With the weather on the turn, it’s time to dust off your helmet and get back on the road. You might be ready to ride, but is your motorcycle?
With these 5 tips you can ensure your motorcycle is as ready to hit the road as you are!
1. CLEAN YOUR BIKE
Begin your riding season with a fresh, clean bike. Over the winter months, your motorcycle often gets covered in road salt and other gunk and grime. A good clean will tackle this, and get your bike sparkling and ready for the summer.
Make sure you clean your motorcycles chain too. The stresses on drive chains are enormous, so give it a long & happy life! Remove grit and grime from your motorcycle chain with a chain cleaning brush. For the best results use with a chain cleaner.
2. PROTECT YOUR MOTORCYCLE FROM CORROSION
Now your bike’s clean and dry, help prevent corrosion by spraying your motorbike with ACF50, Scott Oiler or GT85 (every metallic surface except anywhere near the brakes). If your motorcycle already has started to corrode, ACF50 helps stop existing corrosion from spreading.
All three options are ultra-thin fluid films that cover and protect the metal surfaces prone to corrosion. All are safe to use on any metal.
Developed for the aerospace industry, ACF50 dispels moisture and forms an atmospheric barrier that breaks down corroding acids and moisture. The protection lasts while the chemical ingredients are active: usually 12 months. ACF50 can be applied to wet and already corroded surfaces.
Developed by WD40, GT85 is a water-dispersant spray that forms an oil-based, ultra-thin barrier film on your metal. A PTFE component ensures moisture and corroding substances run off the surface. Re-apply when the film has worn through, usually 4-6 weeks. GT85 Can be applied to wet surfaces.
Scott Oiler F365 forms an oil-based, ultra-thin barrier film on metal. PH-correcting additives combat corrosive acids by neutralising their effect, reapply every 6-8 weeks. F365 can be applied to wet surfaces.
3. LUBRICATE ALL MOVING PARTS
Lubricate everything that moves, starting with the chain. Lubricate your motorcycle’s chain with a good quality chain spray. Do this by spraying forward and down onto the top of the lower run of the chain while walking your bike until you have sprayed the full length of the chain. Wipe away all the excess lubricant after.
Extra top tip: Chain wax performs better in wet weather, while chain lube performs better in dry weather.
You should also treat your clutch, throttle cables, and lever pivots to a bit of silicone grease.
4. CHECK YOUR OIL, FUEL AND OTHER FLUIDS
Check your oil level, or better yet, change the oil and filter. When it comes to your motorcycle oil change, you could be a seasoned pro draining good quality oil, but you still might miss something. Acids can formed thanks to the combination of high temperatures, combustion and oxidisation that goes on in the engine. The acid can lead to grime which can stick inside parts of the engine and dramatically affect the way new oil protects and lubricates your bike’s engine. Using STP Engine Flush in the old oil before you drain it will help to neutralise the acid and loosen grime for when you drain it. It also contains anti-wear additives that help protect surfaces of the engine during cleaning. To get the best results from the Engine Flush, it should be used with every oil change.
Ensure your engine starts easily by adding a fuel stabilizer like Star Tron to the petrol tank. Simply add Star Tron to the tank before you fill up and you’re done. Star Tron prevents gums and blockages from forming during periods of infrequent usage. A common problem with many motorcycles is a blocked fuel injector. This fuel additive will stop that happening! It allows you to start your motorcycle engine smoothly and easily every time and is great for motorcycles that are not being used frequently.
One of the most neglected fluids on a motorcycle is the brake fluid. Glycol-based brake fluid (the most common for cars and bikes) is extremely hygroscopic, meaning that it has a tendency to absorb moisture straight out of the air. This moisture can permeate through the Brake Hoses and contaminate the Brake Fluid. The water in the system will then heat up under braking and can form vapour locks which in turn will destroy the effectiveness of the brakes. At the very least you should check and top off the fluid levels in your master cylinder, ensuring you use the correct brake fluid for your bike (different DOT brake fluids should never be mixed.)
Another fluid to check is coolant; make sure coolant levels are up to spec. Engine coolant performance deteriorates over time. This can be caused by a build-up of aluminium corrosion or a change in the fluid to coolant ratio when periodically topped up. Most coolants contain special ingredients to help keep the solution alkaline. Over a period of time these lose their effectiveness, so the coolant should be changed at least every two years regardless of mileage.
5. LOOK AFTER YOUR MOTORCYCLE BATTERY
A flat battery is one of those things that always seems to happen when you need your bike the most. To keep your motorbike starting first time, every time, looking after your battery is essential. A smart charger will help prolong the life of your battery. Just plug it in when your motorbike is not in use and the charger will keep your battery in tip top condition. Smart chargers fully charge your battery when it’s drained, then simply maintain your battery when it’s full.
Important: spend a little extra on the charger: The smarter the software in the battery charger the more it will maintain the battery, meaning it will prolong the battery’s life. That makes more economic sense: motorcycle batteries tend to be more expensive than a quality smart battery charger.
Extra top tip: If the posts on your battery are corroded, now would be a good time to remove the battery bolts and clean them up. Also, a little grease on the threads of the bolts will keep them corrosion free. If your motorbike’s battery is not maintenance free, check the fluid levels in each chamber. Top up with distilled or deionized water only. When doing this, please make sure to wear gloves and protective glasses. Top up in a well-ventilated area, beware of fumes!
Now your battery’s charged, all moving parts are lubricated and your motorbikes clean there’s only one thing left to do.. Go out for a ride!