Being diligent about checking and maintaining your motocross bike is crucial if you want it to perform consistently well for as long as possible. Take care of your motocross bike is something you can learn to do on your own – you don’t have to bring in the experts to perform routine maintenance. Plus, the better care you take of your bike, the less likely it is that it’ll ever have to spend much time in for repair.
We’re going to start backward here with post-ride maintenance, but there’s a good reason for it: Post-ride maintenance is also prep for your next ride out, so consider it as pre-ride maintenance, too. Don’t skimp on these motocross bike maintenance tips – you’ll be thankful you didn’t.
1. Wash and dry the bike thoroughly by hand.
You want to always do this step first – it’ll make everything you do next easier and more efficient.
First, you’ll need to place your bike on a stand and begin by washing it down with a hose or jet wash. Be sure to give the bike a thorough clean and using a mitt wipe everything down to get as much of the dirt and trim off the bike.
Once clean and dry, spray some lubricant onto the chain and joints to protect them from rust. Finally, give the bike a polish to make it nice and shiny and to give it some extra protection.
For a more in-depth guide on this topic check out the article, ‘How to wash a motocross bike‘ for more information.
2. Make a list of anything that’s broken
Next, you’ll want to make a list of anything that was broken on your last ride so that you can fix or replace it in time for your next ride. While you’re doing this check, also look for air and oil leaks – marks or spots on the bike or floor are possible indicators that you have a leak somewhere.
3. Check for anything that’s loose
Check for loose or missing nuts and bolts, and tighten or replace them. Be thorough, checking the handlebars, forks, swingarm, and wheels. Need a bolt kit? Take a look at our options.
4. Check the bearings
Bearings are an important feature of a bike as they help to reduce friction between surfaces and help to improve the smooth handling of the bike. It is therefore important to check the bearings on the wheels, swingarms, and steering head to make sure they’re not worn out. If they are showing signs of wear and tear you will need to replace them as soon as possible.
5. Clean out the air filter
When the air filter’s dirty, the engine can suck up sediment, which can wear it down or break it. You can’t always see buildup in the air filter, so simply looking at it isn’t always enough.
Wash off the air filter, air-dry it and point a fan at it to ensure it’s fully dry before lubricating it with filter oil and putting it back in the bike.
If it’s very dirty or misshapen, replace it – it’s not uncommon for the air filter to be replaced after one ride, especially if sand or silt gets into it. Even if it’s not especially dirty to the naked eye, aim to change it after every five rides.
6. Change the oil
Due for an oil change? Post-ride is a good time for this. Oil keeps the internal parts of your bike cool and minimises friction. Over time, the oil will collect contaminants and moisture, making it less effective. When the oil gets old, it can cause the bike to seize.
In a 4-stroke bike, the engine oil should be changed every five hours, and the oil filter should be changed every 10 hours. In a 2-stroke bike, the gearbox oil should be changed every 6 hours.
7. Check the coolant and fluid levels
To keep the bike in tip top condition, be sure to check the coolant level of the bike, along with other fluids such as the brake fluid and clutch fluid (for a hydraulic clutch). The coolant will stop the bike engine from overheating and brake and clutch fluids will help to keep the bike controls responsive.
8. Bleed the forks
Bleed the forks to get rid of pressure and keep the suspension in good shape. Also, the fork oil should be changed every 25 hours.
9. Check and adjust the valves
Adjust the valves, which have a tendency to tighten with time. If they’re too tight, heat can lead to the piston or valves melting to the cylinder wall.
10. Check the exhaust pipe
Check the exhaust pipe to ensure it’s not broken down, over-oiled, plugged, or rusty. If the pipe isn’t in good working order, the engine will have to work extra hard to get rid of exhaust, which decreases the bike’s power.
11. Check tension of the bike chain
Check bike chain tension to make sure it’s not too loose or too tight. A loose chain can pop off the sprockets, and a tight chain can break.
Some riders use the three-finger trick, but a safer method is to refer to the bike’s service manual, which will tell you the correct measurement for chain slack.
12. Check the sprockets
Check the sprockets to look for signs of wear, like broken or curled teeth or grooves between the teeth.
13. Check and change the pistons and rings
Check and change the pistons and rings, which will wear out faster the harder you ride, especially if you’re on a dusty or sandy track. A 4-stroke bike should have the piston changed every 30 hours, while a 2-stroke bike can go for about half that.
14. Check chain lubrication
Check chain lubrication, and use WD-40 to prevent rust. A rusty chain will make it hard for the wheels to turn.
Before lubricating the chain, make sure it’s completely clean of dust and sand – it should be clean post-wash, but it pays to double-check.
15. Lube the brake and throttle cables
Lube the brake and throttle cables at each end to prevent rust. As a general rule, any moving part of the bike should be oiled.
16. Service the throttle
It’s important to keep the throttle in tip top condition, to ensure this, service the throttle by taking it apart and get rid of any grit and grime.
17. Clean and service the clutch lever and brake
To keep the clutch lever and brake smooth, after every few rides, take the pivot-point bolt out, clean it, put a little grease on it, then put it back together.
18. Check the tyres
Check tyre tread and decide if they need to be replaced. Keeping fresh tyres on your bike is one of the best maintenance tips to follow. Fresh tyres will allow your bike to maintain a good grip whilst out riding.
19. Check tyre pressure
Once the bike has cooled down, check the tyre pressure. This will help to maintain an optimum grip whilst riding, will reduce premature wear and extend the life of the tyre.
20. Check the brake pads
Brake pads will wear down over time, exposing the steel backing plate, which can damage the rotor. Even worse is that the brake won’t work well at this point.
Even if you’ve recently checked the brake pads, it pays to check them again – a muddy or sandy ride can change the quality of the brake pads fast. Once there’s only 1mm of the brake pad remaining, it’s time to change it.
Final thoughts about motocross bike maintenance
Carrying out essential maintenance of your motocross bike yourself means that the bike will hopefully never repair a trip to the repair shop, giving you more time on the track. By carrying out the above motocross bike maintenance tips on a regular basis will save you time and money in the long run and will keep your motocross bike in peak condition, thus improving your performance as a rider.