The three basic tenets to ensure a bike’s longevity are: Store it properly, maintain it well, and use right motoparts!
Developing a motorcycle maintenance checklist can help you avoid costly (and unnecessary) repairs and potential safety issues. It’s also a good idea to become familiar with your bike’s owner’s manual as maintenance requirements can vary between models.
Check these features regularly:
Gas tends to break down as it ages. If you’ve ever smelt a gas can that been sitting for awhile you know what I mean. If my bikes been sitting for a over a month, I will drain the gas and put new fuel in it.
Stay aware of the tread depth and look for unusual wear patterns. Always make sure they’re at the correct pressure; under-inflated tires are prone to blowouts and over-inflated tires wear more quickly. Here’s a quick way to test the wear of your tires: insert a quarter between the grooves of the tire. If the tread doesn’t reach past the top of Washington’s head, it’s probably time for new tires.
Lights are lifesavers in dark conditions so make sure they work. It’s a simple enough check to do before you get out on the road. The same applies to your signals. If they don’t work then you’re in trouble as nobody will know your intentions on the road. Again, check them before you get on the road.
Motorcycles have up to two brake fluid reservoirs, one for the front, usually found on the handlebars and one for the back. Both should be checked regularly. Topping up should only be done from a new, sealed bottle as brake fluid tends to absorb moisture over time. If your brake pads are thin and due for replacement. Beware – brake fluid, if spilt on paintwork eats right through to the bare metal. Also check the thickness of the brake pads. If you allow them to go right down to the metal your brake disc will be damaged resulting in an unnecessary and expensive replacement. Fitting braided steel brake lines will increase the performance of your brakes by roughly 50%
5. Oil Filters
Overlooked maintenance can lead to deterioration, breakdowns – and warranty denial if damage results and you can’t prove required services were performed. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule, or even more often if you ride short trips or in harsh or dusty conditions. Many riders delay oil changes, and some who change their own oil overlook other services on the factory recommended list. Items such as control-cable inspection and lube and clutch-cable adjustment should be done during an oil change. And if you really want to make your bike last, switch to premium motorcycle synthetic oils and fluids, which provide superior lubrication.
Winters can be rough on batteries. I know some people who take theirs out during the winter and store it in a warmer place. I also know people who keep it on a battery charger all winter. I don’t know what works best, but I do know that a battery that has sat for awhile might not have all of the kick it really needs. Before you go out for the first time, give the battery a good check. Look for leaks or anything that looks unusal. If you’ve got a battery charger, give it a good charge before you go out. It might just help keep you on the road.
7. Chain & Sprockets
Use a commercial spray to lubricate the chain liberally and often, especially if you’re riding your bike every day. Dryness causes friction that can lead to poor performance or, worse yet, a chain that breaks while you’re riding.
Your horn can save your life but it’s a motopart of your bike that you might not use for long periods of time.
In closing, take care of your bike and it will take care of you. I have one motorcycle that’s 45 years old, and it still runs like new – and yours can too!