Enjoy these dirt bike and mountain bike trails: Flagstaff Area singletrack trail maps
My Previous Motorcycles:
2006 Honda VFR800A Interceptor:
This VFR had been fitted with bar risers and a corbin seat before I bought it, as well as having the fender eliminated. The bar risers are comfortable, but the feel is less sporty than with stock clip ons. Corbin seat is great, but adds a few pounds to the bike over the stock seat. Personally I don't like taking the rear fender off bikes, but since the one on this bike is already gone, I kept it that way. This is the ABS model with linked braking. Both those features are probably great, but I personally like independent control of my brakes. This might turn out to be my favorite street bike. The V-Tech engine seems a bit complicated and even though I got over 50 mpg on the highway, it only got about 25 mpg putting around town. Compare this to the FZ1, which weighed similar but had a larger more powerful motor and got 37 mpg around town and 40 mpg highway. Thie VFR needs two things that every stock sport bike from Japan needs - a new set of mufflers and a LOUD horn. I can barely hear that squeeky little thing with my helmet on. I want a horn that a kid blasting his radio with the windows rolled up can hear. Better horns is the number one safety improvement Honda and the other Jap bikes could make.
2002 Triumph Sprint ST 955i
This is a nice alternative to the Honda Interceptor. The Triumph Sprint is a lot faster than the Honda Interceptor and has a lot more torque. This one had a smaller front sprocket installed, which made wheelies happen easily. I toured in New England for 4 days on this bike and found it uncomfortable for me personally - made my right shoulder ache (partly from an old injury I had). At 6'3" I found my FZ1 a lot more comfortable on long rides.
More Pictures of the Triumph here:
2006 Suzuki VStrom:
Mods: ProTaper SE ATV Mid bars, Acerbis Touring hand guards.
This is NOT a dirt bike. It is suitable for gravel or dirt roads but not single track or off road.
I would recommend knobbier tires for any extended dirt / gravel road riding.
The V-Strom was honestly my least favorite bike to ride - under powered, over-weight, not super comfortable. But I did like standing up on the pegs - the handlebar position makes it very comfortable to stand up - but not to ride sitting down - too reachy. The V-Strom was a nice idea by Suzuki, but overall the design is poor. I especially dislike the exposed oil cooler - which could easily be damaged by a rock or gravel, even when street riding. I also did not like the way the plastic fairing was put together. By comparison the BMW F-650 is a much better ride for the same cc. Of course the BMW is a single piston bike, making it lighter and torquier compared to the 2-piston V-Strom
2002 Yamaha FZ1
The 2002 FZ1 was my first 'street bike'. It had a lot of power for a new rider, which always tempted me to go too fast on the straightaways, long before I was any good at all in the corners. I replaced the factory horns on both these FZ1 bikes. I was able to find a horn at the auto parts store that screwed into the factory mount by coincidence. I took the old horn and mounted it to my off road dirt bike (makes for a good cheering noise when your buddy biffs on his bike!)
2004 Yamaha FZ1 Fazer:
I owned the 2002 Fazer, and the 2004 FZ1 at the same time. The new one has the Yamaha carbon fiber exhaust. We raced the two bikes and the exhaust definitely made a huge difference - several bike lengths in the quarter mile and also from roll ons in every gear. The 2004 also has the lower handle bar mount, which I highly recommend to everyone. FZ1s are great bikes, and I highly recommend them. Very comfortable for carrying a passenger, especially compared to the R1. Also the upright riding position makes riding in traffic safer.
"If just 10% of the 1.5 trillion annual car miles were traveled by motorcycle, America would save over 4.1 billion gallons of fuel - enough to power every freight train in the nation for a year, with enough left over to send over 100,000 tractor-trailers around the world."
