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5 Maintenance Tasks Dirt Bike Riders Forget To Do

Chaparral Motorsports
April 26, 2018

We all know there are basic maintenance tasks that should be regularly performed to keep a dirt bike in good running order, things like changing the oil, inspecting the tires for wear and proper air pressure, and lubing your chain. However, there are certain steps we often overlook or forget to tend to that often get neglected until it's too late. Below we've compiled several of the more common maintenance tasks the dirt bike owners forget to perform.

Check The Spokes

Your dirt bike wheels and tires are the only thing keeping you off the ground. Loose spokes can puncture your tube, cause your wheel to be out of true or worse. Ideally when it comes to tightening your spokes you'd want to use a torque spoke wrench so you can set your spokes at the specification recommended by the manufacturer, typically around 45-50 inch pounds. Most new dirt bikes come with a basic spoke wrench which is fine or you can pick up a universal wrench like the 6-in-1 Spoke Wrench from TMV that fits various sizes. It's best to start at the spoke nearest the stem so you can easily keep track of where you are in the tightening sequence and then tighten every third spoke. If you tighten every spoke one after the other you'll likely tweak the wheel out of true. Keep hitting every third spoke until you've tightened all of the spokes. The most important thing to remember when tightening your spokes to is to only go a quarter turn at a time-it may seem time consuming but it will help prevent you from over tightening and possibly untruing the wheel.

Inspect bolts

Your dirt bike takes a lot of abuse from all the bumps and jumps, and all that vibration and movement can cause your bolts to come loose. From the axle nuts to the triple clamp pinch bolts and side plate bolts, give each bolt head a once over with a T-Handle to make sure everything is snug. If you're concerned about torque specs on certain components, check your owner's manual and write them down somewhere on your dirt bike where you can easily reference them like under your seat.

Adjust The Chain

If you're good about frequently lubing your chain you should be checking it for proper tension as well. If your dirt bike chain is too tight you could run the risk of breaking the chain or at the very least, prematurely wearing out your sprockets and chain. If your chain is too loose there's a good chance your chain will whip of the sprocket. Follow the procedure in your owner's manual on how to check for proper slack. If you don't remember what the owner's manual says you can do a quick three finger check on your chain using your index finger, middle finger, and ring finger. Place the three fingers so they are stacked between the chain guide and the chain, there should be enough room to get your fingers in with the chain being snug on either side of your fingers.

Grease the Bearings

You probably spend quite a bit of time cleaning the grime and dirt off your bike after each ride, washing it down with the garden hose or a power sprayer. But do you remember to address your bearings? Dirt and other nasty particles, as well as water can get past the seals and cause damage to the bearings. Without proper attention/lube your bearings can get pitted, rust and/or seize up. So it's important to hit all your moving parts that have bearings with some grease like Maxima's Hi-Temp Waterproof Grease. We're talking about your steering head bearings, wheel bearings, swingarm bearings, and linkage bearings.

Clean The Air filter

A dirty air filter can lead to both performance and possible mechanical issues. It's best to inspect your dirt bike's air filter the night or day before your ride, that way if it is dirty and needs to be cleaned, you'll have plenty of time to clean and dry it and then let the new filter oil penetrate through.

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