“The most important thing is to have a good relationship with the bike... you have to understand what she wants. I think of a motorcycle as a woman, and I know that sounds silly, but it's true.”- Valentino Rossi
Take it from the bike God himself! Alike all things you’re gratified for, your sexy beast too comes with a price of upkeep and maintenance which would eventually prove fruitful in the long run and it’s also about time you say “hello!” to your motorbike manual as you will realize it provides handy maintenance tips as well as usage low-downs.
Apart from features, servicing requirements and the manufacturer’s advice on how best to care for it, it also contains other relevant information on basic bike care – adding years to your bike. Let’s get to the bottom of this by beginning with the bike’s most significant feature;
- The Rubber
..or fondly known as the tyres are inevitably key to the bike’s safety as that is what a bike(& essentially you!) stand on; it provides for the solid foundation of a bike. Many of us leave out this key step and turn a blind eye to its significance in bike safety. Thus, it is imperative to perform weekly checks on your tyres especially when they’re cold. This is so you can inflate them as per the suggested pressure recommendation in your bike manual. Handling and braking of a bike are largely impacted when tyres are lowly inflated due to the lack of pressure contained within the tyre walls which can result in its inability to manage forces on it while on the flip side, over-inflation affects grip by decreasing the size of the tyre contact patch when on the road.
TIP : Be sure to check the owner’s manual for accurate pressures before engaging in a quality pressure gauge when inflating your tyres. You want to take more heed of this if you regularly carry a passenger and tyres are cold. Change tyres before it reaches the maximal indicators because although the thread patterns on the tyres may appear well, it sure does decline over time attributing to age, sunlight and ozone cracks which may be visible along the sidewalls. A sure shot replacement tip: A badly-trodden tyre from over-mileage!
- Un-Chained Melody
No chain(care), no (bike) melody.
Yes, that’s right! Here, you’re looking at adjusting the right tension for your bike’s chain according to what’s listed in the manual. You want to do this by getting someone(load) on top as this tightens up the chain and you will require a good quality torque wrench to correct torque settings for every bolt. Also, with most things that doesn’t well receive the spell of aging, lubricating the chain after this step, does wonders for your motorbike torque longevity.
The almost always overlooked part of a motorbike, given its location underneath your motorbike’s petrol tank or seat and therefore is often disregarded in bike maintenance. Opt for a maintenance-free, sealed battery as traditional batteries (those with detachable caps) often need regular electrolyte replenishing (low levels prove damages and eventual death to batteries).
Thus, a sealed, maintenance-free battery is your answer to battery-lifespan. Many new batteries don’t require you to top up owing to its sealant.
A destroyed battery may be a result of it being discharged while in storage so allow for periodic checks on your battery.
TIP: Prior to any work, remove the batteries from the battery cartridge on your bike while ensuring it doesn’t get into contact with your skin (hazardous acid). To prevent corrosion, grease your battery terminals before replacing them.
For a more detailed step-by-step and less acid interaction, click here.
Following the footsteps of its abovementioned electrolyte counterpart, the coolant makes up for the next often neglected check on a motorbike! Merely consuming 30 minutes of your time, checkout the bike’s manual to determine the coolant’s position on your two-wheeled baby. Bear in mind to only perform this check when your engine is absolutely cold!
Tip: Find the drain plug and proceed to remove it for coolant draining purposes.
Next, replace the drain plug before concocting anti-freeze and de-ionised water equally to be filled accordingly – before squeezing the radiator tube (in removing unwanted air).
- Oil & Filter Care
If you’re yet to exercise any care in this area, do consult with an expert and inevitably your manual prior to attempting any fix. Also, take proper care in ensuring suitable oil and filter alike. Adhering to the manufacturer’s schedule of service is key (even more so, if you’re an avid biker exploring rough terrains ever so actively!).
PRO TIP!: Consider premium motorbike synthetic oils to guarantee a magically lubed journey which in turn adds years to your dual-wheeled “sunshine”
So there you have it, basic bike care 101s! And not forgetting, once you’re done seizing all that grease, you really want to cease (unwanted, that is) grease by essentially just washing and keeping “her” whistle-clean before you embark on your next terrain-cruising journey! Ride on!