Getting Started in Flattrack Racing – The Motorcycle
Often it seems the biggest hurdle to get people into dirt track (DT) motorcycle racing is the motorcycle. They have seen dirt track bikes. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to take the time or have the money to modify a bike for this type of racing. So, lets break the stigma (and cost) of purpose built machines for dirt track racing.
The specific modifications made to DT bikes do make them better for “lefties” but are certainly not required to come to a local race, have fun and even be competitive. Below we’ll cover some of the investment needed to get you on a dirt track depending on how much you wish to spend. No matter what level you choose, you will be bustin’ skids just the same.
To start, we’ll assume you already have a motocross-style bike. The CRF450/250 seems to be the most popular bike people own these days. Believe it or not, any modern motocross bike from the last 10 years has all the capability and engine power to be competitive in local racing.
Take your existing 2-stroke 125-250 or 4-stroke 250-450 and replace the rear tire with a Dunlop or Maxxis flattrack tire. Modern moto bikes use a 19″ rear wheel from the factory and DT tires are also 19″. You can buy new ones from a dealer for abou $185 or get an older, used one from most any dirttracker for free. You may use your existing knobby front and get around just fine. An additional option is to purchase an enduro tire in 21″ to lever onto your existing front wheel. This will make your setup legal for most any class specific to your engine displacement.
Don’t worry about your taller suspension. The benefits of lowered suspension are reduced on tracks like they often use in the midwest such as Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan because the turns are tighter and can get rough. You’ll be surprised how competitive you can be on your moto suspension.
General tips from Durelle Racing on stock moto suspension setup for dirttrack.
- Turn the compression all the way in on the forks and shock.
- Rebound for the forks at 6 out & Rebound for the shock 3-4 out.
- Shock spring preload could be increased to 3″ rider sag where normally it’s going to be 4″.
All modern forks and shocks have Compression and Rebound adjustment. All shocks additionally have spring preload adjustability and even some conventional forks used for Dirt- Track bikes will have adjustable spring preload. So you vintage guys who are not totally vintage might get something out of this tech tip.
Here is your basic rule of race. If the track is fast and smooth, you and your bike should be too. Therefore, a stiffer, slower set up will help you as a rider to be smooth. If the track is rough, you want the suspension to be softer and move quicker over the bumps.
A gearing chart is something that you can use to fine tune your motorcycle for the best performance
Note: Many of the tips and ideas on this website are shared and influenced by experts from around the US. Please consult with local experts and teachers. Our flattrack reporting team consists of reporters and enthusiasts, we are not the experts.