Saturday, October 26, 2013

Back In The Game with my 2013 Honda CRF450X

It's official, I am now the proud owner of a brand new 2013 Honda CRF450X. I did a lot of homework before I made this purchase. Now that I have it, I feel that I could have not made a better choice for my Dirt Bike come back tour.

Why I chose the Honda CRF450X?
The first thing that drove me to the CRF450X was the countless positive articles, videos I kept coming across in my research. The CRF450X is a proven winner. Honda also has a very good track record in producing durable quality dirt bikes with top performance. The Honda CRF450X is also a proven Baja winner, and since I am going to get back into Hare Scrambles, a quality, proven winner made the CRF450X my top choice.

Why I chose new over used?
I did some serious searching but I could not find the bike I wanted for a good price in the used dirt bike arena. I was looking at used bikes with low hours at a price that was not listed to high.This is not always as easy as it sounds. I saw many bikes that had a very economic price, but all had more hours on them than I wanted. I also saw many that may have seen their prime. I needed a reliable bike. This is when I started looking new. I went to our local RideNow Motorsports and found buying a new bike was very affordable. I bought my at the end of the current model year. This was before the new 2014 were due to start shipping to the dealers. I researched what was changing on the new 2014 model year. Once I saw that there was not much difference I bought a discounted 2013 CRF450X. It was really a no-brainer once you did the math. I also receive some great customer service that was icing on the cake.

What now?
I have been on several rides breaking this new bike in. Every time I ride my CRF450X I am reminded of the right choice I made buying the Honda. The CRF450X has more power that a human could need, and it handles perfectly. The combination between power and handling makes this the right bike to buy. I love the four stroke power and the smoothness the CRF450X gives the rider. The wide ratio transmission make this the perfect off rode trail bike. The bike is comfortable on long rides and the bonus electric start is awesome. I was not sure if I would like the electric start but it has proven to be a nice benefit. I can not wait to enter my first Hare Scramble. I hope your search for a Dirt Bike turns out as good as mine did.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

How To Pick Out A Dirt Bike To Buy

Decision has been made
Congratulations!!!! You have finally made the decision to go through with your dream and buy a Dirt Bike. Now comes the hard part, picking the bike you are going to buy.

So many Questions
Do I buy a  Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, KTM, Beta, or Husqvarna? Should I go with a 2 stroke or a 4 stroke? What size Dirt Bike do I need for my experience level and for the type riding I plan on doing? Do I buy new or do I buy used?

What type of riding will I be doing?
All manufactures have competition motocross dirt bikes, and they also have off road trail dirt bikes. These can be as different as night and day. Probably the biggest difference is the transmissions are geared differently. The competition motocross bike has a closer ratio transmission, and the off road bikes have a wider ratio transmission. There are other differences that you need to take into consideration. The off road trail dirt bike will have a head light and usually some type of odometer. The off road trial dirt bikes are not normally as explosive with the power delivery as a competition motocross dirt bikes. The off road tail dirt bikes will have a little smoother power delivery. This is much better for trail riding.

Types of Dirt Bike
When it comes to types of dirt bikes, I classify them into two basic types. One is for Motocross racing/riding, and the other is for Off Road racing/trail riding. This may not sound very important but I think it is the most critical decision to make. The reason why this is important is because a wrong decision could lead you to buy the wrong Dirt Bike. Buying a heavier off road dirt bike to race on motocross tracks my not be the best choice. There are only a few manufactures that are making 2 strokes any more. Most have moved over to the 4 stroke power. You can still get good used 2 strokes from private sellers. Some people love the 2 stroke power, and some love the 4 stroke power. I have owned both and have liked both. I do think the 4 stroke was better for my riding style. I always thought the 2 stroke was too much extra work to ride. Especially through the off road trails. 

