Advertising Banner

October 1998

For Beginners...

Ok, so you’re back, huh? You really, really want to ride an enduro, right? Ok, let's take last month’s column and break it down and digest it in a little more detail. This month I’ll cover in a little detail "The Bike" section I skimmed over last month. Disclaimer: The things mentioned and suggested from this point on are things that work for me. They may or may not work for you, but I’ll bet they will if you try.

Jetting: Living here in Colorado, we get lots of experience in jetting, but it’s a little too hard (for me) to explain so I’m in the process of getting a "How to jet your bike" paper that I happen to know about. Stay tuned for that tidbit.

When you’re prepping your bike for the race, you need to have two lists to check: One is for pre-race prep and will include things like cleaning the filter, checking the spokes, duct taping your helmet visor, etc. The second list is for race day prep. That’s the things that we tend to forget. I know one rider who forgot his boots and didn’t discover the omission until around mile 2. No joke. Finished the race in tennis shoes. Make a list!

Now, things to check, and how to check them: Ensure your spark arrestor is tight and clear of any obstruction. Some bolt-on type SA’s are famous for having the screws back out at the most inopportune time. At the same time, check the mounting of the pipe. Having to fight with a hot pipe in midrace is not in my top 10 list of "Fun Stuff I Gotta Do." Also, be sure to repack your silencer on a regular basis. Contrary to popular belief, LOUD != FAST (for you non-computer geeks this means "loud doesn't equal fast"). You’ll actually gain low end by having a repacked silencer.

Check the spokes on both wheels. This is an often-overlooked task and, once the spokes have seated, can be a quick check. If you have a new bike, plan on checking the spokes before every ride for about 10 rides. Start at the valve stem, tap the spoke with a spoke wrench, and listen for a "ping" and not a "thunk" response. A "thunk" means you need to tighten that spoke until "pingage" occurs.

Check all the little bolts that hold on the important stuff like brake levers, brake pedals, shifter, seat, handlebar clamps, banjo bolt on the hydraulic brakes, axle nuts, footpegs, fenders, and kick starters. Loctite (tm) is indispensable in making sure things stay tight and in place. If you don’t remove it every day, Locktite it.

Make sure your grips aren’t slipping and are still firmly glued and safety wired in place. When wiring grips, loop the ends of the wire so they are pointing straight down. Twist the wire with pliers until it starts to get tight. Snip off the end, leaving about 1/4" of twisted wire just waiting to rip open a finger. To keep it from ripping a painful hole in your finger, and trashing those new gloves, press the sharp end into the bottom of the grip. Make sure your glove won’t snag when you hold the bars. Check the bolts on your hand guards as well. They, for some reason, come loose frequently.

Clean and oil the filter. First, wash the filter in a non-flammable solvent to remove the old filter oil. I have a very small solvent tank (3 gallons) that I can use for about 2 years before it gets too grungy to endure. Costs about $9 to replace the solvent. Next, wash the filter in warm soapy water. This is a very important step as this is the step that actually removes the dirt! Once the filter is clean, rinse it with clear water. Squeeze the excess water, don’t wring, out of the filter. It also helps to "sling" the water out. While the filter is still moist, apply your favorite filter oil. Don’t use motor oil. Motor oil doesn’t have the needed adhesion or water repelling properties needed on your filter. Once you’ve coated the filter, gently squeeze out the excess water that will be displaced by the oil. What little water is left will help to evenly coat the filter with the oil (see note below). Replace the filter cage, and put the filter back on the bike, that’s one icky mess you’re done with. BTW, I find that latex gloves work wonders in keeping the mess to a minimum.

Lube the clutch cable by buying one of those little blue cable lubers from your local shop. I usually clean it first with contact cleaner until the runoff is clear, then follow up with a shot of faithful WD40. I’ve also heard good things about Tri-Flow or equivalent teflon spray. Some have said that chain wax works too, but I’m too afraid it would just gum up the whole works. Also remove the throttle tube, and lube the cable as describe above. Clean the inside of the throttle tube with contact cleaner and wipe clean. Clean the bar end as well. Remove any rust, debris, or grease that may be there. Replace the grip and proceed.

This doesn’t have to be done every time, but take a little piece of teflon tape, and wrap it around the bar where the clutch lever mounts. This will allow you to run the mount a little tighter than normal, and allow the perch to rotate on contact. The theory is that you’ll break fewer levers.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten some very important things, but if you just remember our credo, "Prepare for as many things that can go wrong as possible," you’ll be fine.

Editor's note: Based on our recent conversation with UNI Filter Inc., All-OffRoad can't recommend this part of the procedure (read the facts as they see them here). However, we can't argue with success, and it's been working for Merf for sometime. With so many "Urban Myths" floating about such as WD-40 eating O-rings, we at All-OffRoad will do our best to present the facts as we can find them. Beyond that, it's up to you to make the call. As I always say, if it worked for someone else it may work for you. However, don't try anything you think is stupid or you'll have no one to blame but yourself.

Ken "Merfman" Murphy

[To Current Issue]