It is easy and cheap to keep your bike in impeccable shape at home. With a decent set of tools and application of basic skills, visits to your mechanic will be reduced and more importantly, your safety will be assured on the road.
Motorcycle maintenance should be more frequent than a vehicle’s; their parts come loose faster due to the many moving components. Though you can always take your ride to the dealer for check-ups, some are just not worth your while and will extort you at every turn.
Just as investors live by, “no one takes better care of your resources than you do”, no one will take better care of your motorbike other than you.
Recommended Materials, Tools and Equipment
Socket and wrench set
This is the most used tool as you fasten and undo bolts. Most sets come with a deep and a short set of sockets for reaching deep-seated bolts and those in constricted spaces respectively. Using them is straightforward. Hex driver bits should come along with this set too.
Oil filter wrench
Though a specialty tool, it is worth the bucks. Cheap, plastic oil filter wrenches don’t work all the time, sometimes damaging the oil filter or breaking apart. The metal oil filters are no better; they might slice your filter in half. This wrench is essentially a strap, holding tightly onto the filter’s base.
Without this, you will be unable to accomplish 90% of the maintenance. When the motorbike is hoisted, everything else is much easier. Some bikes conveniently come with center stands though the rear stands are the best to work with. For lifting the entire bike, use the motorcycle floor jacks.
If you were to follow the bike manufacturers’ specifications to the letter, you will need to use a torque wrench for fastening the most important bolts. This fastens them to the specified foot lbs of torque. As the needle moves, it shows the torque being applied.
When choosing a chain lube, settle for the spray lubes that provide dry white lubrication. Other lubes easily gather dirt and grime while on the road, making for a dirty mess and wearing off fast. Though you won’t have to clean your chain as often, it is still important for motorcycle maintenance.
Although most gas stations provide you with electric air pumps, it pays to have your own. Though the old bicycle pump requires a bit more work, it is perfectly capable of filling deflated tires. To go along with the manual pumps, you will also need a tire pressure gauge; it comes in handy when optimizing your motorbike’s performance.
Oil drain pan
A 4-inch high oil drain pan is ideal not only for collecting old oil during change but also storing it. A typical motorcycle stores around 3 quarts of oil while an average pan stores 5. Though it is not absolutely necessary, it makes your maintenance work easier.
Heavy duty nitrile gloves
You might either settle for cotton or leather gloves but nitrile gloves are cheap and work just as well. They are disposable after use and keep your hands clean from oil, dirt and the chain lube. The heavy duty gloves are tough and keep off grime that would otherwise stick underneath your nail for days.
All these tools need to be stored away in a lockable tool chest; this way, you won’t have to pop your brains out every time you misplace a tool.
Common maintenance tasks
Throttle cable adjustment
When the throttle valves aren’t properly opened, you won’t get the maximum power out of your engine. It is recommended to make only minor adjustments on both ends of the pulley and twistgrip.
Removing and refitting the fairing carelessly results in misaligned ram-air intake tubes. The leaks introduced effect an air intake pressure loss and increase chances of dirt and grime accumulating in the cozy conduits.
The modern spark plugs are of impeccable quality and require replacement after approximately 12,000 miles. Even with this dealer recommendation, check them regularly to avoid misfires and ultimate power cut-off.
When the rubber meets the road, it best have a firm grip and recommended air pressure. Under inflated tires consume too much power while over inflated ones are disasters in waiting. It is an ideal way to avoid accidents while optimizing performance and fuel consumption.
Sprockets and chains
Missing sprocket teeth and rusty chains can break apart at any time and potentially cause accidents. They are also extremely uncomfortable for rides and hamper the bike’s performance. When not fixed, the motorcycle’s other parts experience damage too.