I've owned the DR650 (1997), the DR250S (1990), the old DR350 (1996) and the DRZ400E (2002). I took the 650 everywhere my buddies with real dirt bikes went. The biggest problem I had was the weight. I got bogged down in the cinders. I also got tired of the weight when I had to pick it up. Ground clearance also was an issue on serious single track. Unless you plan to do a lot of highway miles, I would recommend the DRZ400 S model for a true dual sport purpose. However I chose the E model (the off road version) and modified it for street legal use. I've given my Suzukis some serious abuse, and they just keep going. Though they never go as fast as my friends KTM 520's. The best mileage I've ever gotten was out of my 1996 DR350, I got 65 mpg in the city and 81 mpg on the highway, plus had a blast off road. If you ever come across one of these - buy it!
My 2002 DRZ 400 E
It has engine guards, a skid plate, bark busters, seal savers, new graphics and a new seat cover. I modified the tail light to become a stop light as well. Stop light mod: add a banjo bolt (suzuki's require a special size) to the front brake reservoir and add a resistor in line. The resistor lowers the power to the L.E.Ds, making them dimmer. When I squeeze the front brake, the banjo bolt supplies full power to the LED's making them brighter. The install is really easy. The Suzuki is the same motorcycle as the Kawasaki 400. Both bikes are a little slower and a little heavier than the Yamaha WR450 and the Honda CRF450, but they are also cheaper and are built like tanks. While it's not fast, it climbs hills like a tractor! Recently I changed out the factory exhaust for a FMF pipe - huge difference - much faster, much lighter, and much louder - but bearable. I didn't re-jet since I live at 7000 feet, which was causing the bike to run too rich anyway. The DRZ400 tends to leak at the water pump - either check the antifreeze level every couple of rides or replace the pump/gasket.
DR 250 S. 1990 - kick starter:
Great beginner bike.The S makes it a street legal edition.
Suzuki DR 650 (1997 - I think!):
I took this DR650 on tons of single track - Worked good, but ground clearance is not as good as the other Dirt bikes and the weight made it a burden to pick up. Also had trouble in the loose cinders. But over all, it's a rock solid bike, with a low seat height and street legal.
2009 Kawasaki KLX 250S:
The Kawasaki KLX250s 2009 - it's a great around town commuter and very trail worthy, but the stock tires need changing - they don't hook up in the dirt very well. It really needs a new pipe and a skid plate to be used for serious single track. Bark busters would also help! I rode it at 7000' and was getting about 52 mpg. I removed the snorkel and also added about another square inch of opening to the top of the air box, for a total of about 5 square inches with the snorkel removed. The first ride I got 63 mpg! That's up 20% from the stock scenario. The KLX250s sounds better now and also has more power. I think a new pipe would result in even greater improvements in MPG and power. I owned a second one of these, same year and color in 2015. It had upgraded Renthal bars and a heavy duty rear rack added - worthwhile upgrades!
1971 Honda Trail 90:
This was my first motorcycle - and an all time favorite! It had an automatic clutch, so what would normally be the clutch handle was actually a back brake handle connected to the regular right side foot pedal. These bikes have 4 gears plus a High/low range setting. Top speed in High was about 40 m.p.h. and in low was maybe 20 m.p.h. This bike had sat out in the weather for 11 years, but was still in high demand when I sold it. They are collector items now selling for more than $1000 if they run and are in decent shape. I had turn signals added to this one - they were an original option and all the bikes have the turn signal switch built in.
