High speeds, the open road, adrenaline coursing through your veins – motorcycles are associated with a romantic and edgy experience. It’s not surprising, then, that we often forget about all the boring stuff like maintenance check-ups, scheduled oil changes, and other nuts-and-bolts upkeep concerns. Taking good care of your hog ensures high performance and maximum fun on the road. If you’re planning to buy a bike, get familiar with the following maintenance tips now to extend the life of any new or used motorcycles you own.
1. Regular Oil Changes
Scheduling regular oil changes for your bike is the best way to extend your engine’s life. Your motorcycle’s engine is a complex device, full of many moving parts that need to be lubricated to function with precision. How often does your machine need an oil change? Every bike is different, so refer to your owner’s manual to determine how many miles you should ride in between changes. In addition, types and brands of oil are a point of debate among bikers. However, your manual is, again, the best place to learn what kind of oil to use.
2. Cleaning the Air Filter
Each motorcycle has an air filter that forms a line of defense between the engine and particles in the air. Normal riding will take you flying through dust, dirt, and other debris. This means your filter catches a lot of gunk and grime, no matter where you go. A clogged filter cuts off the airflow to your engine’s cylinders and can allow debris to sneak in. The solution? Clean your filter as often as possible. Your service manual will recommend periodical cleaning, but take this suggestion as a bare minimum. If you ride in especially dusty or dirty environs, clean the filter very frequently.
3. Keep Those Tires Full of Air
Many riders don’t realize that low tire pressure can detract from their riding experience and pose serious dangers on the road. Low pressure is detrimental to fuel efficiency and handling. It’s also rough on your tires, causing them to wear down more quickly. Be vigilant, learn the proper air pressure range for your tires, and fill them up every week or two. The rest of your bike will thank you for it.
4. Caring for the Drivetrain
A bike’s drivetrain consists of the chain, belt, or shaft that moves the rear wheel. This is a major part of the vehicle’s mechanical make-up, so you need to check it carefully and often for chain stretching, sprocket wear, or belt cracking. You also need to maintain the right level of oil in the bike’s shaft housing to keep these parts running smoothly. The drivetrain can be tough to fix in both new and used motorcycles, so watch it closely and give it what it needs, when it needs it.
Whether you’re working with new or used motorcycles, careful maintenance will be a big part of your riding experience. The basic tips above should get you started in keeping your machine on the road for a long time.