The joy of riding a motorcycle is second to none. It is an intensely rewarding experience and yet, one that is so intertwined with the health of your motorcycle. Riding a well-maintained motorcycle is a lot more fun than riding an ill-maintained one. And the best thing about the former is that it doesn’t take much to keep it that way. Yes, motorcycle servicing is not the only way to keep your ride in top-condition. While you should indeed get your motorcycle serviced at an authorized or reputed service station, there is plenty you can do on your own to maintain it.
Something as simple as changing the engine oil regularly can make a huge difference to your motorcycle’s performance and engine lifespan. In fact, most experts recommend quick oil changes if you don’t have the time to get your bike to a motorcycle repair shop for a full service. Stick to the oil grade and frequency prescribed by your motorcycle’s manual. However, if you clock a high mileage every month and live in a dry and dusty place, you need to drop oil more frequently. The same is true for the motorcycle’s air filter as well. The bike’s engine breathes through the filter and a clogged filter can cause a drop in performance and lead to engine overheating. This is why you should check the air filter regularly and either clean or replace it.
Lubricating the chain regularly either using gear oil or dedicated chain lubricants, checking on the engine coolant levels and topping up if necessary, maintaining the right tyre pressure, inspecting the fuel filter and checking the brake pads and brake fluid levels are all essential motorcycle maintenance tasks that you can perform at home.
While some of these tasks concern the safety of your motorcycle’s engine (like coolant top-up, drive chain lubing, air filter cleaning etc.), something like checking the brake pads and fluid can be a matter of life and death for the rider, i.e. you. This is especially true if you ride occasionally as you might not be aware of your brake pad’s wear and tear and a drop in brake fluid levels, both of which reduce the effectiveness of your motorcycle’s brakes.
Lastly, never underestimate the effectiveness of regular washing when it comes to motorcycle maintenance. Ride a motorcycle before and after getting it washed and lubed and the difference is more than just palpable. Regular washing dislodges any dirt or dust build-up around the important areas of your motorcycle. It is also useful to keep rust at bay and mitigate the environment’s effects on the motorcycle’s bodywork.