How to Prepare Your Dirt Bike For Spring Ride

How to Prepare Your Dirt Bike For Spring Ride

Spring has arrived, and many people are getting out on their dirt bikes again. Before taking off, however, they need to do some annual maintenance. This maintenance ensures the bike is safe to ride. What steps should you take?

Clean the Bike

A clean bike looks better and is more fun to ride. Spring is the perfect time to wash the dirt bike, shine it so it sparkles, and prep it for the first ride. Look for a graphics kit to give the bike a fresh look that complements the changing seasons.

Change the Oil

Change the oil at the start of the season. The oil has been sitting in the engine. Replace the oil and the oil filter to ensure the dirt bike is ready for regular rides.

Change the Air Filter

The air filter acts as the bike's lungs. When the filter is clean, the bike runs better and lasts longer. A new filter will improve the bike's performance regardless of where you ride.

Test the Battery

Test the battery to confirm it has a full charge. It's never fun when something goes wrong on the trail. Invest in a trickle charger if the bike will sit for an extended time.

Examine the Wheels and Tires

Inspect the tires each spring for cuts or holes. Excessive knobby wear is also concerning, as it could lead to a flat tire while riding. Replace stock tubes with tubes designed for off-road adventures, and check the wheel bearings for damage. Examine the spokes and tighten or replace any that are loose or damaged.

Check the Drive System

A bike cannot run without the drive system. Move the chain side-to-side before lifting it off the rear sprocket. Excessive slop is a sign the chain needs replacing. Anything over 1/4" is concerning. Replace the chain for peace of mind.

Sprockets with missing teeth or excessive cuppings also need to be replaced. Front sprockets typically wear faster than their rear counterparts. Mechanics always recommend replacing the chain and sprockets simultaneously for better performance and an extended lifespan.

Examine the master link. If the outside clip is thinning or the chain guide rubs the chain, it's time for a replacement. Replacing the master link could save you hours of walking.

Exhaust Packing

Nobody wants to spend hours on an excessively noisy bike. Others don't want to hear the bike, particularly when enjoying nature's sounds on a lovely spring day. Repack the exhaust silencer for a quiet ride and better performance.

Examine the Rider Controls

Excessive wear is a concern when it comes to the rider controls. Before each ride, check the handlebars, grips, clutch cables, levers, and throttle. Make adjustments as needed and promptly replace damaged parts. Fortunately, throttle cables tend to last for years. It never hurts to have a spare while riding, though. These cables cost little, so consider throwing one in the emergency repair kit.

The same goes for clutch cables. They don't cost much, but they will be priceless if the cable breaks while you're out in the wilderness. If the cable breaks, it can be sold to other riders for a higher price. If they don't have one and it breaks down, they will be willing to pay top dollar to avoid walking for hours to buy a new cable.

Bleed the Brake Lines

Change the brake fluid for a solid braking system. Outdated brake fluid is contaminated and could lead to overheating rotors, premature pad wear, or other problems. Look at the rear master cylinder window to see the color of the fluid. If the liquid is dark brown, you need to change it. After changing the fluid, push the brake line in reverse. Start at the caliper using a suitable syringe and the correct tubing size. Experts recommend adding a zip tie to the caliper. This safety feature will ensure it doesn't come off too soon.

Drain the Carburetor

Riders should drain the carburetor at least twice each year to remove debris. Dark specs in the fluid are concerning, as they suggest dirt and debris are in the tank. An O-ring may be failing, or the petcock screen may be broken. Cheap gas cans can introduce dirt and debris into the system. Cleaning the carburetor regularly reduces the risk of a jammed bowl float that won't close.

Tighten All Bolts

The bolts on a dirt bike may come loose, particularly when the bike is ridden hard. Grab a torque wrench before taking the bike out in the spring and tighten all bolts. Temperature changes during the winter can also cause bolts to back off, so complete this step each spring.

Replace Riding Gear

Check all riding gear to confirm everything still fits properly. Any wear and tear is a sign the gear needs to be replaced, as it may not provide the highest level of protection. In addition, gear that fits properly and is in good shape is more comfortable for the rider.

Upgrade the On-Bike Tool Kit

Every person needs tools for repairs; nobody wants to be stuck in the wilderness with a broken-down bike. Check the tool kit to see which items need to be replaced and if any new items should be purchased to complete the kit. At a minimum, the kit needs assorted wrenches and items to repair a bad tire. The kit should also include tape, zip ties, and other items that could be used to make emergency repairs.

Consider Upgrading the Bike

Spring is an excellent time to upgrade a dirt bike. Add additional storage or bike armor to protect the bike from harm. Look into purchasing an oversized fuel tank so you can take longer rides without carrying fuel bladders or bottles. Finally, consider a satellite communicator and GPS. These items allow you to call for help and share your location.

Once you have followed these steps, get out and have some fun. Thanks to your preparation, you'll be ready for anything that happens while riding. Every trip will be more enjoyable because you won't have to worry about what could go wrong.

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