Make Sure Your Bikes are in the best operating condition possible: maintain your bikes!
Bikes in poor condition are not safe to ride, can leave you stranded and cut your ride short. Take the time to inspect and maintain your bike before you put it, and your human stamina to the test.
Before you Ride, do a Preflight Check
Make a visual inspection of the entire bike, especially if you haven’t had it out in a while, or it’s been winter-stored for several months. Check, oil, fluids, chain tightness, steering freedom, tire pressure, lever operation, bolt torques and suspension. And of course, make sure the bike starts without issues.
Make sure you have all your riding gear
Helmets are required at all times while on a motorcycle at the BMC club grounds. We recommend every additional piece of safety gear including gloves, goggles, chest protector, boots, knee pads, neck brace, off-road pants and a jersey. Bring basic tools and your bike manual also.
Wash your bike after every ride. Dry it before inspection
Be gentle. We recommend simply using a bucket of water and a selection of brushes to knock off mud. You can use a pressure washer, but be careful to deflect the water away from the bike, so you don’t force water and dirt into areas where it can damage engine or electrical components.
Check for leaks
Once your dirt bike is clean and dry, look for oil drips on the ground and underneath the motor. Also, inspect for coolant and brake fluid.
Inspect, clean and adjust your chain
Clean any dirt and mud from your chain and check the tension and adjust if necessary. Lubricate it with a high-quality chain lube. Remember, the chain should never be taut—there should be some slack to compensate for suspension movement.
Inspect and tighten bolts.
Check your hardware to make sure bolts haven’t loosened under extreme vibration from your last ride.
Check out your controls and control cables
Inspect your throttle and clutch cables and replace them if they are frayed or kinked. Then, test the throttle control for the proper amount of free play. An easy way to test for free play is to place the bike on a work stand, start it up, and let it idle. Then, rotate the handlbars through their full range of travel and listen for any increase in engine rpm. If an increase occurs, you need to add free play to your throttle cable. Also, test your throttle for responsive operation, making sure it snaps back crisply when twisted.
Check and clean your air filter.
By maintaining a clean air filter, you’ll not only improve performance, you’ll protect your engine from costly damage. You can use a quality spray-on air filter cleaner or clean it with a mix of water and a household cleaner like Simple Green. Once the filter is dry, coat it with high-quality air filter oil. Use filter contact area oil, or a pre determined foam seal, where the filter makes contact with the airbox.
Check your tire pressure in between each ride
Montana weather fluctuation almost always causes low or high pressure. Consult your manual for your bike’s specific recommendations, but 10-12 lbs pressure for tires is an okay baseline.
Change your oil
Change your oil according to your manual’s recommendations and your type of riding. If you ride hard, every 4 hours might work, between changes. Light riding might be 8-10 hours. High quality/synthetic oils can last longer also.
Check your fluids
You should replace your brake and clutch fluid periodically. Brake fluid is inherently conducive to absorbing moisture. Most manufacturers recommend DOT-4 brake fluid—an alcohol-based fluid—for dirt bikes. Also, check your coolant level and top off as needed. Plan to flush and change your cooling system once per year.
Grease it up
Grease seals to lubricate important components (zirks, bearings, hubs, swingarm). Inspect shock seals and forks, and steering head bearings. Use a good PTFE-based, petroleum-based or moly grease where necessary.