Your motorcycle is your family member, and like any human being it needs attention too. If you pamper your motorcycle, it seldom disappoints you. Here are regular servicing tips for every caring motorcyclist:
Oil and filter change
Your engine oil needs to be changed regularly to ensure engine longevity. Here’s how:
- Remove the drain plug from the sump and drain the old oil into a drain tray. Check that the drain plug washer is in good condition then refit the drain plug.
- Unscrew the old oil filter and thread the new filter into place. Dispose of the old filter.
Bikes are fitted with either a paper or foam type air filter element. If it’s a paper element, you can tap it to dislodge dust. Foam elements need to be washed in solvent, then dried and re-oiled. If the element is very dirty or damaged, you will need to fit a new one.
Over time, spark plugs will show signs of wear and the gap between their electrodes will go out of adjustment. You should measure the spark plug gaps with a feeler gauge and adjust the gap by bending the side electrode only. There will also be a build-up of deposits on their firing ends due to the combustion process. You will need to renew the plugs if they are dirty or badly corroded.
Drive chain adjustment
There should be a certain amount of slack in the drive chain – usually about 30mm, but check your handbook. The chain will stretch with use and you should take up the excess slack with the chain adjusters at the ends of the swingarm.
- Measure the total amount of slack in the drive chain at a point midway between the sprockets on the lower run of chain.
- If you need to adjust the chain tension, slacken the rear axle nut.
- Use the adjusters on the ends of the swingarm to adjust chain tension. Adjust each one by the same amount.
- Check that the wheel alignment marks are the same on each side, and then tighten the rear axle nut.
Oiling cables, levers and pivots
Because cables, stand and lever pivots are exposed to the elements, they must be lubed regularly to ensure smooth operation. Apply a few drops of light oil or an aerosol lubricant to the exposed ends of cables, the handlebar lever pivots, brake pedal and gearchange lever pivots and the stand pivots.
Correct adjustment of the clutch is important to ensure smooth gear changes and prevent clutch slip or drag. Most clutches are cable operated and will have a threaded adjuster and lock-nut at each end to set free-play.
Engine idle speed (tick over speed)
Check that the engine idles at the correct speed when it is fully warmed up. There is usually an idle speed adjuster knob at the side of the carburettors.
Your brake pad friction material will eventually wear down to a low level, at which point the pads must be renewed. You can view the pad material via the mouth of the caliper. Most pads have wear indicator grooves, cutouts or a line to indicate the limit of wear. If you can’t see the pad material clearly, the pads must be removed from the caliper for examination.