AMERICAN MOTORCYCLIST January 2020
Nine Tips to Make Your Bike Run Longer
Proper Maintenance Required
Bad stuff can happen to your motorcycle. Parts break. Electrical circuits short. Batteries die.
But you hold the power to prevent or delay most of those bad things. Here are nine ways to help your bike last longer.
1. Follow the recommendations in your owner’s manual. As hard as it may be to admit, the manufacturer probably knows more about your motorcycle than you do. If you plan to tackle more sophisticated maintenance, purchase a service manual.
2. Break it in properly. The first few hundred miles you put on a new bike are the most critical for its long-term reliability. Follow the break-in guidelines provided by the manufacturer.
3. Change the oil. Follow the recommended schedule in the owner’s manual. If you ride in dusty or dirty environments, change the oil more often.
4. Clean the air filter. Or get a new one. A clogged air filter stifles your engine, depriving it of the oxygen needed for efficient combustion.
5. Air up. Running the wrong air pressure in your tires can negatively affect fuel mileage and handling.
6. Grease the bearings. While sealed bearings on modern bikes are relatively maintenance free, exposed areas—such as suspension linkages—need routine care.
7. Watch the drivetrain. Depending on the type of final drive you have, keep an eye on chain stretch, belt cracking or the oil level in the shaft housing.
8. Charge it. The life of your motorcycle’s battery can be extended by ensuring that it is charged when the bike is parked or stored. If applicable, regularly check the electrolyte in the cells.
9. Pre-ride check. Establish a routine for checking your bike before each ride, including the motor oil level, tire pressure, fuel and brake fluid levels and lines, bolt tightness and electrical switches and controls.