Snowmobile Tune-Up Time: Let’s Get Ready to Rock the Season

snowmobile with rider with a tuned up snowmobile
Are you ready for snowmobile season? Is your machine all tuned up?

Have You Done a Snowmobile Tune-Up Yet?

I bet you’re marking the calendar, peering eagerly through the window every morning to see if there is finally some snow on the ground. Because when there’s finally enough snow to sled, you’ll be more than ready to pull that snowmobile out of storage, clean her off, brighten her up, and take her out on the trails.

But wait! Make sure you complete a snowmobile tune-up first.  

Before the snow arrives in full force, now is a great time to get your snowmobile tuned up and ready for the long season ahead! Tempting as it is to pull that cover off, start the engine, and go (we get that urge) you’ve got to take a minute, take stock, and get that machine ready to rock for the entire season. Treat your snowmachine well, and it’ll give you years of wintertime adventures.

make sure to tune-up your snowmobile ahead of the season like these smart folks have done
Before the snow hits, and you’re bundled up like these folks, get your snowmobile tuned up!

We’ve got a great breakdown of what you need to do to get that snowmobile ready for a tune-up and winterized for the whole season. After all, the folks at the TMS Parts Blog always have your back!

Let’s Go Down the Snowmobile Tune-Up Checklist

At TMS Parts, we supply the tools, gear, and equipment you need. We also take things a step further and help you get your snowmobile ready to run the right way. We do this by guiding you on improving the integrity and quality of your machine.

The most important way to keep your snowmobile in good condition is by properly maintaining and storing it. This is why a snowmobile tune-up is never a bad idea. 

a snowmobile tune-up will guarantee smooth riding all winter
Keep your snowmobile rocking with an annual tune-up.

Step One: Clean Up to Tune-Up

Your snowmobile has been under the covers for a few months now, and while you have properly stored your machine, it’s still going to need a bit of a cleanup. Taking the time to clean up your snowmobile is the first step of any snowmobile tune-up. 

Wash off any salt, dirt, leaves, or other bits of debris that may have developed over time or that were left there from last season. This is something you should be doing regularly throughout the season. If you aren’t cleaning up your snowmobile erosion will start to set in, and it can become quite expensive in terms of replacing parts and working on your machine.

While cleaning your snowmobile make sure to also check for any pieces of cloth or plugs that were used to block off air intake.

part of a snowmobile tune-up includes a thorough cleaning
Check out this clean snowmobile that’s ready to rock!

Step Two: Take a Look Under the Hood

Complete a visual inspection in a well-lit area to get a good look at what’s happening under the hood. Check to make sure nothing is loose and that everything is secure. Take a look at your snowmobile’s spark plugs, clutches, suspension, and steering.

If you have an older model on your hands, looks for areas of stress, buckling, or cracking. These need to be tended to immediately if that is the case.

Don’t forget to check these sections of the snowmobile as well:

Rear Suspension
  • Cracks in the skid frame
  • Cracked suspension arms and springs
  • Loose nuts and/or broken bolts
  • Wheels that are stuck or have excessive wobble
  • Make sure the drive axle and sprocket assembly is secure
  • Excessively worn sliders
  • Heavy rust
  • Failed shocks

(The rear suspension takes most of the abuse from continuous use.)

Front Suspension
    • Wobbly joints
    • Cracked suspension
  • Worn spindle bushings
a snowmobile tune-up will help you ride all season
Ahhhh…isn’t that an awesome sight?

Step Three: Check Your Snowmobile Fluids

By fluids, we mean gas, brake fluid, and coolant. If there is gas remaining in your snowmobile’s tank from last season (and we recommend draining the gas before putting your machine to bed in the spring), drain it before adding anything fresh to it. This is because the remaining gas could have deteriorated and become broken down over time. All this can factor into the performance of your snowmobile.

If the brake fluid is low, top it off using specified grade. Here is a great article on how to change the brake fluid on your snowmobile.

While you’re at it, why not check out the integrity of your fuel system during a snowmobile tune-up? 

