Modern motorcycles don’t need the kind of maintenance that most bikes required earlier, but that doesn’t mean you can sit back, take off when you please, and expect your bike to run smoothly forever. On an average, they still need a lot more maintenance than a car, and as a rider, you need to know your bike and its requirements well. Stuart Lima, a professional biker and mechanic gives us a few handy tips on keeping your bike shipshape. Stuart Lima
has his garage and bike accessories showroom called 7th Gear
at Shivaji Park in Mumbai.
Things to check regularly
Once every two to three months you have to check all the important components of your bike to make sure everything’s in order; more so if you plan to go long-distance biking.
• Check for tire wear and tear – Make sure your tires aren’t worn out, and also lookout for any embedded objects in the rubber. While you’re at it make sure all the spokes are intact, and that the rim of the wheel is not in any way misshaped, and that the bearings are in order. Make sure the air pressure is always optimum. It’s crucial for the balance and stability of the bike. And once every couple of months, check the alignment of the wheels
• Check the oil – The oil level should never be too low or too high. It is recommended that you change the oil every six months. Top up the oil whenever necessary, and check for leakages.
• Check the battery – A battery doesn’t require much maintenance (especially not in the new bikes) and will last you up to five years without any trouble. Check the electrolyte level on a monthly basis, make sure the contacts are clean, and look out for the water level; top it with distilled or de-ionized water when required.
• Clean the spark plug and the spark points regularly; at least every two months.
• Keep the carburetor clean. Visit your mechanic for a compressed air cleaning regularly.
• Keep the brakes working – Make sure your brakes are appropriately spaced (not too tight or too loose). You need to keep a tab on the brake fluid and replace it when the levels drop (or about once every two years).
• Lubricate the chain often; also tighten it regularly, while making sure that it’s not too taut.
• Check that the fuel filter is clean.
• Make sure the exhaust pipe is not clogged.
• Always make sure your headlights, tail lights and indicator lights are working well.
• Ensure that your bike papers and insurance papers are checked and valid, and always keep a photocopy on the bike.
Riding and Safety Tips
• As a rider, you need to be vigilant and strategic, not brash and negligent.
• Learn to get the best out of your vehicle within its economy zone. Don’t rev too much and strain the engine; that’ll waste fuel.
• A good helmet is a must.
• When you’re biking long distance, always carry a little spare fuel, a tool kit and a puncture kit.
• Always get your bike checked up before leaving, and take a few emergency repair tips from your mechanic; they might come handy.
Ride safe, and ride happy!
By Divya Nadkarni