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Basic bike maintenance - chain, tires, petrol, etc

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by GunSlingerAU, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. Hey guys

    I'm still waiting for my new bike's owner manual (VN250) and in the meantime I want to ensure I'm not doing any damage to her - coming from a Vespa, I'm used to filling it up with petrol, checking the tire pressure... and that's it.

    However, from what I can gather, motorbikes are just a tad bit more complicated - for example, apparently regular lube on the chain is highly recommended. Does anybody know where I can find a checklist of the regular day-to-day things I need to start caring about to keep my bubba happy?

  2. What is a "tire" ?
  3. According to dictionary.com, a "tire" is:

    1. a ring or band of rubber, either solid or hollow and inflated, or of metal, placed over the rim of a wheel to provide traction, resistance to wear, or other desirable properties.
  4. America = Tire

    Australia/England = Tyre

    With a f*cken 'Y'

    Oil change regularly too
    Chain lubing is easy.
    Theres so many ways to do it.
    Easiest way to do it is with a friend or rear stand.
    If you have a rear stand pick up the rear wheel and using two toothbrushes and plenty of Kerosene clean your chain of all the muck on it. If you have a chain guard remove that prior.

    Dry it with a bit of water and a clean rag.
    If you have a friend get them to pick you bike onto the side stand with the engine on, holding in the clutch, click it into first. The wheel should be free wheeling mid air...you then aim the chain lube at the sprocket part and spray the links where the sprocket teeth meet the chain and then the side of the chain.


    Or you can do it the slow way with your friend on the bike and plenty of room front and back duck walk the bike whilst u spray the chain.

    After you've done that every time you need to re-lube ride around for a little bit to warm the chain before doing it.
  5. Thanks for the guide jayp - and yes, I know my spelling of the word tyre was the American version, but what can I say - I'm a child of the Internetz!

    One quicky on your instructions - can you please explain what you mean by "After you've done that every time you need to re-lube ride around for a little bit to warm the chain before doing it."

    Are you saying that before I do the lube job, I should go for a little ride first to warm the chain?
  6. I am really beginning to 'tire' from your silly questions smee

    :LOL: :LOL:

  7. Yes.

    After the kerosene clean you go for a short ride to warm the chain up, this helps the lube penetrate (well to be honest I'm not sure why but thats how I've been taught to do it).

    You really only need to clean the chain once in its life on your bike. You can be pedantic and clean it all the time. After that initial clean you should only have to relube rather than clean then lube again.
  8. Hmm what makes his bike so deserving of a short chain life?

    How often you clean a chain depends on the lube you use and where you ride, but it's certainly something that needs to be done more than once (especially on a 250 which should easily be capable of 30,000+ out of a chain). Chain lube obviously needs to be able to stick to the chain which means dirt/grit can stick to it. Simply spraying a fresh layer of lube over the top of all this is a great way to make a really effective grinding paste.
    If you're on the road a quick spray is usually good enough, but if you take the time to clean it every week or two (or however often you need to re-lube) you'll get a lot more life out of the chain. Once you get the hang of it it's really only a 10 minute job all up anyway.

    Edit: Oh and don't forget to keep an eye on the chain tension, it's something a lot of people seem to neglect.
  9. i only lube the chain if it's making a funny noise. time spent licking the chain is better spent hammering up the road ;)

    and the only chain that has ever failed on me was a rusted old chain on a farm bike about 25 bikes ago.
  10. my cbr250/rr = 32500k's = new sprockets and chain = $400 approx

  11. given that this thread seems to be the place fairly basic questions are answered.. here goes..

    There is a specific bike chain lube to use, I get that (as opposed to chainsaw lube for instance...), but is there a specific kerosene I should look out for, or is it just generic?

    also, the first time I lubed my chain, it seems to have flung off a little onto the side wall of my tyre - this seems incredibly dangerous to me - is that normal? (the "lube on the sidewall" not the "seems to be dangerous" part)...
  12. Any kerosene will do, even diesel fuel will work just fine.

    As for excessive fling that's easily solved by either not using too much or using a better quality product (under no circumstances ever use Castrol chain lube).
  13. Ok, so lubing the chain is important. But one of you mentioned tightening the chain - how do I go about that?

    Once I've got all the basics in this thread, I'll start a new one post summarising all of the basics of bike maintenance for noobs, and it might even be worthy of a sticky!
  14. Varies from bike to bike - as does the amount of tension it should have (and how it's measured).

    Basically though adjustment simply involves loosening the nut that keeps the rear wheel attached then moving the wheel backwards using the adjusters on the swingarm. Important bits are making sure the rear wheel is still straight, and that the nut keeping it there is done up properly. Owners manual should cover how to do this.
  15. If teh chain still has visible lubricant on it, and not much dirt, just keep riding. No need to clean a chain very regularly, unless you see a lot of dirt roads.
    Excess lubricant just ends up on teh countershaft housing, your frame and possibly your leg.

    Regards, Andrew.
  16. is industrial grease on the chain ok?
  17. Geez. spray can of chain lube is like $12 at super cheap.


    kidding.. Apply it to the inside of the chain, it helps keep the bike cleaner AND helps get the whole chain lubed up.
  18. cool

    i was as kmart but couldnt find 'chain lube' spray

    will goto super cheap
  19. I'd strongly recommend checking tyre pressure at least weekly!
    also check them for any glass, nails or any other crap that might have damaged it.. unlike a car you only have two wheels and it ain't fun if you loose one