Spring Break in California

Hey, all of you Moto folks!  Just wanted to give a quick review of my spring break trip with my boys to California.  "Why?" You ask?  Because we had some of the most amazing Moto moments on this trip and I want to let you all know about them and recommend them if you are traveling in the Golden State.  

So, I normally don't get to do spring break because it is such a busy time of year for the shop but this year my wife was out of the country working so the rough duty was laid in my lap.  I am so thankful that it was because we had a blast.  We started off by traveling on Sunday from Montrose Colorado all the way to Buellton California.  That is a long day in a van with an 11 and 9-year-old but we hammered down and made it happen.  Buellton is North and West of Santa Barbara.  You leave the big town and head up a narrow canyon for a way then as it opens up you enter the quaint little town of Buellton.  The sign boasts of 4900-ish residents and it is great.  We stayed at Pea Soup Andersen's which we found out is a famous old restaurant and hotel that has been there over 90 years.  It's a great hotel and affordable at $73/night with breakfast and a pool.  We got to sleep quickly and got up early for our first adventure the next day. 

In the morning we quickly ate breakfast and headed North East into the Los Padres National Forest to meet the brother-in-law of our good friend Anna.  Owen met us about an hour out of town in a beautiful valley at a gate to a private road into the forest.  We rode 13 miles of tight, twisty, steep road to get to the family's 160 Acre in-holding in the middle of the National Forest.  This is where Anna grew up without running water or electricity.  It is heaven!!!   There are cool trails all over and it couldn't be in a prettier place.  Check out the video below for a quick look at our day in this wonderland!

The next day was dedicated to beach time and we did it right!  We started by storming the beaches of Oceana Dunes then moved to Pismo for more fun in the frigid water.  My boys are somehow impervious to the ice-like Pacific Ocean.  We rounded out the day in Avila Beach a little further north.  This was also the first In-N-Out visit of the trip which is super important!  All of the freezing salt water and sand wore us out and we headed back to Buellton for rest and dinner.  On the way, we checked out Solvang which is about 2 miles from Buellton and a lovely little Danish Hamlet that was founded by the plucky Danes in 1911.  


Wednesday dawned foggy and cool like all the rest of the days but we loaded up and headed to Zaca Station MX up near Los Olivos which is only about 10 minutes from Buellton.  If you haven't heard of Zaca you need to check it out.  It is the setting for lots of Moto Movie segments and is the coolest motocross track I have ever been to.  It's kind of like a speakeasy track.  There is very little info on the web about it and it took quite a while for me to figure out where it was and when they were open.  When we pulled up there were no signs, no banners, nothing but a sprinter van and a really nice lady with paperwork.  We filled out the obligatory waivers and stuff and as we rolled away towards the track she said, "The Combo on the lock is $#$# (not telling), make sure you lock it on your way out."  What?  We drove the long road to the track and found a great parking spot.  There were about 40 or 50 people there and it was a very mellow feel.  We unloaded and geared up.  As we were strapping helmets an old guy walked over and asked if we were planning on riding the smaller track too.  My boys piped up "Yep" and he said he would go water it for us.  After watering the whole track he came back over and told us to give it a few minutes to dry up and then have fun.  A little later the woman who had checked us in pulled up and unloaded her bike and then I realized that they only open the gate for a little bit then it's locked and that's it.  No more people.  It's like a private track.  Only its a private track in the best dirt and terrain I have ever ridden a moto track.  We spend the whole day there turning laps on the small and big tracks and it was amazing.  I cannot recommend that place enough.  It is so refreshing to go to a track that has amazing dirt, perfect grooming, and natural terrain that is amazing and not be overrun with people.  It is a special place.  Check out our pics and video from Zaca below.

Our last day in California was spent down in Long Beach touring the Battleship Iowa and playing more on the beach.  The USS Iowa is such an impressive thing.  We just don't have gunships like that anymore and this one is sooooo cool.  The tour is a little expensive but worth every penny because it is so interesting and amazing to see such firepower!  

From there we headed back east to our amazing slice of heaven that is Montrose for a day of rest before school and work started back up.  It was such a fun trip and I highly recommend a trip to that part of California.  It is so cool and so different from Colorado or anywhere I have ever been.  I also urge you to take time with your kids.  Life and work so often get in the way and make things hard and stressful but in the end, you will not be sad about time you spent with your family!  Get out and have fun everyone!  And hopefully you can involve DIRTBIKES!!!!

Answer Frontier Vest Review


Hey everyone!  As promised I am here to give a review of the new Answer Racing Frontier Vest. 

We have been waiting (not patiently if I am honest) for the release of this vest for a few months now.  I am a connoisseur of riding vests and this one looked great from the get-go.  I have worn out both Ogio and TLD vests and both of them had things I loved and things I didn't.  The Answer Frontier Vest proved to be better than both of them. 

The Frontier Vest fits like a glove!  It is very form fitting and doesn't slide around at all, even in the roughest terrain.  The strap system that you use to compress the vest is very good and allows you to get it really snug.  Even with it sinched down tight, you can move freely and ride like the wind!  The vest is made to cover a size range from 33-44 (if you know jacket sizes?!?).  What that means is that it fits me at 5'10" and 180lbs great but if you are a plus sized (or Man-sized) person then it will be tight and if you are really big then don't bother.    Answer wasn't thinking of the "Heavy Belly" race class when they built this one. 

The Storage on the Frontier Vest is great.  It has just enough space to carry what you need but not so much that you end up taking more than you should.   The tool pocket out back is perfect sized and includes a nice tool roll if you don't have your own.  The "backpack" pocket is small-ish but big enough to put a lightweight rain jacket or a few other items for a long day.  The hydration area is great but mine came without a loop to hold the bladder up.  I am sure that was an oversight and they will fix it soon.  The front pockets are great and easy to get into.  There is a perfect one for your phone so you can snap pics on your awesome ride. 

Overall comfort was great on the Frontier vest and it is much cooler than the Troy Lee vest.   I can't speak to the durability of the Answer Frontier vest yet but so far I am very happy.  

What's Hot: Fit is great and athletic.  Doesn't move around while riding.  Storage is big enough but not too big

What's Not: Expensive at $225.  Doesn't come with a hydration bladder. Not made for bigger riders.  No loop in bladder area to hold bladder up. 

The Verdict: So far we LOVE the Frontier Vest!  I don't think I'll be using my others any longer!

First ride with the Answer Frontier Vest!

 My vest, all packed up!

My vest, all packed up!

2018 National Hare and Hound Association Round 1

Hey everyone, this is a little late in coming but I wanted to give a race report about the National Hare and Hound Associations Round 1 race in Spangler Hills California.  First off, Spangler Hills is about an hour and a half North and West of Barstow, near the little military town of Ridgecrest.  It is a really beautiful part of the Mojave desert and out in the middle of nowhere.  Which is the perfect location for a desert race.  


The drive from Montrose takes about 11 or 12 hours but it passes quickly with 80mph speed limits all the way across Utah. 


I pulled into the race site just after 9:30 pm on Thursday night and set up the inside of my van for sleeping. 


The night was pretty darn cold, especially for California but the sleeping was good and I woke up as the sun was coming up and made some coffee.  After breakfast, I geared up and got ready to ride.  I had just rebuilt the entire motor of my YZ250 because of a broken piston skirt just days before.  I had started it but only put about 2 minutes on the engine.  So I headed out into the desert easy to break the girl in.  As I got some heat into the engine I decided to wick it up a bit since in 2 days I would be pinning it wide open.  As I got the revs up, I noticed a funny sound coming from below me.  I stopped and began to freak out.  I had been in a hurry when I built the motor and I began to wonder if I had forgotten something.  Crap!!  As I sat out in the desert I thought to myself, "Well, I'm here and I might as well see if it's going to break now, instead of waiting for the race." So I fired it back up and pinned it!  As I ripped through the desert the bike ran perfectly but at a certain rpm, it would rattle just a tiny bit.  I put it out of my head and had a great ride.  The desert is so pretty and the weather was perfect.   


