By Wang’ombe Kibunja
Riding your motorcycle and feeling the wind blowing against you is an experience like no other, but to have this kind of fun, the condition of your bike must be tip top. You cannot risk having a bike that keeps on breaking down after every several kilometers. Your motorcycle’s health is essential, and to make sure that you have a fun experience, you need to carry out regular maintenance and repairs. The best thing about having a motorcycle is that it is easy to repair and maintain. As much as you need a reputable service station for your repairs, there is much you can do for yourself.
Some of these repairs are not worth paying for because it can take you a few minutes to learn. Changing the engine oil frequently makes a huge difference in your motorcycle’s performance and lifespan. When repairing, you do not need just any tool, but the best quality. Whenever you plan to do it yourself, you should make sure you have the right and best quality tools. Poor quality tools could cause more harm than good. Here are some simple repairs you can do by yourself:
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Changing the Oil
You can always go to your mechanic for an oil change, but why spend on something you can do in your backyard. You can save money by knowing how. Oil changing is vital for your engine to run properly. For this repair, all you need is the right tools, oil, and the right filter for the job. Your owner’s manual has all the details and instructions for you to make a successful oil change. All you have to do is remove the oil filler cap, undo the sump bolt under the engine, drain the oil into a pan and let it all drain out ideally while the engine is still warm it is advisable to ride your bike for about five minutes to warm it up. Once you are done draining, remove the filter and replace it then add fresh oil as per the manufacturer’s recommendation. The process can get messy so be ready to get some oil on your fingers.
Your tires are a significant part of your bike, and you should be comfortable using them. As soon as you notice a difference in your tire pressure, it means it’s time for you to get some action and fix your tires. Checking your bike’s pressure should be done religiously. Your tires contribute a lot to your comfortability when you are riding. Your tires groove has small raised points, which are wear indicators. When these are worn down, it is time to invest in new tires. The back tire is likely to wear out more quickly than the front tire. When fixing your tire pressure, you need to check your manual because pressure varies from bike to bike.
Cleaning and adjusting your chain is an excellent way to avoid spending a lot on repairs that you could have done yourself. You only need you to keep an eye on the chains, and you will not have any problems for a long time. If that chain is not set right, you can expect heavy wear and tear on the sprocket and in the gearbox, rear suspension issues, unnecessary stress on the chain, and horrible ride experience in general. You will want to clean the chain when it gets dirty or when your manual recommends. When you do, elevate the rear wheel of your bike and put the transmission in neutral, allowing for smooth chain movement. Use a gentle brush to get grit and grime off the chain. To lubricate the chain, rotate the back wheel as you apply the chain lube of choice. The chains will still expand no matter how well you take care of it, to the point that it is too uneven to tighten, which calls for a replacement.
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You should take a regular brake test and check the brake pads for wear and tear. They are located inside the brake caliper. You should be able to see the brake pads without removing the tires, though you might need a flashlight for better visuals. Knowing how to bleed the brakes on your own is good, and there are many maintenance courses found online that can help you. After the course, it will be easy for you to reach the brake levers and the bleeder screw. It is good to know that the front and rear brake systems are independent of each other. It means there are two different master cylinders to top off. One will be located on the handlebars and the other on the bike’s right side, below the seat. Remember to always check the levels regularly and top off when necessary.
Each morning before you start your bike and zoom off, it’s advisable to always check your electricals, make sure all your lights are working, check the indicators are blinking as they should, check the brake lights, running lights and the headlight and ensure they are all working. Once in a while clean the battery terminals and check for caking around the terminals. As you prepare to start your journey check the oil level then start your bike, let it warm for a minute or two as you listen to any unusual sounds then ride, take a kilometre to listen to how the bike is handling and responding to throttle. This will allow you to detect small issues on your bike before they escalate.
If you observe the recommended maintenance schedule as per the owner’s manual of our bike, you will have less visits to the garage and you will also enjoy the bike to the maximum.
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