Friday, 24 June 2011 9:08 AM
If you love nothing more than heading out on the open road on your motorbike, then you will want to make sure that you look after your pride and joy so it is always ready to go for a ride.
But what exactly can you do to keep motorcycles in top condition?
There are some basic checks that you should carry out on a daily basis – or before you climb into the saddle to take your bike for a spin.
Firstly, have a look around your motorcycle to ensure there are no damp patches or stains on the ground that could indicate that you have a leak. Next, check the transmission oil level and, if necessary, top it up.
You should also take the time to look at the coolant and, again, add more fluid if it is looking a bit low.
Measure your tyre pressure regularly and adjust it as necessary; this will give your tyres a longer life, as well as helping prevent damage to the suspension.
Brakes are a vital part of the machinery and you should always make sure that these are in good working order – remember that you should not have to fully pull back the lever or completely push down the foot pedal to engage your brakes.
If you are considering buying used motorcycles, the brakes should be high on your list of things to look over before making a purchase.
You may also want to inspect the drive chain to ensure it is properly lubricated and is not too loose.
It also never hurts to take a clean cloth and wipe any dust and dirt off of your motorcycle and it's advisable to give your wheels a full polish every couple of months if it is ridden regularly – or certainly after any period of frequent use.
Full motorcycle servicing should be carried out every year and you may find that this is best done by a professional with experience in maintaining bikes.
A full oil change is a must, as well as replacing the oil filter. Drive chain and clutch adjustment will be taken care of in this service too to make sure your bike is operating at its optimum level.
Assessing the wear on the brake pads is another important aspect of a motorcycle service and these can be replaced if needed.
Unlike a car, where many of the components are sheltered from the elements, bikes take the full force of the weather, so you will need to spend the time to oil and lubricate all the levers, pivots and cables on the motorcycle.
Many riders in the UK will store their bike during the winter months – in which case there are a few things you should do before tucking your pride and joy away safely.
Firstly, you need to make sure that you have a dry place to store it in, as well as one that is out of direct sunlight to prevent the paint from fading. It is also important to invest in a proper bike cover rather than relying on a sheet or tarpaulin, because the latter two can trap moisture next to the machine, causing it to rust.
The battery will need to be removed if you are storing your bike for any length of time and you will have to charge the battery every two weeks to keep it ticking over.
You should also add fuel stabiliser to your tank to prevent the contents from going stale over the winter and to stop moisture building up.