Welcome to the second in our series of ‘5 Tips’ articles. This week we’ll be focusing on maintenance. What are the 5 key areas of your bike you should focus on to keep your bike healthy through the winter?
1/ PROTECT YOUR BIKE FROM THE ELEMENTS
If you don’t have access to a shed or garage, at least get a cover for your bike. This will offer a good level of protection, but a certain amount of moisture will still find its way in. So it’s best to treat your bike to some water-repellent spray.
We use a product called FS365 which is easy to apply – just wipe on or spray on. It’s best to re-apply after each wash to help build up a protective coating.
The other product we use is ACF50 which is thicker and gives a longer lasting protective layer. However, it can be messy to apply and does leave the bike with a dull finish. It works well though.
2/ PROTECT SWITCHGEAR
It’s good practice to lubricate switchgear and electrical connections to protect them against moisture in the air. We’d recommend WD40 for this purpose. Be sure to treat all exposed connectors and switches including the brake light switch and sidestand cut-out.
3/ CHECK LEVELS
Check oil, coolant and brake fluid levels frequently and keep them topped up.
4/ CHAIN CONDITION
When cleaning a chain, avoid using solvents. Paraffin is good for cleaning the chain – use an old toothbrush to apply. It can be a messy job! Place some rags or cardboard behind the chain where you’re spraying and scrubbing to prevent the cleaning liquid and the grime from getting on other parts of your bike. You can buy specially formulated chain cleaning products.
For lubricating the chain, we recommend using a specific lubricant made for motorcycle chains – we stock various oils and waxes for this purpose. Don’t be tempted to using standard WD-40 as it contains petroleum based oils that can be corrosive to some chain components.
One last tip – before cleaning your chain it helps to take the bike for a short ride (15 mins) to warm it up first.
5/ BATTERY CONDITION
Battery condition – We strongly recommend the use of an Optimate charger to maintain battery condition. It keeps your battery in healthy condition if it’s laid up for a while over the winter. Cold weather will highlight any battery weaknesses. Most batteries are now sealed-for-life units that should require no maintenance – so it’s best to replace a weak battery than to try charging it up.
See you next Friday.
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