If you’ve taken on a larger mortgage for your new home, buying a new or second-user motorcycle rather than a car can provide some significant savings and help balance the books. Overheads such as insurance, road tax, and fuel consumption are much lower. Also, using a good workshop manual, you can do much of the required servicing yourself. Here are 10 tips to help you look after your motorcycle parts.
Keep Your Bike Looking Good
With so much of your bike exposed to the British weather a weekly wash and polish will keep it looking good. Use a bucket of tepid water with a little wash-up liquid and sponge, not a jet wash. Wipe dry with a cloth, leave for an hour, polish – then check for any fluid leaks.
Tyres and Tyre Pressures
While checking for those leaks have a close look at the tyres. Check for damage, tread depth and any sign of splitting before checking tyre pressures. Over or under-inflated tyres can majorly influence your bike’s handling.
Check your braking system. Worn pads or faulty caliper pistons can have you retrieving your motorcycle from a hedgerow. Your pads will have wear grooves so it’s easy to tell how worn they are. Changing the pads requires few tools and is easy to accomplish with your bike’s manual.
Inspect Front Forks
Worn, weak or leaking forks can have a major effect on the handling of your motorcycle. Not normally part of a garage service, forks are sealed units. However, even if they show no sign of fluid loss, over time the oil degrades. Replacement parts are cheap, but if you don’t feel confident undertaking the work ask a qualified mechanic to strip them.
A flapping, loose chain on your motorcycle can have you off your bike. It will increase wear on sprockets and gearbox and create handling problems. Check the tension and lubricate the chain weekly. Re-tensioning the chain using your manual is not a difficult job. The manual will list the tools needed.
Modern batteries are maintenance free and often sealed units with a lifespan of two or three years. The only maintenance required is to undo the terminals, give the lugs a clean and a smear of grease and screw the terminals tight back on the lugs.
Check Spark Plugs
Plugs have a lifespan of 10,000 miles, but you can learn a lot about the condition of your power and electrics by checking them regularly. A black, sooty electrode will denote a fuel problem. A wet electrode usually points to an electrical problem.
Regular oil changes are a must to keep your engine’s moving parts – moving. Not a difficult job but read through each step for your model. Make sure you get the recommended oil and required filter and seals. Use a torque wrench when replacing the sump nut, and do not dispose of the old oil down the drains.
If your bike is water cooled, check the levels weekly and top up as required. Check for hose leaks if the water level keeps dropping and add anti-freeze for the winter months.
Grease Points and Cables
Finally, grease nipples are there for a reason, to keep your motorcycle parts in good condition. It takes a few minutes to add a squirt of the right grease. A dedicated hydraulic cable oiler will cost you around twenty quid, a great investment to ensure smooth operation of brake and clutch levers.