The Ultimate All-Season Guide to Motorcycle Maintenance
A two-wheeler is different from any other automobile, it demands more attention as even a single loose bolt can change a pleasant ride into a complete disaster.
Whenever you buy a motorcycle, the sellers will try to add a maintenance/service contract with it. Now if you will not be able to do all the tune-up yourself, it’s probably better to opt for the servicing contract. Doing all the compulsory examination yourself can lead to gather more experience and knowledge about the vehicle you own. One big benefit that this practice will bring back to you is the huge amount of money you will save.
Your motorcycle accessories require complete attention as well. Even the best motorcycle helmet requires a good preservation routine. Investing a little amount of time regularly to maintain your vehicle and all riding accessories will go a long time and ultimately will give a long life to your motorcycle. That best Bluetooth motorcycle helmet you own needs some care as well.
After reading this article you will get to know some useful tips for bike maintenance and prep your vehicle along with its accessories when the weather changes. We will explain in detail on how to care for each part of your two-wheeler in all four seasons.
This article is not targeted for men only; there are many female motor-bike riders and kids who ride bikes as well, every two-wheeler requires constant attention. Taking good care of your helmet is also crucial as it will provide safety and it is, without a doubt, the most widely used riding accessory. Motorcycle helmets for women and kids motorcycle helmets will also find useful guidelines here.
I bought a used 15-year-old Yamaha motorcycle, fully aware that it will demand extra concentration. I am not a mechanic or technician myself but the love I had for this machine made me pay personal attention to it. That, and the fact that any professional service men will demand a lot of money. You don’t have to be an expert at mechanics to do the regular maintenance work for your machine. All you need is some tools, a little common sense, and a detailed manual to keep your bike in its peak condition.
Do It Yourself tips
Proper maintenance of your machine is important in all seasons and a good rider takes proper care of his/her ride, no matter the weather outside. Each season creates its own set of problems for your motorcycle. There are some tips which you can follow and keep your ride safe from the harsh environment outside.
Every time you ride, tick off all boxes on a pre-riding checklist. Your list should include checking tires, fastener tightness, controls, lights and fluid levels. The maintenance and service guidelines written in the vehicles manual should be followed, you should also save receipts and keep a log book.
When you plan to do maintenance on your own, it is important to get an aftermarket or factory provision manual. A new vehicle demands more attention especially for the few initial miles of riding and the rider has to take particular care of a new vehicle while riding and storage also. Ideally, a motorcycle requires overhaul after 3 months or every 3,000 miles.
Some general tips to follow on a daily basis regardless of what season it is are listed below. These technical tips need to be followed in every season. You can do all this yourself without any expert knowledge and there is no need to spend excess money. Make sure that these are followed before you get into further specifications.
- Firstly, use the brake and clutch conservatively and accelerate smoothly; this will make your vehicle last longer. And obviously, DO NOT CRASH! Riding on roads without proper training and experience will never lead to anything good. Taking advanced riding lessons, improving your skills and avoiding taking any risks which could lead to a mishappening can be helpful.
- Breaking it in: The initial few thousand miles are the most critical ones for your motorbike, your bike needs to be treated right during this time so that it can serve well for long. You should follow all guidelines for breaking-in mentioned in the owner manual and take it for service after the first 600 miles.
- Lubrication: Considering the model and make of the motorcycle, the swingarm, wheel bearings, suspension linkages and steering-head bearings might need a lubricant, and so will other cables and controls. You can check yourself if more lubrication is required by slowly turning the bearings with hand, check for looseness, binding, and rough spots. Inspection of wheel bearings needs to be done once a year, also, the serviceable-types should be repacked and adjusted. Water also needs to be kept out, never use a pressurized washer around this area for cleaning. Also, check the fork oil periodically and change it after few years.
- Driving: How you finally ride your bike will decide whether you need to monitor rear drive housing, belt tension and crackling or sprocket and chain wear. Keep the chains properly adjusted, lubricated and clean. And you should be aware what your final ride with the current sprockets and chain should be; usually, they both wear out together and should be replaced immediately. DO NOT ignore this because if the chain breaks it will destroy the engine case with it. The shaft-drive bike has an enclosed drive that should be checked for oil and changed periodically depending on the service schedule.
- Transmission: The primary and transmission chain cases in certain bikes have different oil needs and supply of having the lubricant changed and levels checked separately. Primary chains need adjustment sometimes, check the maintenance schedule to know about intervals.
- Head Gear: The best Bluetooth motorcycle helmet that you own requires your attention. Make sure that the helmet is completely dry before and after each use. Store it in a cool and dark place, away from the reach of children. Even the best motorcycle helmet cannot be saved from injuries if it gets in the hands of playful kids.
