Harley or Honda, road racing or motocross, one thing’s certain: If you're a motorcycle enthusiast, you’re passionate about your bike and you know motorcycle maintenance is essential.
There are dozens of motorcycle parts that should be checked on a regular basis, but according to David Buckshaw, technical trainer for Honeywell CPG and an avid motorcycle rider, here are some of the basics.
Tires: Riders should get into the habit of checking their tire pressure and tire tread on a regular basis. For pressure, tires should be as close as possible to the recommended PSI level in the bike’s owner’s manual. When tires aren’t properly inflated, not only do they wear more quickly, but handling and ride quality are diminished too.
Tread can be checked by a basic penny test. Simply put a penny into the tire groove, where the tread appears the lowest, with Queen Elizabeth II’s crown facing down. “If the top of Queen Elizabeth the II’s crown is visible, then it’s probably time to replace your tire,” recommends Buckshaw.
Spark plugs: Spark plugs are constantly exposed to high pressure and extreme temperatures, so it's no surprise that they need be checked every 4,800-8,000 kilometres. Checking them doesn't always mean replacing them; sometimes they just need to be wiped down. In today’s market, there are specific plugs that are meant to improve a bike’s performance. You can find a quick lesson in changing them online at youtube.com/autolitesparkplugs.
Antifreeze/coolant: A simple maintenance step, but one that is often forgotten, is replacing your motorcycle’s coolant. If coolant levels run too low, you run the risk of either overheating or freezing your engine. Be sure to use a formula designed for motorcycles. “Occasionally, coolant levels appear to be OK, but if the coolant hasn't been changed in over two years it can get contaminated and become less effective,” said Buckshaw.