Rockstar Energy Racing How To: Spokes And Bolts

Team Rockstar has some new dirt bikes in the shop gearing up for the upcoming Supercross season. It's possible that you too may have a new motorcycle in the garage. Need some tips on new bike setup? Rockstar Mechanic "JT" takes you through some important checks to go over when you get a new motorcycle on your hands. Whether it be a brand new out of the crate bike or a used one from a buddy, you should ALWAYS check your spokes and bolts.

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How's it going? JT here at the Rockstar Energy Racing Shop here in Corona, California and today we want to talk about how to set up a brand new bike.

This is a brand new KTM that we have just out of the box. Everything is stock other than exhaust pipe and graphics. But the most important thing you when you get a new bike you want to check your spokes.

Check for Loose Dirt Bike Spokes

The reason you want to check your spokes, when they come back from the factory they're preset to a certain torque but when you ride they stretch a little bit, your wheel moves around a little bit and flexes and you always want to recheck to make sure they don't loosen.

If they do loosen the wheel can actually come apart, spokes can break and just cost you a lot of money in the end. So it's cheap insurance to check your spokes and keep a good eye on them.

Check for Loose Bolts

Along with your spokes it's a good idea to really nut and bolt every bolt on the bike and check:

  • All your fasteners
  • All your seat bolts
  • All your pinch bolts
  • Engine mount bolts
  • Handle bars
  • Levers

Just make sure that you don't have stuff falling off your bike because the bike vibrates and stuff does come loose so you want to keep an eye on all your fasteners.

Tools to Check Dirt Bike Spokes

The tools you'll need to check your spokes are of course the spoke wrench. The spoke wrench comes with most bikes. As far as the rest of the nuts and bolts on the bike, you need a set of T handles:

  • 8mm
  • 10mm
  • 12mm
  • 13mm
  • 14mm
  • 17mm
  • And your spoke wrench

You'll take your spoke wrench that came with the bike and you're going to tap the spokes and the spokes that are tight - you should hear like a high pitched tone when you tap it. The spokes that are loose or not tight you're going to hear like a thud or like a dead sound.

And those you definitely want - that's where you want to start and then go around the wheel if you find any loose spokes just go around the wheel and check them all.

All right so obviously you can hear this one is a bit dead compared to this one that's tight. This one needs to be tightened so we'll start with the one that's loose here. Just give it a few turns until I feel it snug. And once I feel good about the torque I'll tap it again until I get a sound I like and then I'll go ahead and go all the way around the wheel.

How to Tighten Dirt Bike Spokes

I like to go all the way around the wheel three times, check one spoke starting with one and I skip two, and do every third spoke. The reason I go around three times is to torque the wheel evenly. You don't want to pull the wheel all the way to one side before you get halfway around the wheel, it'll throw your wheel out of being true.

After you finish your front wheel you'll do the same method on the rear wheel. Again checking for that dead tone. If you do find that dead spoke tighten it and then go ahead and use that method to go round the wheel three times and check all your spokes.

Check all Nuts and Bolts

Now that we have our spokes tight there's no loose spokes or no dead sounds, all the spokes are good, we're ready to move on to the rest of the bike and check all the other nuts and bolts. We're going to start with the front of the bike and we're going to work our way back.

Alright starting from the front of the bike we're going to check:

  • Handle bar mount bolts
  • Triple clamp bolts
  • Front axle
  • And then work our way back

Now that we have the front of the bike done we're going to move on to our:

  • Radiator shroud
  • Side panels
  • Rear fenders
  • Seat

On the KTM, on the radiator shroud, there's one bolt exposed that you can check for your shroud. There's two more under the seat if you move your seat you can check those two 6mm head bolts and there's one 8mm that goes in with the radiator right here in the front of the shroud.

We're going to move on to the 8mm bolt under the seat. That's located on KTM under the rear fender.

While we're down here there is two more bolts that go into the sub frame under the rear fender. We'll check those.

Move on to the back of the bike - we're going to check our muffler. We'll check our side panel and air box bolts as well. We'll start with the back bolt of the muffler. Check that, make sure it's good and snug. Go on to the side panel air box and there's one more bolt for your side panel and air box on the air side of the bike.

Now we checked most of our fasteners to make sure they're good, we'll move on to the rear axle. On this particular bike the rear axle nut is a 32 millimeter nut, so we'll grab a 32 socket and ratchet and just check it, make sure it's tight.

Again these are all checks you need to perform before you ride a bike. Whether you just bought it brand new from a crate or it's a used bike that you bought from somebody. You need to know for yourself that everything's tight and stuff's not going to fall off the bike when you go out. Check always before you ride and once you know everything's good you're ready to go on the track.

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