10 Ways to Keep Your Ride Running Smoothly
In the same way that your body functions better when you invest more time and energy into eating right and staying active, your motorcycle will stay properly functioning with consistent care and maintenance. If you ignore your motorcycle, leaving it to gather dust in-between rides, it will soon become more and more sluggish, and eventually, fail prematurely. The point of this is to say that when you take care of your motorcycle, your motorcycle will take care of you, especially when it counts. Here are 10 simple ways from the pros at Ruhnke’s Xtreme Cycles in Odessa that can help you keep your motorcycle the reliable machine that it was meant to be so that you can hit the road again and again without worry.
Clean Motorcycles Are Happy Motorcycles
The state of your motorcycle generally reflects how you feel about it. A dirty bike is a disrespected bike. Not only does excess dirt and grime potentially obscure vital information on the console and indicator lights, but it can also accumulate in all of the hard-to-reach places of your bike. This excess dirt can be a leading contributor to rust, further deteriorating your ride’s structural integrity and value. Because of this, it’s a good idea to have your motorcycle pressure washed about once a month and to give it a good wipe-down as needed between washings.
Check Your Pressure
Maintaining the correct tire pressure on your bike is critical to achieving maximum fuel economy. Whenever a motorcycle is running on low tire pressure, it is going to suffer when it comes to mileage. The only time that you should ever consider lowering the pressure in your tires are occasions when you are riding on sandy surfaces, or road conditions are slippery and you have slim tires. Releasing some of the tire pressure when conditions are slippery broadens your tires slightly, allowing for more contact with the road and providing more grip. Other than this specific set of circumstances, it’s always recommended to keep your tire pressure at the recommended PSI of the manufacturer. This will allow you a smoother ride, better gas mileage, and keep you on the road longer.
Stop Breaking Bad
There’s no denying that the thrill of speed is one of the greatest appeals of riding a motorcycle. However, it’s also important to be aware that there is little value in being able to ride fast if you’re not able to stop in time to avoid colliding with another vehicle or obstacle. Just like any other vehicle, the brake pads on your motorcycle will deteriorate over time and get dirty. These pads need to be cleaned and replaced as part of the standard maintenance procedure. Similarly, brake fluid is vital to your stopping power. When your brake pads begin to wear out, so too does the level of brake fluid. To keep your motorcycle capable of stopping when you need it to stop, check the condition of your brake pads and top off your brake fluid every few months.
It is incredibly dangerous to ride your motorcycle with a drive chain that is too loose. Not only do loose drive chains reduce your mileage efficiency, but they are susceptible to actually coming off and damaging the casing. Conversely, having a drive chain that is too tight can actually cause the chain to snap due to excess tension. Your bike’s owner’s manual should have guidelines that indicate the proper tension that is recommended for your motorcycle chain, and you should regularly make sure that it is adjusted as needed.
Coming In Clutch
Especially when you’re riding your motorcycle in city traffic, your clutch can get a serious workout. Constantly stopping, starting, and shifting gears will reduce the lifespan of your clutch. When the clutch is depressed for extended periods of time, the clutch plates will wear out quickly, which results in your clutch lever having too much give and shifting to become harder. As part of your regular maintenance routine, check your clutch lever to ensure that it has enough free play and isn’t too loose. Conversely, if your clutch lever is too tight, it’s possible that you could accidentally burn out the clutch plates.
Light the Way
Simply by the nature of the size of motorcycles, you’re already at a visual disadvantage to other drivers. Before you set out for the day, do yourself a favor and do a quick spot check for functionality in your lights — particularly, your indicators and your brake lights. It’s quite common for motorcyclists to be unaware their brake lights are out until they get rear-ended. In regards to your headlights, make sure that the low-beams are actually pointed slightly down towards the road (the thing you’re driving on) rather than shooting directly forward into other driver’s rearview mirrors. This will help you see the road more clearly and avoid accidentally blinding unsuspecting fellow drivers.
Keep Your Oil Smooth
You can have a back and forth between gearheads about how often you should actually change your oil, but to keep your ride running for many long, enjoyable years, change your oil on time, every time. Fresh oil on a regular basis keeps all of the moving parts in your bike running like clockwork. Your owner’s manual should have recommendations for the right oil to use, and a good mechanic can recommend a semi- or fully-synthetic oil depending on your ride.
Ride Straight as the Kansas Highway
Slamming into the occasional pothole is unavoidable, and over time, your alignment is going to need to be adjusted. When you schedule your motorcycle maintenance in your trusted garage, make sure that your mechanic checks the alignment to keep you riding straight as an arrow.
If you don’t ride your motorcycle regularly, the alternator doesn’t have many chances to keep your battery adequately charged. Eventually, your battery will drain. Some older batteries require water — if this is the case, make sure to top it off every few weeks. Many modern batteries are fairly maintenance free, in which case, you shouldn’t have much to worry about. Just check the charge from time to time.
Take Care of Your Ride and Your Ride Will Take Care of You
The way you ride and care for your motorcycle will be reflected in how long your motorcycle survives. It really does all come down to you and how you treat your vehicle. The way you brake, accelerate, and turn affects all parts of your ride. At the end of the day, your bike will only function as well as you treat it.
For all of your motorcycle parts, you can trust the professional team at Ruhnke’s Xtreme Cycles in Odessa! Visit us today to view our selection of the finest motorcycles, trailers, off-road equipment, and parts.