The coronavirus pandemic has meant that many motorcyclists have been unable to partake of their favourite activities, such as leisurely weekend rides, without the fear of being fined. Yet there are many things you can still do to make the most of your time stuck at home.
There are many maintenance tasks that even beginner motorcyclists can do themselves.
– Oil and filter change
Changing the oil and replacing the filter are quite straightforward tasks. Place a tray under the sump and remove the sump plug at the bottom. Once all the oil has drained, you can change the oil filter, then reattach the sump plug. Put some of the new oil over the rubber filter gasket and then tighten in by hand. Refill the engine with oil, then start the bike, check it for leaks, and let it rest for several minutes, before letting it run again.
Tyre pressure should be checked weekly, as the wrong pressure can seriously affect handling and performance. You should use a pump, pressure gauge and the owner’s manual to accurately inflate the tyres to the correct pressure. This is also a good time to check the tyres for wear and damage, to make sure they’re still in a safe, rideable condition. Find out more here.
Your bike manual should include information on the correct chain tension. For most street bikes, adjusting the tension is relatively simple, after you’ve checked the full-slack and no-slack position of the chain, which will be different for each bike. This task should be completed around every 1,000km, and it’s also worthwhile checking the chain for rust and to ensure it’s adequately lubricated.
If you’re done with all the minor maintenance routines, your bike is possibly crying out for a nice clean now. Some of the tools you’ll need are: a bucket with warm, soapy water; a cloth, sponge or towel for cleaning most surfaces and a brush for cleaning the wheels; and degreaser, WD40 and engine cleaner for some of moving parts.
If you’re unable to ride too far from home, you can at least use this time to do some research on leisure rides you haven’t tried yet. Australia is blessed with thousands and thousands of kilometres of open space and pristine scenery through which you can ride in order to access beaches, wineries, and quaint towns.
A previous Swann Insurance blog explores some of the best motorcycle day trips from Melbourne. You can read it here.
If it’s wet outside but you still want the buzz of going for a ride, you could always (re)watch some motorcycle-themed movies. Some of our favourites are:
Easy Rider (1969) – of course this is on the list! Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda travel through the American south on a couple of Choppers in a psychedelic, much-loved film.
The Wild One (1953) – Marlon Brando on a Triumph Thunderbird. Enough said.
The World’s Fastest Indian (2005) – Hannibal Lecter on an Indian Scout. Kind of.
On Any Sunday (1971) – a revered American documentary centred around motorcycle racing.
The Motorcycle Diaries (2004) – Che Guevara travels with a friend around South America on a Norton.
Stone (1974) – A cop goes undercover in an outlaw biker club in this Australian classic.
The Great Escape (1963) – not technically a motorcycle movie, but Steve McQueen jumping over a barbwire fence on a Triumph (disguised as a BMW) helps it make the list.