You may have a beautiful motorcycle, and you probably want to keep it looking ? and running ? its best. The best way to keep your motorbike in top condition is with regular maintenance checks and servicing. Now that it is spring , the clocks have gone forwards and the weather is hopefully improving, it is a great time to give your bike a check over
Why should you service your bike?
It will give you great peace of mind when riding your motorcycle because you definitely do not want something breaking off, coming loose or springing a leak when you are travelling at speed. It will extend the life of your motorcycle, and keeping the oil regularly changed and everything in good condition will make sure it?s performing to its full potential, every time you take to the road.
Does a motorcycle service have to be done by an expert?
Safety is paramount when it comes to motorcycling and from a safety perspective a regular service schedule, staggered with your MOT, should make sure that experts are looking at your bike every six months or so.
There are different levels of a service your bike may need. Every service will include vital maintenance like inspection of bulbs, clutch play, bearings, spark plugs, general nuts and bolts, suspension, exhaust, a change of oil and filters, as well as a look at coolant and brake or clutch fluid (where necessary).
As well as having professionals look over your wheels every six months or so, make sure to complete regular inspections yourself of things like the tyres, levers, pedals and fairings or mudguards.
Basic checks and inspections that you can carry out yourself
A simple visual check of your bike can reveal issues that require attention ? before they turn into real problems.
Washing your motorcycle is a great way to start your inspection. As you clean each part, you?ll notice any looseness or wear, and then you can take the opportunity to replace a part or tighten up the fasteners.
Removing grime will make it easy to spot the source of any leaks and do something to fix the problem before it becomes a crisis.
MPS stocks a wide selection of motorcycle cleaning products, everything you would require from general cleaners to brushes, scratch removers and metal polish.
With upwards of 250kg of bike and rider combined just a few millimeters of rubber separates that weight from the road.
The bike manual will tell you the correct pressure for front and rear tires and you can check this with a tire pressure gauge like the Motopressor Tyre Pump and Pressure Gauge Kit.
Check the tread and general condition making sure there?s no damage to the walls, any protruding objects or patches of wear. Examine the rubber for dry rot, cracks, or excessive hardening from oxidation.
If your tire has wear indicators, it should be easy to spot if it?s time for replacement when the wear bar becomes flush with the surface of the tire. If you?re not sure, check remaining tread depth at the area of the tire that has seen the most wear (almost always the centre). UK law currently states a minimum tread of 1mm across 75% of the tread area and visible tread on the remaining 25%.
A very loose chain may slip off the sprockets, become tangled and lock out the back wheel.
A very tight chain is less directly dangerous but with prolonged stress, it could wear and damage parts.
Place two fingers under the lowest part of the chain and attempt to lift it. Typically 1.5 inches of play is about right but check your manual.
Heavy loads, riders and pillions will increase the tension so check again if these circumstances prevail.
Adjustments can be made by the rear wheel nuts and adjustment screws.
A dry or rusty chain is a risk to safe handling. Mps stocks a range of drive chain cleaning kits and lubricants for road bikes and also for off road use, as well as replacement chains, belts and sprockets.
Put your bike up on the main stand and raise the rear wheel while spinning it slowly. Apply a good coating of chain lubricating oil suitable for your bike.
A good time to do this is after your ride or in the evening allowing the oil to soak into the chain overnight.
If you prefer a more hands off approach, have a look at motorcycle chain oilers like the Scottoiler V System , Micro V System or dual injector chain lubrication kit
Cables & Lighting
Cables and leads are found all over your bike. A simple visual inspection will expose any loose or damaged cables.
They should be secure and streamlined not detached or flailing where they can get caught.
Worn cables and termination points will lead to a sudden failure of breaks, clutch, or lighting components. They should be replaced immediately.
Lights are easy enough to check by starting the ignition and turning the switches of each light in turn. Brake lights, indicators, headlamps and beams are all powered by individual bulbs.
Also, check the correct height of your headlamp?s coverage area to ensure you?re not dazzling the car in front and that you can see far enough ahead at night.
Your manual will show you where on your headlight you can find the adjustment screw.
Usually tucked away in a protective box, shielded from the rain and dirt, is the battery.
Modern motorcycle batteries require little maintenance but through continuous vibration and use its possible the terminal connections can work loose or accumulate dirt, blocking the smooth flow of electrical charge.
The terminal connection points should be clean and the screws tight.
A dead battery can be re-charged but a poorly charging battery that continuously runs low may need replacing. MPS stocks a full range of replacement motorcycle batteries as well as Battery chargers and accessories.
Aside from the brake fluid levels, you should also check the thickness of your brake pads. These are the components that grip or clamp your brake disc and actually make you bike slow down and stop.
Needless to say, continuous use will apply huge pressure and ultimately wear them down.
You may not fancy replacing them yourself but checking them should be easy enough.
The pads come in sets of two. Worn pads look thin and well-used. Healthy pads are much thicker.
MPS has a full range of braking system parts and accessories , cables and repair kits , brake and clutch fluid , brake pads from top manufacturers like EBC
Nuts and bolts
All over your bike are areas of potential looseness.
With your bike up on the central stand spend a few minutes checking wheel nuts, clutch and throttle cables, handlebars, side panels, luggage racks, wing mirrors, mudguards and anything that might work free over time.
A few minutes spent on checking for potential problems might save you hours fixing a disaster that costs time , money or worse.
MPS has a huge range of motorcycle fasteners and accessories, and tools, nuts and bolts, well nuts and washers, fairing panel rivets, Dzus clips, OEM push drive rivets ,frame plugs, battery terminals.
The engine, clutch, brakes, cooling system and steering all require liquid to either lubricate or provide pressure.
Each has a reservoir or storage area where you can check levels.
Your manual will show you the location of these areas, the correct fluid or oil to use and how to safely check and top them up.
Steering fluid or fork oil is best left to the garage as it involves the removal and replacement of several rings and parts.
Always ensure the bike is on the central stand and kept level when checking fluids and oils. This will give an even reading.
There?ll come a time where it would be unwise or even unsafe to attempt certain jobs yourself. In that case you should try and find a local reliable mechanic, garage or workshop .
Mechanics are methodical with their work, removing and replacing items in the correct order and the right way around.
Engine stripping and major work have many considerations often outside the comprehension of the untrained.
Anything can be learnt and if you develop a liking for in-depth motorcycle mechanics then take a course or an apprenticeship.