That afternoon I met up with Travis from TBT racing and hung out with him for most of the evening.  Travis and I have been "friends" on Facebook for a while but have never met in person.  I absolutely LOVE the motorcycle community.  Even if you really don't know someone, if they are a dirt biker then you are already friends!!  Travis was super generous and said he would provide a pit for me during the race.  I headed back to camp for dinner and some sleep.  I still had another free day before the race to check the bike out and get some practice in.


The next day was more of the same.  Perfect weather and a super fun ride in the desert.  It is so cool out there because you can just go and explore all over the place.  I had a blast and saw some really cool stuff.


I finished the ride for the day and finally figured out what was going on with my bike.  After the motor rebuild I had installed a new aluminum skid plate and one of the bolts on the bottom didn't line up so I left it out.  Well that allowed the skid plate to rattle on the aluminum frame at just the right rpm and made a noise that sounded like things coming apart.  WHEW!!  I could relax and just race.  I got a great night's sleep and got up early to get ready to race!!


After breakfast, I headed to the start line to check out the bomb run.  The bomb run is the first 1.5 miles (that distance changes every race) of a desert race that is essentially a high horsepower free for all!  It is the only part of the course you are allowed to pre-run so I rode it twice to check it out and see if there were any big hazards.  After a good look at the bomb, I headed back to the start and picked a spot.  The start of a desert race is one of the most exciting things on earth.  On this day there were 400 people at the start line, all racing for the same point 1.5 miles away.  When they raise the banner, everyone kills their engine and you have at least 1 minute before it drops.  I don't know about you but I can't accurately count a minute in my head so as soon as it goes dead silent I put my foot on the kick starter and waited.  The tension is out of control.  400 adrenaline freaks are dead quiet, waiting to race.  There is nothing like it.  The banner dropped and BAM, we were off.  

I am not a good starter so I was immediately in a ton of dust and could barely see.  The first 5 miles were basically riding by braille in 5th gear.  As the race continued I was able to find my way around some people and the field started to spread out.  The dust abated a little and I started to find my groove.  In the second half of the first loop we got into some rocks and I made some time on the other riders.  The first loop was 40 miles of fun, fast riding and I came into the pits in 1st place in my class.  I couldn't believe it. I was expecting to be a lot slower but I was stoked.  Travis got me some gas and I was back out. 

Second loops of desert races are always harder and this one was GNARLY!  The first few miles were fast and easy and then all of a sudden it got REAL!  The first canyon I came to, I passed a grip of guys struggling by jumping off my bike and just bull-dogging it off to the side through some boulders.  I jumped back on and pinned it.  The first real rocky hill climb came quickly and it was strewn with downed riders.  I took one run at it and botched it.  After a quick run down to the bottom, I launched back up and cleaned it.  I was stoked!  As I fought through the rocky second loop I caught up to a guy who I had met at Travis' pit.  Justin was just ahead of me in the gnarliest section of the race.  It was a heinous downhill canyon with massive boulders and big drops.  I caught Justin and we both made our way down.  From here our battle would begin.  He would gap me in the faster stuff and I would catch up in the hard bits.    After miles of back and forth I caught up to him near the end of the race.  We were both beat down and struggling to find the drive to push hard but I managed to dig a little deeper and passed him.  After that pass, I was fired up.  I pushed hard to the end and crossed the line in 1st place.  It was in the Senior B class which doesn't sound like much but trust me, those dudes are FAST!


I couldn't believe it!  I really didn't expect to do so well and I was elated!  I want to give a massive thank you to the District 37 people, the Desert MC's and the National Hare and Hound Association for a great race!   After packing up and getting my trophy I began the long trip home.  But somehow winning makes the drive easier!  I can't wait to go back and race another Hare and Hound and I hope I can get some folks from around here to join me.  It is one of coolest, oldest and most exciting kinds of dirt bike racing around!

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I liked writing it.  If you are interested in my personal blog you can click the button below.

Highland Cycles OHV Tag Sale Day!

OHV Tag Day.jpg

There has been friction between the motorized community and government agencies for too long!  Highland Cycles and WESTCORE want to end that NOW! 

We have been thinking about this for a long time and we hate it when Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the BLM send out law enforcement right after our OHV tags expire and give out tickets.  Of course, we should all be better at getting our tags and staying on top of that but let's be honest... WE AREN'T good about that and quite a few of us buck the system anyway.  Well, we want to stop that now and get on the same page with our land management agencies. 

We came up with what we believe to be a great idea.  Instead of getting a ticket for not having your stickers shortly after they expire, why don't we have a big fun party at the end of March and sell stickers?!  That is the whole point anyway right? Get people to buy the stickers??  So that is what we are doing!  We are hosting the first ever Highland Cycles OHV Tag Sale Day out at Peach Valley on March 31st!  

The BLM, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Colorado Stay the Trail and Colorado Canyons Association will be joining us to sell permits and help educate all of us about why the OHV money is so important to our community. 

Don't buck the system!  If you aren't getting your permits through the mail then come out and buy your permits at Peach Valley on March 31st between 10 am and 4 pm.  You can also meet the WESTCORE guys and learn about how they are helping our community through trail advocacy.  Let's develop a relationship with our land management agencies and work together to help keep our valley AWESOME!

Highland Cycles will be providing food and drinks and there will, of course, be DIRTBIKES!!!

To read a little more about WESTCORE click their name or the button below

Check out the event on Facebook



For years the western slope of Colorado has felt immune to the pressures of the anti-motorized movement but recently the push has increased just like the population.  It is time for the off-road motorcycle world to organize and push back.

Since I started riding dirt bike in Colorado, the people in the community have been some of the most wonderful and friendly people I have ever met but also the least organized.  There seems to be a lot of the "I am going to ride whatever I want to ride" attitude and while my more instinctual nature loves that, I realize that itsn't the way to get things done.  The mountain bike community has been organizing for years and consequently they have been getting big things done for good and for bad in my opinion. 

If you don't know, the mountain bike (and other non-motorized) community has been slowly picking off traditionally motorized trails and getting them closed to motorized travel.  I could go on and on and I am sure you could too about why this is annoying and how unfair, and in some cases illegal all of this is but that isn't the point of this post.  The point of this post is to introduce you all to  WESTCORE They are a new club that is building membership and organizing to "...  keep our public lands in Western Colorado accessible to all user groups. Through responsible, cooperative usage, we strive to promote an atmosphere of shared stewardship"


Highland Cycles wants to support this group and all other activists that want to preserve and grow the motorized community through what we call "The Gospel Of Two Wheels"  Part of that mission is to raise money for dedicated groups so we are hoping to kickstart WESTCORE with a raffle/fundraiser during our Supercross Saturday on Jan 6th at Two Rascals


We will be raffling off a FULL suspension re-valve including parts and labor.  That is valued at over $1000.  We are working with our distributors to get some more prizes too.  We will only be selling 100 tickets priced at $30/each.  So your chances of winning are high.  Literally ALL of the money we collect will go directly to WESTCORE to help get some money in their bank and get them rolling.  Tickets are on sale now at Highland Cycles and will be on sale at Two Rascals or until they are sold out.  I would also encourage you to visit the WESTCORE facebook page and join the group so you can stay up to date with all they are doing to help our sport! 

Thanks for reading and please SHARE THE HECK out of this post to all of your motorized friends!!


Highland Cycles is super excited to announce that we are bringing "Ride Montrose" back in 2018! 


