Monday, May 7, 2007

Quick Tips Bundle!

This is a group of Quick Tips I wrote for a motorcycle group in Dallas several years ago.

Lubing your Chain
Whenever you return from a ride on your motorcycle, grab your can of chain lube and shoot the visible part of the chain at the back of the sprocket. Chain lube works best on warm chains. If you get in the habit of doing this after every ride, your chain will stay lubed all the way around and you won't have to hassle with lubing the complete chain all at once.

Polishing your Motorcycle
For years, motorcycle dealerships have used Pledge™ spray furniture wax to keep their showrooms shiny. It's easier and cheaper than most commercial motorcycle polishes. The wipes are also handy to keep under your seat or in your bike's luggage! Certainly Honda Spray works well too, but it's supposedly not produced any more, so if you find a can, BUY IT.

Parking on a Hill
Most people know this already, but when you park on a grade, you should back your motorcycle into position, letting gravity help you. If done correctly, you can simply ride away when it's time to leave instead of having to back the motorcycle uphill. On the same note, I always park my motorcycle with the transmission left in first gear. This prevents the motorcycle from rolling forward and falling off the sidestand.

Parking on Hot Asphalt
Hot asphalt is a very weak support for your expensive motorcycle. If you use the sidestand on hot asphalt during the summer, you risk the chance of returning to a motorcycle that has fallen over. The solution is simple. Find something to put under your sidestand so that the size of the head is increased. This could be a soda can you've crushed underfoot, or any other piece of detritus laying around on the parking lot. Many places sell steel plates designed for this purpose, and you might want to buy one of these if you park in spotless areas. If all else fails, simply carry a piece of steel about the same size and thickness as a credit card.

Tankbags and Saddlebags
Make sure your bike is clean and freshly waxed, then put a clean towel or felt fabric between your motorcycle and any tankbags or temporary saddlebags you're using. This will help prevent microscopic scratches that will dull the paint.

Disc Locks
Many of us use disc locks to protect our motorcycles from theft. The downside to these locks is that forgetting to remove one before riding off can be expensive or painful. A bit of yarn or a rubber band serves as a nice reminder that you have to unlock the lock. Simply put the rubber band or yarn around the throttle as a reminder. When you take the lock off, the rubber band or yarn can be stored around the lock.

Washing your Helmet
Besides the obvious hygienic issues, a stanky helmet is uncomfortable to use and won't last long before the foam and materials start to disintegrate. Here's how I wash mine.

Close all the vents in the helmet and put the visor down if it has one
Turn the helmet upside down in the kitchen sink
Turn on the water and fill the helmet as much as possible
Add regular shampoo (without conditioner)
Swish, swirl, and scrub the oils and salts out of the fabric
Pour the helmet out, then rinse thoroughly by the same method
Dry the helmet in the oven at a temperature not exceeding 120 F.

You might wanna wait a while and let the helmet cool before you stick it on your noggin. 120 degree buckles might leave a mark!

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