Keeping a modern dirt bike in absolutely perfect mechanical condition can be a pretty daunting task. While most of us love the riding part of dirt bikes, only a lucky smaller percentage enjoys working on the bike, too. But even if you get a massive grin at the idea of wrenching, chances are your bike can still benefit from the 10 points covered here. Whether our personal bike, a test bike or even the odd privateer race bike, they all need care that often gets ignored until problems become obvious. None of these 10 steps will break the bank, especially if you do the work, and taking care of these potential problem areas will all but guarantee a fun and trouble-free ride. So hit the garage!01 Bleed your brakes. Your bike can be the fastest thing on earth, but if it can't stop when you need it to, you end up becoming a heap of broken parts. Most riders neglect the brakes; they just change the pads when they're worn but never look to see if the fluid condition or level is OK. If you think the brakes are starting to fade, check the fluid immediately! You have a problem if the fluid is dark or low in the reservoir. Fresh brake fluid is fairly heat stable, but water isn't, and brake fluid will absorb water over time. That's a major reason that brake fluid deteriorates. Anytime the brake system has been used hard and heated, you should bleed the brakes. To bleed the brakes, you must clean the reservoir and remove the cap. Fill it with clean fluid to keep it from running dry. Pump and hold the brake pedal or lever, then quickly open the bleeder fitting with a wrench and immediately close it back up without releasing the brake lever. Pump up the brake, hold it and bleed it again. Do this three or four times, or until you no longer see any air bubbles coming out with the fluid. Use a length of clear tubing over the bleeder fitting to avoid a mess and to prevent brake fluid from getting on the rotor and brake pads. If the fluid appears dark or burned, just keep filling the reservoir and bleeding the system until clean fluid comes out. Use a good fluid brand, but know that the high-temp products generally absorb water easier than regular brake fluid. Be sure to use the type of fluid that's specified for your bike. Remember, you can't go fast if you can't stop.02 Put on new grips. Unless your grips are almost brand-new, new ones will make a big difference. Grips have traction edges molded in that offer glove traction just like a tire, so give your hands a fresh knobby. And just don't throw on any grip or the one the local fast guy runs. Some people have "their" grip that they will only use, but for people who don't know, there's an ocean of grips from which to choose. If you have small hands, there are no-waffle, small-diameter grips, and for large hands, there are full-waffle and even vibration-damping grips. There are also different compounds: soft, medium, hard, gel, foam and the multidensity gels. Just try them out one at a time and see which one is your glass slipper. Generally, if you have large hands, try a grip with a larger outside diameter. Conversely, if you have a smaller hand, try a smoother, smaller-diameter grip, perhaps in a softer compound. If you blister easily, go with a soft compound but be aware that they wear quickly. If you prefer traction to come from your gloves instead of your grips, try a firmer compound. Most riders run a soft-to-medium grip. Even if you don't replace the grips, safety-wire them. Use at least one wrap at each end of the grip. Wire as close as possible to the flange end of the grip to keep water from getting under the grip and making it slip. Finally, don't decide to install new grips right before a ride. You might find damage to the throttle tube or handlebar that needs attention. Some throttle tubes have the grip bonded on, and getting those off is a pain. Plus, the glue needs time to cure, especially with soft grips. Use the manufacturer's glue if it makes some; soft grips have a habit of falling apart with aggressive glues or other chemicals.