Ride Montrose is a celebration of the amazing off-road and dual sport riding that is here in our valley and surrounding area.  As many of you know and many of you WILL know, Montrose Colorado is MECCA for dirt and dual sport bikes and Highland Cycles wants to celebrate that and spread the "Gospel of Two Wheels"

Let me start by acknowledging the concerns that a lot of locals have about bringing more people to our treasured area.  I know that in a perfect world we would keep our little secret and live in our post card world all by ourselves but the reality is that the people are coming.  With the little thing called the internet, everyone knows everything about everywhere now and Highland Cycles wants to support this knowledge with responsible and fun advertising of our area. 

The reality of our sport is that it is being attacked from lots of different angles right now.  One of the biggest threats right now is the mountain bike community.  I don't understand this because we should be brothers on 2 wheels but that just doesn't seem to be the case.  Let me say that I understand that not ALL mountain bikers dislike dirt bikes.  I ride bicycles as much as dirt bikes myself.

But the reality is that a lot of the non motorized 2 wheelers don't like us and I want to change that and fight (responsibly) for our right to ride.  Just think, the more dirt bikers we share our valley with, the more people we have on our side when we need to fight trail closures like the one in Rico recently.  There is strength in number and organization and a fun, exciting, BIG event can help to promote that. 

Of course there is the added economic benefit to our community.  Not just Highland Cycles and Davis will benefit.  Hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and lots more.  Dirt bikers spend money where they go and money into our economy is a good thing for everyone.

So... Lets do this!!  I haven't picked a firm date for Ride Montrose yet because I am waiting for 2018 race schedules to be released so that we can avoid overlap as much as possible.  We are thinking early July so that all of our riding areas will be legally open and we can enjoy all that we have to offer. 

Here is a list of probable events we will be hosting:

  • Group rides of ALL skill levels
  • Riding skill clinics hosted by top level professionals
  • Tire change competition with AWESOME prizes
  • Guided rides
  • Movie night
  • Music and dinner party downtown
  • Moto swap meet
  • And hopefully lots more!!!

Last time we did this it was a great success and we look forward to making this one even better!  If you are interested in staying in the loop for Ride Montrose as it progresses, please click the button below.  You will be added to an email list and we will keep in touch.

Thanks and remember to get out and ride your DIRTBIKES!!!!

Our Conversation with Colton Haaker

 Photo Credit Enduro21.com

Photo Credit Enduro21.com

Highland Cycles is back with our next pro interview.  We all know that practice on the bike and hard work is what it takes to be the best in the business but I believe there is more to it than meets the eye.  That is why I am asking the best in the industry some more questions to find out what makes them tick and who they are.  This interview is with the one and only Colton Haaker.  Colton is an amazing athlete who has won about everything you can win.  Her is a short list of some of his accomplishments:

2016 AMA National Endurocross Champion
2016 World Super Enduro Champion
2015 King Of The Motos Champion

HC: Do you have a morning routine that you practice everyday (i.e. not race days)? If so, what is it and why?

Colton:  My morning routine looks like breakfast, followed by a warm up exercise followed by stretching and foam rolling. This gets my body acclimated and ready for the day.

HC:  Do you have a pre-race routine that you use? If so, what does that look like and what are the benefits?

Colton:  Not so much pre-race routine. I do all my hard work during the week and when its race day I let it all go.

HC: What is your favorite book and why?

Colton:  I don’t really have a favorite book.
HC:  If you could only do one training drill, what would it be and why? I am talking about moto skills.

Colton: Trials riding. If there was one thing I would ride trials only.

HC:  Do you have a favorite failure? What I mean is, do you have a failure in your life that, while tough at the time, either changed the course of your life for the better or spurred you on to achieve greater things?

Colton: I would say my 2011 season and finish in the Endurocross series changed me for the better. I had a very hard year with different bikes and injuries that I fought through. I came back in 2012 and won the opener in Las Vegas after Taddy was undefeated for over a year.

HC: Who is the single greatest influence in your life and why?
Colton: My parents are because no one sacrifices as much as your parents. You don't notice growing up but when you get older and start doing things for yourself you do.

HC: What is the most memorable race in your career so far and why?

Colton: The Super Enduro Final in Spain 2016. It was a race that came down to the last turn of the last lap for the World Championship and I made it happen.

HC: What is the most fun about dirt bikes to you?

Colton:  Freedom!

HC: What is one non-motorcycle thing that you enjoy doing?

Colton: Basketball

HC: If you had to purchase a bike and ride it for 1 year and you couldn’t switch at all, would it be 2 stroke or 4 stroke?

Colton: 2 Stroke, Husqvarna TX250

Thanks for taking time out of your schedule Colton.  If you want to check him out on social media you can find him on Facebook at facebook.com/ColtonHaaker10 and on instagram @coltonhaaker

Check out this video Colton did a little while back.  One of the coolest we have seen

My Conversation with Mitch Carvolth

 Image given to us from Mitch (sea to sky race)

Image given to us from Mitch (sea to sky race)

Dirt Bikers are an amazing group of people.  We come from every walk of life.  From the super rich to the guys who can barely scrape enough money together for a tire.  But dirt bikes bind us all together and make us bothers and sisters on two wheels.  A common thread through our sport is that we all want to be better riders.  Some of us have dreams of racing, maybe even professionally and others just want to clean a section of their favorite trail but all of us want to be better.  Its just in our DNA.  There is a ton of value in looking at all of the moto specific stuff that the pros in our sport do but I think there is more to it.  I think that what these guys do day to day plays a big roll in how they ride.  I want to know who they are and what habits, routines and influences make them different!

This is my conversation with Mitch Carvolth.  Mitch is a rad guy who is really fast.  He even came to Montrose for one of our Moto Mayhem races a couple years ago.  Here are his stats:

 Photo: Mark Kariya  (King of the Motos Race)

Photo: Mark Kariya  (King of the Motos Race)

Mitch Carvolth
Born: Truckee, Ca
Riding: 21 years
Racing: 15 years
@mcnasty177 on instagram

3x AMRA Champion
2nd Rev Limiter Hard Enduro
3rd King of the Motos
9th Sea to Sky
26th Erzberg

HC: Do you have a morning routine that you practice every day (i.e. not race days)? If so, what is it and why?

Mitch: I like to get a good stretch in and have a solid breakfast. I've never had great mobility so stretching has helped me gain flexibility and I feel that it helps prevent a lot of injuries as well. Breakfast is usually the first thing on my mind when I wake up so I typically cook up some eggs and vegetables before getting my day started.

HC: Do you have a pre-race routine that you use? If so, what does that look like and what are the benefits? Also, post-race.

Mitch: I’ve never had a pre-race routine. It all depends on the day and the race. Sometimes I like to do some shoulder and hip flexor stretches with a PVC pipe or I'll throw on my headphones and listen to music.
HC: What is your favorite book and why? -If you could gift one book, what would it be and why?

Mitch: I don't read as much as I would like to but I find myself re-reading a book called The Alchemist. It's an easy read but for me it's a book that inspires me to continue to follow my dreams no matter what the struggles are along the way. It definitely is a book I would gift someone, I think that's actually how I ended up with it.

HC: If you could only do one training drill, what would it be and why? I am talking about skills drills on the bike.

Mitch: I would pick a drill that I call the one-handed drill. It's something that I teach people when I do lessons. All you do is stand up and ride around without your clutch hand on the bars. This drill really teaches you to grip the bike with your legs. Once you've done that for a minute you can go back to having both hands on the handlebars and everything feels effortless.

HC: Do you have a favorite failure? What I mean is, do you have a failure in your life that, while tough at the time, either changed the course of your life for the better or spurred you on to achieve greater things?

