Summer is a time to take in a bit of life's beauty and enjoy the fresh smell of pre-mix.
If it's been a while since brapping along trails or on a Motocross track - thanks to the cold winter months - the warm days ahead should help get you moving. And so should a little bit of maintenance.
Some of us have to leave our 2-stroke dirt bike or ATV cooped up all winter long while others enjoy a year-round riding season. Regardless, with the warm months ahead, now is the time for a deep cleaning and replacing worn parts and old fluids to prevent needless wear and tear, and possibly an ill-timed breakdown.
One joy of the 2-stroke is the ease of maintenance. It's straight forward and the maintenance process is pretty easy to master. However, we recommend pulling out the owner's manual (if you can find it!) especially if it's been a while, and give yourself a refresher.
To help, we've put together a list of routine maintenance checks for your 2-stroke dirt bike or ATV. It's fairly simple, just like the 2-stroke engine, and hopefully we can help keep your ride running at full power all season long.
Hopefully you didn't leave used motor oil in the crankcase all winter but if you did - CHANGE IT. If you're a year-round rider, simply check the maintenance intervals. Of course, if you're taking time for an overhaul and you're close to the hours, change the oil anyway.
If you left your bike with fresh oil while it sat during the cold months, just check the levels before heading out.
Don't forget the Fork oil, either. This is quite often forgotten even among the most meticulous of at-home mechanics. Regular fork oil changes extend the life of the fork bushings and seals.
Never mind the oil filter because there isn't one! But check the air filter and clean the airbox. Nothing like a breath of fresh air for your bike.
Grab some carb cleaner. Then remove the carburetor and pull the float bowl off. Remove the jets and use an air hose to force compressed air into the jets to remove any obstructions.
You always want a spare spark plug on hand. So if that's the case, then pull the old one and pop in a new one. Then grab an extra for the unexpected.
Summer means sun which equals heat. Don't ride last year's radiator fluid and if you've been running anti-freeze you won't have to worry about that when its 90 degrees. Flush the radiator and add coolant.
Check all bearings, replace if needed and grease those suckers.
Nuts and Bolts
Tighten all nuts, bolts, screws and even the spokes. If you find some missing, grab a hardware kit.
Surely you've heard the old adage, "You have to go slower to go faster." So make sure you can go slower and check the Brakes. Look at the calipers, pads, brake line and fluid. Changing the fluid sounds complex and an overall pain in the you-know-what but not with a Vacuum Brake Fluid Bleeder.
Check all cables for stretching and wear. Check the connections and ensure the clutch and throttle work properly before heading out.
Not riding also affects the suspension especially if your 2-stroke sits in a cold garage for months. Plus, it's a good bet you don't weigh the same as the last time out so expect some necessary adjustments to the suspension.
Old, faded and cracked tires need replacing. Check the knobs. If you see any broken or rounded off, it's time to get a new set. If the existing pair holds more life, check the tire pressure.
Chain and Sprockets
Check for wear and cupping on the sprockets and rust, stretching and a flat wear pattern on the top or bottom of the chain. Always change both together even if one remains viable.
If it's been a while since you took a fine tooth comb over your ride now is the time. Most 2-stroke owners don't address everything after a ride. A quick clean-up, some polish and the usual maintenance like oil and filters usually keeps us going for a while. We tend to neglect everything else and over time our rides look run-down and old. A quick visual check should easily point out additional details like:
- Cracked or broken plastic
- Faded or ripped graphics
- Torn or worn out grips
- Misaligned or bent handlebars
Treat your bike and help get it (and you) up to speed by addressing the finer details that affect its look and performance. You'll find a finely tuned bike of course runs nicer, but you'll ride better and longer, too.
To continue your education, check out these delightful articles:
- Tips for Quick-Cleaning Your Dirt Bike
- Routine Motocross Bike Maintenance Tips - 2 Stroke
- The MotoSport.com Dirt Bike Pre-Ride Checklist
- How to Maintain Your Dirt Bike or ATV Transmission
- How To Make Your Dirt Bike Plastic Look New Again
Own a 4-stroke? Read Your Summer Maintenance Checks For Your 4 Stroke.