More and more people buy motorcycles every year, which is a good thing by all means. The problem is that these new riders often don’t have anyone to teach them how to properly use or take care of a bike, leading to some costly repairs that could have been easily avoided. Here are some tips on how to prolong the life span of your new bike.
1. Early downshifting
Gear shifting on a car and on a motorcycle isn’t always compatible and new riders usually need some time to learn how to do it properly. Downshifting, while common in a car, can be very damaging to the clutch and engine on a bike. Take some time to learn it properly.
2. High RPM for Long Periods of Time
Unnecessary revving you bike is not only annoying everyone around you, including other bikers, but it can also significantly reduce your engine’s life by straining it and casing needless wear and tear.
3. Washing A Bike with Strong Chemicals
Bikes are far more sensitive to harsh chemicals and improper washing techniques than cars, due to their exposed internal bits. Strong degreasers can get into some vital parts and remove lubricants, which can cause significant damage. They can also remove a protective layer of a paint job, leaving it exposed to scratching.
4. Avoid Rough Idling
Rough idling sound usually means that something is off with the engine. If you ignore it, it can cause carbon buildup and other unpleasant things inside the engine that can remove years form its life span. If you detect a change in sound, take your bike to a mechanic.
5. Extreme Weather
Not everyone has a garage space to properly store their bike during the winter. Still, some shelter must be found, since leaving it outside, exposed to the elements during freezing winter night is one of the easiest ways of killing your bike.
6. Checking for Rust
Bikers living in Rust Belt states know how much of a pain it is to clean your bike after a ride, in order to prevent rust from getting a hold on the frame or some other important part. Still, most of them do it religiously, since they are aware that rust can cause some expensive damage, sometimes even unrepairable one.
7. Warming Up the Engine
In the movies, characters often jump on a bike, start it and immediately floor it, all in one smooth motion. They do it because it’s not their bike and they don’t have to deal with the consequences of throttling a cold engine, like leaky valve seals or ruined gaskets.
8. Performing wheelies
Bikes are meant to be ridden on two wheels, not one. The frame is designed to deal with stress coming from two points of contact and every time you pop a wheelie, you add unnecessary wear and tear on it. Not to mention it is an extremely dangerous thing to do. YouTube is filled with videos of people messing up their wheelie.
9. Proper Winterization
Winterization isn’t just draining fluids from your bike. The proper process depends on the exact model, but each manufacturer will supply you with details for your particular model, you just have to follow them and not improvise.
10. Cheap Fuel
It is cheap for a reason and that is all you need to know about it. It may save you a few bucks, but in the long run, it will cost you far more, both in money and time.
11. Oil Change
As with every other internal combustion engine, oil change is a very important part of regular maintenance. Don’t skip it or you can ruin your engine.
12. Knock Off Parts
One of the most common mistakes, especially with younger riders who bought used bikes, is not getting the quality parts when replacing something. They don’t have to be factory ones, there are plenty replacements that are good enough, some are even better than the one’s factory installed in your bike, but avoid cheap copies and knock-off parts.
13. Skipping Maintenance
Bikes require regular maintenance and checkups. For the most part, this may be just tightening or loosening chain, but often, these checkups ca discover something far more serious before it gets a chance to develop into a costly affair.
14. Long Distance Riding
Not all bikes are meant for long distance riding. Even if you have one that is, that doesn’t mean you should ride it for 1,000 miles without a break. Every once and a while, take a break and have some coffee while your bike cools down.
15. Off-Road Riding
We all love to get dirty and have some off-road fun from time to time. As long as you have a proper bike for that, it’s not a problem, but riding a street bike over rough terrain is a sure way of ruining your suspension or getting into an accident.