Quality Time!

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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. 

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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. 

OR....

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! 

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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.

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If your bike has looked like this??

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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

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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

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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. 

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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. 

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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

TONS OF FUN!

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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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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CARNAGE!!!

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"

Joy!

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!

Visitors!

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!