Share your off-road bike setup

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2/14/2022 6:49 AM
Edited Date/Time: 2/14/2022 6:55 AM

I thought it would be cool for folks to share their off-road set up and what they have found works for them. I have raced moto my whole life with the occasional off-road race, and it’s been surprising to me how much goes into getting a bike set-up well for it.

I am lucky one of my best friends is one of the top off-road racers in the country right now, and I constantly bother him with questions to help me get my bike set up. He’s on Honda’s and I’m on Kawi, but a lot of the things transfer over.

I am 31 years old now, and am 1 full year into a return to riding and racing after a handful of years off the bike. This bike is set up for WORCS/NGPC type racing, and it works extremely well on both moto tracks and all types of off-road. I’ll use this same bike for the moto track, wide open sandy desert, and tight rocky low-speed single track.

Let me know if you have any questions, I have been going through a lot of trial and error figuring out a good set up.

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Bike: 2021 KX450
Type of riding/racing: WORCS/NGPC, motocross, hare & hound
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Controls: Renthal Twinwall bars 921 bend, X-trig ROCS clamps, Precision Concepts dampener, Acerbis X-future handgaurds

I have been a 921 TwinWall guy since I was a teenager, and after trying a FatBar I needed the TwinWalls. Unfortunately with TwinWalls, the control space is very small. Because of that I removed the start-launch button, and

I am using the Acerbis K-future handgaurds that mount to the perches.

I only have 2 rides with the X-trig clamps, but I really notice them helps in the entrance of a corner, on hard slapdown landings, and when G-ing out on the bottom of holes.

The Precision Concepts dampener is my preferred choice for a dampener as you do not need to run any sort of riser or aftermarket top clamp to fit the dampener. They work very well and look extremely clean.

Fuel Tank: IMS dry-brake 2.8 gallon clear – between IMS and Acerbis, the shape of the IMS is much better.
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Wheels/Tires: Haan hubs with DID ST-X rims, 18” rear – I went with Haan because they use a thicker gauge spoke than Talon or Kite.

I use Nitromousse Platinum inserts – part # (NM21-235 90/100-21 front & NM18-325 140/80-18) with Dunlop MX33 front (90 width) and MX53 rear (120 width). This is the exact set up SLR runs and is winning races with. I did just mount a set of AT81’s to try to practice with as I am told they last a bit longer. I shred through tires quick out here.

For brakes I have the stock front rotor, Braking rear with fresh OEM pads. OEM pads are the best way to go IMO.
Gearing, I found stock to work the best for me. I run Renthal sprockets and Renthal R1 chain. I run the Acerbis chain guide and chain slider.

Suspension/chassis: My suspension was done by Luke @ Pro Circuit. I chose PC because I think Luke is very good, and PC had been working all year on a good setting for the Kawi with Trevor Stewart. I had PC do all their aftermarket parts (pistons, bladders, spring seats etc.) and the stuff works extremely well. I went up a spring rate in the rear, dialed in the clickers and barely ever touch clickers for entirely different terrains. This is one of the best suspension set ups I’ve ever had. I run the fork tube @ the first line. I am running a stock linkage, I see no reason to change.

I was advised to torque my engine mounts 5 ft-lbs less than the manual calls for, and that really helped with compliance in the chassis. This spec should work well on all the Japanese bikes with aluminum frames.

Engine: Right now the internals are stock, stock ignition with some mapping done with the Kawi tuner. I went with a slip-on PC pipe as the full systems were not available at the time, and with the number of rocks I smash into I found the stock pipe just holds up better. I also just added a complete Hinson clutch.

In a couple months I will have Twisted do a top and bottom end rebuild with CP Carrillo components, and have them map a Vortex ignition to match.

Gaurds/Protection: I am pretty basic with this – I have the Acerbis skid plate with linkage protector, TM Designworks rear brake guard, then just the OEM rear caliper guard. I really am trying to avoid a front disc guard as I feel they look like shit.

That’s about it for set-up. I am really in love with this bike, I plan on riding it until the 2024’s come out next summer.
That will be by far the longest I’ve ever owned a bike.

