The following tips have been submitted by fellow bikers. If you have any to add please send them via our contact form.
Prevent pitting of disc brakes
When your motorcycle is off the road for a while, push the brake pads back so they are no longer in contact with the discs. This will help to prevent pitting that often forms where the pad and disc are in contact. Do not forget to check your brakes before you ride off again.
Nail Varnish and chips
Unfortunately sometimes stones can chip the paint work on our motorcycles, this is bad enough but if water creeps under the paint it will look a whole lot worse. Nail varnish painted over the chip can help stop the elements affecting the area.
A toothbrush can help keep your chain clean too!
Use a toothbrush with a good chain cleaner to remove old chain lube. With the bike on a centre or paddock stand turn the wheel away from you and clean each link individually before applying new lube.
Cable ties to assist bleeding the front brake
Sometimes you just cannot get that last bit of air out of your front brakes. They still feel spongy and it’s frustrating. Use a cable tie to hold the front brake lever on and leave it in place for about 6 hours. Release the front brake lever and there should be a great improvement.
Petrol tank removal
If you’re removing your petrol tank for servicing, repairs etc. use an old tyre as a stand for your tank. The bottom of the tank is then less likely to be damaged.
WD-40 or GT85 are very good at removing old chain lube and general road dirt from your wheels. (Obviously do not apply it to your brake discs, seat or anything rubber such as grips).
Keep your servicing bills up to date
When you have a service at a dealers ask for the ‘job sheet’ relating to the work done. A stamp in a book is just a stamp. When you do the next service, maybe at another dealer, either you or they will know what has been done. If you sell the bike it looks so much better to have service bills rather than ‘stamps’.
Prevent winter corrosion
The wet British climate, road salt and winter weather can cause havoc on the finish of your motorcycle. Anti corrosion spray such as Wurth or Scott Oiler sprayed over the top of nuts, bolts etc. can prevent water affecting their finish.
MOT & Tax your bike in the same month
You get insurance and tax reminders but you don’t get a reminder for the MOT. MOT your bike in the same month as either the insurance or tax, as a reminder to you; this may mean the difference between riding legally and illegally.
Means Tyre Wear Indicator and is written with an arrow on the side wall of your tyre. Follow the arrow to the treaded part of the tyre and a ‘bar’ of rubber should be across the tread. When this bar is level with your tread it is under the legal limit – Change it.
It is now a legal requirement in many European countries for you to wear a fluorescent jacket if you breakdown. This applies to both motorcyclists and car drivers
It’s dark for 50% of the time so it’s going to happen sometime! This is where you find out how good your headlight is, how your perception of things change in the dark, how important the 2 second rule is and finally how clear your visor is. A scratched or damaged visor will badly affect your view in the dark, if you suffer from a ‘starburst’ effect from other headlights when night riding…..change it!
If carrying a pillion for long periods, such as when touring, you may want to consider some adjustments. Increase the tyre pressures for the extra weight. Increase the preload on the rear suspension to account for the extra weight and luggage. Your headlight may dazzle oncoming traffic so adjust the beam alignment temporarily. You may find your mirrors looking at tarmac so give them a tweak to realign. Keep all added weight as low as possible – heaviest items at the bottom of panniers instead of in top boxes and tank bags.
If touring or carrying additional items, don’t rely on bin bags and bungee cords. A badly loaded bike will also make the handling strange and ‘interesting’ to say the least. Use properly designed motorcycle luggage, tank bags, tail packs and throw over soft panniers can be bought for a reasonable price. Luggage also keeps all those dangly bits out of the back wheel, which could make things interesting….without warning!
Drugs and riding
Be careful what medication you take for any aches and pains. Even over the counter medication may lead to drowsiness. Hay fever remedies are a classic example however many manufacturers now offer a ‘non drowsy’ option. Read the labels, take the advice and be careful; falling asleep behind the bars is not a smart move!
If you are unfortunate to be caught in a downfall, and your gloves are not waterproof; petrol stations give away disposable diesel gloves which you can put over your gloves and are a good temporary measure.
Keep your clothing dry
No matter how waterproof your panniers or rucksack are meant to be, you can guarantee they will leak at the worse possible moment. Put your clothing into bin liners before putting them into your luggage.
Do your gloves stink?
With everyday riding your hands sweat and after a little time the gloves begin to hum. It is the bacteria ‘living’ off your sweat that causes the smell. Easy remedy – kill the bacteria. Put the gloves into a sealed bag, and then place these into the freezer. The cold will kill the bacteria and they won’t smell for a while.
Wear tights, keep warm
Ladies tights under clothing may seem odd – unless you are a lady. But they do keep you amazingly warm during the winter months. If you’re a man don’t tell your friends!
Plastic bags – waterproofs
It can be really difficult to put waterproofs on over your jeans or leathers as they snag especially when wearing motorcycle boots. Putting plastic bags over your boots then ‘slide’ your waterproofs over and then remove the plastic bags.
A solution of bicarbonate of soda and water will wash away furry acid deposits around battery terminals.
Don’t risk scraping your knuckles when cleaning hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. Put your hand in an old sock and your new rag will get everywhere your fingers can.
If your chain has a tight spot, set the chain tension at that point and mark a chain link sideplate with paint at that point so you can easily find it next time you need to adjust the chain. Always lubricate your chain after you have been out for a good run, while the chain’s still hot. The lubricant will penetrate the links and stay there for longer.
Freeing Caliper Pistons
If your brake caliper pistons are jammed try sliding in a socket that is almost the same size as the piston’s internal diameter, attach a T-bar to it and some gentle wiggling should be enough to prise it free.
Seized nuts and bolts
If any nuts or bolts have become seized up spray them with de-icer and let them soak for a while.
In really hot weather a good trick is to soak your T shirt in cold water and ring it out. Put it back on under your jacket and do up the zips. Your body heat will dry out the T shirt and keep you cool. Do this every time you stop for coffee or fuel and you can travel long distances in very hot weather reducing fatigue and helping you to concentrate