Manufactures. Do Your Homework
Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, KTM, Beta, or Husqvarna are some of the leading manufactures in Dirt Bikes. My best advice is to try and take the emotions out of the equation. Use all of your past experiences, and friends advice as tools. Look at all of the Manufactures, and what they have to offer. You may be surprised at what you find. Pool all of your friends and ask them why they bought the bike they did. Also ask them what they like and dislike about their bikes. There are also many of the shootout videos posted on YouTube. Most of the leading Dirt Bike Magazines all have a shootout each year. I have found these shotouts are some of the best sources of information. You get a lot of great information that include rides opinions and measurable results. Be careful not to buy because of color. Do not discriminate based on bike color. Some riders will not buy a certain brand because of the color. Most dirt bike riders are very loyal to their brand. I am only saying; when you are doing your research keep an open mind. I would hate to see someone pass up the best bike because they do not like a certain manufacture when that may be the best bike.

New or Used
There are a few things to think about when buying new or used Dirt Bikes. When buying a used Dirt Bike you are relying on the seller to disclose all of the information about the bike. You may be getting a great deal on the price, but you could be buying a worn out bike. Look over used bikes very carefully. Check out all aspect of the bike. Especially areas that get the highest degree of wear. I have bought used bikes before and have had great luck with buying a good reliable bike. My best advice is to be patient. Don't get too excited and buy the first thing that comes along. There are plenty of great used bike for sale at really good prices.
If you do decide to buy new, you know exactly what you are getting and there is no need to worry about past riders abuse. You are getting the latest technology the manufacture has to offer. Just remember that your bike will be down level when the next years bikes come out. Buying new does gives you the privilege of putting the first scratches on the bike.

What size bike do I buy?
I think this depends on your body size, your experience riding, and what type riding you plan on doing. My first advice is to be honest with yourself. If you are just starting out, buying the hottest 450 on the market may be a bad idea. You should always ride within your means. You want to be able to ride for many years to come, so don't blow it right away. The pro 450 riders make it look easy. Believe me; it's not as easy as they make it look. One of the biggest gripes I have is there is no way to test drive new dirt bikes. You may be lucky, and have friend’s bikes you can test. Although asking someone to ride their dirt bike is like asking to sleep with a friend’s wife. You pay a lot for your bike, turning the bike over to someone to test is not easy. Especially if this is a new rider.

Final advice
There are so many things to think about. My fear is that I would buy a bike I was not happy with. Or even buy a dirt bike that was too much of a bike for my level of experience. Or buy a bike that was not powerful enough for my riding style. All you can do is to pull all of the information together that you can before you make a purchase. I am currently in the market to buy a dirt bike and I have been doing my research for the last two months. If you decide to buy new, do not pay too much for the bike. All dealers have a MSRP price posted on the dirt bike. This is a starting point and they will negotiate with you. There may also be incentives from the manufacture that will drop the price some.

Good luck with your decisions. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Jet Boat Fun at Myrtle Beach

I had a chance to get away from school and work  for a week off and I found myself at Myrtle Beach , SC.
There is something special about the beach. I think I have finally figured out what it is. I think the attraction is that there are no worries when you are at the beach. You get to sit on the beach and forget about your worries and your troubles. It's like there is nothing else going on in the world but where you are at right now. It is a great feeling and very relaxing.

Jet Boat Ride
As awesome as the beach is, I have found that I can only sit still and relax for so long before I need to get up and do something fun and exhilarating. I was able to find this at Broadway at the the Beach in Myrtle Beach. We found a Jet Boat ride there that will knock your flip flops off. The ride includes 360 degree turns and high speed passes under one of the bridges along the walkway. This exciting ride was worth the price of admission to ride. The Beach Rider Jet boats will fill any void you have if you are looking for some fun above playing putt putt.

Already ready to go back to the beach.

With all the fun I have every time I go to the beach , I think I could live there all summer long. I hated that we had to come back to the real world. I can only get back to work and start saving for the next trip. Without a doubt I will be back to ride the Jet Boats again. That is a have to do every time I go to the beach from now on. That is unless I figure out how to buy one and ride it at the local lake.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Not All Fun and Games - Radiator Repair

As much as I want my life to be full of fun and games, there is always something that has to fit in between all the fun. Today it was replacing the damaged radiator in my car. A few days ago I developed a hole in my radiator and it had to be replaced. As much as it is not an exciting job to do, I really enjoyed it. I got to use my hands, I got to use my tools, and I fixed something. What more could I want.

