Motorcycle servicing & maintenance is essential 365 days a year. Part 2 of 2: Autumn/Winter
At mono motorcycles we believe that motorcycle service & maintenance should be an all year round investment & not just seasonal.
If you are a summer rider, your motorcycle will still need some attention through the winter months & if you are a 365 day a year rider, you know that keeping your bike in good working order, is essential for the longevity of the engine, tyres, working parts & your safety.
Every year around about late February, early March our phone starts ringing frantically with motorcycle owners needing their motorcycle servicing, telling us that their batteries have died, their fuel has gone off & their tyres are flat.
However, what we hear less is the phone ringing October to December with people asking for an oil change, their chains to be lubed or an ACF50 treatment to their engine, frame & working parts, advise about battery chargers, which tyres to run through winter, etc, etc.
Whether your motorcycle is your daily ride 365 days a year or you are a summer rider, your motorcycle needs care & attention all year round & at regular intervals.
With this in mind, we have created a seasonal guide to motorcycle service & repair, giving you some key pointers about what you should be doing throughout the year to keep your motorcycle road worthy & safe.
NB: Seasons are based on general motorcycle riding patterns & are not linked directly to the true season.
Autumn Winter (September – February)
If you are riding throughout the Autumn & Winter, we highly recommend servicing your motorcycle & sticking to a regular maintenance programme throughout the Autumn/Winter months.
Servicing: Is your motorcycle due a service during the winter? Do you think you will hold off until Spring? If you ride your motorcycle all year round, then it should be serviced when it is due.
Battery: Checking such things as the battery, which will take a hammering over the winter months, is essential. Cold engines take a lot to start & worn batteries will leave you out in the cold.
Antifreeze: Checking the antifreeze can be awkward on most motorcycles, but leave it unchecked & if the antifreeze content is too low, it can cause catastrophic damage to a motor.
Brakes: Brakes can also take a battering. It’s worth pulling the pads & adding ‘copper slip’ to the sliders, changing the fluid & cleaning the pistons. Chains are also out in the elements, so a good coating of chain lube will help.
Greasing your motorcycle chain not only aids longevity, but it also keeps the performance of the motorcycle in check. A dry & rusty chain can be caused by excessive salt on the roads in the winter months, can cause riding inconsistencies & make the drive train feel harsh when riding.
When did you last check the pressures in your tyres?
Always keep an eye on your tyre pressures. You should check them EVERY time you go out for a ride. Pressures should be done while the tyres are cold & your handbook will give you an idea on the correct PSI. Checking tyre pressures when the tyre is hot, will give a false reading due to the expansion of the tyre compound.
Right tyre for your motorcycle.
Always choose the right tyre to suit not only your motorcycle, but also the type of riding you do. It’s no good having a touring bike with all your panniers loaded or a commuter bike ready for the winter slog on race compound tyres, you would be lucky to get 300 miles out of them & you simply will not get the grip required for all terrain & winter riding.
What do you use your motorcycle for the most?
Do you commute? If so, you may want a duel compound to stop the middle wearing too quickly. Do you only ride your sports bike in the dry? In that case you could go for a more track focused tyre like a Supercorsa. There are a huge range of tyres out there and lots of road test reviews on the internet. Tyres are not cheap & you don’t want to make a costly mistake buying the wrong type.
Check the date the tyre was manufactured. On the side of the tyre is a date stamp. You read this like this
03/17 = Week 03, Year 2017
This is even worth checking on new tyres especially on “eBay bargains” as they may be old stock. We buy our tyres from a dealer with a high turnover of stock, so no tyres are more than a few weeks old. If your motorcycle has been stood for a long time the tyres may have flat spots and will need replacing.
Tyre tread: In the UK it’s a legal requirement for motorcycle tyres to have a minimum tread depth of 1mm across three quarters of the wheel. If you notice the tyre tread looks worn, never leave it until you can see the wires in the tyres, as this could cause you to have an accident due to lack of grip.
If you are not riding through the winter & your motorcycle is kept in a garage or storage, there are some essential actions you should undertake regularly.
Fuel: First, never leave fuel untreated in a tank which is going to rest for months, especially with the introduction of E10. Ethanol can destroy carb rubbers, hoses & cause blockages if left to evaporate in the tank carbs & fuel lines. Making sure you add a fuel stabiliser before the bike is laid up, will help prevent the fuel going stale. NB: Fuel stabilisers will only work on that one tank of fuel.
Fork seals: If you are laying your motorcycle up over winter, try & use a paddock stand to rest it on. One of the repairs we often get asked to look at in Spring, is that fork seals start leaking because the motorcycle has been left on the side stand for months on end. This constant depression of the forks, can cause damage to the seals & cause them to leak.
Battery: If you are not riding for months on end, it is advisable to have your motorcycle battery on a trickle charge or optimate. However, this process does not guarantee that when you are ready to ride again, that the battery will still be healthy. Cold snaps & excess moisture in the air can make batteries weaken & ultimately fail, even if they are on trickle charge.
Contrary to popular belief, starting your motorcycle & letting it run regularly while stationary can cause more harm than good. The cold start cycle takes an incredible amount of energy & realistically you would need to run the motorcycle for a good 30 minutes to replicate the charging cycle you would gain by riding.
Tyres: Leaving your motorcycle stationary for months on end, can cause flat spots in your tyres. You won’t really notice this while the bike is not moving, but when you start riding again, the tyres can feel uneven & give an irregular riding experience.
Turning your wheels regularly throughout the autumn winter months can avoid this & prolong the life of your tyres.
ACF50 Treatment: Detailing your motorcycle in winter might seem odd, however, the preservative nature of polish & in particular a thin coating of ACF50 to your engine, frame & wheels; can help prevent rusting caused by road salt & winter road debris.
If you are considering motorcycle servicing for 2021/2022 please do contact us well in advance. You can call us on T: 01243 576212 / 07899 654446, by Email: email@example.com or through our contact page.