Motorcycles are more popular than ever, with more than 1.5 million American homes having at least one. One thing all of these motorcycle owners have in common is that they need to perform regular maintenance and minor motorcycle repairs.
You don’t need to be a professional mechanic to perform some of the maintenance and many of the basic repairs that pop up. We are going to go over some of the most common so that if they happen to you, you’re prepared.
So let’s get you familiarized with these common repair projects.
You suit up, slip your helmet and gloves on, and slide into the seat. You turn the key and hit the button, ready for a day out on the road. Except nothing happens. You try again, and still, nothing happens.
You probably have a dead battery. Just like your car, your motorcycle has a battery to power it. If you don’t regularly use your motorcycle, you risk the battery dying. A good rule of thumb is that you need to use your bike a minimum of five hours or twenty-five miles a week to keep your battery in good working condition.
To prevent this from happening to you, you should keep your bike on a trickle charger. You may also hear it referred to as a battery tender. These are charging devices that keep your battery fully charged and ready to go.
When to Change It
Most motorcycle batteries last a few years before they need changing. So if you have a dead battery, try charging it before you decide to replace it.
If you charge it and go riding, but it dies again when you park to take a break, then you have an old battery. You’ll notice that no matter how long you charge your battery, it can’t hold the charge.
Now it is time for you to replace it.
Worn out Tires
Your tires are your connection to the road, and you only have two of them. It is vital that you keep your tires in good working condition. You should regularly check your tire pressure before you head out on a ride.
Use your owner’s manual to determine proper inflation. Improperly inflated tires will cause uneven tire wear and a potentially dangerous situation.
You will notice that even a slight variation in tire pressure will noticeably change how your motorcycle maneuvers and responds to your controls.
Next, you need to check the amount of tread that is left on your tire. A lack of tread can have you sliding all over the place, and no one wants that.
Look at your tires and locate the wear indicators. When those are getting worn down, it is time to think about buying new tires.
Take note; your rear tire will wear out faster than your back tire. This is normal.
If you have a chain on the back of your back, it will stretch over time and become loose. This will cause your chain to slip and you will struggle.
To fix it, you need to tighten the chain back up. To do this, you need to loosen the rear axle nut so that your rear tire slides in the swingarm.
Now you will need to use the nuts on both sides of the swingarm to adjust the tightness of your chain. Just make sure you keep these nuts even and balanced. Otherwise, you will throw your whole alignment totally out of whack.
Count your turns to ensure you do everything the same. A turn and a half on one side means a turn and a half on the other. Once you have everything where it should be, you’ll need to tighten the axle back into place.
Lube It up
You can prevent a lot of chain issues by merely keeping it clean and lubed. This will keep it flexing smoothly and prevent it from binding.
Place cardboard or degreaser under your bike and spray the chain with a degreaser. You can let the grime drop off or scrub it off with a brush.
Once it is clean, you’ll want to spray a lube formula on it. Always do this after a ride or when you don’t plan to ride for a bit. The lube needs time to sink in and do its job.
Another common area for riders to experience issues is with the clutch. They are susceptible to a few different problems. They can bend or break if the rider happens to drop the bike.
The cable can become frayed and eventually broken over time with wear and tear. This will render the level totally useless.
Then there is the chance that the clutch is totally burned out due to an inexperienced rider. The clutch is meant to be all the way in or all the way out. An inexperienced rider will hold it somewhere in the middle for too long and cause grinding.
Replace the Cables
If your issue is the cables, you can buy a replacement set and do a direct replacement of the old cables and levers. Often you will find that the cable is housed inside of a protective sleeve.
Replace the Clutch
If you need to replace the entire clutch, you should consult a repair manual. Just like each manual vehicle is slightly different, so are motorcycles. While they all have the same components, their placement on the vehicle will vary.
Once you determine where and how to replace your clutch, the process is relatively simple. You remove the old clutch housing and put in the new one.
Do Your Own Motorcycle Repairs
By knowing how to make these common motorcycle repairs, you can save yourself a lot of money. These are projects you can do at home instead of taking your bike into the shop to get worked on.
You don’t need to have a ton of mechanical experience to perform these repairs either. All you need is a motorcycle repair manual and a few tools.