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Beginner Dirt Bike Riding Tips

Beginner Dirt Bike Riding Tips

Riding dirt bikes is some of the most fun you can have on two wheels. After all, who doesn’t like the idea of exploring trails in the wilderness, railing through a berm, or hitting jumps with family and friends by your side? New to riding? Don’t worry, here’s our favorite beginner dirt bike riding tips & tricks.

Young or old, big, or small, there are dirt bikes to cover every off-road rider and there is a lot of information to digest. We all start somewhere and before we’re roosting like the pros. We need to educate ourselves to help flatten that learning curve.

We’ll be covering all the basics with these helpful beginner dirt bike riding tips — from gear, and bike choice, down to riding fundamentals, we’re going to get you pointed in the right direction for your upcoming ride. 

Quantum Fuel Systems is the last word in high-quality direct-OE replacement fuel pump and fuel system components. Our helpful staff put QFS products to the test in their own dirt bikes. All QFS-branded products are backed by an industry leading lifetime warranty. Visit our catalog to explore our massive selection, ensuring that you and your motorcycle stay on the trail or motocross track.

First Bike Choices: Start Small and Think Big

One of the most common mistakes new riders make is failing to pick an appropriate starter bike. In many cases, beginner riders will choose a motorcycle that’s too powerful, too big, and too intimidating. This only hinders your ability to develop foundational skills and thrive over your riding career.

The logic behind starting with a bigger dirt bike is that a rider can “grow into it”. While that strategy has worked for some people, in most cases, it simply makes getting into off-road riding challenging. 

Learning fundamental skills such as throttle, clutch, and brake control is exponentially more difficult on machines designed for experienced riders. Typically, that means larger-displacement motorcycles that boast higher engine performance, weight, and price tags.  

We suggest new riders “start small and think big.” A low-displacement dirt bike will often have a lower seat height, allowing an easier reach to the ground, offering welcoming engine performance, and have a reasonable introductory cost. 

Taller teens and adults should avoid getting anything above a 300cc trail bike as their first off-road motorcycle. If we’re talking about motocross specifically, then lighter riders shouldn’t go above 125cc while adults can most likely begin on a 250cc MX bike due to their size. 

Shorter and younger riders should consider 110cc, 140cc, and 230cc options as they’re all aimed directly at new riders. Meanwhile, kids have a wealth of options starting as low as 50cc. Visit a reputable local dealer and try things on for size before putting your cash down. 

Gear Up

Wearing proper safety equipment is the difference between brushing off a hard hit and visiting the hospital. Whether you’re riding motocross, trails, or dual sport, we recommend investing in high-quality U.S. DOT-approved helmets, durable goggles, armor, knee braces, boots, and riding apparel. 

High-end riding equipment can be cost-prohibitive, especially for new riders just getting their feet wet in the sport. Beginner armor sets, riding pants, and jerseys will save riders quite a bit, but no one should skimp on helmets or boots. Buy the highest-quality and safest options within your budget. 

Clutch and Throttle Control

Mastering the clutch and throttle is crucial for any rider as we constantly manipulate them while riding. It all comes down to timing and understanding when to disengage the clutch, roll the throttle on or off, shift through the gears, or blend the clutch and throttle simultaneously.

Practice makes perfect, and it’s best to take things slow with any new skill or motorcycle. Start by sitting on the motorcycle while it’s not running and become familiar with all its controls. Where are the front and rear brakes? Where are the clutch and shift levers? Locate the start button (or kick starter) and kill switch. Then familiarize yourself with the shift pattern  — 1, N, 2, 3, 4, 5 is a typical transmission layout, though yours may differ.

Get your bike ready to roll and fire up the engine with the transmission in neutral. Pull in the clutch lever and press down into first gear. Slowly release the clutch lever until you feel the engagement point. This is also called the friction zone, where the clutch begins engaging, and power is transferred to the rear wheel.  

Feed the clutch lever out until the motorcycle rolls forward under its power and paddle along with your feet. Pull in the clutch again after a few feet. Repeat that a handful of times before adding throttle to help initiate your start. A small amount of throttle can go a long way. Always remember to make your inputs as smooth and progressive as possible. As you begin rolling, completely release the clutch lever and use the throttle to slowly accelerate, selecting the next gear as you feel the engine wind out.

It won’t take long before you add more throttle and explore by shifting up and down through the gearbox. Always use the clutch when selecting a different gear. This approach helps prolong the life of your transmission and clutch when not using advanced clutch-less shifting techniques.

Body Positioning

There’s much more to riding a dirt bike than simply sitting on it, and the pros make it look easy. Experienced riders constantly move in the saddle, shifting their weight when accelerating, cornering, jumping, or stopping. 

You’ll see riders often standing or sitting at any given time and we know what you’re about to ask, “when do I stand or sit on a dirt bike?” Well, the answer is that it depends. Speaking broadly, standing can help when riding on rocky, bumpy, or fast terrain. Sitting down conserves energy, and you’ll want to use that when on relatively flat roads, but it can be useful when cornering and negotiating slow, technical sections.  

We call standing while riding the “attack position,” and it will feel awkward at first: Keep practicing and building stamina because standing offers the most feedback and control when riding off-road. There are several benefits from riding like this, but chief among them is the ability to keep your weight centered on the bike, adjust your weight to different areas of the motorcycle quickly, and above all else, use your legs to help absorb hits.

Get into the attack position by standing on the balls of your feet, knees slightly bent and gently squeezing the seat for stabilization, elbows held high, and your head over your handlebars. Riding tense will make you fight the bike’s movement and tire you out quickly. Above all, you must stay loose and let the motorcycle move freely.

In extremely slippery, technical, and slow-going terrain, riders may sit and “paddle” with their legs because they’re not moving fast enough to balance correctly. Sitting is useful as well and lets us relax, which is important on long rides. But it is also useful when cornering or loading the rear wheel for additional grip while accelerating.

