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What's going to break next?

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Servicing' started by Pugsly, Mar 28, 2016.

  1. A couple of years and 50,000km under my belt and I've been through a few tyres, a couple of chains/sprocket and many other consumables for services.

    My riding is 95% commuting, rain hail or shine, so a different ride profile to a quick blat on weekends.

    The CB500F is a good little commuter for me. It's no powerhouse, but consistently gets 400km out of a tank, and is comfortable enough for my ~130km daily commute.

    However, with a fail-to-proceed through a chain failure a couple of weeks back, my mind turned to what is likely to break next, and what I can do to ensure it too doesn't result in my being stuck on the side of the road.

    Regular servicing is a no brainer, but for the grey beards of motorcycling, (and I know this is a 'how long is a piece of string' question) what major things start breaking on bikes after 50,000 or 100,000 or whatever the number is?


  2. #2 cjvfr, Mar 28, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2016
    Modern bikes are pretty reliable. A common Honda failure is regulator or stator. Monitoring battery voltage is a good early warning of these failures.

    These are simple to install Eclipse Battery Voltage Monitor | SparkBright
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  3. Hoses and seals can start to go. I just replaced a radiator hose and an O ring and will soon replace the rest of the hoses (after 55,000k).
  4. What sort of chain life are you getting klms wise?
  5. Handlebar mounted switchgear - the all weather commuter will certainly get some switch contact corrosion by 50K. Any connectors, particularly those which get unplugged and replugged or are electromechanical in nature and subject to vibration. Flasher relays spring to mind. Bearings shouldn't be an issue at all - providing they are maintained, but nothing lasts forever. Regular servicing will enable one to replace as necessary. Same with brakes. They've got lots of parts seals, pistons, and operate in dirty places. Good maintenance should prevent any roadside woes.

    I agree with the hoses and seals thing. Disagree with the chain and sprocket replacement regime. I won't even be considering the FIRST chain and sprocket replacement at 50K (auto oiler)

    Battery life has more to do with the number of years and the number of incomplete charge cycles with the battery left in a discharged condition for lengthy periods of time - not usually an issue for the commuter. Where there is a known issue with a bike (something they are known for) as CJVFR has indicated, you are best off being able to monitor how things are going, as you will probably know it by 50K - and a device like that should enable you to ID a problem in the making and will save you money, where a problem with one part of the system can take out another part as it fails. - a Classic example would be a regulator failure overcharging and killing a battery.
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  6. 20k out of the first. It ran out of adjustment which was my fault for not maintaining properly. 30k out of the second at failure. Still not sure why it failed. Thinking an auto oiler might be the way to go.
  7. If you want big km. out of your bike, you need regular oil changes and filters. It is very important to keep a check on the oil level. Air cooled motors can use oil when you push them a bit. Keep your forks cleen and at 50k it is time to change the air filter and put new oil in the forks. New spark plugs as well. The other thing you may need to think about is, how hard it is to sell a bike with 100,000km on it. So do you want to except that once you get over 100,000 km, that you will get very little for the bike. I have no worries because mine is comiing up to 200,000 km. And who want to give you good money for a bike with 200,000 kms?
  8. #8 ferkel, Apr 9, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2016
    Pugsly: A modern chain would have to be completely shagged for it to go and have you break down, The drive sprockets would also be worn, so there would be warning signs for many 1000's of km's before a failure. An inspection every now and then will save a break down. I assume you don't lube your chain ?

    Eric: I treat cars and bikes as consumables and accept they depreciate. Except for collectors, they are not investments. Each to their own, but I wouldn't be fussed with km's. If the bike works for you, just ride it until the maintenance becomes too expensive or it's time for a change.

    PS/ BTW: A good quality chain/sprockets last 20k for me (lubed every500km or when chain starts going dry in hot weather and long rides), but my bike gets kaned and I am fussy with chains. As soon as chain becomes stretched or the sprockets look worm, I replace. I am very fussy and don't like oscillations/vibrations in the drive.
  9. #9 CraigA, Apr 9, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2016
    That was going to be my suggestion. If you are running up the klms, you can get over 50K on a single chain, especially on a low powered bike, if you keep the lubrication up to it.

    I run a Pro oiler with GPS. It knows how far I have ridden and just squirts oil on my chain at regular intervals based on distance travelled via the GPS signal. Chain always looks freshly oiled. If its wet, you just ramp up the oil delivery with a push of a button. Once it is dry, return to the dry setting. Easy peasy!
    Pro-Oiler, GPS Satellite Controlled Chain lubrication system for motorcycles, speed dependant,automatic, 60,000 miles, one chain.

    I have also used a scottoiler in the past but these seem to do a much better job of delivering the correct amount of oil to your chain, so are not as messy.
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  10. Keep an eye (actually an ear) on your wheel bearings. They're not hard to change if you're mechanically adept and buying them from a bearing supplier instead of a bike dealer will save you a packet on EXACTLY the same or better items (just for the love of Dog don't use AllBallz or anything other than the reputable industrial brands like SKF, NTN etc.).
    Another item to keep an eye on is your clutch cable. The moulded ends can pull off on high mileage bikes, especially if the cables haven't been cleaned and lubricated regularly and are getting stiff.
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  11. Quite the opposite. I was being diligent in oiling it, especially after wet weather.

    Here it is after the failure.
    Certainly not brilliantly clean there, but not dry either.