I’d love to see/hear what people are running at the moment and how/why they got there. This has been a fun process learning the off-road game!

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2/14/2022 6:52 AM

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2/14/2022 2:37 PM
Edited Date/Time: 2/14/2022 2:46 PM

I've got no pictures...but I'm on a 2021 YZ450FX...racing my local off-road series (with an occasional National Hare and Hound when they come to town if my schedule works out)...my local series is a mix of enduro, hare and hound, hare scramble, and GP races...with everything from fast wide open desert, to single track in the pines, to motocross tracks, slick rock to sand with everything in between. The 450FX is a great "do everything bike"...

I run revalved suspension (MotoXperts, is a local shop that did the work this time). I was on a 19YX450FX before this one, and I raced stock suspension...but they did something different with the suspension and I couldn't figure out how to make it work right, so I gave up and let a shop work on it...it's awesome now! great on the small chop, but also decent bottoming resistance for the high speed G-outs, and the moto track.

IMS 2.8 gallon tank. (I have a love/hate relationship with this bike in regards the fuel tank...I love that I can get up to 2.8 gallons without changing the feel of the bike at all...but I hate that I can't get more than 2.8 gallons without DRASTICALLY changing the feel of the bike, by replacing the shrouds with fuel tank). Acerbis tanks look like garbage...

Acerbis hand guards and skid plate.

Stock Bars (until I crash and bend them...then I'll put on some renthal twin walls)

Bullet Proof Designs radiator guards.

TM Designworks chain guide (since Yamaha's stock guides bend and break off if they get breathed on) and chain slider.

FMF sparky and silencer (stock header)

Michelin Bibs

Dunlop AT81's front and rear are my go-to tires...people complain about traction on these tires, but I've never been able to tell the difference, so I run these because they last a long time.

Otherwise all stock.

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2/14/2022 8:04 PM
Edited Date/Time: 2/14/2022 8:04 PM

Thanks for sharing.

I was really interested in the Yamahas, I really like them in stock motocross form. But the tank situation kind of turned me off, it’s weird to me how to IMS dry brake set up is right at the front of your seat there. Maybe you don’t notice while you’re riding, but it seems like you would.

Seems like we ride similar terrain, I bounce between southern CA and souther New Mexico. Lots of rocky desert and also lots of sand, especially in NM.

I have one ride on the AT81’s and got used to them really quickly. They might slide a bit more but I didn’t notice it much.

What race series do you do up there?

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2/15/2022 9:17 AM

Kyle978 wrote:

Thanks for sharing.

I was really interested in the Yamahas, I really like them in stock motocross form. But the tank ...more

I was worried about that as well with the tank...but its honestly not even noticeable.... I don't even run a dry break, and I've never noticed the gas cap...so it's a non-issue as far as I'm concerned.

I race USRA (Utah Sportsman Racing Association)...they have races from Mesquite Nevada, to extreme Northern Utah, and from Western Utah, to Eastern Utah.

A bunch of politics just caused a new series to be created, UMORA (Utah Motorcycle Off-Road Racing Association)...so now there are two series in Utah doing the exact same thing, only with half as many races as what USRA used to run. Which is fine...but lame in the sense that someone in the USRA got their feelings hurt, and took their ball and created a new series (and took half the clubs with them). USRA used to co-sanction the two Utah rounds of NHHA (now UMORA does that), so I'd hit those up on occasion.

So same races, same locations, same clubs...but I have to join two separate organizations (UMORA is AMA, where USRA wasn't...not a big deal, I've been an AMA member for years anyway).

I'm the least picky rider I know when it comes to tires...my tire selection depends almost entirely on durability. I've tried lots of tires, and the AT81's last the longest for me...so I keep going back to them. Though I've honestly had really good luck with the Rocky Mountain Tusk Recon tire...

