Why, you ask, would anyone spend the time and
effort to convert a motocross bike into a woods
racer, when so many other bikes can be had
perfectly set up for woods riding? The answer is
simple: I don't know, but it sure is fun. Don't get
me wrong, you have to love tinkering with bikes
and have a healthy amount of experience in the
saddle to know exactly what is needed to do a MX
conversion. I did it twice. It's not easy and certainly
not something you want to do in a hurry.
Fortunately for me, I found outstanding deals on
new 2003 and 2004 KX250's. Trust me, if you want
to be first in line and pay at or near retail price for
the latest, greatest MX bike, it won't be economical
to turn it into a woods racer.
Here's what I did to both bikes, in order of priority:
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Forks revalve $145
Shock revalve 150
Shipping to and from 45
Gun case (Walmart) 18
Fork Springs 80
Shock Spring 80
Total Cost* $568
*2003/04 dollars, roughly
A Perfect Match: MX suspension and a cheap plastic gun
case from Walmart. When I sent away my 2004 KX250
suspension to W.E.R. Racing, I carried it to a UPS shipping
center in downtown Chicago. I thought carrying a gun case
through the Loop might draw some attention, but nobody
seemed to care.
No, it's not supposed to
look like that. This
happened to the '03 KX on
the very first ride.
Too Close for
Notice the grind job on
the pinch clamp bolt.
hand guard bolts work
One of the annoying things
about the right footpeg is that
the pin can't be removed without
taking off the clutch cover.
There you have it. This is why you need to get
a really good deal on an MX bike in order for
the woods conversion to make economical
Step 1: Revalve the suspension
Trust me, motocross valving in the woods is bad.
Very bad. Sometimes you wonder if the
suspension is even there at all. I sent mine to
Drew Smith at W.E.R. Racing. I wanted a
specialist in woods suspension tuning, and Drew
is the guy. For springs, I went with .42's up front
(.44 is stock) and a 4.8 in the rear (5.2 is stock).
Step 3: Get a larger gas tank
Two gallons just won't cut it for a 2-hour hare
scramble, unless you like stopping for gas (I
don't). When I bought the 2003 KX250, IMS was
the only larger-capacity option (Clarke's tank later
became available - both tanks are just a bit more
than 3 gallons). The good news is that the IMS
tank fits very nicely. The bad news is that if you
use an upper triple clamp that has pinch bolts
angled inward toward the steering head (think
KTM circa 2000-02), the bolts may make contact
with the IMS tank when the handlebars are turned
in all the way. No good solution except to get out
the heat gun and mold the tank to fit the clamp. To
increase clearance, I used allen head bolts like
those that come with Enduro Engineering hand
guards. They're a flatter, "pan head" style.
Step 5: O-ring Chain
Most MX bikes come with standard chains, which
won't last very long in the nasty conditions often
experienced in hare scrambles and enduros. I like
the RK X-ring chain.
Step 4: Get stronger footpegs.
The KX250 isn't designed for crashing in rock
gardens, which is one of my specialties. I bought a
pair of IMS Pro series pegs, which are much
Total Cost Summary*
Flywheel Weight 100
O-ring Chain 50
*in 2003 dollars
|But wait, there's more! Click <here> to see the
Step 2: Add flywheel weight
To keep from stalling and to smooth out the power
delivery a bit, I added a Steahly Products 11 ounce
flywheel weight. Installation is simple - it actually
replaces the original flywheel bolt.