Tag Archives: hertfordshire superbike centre

Yes! A CBX1000 Pro Link in at Hertfordshire Superbikes?! Yeah!

Here at Hertfordshire Superbike Centre, we have all sorts of machines enter our doors.

Lately, we’ve had a CBX1000 Prolink (see pic below for a minter!).

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Our CBX1000 seemed to be in decent nick for its age (30 years or so! older than me!), but simply wouldn’t start. Checking the obvious, we found it to be a faulty starter motor, which was quickly diagnosed and the problem resolved!

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And this thing running.. Sounds SWEET! I think they made it to sound like a jet!

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

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!!

The winter season of 2013 – Part 1

Wow, that was a quick summer of 2013.

This is a long post, so I will be splitting it into two posts.

Before we know it, most bikers are packing away their bikes – let’s hope they have poured fuel stabiliser into a full tank of fuel, and given the bike a service and a liberal coat of GT85 or WD40, or ACF50.

However, some bikers ride all year round – maybe its for the love of it, or it’s simply too impractical to commute using other means.

My personal bit of advice is to get a thorough service done and preventative maintenance carried out so you catch issues before the winter really kicks in.

For the actual ride itself – it’s a little bit like riding during the summer, but wetter, less visibility, slippery road surface, but most of all finger-numbingly cold, which can affect the rider, mind and body! As you may know, riding a motorcycle takes a fair amount of concentration and attention; especially with the 4X4s/SUVs and luxury car drivers, some of whom are never paying attention, some commuters in their cars having a domestic on the phone – like it can’t wait ’til they get home!, and those annoying pedestrians who step out of nowhere. Not forgetting the “soccer mums” Facebooking or doing their make-up whilst in moving traffic (I really have seen it all!).

I shall tackle the above issues one by one in the order above – the issues with winter riding, that is (not my ramblings/issues about the drivers who shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a car!)

Wet Wet Wet


Firstly, the wetter aspect. It does rain (a lot in the UK!). I know of one elderly rider who once said to me, “Ali, don’t worry, my skin is waterproof”. Now that is true, so even if you do happen to get soaked all the way to the skin, get home, turn the heating on and be sure to warm up with a nice cup of tea!

The aim is to not get wet. Now in the words of James May, or to that effect – “Waterproof motorcycle clothing is an oxymoron”. I own various textile jackets, and two pairs of standard textile trousers, all of which are “waterproof”. Okay, they may be fine in showers, or light rainfall, but eventually it will get through. Out come the plastics or waterproof over-garments you can get form any camping store. Now these are also good, but aren’t as durable as the motorcycle specific versions. Some are also not very breathable. Then come the one-piece “onesies”. These are a good compromise, as they do tend to keep water out pretty darn well, but its the inconvenience in slipping into it, getting it off, and mostly needing to go pee! Let’s not even talk about needing a number two!!

Then you get the more advanced materials, like Goretex (and similar named synthetics by various manufacturers). Both waterproof and breathable. This is a godsend, but then you’ll need a god sent paycheque in order to go and buy one. I actually shelled out for a Rukka Goretex jacket,  have had it for around 4 years now, slightly worn, but still waterproof. I wear it in ALL seasons, rendering my other jackets useless.
My preferred plan of action is to wear plastics over my trousers and depending on the weeks forecast they either become a permanent fixture over my riding trousers, or sit in my tank bag until needed. I do have a waterproof over-jacket but very rarely I need it – It does come out however, in more than average rainfall as the inconvenience of drying my jacket really does get to me.

Be Safe, Be Seen


Onto the next issue, visibility. Wear hi-vis or have hi-vis elements on you or your bike. If you are anti-hi-vis that’s no problem, just ensure that you can be seen – there is that school of thought that bikers don’t need to wear hi-vis. Drivers should be more careful. Yes, that’s true, but this is life, nothing is perfect, and most drivers aren’t educated enough about motorcycles. The most common type of motorcycle accident is the classic SMIDSY, “Sorry mate, I didn’t see you”. Be safe, be seen. Stand out like a sore thumb. In winter, it gets dark early – dark when I leave home in the morning, and dark when I leave work. Couple the low visibility with rain, and rush hour traffic, and there is a higher risk of a SMIDSY.


That’s it for now folks. Keep posted for more on this topic – Road Surface and Finger-Numbingly Cold in the next post.

Ride Safe,

Ali


Motorcycle Valve Clearances Check

The frequency of this inspection will be determined by the make and model of your bike but it is a check often not carried out at the correct frequency .

Why ?

It can be pretty time consuming especially on larger bikes and Im afraid some service centres will simply wipe over the cam covers and proclaim the valves checked. I recently carried out a check on a Ducati 999s. To do this you need to remove the fairings , tank / seat , drain the coolant and remove the radiator and fans to get at the front cylinder. Once the cam covers are off the measurements are pretty simple if you know how to use feeler gauges and on a Ducati you also have the closing clearances to check.

Generally on all bikes the checking of the clearances is a good long term preventative measure to ensure you don,t end up with a much larger bill. Put quite simply if your valve clearances are wrong at best engine performance will suffer at worst you will get burnt valves and or damaged cams / valve stems. These days the cost of rebuilding the head at commercial rates normally means soyrcing a good used engine ie major surgery !

When should you do it ? check your manual but as a rough guide I would say every 2 years or 12,000 miles.

If in doubt just give us a call.