Questions and Answers
Experts in all things motorcycle, Chelsea Motorcycles have put together a frequently asked questions section, designed to help you to get the most out of your machine. In this section we cover some of the most common asked questions in relation to motorcycle maintenance and repairs. While we do have an exceptional workshop that can carry out all repairs for you, we understand that as a proud motorcycle owner you might want to do some things yourself. Which is why we have put together this helpful page and we welcome your input. If you have a motorcycle maintenance or repair question that you don’t see the answer too on this page, please send us an email and we will endeavour to answer this for you.
Maintenance and repairs
How do I check the chain tension on my motorbike?
A: For this you will need to user manual for your bike, in here it will tell you how to adjust the bikes chain tension. Remember, when you are adjusting the chain tension to make sure there is some load on the bike first as the chain will tighten up once there is a rider on the motorcycle. To do this you will need a good torque wrench and you will need to double check what the correct torque settings for each bolt are, again this can be found in the user manual for your motorbike.
How do I know if I need to replace my battery?
A: When your battery starts to come to the end of its life you might see a dip in its performance, it may not hold it charge well, for example. One of the easiest ways to tell if a battery is at the end of its life cycle is to take it out of the motorbike and check its condition. Batteries are usually found under the seat or near the petrol tank, as such they often get overlooked in general motorcycle maintenance. Check your battery is not discharging any fluids, if it is, the likelihood is it will need to be replaced soon. Place your battery on a level surface and then check the acid level, if this is low you will need to top it up with de-ionised water before putting the battery on charge or back into your bike.
How do I do an oil and filter change?
A: It is always a good idea to check the user manual for your motorbike first. When the engine is still warm, remove the oil filler cap, place a bucket or tray under the bike and then remove the sump plug. This will drain your bike of the old oil first. When the old oil is removed, replace the sump plug and tighten it to the correct torque setting. Spin a new filter on and then smear the rubber filter gasket with clean oil before you tighten it. Then fill up the oil with the correct amount of new oil. Start the bike to check for leaks, then turn it off and leave it for a few minutes to allow the oil to drain into the sumo, then check the oil level again. If you have added too much oil, remove the excess with an oil syringe.
Can I change my spark plugs myself?
A: Yes this is a job you can do yourself, but it will depend on which bike you have. Some bikes are tricky when it comes to changing the spark plugs and might take you hours to change if you are a novice, whereas others are very simple and can be changed in a matter of minutes. Check to see if your bike is a simple one to change the spark plugs on, or if you need to do anything else to change the spark plugs such as draining the cooling system. Another thing to consider is which spark plugs you buy to replace them with, make sure you buy plugs that will fit into your bike. If you are unsure, or if you would like a second opinion, it might be worthwhile taking your bike to a garage to replace the spark plugs.
What parts of my motorcycle do I need to grease?
A: Greasing your motorbike is very important, but so is using the right grease in the right places. Use spray grease to lubricate foot-rests, hinges, locks, levers and stand hinges. Make sure you don’t spray this anywhere near the brakes.
You can also check your user manual to find other greasing points for your motorbike, such as the wheel spindles or swingarm. Finally, if you are confident in maintaining your bike, you can also buy some copper grease and remove non-structural bolts from your machine to grease them to prevent them from seizing over time. Remember, when you tighten them back up, to do this at the correct torque. If you’re unsure which grease you need for which job, check your user manual or with your local dealer.
My brake pads need to be replaced, can I do this myself?
A: Yes you can, replacing the brake pads is a relatively easy task that can actually save you a lot of time and money. For more information on how to change your brake pads, please refer to your bikes owners manual. Replacing and maintaining the brake pads like this will help you in the long-run, by helping your bike to pass its MOT first time.
Of course, if you’re not sure how to change your brake pads, or don’t know if you actually need to change them, you can take your motorbike into a garage, there they will be able to tell you what condition your brake pads are in and if they need to be changed, the mechanic may even show you how simple it is to do.
Do I need to maintain my suspension?
A: Yes. Your suspension will degrade over time and this will likely be a slow process, slow enough that you don’t notice the handling ability gradually reducing. To maintain your suspension and keep it working for longer, you should treat it like an engine and make sure you keep on top of the oil levels. You should also check the forks and shocks on a regular basis. Remember, the harder you work your bike/use your bike, the more attention you do need to pay to mainlining the suspension.
Why are new tyres so slippery?
A: This is due to the final part of the tyre manufacturing process, the curing stage. When a tyre is cured in a hot mould, a small amount of release agent will usually be used to remove it from the mould and a thin residue of this will remain on the surface of the tyre. For this reason, new tyres can often feel significantly different to your old tyre and we do recommend that you ride carefully on them until you have worn them in.
