons  Hard sole trades a little traction for durability. Top of boot enclosure occasionally snagged on CRF twin-spar frame. My Bottom-line  Overall, I am very pleased with the performance of the Acerbis X-Move 2.0 boot, both with their function and protection. Something that makes these boots excellent is their ability to work for many different riders; they have the function and flexibility for MX track riders, the durability for the frequent trail rider, and the all-day riding comfort for the dual sport/adventure rider. They are ready to go out of the box and when you look at their quality and features vs. the price, the X-Move 2.0 offers a lot of value. More @ https://acerbisusa.uberflip.com/i/771000-02-boots-2017
    Posted by Bryan Bosch on Mar 24, 2017

    Monster Energy Supercross: Detroit, is it time for change in Supercross?
    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.
    Posted by Chris Cooksey on Mar 27, 2017

    JASO Explained Part 1: 4-Strokes
    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 Mototribology.com.)                               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
    Posted by MotoTribology on Mar 14, 2017

    MSR NXT Riding Gear
    A while back, I had the pleasure of reviewing MSRs Xplorer Summit Series riding gear   and I came away pretty impressed overall. For my tastes, it was a bit heavy, mostly due to added material for pockets and such. More recently, the folks at MSR   asked if I'd like to give their NXT line a try, it looked like it was right up my alley, so I took it to the Canadian woods to see how it would fare. Product Overview: The NXT line isn't new, just improved. Taking feedback from MSRs very best racers, in some of the most difficult conditions, MSR refined the NXT line to fit better, perform better, and last longer. Starting with the Gloves, some features include a reinforced thumb to resist blistering, double layer synthetic palm for added durability, and Velcro cuffs for a better fit. Moving on to the Jersey, they simplified and slimmed down the sleeves for a better fit, added venting under the armpits, as well as a large vented back panel for cooling. Lastly, we move onto the Pants. Notable features include adjustable Velcro waist straps  with a ratchet style belt closure for a better fit, 600D Oxford main construction and leather inner knee pads for added durability. To keep the everything comfortable and in place, a 3/4 mesh liner is used on the inside of the pants. Performance: With a new box labeled MSR sitting on my doorstep, I couldn't help but tear into it and see what arrived. With a base color of black with the grey accents and green MSR labeling (I would call it a flow green), the look was very simple and clean. To date, this is my favorite color gear as it's dark and hides dirt well. After strutting around the house, testing the fitting with the 34w pant, the fit was perfect. I would also note, the Xplorer gear I tried last year came as a 34w so the fitting consistency was accurate. The jersey fit well too and the sleeves did seem slimmer (but not restrictive) than other jerseys I have owned. The gloves felt comfortable, but I did have concern with added material in the palms might cause issues when riding. Striking a few poses for my wife/kids and getting familiar with my new gear, I headed out to the trails the next day to put them to the test. In the field, there wasn't a fault to be found. Starting with the Gloves, my initial concern over the added material in the palms wasn't a issue at all. The trend of lightly padded gloves is on the rise, so everything else feels bulky at first, but it didn't bother me when riding. I completed four off-road events and multiple days of riding/training in various weather conditions with not even the faintest hint of a blister or the like. Moving on to the Jersey, again, great performance all-around. The micro ribbed cuffs did a excellent job of keeping the sleeves in place without being restrictive. The jersey fit well and provided the right amount of length to tuck into the back of the pants and to stay put. Both warm on cooler days and cool on warmer days, the jersey did a great job at venting. If I had to nitpick, the armpit vent holes are large enough to put a finger through, so take caution when putting on the jersey otherwise you might snag you finger.   As for the Pants, excellent! As mentioned earlier, between the loss of weight and 2" off my waist, the pants were put to the test. The adjustable waist did a excellent job of clinging to my shrinking frame. The adjustable waist is not something that's offered on all pants, so its something to consider when purchasing a new gear. The pants fit well into my boots  with no added material, as well the length was perfect. I don't wear knee braces, but there is enough room in the knees to accommodate them. Another point, the downside of darker colors is with washing; the colors can fade and become dull. Also, washing can take its toll on seams, patches, stitching, buckles, etc.. Some gear literally falls apart! I'm into multiple washes and the NXT gear has shown no signs fading or breaking down. Pros Accurate sizing. Good build quality & durable. Flexible, functional venting. Adjustable Waist. Excellent Colors Cons I got nothing Bottom-line: When I look at the MSR NXT line, I see the Xplorer line stripped down. Everything that made the Xplorer line great: the pockets, the thumb-loops, etc... have been removed. MSR was able to maintain the ruggedness and durability of the Xplorer and incorporate it into the NXT line. I found a lot of similarities between the two and when going back to read my review of the Xplorer gear, with many positive points being shared. MSR took something great, modified it for the off-road rider who doesn't want/need the features of the Xplorer line and hit it out of the park. I couldn't find a single reason not to give their NXT gear set a five star rating. I was that impressed! When looking for your next set of gear, I'd suggest putting the MSR NXT line near the top of your list.. it's that good!
    Posted by Bryan Bosch on Feb 20, 2017