I’M NERVOUS ABOUT TAKING MY NEW BIKE
Dear Mr. Know-It-All,
I recently bought a brand-new 2016 YZ450FX. While I
want to go out and dig trenches with this pup, I want to
make sure that it is set up properly. What tips can you
Well, Stan, I like the query, though I could admonish you
by stating the obvious: read your owner’s/service manual
(downloadable if you did not receive one). You will learn
about break-in, periodic maintenance and basic setup. But,
I’ll humor you. Here are Richard Wilk’s (of Dick’s Racing)
top five things to check before you ride your new bike:
1) Check all fluids—engine, coolant, brakes—and make
certain that the air filter is oiled.
2) Check your tire pressure (usually set to 20+ psi, which
is far too high) and clean both brake discs with contact
cleaner and a fresh rag (no oil residue).
3) Check your handlebar clamp bolts, the levers and the
4) Make sure the right fork isn’t on a bind where it
clamps to the axle. Meaning, loosen the right-side pinch
bolts, and, if the fork moves slightly, it was binding. Once
free, re-tighten to proper torque specs.
5) Go over and check all exterior nuts and bolts: side
panels, fuel tank, radiator shrouds, both axles, shift lever,
rear sprocket, seat, plastics, rear brake pedal.
Top five things to check after the first ride:
1) Change oil and filter.
2) Tune your spokes. They will loosen.
3) Check the rear shock spring sag (it should be
25–35mm of static sag). With that set, your rider sag
should be 100–110mm. If it’s out of that range, the spring
is incorrect for you.
4) Check your suspension clicker settings. Make sure
they are at stock settings.
5) Bleed built-up pressure out of the forks after every
Top Left: Make certain to check-all fluids before your first ride
and after. Top/Middle Right: Double-check all hardware, levers,
throttle, skid plate, motor mounts and sidecase. Bottom Right:
Check all spokes after your first three to four rides. Also, check
chain adjuster, and fork pinch bolts. Double-check air pressure
at both ends.