Clean bike? Or can’t be bothered? It may just save your life

How many times has something like a split hose, broken chain, or other avoidable problem, come along when you least expect it? Miles away from home. During the dark hours. In the rain.. (you get the picture).

Now, cleaning your motorcycle wont only keep these avoidable issues at bay, it will also keep your bike looking good.

There are many on-line tutorials on cleaning motorcycles, so I wont go too much into it, but a quick Google search will bring you step-by-step guides. In a nutshell, be sure to use bike specific cleaner, rubber-safe cleaner for rubber parts, plastic-safe cleaner for plastic and so on. Most commercial bike cleaning solutions nowadays are safe to use all over the bike and are formulated as such. Wax on the paintwork will also keep it looking clean for longer and protects the paintwork.

Whilst you’re cleaning, it’s the perfect time for the real topic I want to write about:-

Preventative Maintenance

Preventative maintenance is maintenance carried out to prevent problems. A good example is your motorcycle chain. As the chain wears, it stretches and must be kept at a correct tension setting. To loose and it may come off, too tight and it may snap as you go over speed humps or potholes. The correct tension also helps increase its life. Now, ensuring it is always set at the correct tension will prevent it being too loose or too tight. Similarly, frequently checking brake pads is also a good idea, so as you don’t realise you got no brake pad life left all of a sudden. The same goes for clutch/throttle or any control cables. Checking them often could avoid that moment when you’re miles away from home, about to downshift, and realise the you press the lever and feel no resistance, and you somehow fluke it to a stop only to figure that your clutch cable has snapped.

Whilst you are washing your bike, it is a perfect time to carry out essential checks and preventative maintenance. Below you will find a list of things that are frequently checked, and I recommend for you to check. I may have missed something, so feel free to comment or get in touch for additions or amendments.

  • All lights, signals and horn working (including electrical switchgear – brake light switches, clutch switches and so on)
  • Tyres: wear, condition and pressure
  • Wheels: condition
  • Grips, handlebar, pegs all stable and not loose
  • Mirrors, fairing and all bodywork secure
  • Brake pads and discs
  • Chain and sprockets – clean and lube chain, adjust if necessary
  • Bearings – May need a friend help with these:
    • Wheel bearings, check wheels for sideways movement by tugging along the top and bottom from either side of the bike, with the wheel off the floor
    • Steering, push and pull bottom of forks (with front wheel off the floor using a stand that doesn’t hold it from the forks or headstock). Also, ensure that the steering movement is smooth with no knocks or notches.
    • Swingarm, it helps to have the rear wheel off the floor but isn’t necessary. Check for unusual side-to-side movement of the swingarm. The only way the swingarm should move is up and down (to compensate for speed humps and potholes, of course!)
  • Front forks, compress them a few times, then check to make sure that they aren’t leaking any oil and compress the front forks to see if the suspension works. Also ensure that it is a smooth movement with no nasty sounds.
  • Rear shock(s), press down on the back of the motorcycle to ensure that the rear suspensions works and the bike come up again. Also ensure that it is a smooth movement with no nasty sounds.
  • Rubber hoses/fluid pipes/brake hoses can perish over time if they are rubber. Certain metals can rust though too, so be sure to check over all of them. Even a tiny hairline crack can and will expand, so be sure to get it looked at quickly.

Preventative maintenance is that little extra that bikers should put in, to avoid big unexpected bills and odd breakdowns. Regular checks and greasing the right bits will keep your bike looking clean, feeling clean, and riding well. Ride a well maintained bike, your life depends on it.

We can do the above for you, as well as servicing and MoTs.

Get in touch for further advice to to book your bike in for one of our services.

Ride safe,

Ali

Off-roading in Hertfordshire or London?

Hi guys and girls, another post today  following the earlier instructional on how to change engine oil and replace the filter on your motorcycle.

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As many of you know, off road motorcycle riding, on an amateur level, is becoming a declining sector in the motorcycle world. This is due to many reasons; the green-lane closures is part of them.

As many of you are aware, we have recently taken on a new manager by the name of José Teto. He has many titles under his belt for off-roading and powersports (jet-skiing!). You can see his intro video over on our YouTube channel.

Being an off-road legend, he knows all about the trials and enduro rides (having competed in many on a pro level), so feel free to come down and have a chat with him!

Since José’s arrival, we also cater to the off-road and motocross sector, whether you race, ride or just potter around off-road.

We are also happy to carry out bike set-ups for long distance enduro rides!

Get the word out, and let’s collectively liven up the off-roading in Herts and London, and look forward to the coming summer!

Changing motorcycle oil – simple and effective

This is a quick post – part of a series of instructional posts that I will be writing.

Changing your motorcycle oil is a simple and straightforward job, depending on the bike, age, mileage, condition etc. The oil acts as a lubricant for the engine and all its internal gubbins.

Firstly, ensure that your motorcycle is secure and raised on a centre-stand or auxiliary stand. For the demo bike we used, we opted for an auxiliary stand (it’s more secure, and this bike does not have a centre-stand).

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Our demo bike has a sump-guard, which we need to remove. Remove the sump guard, bellypan or fairing if the bike has one.

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Next, you need to locate the drain bolt. It’s usually on the bottom part of the sump, and with a clean container (needs to be clean so you can see if the oil has been contaminated with any debris – or even metal shavings – we’ve seen it all before!) placed, unscrew it.

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Also, using the correct tools, remove the oil filter.

Grab a can, or a coffee, and relax for a while (half an hour is usually more than enough for it all to drain out).

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Post-coffee, replace the filter with a new filter, using the same tools (only tighten to 10nm, or just past hand-tight), and lubricating the rubber seal with engine oil. Replace the sump drain bolt – new sealing copper washer – tightened to correct settings. Fill up oil with the correct amount, and check the quantity. Usually, it’s a dipstick to check the level, or a sight glass – all bikes are different, so do check your book for the correct procedure.

The type and quantity of oil is in your handbook or owners manual.

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Start the bike up, check for leaks, and if all good, reward yourself for a quick quid saved!

Please note: we accept no liability whatsoever of the accuracy of the above info. The above guide is a reference only. Your motorcycle may be different, and require a different procedure. Please always consult your owners manual and technician for any advice. Alternatively, give us a call!!

New SUSPENSION centre due to open soon, serving London and Hertfordshire

Ladies and gents,

Moving forward with the business, we are to open a new suspension specialist side to the business, serving the road bikes as well as the off road bikes.

Badly set up suspension really does make or break the handling of a bike, as it is the job of the suspension components to keep your tyres on the road!!

Fork rebuilds, shock absorber rebuilds, and total refurbishment services available. We can also carry out adjustments, tailored to you.

Don’t throw that old shock away – they just tell you that it needs replacing, enticing you to pay money for a new unit. Bring it down for rebuilding!

Keep posted on our website for details.

Thanks,

Team Herts SBC