Cornering

Cornering is all about weight distribution and helping the motorcycle generate grip. There are a few steadfast rules with turning, even if the techniques might vary from each type of corner, such as flat turns, berms, or rutted corners. Always be smooth with your braking and throttle inputs, and most importantly, load the outside footpeg.

In most cases, we want our weight forward towards the fuel tank. This creates better traction and get the bike to turn. Off-road riding usually doesn’t allow you to lean with the motorcycle unless you’re using a berm or rut in a corner.

Riders will use their core strength to sit upright as the bike leans left or right. As we initiate the turn, it’s crucial to distribute your body weight through the outside footpeg with your outer elbow held high. If you’re turning right, the bike will lean right, while you sit upright and with half your butt on the left side of the seat.

Also, make sure that you lift your inside leg towards the front mudguard to keep your boot from catching the ground. Not only does this bias more weight towards the front wheel, but it reduces the chance of catching your boot and causing an injury. 

Berms and rutted turns have positive camber and allow you to lean with the bike, sitting in the center of the seat. Everything else still applies, and true beginners won’t be hard-charging berms or rutted corners yet. 

Vision

You go where you look when riding motorcycles. Even veteran riders need remind themselves to look far down the trail or track. 

Always scan back and forth, far beyond the front fender, since you’ll be able to identify and anticipate obstacles ahead. It’s easy to get fatigued and drop our eyes when riding, leading to severe problems as the pace picks up. 

Braking

Your brakes are potent, especially when using knobby tires that dig into the dirt, creating loads of traction. Your front brake will provide far more stopping force than the rear, but they are equally important and must be used strategically. 

Newer riders should never forget to be smooth and progressive with their braking inputs. Jamming on the brakes will break traction, lock the wheel, and cause a tumble. Progressively loading the levers will allow the suspension to compress and the tires to bite confidently. 

Become familiar with braking by practicing at low speeds, applying each brake independently, and learning when the wheels will lock up. Different surfaces provide different levels of grip. Slightly damp dirt offers far more braking potential and traction than mud and your braking pressure will need to be adjusted. Practice using the brakes simultaneously and learning to modulate pressure. 

Practice, Practice, Practice

It doesn’t matter what discipline you happen to do, trail riding, enduro, motocross — it all takes practice and dedication. The good news is that even our favorite pros had to start at the same place with practicing the basics. So, get geared up and start honing your skills with some of these beginner dirt bike riding tips!

Dependable Dirt Bike Repair Parts on Demand

QFS offers reliable replacement components built to meet and exceed OEM specifications. We are open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PT. Our trustworthy staff is standing by to answer any technical questions over the phone or via email.

Motorcycle Types Explained

Motorcycle Types Explained

The motorcycle landscape is constantly evolving. There are makes and models for every type of riding and rider these days. Wind the clock back a few decades, and that wasn’t the case. Seeing as we now have a cornucopia of motorcycle types packing dealership floors.

Whether you’re thinking about kickstarting your riding career or are a salty veteran with the bugs on your visor or goggles to prove it, we’ll break down the most common motorcycle categories available today to keep you informed. 

Motorcycle Types

Adventure (ADV)

BMW R 1250 GS

Adventure motorcycles are built as rugged as they look and not stop when the pavement ends — hence the name, Adventure or ADV.

ADV bikes are the motorcycling equivalent to a modern SUV. They can hit any terrain thanks to their long-travel suspension, increased ground clearance, and larger wheel sizes.

Meanwhile, aspects like their great comfort and excellent wind protection make them wonderful choices for long-distance riding. You can always spot an ADV motorcycle because it will look like a dirt bike that’s hit the gym.

Adventure bikes can ride off-road, but that isn’t their primary purpose. The more expensive, heavier, and larger-displacement ADV motorcycles can become challenging to pilot in the dirt because of their weight and size.

These motorcycle types are all-around machines but do incredibly well on the road. Many owners never venture into the trails, enjoying good comfort and massive fuel range. Another benefit is that Adventure motorcycles can accommodate luggage and a passenger easily, making them even more appealing for travel.

The ADV segment has grown over the years with offerings that come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from lower-displacement and more affordable models fit for beginners to pricier, high-performance, and technologically advanced offerings for more experienced motorcyclists. 

If you need a bike that can go long distances and do some light off-road riding, an Adventure (ADV) bike is a great option. 

Café Racer

Triumph Thruxton RS

Café racers date back to London in the 1960s and are a staple in the British motorcycling scene, inspired by professional racing motorcycles of the past. Back then, motorcycle manufacturers didn’t create sportbikes with low clip-on handlebars and aggressive seating positions from the factory.

If you wanted that look and riding style, you had to do it yourself. Riders would take standard motorcycles, strip unnecessary parts, and create race-oriented seating positions suitable for faster riding. The trend still thrives to this day, and since then, many motorcycle makers now offer production café racers capturing that classic style. 

Whether it’s a custom build or production model, café racers are all about looking cool, and there are some fine examples available today. Due to the race-inspired riding position, these motorcycles can become uncomfortable over long distances and are not recommended for newer riders.

Cruiser

Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight

Cruisers do precisely what their name says: Cruise. These long, low motorcycles have a seating position that lets you lean back to enjoy the scenery.

Moreover, cruisers often use a V-twin engine that focuses on delivering most of its power right off the line. In the United States, brands like Harley-Davidson and Indian Motorcycle dominate the cruiser conversation.

Cruisers appeal to newer riders because of their often incredibly low seat and stand-over heights, which help boost those with less experience. In addition, these motorcycle types have a low center of gravity that makes them easier to control.

Lastly, V-twin engines are all about torque and provide useable power much early, which newer riders find reassuring.

Dual Sport

Honda CRF450RL

Dual sport motorcycles are little more than street-legal dirt bikes: Lights, license plates, turn indicators, and emissions equipment is there, but at its core, it’s a dirt bike. Dual sport models are lightweight bikes with long-travel suspension capable of performing off-road riding.

