Have you just bought your first motorcycle? Maybe you’ve just passed the practical riding test in your state. It’s an exciting time in your life, and we know you’re going to really enjoy this journey you’ve embarked on. But while you’re enjoying the thrill of the open road, the sweet taste of freedom and the look of a beast of a bike, there’s a less glamorous side you can’t neglect: basic motorcycle maintenance.
You don’t have to become a killer on the tools (although it’s not a bad idea). But since your life is literally riding on the back of your bike, it’s important to make sure the essentials are working. While you obviously can’t neglect regular servicing, there are some beginner motorcycle tips you can take on board for safety’s sake, whether you know your way around the mechanics of a bike or not. From the tyres and brakes to the engine and oils, having an easy motorcycle maintenance checklist spares you from a frantic call to roadside assistance (or, worse, pricy repairs) further down the line.
At Mutt Motorcycles, motorcycles are a way of life for us. For a smoother and safer yet fiercer and more powerful ride, follow the Mutt Motorcycles guide to basic motorcycle maintenance.
Basic DIY Motorcycle Maintenance Checklist
Running any kind of vehicle gets expensive at times. But basic motorcycle maintenance takes less time, less cash and less effort than you might think, and the payoff is huge. Here’s a motorbike maintenance checklist you can follow even if you’re a total novice. Take these beginner motorcycle tips on board, and you have a better chance of enjoying your bike for longer, preserving its value and preventing damage.
Visually inspect your motorbike
Sometimes, motorcycle components wear out so fast that you barely notice them in day-to-day operation, and it’s a rude shock when they finally bring your ride to a sudden stop. Some common problems to look for include leaks, wear and tear on moving parts and anything else that’s unusual. Streaks of dirt and oil down the fork, for example, are a sign of failed seals. The simplest way to cover all the basics is to walk around your motorcycle in a clockwise direction, giving it a once-over with your eyes and hands.
Look at your tyres
There’s no way to exaggerate how important your tyres are for safety. After all, two contact patches no bigger than the palm of your hand are all that connect your bike to the road. Checking your tyres weekly is a must, along with making sure they’re pumped up to the correct air pressure and have more than the minimum amount of legal tread. Look out for not only tread wear but also foreign objects, bulges, etc.
Check your brakes
Look at your brakes on a regular basis to make sure the pads haven’t worn out. This is easier if you rotate your bike wheels in the air, and you can also check your rotors for warping while you’re at it. It’s also worth checking your brake lines for signs of ageing.
Check your fluids
Motorcycle oil, coolant, transmission fluid: all of these liquids play vital roles in keeping your bike running. While you can change your oil as per your regular servicing schedule, it’s worth checking it on a more regular basis (e.g. once a week) just in case you’re running low or have a leak. When checking your oil, also check your owner’s manual to see what kind it recommends.
Whether you’re dealing with a bike that isn’t starting or you just want to make sure it doesn’t get to that stage, you can test your battery with a multimeter. A multimeter is a tool used to test your bike’s electrical features, like battery and fuses, and it’s fairly easy to use as long as you follow safety protocol.
Take a close look at your motorcycle’s drive chain and belt and keep an eye on anything suspicious, like seized links or worn sprockets. You can use an alignment tool to check your chain is properly aligned. If everything looks fine, cleaning your chain with a solvent and brush and then lubricating, it helps keep it in mint condition.
These are just a few beginner motorcycle tips. Sometimes, your bike needs more attention than this motorbike maintenance checklist provides. When you need to go above and beyond basic motorcycle maintenance, that’s when it’s time to call in a professional.
How Often is Motorcycle Maintenance Needed?
Basic motorcycle maintenance is a necessity, but how often is it necessary? The answer depends on what kind of maintenance you mean. Checking the basics like your tyres, motor oil and other fluids at least once a week is a great idea. If you set aside at least 20 minutes every week to give your bike a proper once-over (as well as a thorough clean), you’re setting yourself up for safer riding.
You might need more frequent maintenance if you have an older bike, and the type of motorcycle can make a difference, too. Contact your owner’s manual for more specifics.
When to Get Your Motorbike Serviced
A good rule of thumb is to book your motorcycle in for a service at least once a year or every 4000-6000 km, whichever comes first. Most motorcycle services only take a day, and a proper service does wonders for your machine. Servicing allows your mechanic to pick up on potential problems before they escalate, check and replace your tyres, change your fluids and make sure all the electrical components are still in good working order. It helps your bike to continue running like a dream and keeps its resale value intact.
The Importance of General Motorcycle Maintenance
By now, you’ve probably gotten the picture of how important basic motorcycle maintenance is for your safety. It prevents accidents and injuries as well as all the expense and hassle that broken or worn-out parts can cause you down the line. It improves your motorcycle’s performance, longevity and reliability. From maintaining your comfort levels and fuel efficiency to helping you stay roadworthy and meet legal requirements, there are so many good reasons to book your bike in for a service and to regularly tick off a motorbike maintenance checklist.
When you have issues that beginner motorcycle tips just can’t fix, that’s when it’s time to book some professional motorcycle maintenance.
Where To Find Mutt Motorcycles
Mutt Motorcycles are all LAM-approved and are ideal for cruising around city streets with effortless classic style. Whether you’re looking at buying one of our powerful 250cc motorcycles like the Mutt RS-13 or if you want more information on general motorcycle maintenance, Mutt Motorcycles is happy to help. Drop us a line.