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By • Dec 29th, 2010 • Category: Vehicles


Motorcycle newbie? but getting hands on your motorcycle may be easier than you think. No need the mechanical know-how of a MotoGP technician to perform simple home-servicing tasks. Ideally to DIY service,  get hold of a workshop manual  for a better understanding of how each task should be carried out. Most will give pictures detailing each part of the process; a good manual will also list the tools you’ll need to complete the job. Obviously, if you’re not 100 per cent comfortable working on your own bike then ask a knowledgeable mate to watch over you. Not to mention, mostly the important thing on the bike need to maintain are tyres, chain, bateries, coolent, oil and filter, cabels, spark plug, grease, brake pad and motorcycle body.


1.TYRES – Pressures

When was the last time you checked your bike’s tyre pressures? It should be done on a weekly basis, but many of us forget to keep an eye on one of the most vital parts of our bike’s set-up. Use a quality pressure gauge to accurately check your bike’s tyre pressures. Consult the owner’s manual for the correct pressure. Remember, your tyres may need more pressure if you regularly ride with a pillion passenger. Always check your pressures when they’re cold. It’s also worth checking the condition and tyres tread depth while you’re at it.

Underinflated tyres tend to affect handling and braking as the lack of pressure means the tyre wall isn’t firm enough to properly cope with the forces exterted on it. Overinflation can also result in a deterioration in handling, as well as a reduced contact patch with the road. This can result in a lack of grip under braking.

2.CHAIN – tension

Incorrect chain tension can result in premature sprocket and gearbox wear, unsmooth gearshifts, snatchy transmission, hamper your bike’s rear suspension travel and reduce the life of your bike’s drivechain. Check your workshop manual for how to adjust your bike’s chain to the correct tension. Remember to set the tension with some load on the bike (preferably with someone on it) as the chain will tighten up once a rider’s on board.

Refere to the owner’s manual for the correct torque settings for each bolt – how much force to use when retightening each bolt. You’ll need a torque wrench to do this properly. Remember to also lubricate the chain while you’re at it, as this will help prolong its life.



Most batteries are usually situated hidden beneath a bike’s seat or petrol tank, so it’s hardly surprising many get overlooked when it comes to routine maintenance. If a battery is allowed to run dry or drop into a deep state of discharge then this usually results in the end of its life, so routine checks should be made on its condition.

Ideally, remove the battery from its holder before carrying out any work. Remember, batteries contain strong acid, which can be harmful if it comes into contact with your skin. Check the acid level in your battery by placing it on a level surface. If the level’s low then top up with de-ionised water before placing the battery on charge, using a car or motorcycle charger. Remember not to overfill, as acid will drain out the overflow pipe when you’re on the move. Many moden batteries are sealed, so you won’t be able to top them up.

Greasing your bike’s battery terminals before placing the battery back in the bike will help avoid corrosion build up. Just remember not to touch both terminals at the same time


4.RADIATOR – coolant

Do you know how to check your bike’s coolant level? It’s another task that’s often neglected but it only takes a few minutes to do. Check your owner’s manual to locate your bike’s ‘expansion’ tank if it has one; high and low levels should be marked on the outside of the translucent tank. Alternatively, remove the radiator filler cap to check the level. Only do this when the water is cold. And while your at it, think about changing the coolant altogether; it’s an easy job that takes about 30 minutes. Here’s how it’s done:

When the radiator’s stone cold, remove the cap the bottom rubber hose, allowing the old coolant to drain into a bucket. You may need to undo a drain plug situated near the water pump to extract all the liquid. Check your owner’s manual for how to do it. Once the system’s drained, reattach the bottom hose and replace the drain plug before making up a new batch of coolant using a 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and de-ionised water. Fill to the correct level ensuring no air is trapped in the system. This can be alleviated by squeezing the radiator hoses to expel unwanted air.
5.ENGINE – oil

Changing your bike’s oil and filter isn’t a great deal more difficult than refreshing the coolant system; all you need are the right tools, decent oil and the correct filter. Check your workshop manual for a detailed explanation of the steps before going ahead. As with any first attempt, consider asking a mate to oversee progress from start to finish.

