Tips to Maintain your Dirt Bike Equipment after a Race

dirt bike equipmentThere's no feeling like spending a day at the track on your dirt bike. From the moment you take your dirt bike home from the motorcycle dealer, however, you'll realize that your dirt bike (and the dirt bike equipment) require constant maintenance in order to perform. As with Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, the initial suffering will increase your respect for the machine and forge a bond with the powerful beast. 

The Helmet

Ideally, you should be washing your helmet once a month or between Motos. Experts recommend cleaning the exterior with soap and grease remover. For a deep cleaning of the interior, you'll need to completely disassemble it, taking out the interior pads and running them through the washing machine. The other parts can be sprayed down with a power washer after they've been carefully scrubbed with soap. These should all be air dried before you reassemble. 

The Gear

You may be tempted to peel off your pants, jerseys, and gloves after a day of riding and toss them into a bag. Experienced riders suggest putting your clothes in a laundry bag and get it into the washer as soon as you get home. While you won't need to worry about logos fading, but you should put a stain remover on any mud that may have appeared during a race. Like the helmet and chest protector, your racing wear should dry on a wire rack. 

The Plastic

Fortunately, dirt bikes are designed to withstand the rocks, dirt, mud, and debris. Many of us enjoy the look of shining plastic, though, so there's no harm in cleaning it up after a race. Grease remover may work on your helmet, but it's generally not recommended for your bike. Instead, spray down your bike with a quality bike cleaner (including the chain and sprockets, which may be clogged with dirt) and then rinse it down with a hose. Power washers may be okay, but rider be warned: too much water pressure can remove your logos. (Billions of dollars are invested in motorsports sponsorship annually, so you want to stay on the vendors' good side.) Be sure to use a muffler plug to keep water away from your exhaust. You can wipe down the bike with mild soap and a soft rag, but brushes can also do the job on hard-to-remove dirt. Then dry with a microfiber towel to avoid spotting and finish with a spray polish. 

Mechanical Maintenance

While we're on the subject of cleaning the bike, be sure to clean and lubricate your chains, sprockets, and cables. Remember, cables are crucial for the functioning of your bike, and they should be cleaned after every ride. Always disconnect the throttle and clutch cables to clear out the buildup around the connectors. Like the chains, they should be lubricated before you reconnect. 

If you're new to dirt biking but familiar with motorcycling, you should already know about checking your air filter, pipe, carburetor, and coolant. Your dirt bike equipment works hard and gets pushed to the limits during a race, so you should regularly change a dirty air filter, replace your coolant, and prepare to clean your pipe and replace your muffler when the packing compresses. 

Ultimately, many riders have different methods to take care of their dirt bike equipment. Experts discourage using WD-40 on your bike, but many of us still do. The key is to find a method that works for you and to use it regularly to give you bike as long a life as possible.  

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