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 ( or drop us a message on our Facebook page

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! 

Also, if you like this blog then share it around!  If you want an email every time we publish a new one, click the button below!

2017 Thunder Valley National!

Highland Cycles headed over to the national motocross race in Lakewood this weekend and it was AWESOME!!!  The big boy racing was great as usual and it was really cool to watch Blake Baggett crush it and get his first 450 win!  It was also awesome to see Justin Bogle from my home state of Oklahoma dominate the first 450 moto and the Martin brothers battle during the 250 races.  But the highlight of our trip was something much smaller but WAY cooler!! 

Uncle Gnar with his Mechanics!

Uncle Gnar with his Mechanics!

As you might know, FMF is hosting 3 125 Dream races throughout the season and round 2 was in Lakewood.  Everyone knows that Highland Cycles LOVES 2 strokes and we love racing so this was something we were really looking forward to.  But what made it even cooler was that our good buddy Travis Newbold got the nod to race is OLD CR125 in the race which meant we were going to the pits and supporting a racer we ACTUALLY knew!   

When we got to the track we hunted down Newbold and in classic fashion, he had the best pit set up ever.  A 59 Ford, a NASCAR EZ-Up, an old bike and Baja, his border collie!  We gave him the obligatory high fives and wished him luck and headed to watch him practice. 

Travis owns Newbold's Motorbike Shop in Wheat Ridge CO

Travis owns Newbold's Motorbike Shop in Wheat Ridge CO

As you can imagine the 125's are awesome to watch on the big track. The sound and smell of small bore 2 strokes is the best in the business and we were loving it.  They aren't especially fast, that's for sure but they are so great! 

After practice Travis rested up and then headed to the line to start the main event. Since we were his pit crew we headed to the line which was SOOOOOO cool. Standing on the start line of a National Motocross track is amazing!  There were 38 125's on the line and some heavy hitters such as Ryan Sipes had shown up to burn some pre-mix! 

Sooo cool to be at the starting gate!

Sooo cool to be at the starting gate!

Newbold and I before the gate drop!

Newbold and I before the gate drop!

Newbold's mechanics finishing up before the race!

Newbold's mechanics finishing up before the race!

We wished him luck and headed up the hill a bit to get a good look at the start and listen to 38 angry bumble bees launch up the rocky mountains

Starting gate for the 125 Dream Race!

Starting gate for the 125 Dream Race!

As the mad hornets took off up the hill, the crowd went nuts and and the smell of burning pre-mix filled the air.  I was in heaven.  It has been so long since the entire field was 2 stokes and this moved my soul!  Travis wasn't first to the top of the hill but he wasn't last and we ran up top to watch the racing. 

As the 4 lap moto wore on, Ryan Sipes got out front and showed why he is a champion.  He was clearing jumps no one else could on their little bikes.  Travis held on to a 25 place finish which is pretty damn good considering his machine and that he didn't know he was racing until 2 day prior to the race! 

In the end, the 125 Dream Race wasn't the fastest or the most exciting to watch but it was proof that you can ride an inexpensive motorcycle and have as much fun as anyone else out there.  Congratulations to FMF for hosting such a cool event and promoting the oil burners in today's high tech 4 stroke world!Highland Cycles loves 2 strokes because they are simple, easy to maintain and fix and most importantly they are FUN!!!!! 

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If you are like me then you HATE when your bike blows up but the darker side of you really likes to see blown up stuff!  Well that is one of the greatest parts of my job.  I get to see exploded motor parts all the time.  I thought I would dedicate this blog post to some of the good ones we have had recently with a quick description of what happened!  Here we go!!!

We got to see this just this week.  It is from a 2006 KX450F

If yo look closely you can see that the upper right valve bucket it lower than the rest.  This doesn't mean good things!

If yo look closely you can see that the upper right valve bucket it lower than the rest.  This doesn't mean good things!

We believe what happened is that the bike was run without coolant and that exhaust valve got really hot and seized in the guide causing the piston to hit it, break it and then jam it into the head.  Not a good day!

We believe what happened is that the bike was run without coolant and that exhaust valve got really hot and seized in the guide causing the piston to hit it, break it and then jam it into the head.  Not a good day!

The piston didn't fair well either :(

The piston didn't fair well either :(

This next one is from a KTM 2 stroke that had a billion hours on it. 

