June 18, 2008 at 8:42 pm #1543AnonymousGuest
can anyone tell me basic motorcycle maintenance?June 19, 2008 at 6:47 am #7497RabParticipant
This is not gospel, it’s just what I do (I ride a minimum of 300 miles a week).
Check the tires every riding day for nails, glass, cuts, bulges, etc. Check that the tire pressure is as it should be and that the tires have not worn beyond their acceptable limits. I have to adjust the tire pressures a little every two or three days. You should only measure tire pressures when the tires are cold (i.e. when the bike has not been ridden in the last hour or two).
Check the oil level every riding day (or before every ride). Check all your lights and brakes before every ride and after filling up with gas.
Clean and lubricate your chain every 200-300 miles (usually about once a week for me) and also lubricate after riding in the rain or any time it does not feel tacky to the touch. You might get away with cleaning every other time you lube it (depends on how dirty it is and how much you ride). When cleaning/lubing the chain, check the chain tension and adjust if necessary.
Keep the bike clean as far as possible for in the act of cleaning it, you might come across loose bolts, loose or broken spokes, etc.
Every now and again, specifically check that all bolts are tight (not by snicking them up a little tighter though, ‘coz eventually you’ll strip them doing that). Lube the cables occasionally, check hydraulic levels (clutch and brake) and brake pads (linings) now and then too.
That’s the routine stuff, other than that a bike needs serviced every 3000-6000 miles (depending on the bike); you should have this done by the dealer unless you’re confident of what you’re doing.
Read your bike’s handbook where this should all be outlined. Failing that, there are a few books on the market that go into it in a general way.
I suggest reading the “Complete Idiot’s Guide to Motorcycles” which is a great primer on all things motorcycyle and includes basic servicing.June 19, 2008 at 11:16 pm #7537bam37Participant
im new to taking care of my bike. I had a dirt bike before, but my grandfather took care of it because ut was always at his house. How to clean and lubricate the chain? how do i clean it? do i need to lubricate the chain everytime i clean it? how do i clean it? what kind of soap should i use on the bike itself? what type of brush?
I really want to take care of my bike. I want to keep in in tip top shape. Any help is greatly appreciated.
(i’ll prolly end up buying that complete idiot’s guide)June 20, 2008 at 8:29 pm #7569RabParticipant
Q: How do i clean it?
A: You buy an aerosol chain cleaner from your local motorcycle dealer or motorcycle gear shop (or mail order). Make sure it says that it’s safe for O-Ring chains. Some people use kerosene, but I don’t know if that will damage O-Rings or not. Don’t use WD-40 as some people advise, as it’s believed to rot the O-rings in the chain. Also buy a “Grunge Brush” (that’s what it’s called).
First ride the bike for at least 15 minutes to heat the chain up (takes the lubricant better).
Ideally, you will raise the back wheel off the ground to facilitate turning it (bike center stand or external wheel lift). You can also buy something called a Rollastand which is a pair of rollers you can put under the wheel (then rest the bike on the side-stand). Failing that, you could roll the bike forward a little at a time while cleaning or lubricating (a major pain and probably dangerous). Next, put the two halves of an old Pizza Box (or similar) under the chain area (to catch the drips or over-spray).
To clean (assuming you’ve raised the back wheel off the ground), you slowly rotate the back wheel with your gloved left hand while spraying the chain cleaner onto the chain with your right. You want to be spraying where you can easily get to the inside of the chain loop without spraying the back tire; probably mid-way between the front and rear sprockets (the sprockets are the toothed cog-wheels that the chain runs on). About 3 rotations or so is probably about right to cover the entire chain. Next, you use your grunge-brush on the chain at the rear sprocket (which is part of the back wheel) while slowly rotating the wheel. This will clean the outside of the chain. Next, use your grunge-brush where you were previously spraying to clean the inside of the chain loop. After brushing, spray more cleaner on to wash the “grunge” off the chain. You may need to repeat the whole process depending on how dirty the chain is, but usually, once on the outside loop for 3 wheel rotations and once on the inside loop for 3 wheel rotations will do it. The grunge-brush cleans the sides of the chain automatically if you’ve adjusted it to the correct chain width. When completed, clean the chain with a rag to get rid of any excess cleaner.
To Lubricate the chain, you need a spray chain lubricant (which is not the same as the chain cleaner). It’s a similar process (without the brushing) and there will be instructions on your can of (again, O-Ring safe) chain lubricant.
Q: Do i need to lubricate the chain everytime i clean it?
A: If you clean the chain, you must lubricate it immediately after cleaning it.
Q: how do i clean it? what kind of soap should i use on the bike itself? what type of brush?
A: To clean the bike in general (which you should do before cleaning/lubing the chain), you use car-wash liquid soap and water, and wash it with a sponge or cloth just like a car. You can hose it down with a garden hose to rinse. Be careful around the electrics though. You should follow that up by drying it with a chamois leather and/or cloth. Once dry, run the engine for 5 minutes or so to evaporate all the water from the recesses of the engine. You can follow that up with polish. I use one of the automotive “once a year” polishes, which I’ve found, continue to bead rain for about 6 months on the east coast and a year or more on the west.
Buy the book or see if they have one at your local library (or eBay etc). It’s a great resource for everything motorcycle.
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