Mitch: I can't recall a favorite failure but I would say any race I haven't finished would be it (not due to bike failure). For me not finishing is usually caused by timing out but nothing motivates me more than a DNF. Pulling off and quitting is never an option.

HC: Who is the single greatest influence in your life and why?

Mitch: The greatest influence in my life would have to be my Mom. She passed away from breast cancer when I was 17 but she did so much for me and my racing when I was younger. Raising two boys, fighting cancer and still having the energy to take me racing on the weekends blows me away. She was by far the kindest person I've ever known and the older I get the more I realize how much I learned from having her in my life. I wouldn't be the person who I am today without her.

HC: What is the most memorable race in your career so far and why?

Mitch: I would have to say it was a race called Ukupacha down in Equador. I got the invite driving home from Endurocross and couldn't book a flight on my phone so I had Taylor Robert, who I was living with at the time book me one. I got home late that night, repacked my bags with clean clothes, gear, parts and flew out early the next morning. That was my first Hard Enduro I had done that was out of the country and I managed to finish top 10 down there. It was one of the hardest races I have ever done but it was a blast getting to spend a week in a different country racing dirt bikes.

HC: What is the most fun about dirt bikes to you?

Mitch: In the beginning, it was all about the rush of going faster and jumping higher. Now I find myself looking for the gnarliest climbs and downhills to get that rush. A day exploring with friends and pushing our limits is definitely the most enjoyable time spent on a dirt bike for me right now.

HC: What is one non-motorcycle thing that you enjoy doing?

Mitch: It might not seem that far off but downhill mountain biking is something I enjoy just as much as riding motorcycles. I don't get to go that often but when I do its one of the highlights of my season.  

HC: If you had to purchase a bike and ride it for 1 year and you couldn’t switch at all, would it be 2 stroke or 4 stroke?

Mitch: 2-stroke for sure! I've had more fun on my 2017 300xcw this past year than any other bike I've bought over the years.

2016-10-11 01.01.13.jpg

Thanks for reading!  If you would like to subscribe to our blog and get an email every time we post a new one, just click the link below.

And if you haven't read our conversation with Cody Webb, just click the link below here!



Sport Align Systems Review!


Moto boots are a conundrum!  The best ones cost upwards of $600 but they don't even come in half sizes.  For a lot of people that isn't a problem.  But for those of us that have an in between foot size and jacked up feet to boot it is a bummer.  I have always said that if you are going to spend money on protective equipment you need to start with helmet and boots. 

I have been wearing Gaerne SG12's for years now and I absolutely love them but to fit both feet I have to wear a size 11 and that leaves my feet a little loose.  I have always just worn thick socks and its been fine but recently I was approached by Charlie Johnson of Sport Align Systems.  He specializes in setting up bikes to fit people and custom orthotics.  Charlie has followed me for a while and knew about how jacked up my left foot is and he explained that he thought he could help me. 


I agreed to have him come make some orthotics for me.  I asked where we should meet and he told me he would come to the shop and it shouldn't take more than a few minutes out of my day to get it done.  WHAT????  I have had orthotics made before and it always meant going to an office and eating up a whole bunch of time that I could have been making money or riding. Then you wait weeks to get the orthotics.  Charlie said I would be wearing them that day?!? Charlie showed up right on time and began the exam.  After looking at how I stand, asking me some questions and taking some measurements he did some calculations and then had me sit down in his cool portable recliner. 

He then proceeded to vacuum form the orthotics to my feet, shave them down to fit my boots and I was trying them out right there.  So cool.  I rode in them for a bit later that day but the big test came in Oklahoma with 3 straight days of racing.  Its hard to explain how good they feel.  What were really nice boots that felt pretty good turned into exceptional boots that fit like Geppetto himself had fitted specifically to my feet! Yes, that is a Pinocchio reference.  If you don't get it, google it!  I was so comfortable all weekend and I think my results speak for themselves.  Those orthotics helped me do better than I ever have at that race! 


If you are like me and your boots are good but don't fit quite right or you have messed up feet you NEED to give Charlie a call and schedule an appointment!

 Sport Align Sytems 970-379-9694

Sport Align Sytems 970-379-9694

Call Charlie at 970-379-9694 or check out his website HERE



The line is set!  Bikes are off! A quick glance to either side reveals a big class of veteran riders all geared up for battle!  The only thing that feels odd is that we are all straddling our front fender, facing the wrong direction.  You can hear a pin drop as we wait for the 1 minute card to drop and the flag to waive! 

GO!!! The flag is up, its time to pin it!  I swing around my dumpster baby Jolene and she lights right up!  And we are off!  Not a great start but its a 2 hour race and I know I am fit, don't worry, just don't make any mistakes.  The narrative in my head is non stop.  "Wait on the brakes Morgan, get on the gas NOW!" 

The first mile is pavement and so much fun but its not my forte at all.  I manage to make up a spot on the asphalt but I am watching the leaders get a way and its maddening!  Ahhh, here comes the dirt, lets do this!!

A 180 degree turn onto the grass and now I can get to work.  I am twisting Jolene's neck to the limit and she not only doesn't seem to mind but I think she kinda likes it.  After a quick dash across grass we are on the motocross track.  Another discipline that I am not great at but at least there is dirt.  I put down a quick lap and its into the woods full tilt.  Time to take some chances and catch back up.  My friend is somewhere ahead of me and he is my main target!

The woods section is sooooo good.  They have changed a few things up with the course this year and it is making it a TON of fun!  There is a fair amount of moisture in the ground so the traction variable is high!  Imagine being on the worlds largest slot car track with the worlds fastest car and that is close to how it feels.  I really can't make any mistakes.  My tire choice is perfect, A Bridgestone M59 up front and a Pirelli Scorpion XC MS out back.  The Lectron carburetor is fueling perfectly and I can't stop smiling in my helmet. 

I charge hard through the woods and pass a few guys as quickly as I can.  Still no Jason but I know that he is really fast, especially early in a race.  I get back out of the woods and hold Jolene wide towards the pavement.  Timing and scoring shows me in 5th!! Damnit, I was really hoping I would be in the top 3 already.  Oh well, more work to do!  I pass my pits and give the high sign as I settle in for a mile of rest on the pavement.  After a solid lap on the motocross track I fly headlong into the woods to make up time!  This lap goes even better, I am still feeling strong and I have my lines dialed.  The few mud holes are getting good lines through them and I remember to take the left split at one of the 2 "choice" sections.  Its way faster and sets you up for the coming right hander way better. 

3 laps down now and I am back out of the woods and turning onto the pavement when I see Jason pulled over in the pits getting gas!  PERFECT!  Just as I expected, he needed gas because he is still running the Mikuni on is 2017 KTM.  I look down and I have plenty of fuel!  I tape Jolene wide open as I pass him, knowing that he will be coming for me with a passion hotter than the noonday sun in Oklahoma in July!  He is faster than I am in this terrain but hopefully I can put enough time between us during his pit that I can hold him off. 

I have one option now, GO FAST!  I put together a pretty good lap and get back through timing and scoring in 4th place.  Still not where I want to be but at least I am beating my good friend.  It's funny how all of us motorcyclists like to beat the people we like the most!  Its a sickness and one I love to live with everyday.  Lap 5 is going well and I haven't seen Jason yet but as I pivot turn in one of the few rocky sections I see him coming.  CRAP!!! He is on me pretty close and we only have a little bit of rocky woods left then its a mad dash in the open towards the pavement.  I know he is willing to hold it wide open and I will have to push it really hard to maintain my lead. 

