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I bought my first bike ever just about a week ago and technically don't even know how to ride yet (signed up for next month's course, don't worry), but once I am rollin', I wan't to take the best care of my bike that I can.

What are some "essential tips and tricks" for keeping a bike running, and looking, its best?
 

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What kind of bike did you buy? How many miles? Shaft, belt or chain drive?

I am kind of in the same boat as you, just bought my bike a few months ago. I recently changed the oil (I have decided to do that every 3,000 miles), lubed the chain (every 300 miles) and filled the tires with air. That is something you definitely want to check this time of year, because it has been colder in the Winter. Both of my tires were low, which costs money in lower gas mileage, loses some power, and can cause cupping if it is allowed to go on. I also checked my air filter, which was fine.

I would start by getting a repair manual and an owner's manual, and read them. In both there should be a schedule for routine maintenance. Not all bikes are the same, so get to know yours specifically.

If you don't know what has been done recently to your bike, l would definitely change the oil and grease the chain (if it has one). Check your air filter to make sure your bike is breathing well.
 

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Thanks! LOVE your bike, that yellow is incredible! Wonder how mine would look in yellow… hmm… lol. Mine is a 1983 Yamaha Maxim XS400

I did get a manual with it thankfully, and have changed the oil/filter, fuel filter, air filter.. adjusted the chain.

Was just wondering if there were some "general" tips for bikes.. best chrome polish, don't ever use car oil, that kind of thing. :)
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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I use 'never dull' on the chrome
only use oil that is motorcycle rated
Dress your seat with a good leather preservative that is not greasy
Any good wax on the tins
ride roads that don't have much traffic and a slow speed limit in the beginning
Don't ever extend yourself, work into ridding longer and farther.
Always ride your own ride, don't let others force you to ride in a manner that makes you uncomfortable

Do a daily walk around your bike everytime you ride:
tire pressure
oil level
all lights are working
brakes work
tires roll smoothly
steering turns smoothly
suspension compresses and releases properly and has no leaks

That is all I can think of at the moment
 

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Don't read this the wrong way (ie don't take it personally, lol) I'd give the same advice to anyone whom doesn't know a lot about motorcycles & wants to learn

Get yourself a good book. For example:



http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470245875.html

Money well spent :) & I'm sure you'll find someone else to hand-me-down the book to when you're done with it!
 

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Thanks for the kind words! I wanted a bright color when l got back on the road, just a little insurance while learning to ride safely!

If you read threads in the repair/maintenance thread you can learn a ton. I read those a lot just to see what kind of troubles people come up against. It is really cool when there is enough in the thread to follow from the beginning, through the diagnosis stage, troubleshooting, and then the final repair. There are always lots of great tidbits to learn along the way. For instance, if a guy is getting a bike back on the road that has been sitting for ten years, he will likely clean and rebuild the carbs. Maybe he asks how to do that, so other people chime in with instructions or suggestions on what works, pros and cons to each way, etc. It's pretty darn cool :)
 

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Cosmetically, the best thing is to keep your bike out of the weather. In a garage or at least covered with a first class bike cover such as these from Nelson Rigg. Especially important where you have extreme climate. Don't go cheap. The best ones will last for years and give much better protection.

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Critter described the walk-around. Get in the habit of doing that often. If not every ride then very close to every ride. Good habits developed now will stay with you and you will start to look for these things without even thinking about it much.

Follow the routine maintenance schedule for your particular bike. All those checks and changes have been developed by the people that designed your bike and likely understand it better then most of the owners and they're there for a reason. If you want to keep your bike as healthy as possible and on the road for as many miles as you can, doing the scheduled maintenance and doing it correctly is the best single plan you can have for that.

In some cases you can feel free to exceed the scheduled maintenance too, but make sure you understand the whats and whys of it, and if it's beneficial or just a waste of money.
 

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Be sure to check the site windows for your brake fluid. If it is yellow or brown it needs to be replaced. There are threads telling you how to do that. The reason I say this is because when I bought my Maxim I didn't know to do this.
 

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Run a gas cleaner/de-varnisher through the gas around once a month. My favorite is SeaFoam: absorbs water, preserves gasoline up to 18 months, dissolves mild varnish deposits, all while you ride. Properly moth-ball your bike each Autumn, and come Spring, all you need is to start it, and ride...

Regular use of a good gas cleaner/de-varnisher can extend the carb tune-up periods -- reduce how often they need it... An ounce of prevention can go a long way. Enjoy the bike. Ride safe! Cheers!
:coffee:
 
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