Street-oriented dual-sport machines typically have shorter suspension travel and seat heights, which are great characteristics for riders new to motorcycling. More extreme models are aimed at competition, utilizing additional suspension travel, taller seat heights, and off-road-oriented components.

Dual sports from KTM, Husqvarna, Beta, and Sherco fall in the performance category. Dual sport bikes are some of the few motorcycles where you can leave your garage in the morning, ride the trails all day, and come home on the same roads in the evening.

Those that live close to OHV parks and authorized trails should investigate a dual sport bike.

Naked

Suzuki SV650

Naked bikes are simply motorcycles without fairings, exposing much of the engine and chassis for all to see. In a modern context, naked bikes are derivatives of proper full-fairing sportbikes, offering similar performance and handling characteristics.

However, naked bikes are much more suitable for everyday street riding since they use an upright riding position. They’re also sometimes referred to as streetfighters.

These motorcycle types are on the sporting side of the spectrum and is available in various engine displacements. Options perfect for beginner, intermediate, and advanced riders are common from nearly all manufacturers and is currently one of the most popular categories.

Everyday commutes, sport riding, traveling, and even racetrack riding can be done on these motorcycles, depending on the model and its positioning.  

Standard

Triumph Bonneville T120

Simple and to-the-point two-wheeled transportation. A standard is your classic motorcycle: A bench seat, handlebars, and usually a steel-cradle frame. This segment is vast and includes any motorcycle without fairings for wind protection and a neutral riding position.

Technically, many naked bikes would fit into this class by that description, but standards do not have a performance slant. 

These bikes are great for just about anyone getting into riding and are impressively maneuverable, which makes them exceptional in urban environments. A good standard motorcycle can do a little bit of everything and are suitable for riders with any skill level.

Sportbike

Ducati Panigale V4 S

Sportbikes are the pinnacle of motorcycle technology, flexing the highest performance, most advanced rider aids, and aerodynamic features. For that reason, many sportbikes are the flagship models within a manufacturer’s lineup.

These motorcycles are often referred to as “race replicas” because they are a street-legal version of what’s used in professional racing. 

These high-performance motorcycles are best experienced when ridden aggressively at a racetrack, where the stiff suspension and uncompromising riding position can be put to good use. In a street environment, that demanding riding position can lead to cramping in your legs and wrists when stuck at lower road speeds. 

There are two major classes of sportbikes: 600cc or equivalent Supersports and Superbikes that can exceed 1000cc engine displacements. These bikes are intended for experienced riders only.

However, there are also lightweight 300cc and 400cc sportbikes that are perfect for newer riders, thanks to comfortable riding positions and manageable engine performance.

Touring

Honda GL1800 Gold Wing

Touring motorcycles offer every comfort amenity imaginable: Heated grips, heated seats, wind protection, and infotainment systems designed specifically for touring the country.

Better yet, that all applies to your passenger, too. Racking up hundreds of miles in a single day is easy work on a comfortable touring motorcycle, which also typically features ample storage space for extended trips.

Touring machines come in various styles, yet storage and comfort are consistent traits. In addition, various engine configurations are found in this class, with V-twin, inline-three-cylinder, inline-four-cylinder, and inline-six-cylinder engines used with great success. 

Anything in the touring segment will be big, comfortable, and feature-loaded to keep you happy while riding from state to state. These motorcycle types aren’t popular with younger audiences mainly due to their higher MSRPs, typically attracting older and financially secure buyers. 

Sport Tourer

Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX

What happens when you splice the DNA of a Sportbike and a Touring motorcycle? You get a Sport Tourer.

The creature comforts of a massive luxury touring machine built into a far lighter and sportier motorcycle simply means you can ride much faster through the curves when the opportunity arises.

Sport Touring motorcycles often offer many practical benefits of touring bikes, such as storage, ample wind protection, and heated seats or grips. Still, they allow riders to enjoy a motorcycle that’s quite capable in the corners.

These motorcycles types are always user-friendly and easy to ride, appealing to various skill levels.

Motocross

KTM 450 SX-F

Motocross motorcycles are designed for racing and are meant to be ridden at motocross tracks. Not unlike sportbikes, these machines are engineered for peak off-road performance with massively tall seat heights and powerful single-cylinder engines to match.

The suspension travel is some of the longest in the two-wheeled world, which is needed for soaking up landings when clearing jumps. As uncompromising as motocross sounds, motocross is a segment that offers suitable models for all skill levels and kids as low as 4-years old. 

Trail Bikes

Yamaha WR250F

A motocross, dual-sport, and trail bike look similar to the untrained eye. However, each of those categories has an intended purpose. Trail bikes are incredibly friendly with accommodating seat heights and engine performance that many riders will find agreeable.

These off-road motorcycles are equipped for less intense riding than motocross and are excellent for casual off-road riding. 

It is vital to remember that trail bikes are not street legal, despite sometimes being equipped with lighting. In addition, their use may be seasonally restricted, depending on where you live in the country.

Scooter

Vespa GTS 300

We all know what a scooter is! Scooters are some of the most user-friendly vehicles on the road and typically shift automatically — just twist the grip and off you go. They’re perfect for congested cities where short commutes are common and offer under-seat storage compartments.

In many ways, scooters are the perfect motorcycle types for young people that need economical transportation. In the United States, scooters are classified as motorcycles, meaning that you need a motorcycle endorsement to operate one legally.

QFS Has You Covered With High-Quality Replacement Components

Quantum Fuel Systems supplies high-quality OE replacement fuel system components for countless motorcycle makes and models. Make sure you visit our catalog for anything related to your fuel system — we’ve got it all — fuel pumps, filters, strainers, regulators, O-rings, and much more. 

