Riding a motorcycle is exciting, allowing you to ride smoothly on paved trails and explaining why motorcycles are ideal for office and home delivery, work commutes, and leisurely rides. They allow couriers to weave in and out of traffic with ease. But riders often forget that they also need to maintain their machine regularly. Being proactive about motorcycle maintenance, sticking to a maintenance schedule, and not waiting until you see the first sign of wear prolongs your bike’s life, allowing you to make your motorcycle last forever.
Luckily, motorcycle maintenance is not complicated. Whether you’re motorcycle riding for fun or using it for work, there are several simple things you can do to keep your bike healthy, yourself safe, and save some money.
Maintenance requirements vary depending on your motorcycle model. That is why you should always consult your owner’s manual for guidance before you start replacing parts or entering controversial territory like suspension components.
Take a look at the owner’s manual guidelines
Your owner’s manual is your go-to “gold mine” of instructions specific to your bike’s make and model. It is the benchmark of everything that happens to your machine throughout its lifetime, and it contains all the details about every component of your bike. The manual for your motorcycle covers everything from how to clean the air filter to change the oil and its charging system. Essentially, it includes the basics of the total motorcycle engine, extending the life of the motorcycle batteries, and so on. It may even include rider tips to ensure you keep your machine running smoothly.
Other information you get from shop owners or online will be general and most likely incompatible with your bike. Lost the print edition of your manual? Most manufacturers now have a digital edition of their manual for download from their site. These manuals typically include information on how to clean your bike and other best practices for maintenance.
1. Engine maintenance
To keep your engine in top-notch shape, you should start by cleaning the carburetor after every 1,000 miles especially if you’re riding it regularly. After long distances of riding, you should let the engine cool and rest to prevent chocking out the gears. Keep an eye on the choke for signs of damage and make fixes and replacements if it is. Also, check the spark plugs after every 500-1,000 miles (depending on what it says in the manual).
2. Do regular brake maintenance
The brakes are the essential safety component on your motorcycle, and you should never neglect them. Check your brake pads whether they’re too loose or too light and adjust them to the right distance (for more details, check the owner’s manual). Hearing a screeching noise while applying the brake, then it may be time to change brake fluid. Replace the whole set of brake pads if you notice that they are worn out to maximize your motorcycle performance.
It’s usually when people experience problems with starting their bike that they remember they should’ve checked the battery. That’s bad for your bike, especially if it stayed parked in the garage for several months. To check the state of your battery, look for dust or rust on the terminals because it might interfere with the connection. To make sure they are working properly, clean the terminals, and test them for voltage. Refill the battery with distilled water, and if you notice that there are leaks, it’s time to buy a new battery. To extend your battery’s life and make sure it’s always alive, make sure it’s always charged (especially if you’re about to store the bike during winter).
4. Keep the air filter clean
It’s important to clean your air filter or replace it every time you return from a ride under dusty conditions and on dirty, muddy roads. It plays an essential role in the efficient performance of your bike’s engine. Riding with a dirty and clogged air filter can let the impure air into the engine and prevent the formation of the right mixture of air and fuel. During winter, it clogs up with the snow, and in the summer with pebbles and dust. By cleaning it regularly, you’ll make sure that your engine will be kept at peak performance. For the frequency of air filter replacement and cleaning, check the owner’s manual.
5. Grease the bearings
Besides the engine, you should check and lubricate the wheel bearings, steering head bearings, swingarm, and suspension linkages. To ensure that all the moving parts on your bike will run smoothly, it’s important to lubricate them. The bearings bear most of the weight, so grease them regularly and consider replacing worn out bearings by the 15,000th mile. How to know that your bearings have started to wear? You’ll hear a regular knocking noise in the wheels when riding or feel a tightness when turning the handlebars. Once you hear the bearings moving around in the front and hub axle, it’s probably time to replace some or all the bearings.
6. Tire maintenance
To check tire pressure, you will need an air pressure gauge. Find the valve stem on the inside of the wheel, take the cap off, and press the gauge on the stem. Read the pressure and compare it with what it ought to be (you will find the information written on the sidewall of the tire). If you don’t have an air compressor, you will find one at a gas station, and use it to fill the tire to the right number of PSI (pounds per square inch). When done, replace the stem cap. As for the tire’s tread, check its indicator – a rubber knob in the grooves of the tire. It is time to replace the tire if they know it is at the same level of rubber that meets the road.
Tire maintenance and timely replacement is critical because tires determine the grip of your bike on the road and your bike’s ability to bear your weight. Keep the hub clean and oiled and tighten the spokes after a week of constant riding because they weaken decreasing your tires’ performance.
7. Change engine oil
The purpose of engine oil is to prevent all the moving parts in the engine from rubbing against each other. Depending on the weather and the distance you ride, the engine wears out the motor oil faster, which is why you should change it more frequently in the summer. If you let it wear out, the oil won’t be able to lubricate the parts properly, leaving them naked and exposed. Before and after every ride, be sure to check inside the engine for the engine oil and change it when necessary. In the summer, it’s recommended to change the engine oil every 3,000 miles. When doing regular road rides over the year, you should probably change it every 5,000 miles (check the owner’s manual for details).
8. Chain maintenance
Maintaining the chains on your motorcycle can improve the quality of your ride.
- Always clean your chain before lubing
- Make sure it always has proper slack
- Make sure it’s lubed after a ride (for better oil absorption)
- Excess tension can cause issues with the wheels and gearbox bearings
The chain can wear out quite fast if not properly adjusted and lubricated. It loosens and tightens at different times as you ride your bike. If it tightens excessively, there’s a risk of breaking while in motion, which can be dangerous. Clean your chain by applying paraffin with a soft cloth before you lubricate it. Water can cause your chain to rust and wear out, which will shorten your motorcycle’s life, so clean it after every ride. If you hear screeching after greasing or notice worn chain links, it’s time to replace the chain.
9. Regular motorcycle servicing
By learning how to take care of your motorcycle yourself is a money saver, and it allows you to learn how to give it the service it deserves. However, as a DIYer, you shouldn’t assume that you can notice and handle every problem, so you will need to take it to an expert to examine and service it. If you ride your bike frequently, like for regular commuting, monthly servicing should be enough. If you notice any mechanical issues or think that some parts need replacement, avoid riding it to prevent further damage.
When it comes to part replacement, don’t use cheap parts because installing a low-quality bike part will do more damage than good to your machine. If OEM parts are too expensive for your pocket, you can find a great aftermarket replacement part. Look for parts that are OEM replacements that have good reviews and are high quality. Aftermarket parts can often be of higher quality than OEMs because they are made by manufacturers that are specialized only in manufacturing their improved version of specific parts. Oftentimes, these parts can be cheaper than OEMs.
At MX PowerPlay, we know how versatile motorcycles are because you can ride them into any type of road and any weather. If you love your machine and want to take care of your investment, extending the life of your motorcycle by sticking to a maintenance schedule shouldn’t feel like work. For many motorcycle enthusiasts, keeping the air filter clean, checking tire pressures, and ensuring the inside of the engine are clean can be therapeutic.
Whether you are riding it regularly for work, commute, or sport, extending the life of your motorcycle is in your hands. By giving your machine the attention it deserves, you will prolong its life and maximize its performance. The service is always worth your time and investment. Most of these practices can be done in your garage at no additional cost. But replacements can be costly, and it is essential to find a high-quality part for your motorcycle to keep it in top condition so you can ride comfortably and safely for years. Visit our website or contact us to find out more about our products.