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Bike Maintenance Tips for Fall


Fall is here, so squeeze in your last couple of rides! (If you're in California, have you seen our list of epic places to ride in fall?) And at some point, for almost all of us, there will come a time when we put our bikes in hibernation until the warm season comes around again.

The last thing you want to do is take out your bike next year and find that it will need some work to revive it. To save yourself the headache and potential extra cost, here are some simple bike maintenance you should practice before storing your bike away.

Cleaning

Got a lazy Sunday afternoon?

That is the perfect time to pull your bike out, gather some soap & water, and give it a little TLC. We know you've been meaning to get to it, but stuff comes up. Meanwhile your beauty has turned into a beast and gotten covered with dust, dirt, and God knows how many insect guts from your summer rides. Letting all of that gunk and grime settle over the cold winter months may make it next to impossible to clean when the warmer seasons roll around.

To really make your bike shine like new, you may need something a tad stronger than just soap and water. Here are some cleaning products we like and use:

Plexus Cleaner for plastic (and windscreens)
Protect All for bodywork (non-chrome, non heated surface)
Motul Shine & Go for plastic surfaces or Motul Wash & Wax for a protective wax finish     



Tires

There are a few reasons to take care of your bike's tires before you put your bike away for the fall and winter months. Flats, blowouts, flat spots, and low tire treads are all no bueno, and could cost you a lot of time and money when good riding weather returns.

Take a look at your bike's tire pressure. If your bike's tires are over inflated, it could cause a blowout. Alternatively, you don't want your tire pressure too low either. Sitting still for months on end can cause flat spots, and take years of life off of your bike's tires.

Check your tire pressure with one of our tire pressure gauges. You can go for a simple traditional one like a pencil gage, or something easier to use like a dial gage with hose.

Tire treads below 1-2 mm of depth may need to be replaced altogether. And if you have an off-road bike and the knobbies are in pretty bad shape after abusing it for a season, you can extend the tires' lifetime by re-sculpting them back into shape with a Knobby Knife. It essentially allows you to cut the worn knobbies into crisp and square edges again.

Shaft Drives and Chains

We know you'll roll your eyes on this one, but trust us, you should honestly lube up your chains each time you ride (clean them first if there's gunk on them). That way the lube spreads and absorbs into the warmed metals easier.

Practicing proper chain care will extend the lifetime of your chains and sprockets. Chains and their many parts are likely to rust and corrode if not properly lubed before a long layoff. If there's already some significant rusting, then it's best to just go ahead and replace them.

Some of our most trusted and top-selling items for chain care are:

- The Grunge Brush Chain Cleaning Brush
- Motul Chain Clean - use before the wax
- DuPONT Teflon Dry Wax Lubricant
- Motul Factory Line Chain Lube
- Maxima Chain Wax




If you have a shaft drive, you will want to have a thorough inspection of your shaft drive's oil level before locking the 2-wheeler away. It is generally a good rule of thumb to change the oil in your shaft drive whenever you change the oil in your bike (around every 3500 miles), but definitely do it when things start to cool down. That way there is no major buildup of gunk and other contaminants to shut you down prematurely.

Battery

I'm sure we all know what it's like to be met with a dead battery when we want to ride again after months of inactivity. But it's seriously annoying to have to remember to pull your bike out of hibernation every two weeks to start it up. Whenever you notice that your lights are dimming and it's having trouble starting, that's when you know it's in trouble.

You can keep your lead acid battery alive during the months in storage with a battery tender. This will safely maintain the battery at a full charge without overcharging it and inflicting trickling charge damages.

Shop Yuasa Lead Acid Batteries and Battery Tender.

Or you can invest in a lithium battery, which is lighter and lasts significantly longer when not in used compared to lead acid batteries. A lithium battery will only loose 3-10% of its charge per year if stored, so you don't have to worry about a dead bike when you're ready to ride again next year.

Shop Ballistic Lithium Batteries or Shorai Lithium Batteries.

Keeping The Oil Topped Up

If you want your bike to maintain the crisp performance you have come accustomed to, you'll need to make sure you keep the oil topped up with a regular schedule. You should be able to find all the info you will need in your bike's service manual: frequency, types of oil, etc. Shoot for an oil change around every 3500-ish miles to be safe.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your bike will be resting during the winter months, so make sure you don't start it after the oil's been changed (unless you don't have a choice but to do so to keep the battery alive). Starting the bike can contaminate the fresh oil and nullify the effects of having changed the oil in the first place.

Shop Motorcycle Engine Oils and Motul Engine Oils.

Perform a check on all the other fluids as well and top up if necessary. For brake fluids, We recommend:
Motul Dot 5.1: a top-notch brake fluid that will go great in any of your motorized vehicles.
Motul RBF600 Racing Brake Fluid: for performance riders
Mityvac bleeder: our go-to brake bleeder, as it always flawlessly eliminates even the tiniest amount of air remaining in the brake lines.



For radiator fluid, we recommend:
Engine Ice High Performance Coolant
- Evans Powersport Coolant
Red Line Water Wetter: for track riders (nationally approved for race track use)

Do you have any more bike maintenance tips for the fall? 
By Daniel Relich

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