Yearly Motorcycle Maintenance
Like all motorsport vehicles, Yamaha motorcycles must be serviced periodically throughout the year. As a major investment, a motorcycle can provide years of riding with the right maintenance routine. Without it, the situation can be quite the opposite. True enough that this depends on time and mileage, your motorcycle will still require maintenance even if you’ve only taken it out a handful of times during the year. While your owner’s manual will pinpoint much of the maintenance you must carry out, there are several areas that can be checked no matter which model you own.
Yamaha Owner’s Manuals
How do you know when to check certain areas of your bike? Luckily, Yamaha has that part covered. Within your owner’s manual, you’ll find a period maintenance chart. They’ve made their charts easy to digest, allowing you to make the proper replacements or provide service to the brakes, tires, cooling system, drive belt, and other areas on the bike. These will be entirely dependent on how frequently you ride, as well as the age of your bike. Even how you store your motorcycle will affect maintenance intervals. If you’ve lost your owner’s manual or a used bike did not include one, you can view and purchase them here (link to this): https://www.yamahamotorsports.com/motorsports/owners-manuals). Say you own a 2016 Raider and it’s now hit 4,000 miles (or 7,000 km). You’ll flip to the Periodic Maintenance chart in your manual to see what Yamaha recommends that you check and replace. Some of these include spark plugs, fuel line, the exhaust system, brakes, tires, and wheels. While the manual is a fantastic resource that makes yearly maintenance easier, it’s important to also employ common sense. Just because the manual recommends a replacement doesn’t mean it necessarily applies to you. Maybe your fuel line is perfectly fine and doesn’t need to be replaced just yet. If you aren’t a seasoned rider just yet, fear not – you’ll become accustomed to the maintenance routine soon enough and with it, have the experience to determine whether parts need to be replaced or not. For the tasks better left to the professional technician, these will be marked by an asterisk.
While a great deal of maintenance is reliant on your odometer reading, there are a large variety of other tasks that must be carried out yearly, if not monthly or bi-monthly. These are just as important as replacing brakes or tires.
Wash, Rinse, Dry, and Repeat: After a few rides, your motorcycle will need a thorough wash down. This is especially true if you’ve ridden through mud and it has dried on your bike. Gently wash your bike, making sure to not force water into electrical components. After it’s fully washed, dry your motorcycle completely so you can perform a full inspection. Check for things like oil drips, leaking coolant, loose bolts, frayed cables, and cracked areas. This will allow you to address these issues right away instead of waiting for the right odometer reading.
Measuring Tire Pressure: Before and after every ride, check your tire pressure. It’s easy to ride over nails, screws, and other road debris. Sometimes, these can sneak into tires and deflate them slowly. Check around both tires and ensure they maintain pressure when full.
Changing Your Oil: This is one that you should already know, but depending on how often you ride, you’ll need to change it more often. Check your owner’s manual for a baseline, but don’t let this one slip to the back of the to-do list. In the same vein, check your brake fluid and coolant level at the same time. These may need to be changed as well. Your cooling system should be changed every year.
Greasing: After being washed, your sealed areas should be re-greased. Over time, these areas become less lubricated, which can be dangerous for areas like the wheel bearings, steering head bearing, shock seals, and more. It takes time, but re-greasing these important areas of your motorcycle will benefit you in the long run.
Storage Maintenance: When the bike is stored, does maintenance cease? No! Even when the riding season ends, you need to keep an eye on your motorcycle for the interim. Ensure the cover is properly installed, the pipes are plugged (small critters beware), and the battery tender is working. After sitting dormant, it’s ideal to start your motorcycle up and let it run for a few minutes to keep your systems in good working order during the off-season.
These are but a few of the many important maintenance tasks you can perform at home without the need of a motorcycle professional. Always refer to your bike’s manual to keep up with the required mileage-based maintenance but use your head as well. While Yamaha will be spot-on with a majority of their recommendations, some of them may not be applicable to your specific bike and how you use it.