Dirt bikes get put through their paces every time riders take them to the track or out on the trail. Without proper maintenance, even the best of them will eventually experience mechanical failures that could lead to accidents and injuries plus the need for costly repairs. Instead of just allowing a dirt bike to fall into a state of disrepair, follow the advice below about the best way to maintain it.
Remove Dirt and Grime
After every ride, dirt bike owners should stop to rinse down their motorcycles and remove any dirt and mud that has become caked on. Having a graphics kit for your bike can help to prevent damage to the paint due to lack of routine cleaning, but it won’t protect every inch of the bike. Even with a graphics kit installed, it’s important to take a bucket of water and some brushes to a dirt bike’s exterior after each use.
Perform Regular Visual Inspections
It’s also wise to perform regular visual inspections of the bike. Make sure it’s clean and dry, then look for issues like oil drips, brake fluid leaks, and rusty chains. A basic visual inspection won’t spot a lot of the issues that come up frequently with dirt bikes but can alert a rider to some of the most serious forms of damage. If there are any signs of leaks, for example, riders should have their dirt bikes looked at by a professional before taking them back out on the trails.
A dirt bike’s drive chain needs to be kept clean and lubricated, but removing mud and adding lubricants aren’t the only chain-related tasks riders need to perform on a regular basis. It’s also important to check the tautness of the chain. It should always have some slack to compensate for the movement of the suspension system, but it shouldn’t be so loose that it comes off the rear sprocket.
Check and Clean Air Filters
Maintaining a clean air filter protects a dirt bike’s engine from damage and improves its performance. Check the air filter frequently and use either a mix of water and gentle household cleaner or a specialized spray-on filter cleaner to remove grime. After the air filter has been cleaned and dried, it should also be coated with air filter oil.
Pay Attention to Tire Pressure
Every rider should have a basic tire pressure gauge and use it often. Experts recommend checking the tire pressure before each ride. For most bikes, 8 psi for the front tires and 6 psi for the rear ones should be a good fit for muddy conditions. In dry conditions, keep the front tires at 14 psi and the rear ones at 12 psi.
Change the Oil
For bikes that get used ins seriously dirty or muddy conditions, changing the motor oil frequently can make a huge difference. The manufacturer’s recommendations provide guidelines, but many experts recommend changing the oil as often as every 8 to 10 operating hours or after every exceptionally rough ride. The more a rider changes a bike’s oil, the longer the bike’s engine is likely to last, so there’s no harm in erring on the side of caution.
Schedule Regular Inspections
Want to make sure a dirt bike stays in great shape for as long as possible? Even the most thorough at-home maintenance won’t replace the need for occasional professional inspections. Keep a mechanic on speed dial, and don’t just call when something’s wrong.