There is one last wet, rocky section before we break out into the Oklahoma sun.  The grass comes and I give Jolene the equivalent of the whip as I put my head down!  I am screaming in my helmet "GO, GO, GO, PUSH PUSH PUSH!"  There is one last grass section before the 180 onto the pavement and about 100 yards to the finish.  I hear his SX screaming like he as the exhaust inside my helmet!  "DON'T SCREW THIS TURN UP MORGAN!"  Until this moment neither of us know how many laps we have left because we haven't seen a white flag and we don't know the time we have been out but I look down the track and see the CHECKERS!  HOLY (bad word) I might be able to do this!  I feather the clutch, twist the screw and pray for the best!  My dumpster baby gets a hold of the planet and accelerates like a Saturn rocket towards the finish line! 

The workers see how fast we are coming and start waiving us to slow down "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  I'M NOT SLOWING DOWN FOR ANYTHING!"  I cross the line and look at the monitor that is showing position and I am surprised to see 3RD place!?!?  What??  Hell yes, not only did I beat Jason but I ended up on the podium in a very competitive class!  Another level of happiness rushes over me as I congratulate Jason on a great race.  There isn't anything more fun to me than to battle on a bike, especially with a friend!  Racing dirt bikes is as good as it gets! I wasn't the faster rider today but my equipment kept me ahead and that is part of the game too! 


Stay tuned for the story of our team race the next day.  It was just as close and just as exciting!!




EPIC Road Trip!


An integral part of being a dirt biker is the epic road trip.  Think about it!  So many amazing days of riding have come from a road trip of one type or another.  Whether is heading to a race, getting out of the cold, or just seeing new terrain, we all love road trips and it was time to share one with my boys!

A few weeks ago I heard that Redbull Straight Rhythm was going to have a 2 stroke class and that the likes of Ryan Villapoto were going to race it.  That news planted a seed in my soul.  As time passed that seed grew into an idea and that idea became a desire which flourished into a need.  I asked my amazing wife if I could take the boys to California on a whim and watch the race.  And of course we would need to take bikes and ride while we were there.  We would need to miss school and work on a Friday and a Monday.  She reminded me that only 2 weeks after that we would be traveling to the Oklahoma Gold Rush and the boys would miss 4 days of school for that.  "We will probably get a letter from the school" she said.  I looked deep into her eyes and asked if she was ok with that and the response came back "Sure."  I do have the greatest wife a guy could ask for.  IT WAS ON!! 

I let the boys know what we were up to and they were stoked.  Villapoto is one of their hero's and I have brainwashed them to believe that 2 strokes are gifts from God that make the most beautiful music known to man so we were all amped. 

4:30 am Friday morning came and all 3 Spradling boys were up and at them.  A quick cup of coffee and away we went!   The moto van was loaded with all we needed.  Dirt bikes, gear, some clothes, swim suits, toothbrushes and a gas can full of pre-mix!


While L.A. and the race were the end goal, our first target was In-N-Out burger in St. George!  We covered that distance by 11:30 am with no issues and thankfully no visits from any friendly law enforcement officers.  After a quick bite we were West bound again. 


This time we weren't stopping for anything until B&B Cycles in Victorville to see our buddy Steve and stretch our legs.  We hit the high desert town at about 3:30 and stopped to talk to Steve for a while.  It is amazing how wonderful the moto community is.  Stever Harper is a friend of friends on Facebook and we have only seen each other twice in person.  But when we walked into the shop we were greeted by hugs and high fives!  It is so nice to have brothers in moto all over the country.


Just a few miles left to get to our hotel in San Dimas, excellent!! (Yes that is a Bill and Teds reference).  Driving into the L.A. area is always an adventure and luckily for us we were on the right side of the median for traffic.  Everyone was headed out of town at the end of the week so our lanes were clear.  On the way down the boys and I decided that we would head over to see Glen Helen Raceway.  None of us had seen the hallowed ground so we figured we would just swing by and take a pic.  As we wound down the road to the track we started noticing trucks with bikes leaving the track.  And when we got to the gates they were open and there were lots of vehicles inside.  I had checked before we left and there wasn't any practice scheduled for the days we would be there so all of this was a bit odd.  We rolled right through the gates and up to the ticket booth.  No one there?!  I scanned the area and saw a banner that said something about a private ride day.  Huh? "Boys, you wanna ride Glen Helen?"  "Yeah dad!" "Ok, lets unload and hustle!"


We found a spot in the pits, unloaded and geared up.  There were only a few people out riding but tons of vehicles.  We headed to the track and started putting in some laps.  It was eerily quiet except for us.  After about a half hour there was NO ONE out riding and I waved the boys off.  "Lets boogie kids, I'm not sure we are supposed to be here and I don't want to get yelled at"  "Alright dad!"  Everyone was off the track and in the big building in the pits and someone was on a PA system talking.  We loaded up and geared down just as fast as we had gotten ready and we were out of there!  "Boys, we just poached Glen Helen!"  "Cool dad!"

 Selfie with helmets

Selfie with helmets

We rolled into town, grabbed some food and checked into our Red Roof Inn.  We had just enough time for our traditional bed jumping and a quick dip in the pool before getting some much needed sleep.


7 am came early but the draw of the Pacific Ocean propelled us out of bed and towards Huntington Beach.  If there is one thing my children love, its swimming and swimming in the ocean is the absolute TOP!!  We drove right down to the beach and got a great parking spot.  Keeping the boys with me while I paid for parking was like trying to hold back the wind!  The sun and waves were screaming to them and they MUST GO!! 


We ended up spending 3 hours on the beach that morning and despite the frigid water (everyone surfing had wet suits on) Thomas and Ewan were in the water for 2.9999 hours of that.  It was a beautiful day and there was a surf contest going on so we got to see some surfers as well as getting pummeled by the Pacific. 

Time to head to the LA county fair grounds for Redbull Straight Rhythm!  We avoided heavy traffic again and made it to the race easily.  Parking was easy and we strolled right in with plenty of time to check out the pits and watch practice.  I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of formality of the pit area.  Normally you go to a big race and you can barely walk through the pits, the racers are all hidden away from sight and you have to wait in lines to get autographs.  This was completely different.  Even Villapoto was just in a van with an EZ-up.  We got to hang out and talk with anyone we wanted to.  I even got to meet and talk to my hero Mike Brown. 


After hanging out in the pits and checking out all of the vendors we headed up into the grand stands to claim our real estate for the race.  Some of the racers came out early to do interviews and it was at this moment that Thomas and Ewan became massive fans of Ronnie Mac.  Ronnie was there to race the 2 stroke class on his 98 CR250 and in classic Mac style he launched his bike off one of the jumps and himself into my kids hearts.  Hey LOVED him.  I was just cracking up.  Of all the guys to love? 


The Redbull sky divers dropped in carrying the American flag to a STANDING audience, singing the national anthem.  It was so nice to see that our sport is still respectful and patriotic.  I would be lying if I said that I didn't tear up a bit.  Then it was ON.  The 2 stroke class raced first and the sound of factory tuned oil burners echoed through the crowd!  It was magical!  I won't go into the details of the race because you can YouTube that but I can say that it was AWESOME and my boys loved it which is the point!

 Ronnie Mac, winning his first moto!

Ronnie Mac, winning his first moto!

A good night's sleep prepared us for a trip to the Milestone MX track the next morning.  My kids are huge fans of track riding and this was going to be radical!  We don't have tracks like they do in California...  Period!  We navigated our way through the industrial area outside of Riverside/San Bernadino and found the Moto haven that is Milestone.  We unloaded, warmed the bikes up and headed to the entry level track.  It was PERFECT.  Easy layout, mellow jumps and not a ton of people.  Thomas and Ewan were having fun and getting faster every lap.  After a while I decided to head over to the Vet track and was stoked to find it just a bigger version of the entry level one.  Nothing to big, nothing dangerous and prepped perfectly.  I can see why people love motocross when you have a track like that to ride! 


