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Motocross Maintenance Tips

Motocross is a type of motorcycle racing that involves a closed circuit and a series of terrain challenges including jumps, mud and sand. What began as a fun hobby for many in the early 1900’s quickly grew into a professional sport and competitions are now held around the world. The types of motorcycles used in motocross are generally fairly lightweight and built to handle a rougher ride than most street motorcycles. Because of this, the maintenance required for these bikes is a little different. Following some basic steps can keep your motocross motorcycle in tip top shape.

  1. Wash your bike after every use. This doesn’t have to involve more than a bucket of water and a few brushes, but it is important to remove the mud and debris you will pick up on your ride. Be gentle so that you don’t accidentally force dirt or water into the electrical or engine components. Installing an airbox cover over the carburetor can help keep it protected.
  2. Allow your bike to dry completely before you run a maintenance inspection. Look for drips on the ground from oil, coolant or brake fluid.
  3. Check the drive chain for excessive mud and dirt. Allow it to dry completely overnight and use a nylon brush to remove the mud. Lubricate the clean chain with a high quality chain lube.
  4. Inspect the chain for slack. There should be enough to compensate for suspension movement. The chain shouldn’t be too taut, nor should it be so loose that you can remove it from the rear sprocket. When the swingarm is parallel to the ground, there should be around ½ inch of freeplay in the chain.
  5. Check and tighten any bolts that may have come loose under the bikes vibration.
  6. Check the throttle and clutch cables for fraying or kinking and also inspect the throttle for the correct amount of free play. To test this, place the bike on a work stand, start it and then allow it to idle. Rotate the handle bars through the full range and listen for an engine rpm increase. If you hear this, then you should add additional freeplay to the throttle cable.
  7. Check the air filter. A clean filter with both improve performance as well as protect the engine from damage. You can clean the filter with either a filter spray or simply a mixture of water and household cleaner. Coat the dry filter with air filter oil.
  8. Always check the tire pressure before each ride. Each type of terrain requires a different amount of pressure in order for your bike to perform at optimum capacity. It is recommended that for muddy conditions, the front tires should be 8 psi and the rear tires should be 6 psi. Dry conditions require 14 psi for the front tires and 12 psi for the rear.
  9. Change your oil often if your bike spends a lot of time in muddy conditions or sees extreme duty. Some disagree on how often to change the oil, with some claiming it should be done after every ride, while others change it between eight to ten operating hours. If you aren’t sure about how often to perform this service, follow your manufacturers operating recommendations.
  10. Brake fluid should also be changed periodically as it has a tendency to absorb moisture. DOT-4, an alcohol based fluid, is most often recommended for motocross bikes.
  11. Check your coolant level and add more when needed. You should plan to flush and change the cooling system at least once a year.
  12. Use a quality petroleum or Teflon based grease to lubricate important components such as the air filter sealing area, swingarm, wheel bearings and seals, steering head bearings and shock seals and forks. Grease is crucial in sealing out water and dirt and keeping your parts moving smoothly.
  13. Store your bike correctly for the winter and when it is not in use for six months or more. Winterize your bike by changing all the fluids, lubricating the bearings and cables as well as draining the fuel or adding fuel stabilizer. Make sure you start your bike up at least every few months to keep the fuel from clogging the jets and to get oil circulating to the parts and gaskets.
  14. Replace parts as soon as they are worn out or broken. Aside from safety issues, broken or worn parts could lead to additional damage, costing you more money than you should have to pay.

A good preventative maintenance plan on your bike will save you both time and money in the long run. Keep yourself in the black and keep yourself on the track by staying on top of the things that will allow your bike to perform as well as it can. Our expert professionals at Cannibal Cycle can answer any of your questions on motocross bikes.

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