“Just an ounce of Prevention is worth the win!”
Checking the Vitals
No one likes to go to the doctor for a yearly check-up, but it’s a necessary evil in staying healthy. The same goes for your dirt bike. To keep your motorcycle running safely and in tip-top shape, it is necessary to check your bike over from time to time. When was the last time you gave your bike a thorough check-over? Grab your tools, put on some gloves and let’s give YOUR bike a good going over!
Keeping your bike running healthy means that a basic, routine level of maintenance needs to happen. Ensuring that the fluids in your bike are fresh and at the recommended levels will allow your bike to run the way it is designed to.
While in the garage, check your bike’s oil to ensure you are running the recommended level. Low levels could indicate a leak or burning of oil. If you are near service intervals, go ahead and replace your fluids with fresh oil and oil filter (if needed)
Pro Tip: Add an Hour Meter to your bike. This little computer logs your riding time and allows you to easily schedule maintenance intervals.
Modern dirt bike engines run hot, and without the proper cooling will overheat and seize up. Be sure to check the coolant level in your radiators to make sure you have the right amount. Improper coolant will not cool your bike and a chance of failure can occur.
Pro Tip: While using a 50/50 blend of anti-freeze/water will work, we recommend a more performance-based coolant such as Engine Ice or Evans Coolant for better heat dissipation.
Let it Breathe:
Filtering out dirt and letting your high-performance engine breath is crucial to keeping your bike running. Make sure to check your air filter after every ride since a dirty air filter can ruin your engine over time. Be sure to use a high-quality cleaner and air filter oil . While inside the airbox, make sure to check it over for cracks/leaks.
Pro Tip: Having extra air filters ready to go allows you to just switch them out easily without hassle. Then you can wash a few at a time. This will also prolong your air filter’s life when you rotate them out.
Listen to the Sounds:
The sounds that your motorcycle makes are little clues to how your bike is running. While in the garage, start the engine and let it idle. Listen to the sound of the motor at idle and when you slowly roll on the throttle. You can identify any issues that will affect the performance of the engine. Compression issues, jetting problems, hesitations, backfires or stalls are signs that your bike isn’t doing too well.
Pump gas with ethanol or race gas can wreak havoc on your fuel system if left for too long. Check the fuel lines and clean the carburetor (if you have one) if you suspect gumming in the lines. Clogged fuel lines can mimic other problems, so it’s a good idea to cross that off your list.
Clutch: If you have noticed that your clutch has been slipping on your last few rides, it might be time for a full replacement of the clutch plates. First, check the thickness of the drive plates, pressure plate surface and fiber thickness on the pads. If they are out of spec as per the owner’s manual, replace them with a new set. Also, check the clutch basket and hub for abnormal wear that could bind up the plates.
Drivetrain: Inspect your motorcycle chain and sprockets for any abnormal wear. The chain should never be taught, there should be some slack to allow for suspension movement. Refer to your owner’s manual for the exact chain slack for your motorcycle, but as a general rule, there should be 1/2 inch or 13mm when the swingarm is parallel to the ground.
Pro Tip: Keeping your chain clean will extend its life. Tools such as the Grunge Brush makes chain maintenance easy. Once clean, spray with high-quality chain lube made specifically for the demands of motorcycles, such as Bel-Ray, Maxima, and No-Toil.
Spend time around the controls of your motorcycle; throttle, cables, levers, and handlebars. Inspect your throttle to make sure it snaps back and not sticking. Look over the throttle and clutch cables for excessive wear and replace if needed.
Check your brake and clutch levers to make sure they are working properly. While you are at it, inspect your handlebars. If they look bent or have any fatigue cracks, replace them with a new set.
Also be sure to replace worn out grips. Grips such as the ODI lock-on style grips make easy work of replacing grips.
Let it Dig:
Riding on worn down, dirt knobbies will hinder your ability to control your motorcycle. With the bike on the stand, take a look at the tires and check for excessive wear. If the knobbies are worn down, it may be time for a new set of tires. A fresh set of tires will allow you to have better traction and safer the next time you ride and take to the track.
While you are at it, check the air pressure in your tires. The proper air pressure helps the tire grip better in the dirt and prevent pinch flats while giving protection to the rim.
Pro Tip: Don’t get caught at the track without air, add a good quality air pump and air gauge to your track set-up. Hand pumps such as the Lezyne Aluminum pumps will handle trackside abuse while a professional air gauge such as the Motion Pro Professional Tire Gauge to give you accurate air pressure readings.
Keeping your bike clean will not only make it look good but also extend the life of your motorcycle. Before you do maintenance take time to wash and look your bike over. This is where you will usually find issues that need to be addressed.
Use a good quality soap/detergent that has grease cutting abilities and a good sponge. Also grab a few scrub brushes for the chain, such as the Grunge Brush.
With these tips to keep your bike healthy, you will not only extend the life of your motorcycle, you will also be better informed about your motorcycle. Doing these simple maintenance items will make sure your day at the track, trails or the desert goes smooth.
For all your maintenance parts and accessories, visit BTOSports.com for everything you need to keep your motorcycle running in top shape.