Setting the correct tire pressure is probably one of the most overlooked—not to mention cheapest and easiest maintenance tasks you can do to improve your bike’s handling. It just takes a few minutes to check and adjust your tire pressure.
1. How important is it to check/set the correct tire pressure?
The tires not only provide traction, they are also part of the suspension of the bike. It is very important to check for proper inflation before every ride.
It is best to check pressures when tires are cold.
2. Should the front and rear always be set to the same pressure?
No, there are normally small differences we suggest on front and rear pressure. A good baseline pressure for each is 12 psi in the front, and 13 psi in the rear.
That will work in most conditions.
3. If the area we’re riding in goes through big temperature changes, how often throughout the day should tire pressure be checked?
Air expands when it gets hotter. Think of a hot air balloon. The pressure goes up as the tire is run and gets hotter, or if the tire is sitting in the hot sun.
If the tire is sitting for a while after have ridden, you should check the pressure, and if necessary, set it back to the safe margins of 12 psi front and 13 psi rear.
If the bike sits for a few hours or temperature drops significantly it should be set again. This is especially important when racing at night, when it is warm in the day and then cools at night during the heats/main events. The temperature can drop by as much as 20 degrees at times.
4. What pressures do you recommend for common racing conditions, such as hard pack, sand, loamy dirt, etc?
Here’s a quick general guideline:
Hard pack: 11.5 psi front, 11 psi rear. This would be for normal supercross-type conditions with no rocks or large square edged bumps.
Intermediate: 12 psi front, 13 psi rear.
Sand/Mud: 12 psi front, 10 psi rear. The lower pressure will help get a bite in the sand and slippery wet conditions.
If it is rocky and muddy we would not suggest 10 psi in the rear.
5. Do these recommendations apply to motocross tracks and trail riding, or would they differ?
Motocross is a more controlled environment. It is easier to run lower pressures when there are clearly no rocks or large square edged bumps.
For off road we normally suggest a little higher pressure to reduce the chance of a flat.
For off road or trail riding suggested pressure would be 13 psi front, and 13.5-14 psi rear. If it is high speed desert terrain with many rocks we would use up to 18 psi on the rear.
No more excuses. Next time you go riding, be sure to bring a proper pressure gauge and tire pump with you.
Motocross braking techniques
Concentrating on your braking techniques can allow you to make up lots of ground on the rider in front of you.
Good braking techniques and cornering skills will help you make up positions during a motorcross race, but so many riders are not confident using their brakes to their full potenial. The front brake on a motorcross bike provides about 70% of your stopping power but riders get nervous about the front end washing out. The rear brake doesn't provide as much stopping power but is effective in keeping the bike stable whilst braking.
When braking you should be in the attach position gripping the bike with your knees, particularly when the braking area is rough, to allow you to keep control and take some strain off your arms and shoulders.
When approaching a smooth corner under brakes your weight should be back on the bike to stop the rear wheel from lifting. If the corner has large braking bumps (usually the case on sandy motorcross tracks) then centralise your weight to allow the bike to rock underneath you over the bumps. If the corner is off camber, move your weight forward to weight the front wheel to prevent it from washing out.
10 Things To Do To Your Bike
1. Bleed your brakes. Your bike can be the fastest thing on earth, but if it can't stop when you need it to, you end up becoming a heap of broken parts.
2. Put on new grips. Unless your grips are almost brand-new, new ones will make a big difference.
3. Dial in your suspension. You can spend thousands of dollars in engine mods and go-fast parts for your bike to get that factory-bike look and feel
4. Check your spokes. When was the last time you checked them? Loose or bent spokes can result in flat tires, bent rims and a bad day on the trail or at the track.
5. Change your suspension fluids. The most neglected parts of your bike are often the most crucial.
6. Care for your cables. Stiff or sticky cables are difficult to pull and can fatigue you more than you realize.
7. Grease the moving parts. Grease is totally your bike's friend.
8. Wash your bike.
9. Bleed the air from the forks. Actually do this now and each time you ride.
10. Consider spending to save.Some expenditures now can save big bucks in the long term.