Dear Mr. Know-It-All,
Quick question for you. What is in your humble yet stubborn opinion the most overlooked maintenance item on a dirt bike?
Jimmy D
via [email protected]

Well, Jimmy D, over the decades I have had the inevitable task of helping pilots with seemingly advanced tasks in deducing why their dirt bike is ill, irritable or suffering in performance, durability or reliability. In my not-so-humble opinion, the single-most iconic slur on a dirt bike’s health comes in the simple task of cleaning the air filter.

I have treated machines that have well-appointed graphics, spit-shined wheels, knobbies that would cut meat, and aesthetics that would pass muster under a factory motocross mechanic.  But, I have come to the realization that because the air filter—a device that shields the pumping heart of a dirt bike from destructive detritus—is out of sight, it is therefore out of mind.

I can count in the hundreds how many times that I have uncovered a filter so mangy that it nearly triggers a gag reflex. Here’s my rule of thumb: I check my filter every week. Often, trips to the track will not provide too much in the way of filter-clogging suet. Off-road adventures, especially in dusty conditions, will most definitely get sucked into the very pedestrian foam device that is the only defense of dirt ingestion.

Clean your filter and airbox with regularity. I use a Twin Air box cover once the filter is removed, then wash the air box. I clean the filter and, depending on the brand, use a myriad of techniques. Twin Air offers a sano cleaning kit, and since my machine came fit with one of their filters, I follow their protocol.

But, I have used a Maxima filter cleaner, then soap and water, followed by straight H2O and a drying period before applying the Maxima filter oil with excellent results.

Remember, this isn’t rocket science, but is crucial due diligence if you want your steed to stay healthy and strong.

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