The first sprout of spring usually means the long, cold winter months have finally ended and the time has come to wake your dirt bike from its deep slumber.
But don't press the start button or jump on the kickstart just yet. Like anyone at rest, a dirt bike needs a gentle wake to be at its finest. Before heading out for the first ride of the season check off all the boxes on the following checklist to ensure peak performance and prevent any premature wear and tear on your dirt bike.
1. Suspension components
Check the fork seals for any leaks. When was the last time you changed the fork oil? Check the manufacturer's recommended intervals to see if it's time.
2. Drive components
A visual inspection of the chain and sprockets clues you in on whether you need some replacements. If you notice tooth wear or cupping at the base of the teeth on the sprockets or the chain exhibits a flat wear pattern or easy side to side play change everything - sprockets and chain together. If all looks good, add lubrication.
So, when was the last time you performed a top end? Losing compression from a worn piston? Did the clutch start slipping your last time out? Now is the time, so get a little dirty. Grab a top end or complete rebuild kit and if you have thought about upgrading your clutch, yes, the Rekluse is all the rage.
Did you leave your dirt bike on a stand or did the tires carry the weight all season? Check the tires for cracking, discoloration and any missing or worn knobs. Check the pressure and add air.
5. Oil and filter
Hopefully you winterized your dirt bike which means you changed the oil and filter after the last ride. If so, then check the oil level and top off if necessary. If not, then change it now.
6. Air filter
Add a fresh air filter.
Like the oil and filter, you should have changed the coolant before the long break, if not, change it now. Start your year off fresh.
Test the brake controls either by spinning the wheels while the bike sits on a stand or rolling the bike forward. Check the brake fluid for adequate levels and visually inspect the calipers for damage or wear and the brake pads for thickness.
Modern dirt bikes have a battery for the electric start. If you did not attach the battery to a battery tender then don't expect a charged battery after all these months. Unfortunately, you can't kickstart the bike so either charge the battery or bump start the bike to recharge the battery.
Before putting your dirt bike away so many months ago you should have either drained the fuel or added a stabilizer. If you left straight up gas in the fuel lines check that the gas has not turned and gummed up the system. Add fuel if you winterized by draining the gas tank.
11. Nuts and Bolts
Get a torque wrench and check all the nuts and bolts to OEM specifications.
12. Spark Plug
If you can't get the bike started whether from a kickstart or electric start and know the battery is charged check the spark plug.
How does your riding gear look? Replace damaged or worn gear and if your helmet is more than five years old, it's time for a new one.
Written By: AndrewT