Category: My Dirty Life

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 Updated November 2020 

The Best Name in Premium Exhaust Systems

In the ATV and UTV exhaust world there is no better quality, or better performing exhaust system than an RJWC exhaust.  Anyone that’s been around the mud and performance world knows RJWC, even if the general public doesn’t.  The reason is simple, Robin Janssen, the owner and genius behind the exhausts is meticulous in his craft and he doesn’t want them sold as a mass produced product, even though he could leverage his brand strength to do just that.  Every premium quality, exhaust system that leaves his care has been hand built by artisan fabricators and welders.  Known the world over, RJWC produces exhausts in several lines, including:

  • Mud Series is the the mud riders wet dream and has with a cleanable and replaceable core
  • Krossflow is the refreshed Mud Series exhaust with new badges, and a core to update the sound
  • APX/AL is a brand new aluminum exhaust built specifically for the light weight, strength, and performance required by today’s high horsepower UTV engines.  These are designed for desert and trail conditions.

Seeing what Rob’s brand was all about, I knew there was a tremendous alignment between our two companies in terms of putting quality first, and standing behind our products.  Dirty Life is one Canada’s largest suppliers of the full line of RJWC products and we’re proud to be a part of RJWC’s skyrocketing growth.  Pursuing RJWC as our premium brand of exhausts was a no-brainer.  There just isn’t a better looking, better sounding, longer lasting, higher quality exhaust system on the market today.  Riders like Ostacruiser use Rob’s exhausts because the performance gains and build quality is second to none.

In 2019 RJWC broke away from only designing and selling exhausts.  Recognizing a need in the industry for better lighting solutions, they designed the series of headlights for Can-Am Renegade, Outlander and Maverick, and taillights for the Renegade and Outlander.  The lights are branded “Neutrino” and offer an ultra-bright lighting solution.

RJWC Exhausts

Mud and Krossflow Series 

Built and welded by hand, these 304 stainless exhausts are some of the toughest, most durable exhausts on the market.  But because of the materials used and their special inner cores, the Mud Series and Krossflow Series are also some of the best sounding ATV exhausts in the world.
 
If you’ve ever had a chance to see one up close, you’ll know that these exhausts are the closest thing to perfect you’ll find in an exhaust.  After witnessing how beautiful these exhausts look and sound, you realize just how much care has been put into designing and building them.  Once you’ve put your hands on an RJWC exhaust you simply can’t go back to a different brand.  As you shop for your RJWC exhaust, you’ll realize they are premium exhausts with a higher than average price tag, but if you’re accustomed to buying quality, you know you get what you pay for. The exhausts are made from 304 stainless steel that is 1.5mm thick and ceramic matting over stainless steel mesh to surround the inner cores and provide the longest life possible for your packing.  Oh, and there are no structural rivets (the only rivets you’ll find are used to hold the RJWC nameplate in place).  These are quite simply the best quality exhausts anywhere in the world.

APX/AL

Beginning in 2020 RJWC is offering a new line of exhausts that are purpose built for today’s large horsepower UTV’s.  They’re built completely from aluminum using minimum amounts of welding in the construction which is often a failure point for aluminum exhausts.
The APX/AL shows true innovation in the market and will delight those of us that want to add a quality exhaust without all the beef of a mud-capable exhaust.  These exhausts weigh just a little more and 1/2 of the weight of their counterparts.  This is an incredible accomplishment for an exhaust as robust as the APX/AL. Some of the most impressive features to appreciate are:
  • 6061 anodized aluminum
  • yellow zinc plated and stainless hardware
  • re-packing kits are readily available through Dirty Life for you to replace when needed
  • EPDM bushings for vibration dampening
But how do they sound?  Well, we don’t know for sure yet because at the time of this writing they haven’t even been launched, but here’s the teaser video from RJWC:

So Much More…

RJWC has grown up and become more than just an exhaust company.  With dozens of accessories and new products launched over the last year, you’ll need to keep checking back at Dirty Life to see what’s new to the RJWC lineup.

