The Library of All Knowledge

Play Rider to Racer Series:

New Bike Prep

Basically the word of the day is grease. (Lots of it.)  Actually there is more to that. The problem with the bike as it comes from the factory is that they kind of skimp on the grease. Also there is a few bulletproofing tricks that can be done at this stage too.

Airbox and air filter
Take the airbox off the bike and disassemble it. Then apply a bead of silicone sealant and reassemble it while it cures. This will provide a seal against dirt getting it. Some people suggest coating the inside the airbox with a layer of grease to catch dust. Personally I wouldn't bother, considering the conditions in BC. Also take the air filter and oil it properly. The manufacturers tend to under oil the filter letting dust get by. Also I would add a bead of grease to the base of the filter so it makes a good seal at the base.

Fluid levels
Check the fluid levels for everything. Make sure that the oil levels are good in the brakes, transmission, radiator, and forks. I would be a bit careful with the brakes. The master cylinder may indicate that the fluid levels are OK but there may be air trapped in the lines. I would bleed the brakes and replace them with fresh fluid. (I don't know about you but I do need the brakes once and a while.)  Also check the carb to make sure that the float level is set correctly.

Check the bolts for tightness. I have heard that rear sprocket bolts are notorious for vibrating loose. I would remove and apply loc-tite to them. Silicone sealant also works good for that as well.

Adjust the controls for your liking. I also would remove the clutch and brake perches to wrap a layer of teflon tape around them so that they spin in a crash instead of braking.  Also check to see if the throttle tube is placed correctly so that it doesn't catch on the bar end.

Things slide better when well greased. However the manufacturers want to skimp on lubricants because they have to grease several thousand bikes. Check the chain and give it a bit of chain lube. Give the seals on the wheel bearings a coat too to prevent overheating and repel water. The rear suspension is usually in need of major attention. There are quite a number of expensive needle bearings that are screaming for grease. (Its a lot better than you screaming for new bearings.) The other thing to check is the clutch plates. I was entertained one year by the sight of the owner of a brand new Honda XR-600 trying to soak his clutch plates a mere hour before the race. Take the plates out and soak them in oil. If you don't want to replace the oil in the transmission you can lay the bike down first, so you can remove the clutch cover with spilling a drop. (I hope I don't have to tell you to lay the bike down with the clutch cover up.) Another biggie is to grease the steering stem bearings and make sure the triple clamp is tightened properly. Also fire some cable lube down the throttle and clutch cables.

Besides checking oil levels, make sure that there is no pressure build up due to shipping. Release the pressure by undoing the screw or schraeder (tire) valve on the top of the fork. (For a joke tell your competition that the best way to release pressure is to undo the bottom screw.)
Also make sure the triple clamp bolts aren't overtightened. This can cause some problems with the fork action.  Also change the fork fluids after five rides or so to remove any crap left over during the manufacturing process.

When tires are installed they are inflated to 50psi to set the bead. Then the pressure is dropped to about 12psi for use. Sometimes the manufacturers forget to drop the pressure. Riding with 50psi tires is a bitch.

A great place to use the leftover silicone sealant is on the magneto cover. Also get some high temp silicone and seal the joints on the exhaust pipe. This will prevent the joints from drooling. (But leave the big hole at the end of the pipe open.)  But if you want to seal a big hole you can fill the left side of the handlebar to prevent dirt from entering the bars and getting into the throttle end. You can also fill the axles to prevent dirt and moisture from rusting them out from the inside.

Use contact cleaner to clean the rotors. During manufacturing the rotors sometimes get a coating of cosmoline to prevent rusting. However get this in your brake pads and then look forward to either buying new ones or grinding off about 1/8th of an inch to remove the contamination.

Check the spokes to see if they're tight and the wheels is true. On some bikes, such as the Kawasaki they recommend that your drip loc-tite into the spokes closest to the rim lock to since they are prone to coming loose.

You do not have to change the jetting or the pre-mix to get it to run a little richer if you follow this simple procedure. First ride at an easy pace for about fifteen minutes, then let the bike completely cool. Then repeat this step two or three times. The aim here is to get the rings to seat properly. Then ride a little harder for about 30 minutes. After this is done then go riding. When you're done for the day then change the oil in the transmission to flush out debris.

The bottom line is that you have to basically strip down your bike and rebuild it. I know it sounds like work, but then so is rebuilding your bike halfway through the season, or pushing a dead bike through the woods. If you do give the bike a good and thorough check, then you'll have a bike that can last and you can keep your mind on the important things such as winning and fooling around with the trophy girl.

Contents Copyright (C) Michael Fodor 2012.