Motorcycle Servicing For Beginners

Riding a bike is what we live for, but while it’s fun to ride your bike you can’t if it breaks down. To avoid this it’s important to understand the basics of motorcycle servicing and maintenance to ensure that your bike stays in good condition.

Are you afraid you might mess your bike up or take something apart and not know where it goes? Don’t worry! You don’t need to be a qualified mechanic to perform some routine maintenance.

Continue reading for our top 10 motorcycle servicing tips for beginners.

1. Read the Owner’s Manual

Yes, we are serious here! Before you start servicing your motorcycle, make sure you understand what is required, the manual is a great place to start because it’s geared for owners of bikes and not veteran mechanics. The owner’s manual is a great resource that provides information on the recommended maintenance schedule and the procedures required to keep your motorcycle in good condition.

If you are new to the world of motorcycles, the manual is a great place to start as you can get familiar with all areas of your bike, from what to look and listen for in the event of a problem, to how and where to top up fluids and how to change certain aspects of the bike, for example brake pads. You can check the diagrams in the manual to the real thing to really solidify your knowledge and give you confidence when it comes to maintaining your bike.

2. Regular Oil Changes

Regular oil changes are one of the most important maintenance tasks you can do for your motorcycle. As it’s the main source of lubrication for the engine you need to stay on top of it. You wouldn’t go a day without drinking anything, your bike is the same! Oil is prone to heat and scaling that over time affects its durability and performance. Old oil can become contaminated with metal particles and can cause damage to your engine, so make sure to change your oil at the recommended intervals to make sure your bike functions at its best.

3. Check Tyres and Tyre Pressure 

Regularly checking both the tyres themselves and the tyre pressure is important for your safety and the longevity of your tyres. Checking the tread and the general condition of the tyres is vitally important for safety but also for the correct running and performance of your bike. Check for overall wear and damage to the side wall and make sure there’s no protruding objects or parts of the tyre. Tyres that are under-inflated can wear out faster and are also more likely to suffer a blowout. Use a reliable tyre pressure gauge to check the pressure of your tyres and adjust it as needed.

4. Check Chain

Moving parts degrade over time, this is one of those things which can’t be avoided. Your bikes chain will get loose over time with continued use, if left and not maintained it could fall off the sprocket which could then tangle with the back wheel and jam it which could be an expensive fix or worse could put you on the floor! On the other hand, a chain which is too tight will stress the part, meaning it could snap and damage other parts on your bike. 

Consideration is to be made when attempting to carry a heavy load. Riding a pillion with another rider or heavy load will place increased stress on the chain. If you know you’re going to be carrying a heavy load, check the tension of the chain and adjust accordingly via the rear wheel nuts and adjustment screws.

To check and maintain it, place a finger under the lowest part of the chain and lift it up. There should be 1.5 to 2 inches of play here, not too tight or too slack. If in doubt check your manual!

5. Clean Your Bike

Keeping your motorcycle clean is an important part of maintenance. Dirt and grime can easily build up, especially if you’re using the bike daily. This can cause corrosion and other problems over time, which could lead to an expensive fix! So it’s important to clean your motorcycle regularly and to do it properly.

6. Lubrication and Check for Leaks

Lubrication is important to keep your motorcycle running smoothly. The engine, clutch, brakes, cooling system and steering all require a certain liquid to operate effectively. Make sure to stay on top of this and check the levels of these on a regular basis to reduce friction and wear. Each area has a reservoir to store or add the respective liquids. Your owner’s manual will show you the location, the fluid required and how much to put in. It couldn’t be easier!

When adding fluids to your bike, regularly check for leaks in the fuel, oil, and coolant systems. A leak in any of these systems can cause damage to your motorcycle and may also be dangerous. If you notice a leak, take your motorcycle to a mechanic for repairs as soon as possible.

7. Check Brakes 

Regularly checking your brakes is important for your safety. As mentioned above, make sure to check the brake fluid levels but you also need to check the brake pads to ensure that your brakes are working properly, and you can stop safely and effectively. 

Check for the thickness of the pads. This component, among a few other parts is what’s used to slow the bike down by gripping/clamping the brake disc within the wheel when the brake lever is pressed. Continued use will wear this part, and depending how heavy a braker you are will determine how long the pads last! 

It can be quite tricky to replace these parts yourself depending on the bike you have and the space available to perform maintenance, but checking them is simple. Pads which need changing look worn and thin, healthy pads are much thicker.

If you are struggling for space, you might benefit from a motorcycle lift, these can be a cost effective and useful bit of kit to help you with bike maintenance. 

8. Check Air Filters

Checking and replacing the air filter is an important part of bike maintenance. Air filters trap dust, dirt and foreign objects which can hamper the performance of your bike. Changing it at the service intervals ensures smooth airflow which in turn improves your bikes performance. Unlike certain jobs, changing the air filter is relatively easy to do for even beginners, but consult your owner’s manual before taking apart your bike.

Once you remove the filter either replace it with a new one or if you have a reusable filter, wash it in kerosene and dry it, then place it back in the bike after covering it in a light coating of engine oil. This can help dust and dirt stick to the oil rather than pass through the filter. 

9. Battery Maintenance 

The battery is an essential component of your motorcycle, and it’s important to keep it in good condition as it’s used to help start the bike. If you’ve kept your bike in storage over winter, you may hear the dreaded click of the bike trying to start but the battery has no charge. You can find your bike’s battery in the owner’s manual but it is usually tucked away under the seat in a box. 

It is important to check your bike’s battery even if you use your bike every day, continuous vibrations from riding can loosen the terminal connections which can inhibit the flow of electrical charge. 

To maintain it, keep it clean, dry and the terminals tight. If you are planning to store your bike for a considerable period, make sure to remove it from the bike and charge it regularly to prevent sulfation. If your battery won’t start your bike there is a chance to save it but you may be looking at getting a new one.

10. Store Your Bike Properly and Keep It Covered

Proper storage is important to protect your motorcycle from damage and to extend its lifespan. Make sure to store your motorcycle in a dry, clean, and well-ventilated area to prevent rust and other issues. When you’re not riding your motorcycle, make sure to keep it covered to protect it from the elements. A motorcycle cover will help keep dust, rain, and other debris off your bike and help to prevent rust and other damage.

To sum up, following these 10 motorcycle servicing tips will help ensure that your bike stays in good condition so you can continue riding your pride and joy. Regular maintenance and attention to detail are an essential evil with bike ownership. It will keep your bike running smoothly and extend its lifespan.

By following these tips if you ever break down you’ll be grabbing your tool bag instead of your phone to fix the issue.

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