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Top 5 Dirt Bike Setup Mistakes & Tips to Fix Them w/ Kris Keefer

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How’s it going everybody i am chris kiefer with and this is the rocky mountain youtube channel and i’m here to give you five common setup mistakes when you’re getting ready to go the track or even the trail so first things first what i talk about and i preach on my show is make sure when you have a bike you buy a bike or you have

You’ve had a bike for two years maybe you haven’t checked the sag so the rider sag on the shock is very important for the balance of the motorcycle when you ride and it doesn’t matter if you’re riding down the trail even if you’re a dual sport rider or if you’re going to the motocross track here at glen helen your owner’s manual is your friend and the sag is set

For you guys to keep the right balance on your motorcycle so when you’re given full throttle you’re backing off the throttle your bike is constantly moving and pitching and the rider sag helps you get the right ride attitude of the bike when you ride so there is a recommended sag setting in the odor’s manual hopefully you guys have one of those make sure you have

One of those so simply you can go out in the garage you can get a measuring tape there’s sag tools there isn’t there is even a electronic sag meter that you can do it yourself because god knows having your wife out in the garage setting your sack could be a nightmare you get three different readings at three different times so there is a a slacker moto tool that

You simply put it on your swing arm and you have a little string and it tells you right on your handlebar what your sag is this yamaha is set for 104 to 105 millimeters and that is where i run it and that gives the happy place for this bike when i’m on and off throttle all right another common mistake that i see a lot of guys out here and it’s funny because the guy

Just came out to me today and was talking about front end cornering on his bike another mistake is not checking your air pressure every time you ride air pressure moves around when you drive home elevation changes temperature changes it constantly moves around so i actually rode yesterday yesterday night i got home at 10 pm road today at 8 a.m and my tire pressure

Was off so setting your tire pressure will ensure you the proper amount of traction give you the right amount of lean angle traction and you’d be surprised how many guys have low air pressure in their front tire and that causes that front end to wash and they complain about having a vague front end feel so depending on the tire manufacturer they have a recommended

Setting look that up and if you guys do not know you can always email me chris at i have a full chart for each tire manufacturer and where the recommended tire pressure is very important all right number three common mistake is not adjusting your suspension some of you guys are scared out there to even mess with your suspension there is more

Uh detailed suspension out there that comes in the production format obviously air forks some of you guys aren’t even checking your air pressure so it’s not as crucial with air forks to check air pressure as much as tires so if you ride two to three times a week or maybe once a week you need to check that at least one time a week before you get on your motorcycle

Because that air pressure setting will fluctuate from week to week like i said air temp elevation change all of that changes the air pressure inside your fork so if you guys are out on the track and you feel like man kiefer my fork is a little harsh i feel like it’s soft you really got to pay attention to see where your fork is at in the stroke so if you guys do

Not have an o-ring around your fork leg let’s do it the poor man’s way i do it this way i get a zip tie i zip tie it around the fork leg cut that extra piece off and that’ll tell me how much fork travel you are using and then in conjunction with that that way you know which way to go with your clickers if you need to go stiffer on your compression or you need to

Go softer it’s very important so make sure you guys have that it’s an easy way to do it and it’s cheap if you guys send your suspension setting out to get re-valved your local suspension guy should put an o-ring on there for you if he doesn’t ask for that that’ll help you set up your fork setting again setting your shock sag as well your high speed compression

And your low speed compression and your rebound so here at glen helen it’s fast and choppy so what i usually do when you have fast and choppy conditions i go faster on rebounds rebound setting because that’ll help that wheel follow the ground more there’s an old saying called two for one every two clicks that you make you need to make one click adjustment on the

Rebound so if i go too stiffer on my fork compression i need to go one out on my rebound it’s called the two for one it’s been around for years in the testing process and that’s basically what we do when we go out and we do production testing out here at glen helen so most of the time here at glen helen there’s a lot of hills a lot of loading the front end so i’ll

Usually go from stock settings to in on compression and then back out that rebound one because when you add compression you’re slowing down the forks movement so you need to kind of open that up to make that tire follow the ground more so that’s a that is an easy way for you guys to remember when you get to the track if you need to stiffen your compression up try

Two clicks and then open that rebound one so the common mistake i get a lot is i don’t really screw with my suspension chris well it’s okay it’s here that’s what’s there for you need to play with it feel what you guys like out there some of you guys like a stiffer setting or a softer setting don’t be scared to mess with the clickers the man manufacturers don’t give

You more than you can play with they don’t want anything bad happen to you because liability reasons so go ahead do some adjustments play with it and then obviously write those adjustments down because if you do not know where you’re at you’ll get lost so i keep a notepad a notebook and i every time i go to a track i have a little bible of where i’m at setting wise

So if you haven’t been to a track in three to four weeks you’ve been riding other areas you have that written down and then you guys can go right back to that setting and have a good time another common mistake i see a lot is handlebar adjustments lever adjustments shifter and brake pedal not being the right area i’m six foot there’s a lot of guys out here that i

Talked to last week that are about five eight and they think they need to go to a bar that is rolled forward to get some more room in their cockpit on the yama because the yama let’s face it the 22 edition doesn’t have the most friendly cockpit rider triangle area so what you guys need to do is look at your handlebar first and there is markings usually zero minus