- Brakes: If you park your bike outside during the rainfall season or dive around in rain a lot, then this could lead to corrosion of external brake parts which will lead to overheating, wear and dragging. The calipers should be removed and cleaned occasionally during tire changes and brake replacement, inspection for leakage, sticking or corrosion should also be conducted. The special grease for caliper should be applied sparingly on the sliding parts. The brake fluid’s boiling temperature is reduced as it absorbs moisture; this causes internal corrosion of ABS components, calipers, and wheel and master cylinders. So the brake fluid should be flushed and fluid should be changed every two years to keep in the hydraulic brake components in good health
- Valve Adjustment: Adjustments should be made according to service schedule to avoid burned valves, reduced performance or engine failure.
- Oil & Filter: The recommended maintenance timetable by the manufacturer should be followed, more importantly if you often ride in dusty or harsh conditions. Some bike owners delay oil change while others who change oil themselves ignore other factory recommended services. Clutch-cable adjustments, lubrication, and control cable inspection need to be performed during the oil change. Switching to premium synthetic motorcycle fluids and oils provides finer lubrication and will make your motorcycle engine last a long time.
- Air Filter: If the air filter is not oiled properly, fitted loose, is missing or dirty then it allows grit or dirt to grind into the engine. The filter should be cleaned more often than regular if you drive in dust prone areas.
- Coolant: All motorcycles that are liquid cooled use ethylene glycol which becomes acidic after many years. This will cause metal erosion in the cooling system and engine which could lead to costly repairs, water pump failure and/ or overheating. The coolant should be drained, flushed and replaced after 2 years at least and a 50:50 ratio mixture of distilled water and anti-freeze coolant.
- Tires & Batteries: You should check the pressure in tires before each ride when cold then inflate tires if required to bring them down to recommended pressure. Always keep a pressure gauge it might come in handy. Tires should be checked for wear, tear and replaced on proper time. You can ignore excess care of batteries if they are sealed, these batteries are maintenance-free; whereas a conventional battery will require you to remove caps frequently and replenish electrolytes with water as a low level will reduce the battery capacity and ultimately kill it. Batteries can also be ruined if they are discharged while stored.
Detailed maintenance tips for each season
Winterizing your motorcycle is certainly not unlikeable in execution but will cause a headache for the riders who know that after some months there will be another task of prepping the motorcycle for the spring season. Some essential details need to be taken care of beforehand during winters so that the spring preparation is effective, short and seamless. If your kid rides you should ensure that the kids’ motorcycle helmets are taken care of along with their bikes. This article tries to ensure that no issue is left unattended and every tiny fundamental detail is taken care of.
Environmental factors to consider
- Leaves: Fallen leaves on the road during autumn can stack and make a slick surface. Wet leaves often appear on unexpected shaded areas and they can be slippery; dry leaves can cover road irregularities like potholes. Dry or wet, riding through accumulated leaves might reduce traction, which makes stopping the bike very difficult.
- Sunlight: The sun starts to get lower on the horizon during this season and using the best motorcycle helmet with an anti-glare visor will be very useful in such conditions. Motorcycle helmets for women and kids motorcycle helmets are also available with this feature.
- Battery- It is important that you keep the battery of your bike properly charged so that it runs smoothly. With winter approaching, you will most likely reduce the use of a two-wheeler. If the bike is sitting idle for more than 12- 13 days you should charge the batteries. It is easy to know if the battery of your bike is low if the headlights are dim or there is some trouble starting the engine. Also, ensure that you tender the battery whenever it is stored.
- Check Tires- During low temperature and cold nights, the pressure in motorcycle tires will be low. Proper tire pressure and inflation should be checked along with the roads you will be treading. Tires wear out as the riding season ends, make sure you check for a full grip, tread, and cold weather. Even the best motorcycle helmet you have needs to be checked in during climate change.
- Cold tires- Tires will take comparatively longer time to warm up as winter approaches. In autumn, as the mercury starts to dip, the primary impact is on the tires of your vehicle. They may crack and you need to take care that during the first few miles of your daily morning ride should be done with smooth inputs as the road surface is very slippery. The traction is not there during autumn in tires so they take the time to warm up and the hard rubber turns little soft slowly.
- Chains, Belts & Shaft Drives- The chain of your bike will require some lubrication after each ride and it needs to be done while it is still little warm so that lubricant can be absorbed better. Check the drive tension in the belt, keep it clean and change the oil in shaft drive as often you change bike oil for proper working.
Use & Winterization:
- Motorcycle winterizing- Some basic things to remember include cleaning and then drying the bike. Take care of fluid levels and battery. All your bike accessories including the best motorcycle helmet demand care. Motorcycle helmets for women are available in such diverse colors and designs, they need extra attention. Do not use any harsh chemicals to clean them, the color might come off and the protection capabilities are also affected.
