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Guide to the Parts of a Motorcycle and When to Replace

There’s nothing like the freedom of riding your motorcycle through long winding roads. Your bike is more than a vehicle; it’s like an old friend and travel companion.

If you want to keep your bike running smoothly, proper maintenance could save your life.

You may not be a mechanic, but being familiar with the important parts of your motorcycle is key to taking care of it, especially when it comes to certain parts that need to be replaced and tuned up often.

In this guide, discover the main parts of a motorcycle and when you should replace them. Read on to learn more about the importance of your bike’s maintenance!

1. Tyres

You rely on your tyres for safety, so don’t cut corners when it comes to checking them each time you ride.¬†Always check the air pressure in your tyres. You don’t want them to be over- or under-inflated. This will cause the tyres to wear down faster than normal.

If the tread depth goes below two millimetres, then it’s time for new tyres. Other signs that you need to swap out your tyres are things like cracks, breaks, and punctures.

While you are riding, try not to brake or corner too hard. This will result in uneven wear on your tires. Generally, the front tire on a sports bike will last you close to 6,000 kilometres. The rear lasts even less at close to 3,000 kilometres before having to change them.

It all depends on how well you care for them, keep them at the right inflation, and how hard you ride them. Some may last for more or less.

2. Brake Pads

Another large part of staying safe on the road is having reliable brake pads. You should check these regularly as well. You may have one of two types depending on the size of your bike: drum or disc. If your brake pads fall below two millimetres, it’s time to replace them. 

If you are riding your motorcycle with worn-down brake pads, it’s not only dangerous but will also affect other aspects of your bike. This includes damage to your brake discs, which will result in a much larger expense.

You should also keep track of your brake fluid. There are brake fluid reservoirs at the front and back of your bike. So check to be sure the levels are correct.

3. Spark Plugs

You can tell when your motorcycle’s spark plugs are getting old because they will start to show corrosion on the centre wires as well as wide gaps. A ground electrode will also mean you should get your spark plugs replaced right away.

Keep an eye on your spark plugs. They typically need to be replaced around every 16,000 kilometres but may erode sooner.

4. Drive Chain, Belt & Shaft

There are three different kinds of final drive: chain, belt & shaft. Each comes with its own pros and cons as well as maintenance, but a chain requires the most.

When it comes to your drive chain, keep it well lubricated and clean. Typically you will need to lubricate your chain every 600-1000 You also want to make sure it never gets too tight.

About two and a half to four centimetres of slack between the two sprockets is enough. Too much slack can also be a problem. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s settings since not all bikes are the same.

Shaft drives don’t require nearly as much maintenance, but you should make sure to check your oil regularly. Be sure to check the type and exact amount of oil needed for your bike in the owner’s manual. Shafts are low maintenance and typically last around 120,000 kilometres before being replaced.

It can vary depending on the vehicle, so don’t rely on mileage as the only determining factor.

A belt is also considered relatively low maintenance in comparison to a chain and can last as much as 160,000 kilometres. You should check your belt for cracks or wear regularly by rotating the rear wheel and checking around the inner and outer surfaces.

5. Oil

Take care of your bike and extend its lifespan by staying up-to-date on your oil maintenance. Stay on top of checking the oil level as well as replacing the oil and oil filters regularly. Your oil should be changed every 900-1600 kilometres.

Perform oil maintenance when the engine is cool, and your bike has been sitting for a while. Don’t overfill your oil tank. This could cause the air cleaner to fill with oil on some bikes. 

6. Battery

Your bike’s battery probably has about a two-year-long lifespan. You will need to replace it if you notice the start-up becoming difficult.

On a more regular basis, you should have your electrolyte level, and wiring connections checked often. Checking your battery once a month is reasonable. It doesn’t need quite as much attention as other parts, but still shouldn’t be neglected!

7. Fork Oil

Another critical component to your bike running smoothly is the fork oil located in the forks. This is the part of the bike that connects the mainframe to the front wheel and axel.

The forks are used while the bike is in motion and consists of two sealed tubes. They protect the bike from potholes and bumps in the road.

The fork oil keeps the bike lubricated while it is moving. If you see fork oil leaking out of the tubes, you should have them replaced immediately. Otherwise, your fork oil will be replaced during your bike’s annual check-up.

Go For the Upgrade

Generally, the parts mentioned previously are the main areas you need to check. However, if you’re wondering if you should spend additional money on certain upgrades, there are a few that we think are worth it. 

Take Cover

We recommend investing in a quality cover to protect your bike from the elements. This will make sure it is not exposed to harsh wind and rain that can damage your bike and decrease its lifespan. 

Safety Lighting

You can never be too safe when riding your motorcycle, especially at night. The number one cause for multiple vehicle accidents for motorcyclists is motorists not seeing them. If you plan to do night riding, then its worth adding extra auxiliary lighting.

Try LED bulbs which are much brighter. They also have a longer lifespan, use less energy, and are lower cost than halogen bulbs.

You can add some fog lights to see better or light bars and additional accent lighting for better visibility from other drivers. Just be sure to make sure your bike can handle the extra load.

Stay Cool

You might be interested in upgrading to a fan assisted oil cooler or cooling system.  This will help to maintain the oil temperature in your engine. If you ride in very hot conditions, this will help to protect your engine.

Oil breaks down faster at high temperatures. This type of system can extend the life of your oil. 

Parts of a Motorcycle: Be in the Know

Now that you are familiar with the different parts of a motorcycle, take a look at your bike and see what you find. It’s good to check the condition of your bike often. Not just to prolong the lifespan of your bike and its condition but also for safety reasons. 

Want to learn more about motorcycle parts? Check out our site for the latest updates!