So, Valentine’s Day is here and the only relationship you’re in is with your bike… (sad trombone noise) so what! Treat your bike like a star on this Hallmark holiday and enjoy a little romance along with the rest of America. Not every relationship is the same and it can be tough to suss out the perfect thing to do, so Clymer is here to help.
YOU JUST GOT TOGETHER
A new romance can be a very exciting time, but it’s also the time to set the course for how the rest of the relationship will go. If you go too big on the first Valentine’s Day, you’re setting a precedent for the future. Honestly, you should have done it the day you bought the bike, but if you haven’t yet; order the Clymer Manual or subscribe to the online version for your model. This is your baby, and if the secrets to treating it right are literally available online, why wouldn’t you study up? Extra care sets the tone for an extended and rewarding relationship. Open the book, flip to the Lubrication, Maintenance, and Tune Up chapter, sit down in the garage and read it aloud to the bike in a soft voice while using your other hand to polish the chrome. But for real, if it’s a brand new bike, you should take it to your dealer after the first 1K miles for an inspection; if they missed something on set-up they ought to be responsible for making it right.
YOU’VE BEEN TOGETHER A YEAR
Regular maintenance and care is an important part of any relationship, especially the mechanical sort. You should be checking your spark plugs, changing your oil and filter, oiling and adjusting your cables, lubricating your chain and adjusting tension, checking tire pressure and wear… amongst many other things. If you foolishly stored the bike for the winter without proper prep, chances are the carbs need to come apart for a cleaning. But you KNEW that being in a rewarding relationship would take lots of work right?
If you’re the type to outsource, these jobs can be done by your local mechanic, but why send the one you love into someone else’s arms? All of these maintenance items can be done on your own with a little help from your Clymer Manual.
YOU’VE BEEN TOGETHER FOR OVER FIVE YEARS
If you’ve been together this long you must have been doing something right, like regular maintenance. Or maybe the spark has gone out of your relationship and you don’t have fun as much with each other? Every five years you should be flushing the cooling system, if it is a liquid cooled bike. Hydraulic brake and clutch fluid absorbs moisture which can corrode the system internally, so flush it at least every five year, more frequently if you ride in the rain. If you ride a Harley, or other bike with separate primary and transmission oil, don’t forget that needs to be changed periodically as well.
If you have made it this far you DEFINITELY should get some new tires, even if you don’t ride more than once a year. Your bike’s tires may look fine, but they get harder with age and don’t grip as well. Everyone loves new shoes, so spend the extra on a nice pair because your bike is worth it.
Lastly, the best way to bring that spark back, a brand new battery will be the gift that keeps on giving. Batteries go iffy around five years in and you should definitely do yourself and your bike a favor and get a brand new one if you can afford it. If you’re single on Valentines Day… we’d bet you probably can.