Passing your motorcycle test and choosing your first bike is the start of a long journey. Most bikers fall in love with motorcycling and will remain in love for life; even if there are long periods when a bike is not a viable or practical choice.
Of course, motorcycling will cost you money, just like a car you need to complete regular maintenance to ensure you remain safe on the roads and your bike doesn’t break down. It doesn’t matter how good the motorbike sales team are; they can only sell you a great bike. It’s up to you to take care of the maintenance or arrange for them to do it for you.
Fortunately there are several motorcycle maintenance tasks you can easily do at home:
The chain is an essential part of your motorcycle. It transfer the power from the engine to your rear wheel; allowing the bike to move. If it breaks you can find yourself sliding down the road or even damaging your engine.
Even a loose chain can cause you fast or uneven sprocket wear that will result in an expensive bill in the future.
Most bikes need their chain checked every 600 miles; it’s a good habit to check it every month.
Your bike needs to either be on its centre stand or on a purpose built rear one; you can find these at most dealers or parts stores.
Once the rear wheel is off the ground use a chain slacker tool to measure the slack in the chain. If it’s between 20-30mm then you won’t need to adjust the chain.
If you need to adjust it the chain remove the cover for the chain and the nut. You can then take the cotter pin out and loosen the axle nut.
You can now adjust the chain slack using spanners on the lock nut adjuster at the end of the swing arm. You’ll need to use your chain slack tool to assess when you’ve adjusted it enough.
One complete simply reverse the steps; ensuring you tighten the axle nut to the right torque setting.
Oil is vital to the smooth running of your engine. That’s why you should change it approximately every 4,000 miles.
The process is very straightforward; you simply need to place a collecting container under the bike and remove the sump nut.
However, you may find it takes more time to get to the sump nut if you have fairing on your bike. If this is the case it is important to proceed slowly and carefully, you don’t want to damage this.
It is a good idea to unscrew the oil cap to allow the oil to drain faster. You should also warm the bike up before draining the oil; this will help it to exit the sump.
You should also remove and replace the oil filter at the same time.
Once it’s all drained put the new seal on the sump and tighten the nut up to the specified torque. Don’t forget to refill the oil to the right level.
If you have an air cooled bike this is not relevant! Ideally you should check this at least once a week if not before every ride. Simply remove the lid of your expansion tank and check that the coolant inside is at the right level.
Don’t forget if you need to top it up this is a mixture of water and anti-freeze; plain water will corrode the internal parts quickly.