Letter Rip - Recess Or Recession? - Dirt Rider Magazine

Photo: Karel Kramer

Recess Or Recession?
If you listen to the cacophony of dire economic predictions spewing out of the major media sources, you are probably aware that our country's financial industry is in need of a new top end. Though unpredictable fuel prices and less discretionary spending may equal one less class on race day, don't let the poorly jetted economy keep you off your bike completely. Riding areas remain-albeit precariously-open, races are still being held and a lot of dedicated people are working extremely hard in order to keep our industry charging ahead. But you can help: Take yourself racing sometime this month, buy a product or two from some of our advertisers and most importantly...Letter Rip!****Letter Of The Month
The Silent Supporters

I don't ride, but I definitely am the first person home and I steal my husband's Dirt Rider religiously. There is always mention of riders and all the fun they have, but do you think you could pay tribute to those of us who launder the riding clothes and nurse the wounds of the people having all of that fun? It doesn't have to be anything big, maybe just a response to this. If it weren't for us, there would be nothing clean to get dirty, and what fun would that be? If any of you have your significant others do your laundry for you, they know we definitely deserve a standing ovation. Give it a thought!
Heather Cotnoir
West Swanzey, NH
As a tribute to all the unsung heroes of our habit, I'm comparing your awesomeness in a selection of analogies. I'm also awarding you (and the luckiest husband in the world) the Cycra prize pack for Letter of the Month. If there are any other Heathers out there, this one's for you, too. If there are any potential Heathers out there, please send me an e-mail so we can start dating ASAP. For lucky dirt riding men-like your husband-who somehow and someway found a lady friend willing to touch dirty riding gear more than once, you're a perfectly jetted 125 on a crisp morning of youthful moto innocence. For normal married riders-like the rest of married men not living in your husband's dream world-you're the tricked-out, one-off factory ride full of unobtanium and sano coolness that Kevin Windham walks to the starting line at Anaheim 1. For single riding dudes like myself and a few of my fellow hooligans, you're the upside-down whip James Stewart snaps during his victory lap that makes me happily spill my $15 beer into my soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend's lap. For dirt riders all over the world who fear their spouses' wrath after a maybe-too-long weekend of riding, you're the fresh air of a mountain pass crossed and left behind on a trail ride of epic proportions. Thanks, from your husband and from riding spouses all over the world (men and women). -Jesse Ziegler****The Most Questions We've Ever Been Asked In One Letter
I have a 2002 CR250R. I am a fairly new member of the dirt bike world, and I have a few questions. Let me start out by saying I think that my CR250 has some problems; it is just that I don't know how to fix them.First of all, my bike cannot idle for more than 15 seconds or else it seems to foul a spark plug. Second, my bike seems to have little or no bottom-end, a very strong mid, and then no top-end. How do I improve the bottom-end and what is wrong with my top-end? Is it blown out, do I need a new one? If so, which kit would you suggest? Third, when I first bought my bike, it sounded clean and crisp and now it sounds old, super loud and ratty. Fourth, whenever I start the bike cold, tons of white smoke billows out of the exhaust pipe. Fifth, whenever I get off the throttle it sounds like my front tire is flat, but when I get back to the truck it's just fine. Sixth, every time I ride my bike it has dark brown, greasy, oily liquid paste stuff leaking from the top of the head/cylinder. Seventh, how do I set the sag on my bike because I don't know how but I have heard that setting the sag correctly can easily improve cornering and such? Eighth, where do you insert a reed valve? I have a new one to put in that was given to me before I bought the bike and I just don't know where to put it. Ninth, I have two different exhausts for my bike and I don't know how to interchange them. They're both made by Pro Circuit; one is the forestry-regulated one and the other is Factory 304. Tenth, when I bought the bike it came with a Pro Circuit platinum pipe on the bike already. How do I know if this bike has been properly jetted for the new pipe? Eleventh, when I bought my bike it did not come with an owner's manual or a repair manual. Where is the best place to buy these and which one should I get? Twelfth, since I do not have a manual I don't know how to change the oil. I have transmission fluid that came with the bike but I do not know where to use it. Thirteenth, my clutch pull seems excessively hard and by the end of a good day of riding my forearms and hands burn like they are on fire.Finally, does Dirt Rider ever let totally amateur and beginner riders like me test ride bikes? I have been thinking of getting a 250 four-stroke and I do not know which one I would like more because I have not ridden a new four-stroke. The only four-strokes I have ridden are a CRF150F and a TT-R125. So would you guys let beginners like me come out and test which bike best fits us?
Devin Hanrahan