People are always amazed that something like this could happen but if you think about how many times a piston travels up and down in a cylinder its really more surprising that they last as long as they do.  5000 RPM equals about 600,000 trips up and down every hour.  You'd get tired too!

People are always amazed that something like this could happen but if you think about how many times a piston travels up and down in a cylinder its really more surprising that they last as long as they do.  5000 RPM equals about 600,000 trips up and down every hour.  You'd get tired too!

This next one is near and dear to my heart.  This is a 2013 YZ250 that I inherited for doing some work for a friend.  It had been ridden REALLY fast by a LARGE man for too long and BAM!!! 

2 strokes are great and we LOVE them at Highland Cycles but they need maintenance too.  Especially a top end every once in a while and they don't love being over revved for too long.  This broken piston skirt caused all kinds of damage but I was able to put humpty dumpty back together again.

2 strokes are great and we LOVE them at Highland Cycles but they need maintenance too.  Especially a top end every once in a while and they don't love being over revved for too long.  This broken piston skirt caused all kinds of damage but I was able to put humpty dumpty back together again.

And here she is!  I am happy to say that Jolene is happy and healthy now after a lot of work and some new parts!

And here she is!  I am happy to say that Jolene is happy and healthy now after a lot of work and some new parts!

Here is one from a Husqvarna 300.  This wasn't caused by lack of maintenance but by running a little short of talent in the wrong place!

At the top of a notorious section of trail near Peach Valley a friend of ours made a little mistake and this was the result.  Fortunately it was a 2 stroke and the oil that dumped out was just tranny oil and he was able to putt back to the truck without any major motor damage!

At the top of a notorious section of trail near Peach Valley a friend of ours made a little mistake and this was the result.  Fortunately it was a 2 stroke and the oil that dumped out was just tranny oil and he was able to putt back to the truck without any major motor damage!

There are MANY more examples and we could go on and on.  While we do like seeing blown up and destroyed stuff from time to time we would rather KEEP YOU RIDING by helping you maintain your bike instead of fix it after a catastrophic failure. 

Below are some links to some ebooks and other FREE resources we have published to help you KEEP RIDING!  Share this around and get out and RIDE!!!!!

And if you just want Highland Cycles to help get your bike ready with some simple maintenance at a SMOKIN deal then click the button below for a great deal on our "Blitz Service"


I was recently asked by a customer "what drives you?" 

"What do you mean?" I replied as I was changing a tire.

"All this stuff you do, the ride nights, the clinics... all of that.  What drives you do to it all?"

That is a damn good question!  Well I will tell you what drives me.....

Sharing Joy!  Its not motorcycles, its not being outside, its not speed or the rush of adrenaline you get when you come close to a massive wreck but barely save it.  Those are all just my specific delivery methods for JOY! 

Joy defined: a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.

When I found my true joy at 26 years of age I just wanted to share it.  I believe that God wants us to share our experiences (good and bad) with others and when possible shouldn't we lift them up with "great pleasure and happiness?"

Well, my worldly joy comes from these amazing 2 wheeled machines.  They have brought be joy in my darkest times.  Motorcycles have the ability to legally alter my mood in the split second it takes for the engine to light up and the clutch to engage.  The course of my life has literally been corrected for the better by motorcycles and I want to share that with the world. 

Whether its riding for the first time, conquring a hard trail, a new view, or learning a valuable skill, I LOVE sharing my joy with others.  I LOVE that smile you can see even when someone has a helmet on.  I LOVE seeing someone change a tire without pinching a tube!  I absolutely LOVE sharing my joy of motorcycles with others.

So, to answer my customer and all of you who wonder what motivates this goofball.  Its JOY!!!

One way I like to share this joy is our Thursday night rides.  If you want a short email every week letting you know where we are riding, click the button below and we will get you on the list! 

Sunset Rocks Trail

Sunset is a great intermediate trail that sidehills heading South from the intersection with Eagle Valley.  If you choose this adventure you won’t be disappointed.  The trail is full of twists, turns, rocks and the occasional perfect bermed turn that you can grab a handful of throttle in and roost your buddy.  Sunset maintains elevation across the hillside and then heads downhill and exits at a gravel road.

