Bring New Life to an Old Dirt Bike
Shopping for shiny new bikes can be fun, but what about that abandoned old dirt bike you have that's already paid off? Maybe it's time to dust off "old faithful" and bring her back to life!
Instead of spending a small fortune on a new dirt bike, give your old bike an overhaul by putting in a little sweat, and a lot less money! Here are some things you can do to get that beat up bike looking and running like new again.
Get a New Chain and Sprockets
Over time, the chain on a dirt bike stretches and weakens while the sprockets wear out. These components should get replaced together. Need some help swapping out these parts on your old machine? Watch the video below to see how to replace the chain and sprockets on a Kawasaki dirt bike.
Lube Moving Parts
Whether you ride frequently or not, lubing moving parts on your motorcycle to keep them from creating friction and breaking down is something you should do regularly. If your old bike has been sitting inactive for a while and you plan on restoring it, fresh lube is a must. Start with a good chain lube, and then work your way toward the rest of the moving parts on your machine. Watch the video below for some quick tips on how to clean and lube a motorcycle chain.
Check and Replace Bearings
While you're working on lubing your machine, you may come across worn bearings on your old bike that need replacing. Worn out bearings can negatively impact all areas of the dirt bike, so inspect the following bearings and replace them if necessary:
- Linkage bearings
- Swingarm bearings
- Steering head bearings
- Wheel bearings
Adjust or Replace the Valves
Make sure the valves in the engine are working properly. Over time, valves can either loosen and not seal properly, or tighten and not open sufficiently. Either way, this causes damage to the motor. If you're feeling ambitious and want to work on your bike's valves, here's a little something about adjusting the valves on a Yamaha motorcycle engine:
Replace the Reeds
A machine with a 2-stroke engine has different demands than one with a 4-stroke. Reeds control the fuel-air mix, and fray over time. New reeds for your dirt bike can add speed and performance across the power band by getting the fuel-air mix right again.
Restore the Carburetor
Is that old bike making some funny sounds when idling? Does it bog down or take off unexpectedly? It might be time to get your hands dirty and work on the carburetor. Whether it's a dirt bike or street bike, the basics of how to clean and restore a carburetor are essentially the same. Check out the video below to see how to clean the carburetor on a Honda motorcycle.
Tackle a Top End Rebuild
It's a big job, but a top end rebuild can pay big dividends. Installing new pistons, rings, and gaskets can all help keep the power from escaping your engine. A top end rebuild on that old dirt bike can give it a much-needed power restoration.
Rebuild the Clutch
Pulling off a clutch rebuild can vary from bike to bike, but it'll make a difference. If you feel your machine slipping out of gear, it might be time to take this job on. The manufacturer of your old dirt bike can provide you the specs on what you need. However, if you don't know anything about clutch systems, watch the video below to learn about how various types of clutches work.
Tune the Forks
If the motor on your old bike still runs great but leaves a little something to be desired, it could mean the forks took a beating and need some attention. New bushings, seals, and a dose of fork oil can help fix things up.
Clean Your Dirt Bike
Cleaning and polishing your dirt bike won't make it run better, but what's the point of restoring your machine if it doesn't look good too?
After you pop in a muffler plug and an air box cover, spray it down to get the dirt off of it, and use some cleaner and degreaser around areas where lube and grease gets slung on the bike. Be careful around plastics though, as some degreasers can ruin the finish. A good plastic cleaner and polish can remove oxidation and bring back some of that shine.
There's a lot to do to restore your old dirt bike back to its former glory, but replacing worn components, getting new fluids in the machine, and cleaning up its look can all breathe new life into your forgotten pal.