One minus two or plus one plus two so rolling it back is usually a negative reading and then when you roll them four usually a plus reading so for me i usually start in the zero position that gives the bar a neutral feel and this is no matter if you’re six two five six try always to have a neutral position on the bike so the bar is pretty straight along with the

Forks you have clutch lever and brake lever i try to keep mine even maybe a little bit down from the grips and that’ll keep my elbows bent and then also if you have a shifter that’s too high up you really got to lift up so i try to keep that shifter flat with my boots so i don’t have to really dig in to go underneath my shifter and that it’s not so far up where i

Have to really lift up high so everything has to be neutral now preference for you guys out there that are shorter if you guys want to get a lower bar try to go to a height anywhere between 82 to 88 which is a nice height for a smaller kind of guy five six to five eight and that usually will get you in the neutral position when you have it on zero and that will

Get you like in the proper area when you’re riding your bike you want to be in the tack position you want to have the right body position if you’re a taller guy you don’t want to get the height from the height of the bar you want to get the height from the mount so actually going plus five to plus 10 through them out is where you get the height and that way you

Can run a flatter bar and that’ll help you in corners you know how many times i’ve seen a guy use a honda cr high band and you’re at a 99 um height and then you have a lot of sweep and it puts you in the wrong position on the bike especially through corners so tall guys get the height through the bar mount by taller mounts you can get spacers and then try to

Find a neutral height barb band which is about 89 to 92 millimeters and that’ll get you in the right position also another note too another crucial part of this whole handlebar setup is throttle play that’s usually a preference with riders some guys like no play so they have that throttle immediately hit i like a little play because eventually i’m going to get

Tired i think everyone does obviously so i like to have a little play in there so i don’t get whiskey throttle so if i get arm pump and my arm seems to rest and want to your elbow goes down which happens a lot you’re not given the throttle on you’re like and get whiskey throttle so a little play is usually the best thing to do when you’re not in shape and i’m not

In shape right now i can’t go 25 minutes so a little play will help me when i do get in shape i will lessen this play up a little bit just to get more feel through corners but throttle play is crucial and that should be adjusted as well all right the last tip it’s pretty basic you guys know maintenance is key it’s muddy bike right now i’m gonna go home and wash

It or actually i’m gonna have my kid wash it that’s the benefit of having a child now they can do all that work right so he’s at the age he’s going to wash my bike but he has learned the hard way of what not to spray and what to spray so obviously i take my seat off when i wash my bike because washing the bike over and over again the water will get through the

Seat cover and break down the foam now when you take your seat off there is electrical items under there so there’s some choices you have i use duct tape and lay that over the electrical system or if you’re really good just simply don’t just stick that gun that washer right in there obviously electrical items do not like water we know this so just be careful when

You’re around electrical items also kill switches very important there’s reasons why some professional teams do not wash their bike that well between motors because electrical items do not like water and then when you’re spraying the bike down the kill switch can actually get some condensation within this wire and then you’ll have intermittent cut now a lot of

Hondas have done this in the past couple years and people say hey kiefer my bike doesn’t start or it’s cutting out that’s because this lovely kill switch right here has some condensation over time from power washing the bike now past washing the bike change your motor oil every two to three engine hours even if you’re a novice rider a professional an ascent if

You’re riding deep sand sometimes even more every hour and a half and having an engine hour meter is important if your guys are lucky enough to have one built in ktm husqvarna that is great but there’s a lot of companies out there that sell wireless meters good to have and keep up on your engine oil these bikes are built to go fast but they build a lot of heat so

Having to get some good oil and changing that thoroughly a lot is really beneficial for the life of your engine i’m usually every other type of oil filter kind of guy so every other oil change i’ll change the filter out as well and then last but not least is your air filter the yamaha filter gets dirty really quick i’ll have a brand new filter here and today and

Then i’ll go home and it’s pretty dirty because it sucks air through and sucks dust right through the air duct right here so constant maintenance just like anything else it’s like a relationship guys you got to take care of it if you wanted to make it last same thing goes with your bike change your oil change your filters wash your bike properly and then as well

Chase pointed this out earlier is suspension fluids every 20 to 25 hours get your service done on your fork and your shock you can do it yourself there’s classes that race tech has that you learn how to do that all yourself i have done it myself and i am not a very good mechanic so bushings seals and oil very important for your motorcycle to make it feel good when

You go to the track or trail it’s amazing how much oil matters in the world of suspension when your oil breaks down and gets hot your suspension gets soft your chassis feels wallowy and you think hey i’m no good on bikes anymore well maybe it’s because your oil has been broken down in your suspension and you need it’s time to give it some love so give your bike

Some love pay attention to it sit out in the garage with some old school rock that’s what i do just kind of chill out kick my kid out just give me two hours i need some alone time with my motorcycle and enjoy yourself have a beer or two whatever it is that you like to do and then pay attention your motorcycle it’ll pay attention to you on the track and those are

My five tips so easy peasy some of you guys were saying hey man i knew all this already but some beginners out there do not know this kind of thing and uh all of these tips will help you enjoy your motorcycle more

Transcribed from video
Top 5 Dirt Bike Setup Mistakes & Tips to Fix Them w/ Kris Keefer By Rocky Mountain ATV MC