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Play Rider to Racer Series:

Converting a Motocrosser to Enduro Bike.

There are two things you have to do. One is to get the power to rear wheel in a more controllable fashion. The second is to armor the bike so that when the power gets out of hand, your bike will survive. Many magazines have articles on converting MX bikes to off road use. This may cause some concern since there is usually a four digit price tag attached. Do note that these articles are often about the bikes that the pro's ride. You're not a pro so you don't need a pro ride. (Off road champ Shane Watts rides and wins on stock KTM’s)

Putting the power down is a simple matter. One simple method is to install a heavier flywheel. The extra weight inhibits the ability of the motocross engine to build revs. This calms down the explosive acceleration of the motocross bike. This can be bad in sections of dubious traction. Another modification that is seen is the replacement of the stock pipe. Usually this is replaced with a pipe that favors the low end of the power band. This low end is where the bike spends it's time in the rough sections. In some places spark arrestors are mandatory. The gearing can be kept stock. If any changes are made to gearing the best bet is go up a tooth or two on the rear. This can bring first and second gear closer together. This will make the power delivery easier in the nasty stuff.

Armor is simple as well. Addition of handguards, rad guards and skid plates will protect most parts. The range of the MX bikes is short for off road so many riders will invest in oversize tanks. This is not absolutely necessary since many converted bikes still run stock tanks at races. But the time saved missing a gas stop may be enough to win a race. An O-ring chain is another piece of protection. The o-ring chain requires less maintenance but robs a bit of power. You can run a non-o-ring chain but be prepared to maintain the chain. A steel chain guard can be considered.

The suspension issue is not as simple. The motocross bike’s suspension may not be plush enough to take the obstacles that is found off road. Most riders of converted bikes find that they have to ridden aggressively. This in turn will allow the rider to go fast. I would carefully explore the limits of the stock suspension before considering an aftermarket hop-up.

The cool part about converting an MX bike is that you have with a little effort, a real racing bike. So go racing.

Contents Copyright (C) Michael Fodor 2012.