STORY SHANE BOOTH PHOTOGRAPHY YAMAHA
WIRE YOUR GRIPS
Wire your grips on, using a thin-gauge stainless-steel wire. Three separate strands of wire per grip will do the trick: each end and one in the middle. Go around the grip twice each time then twist the wire to get it tight. Be sure to tuck the cut-off section back into the grip so you don’t stab your hand with it.
SET YOUR TYRE PRESSURES
Check what the manufacturer recommends in the manual but it will usually be somewhere around 13–15psi. With standard tubes, 14psi or 15psi will help avoid pinch flats. The correct tyre pressure can make a huge difference to the way your bike feels on the track.
ADJUST YOUR CHAIN
Be sure your chain is adjusted to the correct specs as per your user manual. It’s an easy part to overlook, so check it out before you ride your new machine. Check not only the adjustment but also that the rear wheel is aligned straight.
SET YOUR SUSPENSION CLICKERS & AIR PRESSURE
Reset all your suspension clickers to the standard specs in your user manual. It’s not uncommon for the suspension clickers to be all over the place when the bike comes out of the crate. A simple reset to standard specs assures you everything is where it should be and gives you a good base setting to work from. If you have an air fork, be sure to set the pressure on that, too; you should check it prior to every ride or race.
SET YOUR RIDER SAG
Some user manuals will give you a very good rundown on how to set the rear shock’s preload correctly for each specific rider. Getting this right or as close to correct as possible will make a huge difference to how the bike handles. Too much and the bike could be difficult to turn; too little and it may become unstable. Get this right before you even start to think about how your bike is handling.
ADJUST YOUR HANDLEBAR POSITION
Most bikes now have several handlebar clamp positions available to the rider. Be sure to try some of the different positions; this may require you to flip the handlebar clamps around if they’re offset; some bikes will have two separate mounting positions in the top triple clamp. Either way, you won’t know if there’s a better position for you unless you try it.
ADD TEFLON TAPE UNDER YOUR PERCHES
This is a quick way to add an insurance policy to your clutch and brake perches and levers. Remove your front brake and clutch perches then wrap Teflon plumbing tape several times around the handlebar where the perch mounts. Fit the perches again and this will allow you to tension the perches enough so they won’t move while you’re riding — but in a crash they’ll spin out of the way, hopefully saving your perch and lever from breaking.
ADJUST LEVER POSITION
Adjust your levers to suit you! Remember, you can also move the levers in on the handlebars, too. This will get you using the lever more towards the end rather than right in near the pivot point, which will give you a lighter pull and better feel. Also, get the rotation correct — a slight downward angle usually suits most riders.
SET YOUR REAR BRAKE PEDAL & GEARSHIFT LEVER
Make sure your rear brake and gearshift lever are in the correct position; don’t just assume they’re in the right place because it’s a new bike. As a general rule, your shifter should be pretty much level with your footpeg and the rear brake pedal just slightly lower. It will always differ between riders but start there and see what works best for you.
CHECK YOUR AIR FILTER
This can be a costly mistake, so it’s worth checking. Depending on where your bike came from, your air filter should be serviced and ready to roll — but just check it’s oiled and installed correctly before you ride your new pride and joy. It’s a quick check that could save some major hassles.