  • Check the fuel tank along with the fuel and oil lines for any cracks or leaks.
  • Perform a chain case oil change; over time this can become worn by both water and metal slivers from chains and sprockets.
we're ready to go snowmobiling in this winter wonderland
If we weren’t excited about a snowmobile tune-up before, we are now!

Step Four: Snowmobile Engine Tune-Up Time

This part of the snowmobile tune-up depends on what type of engine you have in your machine.

Is it a four-stroke machine (which would require you to change both the oil and filter)? Or is it a two-stroke machine? This needs a little more attention, such as the power valves checked and cleaned for oil deposits, and its overall condition.

Last, but not least, put a fresh set of properly gapped spark plugs in and verify that your throttle cable is properly working without binding up.

make sure to perform a snowmobile tune-up for hours of wintertime fun
Taking the time for a snowmobile tune-up will ensure tons of hours of wintertime rides.

Step Five: Dive Train/Traction Product Checks

Replace your carbide runners if need be. Based on the riding conditions, and how much use you put on your runners, they may need to be sharpened every two or three hundred miles.

If you use studs in your track, inspect them and replace any broken or bent studs you come across. Keep an eye out for missing clips, tears, or excessive wear as well. Set the track tension and alignment per your snowmobile’s personal manufacturer’s recommendations.  

happy snowmobile rider at sunset
Are you excited yet? We’re ready for wintertime sunsets.

Is the Snowmobile Tune-Up Checklist Complete?

It’s time to ask yourself if everything on your snowmobile is looking good and if your machine is in tip-top shape?

If the answer is a resounding YES, and if the snow has finally fallen,  rev up that engine and get moving! It’s time to shred that snow in your wake and see what that beast of a machine can do!

Have fun, go wild, and should you ever be in need of any snowmobile gear, equipment, or accessories, TMS Parts has you covered! So be sure to check back in with us.

Most of all, have fun!

snowmobile riders head off into the sunset
Off into the sunset, they ride…

Motocross Suspension Tips and Tricks

motocross suspension is a blend of rider and machine

All You Need to Know in Order to Maintain An Ideal Suspension For Your Motocross Dirt Bike

Motocross is a bike that performs for speed and for air. It’s a racer, it’s a dirt devil, it’s the ride you want to show off, and it’s a ride that encourages you to hone in on your skills. These skills are for you to pull off some amazing feats of talent, bravery, and sick tricks!

What many don’t realize is that a lot of the control over the bike relies upon the suspension of a bike. The wrong suspension on your bike could make or break your motocross experience. The goal is to create that perfect balance of suspension that combines the rider and the individual bike itself. 

We’ve put together a quick and easy guide filled all sorts of life hacks for motocross riders and racers to make your suspension setup far more easy to understand and ultimately give you that perfect ride you’ve been itching to have.

motocross rider flying through the air

So What Makes up a Motocross Suspension?

While there are many different factors involved, the essential parts of a suspension are the spring and the damper. Each of these is vastly different in function but useless without one another.

The springs hold the weight of the machine and absorb impacts from the ground while riding. The damping is used to slow down the compression of the spring. There’s one more critical piece…

Of course, the start of any good suspension lies not only in the springs and damper but in the sag as well.

Setting Your Sag

Suzuki motocross bike

This is perhaps the simplest and most often overlooked adjustment you can make to improve the overall handling of your bike. Sag, in a general sense, is the distance between the rear end of the motocross bike and the ground. There are two types that you should take into account when setting up your sag for an upcoming ride.

However, before setting the sag, make sure that the chain is adjusted properly. Check to see if the linkage and swingarm bearings are in good condition. Even if you find the ideal setting of sag, if they aren’t in good working order, even a top shape suspension won’t do you much good.

proper motocross suspension helps this racer fly

Rider Sag

This is the distance that the rear end of the bike settles in when on the ground and under the load of the rider’s weight.

