Keep Calm & Work on Your Dirt Bike!
Have you been told to stay home? Sounds like it is the perfect time to do some much needed maintenance to your dirt bike!
For starters, is the dirt bike clean? Like really clean? No – OK well give it a good scrub. In this particular scenario, I recommend going all out! Wash it, scrub it, remove plastics, tank, scrub some more. Remove the air filter and install the filter box plug then clean the air box. Lay the bike on its side. Really focus on getting every spec of dirt off. You do have a lot of free time. When washing the bike, pay attention to anything that is loose or broke and take mental notes to take care of it.
Before doing anything else, refer to your previous entries in the dirt bike diary. Compare current hours to the hours the bike was last worked on. This will give you an indicator of what the bike needs before it has issues at the next ride or race. Preventive maintenance is far cheaper in the long run.
At this time, general maintenance is needed. Below is what I consider routine maintenance, should be done after every race and every other ride, give or take.
Clean the air filter. Let it dry before reinstalling. When installing apply oil to the air filter and a thick bead of grease around the rim. If rim grease is failed to be put on, the filter will allow dirt into the carb and it will cause many pre-mature problems that could have been prevented. So, oil the filter well and don’t forget the thick bead of grease on the rim!
Check the spark plug! This lets the mechanic know how the bike is running, too lean or too rich. Plus, changing or cleaning the plug helps reduce the chances of fouling a plug.
Bleed the brakes! Losing the brakes is super scary and usually can be prevented. We always bleed our brakes for insurance. Inspect the brake pads and make sure they do not need to be replaced.
Change the oil! Keeping clean, fresh oil in the bike helps prevent premature wear. For Beta, we recommend Motul Transoil or Motul 7100 10w-40. For Sherco, we recommend Bel Ray Thumper. We have found that these oils are excellent quality and last longer than most which equals less oil changes. If you ride a 4t, don’t forget to change the oil filter.
Check the battery! Most electrical failures go back to a battery that is not charged, connections are corroded, or connections are loose. Just be sure to check that it is charged and has no lose connections. Loose connections can cause damage to the battery. Keeping an eye on the battery also helps know when it is getting weak and should be replaced.
Keep the chain clean and lubed! But do not forget to check the chain and sprockets! Are your sprockets missing any teeth or starting to curl? What about the chain, has it seen better days? A chain breaking or derailing can be expensive and dangerous. It can’t always be prevented but you’ll be on the safer side if condition as well as the masterlink are checked.
Check the coolant! It isn’t a great idea to start with coolant levels already low and risking the chances of overheating and bike failure. Remember, do not mix different brands. If coolant is low and you are unsure what is in it, you are better off to drain it and start fresh.
If you run tubes in your tires, check the air pressure. Or go a safer route and run Bib Mousses!
Check the spokes! Make sure they are not loose or broken. Be sure to not overtighten because it could result in them breaking during the next ride.
Lastly, go around the entire bike and make sure everything is tight. While doing this, do a visual inspection and see if anything else needs attention. Like are the cables in good shape? Have any leaks? Check to make sure all bearings are in proper working order and not seized or loose. If in good condition, add grease to them. Make sure all bolts are tight, engine mount bolts, subframe bolts, frame bolts, axle nuts, bar mounts, etc…
This is just a basic list. The number of hours on the bike ultimately depends on what all is required for the next ride, it could be top end time! Keeping up on routine maintenance sounds expensive but in the end it will for sure save you more time and money in the long run! Let’s be productive, get your dirt bikes in tip top shape, support local shops, and let’s ride!