Motorcycles tend to have great effects on riders, so much so that, we treat them as living beings. Almost all my riding buddies have named their motorcycles such is their love towards them.
I think all this love and care for motorcycles comes from their ability to provide freedom. Freedom from traffic, freedom from closed spaces and just outright unshackled riding experience that comes with a motorcycle. As much as we love our motorcycles, however, we also subject them to certain abuses unknowingly. Some bad riding habits are detrimental to our beloved motorcycles that most people do not even know about. Maintaining a motorcycle is something that many people give a pass.
Below is a list of 5 ways in which we ruin and damage our motorcycles without even knowing about it.
Using clutch the wrong way
Almost 80% of riders use the clutch the wrong way. Using a clutch when accelerating, or when braking are some of the ways that we continue to damage the engine and clutch plates of our beloved companions.
The clutch is a very important part of the motorcycle. It allows the engine and the rear wheel to connect and disconnect at the rider’s will, allowing for the power to be transferred from the engine and stopped when not needed. The clutch is also a very complex and hence delicate component that often breaks if not used properly.
Most riders I see use the clutch while braking which is not at all needed. This not only puts pressure on the clutch springs for a longer period of time but also wastes the engine brake which could be used to slow down the motorcycle.
Another mistake that riders often do they hold the clutch for far too long while accelerating. This works as an oxymoron for the motorcycle’s engine! On one hand, you’re asking the engine to produce more power by accelerating while on the other you’re stopping it from producing more power by holding the clutch.
This always results in a burned clutch and a huge bill on your hand. The easiest way you can ruin your motorcycle is by using the clutch in the wrong way.
The one rule that every motorcycle rider needs to follow is not using clutch and accelerator at the same time.
The Clutch is the first part of motorcycle maintenance.
Mud on suspension
Motorcycles may be companions to people but they are tools first. Tools that are made from leather, metal, alloys and everything in between. These materials are also very susceptible to environmental harshness. While everything on a motorcycle can be replaced it is the chassis that is the most difficult to change.
This is why we need to save the chassis in order to successfully maintain our motorcycles. While most of the chassis is covered and protected one part which is laid bare is the rear suspension mount. It is one area that is exposed to mud, slag and everything our roads have to offer. This area is also not visible to our eye until we get down and specifically look for it. This means that this area is rarely cleaned and keeps on getting dirtied until a proper wash.
This is where the mud from tyres gets accumulated and with time gives rise to rust. Rust which is the enemy of every automobile when infects the chassis essentially means the death of a motorcycle.
Most riders just leave this part of the chassis uncleaned with mud and slush and allow their beloved motorcycle to be disintegrated before their eyes.
Riding with low tyre pressure
In the past as soon as the tyre pressure went under a certain PSI, we’d know. With tubeless tyres, however, low tyre pressures are not as apparent, and we continue to ride our motorcycles without noticing low air pressure. This creates a lot of wear and tear on the tyre sidewall making them crack under pressure.
This is an ongoing issue among motorcycles as there isn’t a tyre pressure monitoring system, unlike in cars. I would suggest you do a weekly tyre pressure check so as to avoid your tyres getting worn out. This is a very important step in motorcycle maintenance.
Going fast over speed bumps
Indian roads are unpredictable, but moreover so are our speed bumps. They’re placed as per the mood of the constructor and have no actual science behind them. This creates a lot of situations when riders are caught off-guard by the sudden appearance of a wild speedbump. Given these bumps are not marked creates another level of a jumpscare.
To negate these, riders have to understandably call their gods to take the handle while they lift their bums to save themselves from a high adrenaline manoeuvre. While this may not be much of an issue for the suspensions, other components on our motorcycles are rightfully shaken to their core.
Components like headlight assembly, mudguards, indictors etc are crushed under the g force of a speed hump jump. A few of these speedbumps are enough to create a rattle in the whole motorcycle by allowing all nuts and bolts to come loose. These wind speedbumps are the enemy of motorcycle maintenance. Most of the issues in motorcycles are due to uneven roads and speedbumps.
Using bad engine oil
Our lives today are very restless, given there is so much going on in the world and we still need to make money. This often results in us forgetting some essentials one of which is the oil change.
The most obvious way we’re damaging our motorcycles today is by using the same engine oil for far too long. Engine oil which is a very important part of the engine allows for it to run smoothly and collect all the harmful bits from it.
When left unchanged, these engine oils become a dirt-laden atmosphere for the internal components further damaging them in the process. Using the same oil for too long is a sure-shot way of damaging your motorcycle. Changing engine oil regularly could do wonders for your motorcycle. It would not only allow the motorcycle to run smooth but also protect the motorcycle engine in the long run.
The engine is the most important part of the motorcycle and so is it for motorcycle maintenance. You should be extra careful of engine seizing or other such issues that come with using bad engine oil.
These are the 5 ways in which we continue to ruin and damage our motorcycles either knowingly or unknowingly. These issues however are something that could be rectified with just a few minutes of regular check-ups.
How often should you service your motorcycle?
A great rule of thumb for motorcycle maintenance is that you should get your motorcycle serviced every 6 months of every 5000kms. If you’re using your motorcycle a lot and clock more than 5000kms in a month then you should get it serviced in a month. If however you use your motorcycle very rarely and it just sits most of the time you can stretch your service interval.
Ideally, if your motorcycle sits for a long time you should disconnect the battery and leave it be.