There's got to be an easier way.
You've probably said this at least once if you eat, breath and live dirt bikes. Working on anything mechanical whether it's a dirt bike, car or even a lawn mower brings a great deal of satisfaction once said task is complete. But frustration can easily set in with what seems like the easiest of fixes.
Mechanics in every industry learn pretty quickly how to get around annoyances and make their jobs easier without sacrificing quality to get the job done efficiently. Earlier this month, we learned that Ryan Sipes' mechanic uses duct tape under the fenders so when the bike cakes up with mud during the grueling Grand National Cross Country races, you simply pull on the duct tape releasing all the mud which weighs down the bike making it harder to ride.
So that got us thinking, what other ingenious ideas exist that make life easier riding, repairing and maintaining a dirt bike?
Ball Bearing Installation
Aren't these suckers a pain in the you-know-what? Not anymore. What happens when you freeze metal? It shrinks. What happens when you heat metal? It expands. So freeze your bearings and heat the swing arm, linkage or whatever it is you're placing them into. The cold, and now smaller bearings, slide right into the heated, and now expanded, housing. Once in...
Regularly Grease the Bearings
Don't neglect these little balls of fun. Spend a little time now and remove the swing arm and other parts on your dirt bike that use bearings, leave them in the linkage, clean 'em up and re-apply grease. This saves lots of time and money later as regular maintenance prevents future ball bearing replacement and the necessary removal tools.
However, if you need to remove the bearings, the Motion Pro Deluxe Service Tool is a must-have for work on the suspension bearings or check out this Bearing Removal Set which crosses over to your automotive tool box or a less costly alternative is this Motion Pro set that is ideal for dirt bikes and ATVs.
If you've installed a new tire, successfully, without using lubrication than we take our goggles off to you. Probably more important than tire irons, tire lube is an essential component to installing new dirt bike tires. We say, don't even try unless you have it.
For the cheap and dirty method use dish soap and water.
This isn't new and a lot of riders prefer the tried and true method of dirt bike grip installation using wire and glue but check out how fast these grips install using an air compressor.
It should be noted that some grips just won't stay on unless you use wire and glue. So before heading off to a Moto with newly installed grips via the air compressor make sure you've put in a few riding hours to ensure they don't slip.
You won't use a hammer too much when working on your dirt bike but when the time comes to pound something in (or out) use a brass hammer. Brass is a softer metal and won't damage or dent steel or aluminum when you miss.
Warm Your Graphics
Graphic installation is one of the hardest jobs on a dirt bike and what makes it more maddening is it's purely aesthetics. You don't need them to ride but who really rides without them? The installation process goes much easier if the graphics are warm. Lay them in the sun for a while or if it's cold outside make it a house job and get out of the chill box that is your garage.
Something else you should know about graphics is you can pull them back up if you've misaligned them but do so gently. Also, wash your hands before starting. For a tutorial, check out how Brett Cue does it:
Grease the O-rings
Adding grease to all the O-rings prolongs life, secures the seal and holds it in the place, like for example, when installing the clutch cover.
Put Your Dirt Bike to Bed
Laying the bike on its side allows you to work on certain components like the clutch and starter without draining the oil. Add a blanket and she'll sleep through the whole thing.
If you want to add a seat bump, adding half of an old handlebar pad does the trick. It's not hard to install so check out this guide for more information.
Silicon Lube Everything
Spraying down the underside of fenders, the bottom of the swingarm and radiator louvers and even the spokes and rims with silicon lubrication spray can prevent dirt, grime and mud from sticking and building up thus keeping your bike lighter. It also makes the post-race clean-up job a snap. But it probably won't work for heavy mud conditions as noted above with Sipes or in dusty conditions as the spray tends to attract tiny particles.
Maxima SC1 is a rider favorite not only because it works but smells oh so good.
The Hidden Compartment
Lots of room in there
Did you know your dirt bike comes with a hidden compartment? This really only applies to trail riders but the air box on many models brings enough room for you to stash an extra spark plug and the necessary tools to change it. Figure out what room you have and make yourself a small box or just use a plastic bag to carry the items and tape it inside.
What unusual techniques and tricks do you employ while working on your dirt bike? Let us know below!
Written By: AndrewT