We all burned more than a tank of gas and had perma-grins plastered on our faces.  After we filled our space ship (van) back up with gas it was time to head back East.  The goal for the day was St. George and after our third In-N-Out stop of the trip we hammered down and got the work done.  We hit St. George at about 8:30pm and promptly got into our motel pool!  Pizza, TV then bed!  We slept in a bit to recover from all of the fun and then loaded up for the final push. 

The trip back was easy and uneventful.  Like every vacation I began to feel the pangs of sadness roll in, the closer we got to home.  I hate finishing such a good time.  I just want them to last forever and I really struggle with my emotions as vacations come to a close.  Fortunately I am old enough to recognize what is happening and stop it before I get really sad.  I remind myself that it is all the hard work and grind that makes times like these so special.  Also, as we pulled back into Montrose I was reminded that I live in the dead middle of most peoples dreams.  Life is SOOOO Good!

Here are the stats of the trip:

4 days: Almost 2000 miles of driving: 3 In-N-Out stops: 3 Hours in Pacific Ocean: Redbull Straight Rhythm: 2 trips to swimming pools: A day on a REAL motocross track: Memories with my sons that will last FOREVER!



Quality Time!


We all know the scenario.  The week is filled craziness.  Work all day, house and family maintenance all night and your sweet ride takes a back seat because those other things are super important.  Friday afternoon comes, you get home, you have dinner with the family or friends and hang out for a while afterwards.  10 o'clock rolls around and its time to get to the garage to take a look at your baby and you realize that you have at least 2 hrs worth of work to do to make her really ready for the big ride Saturday morning.  You've been planning the trip to the desert all week and now you realize that your steed needs more than an oil change. 


The air filter is disgusting, chain is grimy and a little loose.  Tires are OK, but need some air and the knobs really aren't as good as you thought.  The tubes were new on the last tire change.... Right????  You grab the wheel to check the bearings and... DAMNIT!!  They are loose and so are a couple spokes.  When was the last time you changed that spark plug??  A quick glance at the hour meter and you realize that its been over 50 hrs since the last time you checked the valves (or for your two stroke, looked at the top end through the exhaust port) and it has been starting a little harder recently.   Brakes are a little spongy and.. wait, did someone pour your morning coffee into your master cylinder??  Go, hit the button or kick the starter and lets just do the minimum so we don't blow it up.  CRAP, it really is starting harder. 


Monday during lunch you drop your pride and joy off at Highland Cycles and tell the boys that you want her ready by Friday afternoon.  The experts who LOVE to work on bikes give you a high five and let you know that you will be ready for a trouble free weekend of two wheeled fun!  Friday afternoon comes, you swing down, grab your baby, and go spend quality time with your family and friends and head out Saturday morning knowing that your bike is ready to rip! 


Now doesn't that sound like a lot more fun?? 

We all work very hard!  Dirt bikers in general are not the lazy, entitled crowd!  This lifestyle takes a ton of effort both on and off the bike.  At Highland Cycles we understand this because everyone of us from the owner through the mechanics works our butts off to have bikes and time to ride and we know you do too!  Your quality time with the bike and the important people in your life is important!

We LOVE doing all aspects of repair and maintenance but honestly we would rather sell you services, oil, filters, or protective equipment for your bikes than rebuild your motor or replace expensive chassis components that have worn out because of lack of maintenance.  We want to KEEP YOU RIDING!!! 

We also understand that for some of us, doing the work on the bike is just as important as riding the bike.  If you don't have a good system for servicing your bike, click the link below to get our service checklist that our mechanics use to keep your bike in tip top shape!

And here is a menu of some of the services we offer with a quick turnaround to KEEP YOU RIDING!!

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Chassis LOVE!

If you are like most of us you have been riding and riding your sweet, sweet DIRTBIKE all summer and having a blast.  I am sure you have been maintaining your air filter and changing your oil and maybe even lubing your chain every once and a while.  But I have a feeling that there is some neglect going on.  I know I have been putting off some maintenance that I just don't love to do!

 Linkage bearings

Linkage bearings

 Steering head bearings

Steering head bearings

We all know that the linkage, swing arm and steering bearings need to be serviced but most of us don't do it as often as we should.  Highland Cycles recommends doing it at least once a season or more if you ride in wet conditions or wash your bike a lot.


If your bike has looked like this??


And then you washed it up to look like this?? 

You need to service your chassis bearings because if you don't they will eventually end up looking like this


Rusty bearings aren't only unsightly but also cause your suspension to work like poo.  So its a safety issue as well as an embarrassment. 

Taking apart, cleaning and re-greasing all of these bearings isn't rocket surgery but it is a mess and requires a stand, some room and probably some adult beverages.

If you don't have the time or the desire to take care of that job, Highland Cycles would love to help you out. 

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We can get your bike back to you in a day if you make an appointment via email.  Just click the link below and we can get you set up!

My conversation with Cody Webb


All dirt bikers are striving to be better.  Go faster, ride smoother, clean sections, have more fun.  In general we all want to improve.  Well I have decided to ask the guys at the top of our sport a few questions to see what it is that makes them so good at what we all love!  This is the first in what I hope to be a series of interviews to try and distill some of the habits, influences and routines that make our heroes who they are.  

I reached out to Cody via Facebook and he was kind enough to offer to answer some questions that I emailed to him.  I really like his answers and I think you will too.  

In case you have been living under a rock and don’t know who Cody is, here is a short summary of his achievements:
2010 NATC Trials Champion
2014 Endurocross Champion
2015 Endurocross Champion
First American EVER on the podium at Erzberg (2nd) 2016

Without further ado,  my “conversation” with Cody Webb.  

HC:  Do you have a morning routine that you practice everyday (i.e. not race days)? If so, what is it and why?
Cody:  I make sure that I stretch nearly every morning. With my long limbs, I can get pretty stiff, so I make sure that I'm always trying to be limber. Just gets the day off to a good start for me and it even helps prevent injury.

HC:  Do you have a pre-race routine that you use? If so, what does that look like and what are the benefits?
Cody:  I’m really not the one who believes in superstition regarding pre-race rituals. I'm a pretty easy going guy and try not to sweat the small stuff, so I'm usually in a good mood and open to everyone before races. If it's cold out, I will do a pre-race warm up to get the blood flowing and warm up the appendages.

HC:  What is your favorite book and why?
Cody:  To be honest, I need to read more! Just like most everyone else probably. I'll be honest though, I'm pretty hooked on the Harry Potter series and have read all the books. Some of them I've read multiple times. Just because Harry Potter is an awesome adventure story and it's easy to read. Anyone could get hooked on it.

HC:  If you could only do one training drill, what would it be and why?
Cody:  I do figure 8’s after motos when I'm fatigued to work on my form and technique. Consistent cornering with the correct technique will help a lot in the long run.  For physical training I like cycling because I get bored in the gym and I'm not training to get muscle gains. Just trying to be fit. Sometimes it's nice to be out by yourself in nature on the bicycle pondering all of lifes thoughts, whether it's on my roadie or mountain bike.

HC:  Do you have a favorite failure? What I mean is, do you have a failure in your life that, while tough at the time, either changed the course of your life for the better or spurred you on to achieve greater things?
Cody:  It probably would've been my trials career in '08-'09. I had a tough two years on a new four stroke trials bike, which was probably my least favorite bike. I struggled those two years and when I made a switch, everything changed for me and got a lot better. Digging through those years really kept me motivated.

HC:  Who is the single greatest influence in your life and why?
Cody:  Probably my father. Without him and his expertise, I wouldn't be where I'm at today. Sure we've had our differences, but he has always told me that character matters. I try to achieve that everyday.

HC:  What is the most memorable race in your career so far and why?               Cody:  Probably getting second at the final Endurocross in '14 when I won the championship. It was unreal and with all my friends and family there, it made it that much better.

