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Pit Bikes

Pit Bike Parts – What Do You Need?

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Finding good quality pit bike parts and spares can be a challenging task. With hundreds of parts now available from around the world you need to be picky in selecting the best ones for your minibike.

In this article I will run through the most popular uprated pit bike parts you can currently get hold of including some which will tune your pit bike up a bit and liven up the riding experience for not a whole lot of money.

However, fun mods and tinkering isn’t the whole story, us conscientious pit bike owners also love to keep on top of maintenance and repairs to our little off-roaders too, so I will also recommend which wear parts might need replacing to keep your bike in tip top running order.

Upgraded Pit Bike Parts & Mods

Let’s start with the fun stuff! Everyone loves getting hands on and modifying their pit bikes to make them unique with their own touch, or just the best they can be.

The truth is, lots of parts which come installed on pit bikes from the manufacturer are less than durable. This is a big factor which makes pit bikes such an affordable way to get into riding motorcycles, which can be a good thing!

However, many of the OE stock parts fail much earlier than expected, especially with the cheaper pit bikes on the market.

Luckily, this is no longer a big problem for pit bike owners. There are now hundreds of large and small manufacturers producing uprated pit bike parts which can not only transform the quality of your bike, but potentially give it a bit more horsepower to boot!

This is my take on the most popular pit bike parts and what to look out for when shopping for each of them.

Larger Carburettor

This is one of the best bang-for-buck mods you can do to any pit bike. The OE stock carburettor your pit bike came with is guaranteed to be somewhat restrictive. While they are not known as big failure points, they are known as big opportunities for getting a bit more power out of a little pit bike engine.

Larger CC displacement pit bike engines respond particularly well to a larger diameter carburettor and it allows for freer flow of air fuel mixture into the cylinder and quite often a better mix for combustion too.

Standard pit bike carbs tend to be 16mm, or 22mm with a shallow float bowl. Uprated carbs have a larger throttle usually measuring larger at around 26mm offering higher flow and more power at the top end of the rev range for your pit bike.

When selecting a larger carb, you need to be mindful of the space available on your pit bike, it’s not uncommon to find that aftermarket parts don’t fit properly, so it’s worth doing the extra research before ordering.

As this is a common issue, there are also a wide variety of intake manifolds available which can allow you to position your larger pit bike carburettor into a better position, and ideally a carburettor will be perfectly up-right, but many get away with a slight tilt with no negative effects.

It’s also worth taking note of the heat spacer between your carburettor and intake manifold, this can add an additional 5mm or so and it’s far too important to leave out. No engine runs at its best when it’s consuming hot air or fuel.

Larger Front Sprocket

Larger front sprockets are another big bang-for-buck mod you can do to your pit bike. Fitting a larger front sprocket alters your gearing to be longer and means you can ride at an increased speed in every gear.

If you’re riding your pit bike on the road, if for example you’ve registered it, this should be your first mod for sure as it raises the top speed of your pit bike meaning you can more easily keep up with traffic.

Unfortunately, fitting a larger front sprocket does come at a slight cost to low-down acceleration. As standard, pit bikes generally come with short gearing designed more for racing, causing you to want to rapidly shift up and down through the gears to stay within the engine’s powerband.

This setup is great when you’re racing on a dirt track, but less than ideal on flat ground or an open road. In those situations you would be far happier with a larger front sprocket on your pit bike which lets you ride around at higher speeds with less gear shifting.

In true pit bike form, almost all of them come equipped with the same standard 420-pitch 15-tooth front sprocket. The common upgrade of choice would be the 17-tooth sprocket which can boost your top speed by 10mph or so. For the modest price you can pick these up for, it really is a great value performance mod.

If you really want to bump up that top speed to the max, there are also many smaller rear sprockets available that will increase the effect even further, but at this point you may well start to notice some of that missing acceleration.

Folding Clutch and Brake Levers

If you’re riding your pit bike on dirt regularly, you’re guaranteed to have a few spills here and there, it’s all part of the fun.

As long as you’re not doing anything too silly, and wearing the correct protective gear, the majority of the time you can simply get up and dust yourself off, and quite often your bike too.

However, there are a few specific parts on your pit bike that are particularly vulnerable to these knocks. The most common breakage item being your clutch and brake levers afield to the handlebars.

As standard these items are generally quite fragile and it really doesn’t take much to snap them. Again I think this is one of those places where most manufacturers are saving a bit of money on production.

Luckily, there are a vast array uf uprated clutch and brake levers available now, and some come with an extremely nifty feature that allows them to fold with the impact when bent the wrong way. This means your levers can simply spring back to their idle position after an off, rather than snap away potentially leaving you stranded.

You can also select levers of different lengths and styles to suit your riding style, and they are widely available in attractive anodised colours too so you can put that personal styling touch on your bike while you’re at it.

Performance Exhaust

Pit bikes have that distinctive single cylinder sound synonymous with four-stroke dirt bikes, this sound can either be quite tuneful or a very rowdy depending on your taste in exhausts.

