Maintenance

Right maintenance pays you bonus points. It can save your skin, save you money and save you a long push home. It also shows you take pride in your machine.

Regularly Check Your Tyres

Your tyres are your contact with the road. Lose that and you lose control. For good wet weather grip check the tread depth. It should be at least the depth of a match head so it can shift water from the road and reduce the risk of a lock up. It also protects you from a puncture.

Check your tyre pressure at least once a week. Incorrect tyre pressure seriously affects your steering, braking and handling.

Regularly Check Your Brakes

Your brakes can save you in an emergency. Check the brake fluid, lever free play, cables, linkages, brake lights and pads each week. Weekly checks will ensure you find any faults before they cause a problem on the road.

Check the adjustment of the brake pads by putting the bike on a stand and spinning the wheel. The pads should just skim the disc or the drum when the brake is off. If you find worn cables or pads or the brake fluid needs to be topped up too often, take the bike to a mechanic. And change the brake fluid completely at least once a year because it absorbs moisture and reduces the effectiveness of the brakes.

Check and Adjust the Controls

Adjusting the controls of your bike keeps you comfortable and in control.

You don’t need to readjust bars and levers each time but running a spanner over the nuts each month is a good precaution. Check the free play in the clutch lever and oil the cable. Make sure the gear lever is not loose.

Check the Electrics

Sure some road users would still not see you even if you wore a flashing light on your helmet. But you can give them a chance of seeing you by making sure your headlight, tail light and indicators all work properly. Check them each week when you check the battery fluid level.

Check the Chain

Oil your chain each week to prolong its life and avoid corrosion. Refer to your manual for the correct amount of free play your chain should have. Too much free play can cause the chain to jump off the sprocket. With your bike on the main stand choose a point on the chain about halfway between the front and rear sprockets. Move the chain up and down at this point to check if it needs adjustment.

Check Steering and Suspension

Worn steering and suspension can cause you to skid or lose control in an emergency.

To check the front suspension and steering put the bike on its main stand with the front wheel off the ground. Look across the forks and make sure they are parallel with each other. Turn the bars left and right and check for sticking or binding in the steering head bearings. Hold the bottom of the forks and push them back and forward to make sure there is no free play.

Leave the bike on the main stand with the rear wheel off the ground. Hold the swing arm and push it sideways to make sure there is no free play. Hold the shocks and push them back and forward to make sure the bushes are not worn.

If you find any problems with the suspension or steering take the bike to a mechanic.

Clean Your Bike Regularly

Washing your bike makes it look attractive and gives you a chance to look for little problems. Look for loose nuts and bolts, fluid leaks, corrosion, damaged cables and damaged wiring.

Consult your manual for other items you should check regularly. Make a list of weekly, monthly and yearly checks you should make.

Here is a list to start with:

Weekly maintenance Monthly Maintenance Yearly Maintenance
Wash

Tyre pressure

Brake operation

Electrics

  • Headlights
  • Tail light
  • Brake light
  • Indicators
  • Battery fluid levels

Oil chain

Engine and gearbox

Cooling water (if applicable)

Two stroke oil (if applicable)

Chain wear and adjustment

Tyre tread

Brake pads

Brake discs/drums

Brake cable, linkages and levers

Controls and levers

Tighten all nuts

Wheel alignment

Change brake fluid