By Katy B.
In a sport where every ounce counts we as dirt bike riders are constantly looking for something that will give us an edge. It doesn't matter if you dodge trees or huck massive triples we all want the same thing, to improve the performance and handling capabilities of our dirt bikes.
The truth is you can upgrade nearly every aspect of your dirt bike but hardly most of it is actually necessary. There are a handful of dirt bike upgrades that are truly worth your time and hard earned cash. In this guide we will break down the best dirt bike upgrades with a selection of our employee top picks; Chosen by the dirt bike obsessed guys and girls from Motorcycle Superstore who speak moto like you.
Arguably the very first thing that should be replaced on your new dirt bike is the stock exhaust. Large, heavy, and rather unsightly the stock exhaust was made to meet strict EPA emission standards and reduce manufacturing costs. Aftermarket dirt bike exhaust manufacturers craft the highest quality systems bred purely for power and performance. Before you begin your search for the best exhaust you can buy, make sure you know exactly what type of dirt bike you have. Two stroke and four stroke dirt bikes are very different and will not use the same style exhaust system.
Four strokes dominate the motocross world today, so if you want to uncork your four stroke machine we suggest the FMF Factory 4.1 RCT full system. Offered in the anodized blue titanium and carbon end cap this FMF full system will give your bike that fresh factory look. The shorter muffler body sits closer to the motor, complimenting FMF's Factory Forward Engineering. This helps to centralize mass and make the pipe less susceptible to crash damage. This package is complete with the Mega Bomb header making this system an easy choice for riders looking to increase performance throughout the RPM range and shed weight.
We know very well many riders like myself still prefer their premix. Here is our selection of Two Stroke Pipes and Two Stroke Silencers for you two stroke lovers. When you're shopping for a new pipe and silencer it's important to keep in mind what type of riding you do most. Most aftermarket pipes and silencers are designed to fine tune performance for certain riding conditions. Typically the pipe and silencer that works best in the desert won't work as well as those designed for tight Arenacross style tracks. Also some pipes require more attention than others to prevent rust and corrosion. That bare metal works pipe you have your eye on will need additional maintenance to keep the factory shine. But they are oh so worth it.
Routine maintenance is just part of owning a dirt bike but with high quality drive parts you can greatly reduce the time spent adjusting and replacing your chain, sprockets, guide and slider. You can also change your gearing ratio to better suit the style of riding you do most.
Changing up your gearing ratio is one of the most cost effective ways to fine tune your bike to your personal preference. This can be easily done by selecting a new front or rear sprocket with a different amount of teeth than stock. Generally one tooth change on the front sprocket is equivalent to approximately three to four teeth on the rear sprocket. For simplicity and precision we will describe how you can change your gearing ratio with a new rear sprocket. It’s important to keep in mind what goal you are trying to accomplish when choosing a new sprocket size. You need to decide whether you need faster acceleration or faster top speed.
For more bottom end (faster acceleration) you will want to opt for a larger rear sprocket (adding teeth) making a lower gear ratio.
For more top end (faster top speed) you will want a smaller rear sprocket (removing teeth) making a higher gear ratio.
Rear sprockets come in a variety of colors and materials. Most dirt bikes today come stock with a standard steel sprocket which are typically heavier than aftermarket options. Aluminum sprockets on the other hand are much lighter than steel but tend to wear out faster. For years riders had to choose between weight or longevity, until MSR created a new sprocket that is both durable and light. This innovative new sprocket, the MSR 41 Hundred Series Rear Sprocket is our top pick.
Most dirt bikes today come with a standard chain which tend to stretch and wear out faster than an O-Ring or X-Ring chain. Nobody wants to be that guy that has to adjust his chain between motos, get a chain that you know will last. The D.I.D VX2 X-Ring Chain has unique sealing ability for an outstanding life. Making it an easy choice for our top pick.
Many dirt bikes come with a chain guide that features an aluminum casing. In the event a rock hits the guide, it can bend and throw your chain. The last thing you need in the middle of a race is to worry about throwing your chain, get a chain guide you can trust. So we chose the Acerbis Chain Guide Block 2.0 as our top pick. This chain guide from Acerbis features an innovative two part design. The two part design allows for easy installation and extreme wear resistance.
Hand controls are a vital part of your dirt bike set up. Handlebar bends and lever positioning will have a direct effect on your body positioning. To top it all off bent bars and broken levers can ruin your day at the track or leave you in a sticky situation on the trails. Let’s dive into the best hand control upgrades for your new dirt bike.
Dirt bike handlebars come in a wide variety of colors and bends. Typically the "best" color and bend is based on personal preference. One factor that remains consistent across all dirt bike riders is the importance of a strong set of handlebars. If you lay it over in a corner you don't want to pick your bike back up to find the handlebars bent. That is why many riders go with the Renthal Twinwall Hanldebars and why we recommend them as our top pick. Before you order your new set of handlebars it is important to know what size handlebars are currently on your bike. If you have a standard 7/8" handlebar you will need to order new bar mounts to fit the large 1 1/8" diameter found on the Renthal Twinwall.
We have all been there before. A broken clutch lever can quickly ruin your day. Buying replacement levers can get expensive overtime, it's best to go ahead and invest in a set of unbreakable levers. Although not all unbreakable levers are created equal. We recommend the Pro Taper Profile Pro Clutch Perch and the Pro Taper XPS Front Brake Lever. These innovative unbreakable levers are virtually indestructible.
More than likely your new bike came with only a triangle stand. While they are nice and easy to use, a bike stand or lift stand will make everyday maintenance much easier. For a simple and dependable bike stand we recommend the MSR Steel Bike Stand. I personally prefer a simple stand like this one because when packing everything in the bed of your truck you can flip this stand over and use it to secure your gas can. This saves space and will keep your gas can in place.
While these are our tip picks for dirt bike upgrades we still have a wide variety you can choose from. Below you will find our recommendations from this article. If you want more be sure to head over to our Dirt Bike Parts Page where you will find our parts finder, customer favorites, and more!