Here’s a link to all the RJWC products at Dirty Life today:

https://secure.dirtylife.ca/shop/?pwb-brand=rjwc

The Sweet Sound

I’ve posted some clips for you so you can hear the amazing sounds of the RJWC exhaust!

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Adding a Fuel Controller to Your ATV or UTV

When you’re adding performance pieces such as new air filters, exhausts (see our post on exhausts to read about how an exhaust can cause you to run lean without a controller), or changing the factory build with new clutching or larger tires, fuel controllers are the key piece in getting the all the benefits you’re expecting.  Choosing the right fuel controller can be a challenge and knowing what you’re buying is important.  A fuel controller setup for your ATV will unleash great performance.  Use a program that doesn’t meet the needs of the bike and it doesn’t matter what brand of controller you use, and you’ll have nothing but poor performance, frustration and these likely will lead to engine problems down the road.

Should I Add a Fuel Controller?

Quite simply, yes.  There is an argument that can be made that says the very first upgrade you make should be a fuel controller because it is the central upgrade that will tie in everything else you add to your machine.  The addition of a fuel controller can completely change the way your machine performs.  For example, in the 2015+ Polaris 900 RZR the throttle body is only programmed to open up to 80% at max throttle, but adding a fuel controller opens this up to 100% and boosts horsepower from 78 to 92 hp with this one upgrade.  This is an exception and rarely will you see this kind of improvement but it illustrates how a fuel controller can spoil a manufacturer’s intentional detuning of the capabilities of your engine.  Most controllers expect something like a premium quality RJWC exhaust and an aftermarket air filter to be installed and with the 3 components added you should expect, ready to add 4-8 hp depending on the make, engine size, etc.  

Manufacturers and Brands of Fuel Controllers

There are many, many brands of fuel controllers on the market for your ATV or UTV.  The brands on the market today include EJK, PowerCommander, Bully Dog, RJWC, TheBom, HMF, and FMF, however there are many, many others. What you might not know is that there are really just 3 different manufacturers: Dobeck, DynoJet, and Bully Dog (with Bully Dog being a relative newcomer to the off-road market through Bikeman Performance).  Dobeck manufactures just about every brand of fuel controller in use today with the exception of the PowerCommander Series and the Bully Dog GT. According to Dobeck, the only difference in the brands they manufacture are the way the controllers are configured.  Electrically the controllers have the same functionality, but depending on the brand, trjwc fuel controller and harnesshe company may have asked Dobeck to give them access to specific parameters they feel will give them the flexibility they want for their specific style of engine tuning.  Granting access to one parameter will generally restrict access to another.  Each person that develops a program for the controller believes their setup has certain advantages over others.  The example given by Dobeck is that a Green/Blue zone light on their controller may represent any number of parameters including “Accel Pump Fuel”, “Decel Fuel”, or “Green Lower Switch”. DynoJet’s PowerCommander provides access to a lot of the same parameters and functions in your machine as the Dobeck controllers but gives a great deal more flexibility via their proprietary software that is installed on your PC or laptop.  Using this software you can essentially “dial-in” your machine while you’re connected directly to the controller.  This generally requires you to have your machine on a dyno to be able to take full advantage of what the controller and software offer.  One option to avoid this is to add an Auto Tuner to your controller which essentially provides on-the-fly tuning.

What Does the Fuel Controller Do?

Engines have torque and power curves that can be adjusted by changing the air-fuel ratio (AFR) that is being introduced to the cylinder prior to ignition.  Air to your engine is pre-determined based on the air filter, add snorkels, or any physical change you make to how air flows from the atmosphere into the engine.  How fuel is delivered to the engine is a different story and the amount fuel to the engine is controlled by your thumb moving the throttle position and sending a signal to your ATV’s computer.  The computer interprets your throttle position and introduces the amount of fuel that it’s programming tells it to.  The program in your stock controller is setup for how the manufacturer wants the engine to perform considering emissions, fuel economy, and the power they’d like to advertise.  (Often from year to year, the increase in power from say a 2017 to a 2018 machine is just a change to the ECU’s programming, it’s rarely anything more than that.)bully dog fuel controller

In the case of both the Dobeck and PowerCommander tuners, the controller is connected after the stock ECU and the fuel injector, however, they operate in different ways.  With the Dobeck, the controller intercepts the signal going to the fuel injection system and sends its own signal instead, but the PowerCommander actually turns your ECU into a dummy and replaces its functionality with its own.  The end result is the same, but the way they work if fundamentally different.  In both cases, your fuel controller reads any number of parameters about the conditions of the bike (speed, rpm, throttle position, etc.) and then based on the program that’s loaded delivers the amount of fuel for that situation.

