Got an upcoming race planned? Here’s a brief step-by-step guide that you can use to help prepare your bike for a race!
Give your bike a wash
This step helps both you and the bike. Firstly, it just feels better getting on a freshly cleaned bike. It boosts your confidence, looks good, and makes you feel more connected to your bike on race day.
Secondly, giving your bike a thorough wash allows you to also thoroughly inspect your bike for any fluid leaks, missing bolts & nuts, loose spokes, etc.
When washing your bike, avoid using abrasive or caustic soaps and detergents. These can leave residue on your bike that can alter its finishing, and abrasive detergents can gouge into plastics, damaging the finishing even more.
Dish soaps work wonders for cleaning off grease, mud, dirt, and other debris from your bike. They also won’t scuff your plastics or tarnish the finish with any residue. Just remember to rinse your bike off once you’re done and give it a full towel wipe down.
If you’re using a water pressurizer, avoid directly spraying the head stem, wheel bearings, and chain. Use a 40-degree nozzle and avoid direct exposure to delicate parts like seals, bearings, etc.
Before finishing, pay special attention to the fins of your radiator, the chain area, and the shift lever.
Do a full inspection
Full bike inspections can be done at home, or through a professional bike dealer. Check brake fluids, transmission fluids, and radiator fluids to ensure that everything will run at the right temperatures during the race. If your oil filter is due for a change soon, now is the right time to do it. We recommend regularly changing your bike’s oil to prevent engine damage. Changing it before a big race will ensure your engine has enough oil to last lots of fast riding. While changing your bike’s oil, make sure you change the oil filter and sump plugs to prevent last-minute emergencies from happening before the race.
If your brakes need replacing, try to avoid replacing them immediately before the race since new pads can be over-responsive. A week before the race with a few rides in between should be enough to get the new brakes broken in and not overly responsive.
Also, give your brake pedal a sound check. See if it’s in the proper position for your riding style, check its responsiveness, and make sure it isn’t loose or has too much play between when you push it down and when the bike starts slowing down. Check your throttle and brakes’ responsiveness by taking your bike for a quick test drive. Your throttle should snap back smoothly and quickly when twisted.
Take a little time to check and clean your air filter. This step can be overlooked, but is one of the most important step to engine life and performance
Ensure your chain has the proper tension levels and is adequately lubricated. Remember, if your chain is too tight, you’ll put a larger load on the swingarm every time it moves up; this can stretch your chain, overwork your sprocket, and wear out the bearing on the rear axle. A quick way to check if your chain is too tight is by running three fingers perpendicular to the chain up towards the bike. If you can’t fit three fingers between your chain and swingarm by the time you’ve reached the outer edge of the tire, your chain is too tight. (And if you can fit three fingers well past the edge of the tire, your chain is too loose.)
Double-check all your bolts and make sure they’re all tight (this may help prevent bolts from loosening during your race). Give your exhaust system a tight wiggle and check for any looseness or movement. The system should be rigid and tightly fixed to the bike’s frame.
Check tire pressures, ensure both tires have enough tread depth, double-check your spokes for any damage or bending, and make sure your footpegs don’t have any give, as this could end your race day earlier than expected. When checking your spoke tension, an easy way to see if they’re all the same tightness is to spin the wheel and gently touch a screwdriver or small wrench to the spokes as they spin. If you notice the noise of one spoke sounds different than the others, that spoke is loose and needs tightening.
Part replacements like brakes, filter changes, and bearing/seal changes should be done a while before the race weekend. Doing these changes in advance will give you enough time before the race should anything go wrong (it can happen).
Lastly, give it a final walkaround
After your initial thorough inspection, give your bike a final walkaround to see if there’s anything you might’ve missed or forgot to get to. Now is also a good time to check on your wiring and cable ties to see if anything is hanging loosely around the bike.
Just take a couple of extra minutes to check your bike. Motorcycles are a significant investment, and you want them to perform at their best and safely as long as possible. If you’re interested in getting proper race support during your event, speak to our team about our race preparation and support services.