2001 BMW F650GS Dakar
Above is my a BMW F650GS Dakar 2001 I owned for a while. This bike is too heavy for serious single track. It is great for riding 70% street and 30% dirt roads. Perfect for rural areas with dirt roads. The seat height requires long legs. Probably not good for under 6' tall people. I'm 6'3" and it fit me great. I ruined the original windscreen by trying to clean off some tape residue with mineral spirits, so I replaced it with the smoked windshield in the picture - slightly larger than stock. WARNING: If you over fill the oil on the F650, it may get sucked up into the air filter box - the best way to avoid this is to only add the exact amount of oil recommended by the manual when doing changes. Ignore what the dipstick says for the first several rides as it will not read accurately. I also highly recommend making the snorkel modification to the air intake. The snorkel opening is too narrow and the snorkel should be cut back. Be sure to leave enough of the snorkel to allow the air sensor to remain in place. I also recommend changing the exhaust, even though I never did. You can save about 15 lbs. and get more performance. I also recommend changing the stock tires to a more aggressive version. Early 2001 models and before had a stalling problem. This is mostly avoided by waiting for the temperature light to go out before trying to start the bike. Also realize that the bike can not be jump started. A dead battery must be replaced for the bike to run. Apparently the sensors on the bike are very sensitive to voltage levels, and a bad battery will cause the bike to die - and this will probably happen to you, since turning the ignition key past 'off' turns on the parking lights. As with all fuel injected bikes, I would not want to be stuck out in the middle of nowhere with one. Just for the Record - I've never been impressed by BMW. While their bikes and cars drive great when they are not having mechanical problems, I think they are inferior to the Japanese versions on almost every level when it comes to quality and value for price. The DAKAR has the potential of being the best dual-sport in the world, but BMW will need to make some serious changes first. Unfortunately they are giving up on the 650 and are introducing a much heavier 800.
Carburetors vs. Fuel-Injection:
When it comes to dirt bikes - give me carburetors. You Cannot, I repeat, Cannot kick start a fuel injection bike if the battery is dead or weak. Fuel-injection does not belong on any off-road or dual-sport motorcycle. The only purpose of a kick-starter on a Fuel-injection bike is to provide a back-up in case the starter is damaged. Though be aware that it is reported that some bikes such as KTMs have really weak starters that are intended as backups to the kick starter and should not be used as the primary means of starting the bike.
Suzuki just released their new fuel-injected motocross bike. I hope the fuel injection system will never make it into their enduro models. While the fuel injection is great for highway riding and maybe for track riding, it is not logical to put fuel-injection on a true dual-sport.
Two-Stroke vs. Four-Stroke:
Two-stroke dirt bikes do pollute more and although they are still a little lighter than a similarly powered four-stroke, the four-strokes are getting lighter and tend to have a better overall power band. Unless you are competing or doing back flips, I highly recommend a four stroke bike. My buddy, who owned a KDX 200 and a KTM two stroker managed to smash his pipe on both bikes. A two-stroke with a crushed pipe will not run properly. This problem is very common as the expansion part of the pipe is very exposed and will crush easily when crashing. Two-strokes also tend to be noisy, which gives riders a bad rap with the public.
In Arizona, to make a motorcycle street legal:
Remember that by law, you must signal with either turn signals or hand signals. Eye protection is required in Arizona if you do not have a protective windshield. Eye protection can be as simple as a pair of sunglasses. Sport bike windshields are not sufficient protection unless you always ride tucked behind the windshield in race position. Laws have been becoming more strict for mopeds under 50cc. Be sure to check current AZ regulations.
TMR Plan - Dirt bikes to be limited in Coconino National Forest
The Coconino forest service spent large amounts of our money to put together a plan to close the vast majority of the forest to dirt bikes. TMR stands for Travel Management Rule. While the rule is in violation of guidelines for Forest use, such as not providing adequate user opportunities for Enduro riders, little has been done to improve the situation. The TMR attempst to limit dirt bikes to using only 20 miles of multi-purpose trail. Currently the CNF is adding a trail called the Kelly project, which will provide a mixture of double-track and single track trail from the Airport area in Flagstaff to Munds Park.
Please support Coconino Trail Riders as they attempt to work with the Forest Service to remedy this horrible situation.
NOISE has been the number one complaint against dirt bikes. You can help reduce complaints by keeping a quieter muffler on your dirt bike and by only buying 4-stroke vehicles.
Many of the multi-use trails around Flagstaff were put in by Dirt Bike riders. Including what is now the ArizonaTrail in the Schultz Creek area. The Forest Service took this favorite trail, made a few re-routes and then banned motorcycles from their own trail (The trail was formerly called 'Super-Fly Meadows').