For example, while you’re running casually down a trail at 30-40 km/h, your thumb is at 1/4 throttle, cruising along.  The fuel controller will know based on engine rpm’s, speed, and throttle position what amount of fuel to provide to the engine.

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First, let me start by saying that I love my buddys’ Can Am Renegade XMR’s.  They are stunning bikes, with tons of power and (in my opinion) the best sounding engines going.  They sound like they’re ready to bite the head off the nearest Polaris they can find!  Two good friends recently bought 2017 Renegade 1000 XMR’s.  One of them is (or was for a long time) the featured bike on the homepage of Dirty Life.

Wherever we go, the XMR’s grab a lot of attention – and I do mean a lot.  They constantly have people coming by when we ride asking questions or simply commenting on how good the bikes look.  It’s almost annoying how much attention they get as we roll through trails and stop along the way for drinks and eats.  We’re regularly held up by the folks that have a thousand questions about the bikes.  How good do they work in the mud?  Do they wander much on hard pack?  How do you like those Silverbacks?  The list of questions goes on and on.

Unfortunately, this post isn’t all about the greatness of these bikes, because it turns out that Can Am has been having rear differential issues since the 2012 Gen 2’s were released and they haven’t cured the problem.  Now, anyone that’s been around bikes, or the automotive industry for any amount of time knows these things can and do happen, but what we as consumers are always watching for is the way the manufacturer reacts to the problem.  Do they deny it and run screaming away from complaints or do they step up and take ownership of the problem and make sure their problems have as little impact on their customers as possible.  No matter what the reason for a rash of problems, it’s maddening when you’ve bought a brand new anything and it fails prematurely, but it helps a lot when the company steps up and says “Yes, we’re aware of the problem.  We’re very sorry it’s affected you, but here’s what we’re going to do to make it right.”

But here’s the rest of the story…

 

On the afternoon of June 3, 2017 at a major mudding event in Brockville, Ontario called Wheels a Churning (reviewed here), one friend who has rightfully been over-the-moon proud of his new Renegade, pulled his bike down the ramps and off the trailer, rode a few laps around the big open dirt field in front of our campsite and parked his ride.  He was with a group that was late arriving so we all got tents and stuff set up, then prepared to take off for a ride around the grounds.  About 400 feet from the campsite is a little mud hole where one of the stock bikes got stuck.  My friend with the Renegade, always the first guy to step up to help out, pulled up, put the winch on, went to back up and that’s when all hell broke loose (literally!!!)

There was a god-awful noise, you know the one I mean…it’s that one only a bad mechanical failure like an axle or differential can make.  The mood from our group went from smiles, jokes, and everyone eager to enjoy the festivities, to one of collective concern, knowing that 5 minutes into the weekend, one of our group’s ride organizers and the hub for our communication just lost his ride and we hadn’t even gone anywhere yet.  These things happen and no matter how well you know it, no matter how proud you are of your equipment, when they fail, there’s nothing more painful and nothing that will piss you off more than knowing your $22,000 ATV just had a premature failure.  We muddled through the weekend, but there was no denying the failure on Saturday afternoon put a damper on the weekend for all of us.  As we inspected it, we found out that the rear differential had failed, and when it let go, the torque suddenly shifted straight to the front wheels and broke the front drive shaft.  Shitty luck to be sure…or was it?!?

