In this modern era, people crave thrilling experiences, which is why they prefer owning a motorbike. After all, nothing can beat the feeling of wind swinging your hair at high speeds. It attracts thoughts of freedom and happiness with a layer of anxiety and fear. As warmer days and clear roads approach around the corner, the fantasies of revving up your motorcycle start lighting up. Is your motorbike cooped inside the garage for months?
Before hitting the road, prepare your motorcycle to ensure a smooth and safe ride. Although washing the bike can be a great way to start, but it is not enough. From checking the brakes, wheels, seat to changing oil – make sure it is in top-notch condition. Remember, always consult the owner’s manual to understand the maintenance protocols.
If you don’t prefer going to the mechanic, take up the maintenance tasks yourself to have peace of mind. An hour at the garage working on the bike can save you from various roadside troubles. Here we are unfolding a DIY maintenance checklist for motorbikes.
1. Inspection & Safety Protocols
Did you ever notice your bike’s parts? Every vehicle is prone to wear and tear, which means your bike’s components might also get rusty. Hence, try to spot something unusual while walking around it to unwind things that need attention. You can look for streaks of oil or dirt down fork lowers as it indicates failed fork seals. Similarly, examine drips under the bike and see if it is oil, coolant, or fuel to backtrack the source.
Moreover, upgrade the safety protocols in your maintenance schedule as the rising motorbike accidents are no surprise to anyone. As a precautionary measure, go for a decent insurance plan, hire a motorcycle lawyer, update your gear – helmet, jacket, and identify glitches. An attorney will work in your best interests when things go wrong, while safety gear protects you from all hazards.
2. Start With Fresh Fluids
How old is your coolant? Did you remember the date when you last time changed the oil filter? Regular maintenance schedules are all about energizing your motorbike with fresh fluids. Therefore, replace the coolant every other season. You can either pick a perfect flush with water or a simple drain to prevent corrosion inside the bike’s cooling system. In addition to this, don’t mind installing a fresh radiator cap to stabilize the pressure.
Besides, if you didn’t ride your motorcycle for months, immediately change the fuel. Gasoline gets musty when inside a tank for months. Use a pump to extract every bit of old gas and fill the tank with fresh fuel to ensure optimal performance. Likewise, you also have to change the oil after a few months despite your bike usage. It does require some extra effort but changing oil is crucial to the bike’s smooth functioning. Firstly, cover the aluminum parts like exhaust with foil or any similar thing.
Once the tank is empty, install a brand-new filter and start pouring the oil. Use a funnel to avoid mess and make sure you are putting the correct type of oil. Unfortunately, negligence towards this can affect the durability and performance of your motorcycle.
3. Test The Brakes
Unsurprisingly, there is nothing more significant than the brake pads of a motorcycle. Check them from every corner, meaning test them with tires on the ground and when the bike is up in the air. Simultaneously, check rotors for warping and feel the surface to detect any scoring. Alongside this, monitor the condition of pads to determine if they are wearing out. Measure the remaining depth of pads to ensure they are safe for the bike’s functioning.
Many people try using every bit of brake pad, which is quite a myopic strategy since it ruins the rotors. Inspect the brake line as rubber ones don’t last forever. If your bike is more than ten years old, consider replacing the line with a stainless steel one. It will improve the brake feel and control considerably. Besides, if you come across light surface rust, hit them with brake cleaner and use some brake fluid to keep the rust away.
4. Monitor The Controls
One day your motorbike might have the smoothest clutch, while at times, you can encounter sounds coming from the throttle. Therefore, check all the controls before every ride or make this a part of your weekly maintenance schedule. If the clutch seems hard, unstick the cable and push or pull it until it returns to its position. Similarly, examine if the throttle tube has an issue or the cables are worn.
Next up, sit on the bike and monitor the mirrors. Turn the handlebar lock to lock to check if the wiring interferes with the steering head bearings. Likewise, double-check your brake pedal to ensure it is tight enough to stop the motorcycle immediately.
5. Charge The Battery
Was your bike sitting in storage all winter? If yes, then you either have to get a new battery or charge the existing one. And same applies to regular bike riders. If your battery has been on a maintenance charger, consider charging it once a week. Observe the battery health by using a tester or check it against the CCA rating sticker. If it is over 12.5V DC, you are good to go. Otherwise, if the manufacture date is more than five years old, start pinching pennies to replace it.
Instead of going to a dealership shop, you can replace the battery on your terms. Clean up the terminals and coat with dielectric grease to preclude corrosion. Feel free to open up the fuse box and inspect fuses, spares, and insert some more if there is space. After all, it is always better to have an extra fuse than getting the bike towed.
6. Inspect The Tires Tread & Pressure
Whether you use a motorcycle to travel to work or as an occasional ride – don’t overlook the tire’s condition. Firstly, check the age of tires by reading the DOT number on them. If the number is 2319, it means the tires were manufactures in the 23rd week of 2019. Alongside this, inspect the rubber for any dry rots, cracks, or any hardening from oxidization. If you discover any wear and tear signs, instantly get new ones.
If you are still not sure, check the remaining tread depth of the tire. Inflate the tires and start looking for bald spots, sidewall bubbles, or any other alarming signs that indicate tires are unsafe for driving. You can either use the ‘coin trick’ or get a tread indicator for adequate measuring. Honestly, replacing is less expensive than repairing the entire bike after a blowout.
Motorcycles are road-friendly, flexible, and offer an exhilarating experience. With all these features, motorbikes require care and adequate maintenance to keep functioning smoothly. It doesn’t mean you have to take it to the workshop for servicing every month as you can do everything yourself. From checking brakes, clutch, fuel to charging the battery – prepare a maintenance checklist. It will keep your motorbike in top-notch condition, reducing wear and tear.