How can I look after my bike in between its regular services?

ABR’s expert of all things two-wheeled answers your questions


Hi Dave,

I’ve just bought a new bike with 9,000-mile service intervals, which is great for keeping the servicing costs down, but is there anything I should do myself in between those services to keep it running smoothly and in good condition?



Hi Graham,

Service intervals are usually based on mileage or time. Yours is 9,000 miles, or every 12 months, depending on what comes first. However, there is plenty you can do between those service intervals to keep your bike looking good and running sweetly.

The first thing on my servicing schedule is a thorough clean. I know there are people that use the phrase ‘bikes are for riding not polishing’, but cleaning a bike enables me to inspect all the components and identify loose spokes, frayed cables, broken electrical connections, loose nuts or bolts… you get the idea.

Once your bike is dry and looking like the day you bought it, start with a pre-ride inspection. Check tyre pressures and give the tread a close look for any foreign objects, nails, bits of metal, or stones. Check the oil level, coolant, and brake fluid. Start the bike up and check all the lights are working. If the luggage is fitted, make sure it’s firmly attached. It’s good practice to make these checks a routine, like making sure you have your wallet.

I like to perform a more thorough service monthly or before and after a long trip or tour. Lube the clutch and throttle cables if fitted (there are gadgets available to make this easy), clean, lube, and adjust the chain, and if the chain can be pulled from the sprocket, it may well be time for a replacement. Have a look at your brake pads. If there isn’t much pad left, it’s an easy and cheap job to fit replacements.

Motorcycle tyres tend not to give particularly high mileage and may need replacing between services. You can fit them yourself but I’d recommend getting them changed by a professional who will check the balance after fitting. Modern motorcycle wheels can also be a pain to swap tyres on manually. Also, check your tyre pressures regularly and top them up if needed.

It costs nothing to take out your motorcycle’s air filter and give it a clean, it’s surprising what can be found after a summer tour. I also like to do a mid-service oil and filter change to keep everything running smoothly.

Finally, a good quality polish on all the bodywork protects it and will help keep the value in the bike. A tatty bike will never sell for top money. If you ride through the winter, a thorough treatment of ACF50 or similar will protect the bike from the ravages of the road salt used to keep us upright.

With all this going on, your new bike should prove a reliable companion on all your adventures.

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