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2/15/2022 9:25 AM

That's an awesome setup you have on your KX! I think this gen KX is an awesome foundation for an offroad bike. I had multiple 350 XCF's before this and wanted to try something different and have no regrets. Also have a 21 300 XC TPI for hard enduro stuff so its also a good comp with current KTM tech. With my KX's, I've had a 19 and now have a 21 450XC. Here are a couple of setup items I've found for midwest hare scramble/enduro terrain:

Engine
-Black coupler with T4 fuel, runs very crisp and is super smooth
-Rekluse Radius CX
-Twin Air air filter, stock fits poorly. Also run OEM oil filter and Motorex 10w-50 CrossPower oil

Suspension
-I prefer the Kawi components to what comes on the KTM's. With some valving, can tune to whatever you want. Checkpoint Offroad sets mine up and they are awesome. Very flexible to adapt between offroad and moto
-Line 1 or 2 on the forks depending on particular course

Chassis
-Have been running XC Gear Mako 360 bar clamp with stock triple clamps, work great and better job of keeping the bars straight
-Picked up a Luxon triple clamp set this winter, looking forward to doing some back to back testing vs. stock once the snow melts
-Cycra rebound handguards with 15mm trimmed from ends of bars
-I drag the brakes so brakes get a lot of attention from me. I use a solid rear moose rotor 240mm in diameter and last fall switched to the BrakeTec stainless steel piston. Holds more fluid and conducts less heat, both are gamechanger for avoiding brake fade for me (along with Motul brake fluid)
-Hoosier tires

Very happy with this setup, curious what new bikes will be released in 23, but at this point nothing jumps out as being a big upgrade. Only other thing on the wish list would be to play around with an ECU just to see what opportunities there are!

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2/15/2022 9:26 AM

Also, good tip on engine mount torque. Will have to try that out!

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2/17/2022 7:21 AM

Titan1 wrote:

I was worried about that as well with the tank...but its honestly not even noticeable.... I don't even run a dry break, and ...more

Right on, I may come check out a couple rounds up your way.

What's the best rounds to hit? Like top 3.

Thanks

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2/17/2022 11:30 AM

Kyle978 wrote:

Thanks for sharing.

I was really interested in the Yamahas, I really like them in stock motocross form. But the tank ...more

Titan1 wrote:

I was worried about that as well with the tank...but its honestly not even noticeable.... I don't even run a dry break, and ...more

Kyle978 wrote:

Right on, I may come check out a couple rounds up your way.

What's the best rounds to hit? Like top 3.

Thanks

My top 3...okay, top 4, fine, top 5.

The Rhino Rally in St. George. Its the last weekend in February every year. The BLM limits big bikes to 300 entries...so that race fills up about two days after they open registrations. (It's already full this year).

They have an enduro up in Yost, Utah North West Corner of Utah, right on the Idaho border. It's on private property (with the exception of a small section on National Forest land). The land owners only run it every other year. But it is a blast! Usually get a good turn out (I think they have over 500 big bikes last time they raced it).

Another Enduro right outside of Wendover Nevada....super fun...but the the BLM is making it hard on them out there, and they've had to cancel it the past two years.

The NHHA they run in the West Desert, hosted by the Sugarloafers MC is always fun. It's in the Cherry Creek area...and will give you a bit of everything, from fast wide open desert, to single track in the trees. (The NHHA hosted by the Sageriders is good too, also at Cherry Creek, but they run in different areas than the SugarLoafers...the sageriders start in the sand dunes, and then tend to race a much more technical course...which a lot of people prefer...but I"m a desert guy, I like the faster more open races, so that's why I prefer the sugarloafers).

UMORA raced a GP at the Mesquite MX track...basically the same course WORC's runs. If you like deep sand, that's your race.

The farther north you go, the more dust you get if the weather is dry...its the desert, dust is always an issue...but the dustiest races I've ever done have been those NHHA's...that Yost enduro could get bad, but the enduro format spaces riders out enough that it never seems as dusty as it really is.

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2/18/2022 7:41 AM
Edited Date/Time: 2/18/2022 3:25 PM

I don't do MX, however, snagged a '19' tc250 smoker with .1 hours back in November (for harescrambles and enduros).Tested various CDI / Head combinations. Some might ask why I didn't go with a TPI...personally, I prefer the reliability and performance of the Keihin carb...plus the bike was basically new for a great deal at Munn.

