Basic Motorcycle Maintenance
If you are new into motorcycles and you have never owned one before then performing basic maintenance on your machine may seem a little daunting. Most rookies are happy just to take their motorcycle to the dealership they bought it from, but some maintenance may be needed before service checks and should be performed as and when they are needed. In this blog we look at some tips laid down by the MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) to keep your bike in tip top condition and to keep you and your machine safe.
TCLOCS is an acronym that the MSF has issued to guide motorcycle owners about how to look after their machines.
- T – Tires and Wheels
- C – Controls
- L – Lights & Electrics
- – Oil
- C – Chassis
- S – Stands
Using the above will remind you of what to check and how to record the data you have gained, what you have done, and when to do it again.
Being stuck in some remote place with a flat tire is nobody’s idea of fun, to inspect your tires properly it is better when they are cold as the pressure will increase with heat.
- Check pressure to the right PSI
- Check for visible cracks, cuts in sidewalls, bulges or small punctures
- Check tread, look for wear or bald spots
- Check spokes for damage
- Make sure valve is fully working and not damaged in any way
Although not on the check list, it is important you check the brakes and that they are not squeaking, make sure front and back tires have pads that are complete and look for a safety line on them. As a rule of thumb, if a pad is showing material, then change them. You will also need to check the brake fluid levels, normally there is a viewpoint in the master cylinder. Always ensure you use the same type of fluid, never mix types. If your brake lever pressure does not feel normal then the brakes may need bleeding.
If your machine is belt, chain or shaft you will need to check your drive system regularly.
- Belt – Belt systems are notoriously reliable if looked after, check for frayed edges, missing teeth or cracks
- Chain – chains do wear out, so attention is needed to them. Check the chain for slackness or if it looks slack. Look at the sprockets if the teeth are cupped, dulled down or have become hooked.
- Shaft – Probably look for expert advice from a technician is the best advice
If there is not enough lubricant in your engine it can lead to massive problems, and expensive repairs. It is essential that you check the engines oil levels on a regular basis. Changing oil should be done as shown in the owner’s manual, if you follow the correct steps then it is a fairly obvious procedure.
Keep your air filter clean, some are fitted with reusable air filters and these are by far the easiest to maintain. If your bike does not have one of these it is well worthwhile investing in one.
The battery is the key to the whole electrics system and you do not ever want to have a flat one. If you are going on a long journey check the charge, especially if the bike has not been used for a couple of weeks. Check that all the electrics function correctly on your bike, and also check your spark plugs and replace them as needed. These hints and tips could save you money at expensive garages, but the main reason you pay attention to maintenance is for safety and hassle-free riding.