In this article, we will discuss how to set up a motocross dirt bike for enduro or woods riding. Most of these mods apply to 2 stroke bikes, but some of them you will be able to use with four-stroke bikes too.
If you own a motocross bike, but would like to use it primarily for woods riding, you will have to make a few modifications in order to get it to perform the way you want it to. A stock motocross bike will be far too snappy to use for enduro and you will have to tame the engine down a bit or you could quite possibly end up having a bad time.
How to keep the front end down
The first thing you will have to consider getting would be a weighted flywheel. This will prevent the front end from lifting when you don’t want it to and prevent the bike from being so snappy. A weighted flywheel will also make it harder for the engine to stall, as the extra weight will keep the momentum of the engine going. This will also make a huge difference when attempting hill climbs. Without the added weight on the flywheel, the bike will be very likely to just flip over when attempting a hill climb.
The weighted flywheel will help smooth out the power delivery of the engine and will also help with traction. Weighted flywheels come in different weights. The ideal weight depends on the size of your bike’s engine. For a 250cc, I would recommend a 12-ounce weight.
It will be a good idea to install a throttle tamer. This is however not a necessity, but it will certainly help a lot with throttle control. With motocross bikes, the aim is to accelerate as quick as possible. This is however not really the case with enduro riding & too quick acceleration could land you in trouble. The throttle tamer will make the first half of the throttle open slowly and the second half of the throttle will open more quickly.
For enduro riding, you will want to have as much bottom end power as you can possibly get. This will help you pull off easily in tricky situations when you need it the most. An aftermarket exhaust such as the FMF Gnarly pipe will help you achieve that. You may lose out on a bit of top end power, but then again, with enduro, you will more than likely not be in the top end that often, so you won’t really miss it.
For even more bottom end power, you can also get an appropriate silencer. The shorter the silencer, the more bottom end power you will get. A good combination would be an FMF Gnarly header, with an FMF Shorty silencer. If you only have enough money to afford either the header pipe or the silencer, I would recommend getting the Gnarly pipe. This will make a more noticeable difference.
Setting the Power Valve
KTM’s come with interchangeable power valve springs. You either get the green spring, yellow spring (default) or the red spring (also known as the demon spring).
If your bike has the red spring in, it would be advisable to change it to either the yellow or green spring. The green spring is much thicker than the red spring. It has more resistance and therefore opens the power valve much slower as apposed to the red spring. The yellow spring is somewhere in between the green and the red spring. The yellow spring starts to open at about 5 600 RPM and is fully open at around 7 900 RPM. Learn more about power valves here.
With the red spring fitted, the power band will be far too aggressive. Your back wheel will just end up spinning when you ride in technical terrain. This is obviously not a good idea.
The stock suspension setup for a motocross bike will be a bit too stiff to do enduro style riding comfortably. With motocross, the shocks have to be more stiff to absorb the shock when doing big jumps.
When doing enduro riding, you generally don’t really jump much and if you do, you will more than likely not hit big jumps, so you don’t need stiff suspension. With the suspension soften, your bike will be easier to maneuver.
With the suspension softer, you will also be a bit lower and should be able to put your feet down flat on the ground. This is ideal when you ride in technical terrain.
Motocross bikes generally come with 19″ rear wheels. You’re going to want to change the rear wheel to an 18″, which will make handling better in the woods. 18″ and 19″ have the same outside diameter, the size refers to the wheel itself. The 18″ wheel has a bigger sidewall. This will flex a little more and make it more comfortable when hitting rocks or tree roots with your back wheel. 18″ is also more popular with enduro, since you are less likely to get pinch flats.
Getting the proper protection for your bike when using it for enduro style riding is extremely important.
It is very important that you get yourself a pair of hand guards. When riding in the woods, your handlebars often bump against branches. It can be quite painful when you are traveling at quite a speed and a tree branch hits you on your hand.
Handguards will also protect your clutch & front brake levers from snapping if you had to drop your bike on a rock. This will save you a lot of money since it is very likely that you may drop your bike quite often.
Having a skid plate is very important if you intend on riding rocky, technical terrain. The last thing you want is for a sharp rock to hit the bottom of your sump and poke a hole in it. You can end op seizing your engine if this had to happen.
Once again, if you intend on riding rocky, technical terrain, you will want to invest in an exhaust cage or armadillo exhaust guard. A badly bent pipe header pipe will have a negative effect on your bike’s performance…even worse, if a sharp rock pokes a hole in your exhaust, your engine could suck dirt & seize.
You get different types of exhaust guards. Skid plate/exhaust guard combinations are also available, which will also work out cheaper.
With all these modifications, your bike should be set up to shred in the woods! Good luck and happy riding!
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