We use what we sell, and many of our staff are avid riders, enjoying everything from street riding, touring, and off-roading. If we’re not here assisting you with your technical questions and shipping out our lifetime warrantied items to your door, then we’re most likely getting some seat time in ourselves.

If you need replacement fuel system components, contact Quantum Fuels Systems Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PT. Our staff is just as eager to get back riding as you are and are happy to assist you over the phone or email.

5 Ways To Maintain Your Fuel System

5 Ways To Maintain Your Fuel System

Outdoor recreation is booming, which means more people are using their Powersports vehicles. Motorcycles, dirt bikes, ATVs, UTVs/Side-By-Sides, snowmobiles, and personal watercraft are racking up hours across the United States as new riders and families join in on the fun. Motorcycle sales alone were up nearly 10 percent in 2021, hitting their highest levels in 15 years.  We’re going to go over five easy ways to maintain your fuel system and ensure it’s in good working order, giving you peak performance, fuel mileage, and reliability.

All that time out on the road, trail, or water does add up, and responsible owners know that to get the most out of our vehicles, they need to keep up with regular maintenance. Even the most diligent owners and DIY mechanics overlook their fuel systems until there is a problem. 

Don’t think these tips are exclusive to your motorcycle, quad, or UTV — these maintenance suggestions apply to any car, truck, or RV equipped with Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI).  These tips are to help prevent fuel pump failure, regardless of vehicle type.

Quantum Fuel Systems (QFS) is the authority in high-quality direct OE replacement fuel system components. All QFS-branded parts are backed by an industry-leading lifetime warranty and are designed to meet or exceed OEM quality. Visit our catalog for all your fuel system needs when maintaining or repairing your fuel pump or fuel system.

1. Keep Your Fuel Tank Full

This is one of the most straightforward tips of the bunch and applies to any standard in-tank fuel pump conveniently located inside your fuel tank. In-tank fuel pumps are constantly submerged in liquid fuel, helping lubricate and cool one of the hardest working components in your fuel system.

Radiant heat from the engine and the fuel pump’s electric motor will increase fuel temperature as your fuel load drops, putting more stress on the fuel pump and causing it to work harder, leading to premature failure.

While today’s gas prices certainly aren’t making things easy for consumers, one of the simplest ways to maintain the health of your fuel pump is never run on empty. Always try to stay above ¼, and your fuel pump will thank you for it. 

2. Don’t Fill Up When The Fuel Delivery Truck Is At The Gas Station

We know that this suggestion might sound like an urban myth, but there is nothing subtle about how a tanker truck dispenses fuel into gas station holding tanks. Thousands of gallons of fuel are dumped into a tank rapidly, stirring up sediment, debris, and even water resting at the bottom.

None of that material is suitable for your fuel system, and it’s best to let the sediment settle before filling up at that station.

3. Inspect Or Replace Filters And Strainers

Filters and strainers are the first and last words in protecting your fuel system. Without them, harmful particulates can mix with a sticky fuel remnant known as gasoline varnish, wreaking havoc on the precision components found in the fuel system and engine. Clogged or damaged filters and strainers can lead to performance loss and premature wear on your internal components.

The first line of defense your fuel system has is a fuel pump strainer that prevents sand, dirt, and foreign objects from clogging or damaging parts. Once a strainer has absorbed all the material it can, it will restrict flow, which puts unnecessary strain on the fuel pump. 

Fuel filters serve the same purpose as a strainer and are typically further up in the fuel system chain. Filters defend engine components, such as your fuel injectors and sensors, from anything that manages to get past the fuel pump strainer.

A clogged filter is detrimental to proper fuel flow, and foreign objects are equally harmful to the rest of your fuel system, clogging small passages and causing performance loss or outright mechanical problems.

Always remember that street-focused motorcycles, cars, and trucks will have much higher service intervals than anything off-road oriented. The harsher off-road environment can quickly introduce dust, dirt, and debris into the fuel system, making maintenance schedules far more frequent on dirt bikes, ATVs, and UTVs/Side-By-Sides.

If you want to maintain your fuel system, stick to regularly servicing the smaller components that you may forget about when doing routine maintenance.

Be sure to reference your model-specific manual for exact mileage/hour figures. Our complete line of filters and strainers are designed to withstand harsh fuel additives and ethanol-based gasoline, ensuring filtration and performance.

ethanol and fuel pumps

4. Clean Your Injectors

Fuel injectors do precisely that: Inject fuel into the engine throttle body or cylinder, allowing a precise amount of atomized fuel to be delivered for proper combustion. Injectors are electronically controlled valves operated by a solenoid that must open and close with extreme accuracy.

Over time, deposits can restrict their spray pattern, causing symptoms like performance loss, decreased fuel economy, rough idle, and misfires. 

Cleaning injectors do not apply to low-mileage/low-hour vehicles unless they’ve sat unused for long periods. Any late model or high-mileage vehicle can benefit from a thorough injector cleaning.

There are plenty of aftermarket tools, solvents, and fuel additives to help clean your injector system. These products remove varnish, build-up, and deposits from small passages, allowing the injector spray pattern to function as intended.

The most effective way to clean any delicate precision component is using ultrasonic cleaning tools. At-home mechanics can purchase specialized tools, but many authorized service shops have the equipment to perform this task.

Ultrasonic cleaning uses high-frequency sound waves transmitted through a liquid to scrub and clean surfaces through a process known as cavitation. These tools are incredibly adept at removing build-up, oils, and other deposits that might obstruct the spray pattern. Ensuring injectors are spraying properly is necessary to maintain your fuel system.

If you find that your injectors are beyond repair, QFS sells direct replacements from reputable brands such as Bosch, Injector Dynamics, RC Engineering, and Siemens Deka. We also stock PnP adapters and wiring harnesses built to fit seamlessly with their respective fuel injector.

5. Maintain Electrical Components

Electrical gremlins are tough, especially when you’re out having fun on your bike, UTV/Side-By-Side, or personal watercraft. Inspecting and double-checking electrical connections is as crucial as changing fluids according to cited service intervals, although many owners don’t make it part of their routine. 

