Tips for Powersports Vehicle Dune-Riding Prep

Whether you prefer two wheels or four, there’s nothing quite like taking your ATV or dirt bike out for a ride in the dunes! From beaches to desert recreational areas, there's no shortage of options for planning your next sand-shredding trip. 

ATV riding in sand dunes

Preparation is perhaps the most important part of a successful dune riding trip, but can be easy to overlook when you're ready to go. A heightened awareness of your surroundings can also be the ultimate difference maker on how well your sand dune trip goes. Although we all might enjoy a good learning experience, these painless recommendations will get your machine ready for the sand, and keep you twisting that throttle without any interruptions. Here are 5 tips on how to prep your ATV or dirt bike for riding the sand dunes. 

Dune Riding Prep Tip 1: Change the Oil

If you’re an experienced dune rider, you know how much harder you have to work to ride on the sand. That means your engine has to work harder too. Doing an oil change is good practice before a demanding trip to the dunes. While you're attempting to roost your friends, the rotations per minute (RPM) on your machine are running higher than normal, resulting in much higher engine temperatures. 

Dune riding tips oil change

Giving your dirt bike or ATV proper lubrication helps it perform for you without failure. The same can be said for the gearbox. These metal pieces that keep your engine and transmission running require a little bit of care in exchange for a whole lot of hard work, so you can have fun shredding up the sand as they turn and burn!

Dune Riding Prep Tip 2: Clean and Replace the Air Filter

Clean airflow is essential to your engine's performance while riding in the dunes. Because no matter how hard you try, sand will find its way to the air filter, and it’s up to you to keep it out of the engine. 

Dune riding preparation tips air filter cleaning

Not every machine uses the same style of filter, and each version needs a second layer of defense to keep sand out of the system. When using a foam filter, keep it clean for each ride. Plan ahead and stock a few extra filters for every bike or ATV on the trip. Even if you plan on getting into the air box on a daily basis for cleaning, riding with an air filter cover is a no-brainer.  If you’re riding with a press-flange air filter, grease it up to seal the edges. And if you really love your machine, get a trusty air filter kit with an outerwear sand cover. 

Dune Riding Prep Tip 3: Lube the Chain and Swap the Sprocket

Sand is just like the food you give a small child: it gets everywhere! No matter how rugged your bike or quad is, you'll find sand in places you never thought possible. 

Motorcycle dirt bike dune riding

Sand is one of the most abrasive substances your machine will come across in its lifetime. It grinds through raw metal like you wouldn’t believe! Using a chain lube can keep that sand from blasting your chain and can reduce wear-and-tear on parts. Aluminum is light, but steel stands the test of time. As the sand blasts the sprockets time and again, you want to have confidence in their ability to last. By swapping out your current sprocket with a steel replacement, the drivetrain on your dirt bike or ATV will last much longer. 

Dune Riding Prep Tip 4: Choose your Tires and Adjust the Pressure

Getting traction in the sand can be a tricky skill to master, even for experienced riders. For this reason, consider throwing some paddle tires on your machine to make life a bit easier. 

ATV offroad tires

With many types of paddle tires available, decide whether to get them or not ahead of when and how you plan on riding the dunes. From straight-cup to V-cup tires, you have various options for intense hill climbs or pure roosting ability.  Not everyone wants to throw down their hard earned money for a new set of rubber tires, so making adjustments with the current setup is also an option. By running your sport tires at the lowest air pressures that keep the bead in place, your machine will float in the sand much easier.

Dune Riding Prep Tip 5: Mount a Flag

Riding on the dunes is one of the most exhilarating activities a rider can experience, but it's also one of the most dangerous. 

ATV riding in the sand dunes

Although motorsports playgrounds offer wide-open vistas and miles of land, you’d be surprised how easy it is to get disoriented or caught off guard by a shadow hiding another rider. While flying up and over a tall dune, it’s nearly impossible to see what or who is on the other side. This is where a good flag comes into play. While prepping for your trip, get a bright flag for your machine that stands at least 8-feet tall. 

sand dune dirt bike

Whether it's beaches or the desert, riding in the sand is grueling on your machine. With some preventative maintenance, your dirt bike or ATV can be outfitted to run smoothly over the dunes, and save you time and money for your next trip. Happy shredding!

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