Tuesday Tip: New Bike Prep

Ever wonder what the manufacturers do to a test bike before they hand them over to the magazines? So did we, so we put that question to Honda’s Eric Crippa when we picked up the new Honda CRF450. Of course, this stuff also applies to anyone who’s planning on buying a new bike this season, so here’s what Eric had on his list:

  • We broke them in with a couple 15-minute rides.
  • Tightened the spokes.
  • Checked the steering stem nut.
  • We tightened the screw that holds the front of the seat down…the little disc, and also the fenders.
  • As far as other nuts and bolts, maybe the kickstarter and rear brake lever…those are the key things that you want to check.
  • Adjusted the chain, of course.
  • As far as setup, we lube the throttle tube (see last week’s Tuesday Tip for more detail).
  • You also want to remove the cosmoline grease off your disk brakes with a clean rag and some contact cleaner. That keeps your pads cleaner and brakes working better.

ED. NOTE: Be sure to watch your fingers while working around the disks! They’re really sharp, and if the wheel is spinning, they’re the motorcycle equivalent of a meat slicer!

  • You really should grease your bearings a little more in the steering head and linkage. When they come into the country if they have too much grease, and a speck of grease drops off, the EPA will go nuts. If you can add more grease, it’s better. We have a Pro Honda moly grease that’s really good.
  • That’s really all you need…but read that owner’s manual from front to back. There’s a lot of good information in there.

Of course, we’ve skipped a couple common items like checking tire pressure and gas, and other fluid levels.

Eric also offered up one post-break-in tip: “Of course you change the engine oil after every 2-3 rides—that’s a no-brainer. But after the first two months, I’d also change the suspension fluids. A lot of people don’t change them, but it’s just like a motor. There’s going to be some flakeage, and some contamination in the oil that you want to get out. They come clean, but you’re still going to get some initial wear. Anything that’s machined is going to have a sharp edge. Once that wears down, that ends up in the oil. You want to get that out of there. If you it out earlier, it’s better. The suspension will last a lot longer and work a lot better.”