Shake your hands out at the top of Eagle Valley Trail.  Slide the goggles back over your wide eyes and light the motor up.  Click down into 1st and feed the clutch lever out.  You can see the first 50 or so yards of the trail and its nothing too exciting so wick it up a bit as you stand, ready to attack another brilliant Montrose Colorado trail.  As you wind through some scrubby trees the trail gets a little tougher.  You crest a hill and dive back down into a wash.  The fresh re-route takes you into the wash and then exits abruptly into some bigger rocks and climbs back to more mellow ground.

Quickly you realize that this thing is going to side hill a lot so you change your mindset and get your balance dialed in.  After a few more exposed sections you make a hard left on some bedrock and climb again through rough terrain.  Nothing super hard or dangerous, just loose rocks and steep climbing.  As you bend back right and contour to the South there are some more exposed ledges that you need to pay attention to.  Stay loose and keep the weight on the outside peg to keep your rear tire planted.  

After a few more minutes there is a decent drop off to navigate.  Check up at the top and survey the obstacle.  Nothing terrifying but definitely steep and rocky.  Not too much front brake now.  Let the bike do the work and get on the binders at the bottom.  The trail switches back to the right and then to the left and climbs back up.  Now you are climbing to the top of the trail and there are more trees and red dirt.  This section is super fun and tops out with a wicked left hander that begs you to pitch it sideways and pour the coals to it, be careful because there are always more rocks in the way here in our valley but you have to lift the front wheel on this one.  

After a little twisting and turning up top you flick your steed back to the right and start descending.  Lots and lots of downhill through more rocks.  There are lots of little places to jump and play on your way back towards the adobe hills below.  Only a few more little tricky sections on your way back down and you hit a long adobe sidehill that dumps you out on to a gravel road and the intersection with the Moonlight Mesa Trail.


Stay tuned as we describe more of our favorite local trails!


Montrose Colorado is hands down the greatest place to ride dirt bikes and dual sport bikes on planet earth!!!  Wait!!! you say, Don't Tell Everyone!!! you say, We Want To Keep It a Secret!! you say.  Well I am here to tell you that people are going to find out no matter what and they are going to come regardless of how secret you try to keep it. 

So, Highland Cycles wants to embrace those folks from out of town and welcome them to our little slice of heaven.  Of course the world would be just peachy if we could just keep things the way they are but I remember when the world population was at 6 billion and now its 7 billion.  A BILLION PEOPLE!!!!  That's a ton of folks and they have to go somewhere and do something for recreation.  Might as well have them ride dirt bikes.  At least then they will be happy people.  

The more dirt bikers there are, the more likely it will be that we can keep some of our trails.  And the more dirt bikers in Western Colorado, the more motorized ambassadors we have on our side!  I propose that instead of trying in vain to keep Montrose a secret that we let the world know how good it is here and then try to teach them to act responsibly and fight for our two wheeled rights! 

Just this week Highland Cycles was fortunate enough to host a great group of guys from the Chicago area.  Many of them had been to Colorado before but never to Montrose.  Kenbob (their fearless leader) contacted me and asked if what we had to offer was any good or close to that of Moab.  I immediately said "Oh man, WAY better than Moab!"  He rounded up 14 guys and headed West.  We were able to show them around the Peach Valley and Dry Creek areas and when it was all done Kenbob (yes that is his name) shook my hand and said "You were right, this is WAY better than Moab, we will be back!" 

Check out some photos that I took from their trip

If you are interested in planning a trip out our way, click the link below and fill out your info.  We will get back to you and get you a FREE moto trip planner that Highland Cycles put together just for you!

Why kids matter to Highland Cycles

To Highland Cycles, motorcycling and specifically off-road motorcycling is the single greatest pass time EVER!!  And while marketing trends and numbers say that we should be focused on the adults with money for our business to survive we just don’t give a damn!!!  

We love kids!  Kids are the most enthusiastic, fun loving and carefree motorcyclists around.  The rest of us seem to worry about suspension set up, running issues, tires, oil leaks, funny sounds, graphics, plastics, the list goes on an on!  But kids…  Kids are just excited to be out and on a bike. They just want to twist the throttle and go.  As long as it starts and runs then it is the best bike in the world to a kid. Remember that feeling???  