Loose or damaged connectors and wiring can lead to problems beyond intermittent issues. These bad connections could lead to a total failure of a fuel pump, pop fuses or relays, and leave you stranded.

During your routine maintenance, make it a habit to inspect all electrical connections, especially those on off-road oriented vehicles that are subject to running in dirty environments and taking lots of abuse. 

It’s also advisable to test critical electrical systems with a voltage meter to detect problems before they cause harm. While you’re there, hit the electrical connections with some contact cleaner to clean the conductive surfaces.

Lastly, those doing long-distance rides or drives should always look at the most common fuses and relays in their fuse box and carry a spare.

At the most basic level, ensuring your battery is healthy and fully charged is a good place to start. Depending on your charging system, a weak battery can reduce fuel pressure and create lean conditions.

Always keep batteries maintained with a modern “smart charger” that not only maintains a full charge but reconditions your battery and provides a long service life.  

Have Any Questions? Give Quantum Fuel Systems A Call Today!

Quantum Fuel Systems is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PT. We are happy to assist our customers over the phone, or you can browse our extensive catalog. Have any technical questions? Our trained support team will get back to you with answers.

Breaking Down Fuel Pump Terminology: EFI, E85, LPH, Small Parts, and More

Breaking Down Fuel Pump Terminology: EFI, E85, LPH, Small Parts, and More

Navigating the world of fuel systems shouldn’t be difficult, especially when you’re simply trying to order quality parts for your machine. When it comes to fuel pumps, there is quite a bit of common terminology, whether you’re talking about automotive, motorcycle, ATV, UTV/Side-By-Side, or marine vehicles.

We’ve put together a helpful list of standard terms and definitions that you’ll come across when diving into a DIY repair for your vehicle. From basic definitions and acronym explanations — our informative guide will get you on the right path and keep you informed.

Quantum Fuel Systems specializes in producing high-quality fuel system components for nearly every EFI-equipped engine on the market. Our excellent direct replacement parts are designed in-house and will meet or exceed OEM quality. We offer replacement fuel pumps, kits, and components for nearly all makes and models backed by an industry-leading lifetime warranty. Visit our complete catalog to order now.

Fuel Pump Terminology Explained

Electronic Fuel Injection: Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) is any fuel delivery system that is electronically controlled by an Engine Control Unit (ECU). The name describes its function quite accurately because EFI systems inject fuel directly into an internal combustion engine’s manifold or cylinder. EFI has become the dominant fuel delivery method due to its inherent performance, emissions, and efficiency advantages over antiquated carbureted systems. There are several forms of fuel injection, such as single-point fuel injection, multi-point fuel injection, sequential fuel injection, and direct injection. Yet, they all follow the same fuel injection principles.

Fuel Injector: A fuel injector is one of the most crucial components in your EFI system; its function is where we get the name. A fuel injector is an electronically controlled valve and, when activated by your vehicle’s Engine Control Unit (ECU), sprays a precise amount of atomized fuel into the engine’s combustion chamber to facilitate an optimal air-fuel mixture under all operating conditions. QFS is an authorized dealer of fuel injectors from industry leaders such as Bosch, Injector Dynamics, RC Engineering, and Siemens Deka. We offer direct OE replacement and high-performance solutions for automotive, Powersport, and marine applications.

ECU/ECM: The Engine Control Unit (ECU) or Engine Control Module (ECM) is your vehicle’s brain and controls one or several electrical systems. Part of its duties is managing the EFI system, performing essential tasks like how long to hold the injectors open during each cycle to create the proper air-fuel ratio for any situation. It achieves this by monitoring data from several sensors and adapting accordingly.    

OE Replacement: Original Equipment Replacement. All QFS products for powersports, from fuel pumps, O-rings, and more, match OE specifications and are guaranteed to be direct drop-in replacements. 

OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer.

Fuel Rail: A fuel rail is a high-pressure fuel line that delivers fuel to the fuel injector.

Fuel Pump Assembly: The fuel pump assembly often houses critical components such as the fuel pump, pressure regulator, fuel sending unit, and strainers or filters. QFS offers entire replacement assemblies for many makes and models. 

Fuel Sending Unit: A fuel sending unit measures the amount of fuel available in your fuel tank and communicates that information to the fuel gauge. It does not send fuel as the name suggests and instead sends an electrical current from the fuel level sensor to the fuel gauge. If your vehicle cannot accurately register fuel levels, a fault with this component can be the cause.

Fuel Pump: Direct OE replacement fuel pumps are what Quantum Fuel Systems specializes in, supporting nearly every corner of the automotive, Powersports, and marine market. The fuel pump delivers high-pressure liquid fuel to a carburetor or EFI system within the engine. All QFS fuel pumps feature an industry-leading lifetime warranty and are designed to withstand a variety of ethanol-gasoline fuel blends. 

Intank Fuel Pump: “Intank” or “in-tank” refers to the physical location of the fuel pump. An intank fuel pump is located inside the fuel tank and explicitly designed for that purpose. Intank fuel pumps typically achieve longer operational lifespans than alternative designs since they are submerged in liquid fuel, helping cool and lubricate the pump.

External/Inline Fuel Pump: External/Inline fuel pumps are mounted on the exterior and underneath a fuel tank, as they use gravity to feed fuel into the pump. An external/inline fuel pump is often far easier to service and replace due to its mounting location. 

Small Parts: This is a term that comes up in conversation with gearheads, sales staff, and suppliers within the fuel-system industry. “Small parts” refers to any components that are not the actual fuel pump. This can include but is not limited to; O-rings, gaskets, strainers, filters, pressure regulators, and other parts associated with fuel pumps. QFS has all the small parts you need to get your vehicle running again. 