As pit bikes often use the same routing for exhausts systems, helped by the fact the engines are almost always laid out in a consistent orientation, you’ve potentially got hundreds of exhausts to choose from!

Many of the cheap performance exhaust systems available from Chinese suppliers are more or less untested and unreviewed, and these will likely be a bit louder than the standard system, and may be a bit more robust and good looking too, but they don’t generally offer any additional power gains over standard.

Other exhausts are a bit more carefully designed using plenty of research and development with time on a dyno to tune their shapes and length for maximum exhaust scavenging effect and smooth flow. These exhausts often sound louder than stock too, but they offer power gains to boot.

These performance exhaust systems are often quite a bit more expensive and it’s one of those mods you aspire to doing, but save for later on in your build, and it’s only really needed if you’re doing competitive racing on your pit bike.

Uprated Foot Pegs

Seat time is one thing, but on a pit bike (or any other dirt bike) you’ll spend most of your time standing on the pegs and moving around rather than sitting on the seat.

The standard foot pegs that come with many pit bikes leave a lot to be desired and the last thing you want to deal with when riding is the fear of your peg snapping off, and when you can feel them bending under load, you sure do worry.

If you’re spending long stints riding your pit bike, you may also face discomfort from the standard foot pegs as they tend to be smaller.

Uprated pit bike foot pegs are commonplace now, and for a modest price you can pick up a much sturdier set of pegs that instil confidence and encourage you to take on that next jump flat out.

Uprated pegs usually have a slightly wider standing area which can greatly increase rider comfort by spreading the weight load across a wider surface area on your feet. Quite often they come with much better designed contact surfaces too which get more bite on the soles of your boots giving you a much more sure-footed riding experience.

This is one of those mods that can really transform the feel of your pit bike and make it much more pleasant to ride.

Pit Bike Wheels

When it comes to dirt bikes, you often select your wheel size based on your height and the size of bike you like to ride.

With pit bikes it’s much the same, however with their more unusual suspension setups pit bikes usually run small wheels without compromising on height anyway. Pit bike wheels often vary from about 12 to 17inch diameters

Traditionally you want to run a small rear wheel for faster acceleration and a larger front wheel to take on the big bumps with good stability.

One of the key limitations when riding a pit bike off-road is the thinner tyre width than you’d normally get on a dirt bike. The issue with this is you’ve got a smaller contact patch to provide traction, this can be a particular issue when you’re trying to tackle an ascent or even a descent on a loose surface.

It’s not that the bike doesn’t have the strength or the braking power, its that the skinny tyres can’t quite grip the surface. For this reason, I’d alway suggest selecting wheels with quality tyres by a well respected brand such as Kenda.

The standard wheels that come on pit bikes have a tendency to bend slightly or buckle when put through rigorous off-road duties, and while they can be trued again if you know what you’re doing, it’s often not worth the cost of effort of doing so.

So the right way to go is some uprated rims that will take the hard knocks and leaps of faith associated with off-road riding.

A new trend that has emerged is supermoto style pit bikes, you can often simply swap your dirt bike wheels for smaller 12” road wheels and transform your off-road pit bike into a little road missile and tear up the tarmac.

Uprated Rear Shock Absorber

Like wheels, the shock absorbers on your pit bike can take a real beating through off road use, especially with adult or older teenage riders at the helm.

It’s remarkable how expensive high-end shock absorbers can be, even ones designed for pedal powered bicycles! They quite often cost more than an entire pit bike in those applications..

Sadly this is with good reason, and a high end rear shock absorber is a thing of beauty with considerable engineering expertise and development invested in its design, creation and setup.

The rear shock absorber on your pit bike can often look a million bucks, but if we’re talking about a lower or mid-range pit bike, I can assure you it looks a lot better than it is.

If you find your suspension really bouncy while riding around its a sign of poor damping from the shock and the rebound of every bump can often cost you tyre traction as the shock takes a while to settle.

Equally if your suspension seems very hard and rattles your bones as you ride around, it could be that your spring is too firm or your shock absorber is over-damped causing it to be far too stiff to maintain constant tyre contact with the dirt.

You can really push the boat out and get your bike an extremely sophisticated shock absorber, and if you’re racing in competition you might well want to do that to get the edge on your competitors.

However, a small and more modest upgrade can go a long way. Keep your eye out for shocks that have a remote oil reservoir outside of the main shock body as this can often be a sign of a quality item. The remote reservoir allows for more oil in the shock and helps to keep it cool even if it’s being worked hard.

High Flow Air Filters

If you were to think of a performance modification for any motor, this would probably be the first one that entered your head.

Air filters are crucial bits of kit that can extend the life of your engine considerably, or shorten it, depending on which way you go. So it’s well worth shopping around and working out which air filter is the right one for you.

You’re looking for a combination of high flow and excellent air filtration, and annoyingly you quite often end up with one or the other, especially at the cheaper end of the market.

As long as you’re using a sensible air filter on your pit bike engine, the chances are there isn’t much gain to be made performance-wise over the stock air filter. Plus, if you’re riding off-road in mud, dirt, sand, shallow water or on any other loose surface, your air filter is likely to get a real workout.

