Motorcycles are something of a modern miracle wrapped in a thin layer of insanity. Take a lump of metal with some holes in it, add fuel and oxygen and light it on fire, creating a series of rapid, controlled explosions, and somehow deliver all that energy to a rotating assembly bolted on to the back of this crazy contraption, spinning on a metal rod held in place with tiny little fasteners. This is all happening on something that can't stand up on its own, mystifies riders and physics experts alike in how it does stay upright, and provides a rush of excitement and joy that relatively few people have ever felt. The motorcycle. A visceral, crazy, fun, enjoyable, dangerous, beautiful piece of mechanical art made of metal, plastic and dreams. And at the center of all this exists a machine. Like all machines, motorcycles require certain maintenance and attention to keep performing safely and at their peak. If you do all your own maintenance, there's a good chance you're very much in tune with your bike. When you put wrench to machine, you create a kind of intimacy and knowledge of that machine that no one else likely has. You'll know if something has loosened up. You'll feel if a wheel bearing you replaced three years ago feels a little odd. You'll understand that vibration you're feeling might indicate a tire has gone out of balance, or the chain has developed a tight spot. You know your bike better than anyone else ever could. Sure, mechanics get paid to know a lot about repairing and maintaining bikes... but only YOU know your bike like you do. If you don't do your own maintenance, consider getting involved in at least some of it. Even as a rider, you know your bike better than anyone, and doing even a small bit of the ongoing maintenance gives you opportunities to see things, to catch problems or to deepen your understanding of the machine that you might be missing if you take your bike to a shop for all of its maintenance. There are a number of tasks you can do on the maintenance list even without possessing a lot of mechanical aptitude or specialized tools. If your bike is chain drive, you're probably already familiar with cleaning and lubricating your chain. If you're not, get your owner's manual out and get to work. A decent chain cleaning and oiling should only take you a few minutes once you're familiar with the task, and can be invaluable in prolonging the life of the chain (and the bike!), and increasing safety. It also gives you a chance to visually inspect the chain, the sprockets, the wheels and tires, and while you're at it, if your bike has rear disc brakes, you're probably only one head tilt away from looking at the thickness of your brake pads. You could potentially identify trouble spots on 3 or 4 different systems on the bike just by oiling your chain! If you're able to make yourself a cup of coffee in a modern coffee maker, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say you've got all the mechanical knowledge you need to at least attempt to do a basic oil change. Let's look at the steps necessary to do a full oil change on most motorcycles. Step 1 - warm up the engine. Step 2 - stop the engine, position the bike properly for the oil change (see your manual). Step 3 - slide a drain pan under the bike and take out the drain plug(s). Step 4 - remove the oil filter. Step 5 - replace the drain plug and install new filter. Step 6 - refill with oil. Step 7 - start bike, warm it up, shut it off, and check the oil level. Sure, I'm simplifying things, but your owner's manual - or better, buy a service manual - will have all the detail on those steps that you need to do the job. Some bikes will drain better on the side stand, also known as the kick stand. Others will drain better on the center stand, so do pay attention to your manual and do the work according to those guidelines. But all in all, it's a pretty simple job that will save you money, will allow you to really get hands on with the bike, and isn't that easy to get wrong. Once you've done it, you'll wonder why you never did before. You'll also be happy with the money you saved. Other maintenance tasks that might be worth doing include changing your air filter, replacing brake pads, or cleaning, lubricating and adjusting brake levers, and clutch levers and cables. Doing a lot of the little tasks can add up to huge savings over time, not only in keeping your bike out of the shop more ($), but in catching potential problems early and turning a costly repair into preventative maintenance. With any job you're doing for the first time, it's a good idea to have a little guidance. Always consult your owner's manual. As mentioned, getting hold of a service manual for your bike will not only give you detailed information particular to your model of bike, but may also list specific tools and equipment you'll need, and will walk you through the whole job, step by step. If you're a member of any online forums or local riders' groups, you might be able to find and attend a local tech day. A tech day is a great opportunity to meet other enthusiasts, and work with people who may be considerably more experienced in repair and maintenance, and can lend you all the guidance you need. If you can't find or host a tech day, you should still be able to make an online request for help and find someone local (enough) to lend a hand, or at least walk you through any trouble spots you may have. It's important to note that some maintenance is best left to those with more mechanical ability and experience if you're not comfortable with engine design, etc. For instance, throttle synchronizations or engine valve clearance checks can be very involved, and if done incorrectly, could render your bike unable to run, running poorly, or perhaps even damaged. What this article is discussing are the smaller, more pedestrian tasks. Look for follow-up articles discussing the details of these and other home-based motorcycle maintenance tasks in the coming weeks. Who knows... we may even shoot some video! Keeping your bike running at its best doesn't need to include trips to the dealer for mundane things, spending a whole day waiting around, or writing a big check. Chris & James both have older bikes that require the occasional bit of attention, and the guys are hoping to start capturing more of that at-home maintenance with pictures and video... stay tuned.
Episode 137: A Fair Trade
January 27, 2013
- Preliminary Equinox 2 Equinox Rally Info
- Runs from March 20 to September 22 2013
- "Wildcard" bonuses based on categories rather than specific locations
- We need you help! Send those category suggestions to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Will Munck
- Kurt Wahtera
- Craig Shepard x2
- David Mass
- Kenneth Mackins
- Theme music composed and performed by Raoul Lowe
- R.I.P. Kevin Ash
Episode 112 - Introduction Interruptus May 13, 2012
Weâ€™ve got news... Lots and lots of... Ok, thatâ€™s just a flat out lie. Thereâ€™s really not much news, but what we do have is exciting. First, gear for kids! Bilt, Cycle Gearâ€™s house brand, has a full line of gear for kids. Everything from classic Fonzie leather to high-tech textile 4-season gear. Check it out. Also from the â€œhey, this is pretty coolâ€ files, sales of the Japanese big-four are up. While the numbers we have reflect Japanese domestic sales, anecdotally, this trend seems to be strong here in the USA, too. Also, looking for tires? Avon has a nice rebate on a few popular models. 1 - please note, this isnâ€™t an advertisement or paid endorsement of Avon tires. Weâ€™re just reporting the news. Links:
- March 2012 sales up over 2011.