- Helmet care- If you own the best Bluetooth motorcycle helmet, it will need the best maintenance as well. Keep the helmet dry, never store it when still wet; regular cleaning is also compulsory. As a parent, you need to make your kid learn some basic tips for service as well. Kids motorcycle helmets along with the bike itself should be cleaned and maintained by the children themselves.
- Using the owner’s manual- If are the new owner of an old motorcycle, the manual will help you immensely so you need to know it well because of service issues and other troubleshooting. Moisture is another issue that needs to be taken care of, in winters moisture in pipes can cause rust and inside gas tank can cause corrosion. Your best motorcycle helmet also needs to be kept safe from corrosion problems.
- Oil & Fuel- Old motorcycles have a carbureted delivery system for fuel and some people prefer it over the new fuel injected technology. Draining carburetors on time deal with flooding, extra time consuming and many more problems are attached with this process. But a bid advantage is that regular oil change will curb corrosion by removing condensed elements. The last riding seasons debris needs to be cleaned before storing your bike for winter.
- Extra security- While servicing your motorcycle yourself, you should be aware of your technical abilities and limitations or you might end up paying extra to a professional technician to fix the mistakes you made. Keep in mind not to harm yourself, someone else or any property during your endeavor. Chemicals, heat, electricity, flying or falling items and all such hazards should be kept in check.
- Batteries- What special to do with your batteries in winter? Ensure that the terminals are completely clean and away from direct heat source or chemicals. Keep the batteries charged if the bike is only being used for short trips. If you are not planning to use your bike at all during winters, removing the battery is good.
Environmental and related usage
- First ride- If you were driving a car during winters and now you are back to your bike, then you might be a little oblivious to issues like visibility on a motorcycle and other road hazards. Start low as you might take some time to get used to your bike again.
- Spring season Roads- Drivers are a little unaware of motorcycle riders during spring as they get used to driving with no or very less two-wheeler around them during the cold season. The roads have also suffered from snow plows which scrape the surface of roads and there might be repairs left to be done yet.
- Awakening the Rider- Once the winter is over and spring is about to start, Always remember to use the right gear for your head, motorcycle helmets for women are available in many new attractive designs. Stay up-to-date with the new technology and avail facilities like the best Bluetooth motorcycle helmet available.
- Fuel System- When your motorcycle is left in the garage unused for a long period of time, you should use fuel stabilizer. Gas that is not treated will last about 6 months only before breaking down, a fuel stabilizer can prolong this process up to 2 years keeping your bike interiors safe. Remember to check the fuel line and filter for any damage or clogs.
- Little trial & practice- You might be a little out of practice and a little refresher course from a local training program night help to prep you up for the summer riding season. This will also help you in brushing up your parking and emergency situation skills. Some basic slow speed exercises along with braking and cornering drills will heat up the motorcycle and the driver in you as well.
Environmental factors to consider
- Summer Season tips- With the arrival of summer, you are ready to thumb the bike starter and strap on your helmet. Make sure the helmet you invest in has proper air ventilation to keep our head cool during the hot weather. Parents buying kids helmets for summer need to pay attention that kids motorcycle helmets should be comfortable for summers.
- Wear the right gear- Get the best available motorcycle helmet according to your needs and size. Correct fit is very crucial for perfect safety. Motorcycle helmets for women come in many sizes and run a little narrow as compared to helmets for men. Never buy a helmet without trying it on unless you are more than 100 percent sure about the size. Kida motorcycle helmets require special attention from the parent and never compromise on safety for your kid.
- Driveline and tires- High temperatures make things rise including the Pounds per Square Inch (PSI) in the tires. Ensure that you check the ratings suggested by the manufacturer in the manual and drain or pump air as required. The tread of the tires should also be inspected carefully and need to be replaced if they are worn out.
- Battery- In summer, the battery might become weak or die. If a battery is not consistent in charging and is more than 2 years old, you must consider replacing it.
- The small details- The belt and chain of the bike need a look after long winter hibernation. Pulleys should not show hooking signs which means the teeth of drive pulleys and driveline sprockets are not worn. If you see any damage to the belt, chain sprocket or pulley, it should be replaced immediately.
The diverse problems you encounter in each season with your motorcycle and its usage can be solved at home now. A little care and service yourself will save you loads of bucks and also ensure a long happy life with your riding machine. You just need a few basic tools and a little maintenance schedule which is properly followed.
If you follow some simple tips, you will not have the need to rush to the local mechanic for small things. Overlooking the basic maintenance could cause breakdowns, deterioration and denial of warranty when damage is caused and you have no proof of performed services. Share this article with friends and motorcycle enthusiasts, if you find it useful.