Travel today can be a challenge. With the busy motorways and influx of people, motorcycles can be an economical, fun and intelligent choice. Here you may find some helpful hints, ideas, and suggestions, all about motorcycles.
Motorcycle usage requires the proper licensure. There are four types of motorcycle operator licenses available:
A Category P (provisional) license may be obtained at age 16 which allows the rider to operate mopeds with a smaller than 50cc engine and maximum speeds lower than 50kmh. A Category A1 license allows riders who have passed a full test and are at least 17 years old to ride what is known as a light motorcycle. A light motorcycle is a bike between 75cc and 125cc that has a design speed of less than 100kmh. The third license, Category A2, is similar to the A1 license but the test must be taken on a bike that has an engine size of 121cc to 125cc and the bike must be able to reach 100kmh. This is the Standard Motorcycle License. After obtaining the A2 licensure, there is a two year restriction to bikes not exceeding 33.3bhp (25kW) but once the two year restriction has been completed, the rider may operate any motorcycle. The fourth and final category is the Category A. A Category A license allows the rider to operate any sized motorcycle without restriction.
Operating a motorcycle is more than obtaining a license and purchasing a bike. A biker should know how to care for his equipment and maintain it properly. Knowing how to care for the motorcycle may mean the difference between riding safely, being stranded, or in the worst case scenario, having a spill or a fall.
Underinflated tyres wear out faster than properly inflated ones. Having the tyres inflated properly will not only be safer but will save money as more distance can be put on each tyre. An underinflated tyre will also run hotter and be more susceptible to blow-outs. A tyre pressure check should be done every morning with a good gauge while the tyres are still cold.
In addition to properly inflated tyres, a motorcycle should have quality tyres that are properly sized for the bike. An oversized tyre will over-stress the sidewall and the contact patch may be smaller. This is dangerous and means that the tyre will end up having the wrong shape. In addition to being the proper size, the tyres should be of the same type on both front and rear. It should not have a mix of radial and bias ply tyres. It is a good idea to keep the same model and brand tyre on both. The bike will handle better when the tyres are matched.
Another imperative is checking and maintaining fluids. If the motorcycle has been stored for some time, the fluids should be checked before riding. The engine should be warmed for about five minutes prior to the oil check, at a fast idle about 1500 rpm. This allows the oil pump to return any oil to the tank that might have seeped passed the check ball and it allows the oil to warm up slightly. A more accurate check may be reached this way. The bike should be on the side stand or upright for the oil check as recommended by the manufacturer.
The crank case and transmission fluids should be topped off to the correct levels with the right grade of lubricants. The fork and brake fluids should also be checked periodically. Fluid levels are essential to proper motorcycle maintenance and should never be done apathetically.
The battery is the next item for maintenance. If the battery was stored over winter, did it freeze? Even a properly charged battery can freeze if the weather got cold enough and if the battery froze, it may as well be considered garbage. There should be no cracks in the case or corrosion on the terminals. The connections should be clean and tight at both ends.
The chains and belts should be checked following the service manual for proper specifications. There should be no excessive wear and the tension should be correctly adjusted. Dirt and debris will cause excessive wear on chains and belts in a very short amount of time so cleanliness is imperative.
The filters should be inspected and changed if necessary. The throttle and clutch cables should also be inspected and adjusted. Excess slack can cause riding problems and may contribute to an accident.
It should go without saying that the lights and turn signals should be properly maintained. This is not only a performance issue but a safety one as well. Both the low and high beams should function properly, the turn signals work as expected and the odometer and gauge lights must be checked and operational. It may seem like an incredible amount of items to check, but each of these things are necessary to the overall safety and maintenance of the motorcycle.
Additionally, the nuts and bolts are the most neglected area of motorcycle maintenance but close attention should be paid to these items, especially on older models. The front and rear motor mounts, the exhaust system and shock absorber mounts, chain guards and mirrors are all integral parts of the bike and deserve attention. The proper specifications are found in the owner’s manual.
With the help of the owner’s manual, proper maintenance can be done and the motorcycle will provide cost effective transportation and adventure. The informed and conscientious rider will learn all about motorcycles and enjoy years of safe driving.
Image courtesy of flickr
Contributor bio : Peter working the automotive tyre industry, He advises many different companies and currently helps Easy Wheels in Manchester.