Ended up with these mods/changes.....
- Full RaceTec revalve with fork spring conversion by Doc at 812 Suspension in Austin. Personally dislike Air forks in the woods
- Removed the Mikuni and installed a shorty 36/39 oval bored Keihin from Dicks Racing (had this carb already), has better bottom end throttle with top end......also MotionPro cable, Domino housing and G2 Throttle
- Carbed with 45/48pj (depending on temp), JD blue race needle, 178/180/182mj (depending on temp)...93oct (eth free mixed with 110)
- Added VForce reeds and ProCircuit 304 silencer (still have stock pipe)
- Already had both XCW and XC cdi's, very easy to swap and more applicable to hare scrambles/enduros vs. SX cdi.
- Tested both and removed SX head, installed XCW head which reduces compression for better traction (game changer in loose dirt/mud), however, the pipe bang returned, so settled with S3 cylinder head with "A" insert (no more pipe bang) which has a little more compression than XCW head (maybe by 15 to 20psi)
- Installed hotter #7 plug (it's OEM on all 250/300 xc/xcw's)
- Installed Steahly 11oz flywheel weight with Rekluse RadiusX...game changer for competitive riding without E-Start
- Stock 14/50 drive is now 14/49 (on 116 xring chain).....have 48 and 47t on hand with 114 chain
- AXP skid/bash guard with linkage protection
- Exchanged MX wheels for Factory 18" set with Tubliss and Starcross5's
- Installed larger fuel tank from '19' tx300, was the least expensive of tanks
- Swapped the crappy stock seat for a "Tall/Soft" enduro engineering seat (way better)
- Swapped stock foot pegs to lowered Fastways that I already had
- Mako360's installed
- G2 bark busters installed

The '19' TC250 was a blast to build for the woods, it's very nimble and quick. Having the parts readily available from my other off-road KTM bikes obviously made it easier to explore its potential.Will share some before and after pics.





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2/21/2022 9:18 AM
Edited Date/Time: 2/21/2022 9:41 AM

Good post. Nice to see what others are doing with their non-moto bikes.

I just finished my new trail bike build
22 GG ex350
Rekluse radius cx
MX Tech Lucky spring carts
KTM triples
OEM map switch
13/51 gearing
Warp 9 rims (21/18) on OEM hubs/spokes and MX53 tires
OEM light mask w/ Cyclops LED bulb
high output stator
rad fan
full armor
few cosmetic upgrades

Not sure what else to do to it except ride it. I was planning on revalving the shock, but the GG valving feels great with the new forks. I'll eventually get a bigger tank for when the mountain trails melt, but the stocker is doing fine for my desperation trips down to the dez.

I've only ridden it a few times, but it is my favorite bike ever. So fun to ride its almost criminal.
I should've bought a 350 years ago......

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2/21/2022 1:37 PM

PC wrote:

Good post. Nice to see what others are doing with their non-moto bikes.

I just finished my new trail bike build
22 GG ex350
...more

That's a damn good looking scooter, those GG's look so nice with some black wheels.

How does that light do for night riding? I'd like to get a good set up for the hot summers out here, sure beats riding in the heat of the day. But I am nervous about a lack of sight at speed, can you speak on that at all?

Thanks!

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2/21/2022 1:52 PM

That's a nicely setup 350! I had 350's in 12, 13 and 16 and really like that bike. Not at all required, but have heard an ECU with some tuning to improve bottom end response works very well. Enjoy!

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2/21/2022 3:04 PM

Kyle978 wrote:

That's a damn good looking scooter, those GG's look so nice with some black wheels.

How does that light do for night riding? ...more

Thanks man!

That light (3600 lumens) is adequate for slow single track, but I'd for sure want more at speed in the dez. I used to ride the high dez back in the day and I've seen all them holes in the ground! Our mines here are horizontal, so I only need a modest light for that rare occasion where's something happens and it turns into a late night.

Most of my buds who do night races have the huge round LED's on the bike and a battery powered LED on the helmet, so they can see through the corners. They definitely throw some light, but it doesn't come cheap.

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2/21/2022 3:17 PM

Nate_Z wrote:

That's a nicely setup 350! I had 350's in 12, 13 and 16 and really like that bike. Not at all required, but have heard an ECU ...more

Thank you!
I would love a little more bottom end, but I don't think tuners have cracked the new ECU's yet. And I don't want to spend the cash on an aftermarket ECU, so I'll just wait and hope it happens soon.

