5 Tips to Make Your Bike Last 100,000 Miles
It used to be that getting 100,000 miles on your car was an accomplishment. Over the years, metallurgy, oil development, and overall engineering has gotten so much better that 100,000 miles on your vehicle isn’t the same milestone that it used to be, and even motorcycles can easily log more than 100,000 miles on the odometer.
It’s not rocket science and keeping your bike in good shape is pretty easy. There’s no guarantee that you’ll reach 100,000 miles on your machine, but the following tips will put you on track to get the most from your bike.
By far, the most important thing you can do is change the oil regularly. If you do nothing else, be sure to change the oil! There are many opinions about which oil to use and I’ll leave that conversation up to the guys on motorcycle forums, because oil threads on forums are always entertaining!! Just be sure to use a high-quality oil and change it according to your manufacturer’s guidelines, and the kind of riding you do.
Of course, there’s more to making your bike last than just changing oil, but regular oil changes give you a chance to be up close to your bike and discover other things that could need fixing.
Which leads to the next step:
Regular maintenance keeps small problems from becoming big problems. Certain things are going to need to be replaced as you start to rack up miles. Nothing major, just regular consumable parts like brakes, chains, tires, fork seals, etc. Don’t forget other often neglected things, like flushing your brake lines every now and then. Though you don’t have to do it often, we all tend to overlook these tasks.
If you have a liquid cooled bike, don’t forget about flushing your cooling system too. Be sure to check the coolant level often and keep an eye on your temp gauge when you ride. As part of your regular maintenance, be sure your engine fan comes on when the bike gets to the appropriate temperature. Pay attention to engine temperature when sitting in traffic, more so with air cooled bikes because if you’re not moving, there might not be enough cooling.
Take it easy
Hitting the redline every time you shift or riding aggressively before your bike has had time to reach operating temperature is a sure recipe for engine catastrophe. You don’t have to baby your motorcycle to make it last, but it’s helpful to not beat the snot out of it every time you ride.
Store it properly
If you have to put your bike away for an extended period of time, like winter, a few extra steps can offer huge benefits. There are plenty of online resources outlining the best procedures for long-term storage, so do some research and pick one that best fits your needs. While you don’t need an environmentally controlled space to store your bike when not in use, keeping it out of the weather will do a lot to preserve your machine. Many bikes are kept in less-than-ideal situations, including mine, and still manage to rack up plenty of trouble-free miles. Still, it’s helpful to store it inside if you can. The most important thing for long-term storage is to use fuel stabilizer or drain the fuel system. Keep in mind that no fuel stabilizer will keep your gas in good shape indefinitely, and extra precautions should be taken if your bike will be sitting for a really long time.
So, by now you’re probably thinking “this guy is an idiot. Where’s all the helpful tips? There is no special information here. I do all this stuff anyway.” And you would be correct. There is no “secret” to getting a lot of miles out of your motorcycle. Just use some common sense and stay on top of regular maintenance. With few exceptions, bikes are built really well these days and will last more miles than most of us will ride. Just look at your owner’s manual and do the basic maintenance stuff! Sorry to disappoint.
Now get out there and ride!!