Why did the Radiator Fail?

I found that years of wear due to a poor Radiator/Cooling Fan design caused a hole in radiator.  The fan shroud assembly when installed, would rub against the radiator. After years of vibration and wear, it finally wore a hole in the radiator.
On the way home a few days ago the car temperature gauge pegged on high and I had to pull over and address the problem. This is when I found the hole. I was still about 8 miles from home, and no water in my radiator. I had one bottle of drinking water that I poured in the radiator. I also had some luck that we had a bad thunderstorm the day before and there was a very large pond of water in the drainage ditch. It was clean and there was enough to fill the radiator and get home.

Temporary Fix

Once I got home I pulled the radiator out of the car and did a quick aluminum weld and plugged the hole. I was able to locate a new radiator the next day which was a Saturday. By the time I got home to put the new radiator in, I found upon inspection before installation  the radiator that has a bad crack in it. Knowing this was not going to work, I put the plugged radiator back in the car so I would have my car to get around. The part repair shop had already closed for the day.

Final Fix

Fortunately the shop I deal with is a great place, honest and run with integrity. They replaced the radiator, and I was able to get the new one back into the car tonight and all is well.I did have to make a modification to keep the problem from occurring again. I used a small piece plumbers rubber gasket as a spacer between the fan shroud and radiator. Something that should have been part of the design.

Points to Remember

Do not forget that there are proper ways to dispose of old antifreeze. First off you should never reused old antifreeze back into your new clean radiator. You should always fill the radiator with new antifreeze.

Most all cities have a free hazard material disposal process. My county was one every third Saturday a month. This is where I disposal of mine. I put the old antifreeze back in the empty bottle the new antifreeze came in. This way I know what is in the bottle.
You show never leave exposed antifreeze in a drain pan. You need to keep this out of reach of children and animals. Safety first.

Now that this is done, I can get back to having some real fun.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

First Step to My Dream Started at Zoo City

Today I took my first step toward getting back into racing. I went to a motocross race tonight in Asheboro at the motocross race track called Zoo City. I wanted to check out Zoo City to see how the tracked looked. I went as a spectator with my cameras in hand. Beside watching some really good racing, I got to take some pretty cool pictures.

Zoo City

The reason I picked Zoo City tonight was because it is the closest track to me that has organized racing. From Concord it only took me about and hour to get to the track. It was very easy to find, and is not far off of interstate 73. Zoo City offers a wide range of motocross classes to race in, and there is a 50+ class that is exactly what I am looking for. ZooCity is very nice racing facility. The track is well maintained and once the racing starts, it is class after class of racing with one stop half way though the night to groom the track, and to give the track officials a break to get refreshed. I met some very nice people tonight and everyone was very friendly. I also had a great hot dog "all the way" at the concession stand. Great track food at a great price. It really hit the stop.

Next steps

My plan is not to complicated.
1st I have to finish school and graduate from Catawba college. I started that trek 3 years ago. I will be done in February 2014 and will participate in the graduation in May 2014. I will graduate with my degree in Business Administration B.B.A from the School of Evening and Graduate Studies program.
2nd thing is I have to get a dirt bike again. I am looking now, and should find one by then.


Fitness is a no brainer. If you want to be competitive, you must be in sharp. I work on this every week and it is one of my main focuses. Not only to stay in shape for racing but you need to be more focused on your fitness and health. Especially now that I am in my 50's.

Racing Expectations

First off I just want to go racing for some fun. I can think back when I was racing before when I lived in Arizona. It was absolutely the most fun. I look forward to that again. I also want to get really proficient to the skill of racing. I still want to be able to make the triples and charge the whoops.

The Stage is Set
Going to the races tonight was just the momentum push I needed. If all goes according to plan, I will be racing again this time next year.

I have no affiliation with Zoo City. I went tonight only as a spectator. I paid my own way in to the track like all others that attended tonight. My opinions and comments are my own.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Wisdom or Prepper

Power Out from a Storm
As I sit here in my dinning room posting tonight with the light roar of the generator running outside. I stop and  wonder how I would classify myself. Am I the wise old man that is prepared for most everything? Or am I a crazy doomsday prepper? I like to think I am the wise old man that has spent years educating myself and making sure that I can take care of my household when things go a rye.