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3/6/2022 6:45 AM

Here is my enduro specific 2018 250 Photo
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3/7/2022 9:35 AM

Nice Kawi!
It looks well setup for riding the burn. I used to live over that way once upon a time and rode many a miles in the trask.

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3/7/2022 12:16 PM

PC wrote:

Nice Kawi!
It looks well setup for riding the burn. I used to live over that way once upon a time and rode many a miles in ...more

Sweet! The Trask is some of the best riding out west. I set this KX250F up for right single track. 18” rear wheel, Rekluse, guards, gearing, header, pipe etc. lots of fun, till I built a 144. Eric Gorr engine w wide power port and polish, modded head, 18” rear wheel, spark arrestor, Lectron, guards etc

So you use to ride the Tillamook State Forest? Trask specifically?
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3/7/2022 1:49 PM

I like that kawi too! You got a few sweet bikes.

I've ridden TSF and trask forest many times. We'd access from Hollywood camp or over by Carlton and it was fun riding for sure. I haven't been back in years, but my buddies say TSF is looking pretty hammered these days. Sounds like the masses found all the stashes.

Speaking of trask.... about 10 or so years ago I raced an event out of Hollywood camp and the night before the race somebody removed all the trail markers, so come race time it was mayhem. Between the monsoon rain and no trail markers it was a text book shit show!

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3/7/2022 7:59 PM

PC wrote:

I like that kawi too! You got a few sweet bikes.

I've ridden TSF and trask forest many times. We'd access from Hollywood camp ...more

Lol- your experience must have been at the Devils Head ISDE? I have rode that a couple times, stayed out of Hollywood camp. And yes- the logging has been horrendous! I get the whole “renewable resource” and am in no way anti logging- but it’s been hammering the trails. Good group of guys open them back up…..eventually. Ride safe brother

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3/9/2022 10:25 PM

Just picked up a new Beta 430. Photo
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3/10/2022 6:25 AM

Herb, that thing beautiful!

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3/10/2022 8:03 AM

Herb Eaversmells wrote:

Just picked up a new Beta 430. Photo
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Betas are too pretty to get dirty…

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3/10/2022 9:37 AM

I have about 35 hours on my 2021 Beta RR 125 Race Edition. I race old school time keeping enduros and a few GP's. The bike has a Buds Racing silencer, Sclavini pipe, Guts tall soft foam with their cover, Mika KTM bend bars with Cycra hand guards. I have deleted the thermostat and installed a race harness as well. The enduros that I race, the bike has to appear legal, so the lights do not have to work. I have currently replace the actual headlight with a carbon fiber blank.

For fun I wired the horn up to a couple 9V batteries. It's a blast coming through the woods and blowing the horn at a the spectators standing along the trial.

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Instagram - @jt438

3/12/2022 7:37 AM

KTM 690 dual sport
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3/22/2022 7:07 PM

2022 501s

Get ECU, Fastway pegs, Fastway exhaust insert, Tidy Tail with SICASS plate holder, LED fork wrap signals, slim fit Start/Stop, slim fit master, brake pulsar, Double take mirrors, Best Dual Sports fuel rail, fuel filter, slim tank fitting, Tokyo off-road starting capacitor, Smog Delete, O2 Sensor Delete, Tall Seat, ThrillSeekers seat cover, TBD Graphics, Rear Tubliss. AER air fork and Mx shock.

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This is my first off-road bike. Been on moto for 35+ years.

Super fun.