Filters: Filters do the critical job of extracting harmful particulates from fuel to protect sensitive EFI components. QFS filters screen microscopic contaminants that collect in a fuel tank and ensure that your vehicle’s EFI system is running at its best. A car, motorcycle, ATV, UTV/Side-by-Side, or boat may employ one or more filters at various stages of the fuel system. 

Strainers: Strainers perform the same function as filters and are typically the first line of defense against fuel system contaminants. Common contaminants such as sand, dirt, dust, and gasoline varnish are screened out by QFS strainers, which feature multi-layer strainer media to filter even the smallest particulates. In addition, QFS strainers boast an expanded surface area, offering improved filtration abilities and extending the life of your fuel system components.

Pressure Regulator: The pressure regulator helps maintain proper PSI within your EFI system, allowing your fuel injectors to function correctly and air-fuel calculations to be as accurate as possible. 

Dual Pump System: Any fuel system that relies on two fuel pumps is a Dual Pump System. In these systems, a low-pressure fuel pump transfers fuel from the fuel tank to the engine, then a high-pressure fuel pump takes over and delivers fuel to the EFI system. These systems are commonly used in marine applications where the fuel tank is not near the engine. 

E85 Fuel (Flex Fuel): E85 is an ethanol-gasoline blend of fuel that can contain anywhere from 51% to 83% ethanol, depending on the season and location. E85, or Flex Fuel, is explicitly formulated for Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs), meaning that the internal combustion engine is designed to support high-volume ethanol fuel blends. While cheaper than gasoline, it has less energy density and often results in reduced fuel economy. This fuel cannot be used in motorcycles and Powersport vehicles.

Tank: The fuel tank. Every ICE-powered machine has one (or more).

Performance: Performance fuel system equipment means that you need components with superior flow rates than what OE equipment can provide. When building high-horsepower engines, this type of equipment is an absolute necessity to meet the increased performance demands.

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE): Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is a durable synthetic fluoropolymer used in all QFS corrugated flex hose lines. This robust plastic is hydrophobic and resistant to the harsh chemicals in today’s fuels, including E85. The corrugated design also prevents kinking and improves fitment in all uses.

AN Fittings: AN is a U.S. military-derived specification standard dating back to World War II, developed as a common standard between the Army and Navy branches. QFS is an authorized dealer of high-quality AN fittings from Phenix Industries, providing customers with the finest aftermarket high-performance fuel and brake system plumbing components available.

PSI/kPa: Pounds per Square Inch/Kilopascal are two standard measurement units when describing fuel pressure regulator specifications. PSI is an Imperial measurement, and kPa is metric. Be sure to reference what measurement unit your model-specific service manual cites.

LPH/GPH: Liters Per Hour/Gallons Per Hour are two frequently cited units of measurement used to reference the amount of fuel a pump can supply over time. 

Pulse Width Modulation (PWM): Pulse Width Modulation allows an ECU to control EFI fuel pressure by rapidly turning a fuel pump on and off. If more pressure is needed, the length of time the fuel pump is activated extends. Conversely, if less fuel pressure is required, the time the fuel pump is turned on is reduced. This can happen in milliseconds and extends the useful life of a fuel pump by allowing it to work less, operate at a lower temperature, and introduce less heat to the stored fuel. All QFS fuel pumps are PWM-ready.

Done Studying? Reach Out To Our Helpful Staff

Quantum Fuel Systems is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PT. Any of our trained and qualified staff members are available to assist customers over the phone. Be sure to reach out to our support staff with any technical questions, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

How to Tell When Your Motorcycle or Dirt Bike Fuel Filter Has Gone Bad

How to Tell When Your Motorcycle or Dirt Bike Fuel Filter Has Gone Bad

The riding season is getting into full swing, and that means many owners that have parked their motorcycles during the colder winter months are getting back out there. Before hitting the road, we always recommend a thorough inspection of your bike and ensure that you follow all of the recommended service intervals outlined in your vehicle’s manual. 

Checking or changing critical fluids, lubricants, tires, chains, sprockets, or belt drives are just a few of the crucial things on any conscientious rider’s maintenance checklist. Still, a commonly overlooked component is the fuel filter.

We’re going to outline the importance of your fuel filter and how to determine if yours has gone bad, robbing your precious motorcycle of its performance.

Whether you’re crossing the country on your American V-twin from Harley-Davidson and Indian Motorcycle, taking to the streets on your Aprilia, BMW, and Ducati, or hitting the trail aboard a Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, or Yamaha — every motorcycle equipped with Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) uses a fuel filter.

Quantum Fuel Systems is a leader in high-quality fuel system components. We have top-notch direct replacement parts that meet and exceed OEM quality and are specifically designed to withstand harsh ethanol-based fuels.

QFS offers replacement fuel filters for nearly all makes and models, backed by an industry-leading lifetime warranty, which can be found by visiting our robust catalog.

Fuel filters come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Basic in-tank filters, in-line filters, and strainers are the more common types, and your vehicle may use one or more throughout its fueling system.

Yet, they all do the same job: Filter gasoline running through your EFI system, protecting components from debris, impurities, and contaminants that may work their way into your fuel tank. 

What Are The Symptoms of a Bad Fuel Filter?

A fuel filter past its prime will restrict or, in extreme cases, block fuel flow entirely. Clogged fuel filters usually create a handful of symptoms related to fuel starvation that result in decreased engine performance. 

These symptoms are pretty general when dealing with fuel system issues and can appear to be problems related to your fuel pump. For more information on fuel pump related questions, check out our article entitled: How to Diagnose a Bad ATV, Motorcycle, UTV/Side-by-Side Fuel Pump. 

Here are just a few symptoms related to a bad fuel filter:

Hard-Starting/Rough Idle

Hard-starting is when a vehicle takes more cranking than usual start. A rough idle is when your vehicle’s engine is not idling consistently and reliably, typically indicating some flow restriction in your vehicle’s fuel system. 