HC:  What is the most fun about dirt bikes to you?
Cody:  Striving to go where no one has ever been before. I consider myself a trail blazer, and I want to push the limits where I take my motorcycle. I want people to see my tire marks at the top of a rocky mountain peak and have them wonder what kind of crazy person would ever ride to the top!

HC:  What is one non-motorcycle thing that you enjoy doing?
Cody:  Does riding bicycles count? I know it has two wheels, but I enjoy it. I also enjoy going hiking with my fiancé and my pup. However only off the leash hiking, because he's an oxen and will pull your arm out of the socket.

HC:  If you had to purchase a bike and ride it for 1 year and you couldn’t switch at all, would it be 2 stroke or 4 stroke?
Cody:  2 smoker for sure! If you ain't mixing gas, you ain't hauling ass. Going to be difficult with those new TPI bikes from KTM. Won't be the same, not putting your own premix in.

Big thanks to Cody for taking time out of his busy schedule for us!  Show him some love by following him on all the socials!

If you have any suggested questions or contacts of racers for the next conversation please comment below.

Long Term Lectron!

Highland Cycles has been selling, installing and testing Lectron carburetors for over a year now here is our long term follow up!


Lectrons have been around since the 70’s so they are nothing new but recently KTM put a Mikuni carburetor on the 17 and newer 2 strokes they have really taken center stage.  The Mikuni is not our favorite carburetor but you can jet it and make the the bike run well.  The biggest drawback to the Mikuni is that the fuel mileage isn’t great and the jetting seems to only work for a relatively narrow altitude and temp range. 

The beauty of the Lectron carb is its very WIDE operating range.  Altitude and temp don’t seem to effect the running of the bike much at all. We have personally raced a 300 with a lecton at 700 ft above sea level at the Oklahoma Gold Rush.

And ridden at 11,000+ feet above sea level in our home in Colorado without any adjustment at all!

Here is the other side of the story though.  While the Lectron is very good and pretty much hassle free there are some draw backs.  With the Lectron on the bike it feels like you are using traction control.  Of course in the really gnarly stuff that is a great thing!

But when you want to light up the rear tire or lift the front wheel it takes a little more throttle opening and doesn't snap like the older KTM's and the YZ's we have had that use the Kehin PWK.  The Kehin carb will bring those motors to life very quickly and that is a good thing in our opinion!  Of course not everyone wants arm jerking power but some do and the Lectron doesn't deliver it the same way the Kehin does.

So here is the final score card:

Lectron Highs:  GREAT fuel economy, very little hassle with tuning for any altitude or temperature, super smooth power delivery that feels like traction control.

Lectron Lows:  Almost too smooth for some riders tastes,  Choke is on the wrong side of the carb (right side), not enough snap from motor.

In the gnarly mountains of Colorado where we are located the Lectron makes a lot of sense.  We ride from 5,000ft to 12,000ft all the time and some smoothness is welcome when the days get long and the arms get tired. 

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10th Annual Death March!

I can't believe that we have been doing this ride for 10 years now.  That is amazing to me.  This year's march didn't disappoint!


7 am felt a little warmer this year since we started a month earlier than normal and it was a welcome feeling.  10 of us brave souls rode North from Hartman Rocks into Gunnison and up to Lost Canyon rd.  The first 18 miles are boring and cold but you start to realize what is coming as you ascend the dirt road towards the mountains.  Just before the intersection with the Beaver McIntire trail we stopped to shed some jackets and screw up the courage to truly embark on this adventure.  Everyone was ready and we launched headlong into the trail!

The first part is simple and easy, bodies warm up and everyone was smiling.  We got to Fossil Ridge and I explained that THIS is where it gets real!  Most of us knew but a few are new to the area and I am sure they didn't think it was going to be all that bad.  Then the rocks start!  SOOOOOO many rocks.   Mud, rocks, logs, everything across the trail and it is straight up for a long way!  Fan the clutch and keep moving!  UP UP UP to near tree line for our first break!  Everyone was doing well and feeling strong!


Down we went!  Down, down, down towards Gold Creek Campground! The trail is mellow really all the way down.  Nice and flowy, a nice break from the climb.  3 of us got to end and waited.  Then we waited some more.  We were discussing life and all sorts of things and then we realized it had been quite a while and we started to worry.  Finally 2 more showed up and let us know that one bike has left the trail and torn some much needed wires from the capacitor that is part of the fuel injection (insert joke about how great 2 strokes are) and that another one is missing and leaking gas (insert joke about how great fuel injection is) and that everyone else is helping them.  We thought about it and decided that this is the DEATH MARCH and everyone was warned that you will be left behind if you break down.  So... we geared up and headed up Gold Creek trail! 

The trail is tough but relatively short so we hammer down to the road over to Taylor Park.  The 5 of us made it over to the trading post and fueled up.  My bike was getting great gas mileage with the new Lectron Carb and it was running perfectly!  I am psyched. 


We fueled up in Taylor with 5 people and then suddenly 3 of the crew shows up.  They let us know that the other 2 are ahead of them but went up towards Tin Cup.  So I jumped on the bike and rode towards where they were.  We finally gathered everyone up and headed to the dreaded Timberline Trail.  Now I am sure that 30 years ago Timberline was a lovely, fun trail but after 4 billion dirt bikes have been across it, there is no dirt left.  Just rocks, roots and more rocks.  Timberline is about 30 miles of hateful trail and it is what makes the death march the death march.  So we launched into it with all 10 guys.  At Cottonwood pass road we lost one member of the team to a fueling issue (4 stroke guy again) and we headed, 9 strong, to Texas Creek for a short break.


After some food and water it is now time for the ride to get REAL!  The second half of timberline is by far the hardest (South to North travel) and we have already traveled over 75 miles!  Everyone stayed strong and battled hard to the end for a much needed break.  The second half does have some amazing views if you have time to stop and look but I didn't so unfortunately there are no photos of that section!

After Timberline we headed over to the start of Star Trail.  Star is a great little (8 miles) trail that is in your face and really tough.  Especially after all we have ridden.  Your hands are beat, your legs are tired and it is NO messing around.  2 of our crew decided to call it quits before heading up Star so we waive good by and fire up with 7 folks!  Everyone worked hard and we made it to the top on Italian Creek road but with one more casualty!


As you can see, the linkage on this KTM gave up the ghost somewhere in the rocks on Star Trail.  Needless to say that was the end of his bid for the death march finish.  The top of Star Trail is a LONG way from anywhere so he still had to ride many miles back to civilization just at a very slow pace.  So at this point this gentleman and his son were done and my buddy Brent decided to call it quits too.  He is still recovering from a gnarly injury and was done getting beat on.  So 4 of us rode on!


We rode down Italian creek road to the top of Flag Trail and waited a bit to make sure the other guys were going to make it there.  As we were waiting the heavens opened up and rain, hail and lighting started to surround us.  We fired up the bikes and PINNED it downhill to get into the trees.  We turned right on Bear Creek Trail and hustled down to Deadmans and out to the spring creek road where the gas was stashed.  As we refueled one more rider decided he had had enough. 

And then there were 3!!!  The 3 remaining souls gassed up, ate something and headed back uphill to Rosebud Trail and got on the gas.  It was getting late in the day and we knew there were some hard sections left.  We climbed Rosebud to Roaring Judy and exited to the road down to Jacks Cabin Cuttoff.  We were tired and it was exciting getting up the last of the rocky stuff but we made it without issues!  From here on back was going to be easy and straight forward or so we thought!.