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2021 Gas Gas EX450 - AEO cone valves, Trax Shoc, Pro Circuit Exhaust, RE clamps, Pro Taper bars, Vortex ECU, Dubya Haan/DID wheels, FCP engine mounts, REP knuckle, Vortex, Twisted Exhaust flange (oh, and a map switch)

2022 Husqvarna 501s - GET ECU, Fastway pegs, Fastway exhaust insert, Tidy Tail with SICASS plate holder, LED fork wrap signals, slim fit Start/Stop, slim fit master, brake pulsar, Double take mirrors, Best Dual Sports fuel rail, fuel filter, slim tank fitting, Tokyo off-road starting capacitor, Smog Delete, O2 Sensor Delete, Tall Seat, ThrillSeekers seat cover, TBD Graphics, Rear Tubliss

3/23/2022 5:18 AM

prida28 wrote:

2022 501s

Get ECU, Fastway pegs, Fastway exhaust insert, Tidy Tail with SICASS plate holder, LED fork wrap signals, slim fit ...more

Those things are a damn weapon for SoCal, sweet ride.

A number of guys in OC have the 501's they made singletrack capable, and they all run a Vortex ignition. Completely transforms the bike, might be worth looking into.

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3/23/2022 8:16 AM

Kyle978 wrote:

Those things are a damn weapon for SoCal, sweet ride.

A number of guys in OC have the 501's they made singletrack capable, ...more

Thanks Kyle.

Ya, the bike is so fun to ride. I have a GasGas 450 that I use for moto and I run a Vortex on there.

Any ECU’s make a huge difference on these Austrian four-strokes.

I did put a GET ECU on my 501s. I only have one ride on it and it made a noticeable difference. They bike had plenty of power before honestly but did fell “choked up”. The ECU just opens it up from top to bottom. I love the low rpm torque of these motors. These bikes feel so connected from the throttle to the rear tire.

Still trying to find places to ride here in SoCal. For the most part heading out to local deserts (Ocotillo Wells, Superstition), McCains, Pine Valley, etc. I want to start venturing north and try big bear, maybe some coastal around Santa Barbara and eventually make my way up to southern Utah. Just a whole new set of options on where to ride.

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2021 Gas Gas EX450 - AEO cone valves, Trax Shoc, Pro Circuit Exhaust, RE clamps, Pro Taper bars, Vortex ECU, Dubya Haan/DID wheels, FCP engine mounts, REP knuckle, Vortex, Twisted Exhaust flange (oh, and a map switch)

2022 Husqvarna 501s - GET ECU, Fastway pegs, Fastway exhaust insert, Tidy Tail with SICASS plate holder, LED fork wrap signals, slim fit Start/Stop, slim fit master, brake pulsar, Double take mirrors, Best Dual Sports fuel rail, fuel filter, slim tank fitting, Tokyo off-road starting capacitor, Smog Delete, O2 Sensor Delete, Tall Seat, ThrillSeekers seat cover, TBD Graphics, Rear Tubliss

3/23/2022 10:22 AM
Edited Date/Time: 3/23/2022 10:23 AM

prida28 wrote:

Thanks Kyle.

Ya, the bike is so fun to ride. I have a GasGas 450 that I use for moto and I run a Vortex on there.

Any ECU’s ...more

Sweet, glad you got an ECU on there to open it up! Your GG moto bike looks badass, too.

What is your age and riding ability? The group of guys I'm talking about are in their 30's and 40's, expert level riders based out of south OC (San Clemente, Dana Point, Laguna Beach). If it's a good fit I can connect you guys - one is the owner of 3 Bro's in Costa Mesa, good dudes!

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3/23/2022 10:38 AM

Kyle978 wrote:

Sweet, glad you got an ECU on there to open it up! Your GG moto bike looks badass, too.

What is your age and riding ability? ...more

sent DM

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2021 Gas Gas EX450 - AEO cone valves, Trax Shoc, Pro Circuit Exhaust, RE clamps, Pro Taper bars, Vortex ECU, Dubya Haan/DID wheels, FCP engine mounts, REP knuckle, Vortex, Twisted Exhaust flange (oh, and a map switch)

2022 Husqvarna 501s - GET ECU, Fastway pegs, Fastway exhaust insert, Tidy Tail with SICASS plate holder, LED fork wrap signals, slim fit Start/Stop, slim fit master, brake pulsar, Double take mirrors, Best Dual Sports fuel rail, fuel filter, slim tank fitting, Tokyo off-road starting capacitor, Smog Delete, O2 Sensor Delete, Tall Seat, ThrillSeekers seat cover, TBD Graphics, Rear Tubliss