If you are a dirt bike owner, you might have been wondering if there is a way to make your bike lighter. By cutting down its weight, you would improve the speed and control of your bike, but also, the bike would consume less fuel. Luckily, making your bike lighter isn’t as difficult as it seems.
The 11 ways to make your dirt bike lighter are:
- Replace the exhaust
- Replace the frame
- Replace the hubs and axles
- Cut or replace the seat
- Remove unnecessary accessories
- Wear lightweight protective gear
- Replace plastics
- Replace your wheels and tires
- Replace nuts, bolts, and screws
- Ride with less fuel
- Cut your weight
All of these factors can help you make your dirt bike lighter. The magnitude of the effect of each change will vary depending on your specific dirt bike. Below, we’ll go through each alteration in more detail, and discuss how weight affects the performance of your dirt bike.
11 Ways To Make Your Dirt Bike Lighter
1. Replace The Exhaust
The best way to make your dirt bike lighter is to replace the exhaust. It’s one of the easiest ways to make your motorcycle significantly lighter, as it’s a weighty component. Most exhaust systems are made of aluminum or stainless steel, which are both quite heavy.
However, you can cut down the weight if you install a titanium exhaust. In theory, titanium is heavier than aluminum. But in practice, titanium exhausts can be made much thinner than aluminum exhausts, bringing the total weight down without losing structural integrity.
2. Replace The Frame
A motorcycle frame can weigh between 15 and 50 pounds, which makes it one of the heaviest parts of the bike. Also, most frames are made from steel or other heavy metals, which can make your bike pretty heavy.
If you replace it with a lighter frame made from aluminum, you will significantly reduce the weight. However, if you have the tools and the skills, you can even remove specific parts of the frame and make the bike even lighter. Most people won’t do that so you will probably have the lightest bike during the race! Just make sure you don’t remove any key structural components.
3. Replace The Hubs And Axles
Besides replacing the exhaust to cut down the weight of your motorcycle, you can also replace your hubs and axles. Although these parts are small, you will still reduce the overall weight if you replace them with lighter components.
4. Cut Or Replace The Seat
Most dirt bike seats are made of leather or aluminum, which can make them quite heavy. To reduce the weight of your bike, you can make your own seat from lighter materials, such as foam or sponge.
Depending on your riding style, you can even cut up to half of the seat altogether. If you usually stand on pegs instead of sitting, you might consider removing the seat entirely, which will definitely cut a few pounds from the total weight of your dirt bike.
5. Remove Unnecessary Accessories
Some people tend to put too many accessories on their bikes, such as saddlebags, performance meters, GPS devices, and other fairly useless components in a racing situation.
Some of the heaviest accessories are saddlebags, which people tie to their seats to carry around food or equipment. However, riding with saddlebags can be quite annoying, and the bags might even fall off during an off-road ride. If you ride with a friend, sharing the weight of the equipment between your bikes can be beneficial for both of you, without the need for big saddlebags.
6. Wear Lightweight Protective Gear
Although it won’t change the weight of your bike, wearing lightweight gear will decrease the total weight that the engine needs to move. Replacing a heavy helmet, suit, and boots with lighter ones can remove a few pounds and make the bike slightly faster and easier to handle.
Another benefit of wearing lightweight protective gear is that you will have less load on your body, and feel less pressure or even pain while riding. However, be sure to buy quality lightweight equipment, as safety is always the priority.
7. Replace Plastics
Installing lighter plastics will make your dirt bike lighter and probably more eye-catching too. There are specific racing plastics on the market, and these are built to be lighter than the manufacturer-grade plastics that come with your bike.
8. Replace Your Wheels And Tires
You can also reduce the weight of your dirt bike by fitting smaller tires and wheels. It won’t significantly affect the performance, as long as you don’t make too big a jump in the sizes, but it will definitely reduce the weight of your bike.
9. Replace Nuts, Bolts, And Screws
Replacing nuts, bolts, and screws won’t significantly reduce the weight of your bike, but it’s still worth doing if you’re trying to gain every tiny bit of an advantage over your opponents. Titanium nuts, bolts, and screws are lighter than other metals, but they also cost more. You should do it only if you’ve already done everything else to make your bike lighter.
