Dirt Bike Maintenance Schedule (Checklist for Overlooked & Common Items Included)
Motorcycle maintenance can be a funny thing. Some guys LOVE maintaining their bikes and keeping up on all of the scheduled to-dos. On the other hand, there are other guys who just want to ride… and that’s it. I’m somewhere in the middle. If I had to choose between working on a bike or riding a bike – easy choice. I’d choose to ride it. However, I also like to know that when I’m out riding, my bike is going to perform well and last as long as possible.
A good dirt bike maintenance schedule should include common items like washing, inspecting, and lubricating. It should also include some often-times overlooked items like changing the oil, cleaning the air filter, checking tire pressures, and other “not-so-common” items.
In the end, maintaining your bike is critical in keeping it running and performing the way it should. Not only does a well-maintained dirt bike ride better, but it also lasts longer and saves you money in the long run.
In addition to following a recommended dirt bike maintenance schedule, there are
a couple quite a few things you should look over before each ride.
Of course, a manual is going to list EVERY thing you should look over. And to be fair, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to look these over but… if you’re not racing I doubt you actually look over each-and-every-item on this list. Shame on you! Okay, I don’t either.
- Engine oil
- Transmission oil
- Fuel line
- Cooling system and hoses
- Spark plug
- Air cleaner
- Clutch lever
- Breather drain
- Steering head bearing
- Steering damper
- Rim locks
- Chain and sprockets
… and my personal favorite (from the manual) thing you should check before riding:
- Every possible part for looseness (such as cylinder head bolts, engine mounting bolts/nuts, axle nuts, handlebar holder bolts, fork chain guide, wire harness connectors, kickstarter mounting bolt)
That last one is a doozy!
Something that is extraordinary: often troublesome, difficult or problematic, but sometimes extraordinary in a positive sense. – Wikipedia
Yes, technically speaking, you should check those every time you ride. But honestly, unless you’ve got a mechanic and a team behind you, I doubt you will. However, it’s a good idea to keep those things in mind and check on them as you can/remember to.
Dirt Bike Maintenance Schedule
Keeping on the maintenance of your bike can seem daunting, but it gets easier the more you do it. For example, when I was a kid I thought changing the oil or cleaning the air filter was a serious job. Eventually, these items become routine.
Below is an example schedule taken from my Honda. I would imagine that most four-stroke MX bikes have very similar schedules.
Here are what the letters under the different riding times represent:
- I – Inspect and clean, lubricate or replace if necessary
- C – Clean
- A – Adjust
- L – Lubricate
- R – Replace
Here are what the “notes” in the schedule mean:
- Clean after every moto (day riding) for dusty riding conditions
- Replace every two years. (requires mechanical skill)
- Replace after the first break-in.
- Inspect after the first break-in.
- Replace the transmission oil if the clutch discs and plates are replaced.
- Replace every year.
|Fuel Pump Filter||6||R|
|Engine Oil Filter||3||R|
|Engine Idle Speed||I|
|Piston and Piston Rings||R|
|Drive Chain||I, L||R|
|Drive Chain Slider||I|
|Drive Chain Roller||I|
|Brake Pads Wear||I|
|Exhaust Pipe/Muffler||I, L|
|Swingarm / Shock Linkage||I||L|
|Nuts, Bolts, Fasteners||I|
|Wheels / Tires||I|
|Steering Head Bearings||I|
Keeping a log isn’t necessary, but some guys swear by them. Personally, I haven’t kept one but I’m thinking about it.
As you probably noticed, the majority of the items on the schedule require inspection after every ride… but I don’t think you’re going to want to log every-single-thing you do after every ride. I mean, if you lube your chain I don’t think you need to note that, right? 😉
In the end, sure, there are justifiable reasons to keep a log. Probably an Excel Spreadsheet or a good ole note pad and pen would do the trick.
Working on a dirt bike doesn’t usually involve “special” tools, however, there is a need quite a few different tools.
Here are a few that you could need:
- Spoke wrenches
- Tire irons
- Tire gauges
- Tire inflation
- Plug wrenches
- Stem nut & axle nut wrenches
- Chain tools
- Wire pliers
- Torque wrench(es)
Nothing too special… but quite a few different tools. In reality, there are a few things you can do on your dirt bike and get away without having the specific tool to do it. But, there are other items where, for example, a torque wrench or a plug wrench, is definitely going to make life easier. And then, there are items like checking tire pressure or inflating your tires where you’re obviously going to need the right tools.
Side note: this is a great little air compressor to have for such occasions.
Based off of the overall schedule, and as promised in the title of this article, here is a dirt bike maintenance checklist.
This checklist is simply a printable (printer-friendly, black and white) checklist that you can print up and throw on your garage wall to give youself a reminder and to avoid overlooking any maintenance items that the factory recommends.
I hope it helps!