Gearing up for Race Season: Part 1
Under two weeks left until the first race of the year and it might be time to start inspecting the race bike. Either you have rode the bike all winter or you parked it after the last race. Sometimes things needing attention can be forgotten and that is exactly why the dirt bike should be looked over a few weeks prior to the first race. It ensures you have time to go to your local dirt bike shop for parts and maybe even get them installed.
For me, I spent most of the winter on my 2018 Beta 250. It currently has around 40 hours on it. Not a lot of maintenance is needed at this time. After my last ride on it, I gave it a really good bath. Removed all the plastics and the tank and went to town scrubbing on it. It took FOREVER but totally worth it. While I do this, I look over the bike and make mental notes of what is needed.
Generally, after a full season of racing and practicing my bikes are in desperate need of fresh plastics. So, before the first round I like to get new plastics and new graphics. Not a necessary item but what else am I going to spend money on? I shoot to have the plastics and graphics done at this time so I do not have to put the old plastics back on during the first race prep.
Inspect the handguards. Are they loose? Are they so bent new ones are needed? 9 times out of 10 this is the case for me, so I plan on replacing them at this time. What about the grips? Is it time to replace them? INSPECT EVERYTHING!
I tend to have a problem with bending headers. I guess they are kind of a disposable type item. I make sure that it isn’t so bent that it will be a problem. Like making sure it is not rubbing on hoses. Luckily, my FMF Fatty is in good shape!
After the appearance check over is finished, I start reading my dirt bike diary to get a refresher on what has been done and what has not.
Oil change for sure. Did the oil smell burnt? Wouldn’t hurt to check the clutch to make sure everything is in working order. Brakes and clutch need to be bled. Look at the brake pads, if they are border line replace go ahead and replace them. Install a new sparkplug. Clean the air filter or buy a new one. Check the coolant levels. Do the fork seals need replaced? What about the fork fluid, is it time to change that? How are the chain and sprockets? Again, if it is borderline, I lean more towards replacing. What is the point of starting the season with junk parts? Are all the bearings in good shape? Would not hurt to go ahead and disassemble the linkage and swingarm bearings and add more grease to them. Don’t forget the tires! If bibs are ran are they still good? If not, check the tire pressure and make sure the tubes still hold air.
Another thing to consider, is it time for a rebuild? If it is near time, go ahead and get that out of the way now. As I stated above, my bike has 40 hours on it, so I do have some life left on the top end.
After all parts are replaced that are needed, start assembling! In an ideal situation this is at least a few days prior to the race. When finished, stare at the beauty and take pictures. Ride it around some. Get your competition face on because it is race season!!