As we were getting closer to home we descended a road to a creek crossing but instead of a creek it was a LAKE!!  No joke, there were fish jumping!  Jon decided to walk it to see how deep it was and lets just say, it was REALLY deep.  I decided to try it first and made it about halfway across before my bike gulped water and stopped.  Jon came next and died in about the same spot.  Ian was last and because of his funky backwards motored yamaha 4T he made it across!  After some tank removal, kicking and a new plug my trusty Jolene fired up and we headed on into the darkening night. 


We got back to Hartman at about 9:00 that night and we were all psyched to get off of the bikes for the day!

Here are the quick stats:

175 miles of Gnar

14 hours out on the trail

3 out of 10 finished

2 broken bikes


If this sounds fun to you, stay tuned for next year's adventure!  It will be AWESOME!

Jolene, the dumpster baby!!!

Most of you know my current steed Jolene from our Facebook and instagram feeds.  But do you know the story behind the most celebrated and capable dumpster baby??

 Jolene in her natural habitat!

Jolene in her natural habitat!

Many months ago my friend came to me with a dilemma!  She had 3 broken YZ250's and needed one good one but didn't have a bunch of money.  I took a look at the situation and quickly realized that there was one old broken but running bike and 2 complete basket cases that were newer.  After discussing which suspension and frame she wanted I made her an offer.  I said that if she bought the parts for her bike I would do the work in exchange for the other basket case.  We shook hands and it was a deal!

 This was Jolene when I got her!

This was Jolene when I got her!

We ordered a couple wrench rabbit kits and I got to work.  My "bike" was in as many pieces as you can make a motorcycle into.  The cases were split, the transmission was disassembled, the frame was separate from the forks and swing arm, even the foot peg mounts were off the frame.  She was a mess but I knew I could breathe life back into her with some time! 

As things came together I could tell that Jolene and I were going to have a great relationship.  I absolutely LOVE YZ250's and I was getting more and more excited to ride another one!

It took a while and some cash but I got Jolene all back together and she was BEAUTIFUL!!!  There is such a great feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction that comes only from building a bike from the ground up! 

After breaking her in and getting some great hours of fun in I decided to take Jolene racing.  Now I hadn't done much racing in the last year or so, so I was nervous and didn't plan on doing all that well but Jolene had a different idea!  She was raring to go and all of a sudden we were out front in 2 different classes (Open 2 stroke and 40+ open).  I botched one main event but we ended up on the podium for both classes!

Since then we have had some more success at other races and a TON of fun on the trails with my kids and lots of friends.  All told I have about $2500 wrapped up in old Jolene and she is one of the nicest bikes I have ever ridden! 

I did this build for a couple reasons.  One was because I sold my 300 and needed a bike and didn't want to buy another brand new one.  The other reason was to show our fans that you don't have to spend a wad of dough on a bike to have fun and even go racing!  Of course not everyone can build a YZ250 up from nothing (Although I think pretty much everyone could with some patience) but you can learn and Highland Cycles can help you! 

Here is a quick list of all that I did to Jolene to get her up and running:

Rebuilt motor completely including all bearings, crank, piston and cylinder

Replaced all chassis bearings and serviced all suspension

Laced up new rips to stock hubs, 21" front, 18" rear

New plastics and graphics (cause you gotta look good)

Parts added: Flexx Handle bars, Bulletproof rear disk guard, Bulletproof rad guards, Emig lockon grips, ZipTy oversized tank, Fastway pegs, Hammer Head shifter and brake pedal, YZ250X kickstand and LOVE!

If you have a project like this and need some help or just some questions answered, please feel free to call the shop (970)240-2197, email Morgan (morgan@highland-cycles.com) or drop us a message on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/highlandcycles

Don't let the price of a new bike freak you out!  Build an older one and FALL IN LOVE!!!

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2 stroke oil!

Ahhh, the age old argument about what kind and how much 2 stroke oil should you put in your gas. 

Let me start with this statement:  I believe we should ALL put 2 stroke oil in our gas!  I LOVE 2 strokes and even in 4 strokes it makes them smell wonderful!!

Ok, seriously!  Let me start with "What kind?"

I truly believe that any of the synthetic MOTORCYCLE 2 stroke oils are good. I have used: Yamalube, Motul, BelRay, Redline and Motorex in the last 12 years and have never had a failure because of oil.  I would not EVER use oil that the oil manufacturer doesn't recommend for motorcycles. 

Now the heated debate about what ratio.  I am going to keep this short. 

I believe in using 40:1 to 60:1PERIOD!

Here is the relatively short reason I DO NOT believe in using less oil. 

First, less oil equals less lubrication for the main bearings, connecting rod bearings and piston to cylinder.  We all know that Lubrication is key!  In all of life!

Second and possibly the most persuasive argument for more oil is HORSEPOWER!  That's right!  For an internal combustion motor to create the beloved horsepower we all love, the rings must make a seal with the cylinder walls.  This seal allows the piston to "squish" the air/fuel mixture into the head so that it can ignite, go bang and generate force!  The less oil, the less seal and therefore the LESS horsepower and torque!  Yamaha did a test years ago using a dynomometer (not seat of the pants) to show that horsepower went up as the amount of oil went up until it hit about 30:1.  Now I do like a clean pipe and swing arm so I run a little less oil than that (50:1 to 60:1 is my preferred mixture) but running 80:1 or 100:1 is silly and proven to create less horsepower. 

There ya have it.  Highland Cycles official stance on 2 stroke oil!

Dawn Patrol!!!!

What is Dawn Patrol? 

Dawn Patrol is our little riding group that heads out EARLY in the morning on Saturdays to get some miles in before we have to either work or take care of "real life" stuff.

We meet at 6 AM somewhere with dirt bikes!  Yes its crazy early for a weekend day! Yes its tough to get up!  YES its easier to lay in bed!  But DIRTBIKES are way cooler than sleep and all that jazz.  Last week we headed up to the plateau and the Buck Trail for our early morningspin and it payed off in a big way! 

Conditions were beyond perfect!  Fresh moisture in the dirt lead to NO dust and AMAZING traction!  The rain stopped early enough to allow the roots and rocks to dry out but dumped enough to make the dirt between the rocks and roots like VELCRO!!! 

We had 6 folks show up and we were rewarded with some of the best conditions I have ever ridden in!  Enjoy the video from the morning!  And share this around if you think any of your friends would be interested!

Neutech Nitro Mousse

So there is a new Mousse in town!!  Let me start by saying that I am an unabashed fan of running bib mousses in my dirt bike tires.  The reason that I LOVE a bib is because you cannot EVER get a flat while running them and that means one less way for me to waste my precious ride time.  See at Highland Cycles we are all about KEEPING YOU RIDING and every flat takes away from riding and that is NO GOOD!

I know that Mousses are expensive and hard to change if you haven't practiced but the fact is that my time riding is important enough for me to spend some extra money to make sure I don't waste time fixing flats on the trail or in the garage!

That being said, Michelin has been the only real game in town for a long time and they are fine but I was psyched to see another game in town. 

So I mounted up a set on my trusty dumpster baby Jolene and headed out to see how they work! 

I put the Nitros into a Bridgestone M59 up front and a Dunlop AT81 out back.  I have run that set up with Michelins a lot so I know how they are supposed to hook up and I was not disappointed!  Some people are complaining about the Nitros being bouncy but I honestly loved the way they felt from the get go!  Now I am far from a professional so maybe I am not sensitive enough but my bike handled great! 

One of the big claims from Neutech is that the Nitro Mousse will last twice as long as the other mousses.  I have but abotu 25 hours on the mousses so far and I can say that they are holding up well.  Very little change in the feel and when the bike is sitting still they look full and good.  I will be running them until they are completely done and I will have another review when that time comes.

But so far I am very happy and can confidently recommend them to you, my customers and riding friends! 

If you need a Bib Mousse, please call us and we can help you out.  We would also love to ship you a set if you don't live in our wonderful valley! 

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