The first motocross events were attended by racers using the road bikes, adapted to ride cross-country routes. Motorcycles were lightened by removing the parts unnecessary for competition: headlamps, stop lamps, luggage rack, passenger footboards, and mirrors. In addition, the motorcycle suspension was strengthened and the engine power increased.
Dirt bikes production led to evolutionary changes in the design of the motorcycles. Initially very wide handlebar, designed to increase the rotation lever, has been shortened, while the fork clearance and pendulum click were increased. Exhaust pipes, located below, were elevated to prevent their damage when the bike fall.
Reducing the engine weight and forcing its power has led to replacing of quite widespread, but a bit heavy four-stroke engines by two-stroke, easy-to-manufacture engines. Single-cylindered engines have become extremely popular. The appearance of dirt tires allowed to fundamentally improve the manageability of the motorcycle. Electric starter was replaced by the kick-starter and the battery was abolished.
In the 80’s, these innovations laid the foundation of the modern dirt bike construction with the saddle partly covering the tank, making the rider movements more comfortable. Heavy and inefficient drum type brake was replaced by disc brake, which had completely supplanted the old system by the mid-90’s. The most important improvements were made to the suspension. Progressive suspension with monoshock increased the click of the pendulum, reduce weight and, although it was somewhat more complex, did the work properly in all modes.
Another significant change was introducing water cooling system, which replaced the air in the 80’s.
Further innovations were also associated with a reduction of spring-suspended weight, which led to an inverted front fork, allowing front suspension run much better at the high speed. The developing of new alloys and materials allowed to make changes that improve the engine output. In the late 90’s, with stricter environmental standards, four-stroke engines reentered the market, as the latest developments have made such motors lighter and more durable.
Thus, modern serial dirt bikes have large suspension travel of 300 mm, more powerful engine, and lighter frame. According to the type of the workflow, the bikes can be equipped with two-stroke (2T) or four-stroke (4T) engine. Moreover, they have no lighting equipment, mirrors, instrument panel, side stop, and as a rule do not have the electric starter.
However, for example, a KTM dirt bike series had electric starter back in the 2011.
Dirt bikes are not recorded in the State Traffic organs, as they are not for travelling on public roads and may not have a title and number plate. You do not need driver’s licence to ride a dirt bike, as it is a sporting equipment.
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