With the engine warmed through, remove the bike’s oil filler cap, place a tray under the bike and remove the sump plug. Make sure you’re 100 sure you’re removing the right bolt; it should be the biggest one on the sump, usually on the bottom or on the side. Once the oil’s drained, remove the filter, either by hand if you’re built like Desperate Dan or using a filter removal wrench. Replace the sump plug, tighten to the correct torque setting as recommended in the owner’s manual before spinning on a new filter. Smear the rubber filter gasket in clean oil before tightening by hand. Nip it up half a turn with the filter wrench.

Refill the engine with the correct amount of new oil. Start the bike up, check for leaks, stop the engine Give it five minutes for the oil to drain back into the sump before checking the level again. you can add oil if necessary.

6.ENGINE – spark plugs

Changing  spark plugs isn’t a job that usually needs doing regularly; consult the owner’s manual for how often in should be done. Check your workshop manual before starting, as changing the spark plugs on some bikes takes a matter of minutes, while others can take a novice several hours. Got a V4 Honda? Ring your local dealer to get the low-down on how it’s done, as it will often involve draining the cooling system.

Make sure you have the correct plugs for your bike; the code number on each one will differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. Check the owner’s manual for the correct gap; you’ll need feeler gauges to set it correctly. Remove one plug at a time to avoid mixing up the HT leads. Do not overtighten. Screw in by hand and nip them up a quarter-turn with a plug wrench.


7.CABELS – adjusting

Oiling and adjusting bike’s cable can make for a smoother, more responsive riding experience. Over time, the oil/grease put into the cable housing in the manufacturing process will dry out, leaving your bike’s throttle or clutch action impaired. While oiling your cables, adjust them to take out any unwanted slack. This will give a better response.


8.CHASSIS – lubricate

Motorcycle will benefit from a squirt of the right sort of grease in the right places. The easiest task is to get hold of a tin or spray grease and work your way around the bike, lubricating footrest hinges, levers, locks, stand hinges and as we’ve mentioned previously, cables. Just be careful you don’t spray any on the brake discs. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you may want to try greasing other parts of the bike, like the wheel spindles or swingarm, for instance. Check the workshop manual for the location of any greasing points.

If you’ve really got the bug, invest in a tin of copper grease, so you can remove non-structural bolts on your machine (like brake caliper bolts) and then apply a bit of grease to prevent them seizing up over time. Just remember to tighten them to the correct torque setting. Not sure which sort of grease to use for each job? Consult your local dealer or accessory shop for best advice.


9.BRAKE – brake pads

Check and replacing your bike’s brake pads sounds fairly intensive but is actually a straightforward job. Obviously, a workshop manual, the right tools and the correct pads are a starting point; never tackle this job unless you’re totally confident in what you’re doing. Again, ask a knowledgeable mate to lend a hand if you’re unsure.

Remove the caliper from the fork leg, take out the retaining clips, followed by then pins and springs. The pads should then come out with ease. Use an aerosol brake cleaner to smarten up the job and remove any unwanted grease. Do one side at a time if you have a two-caliper set up at the front.

Please wash your bike every time you use it, that is the best way of keeping that ‘as new’ look. Cleaning your bike thoroughly on a regular basis also gives you the chance to spot anything mechanically that might be amiss. Soap the bike down with plenty of hot water, laced with a decent quality car shampoo. Do not use washing-up liquid as it’s corrosive. Use a sponge on the bodywork and a dish brush for the fiddly bits. If you’re bike has a screen then wash that first before your sponge gets impregnated with any grit.

Rinse off with plenty of fresh water; avoid blasting around bearings and electrics if using a pressure washer. Wax the bodywork – even the wheels – with a decent car wax. Apply a liberal dousing of protective agent, like Scottoil FS365 to keep the corrosive stuff away.

now get a manual and be confident into getting your hand dirty… 



source: visordown

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