Riding in the sand can be allot of fun, either going to the Oregon Dunes or just a day at Moses Lake. When riding in the sand there are some things your should keep in mind to keep your ride healthy. Sand has a way of getting into places that it should not be and can cause very serious damage in a short period of time. Here are some tips to keep in mind to get your machine ready for a fun drama-free day.
1) Make sure your air intake system is in good shape and your air filter is well oiled. Sometimes it's easy to ignore those little cracks in your intake tube, a missing hose clamp or small tear in the air filter. It's a good idea to take a very close look at everything from the cylinder head to the air filter. The intake boots are rubber and will get hard and then crack with age and use. Foam air filters are known to start coming apart at the glue seams with age as well. If anything looks suspicious fix it before you go. When I get ready for a sand trip I always clean my air filter and then make sure the sealing ring is either greased or has extra oil.
2) Clean your chain before you go and either leave it dry or use a non-stick lubrication on it. Believe it or not, using a greasy chain lube can cause premature wear. Not that the lube is bad, but the sand will stick to the chain and grind away at your chain and sprockets.
3) Fix any oil leaks you may have. Any place that sand sticks to your machine the more potential there is for a problem.
4) Check the engine breather tube. Just about every engine has some sort of a breather tube coming out of the top of the engine (usually off the valve cover) and runs down to the bottom of the engine. Some are routed into the air box and some are not. If your breather is one that just goes down to the bottom you should really consider re-routing it. If you have to start your bike and the end of that tube is in the sand (or even water) it can literally suck the sand directly into the top of your engine and cause catastrophic damage (I learned this the hard way).
5) Have clean oil in your machine. Riding in the sand is very hard on your engine, transmission and clutch. Having dirty oil in your bike will only make that worse.
Always remember to keep your bike in good shape and it will take care of you. Also, be sure you know the local laws where you are riding. Many areas have additional requirements for things like flags, ATV cards, alcohol and noise.