Stalling

Repeated stalling throughout the rev range is often a sign that your engine is starved of fuel. This could happen during idle, when beginning to accelerate, or decelerate. 

Throttle Hesitation / Performance Loss

Blockages in the filter may prevent an adequate amount of fuel from reaching the engine as the rider opens the throttle and the rpm climbs. 

What Causes A Fuel Filter To Fail?

A properly working fuel filter will protect sensitive EFI components, such as your fuel injectors and prevent them from becoming clogged or damaged by debris in your fuel tank. However, once a fuel filter becomes saturated with debris, it can restrict fuel flow.

Not only will that hinder engine performance, but fuel-flow restrictions overwork other components such as fuel pumps, causing unnecessary wear and premature failure. 

Your fuel filter will inevitably reach the end of its filtering potential with time and use since it is a consumable component. Much like swapping tires, changing oil, or servicing final-drive systems — inspecting and replacing fuel filters is part of routine maintenance. 

Over time, contaminants will inundate the filter and prevent it from performing its duties effectively. This is typically caused by sand, dirt, and various detritus mixing with gasoline varnish that collects in your fuel tank.

Gasoline varnish is a sticky caramel-colored substance left by fuel as it ages and deteriorates, binding particulates together and clogging filters.

Operating your vehicle and strictly using high-quality fuels will slow this process dramatically. However, some riders may only ride seasonally or even less, which makes storing your vehicle correctly even more important — draining unused fuel or adding a fuel stabilizer is recommended for extended storage situations.

While typically seen in older vehicles, ethanol-based fuels can be particularly harsh on inferior plastics and rubbers, causing them to break down entirely, leading to other mechanical problems. Rest assured, all QFS replacement fuel filters are designed to withstand modern fuels.

When Do You Change Fuel Filters?

Refer to your model-specific authorized owner’s manual for manufacturer suggested timelines regarding fuel filter replacement. In our experience, most manufacturers recommend replacing fuel filters every two years or every 20,000 miles for street-oriented motorcycles. 

Off-road motorcycles often require much shorter fuel filter service intervals because these vehicles operate in harsher climates, which are more likely to introduce dust, dirt, and other debris into the fuel tank. 

How Do You Diagnose A Bad Fuel Filter?

Fuel filters come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and types. When dealing with filters that can be inspected visually, such as our HFP-K42 (Replaces OEM 61011-04A) filter commonly seen in Harley-Davidson Dyna, Softail, and Touring models, use the original filter color as a reference point.

As you use your vehicle and cycle fuel through the fuel tank, these filters or strainers will become darker in color when oils, gasoline varnish, and other contaminants are absorbed. We recommend replacing these filters with reliable QFS products if they seem particularly discolored.

In other cases, you may not be able to visually inspect the filter because it is housed within a cartridge. When faced with this situation, disconnect the fuel filter from the system and attempt to pass air through the filter’s inlet.

Air should flow relatively freely through the filter. However, if it is clogged with pollutants, air flow will be obstructed, signaling that it is time to replace it. 

We strongly encourage our customers to thoroughly and adequately assess the condition of their fuel system and upgrade with direct OEM replacement components from QFS. Our complete fuel pump replacement kits are complete with a durable fuel pump and high-quality o-rings, seals, filters, and strainers for nearly all makes and models.

Have Any Questions? Reach Out To Our Qualified Staff!

Quantum Fuel Systems is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PT. We are happy to assist our customers over the phone, or you can browse our extensive catalog. Reach out directly to our support staff for any specific technical questions, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Summary


  • A commonly overlooked component is the fuel filter
  • Symptoms are pretty general when dealing with fuel system issues and can appear to be problems related to your fuel pump
  • Most manufacturers recommend replacing fuel filters every two years or every 20,000 miles for street-oriented motorcycles
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How to Diagnose a Bad ATV, Motorcycle, UTV/Side-by-Side Fuel Pump

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How to Diagnose a Bad ATV, Motorcycle, UTV/Side-by-Side Fuel Pump

Understanding the symptoms and how to diagnose a bad fuel pump on an ATV, motorcycle, or UTV/SxS is handy knowledge for any enthusiast and precisely what we’ll be discussing below. When a fuel pump fails to operate within its designed specifications, your EFI-powered vehicle can suffer in a few ways. Expect lowered performance, causing it to run poorly, or failing to start at all.

A properly functioning fuel pump is one of the many crucial components in your ATV, motorcycle, or UTV/Side-by-Side (SxS).

Quantum Fuel Systems specializes in high-quality direct OEM replacement fuel system and engine management components. All QFS products are backed by an industry-leading lifetime warranty. Every product in our extensive Powersports product line is designed to match the technical specifications of your vehicle.

We know how important it is for our customers to get back on the road or trail. Your orders are processed the same business day, and we offer free 2-day shipping in the United States with any purchase above $60. QFS has you covered with complete replacement kits, individual parts, specialty tools, and more. 

Whether we’re talking about two or four-wheeled vehicles, testing a bad fuel pump, or issues related to your fuel system are similar. It doesn’t matter if you drive an Arctic Cat, Can-Am, or Polaris, ride a Harley-Davidson, Honda, or Husqvarna. Fuel pumps can fail anytime, anywhere.

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What does matter is that you’re referencing your vehicle-specific service manual to confirm any necessary technical specifications, as those figures can change depending on the vehicle year, make, and model.

Luckily, troubleshooting a bad fuel pump follows the same general principles, and we’ll be covering a few basic and advanced methods.

QFS does not intend this article to be a strict guide. As always, we recommend that only those confident in their mechanical abilities perform maintenance, repairs, and diagnosis on their vehicles.

If you do not feel comfortable performing this work, please consult an authorized and licensed service technician.

Tools You’ll Need To Diagnose Fuel Pump Problems

  • Eye protection
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Hand tools (socket and screwdriver set)
  • Pliers
  • Multimeter or voltage meter
  • Pressure testing gauge
  • Contact cleaner
  • Rags

Symptoms of A Bad Fuel Pump

Let’s dive into it with how to diagnose a bad fuel pump and review some tell-tale symptoms of an underperforming or failed fuel pump.

