Ultimate Guide To Holeshot Devices

How-To Guides & Tutorials  |  8 June 2020

Ultimate Guide To Holeshot Devices main image

Dirt bike holeshot devices are one of the first accessories motocross racers will fit to their bikes, and you'll find it tough to spot an MX bike without one on any starting line around the country. It's no wonder why - your start is the difference between winning and losing.


What is a dirt bike holeshot device?

A holeshot device is usually a button, and sometimes a clip, that sits on the right-hand fork guard of your motocross bike. When the suspension is compressed and the button is engaged, it locks onto the locking ring that wraps around the fork itself, holding the forks down in position. The device will automatically disengage when the suspension is compressed, and it's only used ever used for starting the race and charging the first corner.


How does a dirt bike holeshot device work?

A holeshot device is designed to give you the best start possible and get you to the first turn in front of the field, and it does this by locking the front fork down while allowing you to position yourself correctly on the bike. Your position on the bike is firmer, and with the front end brought down, your feet can also be planted nicely on the ground.

These two key benefits assist in getting the low ‘attack’ position that’s required to get the power to the ground.

The holeshot device, also referred to as a launch control device, assists in preventing the bike from doing a wheelie while keeping the front wheel nice and low when the gate drops and you release clutch - meaning you’re much less likely to loop out with the weight of the bike being brought forward. A holeshot device doesn’t remove the need for good technique, however, it’s rather a tool that significantly helps in getting traction at the rear wheel and launching out of the gate.


How do I choose a dirt bike holeshot device?

There are an abundance of holeshot devices available with several different 'button' designs. The traditional design is a spring-loaded button, and this is the most affordable options. Depending on the manufacturer, the button is either rubber or aluminium.

The most revolutionary design in holeshot devices is the Works Connection Pro Launch, which instead of using a spring-loaded button, it uses a minimalistic 'trigger' that locks the fork in with powerful magnets.

There is also the dual-button system as offered by Ballards - this still uses the traditional spring-loaded button, however there are two of them. This gives you two choices of how far you want to pull the front suspension down, which you can change depending on the starting surface and terrain.

You will also need to choose the right holeshot device for your particular bike, as different makes and models have differently sized forks, and sometimes the clamp on the fork will also sit in a different position. So it's important to choose the correct device for your motocross bike.

There are universal start devices on the market, and these will usually come with a selection of inserts for the locking ring to fit different sized fork casings.

How do I install a dirt bike holeshot device?

Installing a dirt bike holeshot device is a pretty simple process, although you will need a few tools, such as:

Step 1: The first thing you need to do is work out how far down fork guard you want to install the button, make sure you are adding the button to the right-hand fork protector.

It may be easier to measure and mark it with the fork protector on the bike as you will be able to visualise where the button will end up, and also help you get the measurement as close to the centre of the protector as possible. Keeping it close to the centre of the protector will make it easier to press the button in and load the holeshot device, remember the template is there to make life easier.

Step 2: Remove the fork guard and check your measurements by holding the device in the desired position. Once you are happy with the location, drill the larger centre hole first. Use a drill bit slightly larger than the plunger to allow the button to move in and out freely.

Step 3: Once the centre hole is drilled, you can line up the outer two or four other holes (depending on what brand holeshot device you have) and mark them to be drilled. If you aren’t confident with how well the holes are lined up, start with a smaller drill bit and work your way up from there. The holes will need to be countersunk on the inside of the fork guard to make sure there are no protruding screws when the button is fitted, so take your time to make sure everything lines up correctly before you put it back onto your bike.

Step 4: The best way to add the locking ring to your bike is to remove the front wheel and fork leg so you can slip the ring down from the top of the fork. Avoid stretching the ring over the fork leg as you will bend and damage the aluminium ring.

Step 5: Before you tighten the ring replace the fork, wheel and fork protector on the bike. Once this is done and tightened, line the plunger up with the lug on the locating ring. Once it is lined up you can tighten the ring and you are done. Ensure you check the device’s operation by loading the button and then pushing the front end down to release it.

Step 6: Give the bike one last check over to ensure everything is tight and working freely. Another key to getting better starts comes down to rider technique, don’t be afraid to work on practice starts every time you're training, as just like any part of racing, you can improve your skills by putting time into practicing them!

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