Motorcycle riding is a great experience. For many, after that first ride, there`s no going back. Riding bikes becomes part of their lifestyle and something they yearn for daily. There`s just no feeling quite like the freedom of a Sunday ride out on your motorbike. With motorcycle riding comes extra responsibility, though. It is not like riding a car. Due to the exposed nature of the rider, it is extra important to ensure the bike is in good working order before heading out. Therefore, many motorcycle riders end up becoming experts in bike maintenance.
If you`ve recently caught the motorcycle riding bug, you`re probably wondering just how much maintenance there is to do. Let`s take a look at how to maintain all the important parts of your motorcycle.
Maintenance is Important
As mentioned, maintenance is super important when it comes to riding bikes. Any slight mishap on a motorcycle can cause severe injury to the rider, especially at high speed. For example, forgetting to check the tread of your tires on a particularly wet or icy day could be catastrophic. Equally, any issue with your chain that goes unnoticed can cause a very nasty situation.
For any major issues, you should always speak to a professional mechanic. But, there are plenty of things you can check regularly yourself. It`s always better to spend a few minutes checking. Better to be safe than sorry.
Daily and Weekly Checks
There are a few things you can be checking daily, weekly, or before each ride. These are basic maintenance tips that should always be followed just to make sure your bike is generally safe to ride. Daily checks include checking all fluids; fuel, oil, brake fluid, and coolant, making sure they are all at the right level before attempting to use them.
You should also check your lights, horn, and throttle every day to ensure they are all working as expected. It is also vital to have a quick check of your tires to ensure they`ve lost no pressure and the tire treads look healthy. Finally, check the steering while stationary, make sure nothing is knocking or catching when you rotate the steering column. All of these things should be done daily as well as weekly. Plus, on your weekly checks, top-up oil, check the bike stand is operating as expected, and test your brakes.
The windshield is an important part of a bike, helping keep wind, bugs, and any debris away from you when traveling at high speed. If you don`t have a decent windshield for your motorcycle, consider upgrading to a full screen. Search for motorcycle windshields for BMW, or similar, and take a look at the great protection you can find out there. After all, the last thing you want is a pebble to the helmet at 60mph.
When taking care of your windshield, you want to keep it super clean. Any dirt or grime left on a windshield can impair your view of the road. Check for any cracks, too, as a broken windshield will not offer you any protection at all.
Tires Are Key
Without tires, your bike wouldn`t be going anywhere! And, if your tires fail at a high speed, you`re in big trouble. As mentioned, you should have a good look at your tread and pressure before every ride. It`s very easy to get complacent and just jump on your bike, forgetting to give anything a proper look.
Image Source: https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1610229953140-d6c35bc7fa65?ixid=MnwxMjA3fDB8MHxzZWFyY2h8MjF8fG1vdG9yY3ljbGUlMjB0aXJlc3xlbnwwfDB8MHx8&ixlib=rb-1.2.1&auto=format&fit=crop&w=800&q=60
Low pressure or low tread can be extremely dangerous when you`re trying to bring your bike to a sudden halt. Check the PSI of your tires using a gauge and, if necessary, head straight to a petrol station or garage to inflate them. If you over-inflate, let some air out before starting the rest of your journey.
Check the Chain
The chain is what drives the motorcycle`s motion. The engine rotates the chain and, in turn, the chain rotates the back wheel. Any damage or dirt on your chain can cause it to slip, meaning your wheel could suddenly cease whilst in motion, almost certainly causing an accident.
You should regularly check your chain`s condition before a long ride, as well as at every mileage interval as recommended by its manufacturer. If it`s particularly dirty, remove any dirt with a gentle brush, then lubricate your chain with a specially formulated chain lubricant. Raise the back wheel in the air and place the bike in neutral, then you can easily rotate the chain to check everything looks good.
Air Filter Changes
The air filter is an important part of your bike. It acts as a barrier between your engine and any intake of particles in the air. As it gets clogged, your engine`s performance will suffer, so it is important to take it out and clean it regularly. It`s often not hard to pop it out and examine it, simply brushing away any debris caught within the filter. Sometimes, you may need to remove an engine cover or petrol tank to get to it, which could mean a trip to your local mechanic.
Don`t Forget Brakes
Most of the issues with bikes involve ensuring your safety when riding. Arguably the most important safety feature of any vehicle is the brakes. Without properly working brakes, you are in serious trouble. Assuming they are hydraulic, check the fluid regularly. And, change the brake pads at any hint of screeching sounds. Before you go out, gently roll along a flat road or driveway and test the strength of the brakes, ensuring that they are working to their normal level as expected.
Keep it Clean
Finally, keep your bike clean! It may not sound like much, but regular cleaning of a motorcycle helps keep all parts dirt-free and therefore performing to their maximum potential. Use water and a microfiber cloth to clean dirt from all your bike`s surfaces, making it easier to check over all the parts as they are clean.
Motorcycle maintenance, then, is crucial to safe riding. Make sure you follow all of these tips, so you feel certain that your bike is going to be safe and enjoyable to ride.