If you’re anything like us, then your motorbike is your pride and joy, your significant other, your one true love (…too far?), so you’ll want to do everything you can to keep it/him/her healthy and well maintained to ensure you can ride together for longer.
It might seem a bit daunting, especially if you’re new to it, but keeping your bike in top condition should be relatively easy if you keep on top of it regularly. So, with that in mind, we’ve put together a tick list of 10 handy tips you can use to help keep your motorcycle in good condition.
Change the engine oil
Generally we need to change our engine oil every 3,000 miles or so (depending your riding style), and it’s crucial that we do so to ensure the engine operates smoothly and efficiently. Make sure you regularly check the engine oil level and also check for any leakages.
Keepin’ it cool
As we all know, engines produce a lot of power by using fuel. Typically speaking, a third of the fuel our bikes use is turned into power, another third is waste that gets dumped out of the exhaust, and the final third gets turned into heat. It’s the liquid coolant which helps to keep the engine at its correct temperature, so it’s essential that we keep an eye on the liquid coolant to ensure that the engine operates efficiently. It varies from bike to bike, so it’s advisable to check your manufacturer’s manual to find out if yours requires the coolant to be topped up or changed.
A breath of fresh air
The air filter is an important component of your motorbike. Its job is to act like a shield to help protect the engine from dust and debris. All sorts of crap gets sucked up in there, so you’ll want to keep an eye on it at regular intervals and clean when needed. How often you need to clean it will all come down to where and how often you ride, so make sure you keep an eye on things and clean when you feel appropriate.
Lube it up
It’s vital that you keep your motorbike’s chain regularly lubricated, otherwise it will dramatically increase the wear to your sprockets and affect the overall performance of the bike. Not only do you need to keep it lubed up, but you also need to regularly clean and adjust it. Again, it all comes down to your riding style, but it’s usually advisable to lubricate the chain around every 300-700 miles.
Check your tyre pressure
If your tyre pressure is too low, the surface area that touches the road will become much greater, increasing friction and causing a much higher level of wear. On the other hand, if your pressure is too high, this will make the side walls of the tyre too hard, which can reduce the performance and traction of the rubber, and cause uneven wear. Always check the manufacturer’s handbook for your motorbike’s recommended pressure.
Opinions vary on how often you should check your tyre pressure, but, depending on how much you ride the bike, you should aim to check at least every few weeks (don’t forget to check them when they’re cold, as hot tyres can affect the reading). You should also always check before you set off, if the bike has been in storage for a while.
Change the fork oil
It’s not always at the forefront of riders minds, but changing the fork oil of your motorbike is an important factor of its maintenance and should be done around once a year. Changing the fork oil removes dirt, debris and other crap (such as metal chips) that can cause wear and damage to the seals over time.
You can significantly improve battery life if you regularly check it and keep it well maintained. Make sure the top isn’t soiled and clean if necessary, check the clamps, cables and case for any damage or loose connections, check inside for any excessive dirt or moss growth, and check the electrolyte level. You’ll also want to test the battery with a voltmeter or hydrometer.
Check the brake pads
Keeping your brakes maintained and in good condition is vital for your safety and the safety of others around you. Therefore, you need to make sure that you regularly check for signs indicating the need for replacement. Look for wear on the indicator groove, once the pad is down to approximately 2mm it’s time to replace. Sometimes you can feel or hear the change in your brakes, so look out for that as you ride too.
Giving your bike a good old bubble bath (regularly) will not only keep it looking good, but will also help to protect the paint, as dirt can act like sandpaper against it. Make sure you give it a nice wax too, this helps by creating a protective barrier from the dirts of the world. Check out how to keep your motorbike in good condition for more handy tips.
“Sleep tight, and don’t let the bedbugs bite”
If you don’t have access to a garage, make sure you tuck your bike up with a waterproof cover to protect it from the elements (and bird poop). Make sure you invest in a cover which is made from breathable material, as you could end up doing your bike more harm from excess moisture trapped with non-breathable fabrics. Tucking up with your motorcycle in bed is optional.