Tech Tips

Servicing Your 2-Stroke Dirt Bike

Written by  April 30, 2007

Each and every month I try to give our readers an informative and detailed tech column that everyone can read and understand, but I feel I have neglected one group of our readers as I have not yet addressed dirt bikes. In this month’s column, and occasionally in the future, I plan to address issues that interest dirt bike owners.

Dirt bike motorcycles require more maintenance than street bikes, and they also require spoke maintenance that is often overlooked when it comes to the routine service table in your owner’s manual.

Some of the key areas that need to be addressed are as follows:
Compression test: Gives you a window into the actual state of the piston rings and how much wear can be determined by the level of pressure.
Air filter clean and service: Having a clean air filter is critical to the life of any two-stroke engine; when servicing you must not over-oil the filter or the engine will run excessively rich.
Chain adjustment/Lube: Chains will eventually stretch and require lubing.
Front and rear brake adjustment
Disc brake pad check
Transmission oil change
Fork seal maintenance/replace oil and seals if leaking
Tighten and adjust spokes checking for true wheels


Most people who own dirt bikes know when their bike is not performing the way it should and are aware when things sound differently or when little things like the chain need to be adjusted or lubed. Some of the items listed above, such as compression testing, may be a bit tougher if you don’t have the appropriate gauge to read cylinder compression. However, when you run into that situation you can always refer back to my previous tech tips. They address a lot of the questions that stump you and cause you to call the local bike shop!

Two-cycle maintenance is required and is necessary so your bike will not literally fall apart or cause an accident. I have worked on many dirt bikes, too many to count, and if you could see how some of these units had been maintained it would make you cringe. The main thing I recommend is to not cut corners when it comes to your maintenance on a dirt bike that does so many jumps and takes abuse that you would never attempt with your street bike.

Read your dirt bike service manual, visually inspect and then address the items mentioned in the list above. Knowing you are able to maintain your own bike and do something positive for your wallet at the same time will give you a sense of gratification.

B-safe out there!

Dave Miller