Extra Info About Extreme Conditions

There are many different reasons for owning a Yamaha product; you might be a daily commuter, a weekend warrior or an outdoor enthusiast. Whatever your reason for riding, you should be aware of the difference between normal use as intended for a particular model and extreme use where you are using a product to its limit… or beyond. If you are an extreme rider or think you might be, talk to your dealer about the additional care and maintenance you can extend to your ride in order to maintain its performance and your riding pleasure for years on end.

  • Putting it to the test

    Us New Zealand riders don't even realise just how often we ride in extreme conditions. Even during competition use there are various levels of extreme use where ""beyond extreme"" would result in a DNF (Did Not Finish the race). The conditions in a competition determine the level of preparation required before the race and the maintenance required after the race to be ready for the next.

    In the real world where most of us have fun, it's our Yamaha dealer that prepared our ride before we took delivery and will presumably do so before and during each season. Maintenance is determined by the periodic maintenance charts in your Owner's Manual. Follow these recommendations and you and your ride should be good to go for years on end... right? Well that depends on the use; was the use normal, extreme or abusive?

  • What is Motorcycle Abuse?

    Let's get abusive out of the way first, shall we? An example of abusive use would be starting a cold engine and immediately riding off at full throttle and full load. That kind of abnormal use will end up with your ride at the dealer repair shop with major engine repairs and a big bill to pay. Speeding away with a cold engine is considered abusive.

  • What is normal use?

    Simply put, let the Owner's Manual be your guide and always act so as to maintain your product in good running condition. If it's normal to cross open water in an ATV or off-road bike and the Owner's Manual states a maximum 33-centimetre depth for crossing water, then any open water crossing where the water level reaches less than 33-cm-deep and is slow moving is normal use. Extreme use would be crossing open water or fast-flowing water that is 33 centimetres deep. Crossing water any deeper or at high speed would be considered "beyond extreme" and abusive.

  • Extreme Conditions

    But what about situations that are harder to gauge? How does one know when riding conditions are extreme or ""beyond extreme""? Often experience will prevail or be acquired: a motorcyclist that keeps riding when the temperature plummets in winter will soon acquire experience as to when to leave his bike at home. Most boaters pull their boats (and engine) out of the water long before the chance of extreme nature damages their toy, based on accumulated experiences of others and their own good judgement.

    There are however many conditions where riding is still possible and very desirable but where special precautions must be observed for both personal safety and vehicle durability. Riding in dusty conditions is a good example of one of these conditions where visibility is reduced and where the ingestion of air-born particulates is problematic. As air enters the engine, dust particles are prevented from entering the engine combustion chamber by way of an air filter. Dust affects your engine differently whether your engine is protected by a ""wet"" foam air filter or a dry element filter.

  • Regular filter changes

    A dry filter element stops dust particles by way of a solid webbing mat, stopping all particles beyond a certain size but allow the air molecules to pass freely. As the dry filter element accumulates more dust, there is less and less room to allow the air to pass and the engine is progressively ""starved"" of air. A noticeable drop in engine performance from a ""clogged"" dry-type air filter is a tell-tale sign that the filter should have been changed before it was allowed to get so dirty.

    A ""wet"" foam air filter stops dust particles by way of a labyrinth of open cell walls where the walls are covered in a sticky oily substance; as the air ricochets through the filter webbing the dust particles that contact the sticky oily substance are trapped and removed from the air. As the web foam filter accumulates more dust, there is less and less free surface of sticky filter lube to trap the dust particles and the engine ingests progressively more and more dust. A noticeable performance drop due to a ""clogged"" wet-type foam air filter is a tell-tale sign that the filter should have been changed or cleaned long before it was allowed to get so dirty, but in this case, major engine repairs will be required to bring the engine performance back to its original level.

    How then to differentiate when conditions become extreme? When dust is involved, it is prudent to inspect the air filter frequently, especially if you follow others on the trail and get the dust on your clothing. In many cases with an engine equipped with a ""wet"" foam-type air filter, carrying a spare oiled filter will mean that you can check and change while out on the trail and thus help ensure your engine will maintain peak performance.