Highland Cycles does and that is why we focus so much on kids events, clinics and making sure that they are having a great time on 2 wheels!  We see the young ones as windows into our soul and mirrors that reflect back on how we felt when we got our first bike and the freedom that it provided.   

Kids are also the future of this sport that is constantly being attacked by other groups.  We must teach our children to be passionate ambassadors of the Gospel of Two Wheels!  They will be the ones fighting for our public lands in the future and I know that Highland Cycles wants them fighting on the “right” side of that battle.

If you have kids that ride, or kids that want to ride then please click the button below and sign up for our kids event mailing list.  You will get all of the info about our clinics and ride days first and there will even be some special deals that only YOU will get.  

Also take a minute to look at these photos and video from our last “Kids Ride Day” at Peach Valley!  Thanks and BRAAAAAAAP!!!


Eagle Valley Trail!

Unloading at Peach Valley is relatively unassuming.  Its a nice spot, lots of really nice improvements from the BLM, not the least of which is the new Endurocross training track that is open to the public.  But that's not where we are headed.  We are headed East and UP!

Its pretty much a normal beginning to adobe riding as we head east up the small valley through the wooden fence with the trail marker saying "Eagle Valley Trail."  But quickly it changes and if you can peel your eyes off of what's 10 feet in front of you, you can tell things are about to get interesting.  Then, all of a sudden, the valley closescompletely in and all that is left is a narrow crotch in the rock and some tire marks leading into it.  Quickly you realize its time to gas it and pitch the bike starboard into the crack.  As you commit the knobby gains traction and you're headed up a narrow passage into something that looks like it was built for Hollywood.  We are in canyon that overhangs as much as 10 to 15 feet and is solid rock.  Nothing is too hard or too easy but the view is intimidating for sure.  Fan the clutch, not too much gas, ease the machine up, up, up! 

As we round the next few turns the sky opens back up and sun shines in to reveal the beautiful desert canyon and the absolutely amazing terrain.  The walls are steep and the floor is a mixture of rock, sand and perfect dirt.  There is no mistaking the route up.  There is only one way up this valley and it is FUN!!!  You navigate a couple tricky little rock sections and then ease the clutch out and crawl up under the signature overhang (keep your head down, especially if you are filming with a Gopro).   A few more rocky climbs and the floor turns to a nice deep sand and its time to twist it wide and pitch it sideways!  Careful because Eagle Valley is always hiding a few surprises that could teach you a lesson. 

The pace quickens as you climb and there are tons of natural trials obstacles to jump off of and keep the fun meter pegged!  It straightens out for a second and if you take a moment to look ahead you will realized the canyon is closing down and getting really steep.  Worry not!  The trail winds to the right and switches back up the hill to the intersection with Sunset Rocks.  The intersection is a nice place to take a break and, if you are the fast guy, look down and watch your buddies struggle up the final climb.  High fives all around, drink some water and get ready to continue the ascent to the rim of the Black Canyon!

Below is a raw vid of our owner riding up Eagle Valley Trail

Montrose Colorado is the BEST!!!

Montrose Colorado is the BEST place to live!  I could go on and on about why I believe this but I am going to let my video speak for me.  Of course I have edited it to keep it to a decent length but this entire ride took place in 3 hours starting from the front door of Highland Cycles.  There are not a lot of places in this country where you can do this in early March.  Enjoy!!

Highland Cycles LOVES Montrose Colorado and this is why! 15 minutes from the door of our shop and you have this!!!

We ride every Thursday night during daylight savings time! If you would like to join us for some rides, click the link below and sign up for our Thursday Night Ride list!

Highland Cycles has published 2 FREE eBooks.  If you are interested in either of them, click below!

Thursday night rides!

5:00 pm finally!!! hurrying to load the bike in the van, being nice and appreciative to the customers that are here but COME ON!!! its Thursday night, the time has just changed and it is time to ride!  Don't they understand?  I wouldn't be here without them but winter is long and I haven't ridden in WAY too long.

Finally get the lights off, the door locked and I'm in the van headed North to my happy place.  Quick mental checklist as I stand on the accelerator (Helmet, boots, gloves, pants, jersey, bike, water, gas....) WAIT, I forgot gas!!  I take a quick look back and see that my big pig has enough gas to get me til sundown so I am OK this time.  Whew! 

