Is your old buddy looking a bit dingy and clapped out?
Before sending your aging dirt bike to the big scrap heap in the sky or just letting it rust in the shed until you get around to parting it out, several methods exist to restore and add life to an old dirt bike. Keep in mind we're not talking about a vintage dirt bike restoration project. An old dirt bike or even a newer one busted from one too many crashes simply needs a little bit of love and the right parts to get back on the track or trial.
In many cases, the primary issue with an old dirt bike looking, well, old is the outward appearance. In short, a simple facelift is all that's needed. New or old, any dirt bike eventually breaks down aesthetically, certainly after years, but even just months, of riding and racing.
No, looks won't give you that boost in horsepower but like anyone who waxes their car and swears it runs better afterwards, new plastic and body parts is the best thing to bring your bike out of the shadows. Whether your dirt bike is a year old or 20 years old, popping on some new plastic and graphics can make your ride look showroom fresh.
What's great about new plastic is how cost effective it is plus the near instant reward once put on. Even higher end plastic kits prove to be rather affordable when adding upgrades or rejuvenating an old bike. Several choices make it easy to choose based on your budget. The Polisport Complete Plastic Kit is an inexpensive alternative to OEM replacement parts and costs less than $200 for a full redo of your dirt bike. The Acerbis Full Plastic Kit cranks up the price a bit (but still under $200) with Italian-made plastic and original factory colors. On the higher end is the Cycra Plastic Kit which is what James Stewart fits to his bike probably because of the brand's technology-infused material. Made in the USA and stronger but lighter than stock plastic.
This Honda CRF250R is getting a make-over
Once you've decided on plastic, a set of graphics is your next step in getting your old dirt bike up to snuff. This is where you can really add some personality to your bike with custom graphics or if you're looking for authenticity, go straight-up OEM style or duplicate your favorite rider. Check out our full line of graphics but some of our most popular sellers include:
If the custom graphics mentioned above peaks your interest than go no further as MotoSport can customize number plate backgrounds with your name, number and even sponsors. Check out our full line of custom dirt bike graphics or these sets from a standard series to straight-up race prestige:
An even easier visual tune-up than graphics is a set of dirt bike tires. It's a pretty safe bet that if your dirt bike has been dormant for quite some time you'll need new tires. New tires give your old dirt bike a crisp, sleek look so grab a combo set and just watch the halo effect.
Look! A brand new CRF250
On to performance.
Looking good on the track is one thing. But if your old dirt bike can't perform then you'll just look pretty sitting at the gate. A tune-up can easily be done in the confines of your garage and, if you've been riding a while, something you should know how to do. A tune-up on your dirt bike is the easiest and most cost effective approach to adding life into a sputtering engine.
A tune-up means changing the oil, filters and addressing carburetor issues. Other fluids like coolant and brake fluids are important but don't really put life into an old machine. Get your bike running first before spending the money on the other maintenance facets of your dirt bike. If you need oil we've got you covered from factory issue to aftermarket brands that work. As for other tune-up needs, we suggest:
You're almost done.
Since you've neglected your trusty steed perhaps it's time to make amends. Though it might be a bit selfish, adding an air filter intake kit brings your bike into the 21st century plus it cuts the dastardly amount of time it takes to replace your air filter in the traditional OEM air box.
Finally, this last bit of advice could fall under "must-have" or "nice-to-have" depending on just how bent, mangled and mutilated you've left your dirt bike. But if you're doing all the above a new exhaust system is likely in your future. Now is your chance to really make a statement and turn a once dead dirt bike into a ripping machine.
None of the above really makes a bit of sense if your dirt bike is dead. If the transmission is on the fritz, rust seeps out from the engine block, there's a big fat crack leaking oil, or maybe you burnt the inside out years ago and now have some time on your hands to get back riding then depending on your know-how, budget and need for a ride, you might be better off replacing the engine or transmission outright or starting from scratch and investing in a new dirt bike.
Weigh the cost, time and effort required to get your old dirt bike up and running again. If you've got the mechanic's hand, don't let a blown engine or junked-up transmission turn you away, either. Check out How to Maintain Your Dirt Bike or ATV Transmission for insight and pointers on transmission needs. MotoSport also sells what you need to rebuild the top and bottom end of your engine which is all found on our Dirt Bike Engine Parts and Accessories page.
One thing to consider before scrapping your dirt bike is the sentimental value. It's just a machine but maybe it's the first bike you got a podium with so letting it go is hard to do. Additionally, if it's a limited edition or offers a future collector's value that is another reason to hang on to it.
In many respects, as long as you've got the frame you can more or less part-together a custom dirt bike but a lot of riders only know the maintenance basics and/or don't have the time to spend an a complete overhaul.