Ride Preparation

Rocky Mountain Singletrack

Bike Set Up


Motorcycle set up is a very important part of having an enjoyable ride in the Rockies.

The most critical element of setting up your bike is proper jetting. A good rule of thumb is to 1% leaner for the altitude you are riding. For example, if I am riding in Taylor Park I can expect to be anywhere from 8000 to 14,000 ft above sea level. I would set my bike up for 10,000 ft and be right in the middle. The majority of trails will be in this altitude. Therefore, I would lean my jetting by 10%. If I have a 180 main jet and a 48 pilot, reduce the main 18 points to a 162 and the pilot to a 42. You may also need to lower your needle by raising the clip 1 or 2 positions. These examples are not exact. They are guidelines. Consult your owner’s manual for more specific instructions.

Spark Arrestor

Because we are enjoying our National Forest, there are some rules we need to obey. As to not cause a raging inferno forest fire, you need to mount a U.S. Forestry Approved spark arrestor. Many off-road motorcycles come equipped with one from the factory. To see if your bike has one, simply look for the stamp on the side of the exhaust muffler. The stamp will specifically say U.S. Forestry Approved. If there is no stamp then you must assume you do not have one. There are many aftermarket companies that manufacture silencers with built in sparky arrestors. These silencers not only provide the proper spark control, but they quiet the exhaust note of your bike as well. Add-on spark arrestors are available for some models and need to riveted or bolted on to your stock exhaust. They will provide adequate protection.

Fuel Range

Any time you are planning a ride in the Rocky Mountains, it is necessary to carry extra fuel. A well-planned trip around Taylor Park will bring you in close proximity to a few different gas stations, but you still need to either use a large capacity fuel tank or carry extra fuel in a bottle in your pack. You will need at least 2.5 to 2.9 gallons of fuel for a long days ride. Trying to maintain a steady throttle hand will help to maximize your fuel range. Expect 80-90 miles on a stock KTM 2- or 4-stroke motorcycle.

IMS, Clarke and Acerbis offer larger capacity fuel tanks that are available for most dirt bikes. They cost between $200 and $300. Aluminum fuel bottles can be purchased at most outdoor stores and are well suited for carrying extra fuel in your pack.

Bike Protection

Taylor Park offers some of the smoothest, loamy trails in Colorado. But it also has some of the most rocky, technical and challenging trail anywhere in the U.S. Your motorcycle must be capable of withstanding some severe abuse. Skid plates, disk guards, radiator guards and hand guards are important items to install before you come to Taylor. Even with these precautions, things still have a way of going wrong and rocks and sticks find their way into places they don’t belong.


With a huge variety of terrain, tire choice can be somewhat frightening. Many riders are now using a trials universal on the rear and a hard pack tire on the front. The trials tire has proven to be a good choice in rocks and roots, but also handles soft terrafirma. The trials tire is friendly to the environment as it does not turn up the dirt. It is not recommended that you skimp on tires because you will wear them out. Plan to have installed new rubber front and rear before you go. Please choose a tire that will have the least impact on our environment.

Tire pressure depends on the tire, but generally run them a few pounds higher than you normally would (14 to 16m psi).

Heavy-duty tubes are a good investment to keep your trip moving forward. The new tubeless product is a good idea.  Anything you can do to keep from changing a flat on the trail.

Tools and Spare Parts

A good quality fanny pack or backpack is necessary for any long excursion in the mountains. Acerbis makes a number of different options. Keep in mind that you are carrying essentials to get you back to a major road if you have a problem.  This is a short list of recommended items.

  • Tire irons—Try to find the ones that incorporate an axle wrench.
  • Scabs or tube patches in a repair kit.
  • Valve core removal tool
  • 8-way screwdriver
  • Small “T” handle wrench with 6,8,10,12,13mm sockets
  • 8,10,12,13mm end wrenches
  • 22/27mm combo wrench
  • Matches/ Lighter
  • Flashlight

Bolts and nuts are always bound to come loose from any dirt bike. Make sure you carry enough spares to get you back to camp in the event you should lose some. Go over your common nuts and bolts. Make a checklist of some of the most common bolts and have a couple spares. Safety wire and duct tape is very handy as well.

Riding Gear

Weather conditions change in a moment’s notice at altitude. Being equipped to handle the changes can make for a more enjoyable ride. The temperature will change from 80 degrees at camp to as low as 40 degrees at 14,000 ft.

Regular MX style riding gear will work as long as you have a raincoat or some type of jacket when things get ugly. I recommend an enduro-style waterproof jacket with removable sleeves. Coats like these will have an assortment of pockets for your wallet or anything you want to access frequently.

I also suggest that you waterproof your riding boots, as you will see many creek and water crossings. If possible, bring two sets of gear so that you always have a dry set.

Feel free to call or email me if you have any questions about getting ready for your Rocky Mountain ride.



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