Not Starting/Won’t Idle

Not starting when all systems appeared to be in regular working order is a good indicator that fuel is not making it through the fuel system. If the engine does start but fails to maintain idle, that is another sign that the pump is on its way out. 

Whining

All fuel pumps produce a low audible hum when operating. When they reach the end of their lifespan, you may notice a loud whining sound, pointing to a fuel pump motor stressing itself to function.

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Surging

Surging occurs when traveling at a constant speed and feels as if your ATV, motorcycle or UTV briefly accelerates with no input from the user. Typically, excessive pressure buildup can momentarily deliver excess fuel. In this case, we strongly recommend replacing the pump and filters immediately.

Power Loss Under Load/Cut outs

Does your bike, quad, or SxS accelerate normally only to begin losing power as the rpm climb or at higher rpm? That is often a signal of a fuel pump that cannot deliver the correct amount of fuel pressure to meet performance demands. Alternatively, you may experience power cut-outs at random, demonstrating a fuel pump operating sporadically.

Diagnosing a Failing Fuel Pump

Pinning-down fuel issues can be complex, as fuel systems and electrical systems are interdependent. Problems with one system can cause the other to malfunction. Our goal here is to isolate variables and help you determine the root cause of your issues.

Before you turn a single wrench, start with the basics and confirm a few things:

  • Is there fuel in the tank, and does your fuel gauge (if applicable) register accurately? 
  • Is your battery adequately charged, and does your electrical system appear to be fully operational? 
  • Is the kill switch in the “run” position?
  • Is your bike, SxS, or quad in neutral?

If you’ve answered yes to all those questions and you’re still experiencing issues, then it’s time to start investigating.

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Fuel Pump Won’t Prime

Fuel pumps can fail with or without warning. We go to fire up our ATV, motorcycle, or UTV; the engine cranks, and it simply won’t start. Our first step is to observe if the fuel pump is operational and “priming.”

Priming means that the fuel pump engages for a short time, pressurizing the fuel lines and providing adequate fuel flow for the injectors. 

To test this, cycle your key to the “on” position and listen intently for an audible hum coming from the fuel tank. The hum should only last a few seconds.

If you’ve repeated this multiple times and don’t hear a mechanical whirring, chances are the fuel pump has failed or is not being supplied electricity.

If you are performing this test on a dirt bike (Motocross or Enduro) that doesn’t have a keyed ignition, press the starter button and quickly release, which will trigger the fuel pump and allow you to determine if the fuel pump is operational.

Check the Fuel System Fuses & Relays

Fuses and relays act as bridges for electrical current. If they fail, the current can’t reach its proper destination and provide power. Consult your service manual to access your fuse box and relays, and then remove them to inspect them for any damage visually.

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A healthy fuse will have its metal “bridge” connected, and a functional relay will “click” when power is delivered. You can also use a multimeter to check the resistance of a relay or fuse, which is more accurate.

Confirming Your Fuel Pump Has Power

If your fuel pump is not priming, you must determine if this is an electrical problem or a fuel pump failure. To do that, you will need to gain access to your vehicle’s fuel pump assembly. Consult your model-specific service manual for instructions to perform this safely. 

Once you have clear access to the fuel pump assembly, you will want to test if power is coming down to the fuel pump itself with a multimeter or voltage meter.

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Disconnect the wiring from the fuel pump assembly. Again, you will need to consult your service manual and wiring diagram to determine which terminal connections to measure.

Once you’ve done that, confirm that adequate power is available by cycling the key to the “on” position and measuring the voltage — it should rise to the cited technical specification in your service manual, then fall to zero after a few seconds. If you don’t have power or insufficient voltage, you know that the issue is not related to your fuel system.

If all is in order with the wiring harness, perform a continuity test with your multimeter on the fuel pump itself. Locate the positive and negative leads going to the fuel pump and check if an electrical connection is capable.

If it isn’t, rest assured that the fuel pump motor is dead. 

Pressure Testing a Fuel Pump

Pressure testing is crucial when faced with lean and rich conditions, power loss, or surging, as irregular pressure in your fuel system can cause these issues. This test requires one of the few specialized tools mentioned here since it will need a gauge with model-specific connections to be installed between the vehicle’s fuel pump and fuel lines.

Once you’ve determined your vehicle’s fuel pressure specifications and installed the pressure tester, cycle the key to the “on” position. Pressure must raise and hold at the required specification.

If that checks out, start the engine and increase the rpm gradually. Once again, pressure should not deviate outside the recommended range. 

If pressure is excessively high, your pressure regulator has failed, and we offer replacement options. Conversely, clogged fuel filters can lower fuel pressure and create flow issues.

how to tell if you need to change your fuel filter QFS

Inspect all relevant filters thoroughly, although we recommend replacing them during this type of service. To accurately diagnose a bad fuel pump, all other fuel system components must be thoroughly checked.

We Are Standing By For Your Order

You can order from Quantum Fuel Systems, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PT, over the phone or browse our extensive catalog. Be sure to contact use our support page for any detailed technical questions, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Summary


  • Understanding the symptoms and how to diagnose a bad fuel pump on an ATV, motorcycle, or UTV/SxS is handy knowledge for any enthusiast
  • When a fuel pump fails to operate within its designed specifications, your EFI-powered vehicle can suffer in a few ways — robbing performance, causing it to run poorly, or failing to start at all
  • Pinning-down fuel issues can be complex, as fuel systems and electrical systems are interdependent
  • Priming means that the fuel pump engages for a short time, pressurizing the fuel lines and providing adequate fuel flow for the injectors
  • Pressure testing is crucial when faced with lean and rich conditions, power loss, or surging
Get Back on the road with confidence shop QFS