After the weekend, my friend, only 4 months into his regular warranty, and sure that after purchasing the extended warranty, there would be no problems getting this fixed up, took the bike to his dealer and explained what had happened.  Expecting them to say “That’s terrible!  That shouldn’t have happened.  We’ll get it fixed as soon as we can, and we’re sorry for the inconvenience,” he was blown away to have them look at the bike a week later and finally call to tell him they wouldn’t do anything for him.  The damage was caused because the differential was under “extreme load.”  I can tell you for 100%, because I was there when it happened, the bike was most definitely not under “extreme load” and to be perfectly honest, it’s a Can Am 1000 XMR – shouldn’t the differential be able to handle “extreme load?”  Aren’t these the bikes we see Ostacruiser and NOS ATV guys ripping through mud and skeg??

Fast forward a month…after several conversations with Can Am (BRP) and the dealer, my friend still doesn’t have his bike back and is no closer to resolution.  I’ve started to dive into this only to find out that this problem is a huge issue for all the Gen 2 bikes – going all the way back to 2012.  Jarret at Mud n Wheels (www.mudnwheels.com) speaks candidly about why he started tackling a problem that BRP won’t admit is a problem – if you have a Can Am ATV or UTV/side-by-side, I strongly recommend you read this http://ca.mudnwheels.com/Can-Am-Parts/About and consider upgrading through Jarret.  I’ve watched his videos on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChSN2XWb-AY10i7exXTHlJg) and he knows what he’s talking about.  If you’ve ever seen the abuse that Ostacruiser throws at machines, know that they only survive that because of the work done by Jarret at Mud n Wheels.  Pretty much any of the serious (read that as “aggressive”) riders out there have already switched to Mud’N Wheels diffs.  And in terms of full disclosure, yes, you can get them in our shop, but they were added after we had these problems and I found out that it’s a common issue so we decided to help raise awareness to the problem.

And I wish this was the end of the story… that my friend is left having to purchase an upgraded diff from Jarret and saying to hell with BRP/Can Am.  But it’s not.  This past weekend, with just 19 hours on his 2017 Can Am Renegade 1000 XMR, and before he’s even made the second payment on his bike, another friend blew the diff out of his bike as we rode down a trail after a day of mild riding with a couple of mud holes.  Two brand new 2017 Can Am Renegades, and two blown diffs.  Jarret at Mud n Wheels is onto something that Can Am is clearly unwilling to look at.

 

If anyone at Can Am/BRP happens to stumble across this post, please, read it and take it to heart.  People are upset and frustrated with the lack of support.  Broken parts covered under warranty may ruin a weekend, but avoiding covering the repairs is only going to drive them away.  The loss of revenue you’ll suffer from future purchases, is going to hurt your dealers (Can Am dealers have potentially lost 6 sales from our group of riders, and all future maintenance work on the broken XMR’s), and your company.  You have the most expensive bikes on the market and when your flagship bikes start failing and you won’t back them up, what do you expect consumers to do?  I for one had considered Can Am for my son who is getting into riding and even though I drive the Polaris RZR, he fell in love with the Can Am’s in our group.  Unfortunately, he and I are pretty confident that we won’t be pursuing a Can Am purchase because of the lack of support you’ve shown for your flagship bikes.  Stuff breaks…Polaris, Can Am, Suzuki, Kawasaki, etc. – they all break eventually.  But not honoring your warranty on major failures on your self-proclaimed mud-bike, when there is an obvious manufacturing or engineering defect, is the stuff that pisses consumers off and moves us to another brand for our next purchase.

And in case you’re wondering, we captured the moment the rear diff blew in the first bike – the moment that Can Am is calling “extreme”, the moment of violence that pushed an XMR past it’s limit, which as you can see wasn’t so extreme.  You’d think a belt would burn up before a differential would break!

So, if you’re thinking about Can Am, I suggest to you that they’re an amazing piece of machinery.  Truly one of the best looking, best sounding, most fun bikes out there.  But be aware that just because you have a warranty, even the extended one, it doesn’t mean that Can Am will support mechanical failures.  It’s just another sad case of “buyer beware”.

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A relaxing ride through Central Ontario's beautiful countryside.

