It’s always crazy to see how many riders who come by our store have motorcycles that are completely neglected. Regular motorcycle maintenance is key to long motorcycle life as well as motorcycle safety. There is a common misconception that most riders cannot do motorcycle maintenance themselves because it’s too hard and requires the work of a professional mechanic. While that’s completely true for certain complex maintenance tasks, most riders with some common sense and access to YouTube can do a lot of the maintenance themselves. Here are some maintenance tasks that can and should be done regularly:
If you regularly ride, visually inspect your chain about twice a month or every 500-700 miles if you are not a frequent rider. It will need to be cleaned and lubed as well as possibly adjusted for proper tension. Neglecting your chain can be a huge safety hazard and it could also cause serious malfunction to your motorcycle. Incorrect tension can cause the chain to snap if it’s too tight or fly off if it’s too loose, either of which is a situation you don’t want to experience. It could also cause premature sprocket and gearbox wear, rough gear-shifts and snatchy transmission. It can also reduce rear suspension travel and limit the life of the drive chain.
This is the easiest yet crucially important maintenance task that is constantly neglected. We’ve seen riders come in with bold to the wire tires as well as tires running dangerously low or high air pressures. It is so dangerous to ride on tires like that. Check the air pressure and any signs of wear and tear on a regular basis. It’s not a bad idea to check that every time you ride. Check your bike or tire manufacturer’s recommended pressures and always keep the correct amount of air pressure for good handling on the road and to avoid blowouts. With the right pressure, the tires will also last longer.
Things won’t end very well if you can’t stop your bike. Test your brakes before each ride to make sure they are in good working order. This also means checking the brake fluid level. To keep your brakes at optimum performance, brake fluid should be replaced one to two years depending on the instruction in your manual. Also check the thickness of your brake pads. It is recommended they be replaced before they are worn down to the metal.
Check your owner’s manual for the recommended oil change schedule but as a rule of thumb, you should change the engine oil at intervals of every 6 months or 3,000 miles. The type engine oil you use in your motorcycle is as important as the frequency at which it is changed. Again, refer to your manual for recommended oil type. Make sure your oil filter is also always replaced during oil changes. In between oil changes, check your engine oil level and add oil as necessary to maintain the proper level.
Regularly replace or clean your air filter. An air filter that’s clogged from dirt and dust may cause your motorcycle to lose power and have sub-standard performance. Physically remove the air filter and inspect it for any clogging. It can be cleaned with compressed air or if the filter is in too bad of shape to clean, replace it at your earliest convenience to prevent other maintenance issues.
A motorcycle battery is an essential tool for the correct functioning of the engine. To extend the life of your battery, keep it charged to 100% when not in use. You can do this by keeping it connected to a trickle charger. Make sure the top of the battery is clean. It the battery becomes corroded, replace immediately.
Be sure to always follow your motorcycle manual for regular check up information. Keeping a record of all the maintenance will keep you from guessing when work was done to your motorcycle, what was done and when it is to be done again. Following the manufacturer's maintenance schedule for your motorcycle will ensure it remains mechanically sound and safe to ride.
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