What do you consider to be the most important things to check/adjust after a ride? Running tours we often have many bikes to maintain in a short period of time, so we focus on these 5 essential things after each day of riding, which will prolong your bikes’ life and performance. If you love your ride; look after her!
1. Check/change engine oil.
No matter how much or how little you have ridden, it is essential to check your engine oil. The manual for our Yamaha WRF’s recommends changing the oil every 1000km. This is only a guide and it depends on the kind of riding you are doing. On our tours we generally change every 500 – 1000km; so every 2 to 3 days of trail riding. You need to take into consideration water getting in the engine casing, and too much oil burning off which is why you need to check after every ride rather than rely on the manufacturers guidelines.
2. Check/Clean Air Filter.
Another maintenance essential that is often overlooked! The state I have seen some filters get in is beyond belief. The air filter is the heart and soul of your bike and a dirty clogged filter will undoubtedly have an impact on the bikes performance. Not only that if your filter fails, and dirt gets in your cylinder head then you will have an expensive repair on your hands. If we have been riding in heavy dust, I will change/clean the filter every day/couple of days depending on how bad the conditions were. We often take spare filters on multi day tours to give the others a chance to dry. Don’t forget to use good quality air-filter oil, and clean the air box!
3. Radiator Levels.
It’s essential to check your radiator level after every ride. If you run that baby dry, your bike’s not the only one who will have a meltdown!
4. Chain Tension
To prolong your sprocket and chain life, make sure you adjust your chain tension to the correct specification. An easy way to measure the tension is to place three fingers between the chain and the swing arm at the end of the chain runner, from you ring finger to your index finger. The chain shouldn’t be too tight or too loose. Again this will affect performance, and you can ride with the knowledge that your chain will stay where it should.
5. Fork Seals.
After any ride you will want to check those seals. Especially after any muddy trail; this will be every time you go out in the wet season. Wipe the fork down from any mud buildup. If you don’t the mud will work its way up into the seal and cause them to leak. If this is the case you’ll want to prise off the dust seal. Careful you don’t scratch the inner fork tube! Then after generous amounts of WD40, wipe it down and take a playing card, [you should use the highest quality plastic card for this] and carefully push up into the oil seal and work the card 2-3 times around the seal. What this does is clear any dirt buildup, and makes the seal flush again. If you do this regularly it will increase the life of your fork seals and hopefully prevent them from failing. They may not be as expensive to replace as other parts, but it all adds up. And, like with anything else leaky forks will affect handling; there is a reason for having oil in the forks.
Anyway I hope you enjoyed this little write up. You may have other things that take priority, and I am sure that there are more than these five things that can be done and possibly in a different order of importance too. These are the five things I personally feel are important to do after each ride. I enjoy working on my own bike and I find it rewarding and I feel you gain a deeper understanding of your ride and your ability as a rider the more you learn how your machine works.