Most of us in the midwest haven't been on our bikes in a while. So, before the weather breaks and we hit the track, I wanted to touch on some things we should be double checking before hucking big jumps or blasting whoops.
Since a mechanical failure can lead to several bad outcomes, including huge injuries and expensive bills; we wanted to get some Tech Tips on how to get our bike ready.
We asked Brandon Larsen. In addition to being an avid racer, he has also turned wrenches for BWR (Brian White Racing) and MX-Tech Suspension. So, he is a good resource when it comes to bike prep.
If my bike ran fine when I put it away, does that mean it's still ready to go 4 months later?
Just because your bike seemed fine at the end of the season, does not mean it’s going to fire right up and be in race shape. You should definitely go over it before taking it out for the season!
What are the things that the average racer should double check and service on their bike before taking it out?
Typically if a bike sits that long (3-4 months), you would want to drain the fuel and put some fresh stuff in there. In addition to fresh gas, an oil change and clean air filter would be the first three things I check.
After that, you should check coolant level, tire pressure, chain adjustment, and lube.
One of the most overlooked things that I have noticed from my experience is that most people forget to bleed the air out of the forks.
From your experience, what are the most overlooked areas of bike maintenance?
Keeping all the bearings and axles properly greased. It's not an easy task and definitely takes a lot of time to do it properly. That also includes the linkage bearings and swingarm bearings which can be a real pain! However, if this is neglected it can cost you even more time, and, more importantly, more money!
Does it matter if the bike is a 2 stroke vs. 4 stroke?
Some people would say that it does and others say that it doesn't, but they both usually need the same amount of work preseason to be ready to race and ride. They both have all of the parts listed above so it's about even.
How much time should I allot to pre-ride checks?
The night before you go to a track, take an hour or so and double check everything on your bike. Once you are at the track then it will only take about 15 minutes or so to be ready. Too many people show up to the track before they realize a screw fell out or something isn't working properly or broken. In addition to being annoying and unsafe, it also wastes an entire day driving to the track to watch your friends ride.
Are there certain things that you check at home versus at the track?
At home I check tire pressure, fuel, coolant, oil, chain adjustment, air filter, and a quick overview to make sure there is no missing or loose hardware. After arriving at the track, I bleed the forks, check sag, tire pressure, and maintain chain tension and lubrication.
What if I bought a new bike over the winter? Is it good to go since it's brand new?
You would think that's the case! However, I’m a firm believer that the bikes come from the factory with minimal grease in the bearings. I suggest regreasing a brand new bike to ensure longevity and trouble free riding.