Thursday 21 January 2016

The art of motorcycle maintenance

I pay someone to do it. Less aggravation in this day and age. Years ago I changed oil, did brakes, even changed chains. There is a sense of satisfaction you get doing your own repairs and maintenance. A lot of stuff years ago was easy to fix and maintain.

The problem these days is that I have no space where I can work on a bike. Or a car. The other is I really do not know where to begin. Stuff used to be simpler. To change the oil on the current 2006 Suzuki Burgman 650 that I own you have to remove body panels and be careful you do not break any plastic clips. Finesse when taking stuff apart and putting it back together is not one of my stronger suits. This thing is not easy to work on. I have changed the oil on it a couple of times at my friend's acreage in his yard. It would be much easier to have a garage and a bike lift. If I do not have the time and opportunity I have someone else do it. 

The big thing is to fix anything before it becomes a problem. Every so often I look for wear and tear on parts. I check the brakes, lights, cables, the obvious things. I find myself questioning shops when I get work done. I am a bit of a suspicious type and always kind of wonder if they are doing what I asked. You don't want anything serious going haywire on a motorcycle at highway speed. 

Once I had the bike in for an oil change and asked them to check all of the fluid levels. They asked me why I wanted them to do it. I said if they already have the bike apart changing the oil they can certainly check the other stuff I asked. It is not like they have to take it apart any further. I had the same issue when I last got my tires replaced. I asked them to check the brake pads and adjust the cables if needed. I received a look that suggested what I requested was alien to them.

When I need a mechanic I like to deal with one that has been at it for years. If I can find one one of those I use them, they know what they are doing and will usually give you decent advice on what needs to be done. It is better to use someone who has seen it all and done it all and have years of experience. These types are also hard to find. Being a cynical sort I always have this suspicion I am getting a "wall job". This is where you drop off your bike and you come back to find it parked against a wall with an invoice and no work was done. I always check to see if the work was done.

Other than that I do not baby my bike. It is meant to be ridden. If you have a bike, ride it. I do not mean ride to a bar a few miles out of town to have drinks and be seen. Ride the damn thing. You will be glad you did.


  1. You are wise. An ounce of prevention......
    And always tell them up front you want to see the old part they replaced.

  2. I am a truckdriver. I get the same looks too. Even when I have physically shown the shop manager the broken part, I have come back where they replaced the wrong part.

  3. A buddy of mine has a Cheap-O lift from Princess Auto that works for us. We make an event out of it. We take turns on the stand, do our stuff then get out of the way for the next guy and then grab a beer and a chair and just BS. His neighbours will often drift in and bring chairs and wine or beer too ... and then everyone takes root and nobody wants to go home...gawd I miss summer...