Be your own shade tree mechanic and don’t get left out on the side of the road at the mercy of the elements.
We have what you need to know in order to keep you rolling along.
In order to truly enjoy the freedom that comes with riding a motorcycle, one must achieve a certain level of proficiency that at least allows the rider to be more capable and independent. One question that new riders often have when purchasing a motorcycle is the how-to for basic maintenance.
2. Basic Services
While many riders rely on their dealerships for routine services, the ability to complete a basic oil change is a convenient way to save a considerable amount of money while getting your know your motorcycle. The oil change is covered in every motorcycle owners manual just like chain or belt tension, spark plugs, etc. Some people who do change their own oil will not touch the primary chaincase, which is also a very simple and convenient procedure for basic maintenance. Today’s Harley-Davidson motorcycles utilize the same oil for everything so is very convenient. Invest in your motorcycle’s maintenance manual and the basic tools specific to your vehicle. While basic services are not necessarily a repair skill they will allow you to identify when things don’t feel or look right on the road.
3. Flat Tires
Few things can ruin your day out like a flat tire. Unfortunately, most tire punctures require a new replacement tire but it does not necessarily mean the end of your ride if you know what to do. A tire repair kit is a common-have for experienced riders and the process by which to fix a flat is fairly straightforward and can save your day. In today’s world you don’t even have to read the instructions on the tire kit, instead look up a video online to see it for yourself. This season alone we had several incidents where nails, sharp piece of wood, and an old earring ruined a back tire but not the day.
4. Dead Battery
Jump-starting a dead battery is typically not a challenging situation for a vast majority of riders out there, however, for some new to the lifestyle it can be a tough situation. The jump start process is straightforward and much like you would do on a car. On a motorcycle, however, you have the option of using the tender pigtails (if your bike is equipped with them) or by connecting the positive end directly to the starter post. This will avoid you having to access the battery which can be a major advantage on the road. On touring bikes the starter is located directly on top of the transmission and under the seat; remove the weather cap from the starter, connect your positive lead and the negative to the frame. Invest in a $20 set of motorcycle jumper cables for peace of mind.
5. Clutch Replacement
Another common issue on the road that you are likely to come across is a clutch gone bad. With some practice, it’s actually not that difficult to fix while on the road and can save your day (and a costly tow). Many online companies offer “clutch kits” and either yourself or a buddy will appreciate it being there.
Very few things in your saddle bag (or tool bag) are as versatile and lightweight as zip ties. Have a few in different sizes and they can do everything from holding fenders and exhausts together to replace fallen nuts and bolts. In addition to these handy must-haves, an assortment of fuses should make your list within your tool-kit. Take some time to know how many and what kind of fuses your bike has as well as what they do and what they control. As motorcycles get more complex and electronic systems become one with mechanical systems chances are some issues on the road might just be taken care of with a new fuse.