Hit the gravel on the east end of Falcon Rd a little fast and come into the first turn a little hot but I know the turn and I steer into it.  The van slides sideways but uncontrollably and there is no one coming towards me so its ok.  I stay on the gas til the parking lot because, like usual I am late and I know everyone will be there all geared up glaring at me, waiting impatiently for me.  Holy crap, there is a massive chuck hole in the turn into the lot and I bounce so hard that my bike changes positions in the van.  Glad I have good tie downs which equals still having windows.  

I pull up and like I figured I am the last one there and everyone is waiting on me.  I exit my tin can of awesomeness to jeers and epithets.  "Come on slow poke!" "Don't you own the place?" "I thought this was YOUR ride?"  I yank Maria from the van and pull my gear bag from inside.  As I open it up I realize that I don't have riding socks?!  No bother, I can ride without those.  I am pulling and yanking my gear on as fast as I can.  It all seems so foreign.  I haven't ridden in way to long.  Bumbling through I manage to get everything on and adjusted and mount my beast while everyone else is riding around warming up. 

I touch the radiators, yep, getting warm.  Time to nudge the shifter earthwards into 1st gear and head out.  I pass my van and notice something feels different.  Huh, whats that?  I pull up behind my buddy and quickly realize I don't have goggles on.  UGH!!  Back to the van dodging nasty looks and unmentionable gestures to grab some eye protection.

Ok!  Got it all now.  We all look at each other and give the knowing nod that we are in fact all ready to go finally.  I twist the throttle as hard as I can, lean forward and the world as I know it disappears into the past.  All care about is what is in front of my wheel now!  Nothing else matters!  Motorcycle is turned into a machine that bends time and reality!  My therapy session has begun!

Want to join us for Thursday night rides this Summer??  Click the link below and fill out our sign up form to be added to the Thursday night email list.  You'll get a quick email every week telling you the time and location of our ride.  Thursday night rides are for EVERYONE!!!  All skill levels are encouraged to come.  You might be pushed a little but we will never leave you and we will always be there to lend a helping hand!

Morgan's Racing Failure!

As most of you know, we recently went to Texas to race the Gutbuster 24 hr endurance race.  As if that isn't hard enough, my buddy and I decided to do it solo.  And if that isn't tough enough, we decided to do it on XR650's.

I am no stranger to riding 650's and I have soloed the Baja 1000 on one before so I figured this wouldn't be that hard.  I am in pretty good shape right now and I can handle a bike alright so I thought I would just grit through it and get a decent result.

Well....   That didn't go as planned.  

I am not going to make excuses for my performance, I was just not physically ready for the beating that took place but I will describe the conditions and what happened.

The weather was beautiful in Texas, sunny, warm, light breeze.  But days before it had DUMPED rain and saturated the low Texas ground.  There were campers and trucks getting stuck all around us in the pits.  We figured that it would dry out, tack up and get really good as the race progressed like it does here in Colorado.  That couldn't have been farther from the truth. 

We started the race at noon on Saturday in perfect weather.  The first few miles of the track were perfect with a few slimy spots but nothing big.  Then my trouble started.  There was a big rock pile in front of me, I thought "really?? in a 24 hr race??"  What I didn't see initially was the alternate route around it.  So I rode up into it and stalled the big girl.  "No biggie" I thought.  I jockeyed the pig around and finally got it started amid all the rocks and headed back off.  I wasn't worried, this was a long race.  Then going into the first really wet spot I pushed my front end out and crashed right in the mud.  UGH!!!!  "Come on Spradling" I said in my helmet.  I got going again and proceeded to find a ridiculously deep hole to sink my big girl into!!  After 15 minutes of pulling, digging, and screaming I got it out and back going again.  Sadly that set the mood and pace of my entire race.  I struggled for 12 hrs (including some long breaks) and finally threw in the towel at midnight. 

I have never quit a race before and I hate to admit my failure but it has motivated me to focus, train and come back next year ready for the beating and to put forth a real effort.

Mark Weeks who put the race on did an amazing job as did all the workers.  The other person to mention is Jason Lesure, my friend who went with me.  He absolutely crushed it on his 650.  He completed 33 laps in that madness and emerged 2nd overall iron man, just one lap down to a young gun on a 250 2 stroke.  Jason is the true definition of a MAN!!!