Because of this, it’s probably wise to focus on getting a good quality filter which will keep your pit bike engine running sweet for hours of riding to come. It’s good to keep your eye out for air filters that can be cleaned and re-oiled, this tends to be a sign that they have good build quality, and of course, you will want to be cleaning your filter out regularly, even if it’s just a quick blast of compressed air.

Uprated Kick Start

Sometimes it’s the little things in life that have the biggest impact, and pit bike kick start levers are just that.

As standard, your pit bike is almost guaranteed to come with a flimsy kick start which starts off well, but gradually gets worse over time with use.

The usual story is that the folding lever part of the kick start begins to bend downwards slightly thanks to some hard kicking, and once its bent downwards, even just slightly, your foot will continually slip off while you’re trying to kick start the bike.

As you can imagine, this can really spoil your experience with the bike and increase frustration considerably. You’ll wish you had an electric start in no time at all!

Luckily this is one of the most common complaints from pit bike owners and the solutions are now readily available. You can find yourself a much sturdier kick-start lever crafted from billet. These are often also better-designed items that fold out from the bottom rather than the top of the lever giving it much more strength.

This is a great upgrade that can massively improve your pit bike ownership experience for relatively little cost.

Full Pit Bike Engine Kit

Pit bikes were born as little customisation projects to begin with, so it’s no surprise to find people still modding them to the extreme now.

In normal circumstances, hearing anyone say “engine swap” pricks up the ear and raises at least one eyebrow. However, with pit bikes, an engine swap is nowhere near as extreme an undertaking as you’d expect.

Generally pit bikes come with the same engine mounting bolt pattern no matter the brand or manufacturer. There are of course exceptions to this rule, however generally it’s true.

Thanks to this super-simplified engine layout and mounting design, you can swap out a tired old pit bike engine for a new and larger CC replacement in less than an hour, with no difficult custom fabrication work in sight!

It’s so easy to do, that many pit bike owners buy pit bike engine kits as an easy solution to the problem of wanting to make more power. If you picked yourself up a 110cc pit bike for example, and were getting a lot of joy out of riding it, you might easily justify to yourself the idea of upgrading to a 140cc or even a 160cc engine kit to get that bit more power.

And as far as hobbies go, it’s not the most expensive one out there either with full pit bike engine kits coming in for only a few hundred brand new.

At this point, it’s worth bearing in mind that not all pit bike engine kits are created equal. You can often be tempted in by cheaper higher displacement unbranded engines, but you must resist temptation on this one as these engines are often poorly put together and can quickly lead on to a bike that doesn’t run at all, never mind fast.

In my opinion, it’s certainly worth doing some additional research and paying a little bit more for an engine that won’t let you down.

One of the most popular engines available right now is the Piranha 140cc pit bike engine kit which has proven to be a stalwart little engine unit despite its more ambitious displacement.

Pit Bike Spare Parts & Maintenance Parts

Now the exciting mods are out of the way, I thought i’d give a quick mention to those parts which you should keep a small stock of if you’re a pit bike owner. These won’t necessarily light your world on fire, but what good is a pit bike you can’t ride anyway?

In our experience, there’s nothing more annoying than wheeling your pit bike into the sun ready to blow off the cobwebs up your local trail and then discovering a major issue which will scupper your plans.

This below list of parts and consumables can often be just what you need in a pinch so its great to have them to hand:

  1. Engine Oil
    Engine’s benefit greatly from regular oil changes, especially if you’re running them hard. Not only should you change your oil often, but you should also keep your eye on the oil level before each ride and top it up whenever it needs it.
  1. Fuel Filter
    If you’re having a lot of trouble starting your bike after it’s been sat for a prolonged period of time, it can quite often be down to a clogged fuel filter, especially if you’ve been topping the tank up with an old jerry can from time to time.
    A spare fuel filter costs next to nothing, but it can often be the difference between riding and not.
  1. Inner tubes
    If you’re riding off-road punctured inner tubes are simply a fact of life. If you don’t take spares with you, I can guarantee you’ll wish you did.
    Having spare tubes can prevent you from having to cut your day out at the track or trail short.
  1. Spark Plugs
    Again, spark plugs are consumable and they can also fail, it’s well worth having a spare plug or two with you, they don’t take much space in the van either.
    It’s also worth removing your spark plug and checking its condition every so often too, spark plug condition often tells the story of how an engine is running.
Pit bike spark plug engine maintenance

Hopefully, the above has shed some light on the complicated issue of pit bike parts and spares. There’s almost too much choice in the pit bike marketplace these days, and sorting the wheat from the chaff is a process you’ll need to get used to.

With the above recommendations you can be confident in your pit bikes handling, performance and durability in all scenarios, and this can really increase the pleasure of pit bike ownership.

Some of the mods can offer just as much in aesthetic terms as they do in practical ones, and putting your own personal touch on your pit bike can really bring it all together for you.

If you think I’ve missed any key pit bike parts, upgrades or mods, feel free to stick them in the description and share your knowledge with us.

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