WiFi and TV
I don't really have the chance to watch much TV any more since I have gone back to school, but I struggle doing without my Wifi. This way of thinking is how I am able to get online tonight and post. I cranked up the generator, powered up the cable modem, and I was connected is a matter of minutes. I sigh of relief come out because I had homework I had to post tonight. I also have a backup with my cell phone. I can also tether my cell phone Wifi to my lap top. It's a little slower but not bad in a pinch.

Generator and Power Cords
My generator is powerful enough to power the essentials in my house. The bad thing is the power cords you have to run through the house. I guess one day I need to wire this into the house so all I have to do is plug the generator in outside and be done. Another future project.

Work area for the night
This is where I made my camp tonight. Seemed like the logical choice. I had power to the TV to watch the news and weather for any more warnings. I started to get a little warm and muggy so I broke out with the Mr. Box Fan.

Mr. Box Fan
He is my hero tonight, at least until Mr. Air Conditioning comes back on. Then I know who my best friend will be then. No offense Mr. Box Fan, but Mr. Air Conditioning will always win out here is the South.

Can I do Without?
Without a doubt I could do without, and I have before. I usually take advantage to power outages and  break out with the old school fun. Candles and board games with the family. Since I am home alone this week, I can't really play Monopoly by myself. Technically I could, but I would be able to catch myself cheating. I remember as a kid when the power would go out it was like a whole new world of adventure. I have seen that in my own kids eyes when the power goes out. It's like a game. See what I can still do with no power.

Ride Home Video
On my way home tonight was the peak of the storm. On the highway I take to get home there was a huge tree across the road blocking traffic on one side. As I have said before I always have a camera close to me at all times. I even have a dash board mount for my GoPro. This is the video I captured from the ride home.

YouTube URL -

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Be Fast, Be Safe

Be Fast, Be Safe
Be Fast, Be Safe is a phrase I have coined, and I think about when I get ready to play. You can never be too safe when you are participating in those extreme activities. Whether you are in the water,on land, or in the sky, safety is no joke. If you want to continue to live that exciting life style, you need to protect yourself so you can live to play another day.

Of all my activities, riding the Dirt Bike is the most dangerous. In this sport, you need to protect yourself from head to toe. This includes a helmet, goggles, mouth piece, neck brace, jersey, chest protector, pants with pads, boots, and yes even a cup. You have got to keep the boys protected too. This does not fully guarantee you will never get hurt, but it does greatly reduce the chances of getting seriously hurt.

I have been hurt even while wearing all of this equipment. One summer while riding in Kentucky at a friends family lake house I took a fall off the dirt bike. I flew off a trail and ended up hitting a very large boulder. I hit my helmet on the boulder, and I also hit my bicep on the same boulder. This picture shows the bruise on my arm I got from that hit.

Even if you are doing simple steps on a dirt bike you have to be safe. I want to continue to keep riding for many years to come.

YouTube URL -

Water Sports
As funny as it seems you have to protect yourself in the water too. The protection that is a must is a life jacket. I have almost knock myself out before doing tricks while wakeboaring. If this does happen the life vest will save your life. When you cut out from the wake and then cut back in to jump the wake, you are traveling at a much higher rate of speed. If you do not land the trick off of the wake your head can hit the water pretty hard. The potential for disaster is real. Then doing any extreme tricks while wakebaording, I recommend that a person wears a wakeboard helmet. They are very light weight, but offer a lot of protection. It also cushion the hit to the water.

In Closing
I go back to my favorite phrase, Be Fast, Be Safe. I love to play and there is nothing cool about being seriously hurt from not wearing proper safety equipment. When hurt, it is very painful, you have to stop playing while you are healing, and it is very expensive. When you are a kid, you do not think about medical bills if you get hurt. Now that I have to pay for my own medial coverage and bills, I protect myself the best I can.
I am not an expert in this field, but I have found that you need to be safe at all times.

Be Fast, Be Safe.