Worried about your lack of or little amount of motorcycle maintenance knowledge? And don’t want to rely on the professionals? Then this Motorcycle Maintenance for beginner’s guide is for you.
You’ve purchased your new baby, your brand-new pride and joy but you want to keep it in tip top condition – not forgetting the longer days are here and you need to get on top of your motorcycle spring maintenance checklist.
If you’re new to riding, it’s not to be expected to know a bank of motorcycle maintenance knowledge. Letting a specialist such as mechanic do everything for you will keep your bike safe and well-maintained but that will prove costly and you’ll learn very little. What’s more, it’s important you know the basics on your brand-new motorbike – in particular an understanding of its components and how it operates.
So, let us help you step that knowledge up a gear!
Motorbike Tyre Maintenance
With a total of 250kg – combining the weight of the bike and rider – there is just a few millimetres of rubber separating that weight from the road.
Firstly, it’s essential you check your motorbikes manual as it will tell you the correct pressure for your bikes front and rear tyres. Next step, make it a habit to check the tread and general condition of your tyres, making sure there’s no swelling, protruding objects, patches of wear or damage to the walls.
Top Tip: UK law states the legal limit of tyre tread depth for motorcycles over 50cc is a minimum tread of 1mm across ¾ of the tread pattern and with visible tread on the remaining ¼. For motorcycles up to 50cc, the law requires that all the grooves of the original tread pattern must be clearly visible.
Motorbike Chain Maintenance
Did you know the average middleweight motorbike has the same amount of power to the rear wheel of a small car – and all of it through the drive chain? If you let it run dry and dirty it’s only obvious it won’t be long before it starts eating itself and the sprockets away! If left untouched and ignored, the motorbike’s chain will wear out three to four times quicker than it should, knocking off a huge volume off your bike’s performance!
So, what do you need to do? First things first, before every ride check your chain and sprockets, as well as free-play, for damage and wear. Next step, cleaning. The motorbike chain should be cleaned before each lubrication as the lube can build up alongside dirt and grit to create a paste that can reduce its life. is your go to can, specifically designed for removal of dirt and debris from motorbike chains. The fast-acting formula will soften and solubilise all grease and oils to lift the contaminants easily and effectively. Top Tip: This can be used on swing arms, sprockets, drivetrains, general metallic surfaces and O, X and Z chains.
Then, it’s time to lubricate. The recommendation is to lube your motorcycle chain every 300-600 miles to ensure peak performance and a longer lasting life. is the ideal companion for dry road conditions and will help prevent friction on chain links, ensuring peak performance. Thanks to the strong adhesion properties, it’s perfect for high speed or high-stress applications. What’s more, the precise spray application reduces any wastage, making it easier to apply to exactly where you want it.
Motorbike battery maintenance
Shielded from the rain and dirt, you will usually find your motorcycle battery tucked away in a protective box. Most modern motorbike batteries require little maintenance, however with continuous vibration and use (if you’re a keen rider!) it’s very possible the terminal connections can not only accumulate dirt but potentially come loose. In this case, it will block the smooth flow or electrical charge. It’s important the terminal connection points are clean and the screws tight.
Top Tip: A dead battery can be easily re-charged, however a poorly charging battery that constantly runs low may need to be replaced.
How to check motorbike brakes
Always check your brakes! Although you may not fancy changing them yourself, checking them regularly is easy enough. Aside from the brake fluid levels, it’s a given to check the thickness of your brake pads. These are the essential components that grip or clamp your brake disc and actually make you bike reduce speed and stop. Obvious to say, but if you’re an avid rider, continuous use on your bike applies huge pressure and therefore will wear your motorcycles brake pads down.
Top Tip: Motorbike brake pads come in sets of two. Worn pads will look thin and well-used, whereas healthier pads appear much thicker.
How to clean motorbike air filters
To capture dust and particles, all motorbikes house an air filter to ensure a smoother flow of air and greater performance. If your air filters become dirty or clogged this can diminish performance and therefore must be cleaned or replaced. This is an easy task to complete when it comes to motorcycle maintenance – and any motorbike beginner can do it! Simply remove the filter, wash it in kerosene, cover it in a light coating of engine oil and replace it again. Air filters are inexpensive so it may be worth considering purchasing a replacement instead of frequent cleaning.
Top Tip: Engine oil helps the dirt and dust particles to stick to the oil rather than passing through the filter. Also, make sure you dry the filter after washing with kerosene.
Essential motorbike fluids
The clutch, cooling system, brakes, engine and steering all require liquid to either lubricate or provide pressure. Each of the above has a designated area where the levels can be checked often. If you’re unsure where the storage or reservoir area is, your manual will be able to show you the location, the correct oil or fluid to use and how to safely check them and top accordingly.
We would recommend leaving steering fluid or fork oil to the experts as it involves a detail process to remove and replace several rings and parts.
Top Tip. Make sure your motorbike is on a stand and kept level when checking fluids and oils to provide an even and more accurate reading.
A lot goes into the long-term upkeep of your motorcycle. However, with these first steps your mechanic will be a lot happier when it comes time for the yearly MOT! If you want to take the next ride into your motorcycle maintenance journey, then why not check out our more in-depth guides. Learn How to Clean Motorcycle Brakes with our WD-40 motorbike brake cleaner or even How to Clean a Motorcycle Chain!