Dear Mr. Know-It-All,
My 2003 KX125 has started running as if someone stuffed a giant Idaho spud down the throat of its exhaust. It’s super rich and loads up badly. It has a fresh motor all around from top to bottom. I haven’t touched the carb, as it ran great beforehand. What else could be wrong with this fine piece of machinery?
Nolan Sparks
via [email protected]

As long as your muffler is not clogged (could be broken internally via a decrepit inner core) or your sister has not stuffed a tuber down your muffler, you most likely have a chipped, warped or cracked reed. When they fail to seal properly, it has a totally offensive effect on your two-stroke’s performance. If you don’t see any obvious cracks or chips, hold the cage up to the light and see if any daylight comes through the sealing surface. Reeds will curve and warp when they have been hammered past their intended life cycle. We have had grand results with both Boyesen and Moto Tassinari reed petals. 

Dear Mr. Know-It-All,
I’m an old guy and trying to keep riding off-road for a few more years. The other day I hit a ditch that compressed the suspension on my bike (as it should), and something in my neck didn’t feel right. I told my doctor about it, and he says my back can’t absorb that kind of shock anymore, and I probably got neck whiplash from the weight of my helmet. I got a neck brace, which should help, but I need to get a lighter helmet. I even heard that some guys are going with mountain bike helmets to wear something really light! What helmet weight is considered light? Thank you for your valuable time.
Gary Zupanic
Via [email protected]

I would definitely not consider using a mountain bike helmet, though serious downhill mountain bike racers now use a downhill-specific helmet with ASTM F1952 certification, and they probably go faster than I do in the woods on my 300. Speeds on the average motorcycle are higher than MTBs, so safety should be a priority over light weight. And while there is a huge amount of conjecture about Snell, DOT and ECE standards, technology from companies like 6D uses omni-directional suspension to reduce concussions at slower speeds, many name brands like Bell, Alpinestars and Airoh use MIPS (the shell and liner are separated by a low-friction layer that reduces rotational motion), and companies like Shoei, Arai, Leatt and Fly have their own impact dispersion systems that work well for off-road dirt bike riders.

However, if you’re still concerned with light weight, the Airoh Aviator 2.3­—though hard to find—is the lightest motorcycle helmet. UFO makes a very light helmet in the Diamond, and the Leatt GPX 6.5 is in the hunt as well.

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