If you have given up hope for the afternoon soaps and a bottle of cold brew, and got nothing to do and all day to do it, don't let it tick away with your sanity.

Use the forced downtime to work on your dirt bike.

It's hard to believe such a calamity as this coronavirus, but now that you've got too much time on your hands, how about finally putting to bed all those Saturday excuses when you said "Next weekend" or "some other time." So if you don't know what to do and feel the time tick, tick, ticking away, stop fooling yourself. Get off the barstool in your garage, get your dirt bike on a stand and roll up your sleeves.

It's time to get to work!

Dirt Bike Maintenance

Top End Rebuild

Rebuilding the top end takes a few hours and for the uninitiated offers a pretty complex dive into the engine of a dirt bike. Once you have a top end rebuild down, it feels more like an oil change on steroids rather than a meticulous process involving minute details and parts. But it still takes a few hours for the veteran mechanic so whether you have this down pat or looking to try it for the first time now presents a great opportunity to get your dirt bike ready to ride.

Read the owner's manual for instructions (or grab an OEM service manual) and if you feel really ambitious try rebuilding the entire engine (top and bottom end) which requires a full afternoon. You might need a friend, so practice social distancing!

Need supplies? Shop all Piston Kits for 2-stroke and 4-stroke dirt bikes.

Dirt Bike Clutch Replacement

Sounds daunting but replacing the clutch on your dirt bike is relatively easy. It takes time, if course, which you have plenty of right now so if you noticed the clutch slipping or been eyeing a righteous upgrade then take the time now to get the gears in order, so to speak.

We love Rekluse for any upgrade as well as Hinson but check out all new clutch kits for dirt bikes which includes baskets, springs, inner hubs and pressure plates.


Pull your dirt bike down to the frame, clean to a showroom shine and put it back together. The thought of tearing down your dirt bike probably brought out the "some other time" comment repeatedly, and for good reason. We won't sugarcoat this - tearing down a dirt bike takes time, lots of detail and overall amounts to a pretty big pain in the butt. As you gaze over a once built dirt bike reduced to a pile of dismembered parts you might think, "Is it any wonder I'm not crazy?"

To keep sane, make sure you tag every nut, bolt and screw, and where it came from or you'll spend HOURS trying to figure out where it belongs. After a while they all look the same!

Did that go here or was it there? So, some helpful hints to tearing down your dirt bike:

  • Start with a clean, clutter free, and organized work station
  • Move slowly and methodically - Nothing ever goes as planned
  • Remove parts and fasteners together and leave them together
  • Label parts and hardware
  • Take photos - just in case you need a visual reminder
  • Clean each section individually
  • Separate cleaned sections from the dirty
  • Wash your hands

We have cleaning supplies if you need them. Read How To Clean a Dirt Bike for some additional thoughts on getting your dirt bike clean.

Grease Dirt Bike Bearings

We have written about this before, several times, in fact, so that should give you an idea of the importance of greasing the bearings. If you tear down your dirt bike then by all means, absolutely clean and grease the bearings at the same time. It will be so much easier! Basically you kill two birds with one stone.

You only need to clean and lubricate the bearings once a year or so depending on riding conditions. If you have no plans for a tear down, greasing all the bearings takes about an hour and requires removing some external parts. Clean and lubricate (we recommend using actual grease for all unsealed bearings) the following:

See the links? Each link takes you to information on how to replace each of those bearings, if needed. If you hear or feel any of the following, take this opportunity to replace the bearings:

  • Grinding sound
  • Slop or side-to-side play (wheel)
  • Hard to turn (steering)
  • Increased rolling resistance (wheel)
  • Resistance when pushing seat down (rear suspension)
  • Click or popping sound when rear wheel leaves the ground (rear suspension)

Lubricate Dirt Bike Cables

Let's end with an easy one and perhaps something to help begin your afternoon of dirt bike projects. Most riders neglect to lubricate the cables. As long as the clutch lever works and the throttle functions properly all seems well, right? For the most part, yes, but lubricating the cables clutch and throttle cable prevents premature wear and ensures proper operation. If you ride a dirt bike from around the mid-80s or older then lubricate the brake cable as well.

Grab some cable lube and a cable luber and you'll be done in just a few minutes.

Now, here's the deal - Once you start into any one of these time consuming projects don't be surprised if the dominoes start to fall and you end up working on others. A top end could lead to a bottom end which might lead to a total tear down which better lead to greasing the bearings. You replace the clutch so why not get a fresh top end which, well, you get the picture.

All alone in the garage, just you and your dirt bike.

Sounds like a great way to pass the time, get your mind off the current state of world affairs and get out of the twelve o'clock news blues.