Quick Tip for Easy Rider Sag Setup:

  1. Measure with the rider sitting.
  2. Bounce a few times on the suspension before measuring
  3. Sit where you actually sit on the bike, not where you think the rider should be.
  4. Measure from the same spot on the bike every time after that. This guarantees consistency.

motocross racer in the woods

Static Sag

Also known as “free sag”; this is the distance that the rear end settles when on the ground under only its own weight

Quick Tip for Static Sag:

  1. The static sag on an average large bike should be about 30mm to 40mm.

You need to find the right balance of sag that works for you and your motocross bike. No two bikes will always have the exact same sag, and this is because it factors into the weight of the bike (whether it has heavier tires, added features, etc.) and the weight of the rider. Doing it correctly will position the bike so that the front and the rear of the bike will be loaded successfully.

Quick Tip for Setting Up Your Static Sag:

    1. Before you start your measurements, top off the bike fuel and have the rider in full gear. This creates the maximum weight your bike could potentially carry.
  1. Check out this blog by Rider expeditions, which will break down the finer details of how to accurately measure out the static and rider sag.

Measurement is Key in Motocross – it all Connects to the Springs

motocross suspension is important especially in certain off-road conditions like rocks and boulders

If you aren’t careful in these measurements, you could create a sag that is either too soft or too stiff. Neither of these is what you’re looking for when trying to achieve the optimal motocross ride. This ends up tying into the springs of the bike. Another factor in the proper set-up for suspension.

Too Soft: This is when the measurement is 20mm or less. If it’s too soft, it forces you excess preload to get the desired sag; a chain reaction of unloading too much in the air and top out. This creates a harsh feel when riding. If this happens, you want to create a stiff spring rate.

Too Stiff: Usually 35mm or more. If the spring is too stiff, you won’t be able to gather maximum traction when accelerating the bike. This will cause you to feel every bump and divet in the road. Not a pleasant ride.

The Second Motocross Suspension Factor is the Damper

motocross rider traveling up dirt steps

As we said earlier, damping is used to slow down the compression of the spring in order to bring it back to the original dimensions. It refers to the controlling of the spring action; the oil flow through various orifices and valve plates from one side of a moving piston to the other. This means that it splits into low speed and high speeding damping.

There are Two Types of Damping in Motocross – Rebound and Compression

  • Compression is when the damping squeezes down on the springs. Low-Speed Compression means damping adjustment usually occurs by turning the adjuster at the top of the shock absorber reservoir.
  • High Speed is adjusted using a spanner on the outer nut at the top of the shock reservoir.  

motocross rider speeding downhill

Quick Tip for Compression Damping:

    • Too much: Far too much resistance to movement and you can’t use the full suspension on your motocross bike.
  • Too little: The bike becomes unstable and you have an uncontrollable suspension. This ends up causing the back to lose traction continuously.

Quick Tip for Rebound Damping:

    • Too much: The bike ends up sitting low and take a long to correct its height. This creates poor traction and drive. All are equaling an unenjoyable ride.
  • Too little: The bike is unsettled as the suspension jumps over every hill, uneven road, and bump.

motocross rider launching himself and his bike in the air

For a more in-depth breakdown of the damping please check out this blog here, a great source of information if you need just a bit more detail in setting up the damper just right.

A motocross bike is a fine-tuned machine, and while these are key factors, there are many other components you should consider. For starters, this includes elements such as the tires’ air pressure to the oil height. This blog has a helpful checklist you should review to ensure you keep your bike running as smoothly as possible.

motocross rider at sunset on top of a hill

A Proper Motocross Suspension is More than Two Parts

Taking care of the suspension of your motocross bike is more than taking care of two parts. It requires an attention to all parts. This includes changing the oil in the forks when needed. Just like engine oil, the oil in the suspension (the fork oil) degrades over time. You want to monitor how much you use your bike.

The hours you spend riding can dictate when you have to change the oil next. Ideally, you want to change the fork and shock oil every 20 hrs of use and replace the seals and brushing every 40 hrs of use. If you don’t monitor the hours you put into your machine, it’ll be harder to realize when the oil needs to be changed.

motocross bike expert looking at a rider on his bike

If you need to adjust your clickers to compensate for the change in compression, that’s a sure sign the oil should be changed. If you wait too long the seal starts to leak. Sometimes the seal can be saved by a simple cleaning, but often times that isn’t always the case; it really should just be replaced.