The Park-to-Park ride which appears to be largely driven by the “Prostate Extreme Team” is a charity poker-run ride that takes place mid-June on the Seguin Trail leading from the Super 8 Motel in Parry Sound to the Sprucedale community centre. As we travelled up highway 400, looking for the Quality Inn in Parry Sound, we stumbled across the ride that turned out to start from the Super 8, apparently the motel recently changed names.  Even the Ride for Hope online posters all indicated Quality Inn, but we never received a notice of the change, nor was an address ever posted for the site, so we were a bit fortunate to find it – fortunately, the ride was right at the 400 highway so we recognized the event forming up and were able to hit the exit. Parking was tight, as it often is at these events, and according to the organizers this 100-bike turnout was the biggest they’ve ever had, making it more understand able that the motel parking wasn’t exactly adequate, but we found a spot and got ourselves unloaded.  We travelled alone for this ride but we never felt like it.  The staff, volunteers, and riders we encountered throughout the day we extremely friendly and helpful.

There was a drivers meeting at 8:30am, but we missed most of it due to our own miscue and unfortunately there was no PA for the speaker so we couldn’t hear him when we arrived.  CF Moto was there in earnest and gave a level of professionalism and legitimacy to the event.  I haven’t been around any CF Moto bikes, but there were quite a few at this event.  I have to give kudos to CF Moto for their very deep commitment to this event.  They were very present at the event and for me at least, presented themselves very well as a sponsor and as a legitimate consideration for anyone looking at a new ATV, or UTV/side-by-side.

We got underway at about 8:45am, which was right on time, but as we started we really didn’t know where we were going.  There were no signs, and the maps given to us were less than useless.  As Lynn pointed out, the only thing useful on either of the maps handed to us was the emergency number.  We managed to find a couple of people that seemed to know where they were going and we tagged along.  Fortunately, they did know and we were underway.

A few kilometres from the start, we came across a couple of ATV’s and UTV’s that were stopped at a place where another trail appeared to meet our main trail.  We stopped to make sure they were ok as we always do and it turned out that one of the drivers thought we were supposed to turn here – that this spot was the “Liebeck Lake loop” that had been mentioned.  A long story short, there was one old wooden sign nailed to a tree that said “Liebeck Lake”, but no indication this was the new trail built by the Park-2-Park staff for this ride.  It turns out that that’s exactly what it was, but it sure would have been nice to have had some big signs pointing the way.  The loop was optional, and appeared to be a true off-road trail (which is the stuff we love) so we decided to head down the trail with a group of ATV’ers who offered to pull us out if we got stuck.

This was a great little loop and took us about 45 minutes to complete.  Going around Liebeck Lake, the trail was brand new, and incredibly well marked so that no one could get lost.  There was caution tape and orange flags all the way through and even when we fell behind our ATV friends, never once did I have to do more than glance forward to find the brand-new, unworn trail.  We completed the loop on the way to the Sprucedale turnaround, but not on the way back.  It sounds like there were many more people that jumped on the loop on the trip back and had some good fun getting stuck and trying out the challenging sections.  We found this loop to offer some tight, technical riding, with a couple of small mudholes.  The mud holes would present a challenge to any stock ATV or UTV, but for any modded bike, you’d need to invent some challenges – and there was opportunity to do that.  If we had been riding with our regular crew, we most certainly would have tried harder to bury the RZR.

I’ve never ridden this trail before, but it was an amazing trail in fantastic condition.  Fighting dust on these long trails with lots of bikes is always a problem, but we found that despite the sandy base, the mostly tree-lined trail kept some dampness in the ground reducing dust for much of the ride.  The Seguin Trail itself is gorgeous and everywhere along the route there are places to stop to take pictures along lakes, near the old railway bridge, or just about anywhere along the trail.