Below is a short video showing how poorly I rode the first part of the race.  ENJOY WATCHING ME STRUGGLE!!!

Spring is coming!!!

HOLY MOLY the weather has been getting nice here in Western Colorado!  And you know what that means????  DIRTBIKES!!!!!!! 

We got out last weekend at Peach Valley and it was AMAZING!!!!  The conditions right now are great and only getting better.  The temperature is perfect and the dirt is dry!  There is still some snow up high towards the canyon but all of the trails are doable and fun!  If you haven't been to Peach Valley in a while you need to get out there and see the super cool new Endurocross and Supercross training areas that the BLM built for our community. 

The Endurocross course is great!!!  There are 3 options for every obstacle.  An easy one, intermediate and hard so you can get out there with any skill level friend or family member and ride together and have a BLAST!! 

The Supercross area is good too.  Because of our adobe dirt here its not perfect but it is a great place for people who want to practice technical jumping and turning.  I am afraid of jumping so I spend my time on the Endurocross track mostly but my boys love the other track. 

The weather for the weekend is supposed to be rainy but that is just liquid traction falling from heaven and you can't trust the weather service really so get your ride ready anyway.   If you are from out of town and you need a weather or conditions update you can always call Highland Cycles and we can help.  The Grand Junction number is 970-778-4059 and Montrose is 970-240-2197.  You can also message us on our Facebook Page anytime and we will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Of course we still have some winter coming but that means its time to get your bikes ready to roll for the season.  Most people's bikes were probably running when the snow flew so they don't need a ton of work but you do need to do some work and some inspecting to make sure you have a trouble free spring!

First thing you need to do is print off our Moto Inspection sheet and go spend some quality time with your bike and make a list of the things you need to take care of.  Just click the button below to get our FREE inspection sheet.

After you get a good idea of what you need to do to get your bike in tip top shape please click below and request a parts or labor quote!

Adventure Riding, Highland Cycles Style!

Today it seems like the phrase "Adventure Riding" has really become loose.  I mean, honestly what does a 500lb motorcycle that stays on the pavement more than 90% of the time have to do with adventure?  Of course everyone's definition of adventure is different but I propose that if someone took the time to pave the road then how adventurous could it possibly be??  I know I will catch flak for that statement but HEY, I am not here to please everyone!

Below is my version of adventure!

To get into my head (Scary I know!!) I have to set the scene.  If you don't want to be bored, skip to the pics and captions below.  I have been working very hard on the business of Highland Cycles for almost 10 years now and it has had many ups and MANY downs not the least of which was last year (2016).  We launched our second location in Grand Junction and I can honestly say that it was the hardest and most stressful year I have had to date.  I know you all watching from the outside probably think that all I do is ride but all I can say is that I am a very selective Facebook poster. 

ANYWAY!  Things have been settling down and really coming around recently and I asked my amazing wife if I could take a "mini sabbatical" to Moab for one night to do what really makes me breathe free and clear my head.  Ruth Spradling is an amazing woman and she said "Of course!!" So this morning I rose early, made breakfast and headed West! THIS IS ADVENTURE!!!

The Inca inn is my new GO TO place to stay.  It is inexpensive, clean and has a great location!

The Inca inn is my new GO TO place to stay.  It is inexpensive, clean and has a great location!

I arrived in Moab at about 9:20 this morning and checked into the Inca Inn.  I was early for real check in but they said I could park and unload my dirtbike no problem. So I did just that and bundled up for a brisk ride.  It was 26 degrees when I mounted my big red steed!

It was chilly!!!

It was chilly!!!

My big red girl "Maria" has been with me for a very long time and is still the best bike I have ever owned!

My big red girl "Maria" has been with me for a very long time and is still the best bike I have ever owned!

I kicked the big girl to life and headed back up valley to the Pot Ash Road and headed along the river towards the pot ash mine and the Schafer Trail.  My goal for the day was to get to the White Wash riding area and back to Moab on the most circuitous and fun route I could find, avoiding pavement (and the local constabulary) when at all possible.  The road out to the park was uneventful and a nice little warm up (cool down actually, it was butt cold) and I got to the dirt quickly.  I haven't ridden in a while so it took a little while to get comfortable but I did and I started having fun and wicking it up.  I saw a cool little spot off the road and did some boondocking up to a saddle for a pic. 