If you notice a seal leak before changing the oil in the forks? Check out this guided DIY video on cleaning and properly reinstalling that seal back onto your fork. If the seal on your bike is still in good condition, you can save it.

motocross rider on a Yamaha bike

There are two parts that need to be separated: the upper and lower forks. As far as taking the two pieces apart and actually replacing the oil, it’s a rather straightforward procedure.

  1. Remove the bleeder screws; this is to bleed off any pressure 
    Tip:All forks build up air pressure when you ride them. To do the best by your machine, bleed your forks after every ride. When bleeding out make sure they are completely cooled down. This way the air expansion from heated forks can return to normal levels before you bleed.
  2. Loosen the fork cap. Don’t remove it though 
    Tip:The wheel should be removed and, depending on the bike, the handlebars. The type of bike will also determine if you need to remove the fork guard clamps. Then loosen the pinch bolts on the triple clamps.
  3. Remove the fork; once the fork cap is loose you can easily slide id down the lower fork.
  4. Tip the upper fork upside down to drain the oil into the pan. Usually, this takes about 5-10 minutes. It drains very slowly so you might want to find a place to lean the fork against.
  5. Now that it’s drained use the correct fork oil weight using a fork oil level gauge. 
    Tip:The weight and the volume affect how the forks work. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to get the right amount.
  6. Reattach the fork leg

motocross rider practicing jumps

Maintaining Your Motocross Bike is the Priority

Learning how to set up and install the different components of your bike is one thing because it does give you a clean slate on the upkeep of the vehicle. However, it is the maintenance of the machine that allows it to have the longevity and ability to stand the test of time. This saves you money in the long run and gives the ideal control for an amazing ride.

Keep your bike running at its best by consistently observing and maintaining the following:

  1. Grease: Sticky linkage will ruin a suspension. Grease the steering head, the shock linkage, and the swingarm pivot periodically to keep everything running smoothly.
  2. Tire Pressure: Tire pressure, if it isn’t monitored or checked, can cause severe damage and suspension problems. Too much air makes the suspension stiff as too much air will cause the bike to wallow and push. Check out this blog from Motocross Action, explaining the proper way to inflate your tires.
  3. Oil Height: Adjusting the height of the oil determines the amount of airspace there will be in the forks and changes the damping when in the second suspension travel. Adding oil to the forks stiffens them. Increasing the bottoming resistance of the bike while removing oil softens them. 
    Tip: To add oil to the forks, use a good syringe to squirt oil through the fork bleeders. When adding the oil, do so in small 10cc gradients so as to have better and more concise control.
  4. Chain Tension and Length: Running a longer wheelbase will offer a more straight line stability. A shorter wheelbase creates instability on the improved turning capability of the bike. However, this particular type of maintenance more or less depends on the type of riding you do.
  5. Troubleshooting: Learning this can help you better maintain and get the most out of your suspension. This is a practice that takes time to learn because you need to have an individual, unique understanding of how your bike works from other bikes. 

Tip:

Learn how your bike sounds in all of its conditions, learn the ideal sag that works in tandem with yourself. Find out the particular ticks of your bike. The sooner that you are able to understand how your bike works, the easier it will be to foresee when it’s under duress. Going forward, you’ll be able to have an easier time finding the problem and resolving it.

This blog has a handy-dandy checklist you should check out to ensure you keep your bike running as smoothly as possible!

motocross rider looking out from the top of a hill

Now You’re On Your Way to an Amazing Motocross Ride

We want you to have the best ride you can possibly have, and that means keeping your motocross bike in excellent running order. Doing so will determine your ability to have a great riding experience and also to have a machine that stands the test of time.

Well, you know what to do now. Get your behind in your garage, make the tweaks and adjustments necessary, and get ready to rev that engine and rip out of your garage with a motocross suspension you can rely on!

If you’re looking for tools, equipment, or gear check out TMS Parts to help give you the ideal adrenaline coursing riding experience.  

Motorcycle Events You Gotta Hit Before the New Year

motorcycle events to end the year

The Best Motorcycle Events to Wrap up 2018

Can you believe how fast this year has gone by?! So much has happened in these last few months, and like us, we’re sure you set out on so many adventures! 

