We all like to be physically fit, well, at least, we try to be but with work schedules and social gatherings, there’s hardly any time left to go to the gym or even eat right. Well, that’s not true. If we really wanted to we could make the time and become the physically fit person we want to be. This holds true for your motorcycle too. If you ignore it and don’t bother about maintaining it, it will become slow, sluggish and will land up letting you down. Most women will tell you, “if you can’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of me and you’re not worth my time’. Now if motorcycles could talk, I’m sure they’d probably say the same. So my advice to you is – take care of your motorcycle and it will take care of you. Follow these simple steps to make sure your motorcycle runs as smoothly as you.
1. Keep it Clean
A dirty motorcycle is just down right disrespectful. Not only does it cover up the information console and other lights but it also builds up and collects in all the nooks and crannies. This leads to a lot of gunk in all the wrong places and helps the formation of rust too. So make sure to get your motorcycle pressure washed at least once a month and give it a good wipe down every few days.
2. Tyre pressure
Keeping the tyres at the right pressure level is critical if you want to achieve a good fuel economy figure. Any motorcycle that is running on low tyre pressure will give you a low fuel economy. The only time you should reduce air pressure in the tyres is if you are riding on sand or if the roads are very slippery and you have skinny tyres. This lets the tyre get a wider contact patch and hence will give you more grip. Otherwise it’s always recommended to put one or two PSI more than the manufacturer recommended number. This will give you better mileage and help you ride for longer.
Most of us like going fast on a motorcycle but there’s no point going fast if you can’t stop in time to avoid a collision or an obstacle. What most people don’t know or choose to ignore, is that with time the brake pads on a motorcycle wear out and even get dirty. They need to be cleaned or replaced depending on how much life is left in them. Another important part of the braking power in a motorcycle comes from the brake fluid. As the brake pads wear out the level of brake fluid reduces too. Every few months open the brake fluid canister and top up the brake fluid.
4. Chain it right
A lot people on the road ride motorcycles with the drive chain either loose or almost about to fall off. This is very dangerous. Not only does a loose drive chain reduce mileage, it can also lead to the chain coming off or even damaging the casing. Keeping the drive chain too tight is also not advised as there have been cases where the chain has snapped due to the excess tension it’s under. Check the owner’s manual for how much free play is recommended for your motorcycles drive chain and makes sure it’s adjusted as frequently as required.
5. Clutch out
With the traffic in cities becoming worse by the day, it leads to us being stressed out even more. But what about the motorcycle? Constant stopping, starting and shifting gears every few seconds is not good for the life of the clutch. The clutch being depressed most of the time, wears out the clutch plates and with time you’ll notice the clutch lever becoming a little loose and shifting gears will become harder. So every now and then check to see if the clutch lever has enough free play and isn’t too loose. If the clutch lever is too tight, you may land up burning the clutch plates.
6. Light it up
There’s nothing more irritating than a motorcycle rider who does not indicate when turning, when changing lanes and of course when their headlight is constantly in your eyes. In fact most riders don’t even realise that their motorcycles brake light has stopped working until they land up being rear ended by another vehicle. So everyday check the turn indicators and brake light to see if they are functioning properly. Make sure that when the motorcycles headlight is on low beam, it’s pointed down towards the road and not towards the 1st floor of someone’s house.
7. Smooth as oil
Keeping the engine of your motorcycle is good condition involves two things. One is not revving the nuts off it by redlining it in every gear and the second is changing the engine oil on time every time. Changing the engine oil regularly will keep all the internal parts of the engine running smoothly. The grade of oil that you put also plays a major part in keeping the engine running smoothly. Depending on the type and power of your motorcycle, you could look at upgrading to a semi synthetic or fully synthetic engine oil. These work well in both cold and hot temperatures. Refer to the owner’s manual to see which grade of oil is recommended for your motorcycle.
8. Keeping it straight
With the conditions of roads ever changing, there are going to be instances where going into a pothole or over a bump is un-avoidable. This sudden impact can throw the wheels of the motorcycle out of alignment. This is dangerous because the steering may not auto correct itself properly or you may land up sliding towards the tarmac on a turn. So every few weeks take your motorcycle to a garage and check if the wheel alignment is proper.
9. Power outage
Just like we need to eat to replenish our energy levels, the battery on the motorcycle needs to be charged every few months. With every thumb of the starter and every brake lever or pedal pressed, the battery loses power. If you don’t use the motorcycle regularly so that the alternator can charge the battery, the battery will drain. If you have an old battery that requires water inside, make sure to top up the water level every few weeks. If you have one of the new maintenance free batteries then you have nothing to worry about.
10. It’s all about you
Yes it’s all about you. Your motorcycle will run smoothly if you take care of it. That doesn’t mean just carrying out maintenance work but also riding properly. Braking calmly, accelerating steadily and turning smoothly will help lots of the parts on your motorcycle last longer. Remember a machine is only as good as its operator.