8 Essential Motorcycle Maintenance Tips

Whether you use your bike for the daily commute, leisurely rides, touring, racing or for any other activity, keeping it in tip-top condition is of the utmost importance. From its appearance to its operational functionality, a well-maintained motorcycle looks good, lasts longer, and performs reliably.

A dry chain, a dead battery, or worn-down brake pads are all common motorbike problems that can be avoided with regular maintenance. Here we offer up 8 essential tips for maintaining your bike, all of which can be implemented by new riders and experienced motorcyclists alike.

Store Your Bike Inside

To ensure your bike is kept in good order, especially in the winter, our first tip is to store it inside – preferably in a garage, but a secure shed will also do the job. Not only will this prevent the cold and damp from damaging your vehicle, but by locking it up indoors you can be less concerned about theft.

We also recommend shielding your motorcycle with a protective cover. Bikes are prone to building up dust and/or moisture while static, so be sure to invest in a high-quality cover if you don’t already own one.

Maintain Your Battery

Although most modern motorcycle batteries require little maintenance, it is worthwhile giving it a bit of TLC. To start with, we advise regularly checking its voltage – a fully charged battery should read above 12.6VDC. If it’s any lower, recharge it and test again. If you suspect the battery is draining quickly then you should probably look into replacing it.

It’s also worth highlighting that through continuous use and vibration, the battery’s terminal connections can become loose and/or gather dirt. This can block the smooth flow of electrical charge so make sure everything is tight and dirt-free.

Check Your Brake Pads

The brake pads are a vital element of your bike’s overall performance. It is these components that actually make your bike slow down and come to a stop.

These pads, however, are subject to huge pressure and will naturally wear over time. Get into a habit of checking your brake pads and if they look thin or well-used, get them replaced with a thicker pair. Each manufacturer provides a minimum thickness for its brake pads, which usually falls between 1.5-2.0mm.

Whilst on your brakes, be sure to quickly check your brake fluid levels (as well as the fluid levels of your engine, clutch, cooling system and steering). You can find the location of your brake’s fluid storage area in your manual – which will also inform you how to correctly check and top them up as well as state the correct fluid to use.

Check Clutch, Brake & Throttle Cables

Your cables are also crucial components of your bike. They enable you to control your clutch, brake and throttle and help to ensure the bike performs as it should.

However, these too will naturally wear and deteriorate with continuous use. The cables are under constant stress when riding, causing them to wear, fray, and eventually snap. This can make the operation of your bike extremely difficult so will need replacing as soon as possible.

Inspect your cables as part of your routine bike check, looking out for any signs of corrosion and areas that are particularly worn due to rubbing. A visual inspection may not highlight all problems, though, as not all damage can be seen – if you have any trouble controlling the bike, then it is possible your cables are damaged.

At Venhill, we specialise in manufacturing control cables for all types of motorcycles. For over 50 years we have been developing industry-leading products like motorcycle clutch cables, motorcycle brake cables, and motorcycle throttle cables.

If you’re searching for a high-quality replacement cable, then look no further than our vast online range. All our cables are made in the UK to the highest possible standard. We even offer a bespoke service if you’re after a made-to-measure solution!

Browse Venhill’s range of motorcycle cables and hoses using our part-finder >

Lubricate Your Chain

A dry and rusty chain can significantly hinder your handling. Chains are particularly prone to gathering dirt, grime and salt from wet roads, all of which will make the chain rusty.

To combat this, you’ll need to regularly apply lube to your chain. It can vary depending on things like how often you ride and the conditions you ride in, but generally a motorcycle chain should be lubricated every 300-600 miles. In addition to enhancing control, a lubricated chain will also last longer and reduce chain noise.

Clean/Replace the Air Filter

The purpose of your air filter is to keep dust, insects and any other debris out of your engine. If it becomes dirty or clogged, the engine won’t be able to get the clean air it requires to effectively operate.

As a general rule of thumb, aim to either clean or replace your air filter every 10,000-15,000 miles. You should be able to find all the information you need about accessing and cleaning/replacing your air filter in your owner’s manual.

Check the Tread & Air Pressure of Your Tyres

It is a legal requirement to keep your tyres in good condition.

The tread grooves in your tyres are critical for giving your bike grip, especially in wet conditions. Frequently inspect the tread depth of your tyres, making sure there’s no damage or signs of wear and tear. You need to also ensure they comply with UK law, which currently states a minimum tread of 1mm across 75% of the tread area and visible tread on the remaining 25%.

You should also keep on top of the air pressure of your tyres to ensure they are properly inflated. This will help to prevent premature wear and also make sure you get the best traction and performance. The tyre pressure specifications for your bike will be listed in the owner’s manual so refer to this when checking. We advise only checking your tyres when they’re cold as they will increase in pressure as they gain heat.

Wash Your Bike Frequently

Our final tip for effectively maintaining your motorcycle is to give your bike a thorough clean after every few rides. Allowing dirt to accumulate on your bike not only looks bad, but it can also accelerate wear on key components like your chain. There are plenty of products available on the market for helping you get the best results from cleaning your bike, so these will probably be worth investing in.

In the winter, try to clean your bike after every ride.

Improve Your Motorcycle Performance with Venhill

We hope these 8 tips have provided you with useful advice for maintaining your bike.

Here at Venhill, we’re experts at making high-quality motorcycle cables. If you’re looking to improve the overall performance of your bike, then take a look at the array of cables and hoses we have on offer today. We have products for a huge variety of road, track and dirt bikes of all shapes and sizes.

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See more: Maximising Motorcycle Ergonomics for a Comfortable Ride