- Avon Storm rebate - $40 for a pair
- Bilt 4 Kids
- Chad Bolling - C3 across Canada - http://scootercanada.weebly.com/
- Michigan repeals helmet law - http://www.annarbor.com/news/rick-snyder-signs-repeal-of-michigans-helmet-law/
- Mark (from the Blog)
- Justin Varner
- Stephen Lay
- Allen Lessard
- Rich Skartvedt
- Heated gear - just do it!
Episode 107: Itâ€™s weather prooth. March 25, 2012
This week the guys bring you a plethora of... well, they talk a lot. Home modified iPhone mounts. GPS it with Navigon: redux. Jamesâ€™ Sena saga may finally be over. Hereâ€™s hoping. April is the AMAâ€™s Get Out And Ride Month, which means The Paceâ€™s loyal listeners are just doing what they do every day. Right? RIGHT? Get out and ride. Go on, get out of here, kid. Triumph is 110 years old. Bonnie doesnâ€™t look a day over 60, and man oh man, does she wear it well. Want to get an idea of how youâ€™ll sit on a couple of hundred bikes? Hit up Cycle-Ergo.com and check out the comparisons. Very nice feature. Armored underwear is awesome, and Knox has what you need. The guys follow up the news with some listener questions and feedback. News:
- April is AMA â€œGet out and rideâ€ month
- Hello, Bonny. 110 years of Triumph
- Cycle-Ergo site. Compare ergonomics on various bikes
- Finally, â€œunder armorâ€ that lives up to the name
- Roland Cannon - Regarding tubeless tire changes: Whatâ€™s necessary?
- James from MA - What sport-tour(able) bike should replace the CBR?
- Bead Breaker
- Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWcMGnISWQM
- Product - http://www.amazon.com/Motion-Pro-Tire-Bead-Breaker/dp/B005HMMKGI
- Home made - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HISTC-sC0o
- Rim protector
- Cycle Hill tire changer
- Knox Venture shirt
- Roland Cannon on the Motus
- James from MA on the Motus, the Sena and the Adirondacks
- Doug Kneissl follows up on the Xena alarm system
- Jason Santos on the â€œwoopsieâ€ moments we all have
- Colin Magnusson comments on Audi buying Ducati
Episode 81 July 31, 2011 - A showroom full of little monsters.
If it could go wrong getting this show out on time this week, it did. So... without preamble and grumbling on, we present to you, Episode 81. Enjoy!
This week the guys speculate on the future of Ducati's 2-engine line-up. Then they spend some time in the shade thanks to the new e-Tint electronic helmet visor inserts. Erik Buell teases us further with another of the EBR Nation videos. Erik seems to be moving full bore; exciting stuff ahead, to be sure. The CBR250R from Honda gains some major after market support. And continuing our trend of Feedback-a-palooza, we have emails and audio clips galore. This week's audio clip takes an excellent look at helmet laws from the pro- stance, and is certainly thought provoking. Jon also gives us some PDFs to read on the matter. Take a look!
- New Ducati Street Fighters
- e-Tint Visor Inserts
- EBR Nation Video
- CBR250R Gets Aftermarket Gear from Yosh
- Test ride a Yamaha get a free pair of Oakleys?
- From Roland Cannon - on Nitrogen in tires
- From Brad Kaplan - on the NT700 Deauville
- From Zack Skogsberg - on the venerable Ninja 250 touring mount
- Excellent audio clip from Jon DelVecchio - on the helmet law debate from another perspective
See the show blog for Ep81 addendum with the PDFs from Jon!
Episode 53 - November 14, 2010
- The custom white VFR 1200 mentioned by Denise
- Street tire comparison discussion
- Ninja 1000 review
- I only mention this because the bike is getting a lot of press.
- Aerostich offering 10% discount to active service riders.
- As an expression of thanks to riders who serve our country, Aerostich/RiderWearHouse is pleased to announce a 10% Active Military Service Discount now available on all Aerostich branded RiderWearHouse catalog items, including Roadcrafter and Darien riding apparel.
- The Tiger 800s get prices in Europe
- Tiger â‚¬8,990
- Tiger XC â‚¬9,990
- BMW G800GS â‚¬10,200/$11,455
- 2010 Street Triple R â‚¬8,990/$9,599
- 2010 Thruxton SE â‚¬9,990/$9,349
- Do we wanna talk about WTF products?
Episode 15 for January 31, 2010
- News and Opinion
- Official pics of the Yamaha FZ8 and Fazer8
- New Scorpion helmets
- University study on the effects of wind noise inside the helmet
- Cycle World IMS in NY
- I couldn't dig up the info I was looking for on the HAs. If anyone remembers the story better then I do feel free to record it as an MP3 and send it in.
- Visit our Facebook page for pics (more will be added this week)
- Music provided byÂ Music Alley
- Opening music: â€˜No Wayâ€™ byÂ KunK
- Additional music: 'Dig The Rock N Roll', 'Fine Sexy Baby' and 'Spend A Real Cool Time In Hell' by The Stockmen (God I love MySpace. I really wish more bands had MySpace pages. That would be awesome.)