Basic motorbike maintenance is essential if you want to get the most out of each ride and avoid time off the road.
Here are our top tips for maintaining your motorbike, including which professional services to consider and how to spot warning signs before major problems occur:
Motorcycle tyres are essential for keeping you and your passengers safe on the road.
The pressure in your tyres influences how your motorbike handles, brakes and accelerates, and under-inflated tyres can cause major problems.
Once a week, or before you take your motorbike out, be sure to check tyre inflation pressure, condition and tread count. Look for signs of damage, uneven wear, splits and cracks.
The legal tread depth requirement for motorcycles over 50cc is 1mm minimum and the recommended inflation for your tyres should be stated in your motorcycle manual.
Fluids like coolant and oil should be checked and replaced regularly to increase your motorbike’s performance and longevity. Your manufacturer’s guide will advise you on which type of oil you should use depending on the time of year and temperature.
Ensure the engine isn’t hot before adding coolant to avoid cracks forming from the sudden change in temperature. If the engine’s too hot, you’ll risk injuring yourself, so replace any fluids before your journey, or wait for it to cool down.
Ensure your motorbike chain has the right amount of slack (about one inch of play) at the tightest spot. Too much tension can cause havoc with your wheels and gearbox bearings.
Add lubricant to your chain when you return from a ride – preferably while it’s still warm, so your chain can absorb it as it cools down.
Don’t forget to wipe it down with chain cleaner before you apply the oil though, to avoid creating a thick paste, which could damage the chain.
Checking your lights frequently is essential for road safety. Faulty or broken lights mean your motorbike isn’t road-worthy and you’re at risk of being stopped by the police and issued a ‘vehicle defect rectification notice’. This gives you 14 days from the issuing of the notice to fix the fault and provide proof to the police your motorbike is fit for the road.
Even if your bulbs are in good condition, if you drive your motorbike regularly, dirt and dust can gather on the mirrors and windshield and compromise visibility. So, make sure to clean your front and rear lights regularly.
The condition of the battery can affect your motorbike’s performance, particularly during a heatwave or a cold snap.
To avoid any problems or power failure, check your battery once a month and clean the terminals using a terminal post, clamp brush and battery cleaner to prevent any corrosion.
Ensure vent caps are tight to prevent the cleaner entering the cells. Once the terminals are completely dry, you can apply anti-corrosion spray around each terminal to prevent future corrosive build-up.
Taking your motorbike out for regular short journeys and occasional long runs is the best way to keep your battery working properly.
Your motorbike doesn’t require an MOT until it’s three years old. After this point, it’ll need to pass one every year to be legally roadworthy.
Make sure to add a reminder to your calendar a month before your motorbike service is due, to give yourself enough time to book an appointment.
Riding without a valid MOT certificate can result in a hefty fine, points on your licence and it’ll invalidate your insurance, too.
We hope your bike passes its service, but if it’s time to move on to a new model, check out our financing options to help get you back out on the road.