Motorcycles, whether powered by electricity or gasoline, are more than just machines—they are an extension of their riders’ personalities and a source of pure exhilaration.
Regular maintenance and care are essential to ensure that your motorcycle remains in peak condition, providing you with safe and enjoyable adventures. In this article, we will share nine important tips that will help you take care of your electric or combustion engine motorcycle so you can enjoy maximum performance and optimum reliability for the road ahead.
Regular maintenance helps identify any potential issues before they become problems, reducing the risk of breakdowns and accidents where riders may be put at risk. Additionally, a well-maintained motorcycle performs better, delivers solid riding range, and saves you money by extending the life of the complex and costly components that make modern motorcycles such a joy out on the road.
Enjoy a smooth and trouble-free ride for years to come with the following maintenance tips.
One of the first, and easiest, areas to check are the lights and signaling devices. First, check that all the lights work—headlights, taillights, turn signals, and brake lights. Clean any dirt or debris from the lenses and replace any burnt-out bulbs. It is also crucial to ensure that your headlights are properly adjusted. Top Tip: Use a wall or garage door as a reference point and adjust the headlight to ensure it is at the correct height.
2. Tire Maintenance
As the only point of contact between your motorcycle and the road, tire maintenance is essential for safety and performance. Regularly check the tire pressure using a reliable pressure gauge and adjust it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Inspect the tires for any signs of wear or damage every time you head out. Replace tires that have worn beyond the legal tread depth limit, and check for any foreign objects embedded in the tires, such as nails or screws, removing them to prevent the tire from deflating.
3. Chain Maintenance
For motorcycles equipped with a chain drive, proper maintenance is crucial for optimal performance and longevity. Start by cleaning the chain regularly using a suitable chain cleaner or mild detergent and a brush. This helps remove dirt, grime, and debris that will accelerate chain wear. After cleaning, lubricate the chain using a high-quality chain lubricant. Apply the lubricant evenly along the entire length of the chain, ensuring it penetrates the rollers and links. Excess lubricant should be wiped off to prevent attracting dirt and debris.
Regularly check the chain tension and adjust it according to the manufacturer’s specifications. A properly tensioned chain ensures smooth power transfer and prevents excessive wear of the sprockets. Finally, inspect the sprockets for signs of wear or damage and replace them if necessary.
4. Brake System Maintenance
Your motorcycle’s brake system is critical for your safety and should be regularly inspected and maintained. First, check the brake fluid level and ensure it is within the recommended range. If the fluid is low, top it up with the recommended brake fluid, and check the condition of the brake lines for any signs of leakage or damage.
Inspect the brake pads for wear and replace them if they have reached the minimum thickness specified by the manufacturer. Check the brake rotors for excessive wear as well, and replace them as necessary.
5. Engine Oil and Filter Change
On an ICE (internal combustion engine) motorcycle, regularly changing the engine oil and filter is essential for maintaining engine performance and longevity. Engine oil lubricates the moving parts and reduces friction, as well as helps to dissipate heat. Over time, the oil becomes contaminated, reducing its effectiveness.
Check the oil level regularly using the dipstick or sight glass and ensure it is within the recommended range. If the oil appears dirty or has a burnt smell, it is time for an oil change. Replace the oil filter at the same time to prevent contaminants from circulating in the fresh oil. When changing the oil, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the oil type and viscosity. Be sure to dispose of the used oil and filter properly, as they can be harmful to the environment.
6. Air Filter Maintenance
The air filter plays a crucial role in preventing fine dirt and debris from entering the engine. A clogged or dirty air filter can restrict airflow, leading to reduced engine performance and fuel efficiency.
Regularly inspect the air filter and clean or replace it as necessary. To make it easy, follow the manufacturer’s service intervals for proper air filter maintenance and replacement. Remember, if your motorcycle is frequently exposed to dusty environments, you will need to inspect, and possibly replace, the air filter more frequently.
Just as the ICE is the heart of the traditional motorcycle, the battery is the heart of your electric motorcycle. With proper maintenance, charging, and operation, your battery can last as long as five years—or even longer.
You must charge the battery properly at all times—including not overcharging it—so when charging, only use a suitably rated charger and follow the instructions carefully. If your motorcycle is equipped with a Li-ion battery, it is best to keep the state of charge between 20 and 80 percent. If you have to remove the battery to charge, refer to the manufacturer’s manual to do this safely.
8. Cooling System Maintenance
Proper cooling system maintenance is essential to prevent overheating. Overheating will reduce an electric motorcycle’s battery’s cycle life and can cause potential component damage to ICE-equipped bikes.
Regularly check the coolant level in the reservoir and ensure it is within the recommended range. If the coolant level is low, top it up with the appropriate coolant mixture that is specified by the manufacturer to maintain the proper cooling properties.
Inspect the cooling system hoses and connections for any signs of leaks or deterioration and replace any damaged or worn hoses to prevent coolant leakage. Owners must periodically flush and replace the coolant according to the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure optimal cooling system performance.
9. Battery Maintenance
In an ICE motorcycle, the battery provides the electrical power necessary for starting and operating the motorcycle. To ensure reliability, it is important to regularly check the battery terminals for corrosion and clean them using a battery terminal cleaner or a mixture of baking soda and water. Also ensure the terminals are tight and secure to prevent any electrical issues.
Check the battery’s electrolyte level if it is a maintenance-type battery. If the electrolyte level is low, carefully add distilled water to bring it to the appropriate level. Be careful not to overfill the cells.
Ensure Peak Motorcycle Performance with VSP
Finally, while you can easily and effectively carry out regular maintenance, it is important to have your motorcycle professionally serviced at the recommended intervals. Regular servicing ensures that all components are inspected, adjusted, lubricated, or replaced as required.
With the average length of vehicle ownership increasing, Vehicle Service Protection (VSP) can be a smart way to minimize unexpected repair expenses for as long as you own your motorcycle. Helpful VSP plans ensure mechanical repairs including parts and labor stay covered long after the manufacturer’s warranty expires. Instead of worrying about repairs, you can focus on having a blast out on the trail or your favorite scenic road.