PROPER MAINTENANCE SCHEDULES
Manufacturers recommend that motorcycles be serviced at specific mileage or time intervals. The suggested maintenance intervals are listed in the owner’s manual to help owners and technicians set up a realistic and appropriate maintenance schedule. Most motorcycles made after 1980 are pretty reliable if maintained properly. To some extent, the high reliability of today’s motorcycles has worked to the disadvantage of many riders. Some riders have been lulled into believing that motorcycles are like modern cars and require little maintenance. Modern bikes require less maintenance than they did in the 60’s and 70’s but they still need a lot more maintenance than a car.
BREAKING YOUR MOTORCYCLE IN FROM NEW
When you lay out the money to buy a new cycle, you certainly want it to start its life out right. This means you have to “break it in” correctly. This will prevent problems with your bike later on. Exactly what you need to do in this respect depends on the manufacturer recommendations for your bike, which will be found in your manual. It could be as light as just being advised to do “light riding” for the first hundred miles of life, to more complex and involved break-in protocols that involve driving the bike at specific speeds and engine RPMs for specific amounts of time, and which may change and morph from doing one thing during the first few hundred miles to doing something else for the next thousand
THE ESSENTIAL OIL CHANGE STEP
You should be well familiar with the concept that changing your oil within the recommended guidelines is the single best thing you can do for any engine on any kind of vehicle. This obviously includes motorcycles.
It’s just as important to change your motorcycle oil on a regular basis because those engines tend to work harder – at higher speeds and RPMs – than cars and truck engines. Your owner’s manual will have the best recommendation for the right oil to use. It will also tell you how often you need to change it. Ignore these recommendations at your peril.
AIR FILTER MAINTENANCE
An internal combustion engine requires a constant intake flow of air to provide the oxygen needed to support combustion of the fuel. A clean air filter is important for making sure that the air that goes into your engine doesn’t bring in foreign contaminants and substances that may do harm to your engine. Dust and dirt and particles from the environment can get trapped in the oil film or onto metal surfaces where they act as abrasives and damage the valves, cylinder and internal bearings.
Cleaning or changing the air filter will help prevent this. How often you should do so is dictated by your owner’s manual (there it is again). It’s also always a good idea to increase the frequency with which you change the filter if you ride your motorcycle a lot in dusty environments. Obviously a dusty environment increases the speed at which your filter gets dirty and excessively plugged.
Lastly, a clean air filter will also help your gas mileage. This is a bonus that everyone likes. Now it won’t boost your mileage by 20% or anything like that, but you do typically get a small mileage bonus for being conscientious in your maintenance in this area.
RIDE UNDER PRESSURE
Tire pressure can be the difference between wasting gas and money or riding at your best. Tires are the contact points for the road and influence so many things about your riding experience. Your fuel mileage stays high and your bike handling is best when your tires are at the proper pressure. Tire pressure that is too low causes too much of the tire’s surface to contact the road at any given time. This creates excessive drag and drops your gas mileage. It also places pressure on the side walls of the tires and speeds the wear of the tire. So make sure you’re not riding too low. But don’t raise the tire pressure too high, either. It is true that higher tire pressure gives you a mileage boost. But go too far in this direction (some people think if a little of something is good, a lot of it has to be great) and you won’t get the best traction in wet weather, which is obviously dangerous. And tires that are overinflated wear more quickly too, but in the middle of the tread, instead of on the sides..