If buying a new dirt bike makes you feel like a kid in a toy shop well then you're not alone. But if you're a first time customer to the Moto store understand you can't just take your new ride home and start blazing some trails.

Breaking in or conditioning your new dirt bike is a must not only for the long-term life of the engine but immediate use as well.

Yes, the engine does need breaking in. This is probably the most important part to your new dirt bike investment. A number of methods exist to the proper way of breaking in your dirt bike engine which we previously covered on our article Breaking Bad: How to Break in a Dirt Bike Engine.

But that's not all. Remember your dirt bike comes from a dealer and partially assembled there. They don't fine tune these rides to anyone's exact specifications. They get built quickly and pushed out on the showroom floor.

You'll want to check any and all bolts and nuts before riding your new dirt bike

Once home, you'll get a taste of regular routine maintenance because you'll want to perform the exact same checks before you start your new dirt bike the first time as you'll do before every ride. The pre-ride or in this case the first ride safety check includes:

  • Visually inspect the suspension, controls and fluid levels
  • Check cables
  • Check all bolts and tighten if necessary
  • Top off fluids if necessary
  • Check chain tension
  • Check brakes
  • Check tire pressure
  • Check chain guide and rollers

Double check the oil level but it's likely full and might include special additives for breaking in the engine but most certainly some assembly lubrication and other non-essential stuff that if left in for a long period would damage the engine. Ask the dealer if there's anything special about the oil but you'll probably change it after the first ride or second. Additionally, once fired up the internal parts shed off metal shavings and you'll want that out as soon as possible.

Once you've covered these bases now it's time to make this dirt bike your dirt bike. Sit on the bike and find your comfort level. Adjust brake and clutch levers if needed. Adjust the handlebars. Fine tune the shifter and brake pedal.

The suspension settings might take a few rides to square up but if you've been riding and have an idea of how you like the fork height, sag and clicker settings go ahead and adjust and change once you've got a feel of the bike under normal operation. Don't go hit a triple until you and the bike are ready. If you're completely in the dark on settings, check out the owner's manual, ask a friend whose been riding a while, contact a local shop for advice or even online chat rooms specific to discussing dirt bikes can prove valuable.

Pay the extra dollars and use high quality fuel

Don't go cheap on the tank of gas especially the first one. Fill up with a high quality fuel (or premix if it's a two-stroke) that's ethanol free. After the first tank, it's wise to always stick with a premium grade non-ethanol fuel but if you're ever caught between riding with what's available or not riding you'd be OK every once in a while using lower quality or ethanol-based fuel.

Once you're ready to ride, harken back to your first time ever riding a bike and go easy. (Don't forget to read How to Break in a Dirt Engine!) Go light on the engine and don't over rev. Try and stay below two-thirds to half throttle during the break-in period. Now is the time to take notice of your suspension and anything else you want to adjust to make riding your new dirt bike enjoyable and comfortable.

After the first ride make any necessary adjustments to your levers and suspension. Recheck the cables and go over the bolts again. Ride and repeat. Then change the oil.

Now you can open the throttle a bit more.

Written By: AndrewT