This summer was packed with motorcycle events for everyone. Your summer calendar was filled with awesome summertime bike rallies, and we hope you made it to your favorite ones. 

And now the seasons are turning over, things are starting to quiet down, and the chill is coming on – but that doesn’t mean any of the fun has to stop! In fact, there are so many more motorcycle events packed into these last few months of the year. 

Don’t throw away that calendar just yet! I bet you still have enough room to squeeze in a few more trips on that bike of yours! S

So, before 2018 comes to a close, check out all the upcoming motorcycle shows and events we’ve curated just for you.

Wherever You Live, There are Motorcycle Events for You

where ever you live, there are motorcycle events for you

Motorcycle Events in October

The Tennessee Motorcycles and Music Revival: Oct. 4-7th in Hurricane Mills, TN

motorcycle events - Tenessee Motorcycle and Music Revival

This four-day motorcycle event is held at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch.

Yes, that Loretta Lynn, the one and only legendary country artist to play the World Stage.

Held every year, their goal is, “motorcycles, music, comradery and the outdoors.” And this is exactly what they do. Gather around live music, vendors, meet and greets, and so much more! Park your RV or pitch your tent where all the action is right at the ranch. Give in to the genuine southern hospitality and make new and lasting friends.

How about joining in Loretta’s Ride, a gathering in tribute to honoring our military veterans? Help us benefit the USO who help the US service members and families across the world. Take part in this spectacular event and many more! All you have to do is sign up!

Las Vegas BikeFest: Oct. 11-14th in Las Vegas, NV

motorcycle events - Las Vegas Bike Fest

Nothing says the party life quite like Las Vegas! This is a bike festival where the purchase of wheels and ink is not only acceptable but highly encouraged.

This year, Ink Mayhem Convention is happening right in the heart of this motorcycle event. Show your pride for your motorized beast with some fresh ink.

If a new tattoo isn’t for you, not to worry, there are plenty of other activities happening during BikeFest.

How about taking part in Biker Bingo or the poker walk? Enter contests for the best facial hair, greatest tattoo, or a wet t-shirt contest! Take in the sights and sounds of the live entertainment from bands such as Puddle of Mudd and Carol-Lyn’s History of Rock!

many motorcycle events take place in Las Vegas

Come share in the adventures in the historic part of Downtown Las Vegas. We’ll be waiting for you!

AIMExpo 2018: Oct. 13-14th in Las Vegas, NV

AIMexpo is one of the top motorcycle events of the year

Don’t plan on leaving Las Vegas just yet. There’s more to come!

Why not hit up the American International Motorcycle Expo? The AIMExpo motorcycle event is a, “…catalyst to bring together industry, press, dealers, and consumer all to one place.”

They truly succeed at doing just that with over 500 exhibitors; 300 media outlets; multiple vendors; and free (yes, free!) parking for all motorcycle riders.

This is North America’s largest Powersports Expo where fans, professional racers, and bike enthusiasts all come together around their passion for all things MC.

so many motorcycle events in Las Vegas, make sure to find time to ride when you're there

If that isn’t enough to tempt you, this year’s event will feature next year’s 2019 cycle models, gear, parts, and accessories. Start tossing your spare change into that savings jar for all this expo will offer.

Daytona Beach’s 26th Biketoberfest: Oct. 18-21st in Daytona, FL

Biketoberfest is the event of motorcycle events

Biketoberfest is the event of motorcycle events. What do we mean by that? Well, over 100,000 people from all over the country make their way to enjoy the beautiful fall weather and friendships forged over the love of the ride.

Biketoberfest is here for you to, “Celebrate the adventure and the spirit of today’s motorcycle enthusiasts.”

Come to join us at the festival’s Kick-off Party, Rocktoberfest, where spirits and live music flow freely. Watch as professional cyclists compete in the Daytona International Speedway motorcycle races and cheer your favorite racer on!

Each day is jam-packed, bursting with entertainment for everyone. With all of these awesome events piled on top of one another, it’s going to be a hard time picking the one you really want to attend. Good luck!

