As riders, and, presumably, motorcycle owners, it’s important that we know our bikes like we know our four-wheeled vehicles, our houses, or any other possessions we want to last. This means taking care of them, of course. And since we’re in the doldrums of August, with fewer people out and about on two wheels in the heat and humidity, now seems the opportune time for getting down and dirty with your ride, especially if you’re new to the experience. With that in mind, here are some suggestions for basic bike maintenance.
Check the brake fluid, too. While you’re changing oil, now’s a good time to also inspect brake fluid levels. Top them up if they’re low.
Pay attention to tires. Check your tire pressure often. A blowout simply is not worth forgoing the few minutes required to apply a gauge and an air compressor nozzle. And please, please be sure to check pressure if you haven’t ridden in a while. Air is sneaky; it can leak without your realizing it and, boom, unnecessary wear on the wheel or, worse, a blown tire. When it comes to changing a tire, that’s not a few-minutes task. Expect this to take several hours, if not more. Timing depends on factors including your level of expertise and the tools you have on hand. Once again, though, changing tires is not part of my expertise. I’ve watched bike tires changed in a garage and it’s a tedious, unlovely process. Consult the web gods, friends who know what they’re doing or your favorite mechanic for more help here.
So there’s a short list for basic bike maintenance. And the basics are crucial. For a longer list, check out the T-CLOCS sheet for a more in-depth review of your motorcycle. For more in-depth service, we recommend seeing your local dealership or qualified mechanic. Tell me your must-dos and, in the meantime, stay safe and have fun.