Maria is such a lovely lady!

Maria is such a lovely lady!

Then this guy ruined the view!

Then this guy ruined the view!

After a break to warm the fingers up in the deliriously bright sunshine I rolled on up to the Schafer Trail and headed up hill into a very snowy draw.  If you have ever been on this road out of the park you know that it is a very steep, switchbacky road with lots of exposure.  I looked up and it was intimidating because of the snow but I figured that my metric ton of motorcycle would find purchase on the planet so I headed up anyway.  I was right (this time) and Maria propelled me skyward to the top without any issue!

Little snowy but not problem for the bike with more weight than an aircraft carrier!

Little snowy but not problem for the bike with more weight than an aircraft carrier!

After getting to the top of the trail I headed down the slab to get out of the park and head over to Dubinki and White Wash.

No one around!! Weird!

No one around!! Weird!

Having never approached White Wash from this direction It took me quite a few "tries" to get to the right road but I was loving my "wrong" turns.  So much soft sand and great little ledge drops all over the place.  After burning a few quarts of petrol I got to the right road and found the Dubinki Well Rd.  I had never been to the actual well so I skidded on over to check it out.  What a cool little place.  I suggest everyone detours over there sometime.  Great little history lesson on the sign too!

The ACTUAL Dubinki!!

The ACTUAL Dubinki!!

Read up!  Times have been way tougher than they are now folks!

Read up!  Times have been way tougher than they are now folks!

The sun was warming things up nicely so I removed some of my arctic gear and headed on over to the White Wash area for some sandy fun and some single track.  I don't really know my way around over there well but I ended up on the "Enduro Loop" and "Cow Freckles" and had a hoot wrestling the big girl around in the sand.  You know big girls try harder and they do a damn good job!!!



LIttle white lines make it easy to follow even for me!!

LIttle white lines make it easy to follow even for me!!

The one problem with the area is that the views SUCK!!!!

The one problem with the area is that the views SUCK!!!!

I was having an "ear to ear grin" kind of time but looked down and realized that I was running a little low on go juice so I took a little different way back to the road.  I hit the pavement and headed downhill towards hwy 191 enjoying a few super sweet sweeping turns that just make me giggle like I did something bad.  The ride down the hwy to town was actually quite enjoyable.  I clicked the big girl into the tall cog and just cruised on down enjoying the sites and the warm sun.  When I reached the Inn I rolled in and checked my petrol situation.  I cut it pretty close on this one. 

Yep, that's close but it just goes bad if you don't use it anyway!!

Yep, that's close but it just goes bad if you don't use it anyway!!

After I moved everything into my very comfortable room I checked the GPS and found that I had put 126 miles into my fun bank.  Not a bad way to spend the daylight hours. 

Here is the video!

Tech Tip/Friday Blog Post!

This weeks blog post is a little different.  I am going to do a little tech tip that I can't believe more people don't know about. 

So, something that all of us do a fair amount of times is remove the rear wheel.  Changing a tire, replacing a tube, new chain and sprockets, wheel bearings?  All things that require taking the wheel off.  Not a big deal at all but installing it can be a little tougher but still an easy job.  But how do you hold the wheel tight against the adjusters while you tighten the axle nut down??

There are a few different ways but at Highland Cycles we use a small (10mm) wrench placed in between the sprocket and chain to force the wheel forward against the adjusters.  The nice thing about using the wrench is that it is usually being used to adjust the chain adjusters already so its handy.  Another benefit to this is that if you can roll your wheel all the way around with the wrench in place then you know for a fact that your chain is worn out and needs to be replaced.

We recommend Snapon wrenches because if you mess one up they will warrant it ;)

We recommend Snapon wrenches because if you mess one up they will warrant it ;)

Bringing the soul back!

What is the Soul of our industry???  At Highland Cycles we believe the Soul of the motorcycle industry lies in 3 main areas.  Riding, Wrenching, and Comaraderie!!

Highland Cycles is doing our best to bring these three elements back into the everyday experience for our customers.

