While many people think there isn’t much to maintaining a motorcycle on a day-to-day basis, don’t let that keep you from a proper safety check before each ride. Here are some basic tips to follow to keep your bike running at its best.
Check the tire pressure – Be sure you have a high quality air pressure gauge. Before each ride inspect your tires and maintain proper tire and make it a habit to inspect the tires for cuts or abrasions, or uneven wear. Be sure to also check the spokes to see if any are damaged or loose and rims to insure there are no dents or cracks.
Change the oil and check fluids – Motorcycles are a lot like cars. They need an oil change and proper fluid maintenance at regular intervals to keep them healthy. The recommended intervals for an oil change are every 3 months or every 3,000 miles, much like an automobile.
Maintain the chain – Chain tension is very important on a bike, as is lubrication. Many riders will lube their chain before every ride. This is a good thing – you can inspect the chain rollers for cracked rollers and can examine the sprocket at the same time for “hooked” teeth. Use either spray wax chain lubricant or pour some gear oil on the chain. Be very careful here that the rear wheel doesn’t get cocked from improper adjustment.
Check the battery – Typically, a battery on a motorcycle should be checked at each oil change. Ensure electrolytes are up to the proper level, and inspect for cracks or problems from vibration.
Like an automobile, your bike has a regular maintenance schedule listed in the owner’s manual. Have these services performed by an authorized dealer unless you are an accomplished mechanic.
You should always have your owner’s manual with the motorcycle. It also tells you where the fuse box is, in the unlikely chance a fuse blows. It tells you how to get a wheel off, should you have the misfortune of a flat tire.
Those are the basic things that most riders should be able to do on their own. There are also other things such as valve adjustments and cleaning carbs (if applicable) that may be worth it to learn.