Investing in a bike is akin to having a close friend who requires a copious amount of time and attention. Yet, the rewards to be reaped from giving all that love and attention to this piece of machinery is well worth the time and effort. Unlike today’s modern cars, which can be driven for thousands of miles with little or no maintenance, bikes require regular maintenance.
Maintenance, over time, becomes as much of the bike owning experience as the ride. Many riders embrace this aspect of ownership even though they may find it a hassle. Nonetheless, I’m sure we can all agree we’d much rather be out riding than stuck in a garage waiting for a problematic machine to be fixed. The best way to ensure your bike operates effectively with minimal breakdown is to schedule routine maintenance.
Chain and Sprocket Care
Never ride with dry chains and sprockets. A lubricated chain is a happy chain that rewards you with long life. Always clean the chains and sprockets after a ride, followed by a dousing of lubrication. In the event you see significant wear and tear on your chain or sprockets, replace the whole drive train.
An important aspect to chain care is ensuring your chain is at the correct adjustment, and not too loose or too tight. This may result in you busting your chain, or worse still, the chain snapping, whipping off and breaking your engine case or giving you a permanent chain tattoo.
An easy way to determine correct chain length is to stick two fingers between the chain and chain guide – if the chain presses against your fingers, it has been tightened enough.
Keeping the chain adjusted correctly helps extend the life of the chain and sprockets, transmission seals and bearings, wheel bearings, hubs and even the wheels to some extent.
Recommended cleaning and lubricant agents for chains and sprocket:
Cleaning agent – Maxima Chain Cleaner
Lubricant – Lupromax Chain Lub
It may surprise you but coolant, especially in the four-stroke, is not something you can simply add and forget about. Keeping the engine running cool is a high priority as the smaller parts can overheat fast and ruin your day quite quickly. Coolants are specially formulated to drastically reduce engine temperature and keep those vital engine parts from overheating and breaking down.
Recommended coolant: Evans Powersport Waterless Engine Coolant
Clean Your Bike Regularly
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. 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.