OK so when it comes to choosing dirt bikes, we’ve all got our own preferences. Two stoke or four stroke, Japanese or European – it’s all open to debate. But when it comes to life hacks that make dirt biking that much easier, we all love a bit of low tech genius that instantly makes you think ‘Wow – that is so cool’. So in an effort to compile the ultimate list of such tips, our trained enduro monkey and keyboard warrior Julian has researched high and low to bring you the very best of the best. Or alternatively he may have just rooted round his garage …
So – what’s made it into our top ten?
1. CONEY ISLAND
Sat in stationary traffic on your annual family holiday, the sight of millions of identical traffic cones lining the roads of your country will be a familiar one. But look at them again – they aren’t just annoying queue makers, they are the perfect aid to boot washing ever invented. Grab yourself a cone and the next time you come to jet wash the Alpinestars, that cone will hold your boot perfectly while you blast away the clag, and what’s more, at the end your boot will not be full of water – genius has never come so easily.
2. WIMBLEDON WONDER
So what place, you may ask, has a tennis ball on a dirt bike? Well this hack is actually cribbed from the sidecar racers that take on the infamously treacherous Isle of Man circuit. When you are hurtling at 200 mph only inches way from death, there’s precious little time to reach for a cloth to clean your visor. So the sidey boys use a cunningly adapted tennis ball to keep a rag right in front of them on the bars. Simply cut a standard ball along the curved seam to make a little lid, then make two holes at the bottom and feed through a cable tie. Attach the ball to the bars, pop in a clean rag or ideally microfibre cloth and Bob’s your Pilates Instructor – a clean cloth right in front of you as you ride to clean your goggles on the fly. Perfect.
3. FREE GLOVE LOVE
Lets face it, if you go dirt biking, there are times when a handy set of plastic gloves will be a godsend. From preventing your little pinkies getting wet and frozen in the depths of a British summer, to stopping them getting covered in muck when you have to change a tyre at the side of the trail. But if you don’t have any or are too tight to buy a box of latex lovelies, then you can become a biking Freegan. Across the world, filling stations are quite literally giving them away next to the diesel pumps – free, gratis, for nicht! So next time you are splashing in the unleaded, grab yourself a handful and stick them into your riding jacket. You can even use them for radiator filling if really stuck. We like.
4. PIPE IT UP
For reasons best known to themselves, all bike manufacturers provide their two strokes with an inherent fault. Thanks to doing nothing more than slapping on a pre-assembled carburettor as they build your new bike, all the breather pipes are pointing down. This might look pretty, but as soon as you take your new scoot into water, those tubes are going to snort with more enthusiasm than a celeb on a toilet seat. The resultant flooding is not good news.
So to avoid this, the four breathers should be routed upwards, and for real piece of mind, drill four holes into the top of your air box and poke them in their out of harms way – job done. Oh – just don’t do the same to the overflow – bad move.
5. PANTY PLEASURES
Maybe the title was a step too far, but it got you reading! When riding your bike in hot and humid conditions, the problem of sweat running into your eyes and fogging your goggles is a constant issue. For those of us with shaved heads it’s even worse, so how do you get round this issue? Well the answer is on your girlfriend’s side of the bathroom cupboard. Panty liners are extraordinarily efficient in absorbing liquids and locking them away – I mean that’s what they are for. So simply sticking one of these to the inside pad at the front of your crash helmet will keep your forehead dry and your goggles fog free. They even come with the sticky bit in place – perfect. And if you can’t face stealing your girlfriend’s supplies or buying from a chemists, there is a company called DryBrow who have developed the concept into a bespoke product, but that’s not in the spirit of hacking! Avoid the ones with wings though– they make it difficult to see!
6. SOAPY BLEEDER
So around your house you’ve probably got those handy liquid soap dispensers, the ones with the little push pump on the top. Well don’t throw them away when finished because that pump is absolutely perfect to bleed brakes with.
Simply attach a tube to the bleed nipple at one end and the pump at the other. Loosen up the nipple and you can draw the fluid through the system without the need to tighten and loosen the nipple or pump the lever like a porn star. Just use the suction on the soap dispenser pump to do the job. Hack Heaven.
7. BOTTLE BOX / BOX BOTTLE
At some point in your dirt biking life you will need an empty bottle, and this is usually when you don’t have one. Whether for topping up a radiator or borrowing fuel for your thirsty two-stoke, having a container will help. So dry out a 500ml soft drink bottle with a seal valve at the top – stuff a 75cm length of clear plastic tube inside and feed the end into the seal top to keep in place. This will give you a pipe to allow siphoning fluids and a bottle to collect them in. You can even attach a soap dispenser pump to the side as they also work well to extract petrol from a donor tank. Pop the whole lot into the air box and it’s always there and ready to go.
8. SLIP AND SLIDE
Dirt bikes will get dirty – the clue’s in the name. But if the dirt can’t hold onto your bike it’s not going to stay there long. Applying liberal amounts of silicone spray to the underside of your mudguards, plastics and shrouds will pay dividends when washing and keep your bike as light as possible while riding. There are plenty of branded products on the market from ScottOiler to MudSlider, but in the spirit of a good hack, reaching for the polish that you use around the house or on your fetish gear will do the job just as well. In the air box it’s particularly useful as water and mud will just slide off down the drain holes. Wonderful.
9. SWIMMING POOL CHIC
OK so hanging round swimming pools is not a good look and can bring inconvenient convictions, but those little session bands that they give you are hack gold. They will hold your toolroll together, keep your tyre levers from escaping from your rucksack, hell they can even hold together a small flesh wound. But our favourite use is that of the time-card holder, a staple for enduro boys. Take off your front brake top assembly and slide the band round the reservoir. Reattach the assembly and pull up the band to attach two cable ties to take in slack. The third cable tie goes at the top to act as a pull-up handle and voila, somewhere safe to hold that time card where you can quickly access it at checks and see it is there. On the trail, you can use it to hold your petrol money in a little bag and avoid rustling around in your jacket, or even secure an emergency Pepperami …
10. PREP SCHOOL STYLE
Matron always said we should have three shirts, one being worn, one clean in the drawer and one in the wash. It’s a good system and it works well for air filters. If you wash your bike properly (see our guide) you will take off the dirty air filter, so as soon as you finish you need a freshly prepared one to fit before starting the bike. Don’t rely on cleaning the old one there and then because the fumes that new fluid releases are not good for your engine. A fully oiled and dry one ready to go is the way to go, so fit that straight away. You can then clean the old one and leave to dry while you oil up the one you cleaned after the last wash so it’s ready to go next time. We love an OCD plan.
So that’s all we’ve got for the moment, but do you have any bits of backroom genius to share? Maybe you use a potato to help you keep clutch cover bolts in the correct order or perhaps fit your wife’s tights over your radiators in sandy conditions. Please let us know your comments below and share your top hacks with the group and we’ll all feel the benefit, a bit like taking your coat off indoors …
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