The trail offers a surface upon which you can travel easily at speeds around 20-25km/h for most of the day without pushing equipment too hard (remember, we ride a 60″ Polaris RZR side-by-side and we noticed that ATV’ers could easily out pace us without pushing).  In fact, one of the best things about the day was the pace.  We were able to take our time, explore, stop for pictures, visit with ATV’ers along the way, and even stopped in Orrville for a coffee, and we never felt we had to rush.  Most events we’ve been to make us feel like we can’t enjoy the ride – just get in the bike, ride hard and get to your meals and then go home.  Often at these rides, stopping for rest breaks, or to chat with too many new friends can mean you miss a meal, or to get shuffled along by organizers that don’t want you to stop riding for too long.  I encourage anyone going on this ride to take advantage of the time allowed and stop at a few of the beautiful spots along the trail, and explore Orrville along the way.  This whole township is ATV and UTV/side-by-side friendly and getting into the communities reminds people that the more accessible their towns are, the more we can contribute to their economy.

We stopped for lunch at Sprucedale where some good sausages were on the menu, but nothing else that we saw.  For us, it was a bit odd that there were no sausage buns for the sausages, and no offer of hamburgers – it was sausage or nothing at all (at least that was our experience).  All-in-all, lunch was ok, but not great.  We were given a ticket for a draw prize on the way into the Sprucedale outdoor arena where lunch was being served and the vast majority of people received a prize of some kind.  The sponsors for this event are very generous and the organizers take every opportunity to try to get prizes into your hands, which was nice to see.  Even doing the extra loop and stopping in Orrville with our ATV friends, we still arrived at lunch by 12:30pm.  We had pushed a bit harder after the Liebeck loop because we thought we’d be behind, but the reality is we really never had to push at all.  There was tons of time to complete this trip and not miss anything – I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but it was refreshing to be able to enjoy this ride at our own pace without the time pressure.

Because we had completed the trip to Sprucedale and had lunch in just over 3 hours, and still had almost 5 hours before dinner, we took our time, skipped the Liebeck Lake trail and headed past the starting point all the way out to Georgian Bay.  It killed some time and allowed us to see the Rose Point trail that we hadn’t seen yet (this wasn’t part of the organized ride, we just wanted to explore).

After getting back to the Super 8 and loading up, we headed over to the stunning XXXXXXX golf course around 4:45pm where seating was more than enough for the group and dinner was amazing.  Once again, the organizers tried to get as many gifts into people’s hands as they could, but for someone that still had a four hour drive ahead of them, I wish the organizers could have been a bit more organized and had a bit more respect for the time.  We weren’t able to leave the golf course until about 8:00pm because they handed out prizes one at a time and continued to give more and more time to sell off the last of the raffle tickets.  I think the raffle cards, and door prizes could have been done in a more expeditious way.  I’m sure for those that were in hotels for the weekend, it was a nice wind down for the night and they probably enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere that the golf course provided.

Verdict

Pros

  • Seguin Trail provides many different kinds of terrain
  • No time pressure to get to lunch or dinner
  • Friendly staff and volunteers supporting a great cause
  • Stunning beauty along the trail with lots of opportunity for stops and pictures

Cons

  • Expensive ($170 for us to ride for the day)
  • Poor communication and signage
  • Very few challenging sections

 

All in all, it was a great day, and the two most important things were accomplished – they raised money for prostate cancer awareness, and the ride was enjoyable for everyone.  I can’t see how anyone that participated could have not enjoyed themselves (maintenance issues aside, of course!) and I would recommend anyone considering this ride to go check it out, but register before the end of May to save yourself $10 per person and keep the costs down a bit.  It’s important to note that $25 of your entry fee goes to charity, but I felt it was a bit off-side to charge $10 for a day-pass for the driver and another $10 for the passenger (this is the first time I’ve ever heard of a passenger being charged for a pass anywhere).  And in my humble opinion, the costs for these passes should not be charged to at the very least should be donated to the charity.

The organizers seem committed to the event and they did a decent job, however, I felt the event had simply gotten a bit to big to run it in the manner it appears they have for the past 11 years.  I’m sure they’ll step up their game and improve the maps, signs, parking and overall organization as the event continues to grow.

Trail Condition

9

Organization

4

Staff/Volunteer Attitudes

10

Main Meal Venue

10

Something for all riders

5

Value for Money

6

Overall

7.3