All new motorbike riders should start learning about bikes. Specifically about their own bike. One of the best ways to do this is to start maintaining your motorcycle. You might be thinking that you know nothing about mechanics so should leave this to the professionals.
You don’t have to be a great mechanic to look after your own bike. You just need some practical skills. At the very minimum, you should know enough to make sure your bike is safe to ride before you take it out. Then you should start learning how to take care of your bike. By doing this, you will also learn a lot about your bike. By inspecting it regularly, you will be able to spot when something goes wrong. But you should always leave the big stuff to the professionals.
If you have made the decision to start maintaining your own bike, you may be wondering where to start. You can find a lot about bike maintenance here on Bikers Basics along with good tools and equipment to buy. Read their tips on doing your own bike maintenance too, and the tools you may need.
Yes, you need some tools. No, you don’t need all of them. Remember that you are not equipping a professional workshop. You are going to be doing some bike maintenance. So the first thing you need to do is to think about what jobs you will be capable of doing. Then buy the tools you need to do those jobs. You are going to be looking after bikes for many years. So buy good quality tools. You don’t want to keep buying tools so buy ones that will last at the beginning. Think of your tools as an investment.
Once you have bought your tools, you should always look after them. Many people make the mistake of looking after their bike but treating their tools carelessly. Your tools are as much of an investment as your bike is and should be treated as such. Always clean your tools after use. Keep them in their correct place. Don’t use the wrong tool for the job. If you buy good tools and take care of them, they really will last you a lifetime.
This may not sound like it has much to do with maintaining your bike, but keeping it clean is your first step. Always clean your bike before and after long trips. You need to remove any substances that will harden or corrode. Plus, by cleaning your bike, you are getting to know your bike. You will soon learn to notice if there is anything wrong or out of place. It is a great first step.
Whilst cleaning your bike, check things like your mirrors and any top boxes or panniers. They need to be secured and not rubbing your bike.
Try and get hold of a workshop manual for your bike. Not only will this give you pictures and detail the tasks you need to do, but it should also list the tools you need.
If you inspect nothing else, you should always inspect your tyres. Inspect your tyres for their overall condition including wear and cracks, the tread depth and the tyre pressure. Inspect the chain to ensure it is properly tensioned and adjusted and lubricated too.
First check that your lights and horn are working properly. Check your cables and adjust them if required. You should routinely check your battery and the terminals too. Check your spark plugs at least once a year.
You need to check your oil regularly. Depending how often you ride your bike, this could be every couple of weeks or monthly. You will need to change or top up your oilwhen required. Check other fluids such as coolant and brake fluid too. If these need topping up regularly this may indicate a problem.
Don’t skip your bikes regular services, but just learn to do some general bike maintenance. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most experienced riders are willing to give you some help and guidance. Ask at your local workshop. Even consider taking a bike maintenance course. You may not use everything you learn, but it will give you a good grounding on the basics.