Reed Maintenance for your Dirt Bike

When your bike becomes hard to start or won’t carburet cleanly at small throttle openings, you should begin to suspect your bike has a reed problem. When you pull out the reed cage, look at the outer corners of the reed petals. Usually, the first area to wear is the outer corners, which will chip or fray. Any chipping or fraying will keep the reed from sealing completely.

Whenever you see any damage or wear to the reed edges, you must replace the reed petals. Simply remove the screws that hold the petal in place and install a new one. Use a quality screwdriver, since the screws are often sealed in place with a thread-locking compound. Plus, the heads are tiny, and you don’t want to risk stripping them.

When you install the new petal, make sure it is indexed properly. Simply match it up with the shape of the cage and the petal stop. When you screw the petal back into place, be sure to use a thread-locking agent on the screws so they have no chance of backing out; digesting a reed-petal screw is bad news for a two-stroke engine.

Also, make sure you use a fresh gasket (if any) when you put the reed cage back in the motor.

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Reeds usually install only one way. Note that one corner is round and the other angled.
Use Loctite on the screws that hold the reeds to the cage. The engine won't like digesting one.
Reeds tend to show wear at the tips and front corners. They can fray or even chip.