Motorbike maintainence


While you can't carry out an MOT on your bike, if your bike is past the manufacturer’s warranty you may find that working on your bike yourself will save you a fair bit, especially as a basic service may cost over £100, and all it normally includes will be:

Basic Checks

  • - Check operation of all Bulbs- turn on all your lights and check they work
  • -Chain Tension Adjustment and Lubrication- read your service manual, you will be told the chain needs between 2.5 to 3.5cm of slack, if it is too loose, find the tightest bit, loosen the rear wheel, tighten it until it is right, tighten everything back up and lube it. Or get a scotoiler.
  • Check front and rear drive sprockets - These should get replaced when the chain does, about every 10,000 or so miles, or more depending on how well you care for your chain.
  • Oil and Filter Change - Check the level of your oil, it should be between the max and min on your bike, check either the dipstick or the window, if it is low top it up! No oil and you will destroy you engine. check this before each ride . To change the oil, run the bike so it is warm, stand it upright, place a container under the sump plug, undo the sump plug and allow to drain. Then undo the oil filter and hand screw the replacement in, only hand tighten. Place the sump plug back in (tighten properly) and then refill with oil, don't over fill!
  • Check and adjust tyre pressures - low tyre pressure will affect handling, and can cause you to crash, as well as reduce mpg. It should say on the swing arm the optimum pressure, but you may find you prefer it slightly differently, check weekly!
  • -Check all brake pads - have a look, can you still see the brake pad?
  • Check and top up brake fluid levels - As brake fluid gets old it goes darker and should be replaced every couple of years, but if the level drops it is a good indication that you may need to replace your brake pads!
  • Check steering bearings - bike on centre stand and move the handle bars one way to the other, if it feels notchy, then they may need to be replaced
  • Check rear linkage bearings - First off set your bike on a stand and remove the rear tyre. Try to move the swing arm from side to side(opposite way it pivots normally) if u get any play even the smallest then the swing arm bearings are bad and need replaced.
  • Adjust and lubrication of all cables
  • Check tightness of vital nuts and bolts
  • Check suspension operation- when you are riding are you thrown everywhere when you hit a bump, do you feel every bump
  • Check the Charging rate of the battery using a multi-meter.
  • Change the spark plugs remove spark plug gap, unscrew, replace, and put cap back on for each.

If you don't know what you are doing, a Haynes Manual or the bikes service manual should help. The Haynes has pictures and step by step instructions; it is probably the best £15 i ever spent.

Basic toolsNeeded

  • Battery charger! - For when you leave the lights on, the reg/rec goes, long term storage
  • Screwdrivers- Philips and flat heads
  • Socket set and ratchets 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, and 22 mm
  • Spanners, from an 8mm to a 14mm
  • Pliers
  • Adjustable Spanner
  • Hammer
  • Feeler gauges to check spark plug gaps
  • Spark plug remover (often in the bike toolkit)
  • Chain splitter
  • Chain Lube
  • Brake Fluid
  • Oil (check what your bike needs, motorbike NOT car oil!!
  • Muc Off to clean it
  • Autosol to polish the exhaust
  • Paraffin to remove oil
  • Penetrating fluid, WD40 or the like
  • NOTE* If you are unsure, ask, or just don't do it