As much as we love riding our motorcycles, we also need to make sure they’re kept in good shape. The same way we take care of ourselves, so too, must we with our bikes, and that means looking after them not just while out on a ride, but when in the garage, too. That said, a good number of motorcyclists rely solely on the casa or service center to keep their bikes in good health. However, relying on other people to look after your bike isn’t always the best idea, and learning how to take care of basic stuff on your own goes a long way in keeping you on the road worry free.
If you’ve ever experienced getting stranded out on the road due to mechanical failure, we’re sure you’re well acquainted with the anxiety, stress, and worry that accompanies this. To avoid this, here are a few basic maintenance jobs which, when overlooked, can leave you stranded on the side of the road without much recourse. As such, be sure never to take these things for granted, and inspect them every time you go out for a ride.
Your tires are extremely important as they serve as the only point of contact between the road and your motorcycle. When it comes to tires, there are a few things to look out for. For starters, make sure they’re in good shape. Look out for any cracks, punctures, dry rot, and gouges on the tread. Are the sidewalls in good shape, devoid of any deformities whatsoever? If even just one of these things doesn’t look right, swap your tires out right away. Next, make sure to check your tire pressures on a regular basis. These vary from bike to bike, so make sure to consult your owner’s manual so as to make sure everything checks out.
Your bike’s chain provides drive to your rear wheel, and is really the only way to get your engine’s power to the ground. As such, it’s absolutely essential to keep your chain in tip top shape. Rust and corrosion brought about by wear and tear, as well as exposure to the elements can be detrimental to the service life of your chain. To maximize your chain’s longevity, make sure to clean it with an appropriate chain cleaner or degreaser, and thoroughly lubricate it. Additionally, inspect the wear on your bike’s sprockets, as well as the chain itself, as these may be indicative of whether or not you need a new chain and sprocket set.
Your motorcycle’s battery is the heart of its electrical system. If your battery is out of whack, then chances are your bike will run very poorly, or not at all. An old battery may not be able to hold charge, even if you hook it up to a battery charger, so don’t cheap out on this one. There are many options when it comes to replacement batteries. You can go for fancy lithium-ion units that last a lot longer and are substantially lighter than standard batteries. They are, however, very expensive, and are out of reach to a lot of motorcyclists. That said, you can always opt for an OEM replacement battery. Just make sure the specs match your specific make and model.
This one’s really important, and can literally spell the difference between life and death. Motorcycle brakes are a relatively simple system, but consist of several parts. From top to bottom, you’re going to want to make sure everything is in perfect condition. Make sure your lever is intact, and has a nice and thorough range of motion. Inspect your brake fluid—make sure it’s clean and at the right level. As you make your way down to the calipers, make sure there aren’t any cuts, gouges, or kinks on the brake lines. Lastly, take a look at your pads and rotors. Are there any signs that your pads are on their way out? Are there stress cracks or uneven wear areas on your rotors? If so, change them immediately and don’t risk going out for a ride with a compromised braking system.
Last but not least, your clutch cable, as simple as it seems, is a vital component of your motorcycle’s drivetrain. Should your clutch cable fail in the middle of a ride, you’re pretty much a sitting duck, unless you’re proficient enough to start a bike and shift gears without a clutch. Maintaining your clutch cable can be a tedious job, but it’s extremely easy to do. All you need to do is disconnect your clutch lever, and drip some oil or lubricant into the clutch cable. Allow it to seep in until you see the oil come out the other side. Doing this every 1,000 kilometers or so goes a long way in keeping your clutch operation nice and smooth, as well as prolonging your clutch cable’s service life.