Photo: Drew Ruiz

For a motocross man, you seem to know very little about your motocross machine! Don't take this the wrong way, but you and your bike need a little quality time together. Your questions are too numerous, and even though I could take a stab at answering them, I suggest you first go and get a good shop manual. Yes, find it yourself. (Hint: Honda dealer.) Then read the whole thing, just for fun. Next, take your bike all apart and fix all the things you find wrong with it, which I suspect will be quite insightful as well as costly, but worth it since that bike can still be a solid mount. Do not think about a four-stroke and don't come near us when we test bikes, as your vacuum for knowledge may render us as dumb as rival magazine editors.-Jimmy Lewis****Keep It Real
Great mag! I honestly have seen improvement issue by issue since Lewis has come on board, though a very important part of the sport is lacking in your and other dirt bike magazines. Someone should cover, report and review realistic riding spots-not Costa Rica, Hawaii and the like, but places a family can go and ride for a weekend. Cover camping facilities, trail difficulties, restaurants, local machine support, etc. In my area we (me, my wife and two children, three KTMs and a Yamaha) ride Allegheny National Forest, Majestic and Mines and Meadows trails, and would love reviews of other areas. Every weekend we see many families riding at these spots, and I can't help but think that this part of the sport needs to be cultivated and promoted, not $15,000 250Fs. If magazines like yours promote and review riding areas so families will be more educated about where to ride, so many other issues of this sport will fall into place. For example, a 10-year-old boy or girl who spent weekends riding with his or her folks will be a lot more likely to support land-use issues as an adult. As this sport in my area is leaning more and more into pay-to-ride parks, we need magazines like yours to review these places for convenience, safety and all.
Paul Wurst
McKean, PA
I agree 100 percent that the local riding areas in the country need more promotion from the media. And I love your theory about younger riders becoming more involved with land issues as adults if they understand the value of a good riding area now. In today's world of shriveling budgets, we can't bounce around the country to all the riding spots (unfortunately). That sounds idiotic after reading a story about Hawaii, I know, but Jimmy actually went there on his own dime! And the Costa Rica story we did was on Yamaha's bill as part of a WR introduction. In reality, we rely on local riders to submit reports about local riding areas. The biggest hurdles we and most contributors face are issues with photos. Good photos are necessary for our magazine and website. So if you think you're up to it, write us a report of your local riding area and send it (with good photos) over! Maybe we can put some motivation into a Where I Ride section of the magazine and/or website. -Jesse****Where Is The Love?
Where did the two-strokes go and is there hope for them in the future? Your website and magazine should include articles, resources and support devoted only to two-strokes. Too much four-stroke!
JeffThere are a lot of two-stroke fans here at the magazine, and you will see some good two-stroke content from us coming up in the magazine throughout the year. As for where these bikes went, people just stopped buying them. The manufacturers listen to their customers just like we listen to our readers (that sounds sarcastic, huh? Well, it's not, we listen, and they listen). If people start buying two-strokes, the manufacturers will surely keep making them. To be honest, the hope for two-strokes is more in your hands than in ours! -Pete Peterson****Used And Abused
I really enjoyed the articles in the January 2009 issue. I especially appreciate the Used Bike bit about buying an early-2000s CR250 and specific things to look for when buying that bike used. Not to mention the other articles you guys have done on that topic. You provide good info and a touch of reality that the rest of us have to live by. You guys have successfully shown that we in the sport can buy, be somewhat competitive, have fun and enjoy our sport while operating on a budget.
MattPlease stop e-mailing us about this. I fear the day might come where I'll have to ride a bunch of clapped-out XR400s, some beat KTM 200s and a YZ125 that is currently seized. I like riding $12,000 bikes, or ones that cost at least that much in bolt-on parts. One new one a week and giving them back before the tires are worn much. Only so I can get a new bike with a fresh set. Just stop, I beg you. -Jimmy

Fear Of The Fall
I had a major crash in March 2008 and had only ridden a few times until I got my bike back. I noticed the fear then, fear of riding fast, jumping and little things like simply laying the bike down in a berm, etc. When my dirt bike was supposedly fixed, I took it out on the trails and jumps and found myself almost frozen with fear. That same day, I had another major accident that was not my fault (the fork was so stiff, a small mud puddle became a huge crash). I am now looking for a pro to work on my bike and get the repairs right this time. But the fear of the fall is still great. I used to be the fastest on the track and now other slower riders pass me with no problem. Can you help my state of mind?
Chandra Alleman
Burlington, NC
Chandra, do you remember the movie Top Gun? Specifically, do you remember that really intense scene in which Maverick and Goose get caught in a flat spin and Goose ejects straight into the canopy of his F-14? Well, Maverick's courage didn't come back immediately after that, and it may similarly take you a few more rides before you're back in the zone. Don't despair; just work your way back up to speed slowly, and as you gain confidence and become more natural on the bike the fear will simply dissipate. If that doesn't work, try clutching a set of dog tags, or just sing "You've Lost that Lovin' Feelin'" to yourself while you ride. It helps, I swear! -Chris Denison****Crystal Baller
Your magazine is awesome! I have learned so much from the articles. I have been riding for 10 years, since I was four, and I am on a Yamaha YZ125 right now. I've been wondering what '09 450 to get when I am 15 or 16 years old, and I was reading the '09 Honda 450 impression in your December issue (page 72), but I am an off-road rider and later in the article it said it dies easily and it is not an off-road bike, so I looked in the October issue and the Yamaha sounded a lot better. I don't know, maybe I'm a Yamaha rider, but the white one looks cooler than the Honda, too. Oh, and test the YZ125 against the KTM 125 SX, please!
Vernal, UT
Are you a little psychic moto-Buddha? You're predicting the future of Dirt Rider and you don't even know it! In our February issue, our 2009 450 shootout gives you a quick impression of how these race machines work (or don't work) in off-road-ish conditions. Here in the near future, you'll be enjoying a five-way 125cc comparison featuring stock Yamaha and KTM 125s, a stock KTM 150 as well as some modified big-bore 136cc and 144cc Yamaha machines. Now, tell me what else we're going to do. Am I going to ever learn how to scrub a jump? Why do I look a lot slower in video than I feel? Please help. **-Jesse****Please send all mail to drmail@sorc.com or Dirt Rider, Attn: Letter Rip!, 2570 E. Cerritos Ave., Anaheim, CA 92806. You must include contact info in order to be eligible for the Letter of the Month prize. All letters may be edited at our discretion. And include your full name so every Matt or Jeff doesn't claim your letter.