Why year-round motorcycle servicing & maintenance is essential. Part 1 of 2: Spring/Summer
When do you service your motorcycle?
If you are a summer rider, is it just before the season starts? Do you over-winter your motorcycle leaving last year’s fuel in the tank, the battery on trickle charge & not turn your tyres regularly?
At mono motorcycles we believe that motorcycle service & maintenance should be an all year round thing & not just seasonal.
Even if you are a summer rider, your motorcycle still needs some attention through the winter months & if you are a 365 rider, you know that keeping your bike in good working order, is essential for the longevity of the engine, tyres & working parts.
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 tyres are flat. But it doesn’t need to be this way. Making sure regular servicing & all year round maintenance is undertaken, can avoid these eventualities.
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.
Spring & Summer (March – September)
Service schedule: Is your service schedule up to date? Have you checked your mileage & do you know which service your motorcycle needs in any given year?
The pandemic has meant a lot of motorcycles have not been ridden for months on end. However, this does not mean that servicing should be overlooked.
Even if you check your mileage & you decide to book in for an Annual Service, at least you are reassured that your motorcycle will not only benefit from new oil & a new filter; but that a professional would have had the time to check your motorcycle nose to tail, greasing the chain, checking your brakes & tyres & ensuring you are road ready for another year.
Obviously if you are a 365 rider, the miles will mount up quicker & your motorcycle will gain more wear & tear. Therefore, always check your motorcycle manufacturers guidance about your service schedule & stick to it to ensure your motorcycle is road worthy all year round.
We have met a few riders who have older motorcycles which have never had a Major Service, which includes valve clearance checks. We have found many of the older motorcycles have very tight exhaust clearances, which if left unattended long term, can cause damage to the engine.
Fuel: When Spring arrives, ask yourself, is that last year’s fuel in the tank? If it is, it is most likely stale & really does need to be removed (unless yo0u added a fuel stabiliser before winter). Please avoid doing what many riders we have met do & add fresh fuel on top of the stale fuel. This will still mean you have stale fuel running through your carbs, fuel lines or fuel injection system. This can cause poor running in older motorcycles & sluggish riding for modern motorcycles.
With the introduction of E10 into the fuel pumps & with now 10% ethanol added; fuel left for months on end will become stale quicker, evaporate & leave a sticky residue & can, if left for too long, destroy carb rubbers, hoses & in some cases, plastic tanks.
Coolant: Coolant needs to be monitored throughout the year, as an antifreeze in the winter & a coolant in the Spring/Summer. If you find your motorcycle is overheating, check your coolant levels are accurate.
If you notice your coolant levels are dropping you could either have a radiator leak, or in some cases if your motorcycle has a mechanical seal between the coolant & the oil; the seal could be impaired & you could find the coolant mixing with the oil.
Brakes: Brakes need to be checked regularly as part of all year round maintenance. If your brake pads are low, you could put yourself & others at risk if you cannot stop properly.
The more serious side of brake maintenance is if the calipers are not serviced regularly. If calipers seize & subsequently bind, you could find that one day your motorcycle will suddenly stop unexpectedly or not at all.
Caliper strip & clean should be part of any Major Service, however, if you notice your brakes are squeaking, you feel or hear them binding & or you notice that your brake performance suddenly becomes of concern; seek professional help immediately.
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.
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 on race compound tyres, you would be lucky to get 300 miles out of them. Likewise, it’s no good running your track bike on 20yr old touring tyres, you wouldn’t make it to the first corner!
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
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 turn over 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 & will need replacing.
Fork seals: Fork seals can start to leak at any time. Road debris, stone chips, salt & dust can all creep under the fork seals causing them to leak. Leaving it too long between fork seal replacements can put an enormous strain on the rubber compound, as it begins to deteriorate with age, which can also cause leaks.
Another more common reason for fork seals starting to leak, is if the chrome on the stanchions is pitted, rusted, scratched or beginning to show signs of thinning. All of these things can add to a poor seal being created by the fork seal & causing them to leak.
Here at mono motorcycles, we only fit genuine fork seals as we have found all too often that non genuine seals simply do not create the right seal & can leak again all too quickly.
Caution: If you find your fork seals are leaking, do not leave them too long before you get the issue addressed.
Fork oil can drip down onto your brake calipers & discs causing irreparable damage, hardening or glazing of the pads & discs & impair brake performance.
Chain & sprockets: Greasing your motorcycle chain not only aids longevity, but it also keeps the performance of the motorcycle in check. A dry & rusty chain, which can be caused by hot weather & dusty road surfaces; can cause riding inconsistencies & make the drive train feel harsh when riding. If you ride through the winter months & the road salt got into your chain, you may want to consider replacing it before the riding season.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or through our contact page.