Riding: It is obvious what riding means to most of us but at Highland Cycles there is another part that we like to think about.  When we think of riding part of that experience is being uncomfortable.  If you think about it, the most rewarding experiences in life usually start off uncomfortable.  Maybe your are scared of an obstacle, maybe the speed is more than you like, maybe its too hot or too cold, but when you finish you are always more satisfied when you have pushed yourself.  We host Thursday night rides every week during the summer and encourage riders of ALL skill levels to join us.  We want to see as many people out enjoying our amazing area as possible.  We wont force anyone to do anything but we will encourage you to push your limits a little and offer all of the help and support that we can.

Wrenching:  At Highland Cycles we don't believe in hiding all of our knowledge behind the shop door and keeping it all a secret.  Of course we make our living fixing and maintaining machines but we also believe that every rider needs a solid understanding of their machine so that they can bond more deeply with their bike.  Bikes are living breathing members of our family and we want you to know them well.  We offer mechanic clinics through out the year to help people get in touch with their machines on a deeper level.  Also, if you are on Facebook and you would like to ask a technical question, please feel free to message the shop anytime and our owner will get back to you as soon as he can. 

Comaraderie:  Riding together is generally so much more fulfilling than a day by yourself (not to mention safer).  But that goes further than just riding.  Motorcyclists are bound together before they even know each other because of the common love we have for this amazing sport.  We have found that riding buddies end up making the best of friends in the rest of life too and at Highland Cycles we like to support that connection.  We host movie watching parties and Supercross nights during the race season to get riders together outside of riding so they can develop life long bonds. 

The best way to stay connected to Highland Cycles and take advantage of all of this is to "like" us on Facebook and join our email list.  We promise to only bring you content that matters and is helpful.  Have a great day and get out and RIDE!!!

Top end Tuesday!!!

At Highland Cycles we are dedicated to KEEPING YOU RIDING!!!  Part of that mission involves educating everyone on different types of periodic maintenance.  I know that we all drive cars that get tons and tons of miles before the motor ever needs anything other than an oil change but our little dirt bike motors are different.  The amount of horsepower that these tiny motors (YES even a 450 is relatively tiny) make means that the top endneeds to be replaced every 100-150 hrs of operation. 

On a 2 stroke that includes a piston, rings, wrist pin, wrist pin bearing, circlips and gaskets.  At Highland Cycles we also disassemble and clean your powervalve to ensure "like new" throttle response and power. 

On a 4 stroke the top end job includes a piston, rings, wrist pin, circlips, gaskets, cam chain and cam chain tensioner.  We will not do a top end on a 4 stroke without replacing the cam chain and tensioner. 

Right now through the end of February we are offering special pricing on parts for top end jobs because we want to get machines in now before they have problems and before we get ridiculously busy.    Below is a quick step by step of a top end on a 2 stroke. 

The bike!  A Husqvarna TE300 with 116 hrs on it!

The bike!  A Husqvarna TE300 with 116 hrs on it!

Step 1:  Clean the living crap out of the bike!!!

Step 1:  Clean the living crap out of the bike!!!

Step 2: Disassemble motor

Step 2: Disassemble motor

When taking the motor apart be very careful

Step 3: Carefully inspect all parts that will be re-used

Step 3: Carefully inspect all parts that will be re-used

Make sure you look closely at all of the parts you plan on re-using.  In the case of this cylinder it was good to go with just a light ball honing to put some crosshatch back in the plating to ensure a good ring seal.

Step 4: Clean and prep motor parts for re-assembly

Step 4: Clean and prep motor parts for re-assembly

Step 5: Assemble motor with pride!

Step 5: Assemble motor with pride!

At Highland Cycles we take great pride in what we do so we sign all of our pistons as a way of saying "Yep, I did that!"

Step 6: Fire that baby up and listen to the beautiful sound of internal combustion!

We hope this was informative and entertaining.  If you have any questions or you would like to schedule us to take care some work please call either of the shops or email us.  All of our info is below!

If you are interested in doing your own top end then click the button below to get our FREE 2 stroke top end guide and check list!

email :

email :


HIghland Cycles is dedicated to KEEPING YOU RIDING and what better way than to challenge you to put more hours on your bike??  Click the poster to order your hour meter online or stop in to one of our stores to buy one and start clocking hours!  If you have any questions call one of the shops to get all of the info.

Montrose 970-240-2197   Grand Junction 970-778-4059

Montrose 970-240-2197   Grand Junction 970-778-4059