Winter Check List

by Alan Buehner

Originally printed in the 2007 issue #37 of Still….Keeping Track

At this year's ISDE event, one of the American riders was forced to call it quits on the first day with a mechanical breakdown. His wheel bearings wore out because they were never greased Yes, the modern bikes are very dependable, however, this rider learned a hard lesson that in competition, bike preparation is the rider's responsibility and he has no one to blame except himself when something goes wrong.

In talking to Paul Danik, who mentioned this incident to me, he stated that before the Six Days events that he rode in, he made it a point to completely tear down his bike and double check everything as he reassembled it. He also stated that all the other Penton riders made it a point to tear their bikes down before the event, even the bikes provided by KTM at the European events.

There are always lessons to be learned from mistakes when they happen and the best way to learn these lessons is from the "other guy's" mistakes.

Now that we are getting into the winter season, this is a good time for those of us who were running their bikes during the summer to take time and do some maintanence so your bike will be ready to go for the next riding season. The following is a check list by sections:

Cleaning (washing)

Before using a pressure washer Remove seat and gas tank. Tape off air intakes. Grease where possible as needed.

After Pressure Washing

Do the following maintenance before storing ….


Repack the bearings - if worn, replace them - pack the new bearings.

Clean & grease the axles

Replace old worn out bolts & nuts. on rear chain tensioner.

Check the cush drive rubber for wear (used on lOO's, 125's, and early 175's.

chain & sprockets - check for wear & oil it.

Spokes & nipples - tighten but do not over tighten.

Rims - make sure they are true, check for cracks especially by spoke nipples.

Brake shoes - clean brake hubs. Check, clean & replace shoes if worn.

Backing Plates - clean & grease brake cam, check seals.

Swing Arm - remove the mounting bolt, clean & grease it. Check the bushings or bearings.

Front Forks - change fork oil, check brass bushings, seals & fork boots - replace any worn nuts & bolts,

Fork Tube Nuts - check o-rings, remove vent screw - check springs & balls - clean vent hole.

Steering Head Bearings - clean & regrease bearings & races, replace if cracked or worn.

Cables - check & replace if frayed. Lubricate them.

Control levers - check for cracks and wear - lubricate pivots.

Throttle - check for cracks and wear - lubricate if necessary.

Air Box - check for cracks & holes, clean & oil filter.

Air boot - check for cracks, holes, or other air leaks. Replace clamps if worn.

Gas Tank - drain tank for winter, check for any cracks - check petcocks - replace fuel lines if old or hard.

Coil - remove and check for any corrosion or rust between the mounting bracket and frame.

Frame - tighten every bolt & nut - replace if worn or rusty.

Sachs Engines

Change gear lube - do not use oil drain plug (removing this bolt will strip thread out of the case) - remove clutch case cover. With clutch cover off, pour in ¾ quart of transmission oil, then replace clutch cover.

Pull mag cover - inspect ignition to make sure that it is clean and dry. If you have a Bosch unit, remove flywheel - inspect for broken or loose magnets.

Tighten all case screws on engine Tighten engine mounting bolts.

KTM Engines

Change engine oil - replenish with 2 quarts of oil ( 1972-1978 models - other models refer to spec sheets).

Remove ignition cover - check Motoplat making sure it is clean & dry.

Drain crank area - remove small allen head screw under engine - then replace.

Tighten all case screws on engine.

Tighten engine mounting bolts - if bolts were extremally loose, check engine case holes for excess wear and cracking.

Inspect underside of engine and cases for corrosion - clean & paint to stop or prevent corrosion.


Remove float bowl to drain gas - check for visible wear on moving parts - clean bowl & reinstall.

Check for loose parts.

Exhaust Pipes

Remove end cap - look for excess 2 stroke residue build up in silencer and exhaust stinger. If there is excess amount of carbon build up, or wet sticky 2 stroke oil - remove pipe and burn it out.

Check pipe for cracks & repair

Check exhaust manifold springs - replace if worn - replace tabs for springs if worn.

Replace exhaust packing