10. Ride With Less Fuel
When you fill up your fuel tank, you you’re adding between 10 and 15 pounds to the weight of your bike. If you don’t plan to have a long ride, you can cut the weight by simply filling only half of the tank. If you’re in a race, you’ll obviously have to be careful with how much fuel you omit, so you don’t run out midway through!
11. Cut Your Weight
The best and the cheapest way to reduce the weight of your dirt bike is to lose your own weight. Losing 20 pounds of your own weight is the same as removing 20 pounds from the bike, which makes a significant difference, and is very doable in a sensible time frame.
How Dirt Bike Weight Affects Performance
Weight is one of the most important factors to consider when buying or modifying a dirt bike. It has a direct impact on almost everything related to your bike’s performance, and it will significantly affect your riding experience. Let’s see what parts of the bike are affected by its weight.
Acceleration And Maximum Speed
The weight of your motorcycle directly affects both the acceleration and the maximum speed you can achieve. That’s why motorcycles with 1000cc are usually slower than the ones with 600cc, as their engines are much heavier.
It’s the same when it comes to your own weight. If a person who weighs more than you rides the same bike, they won’t be able to reach the same speed and have the same acceleration as you.
Handling And Steering
If you reduce the weight of your bike, you will notice that the handling of the dirt bike will be quite different. Heavier motorcycles are usually more difficult to handle and don’t provide as comfortable a ride as lightweight bikes.
The weight of your dirt bike directly affects your mileage, comfort, and riding ability. With a heavy motorcycle, you will find it more difficult to steer, which is even more noticeable if you ride off-road. This could obviously prove dangerous if you’re not used to it, so don’t ride at high speeds until you’re comfortable with the weight of your bike.
The weight of your motorcycle directly affects your safety. The heavier the bike, the longer it takes to stop when you apply the brake. Even if the brakes on your bike are in top condition, they will be significantly affected by your bike’s weight.
Basically, when you press the brake, the center of gravity of your bike moves forward, which puts more weight on the front feel and leaves less on the rear wheel. If there is less weight, the brake will take less time to lock. This can lead to you sliding the back end of the bike out, leading to fishtailing and a potentially nasty crash if you lose control.
The total weight of you and your motorcycle directly affects your bike’s fuel consumption. Under more weight, the engine will have to work harder to move you forwards, and will consume more fuel in doing so. Not only that, but it will also heat up faster and be less efficient, leading to even higher fuel consumption.
Stability is the only real advantage of heavier dirt bikes, because if it’s heavier, it’s also usually more stable. Of course, it doesn’t imply that lightweight motorcycles are not stable, but heavy bikes still tend to have better stability on the road. This is obviously affected by lots of other factors too however, including the design of the bike, so it’s not always the case.
What Affects How Much Weight A Motorcycle Can Support
Not all motorcycles can support an equal amount of weight. The three factors that affect how much weight a motorcycle can support are the engine volume, the bike’s frame, and the type of engine (if it’s two-stroke or four-stroke).
The Engine Volume
Ideally, for each pound of your own weight, you need one cubic centimeter of engine displacement if you have a two-stroke engine. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should buy a motorcycle with an engine around 200cc. Since four-stroke engines have around half the power of two-stroke ones, you would need a 400cc engine for the same weight.
The Bike’s Frame
The heavier the motorcycle’s frame, the more weight it can generally support. The frame of your bike directly affects how well it can support you on tough terrain. We mentioned that an aluminum frame is great if you want to cut down the weight of your bike. However, a steel frame is a better choice for heavier riders that want to do a lot of off-road riding.
Two-Stroke vs Four-Stroke
If you usually ride on looser tracks, you should buy a motorcycle with a two-stroke engine. They are lighter and usually accelerate much faster than 4-strokes. However, for tracks that allow you to achieve higher speeds, a four-stroke engine is a better choice.
They don’t accelerate as fast as two-stroke engines, but they are a better choice for heavier riders. Although it takes them a bit longer to gain speed, they provide better support for heavier riders.
Making your dirt bike lighter offers many benefits, especially when it comes to acceleration and reaching high speeds. The easiest thing you can do to reduce your dirt bike’s weight is to replace the exhaust system. Doing that, along with all of the other tips listed above, is the best and easiest way to make your dirt bike lighter.