Babes Ride Out: Oct. 18-21st in Joshua Tree, CA

motorcycle events for women - Babes Ride Out

“Giving Ladies the confidence they need to get out there!”

Motorcycles aren’t just for men. Ladies, Babes Ride Out is a motorcycle event just for you!

This event is taking place on 40 acres of land and will be their largest event yet. And they are going to need all that space for what they have planned! It’s four days and three nights at the world’s Largest Ladies-Only riding and campout event. It’s a 21+ age event, ladies so you can leave the kids at home and get that bike rumblin’ and rev on over here!

Most of the daytime will be spent on the road touring the Bitwell route, but at night it’s FREE 805 beer and Sailor Jerry Mix drinks until they are gone.

It’s nights planned with events like Karaoke and dance parties. Ladies night, oh, what a night! 

18th Annual Thunder Beach Autumn Rally: Oct. 24-28th in Panama City Beach, FL

motorcycle events on the beach include Thunder Beach Autumn Rally

This autumn bike rally causes some serious thunder with all of the riders hitting this seaside town. And guess what? This is a biker friendly FREE rally and all bike lovers are welcome!

Come on out for this 5-day event and enjoy all the sites and activities you know you’re going to want to jump in on. Hundreds of vendors await, each with big names in the MC industry that assure quality product and information. After all, you want what’s best for you and your ride, right? There is no excuse not to take part in this action-packed rally!

Don’t forget to check out the factory demo rides and stunt shows that are peppered throughout these five fun-filled days. Take a whirl at the Baddest Bagger show or test your skill at the annual Poker Run! Oh, and the event has its own smartphone app

(Also, make sure to download our list of motorcycle apps you need before hitting the road on your way to any of these motorcycle events.)

Thunder Beach is an awesome bike rally. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this one.

Motorcycle Events in November

there are many motorcycle events in November

Lone Star Rally: Nov. 1-4th in Galveston, TX

motorcycle events in November include the Lone Star Rally in Texas

Lone Star Rally is one of the only Motorcycle Rallies where you can also test out your Rodeo skills in their Rodeo Games! From the Whiskey Barrel Roll to the Plank Walk, do you think you have what it takes to join in with these cowboys?

If that’s not your scene, then take part in the Ride in Custom Bike Show. Know what’s special about this show? “Best in Show” gets a full feature in Cycle Source Magazine and $500 cash prize! Yee-haw!

Enjoy the hundreds of vendors, live music, and the biggest biker party that Texas has to offer!

Progressive International Motorcycle Show: Nov. 16-18th in Long Beach, CA;  Nov. 30- Dec. 2nd in New York, NY

believe it or not, even NYC hosts motorcycle events

This is, by far, a GO BIG or go home event, or as we should really call it, events.

The Progressive International Motorcycle Shows travel throughout the country to multiple cities and venues. No one needs to miss out on this action-packed motorcycle dream-come-true event!

This tour connects Powersports-leading brands packed with both enthusiasts and buyers alike. This is the largest touring consumer motorcycle event in the US and it has fine-tuned its shows to hold on to that title with pride.

This show offers you unique hands-on events that no other festival, rally, convention, or show can provide. Sign up to join in on the DIY programs for customization and maintenance of your machine. Check out the new 2019 models before they hit the market and see what’s so special about the new and improved designs.

NYC riders make sure you hit up local motorcycle events like the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows

The Progressive International Motorcycle Shows are motorcycle events that have been traveling around for over 37 years, learning from the best and brightest in the industry of MC, to give the greatest in all the leading motorcycle machines, gear, accessories, and more! If worse comes to worse and you miss these two dates, these shows continue their journies all the way into February! There is no reason you should have to miss out.

Motorcycle Events aren’t Done for the Year

This year isn’t over yet, not by a long shot! There is plenty to do before you have to retire your bike for the season (depending on where you live, that is) and there are still plenty of rides to take, friends to make, and parties to hit up.

there are so many motorcycle events to attend before the year is done

Start marking up that calendar again and make some moves, folks! Where are you going to go first? Which one caught your eye and made you the most excited? The adventures are just getting started, and it’s up to you to start up that engine and get rolling!