Is checking the tyre pressure important?
A: Yes, this is something you should do regularly. Not only can it cause damage to the tyre and reduce its lifespan by riding on the incorrect tyre pressure. But it can also affect the handling of the motorcycle. If your tyre pressure is too high the tyres will wear unevenly and the handling of the bike will be compromised. If your tyre pressure is too low, the tyre will deform which could lift the middle section of the tyre away from the road, giving you less contact to the road and therefore less grip. The tyres could also overheat and become damaged.
You can find the correct tyre pressure in your bikes owner’s manual. Alternatively, you can check with the tyre manufacturers website.
Should I put my bike on a stand when I am not using it?
A: No, you do not need to put your motorcycle on a stand when you are not using it. Some riders worry that if they don’t put their bike on a stand they will get flat areas on their tyres. But, if your tyres are properly inflated and at the right pressure, this will not happen. So the important thing to do is to check your tyre pressure regularly, to make sure it isn’t falling too low.
Can I change the coolant in my motorcycle myself?
A: Yes, this is another simple and routine maintenance job and one that you absolutely can do yourself. As always, before you start messing around with your bike, you should refer to the user manual. This is because all bikes are different and you need to make sure what you are doing is correct for your bike. With a cold engine, you need to locate the coolant drain plug in order to drain the coolant, all you need to do is drain the old coolant away, replace the plug and fill the coolant back up with new and clean coolant.
Why do some motorbikes have a centre stand, but not all? And do I really need one?
A: Some bikes do not have centre stands, this is to reduce weight, provide increased ground clearance and for cost savings.
A centre stand is primarily used for maintenance. It helps to raise your bike to make it easier to work on, allowing you to lift one or both wheels off the ground. So, when it comes to maintaining and repairing your bike, it does come in very handy when doing jobs like changing or cleaning the chain.
Some bikes without a centre stand, do actually have a side stand instead.
When should I change the air filter on my motorbike?
A: The air filter in your motorcycle should be changed annually (every 10,000 miles) during your motorbike service, though it can be changed every six months if you ride in ‘extreme conditions’, such as on sand or grit. It is recommended you have your first filter change at 1000 miles.
Making sure your filter is clean is a very important of motorbike servicing, because if the filter becomes clogged, the performance of the engine could be impacted. In some extreme cases, dirt and grit can make its way into the motor, which can have potentially catastrophic consequences.
Are motorcycle valve clearances essential?
A: Yes. Valve often become too tight and when they do, you will start to experience problems with your motorbike. It might become harder to start, it could start to back-fire and may start to lose power. It will lead to an increase in wear-and-tear to the engine, the cams may also wear more and if the temperature increases other problems might arise in the engine.
While valve clearances are not difficult to do, the valves themselves are often tricky to get to, so it might be worthwhile having this done by a professional. This means that this can be a labour-intensive job.
What is the white stuff on my motorbike battery?
A: The white stuff you can see is called lead sulphate and this could be caused by two things. Firstly, if the lead plates in a battery discharge, they turn into a crystal that can build up and destroy a battery, making it no longer able to hold its charge. Now might be a good idea to replace your motorcycle battery.
To help reduce the risk of lead sulphate developing, make sure all your charging functions are working properly and keep the battery terminals clean. If you are not using the motorbike or placing it into storage, disconnect the battery terminals, but make sure you regularly charge the battery.
Can I just change one sprocket?
A: Yes, you can. However, we do advise that you change the chain and both sprockets at the same time. Not only does this ensure even wear-and-tear across all three components, but it can also save you money as it is often cheaper to buy the three together, than each one separately.
When should I change my engine coolant?
A: Your coolant will need to be changed every couple of years, but it is wise to regularly check your coolant levels. If you find that you need to top up your cooling fluid between services, you will need to find out where the fluid is leaking from and should have this looked at by a professional.
If you do need to change your engine coolant, used a ready-mixed solution or de-ionised water (do not use plain or boiled water).
How can I get a replacement owner’s manual for my motorcycle?
A: Replacement owner manuals can usually be ordered through the bike manufacturer. Be sure to have your motorbike model number to hand so you can be sure you get the right manual. Alternatively, you can also download these manuals from the manufacturer’s website, again you will need the model number of your motorcycle.
How can I tell how old my tyres are?
A: The production date of the tyres can usually be found on the tyres themselves. Check the sidewalls of the tyre and look for the Department of transport code (the DOT), the last four figures of this code are usually show the production date. Some old tyres may have a three-digit instead of four-digit, code, these tyres are now considered too old and should be replaced.
How often should I change the oil in my motorcycle?
A: Typically speaking, your oil should be changed approximately every 3700 miles, however this will vary depending upon your driving style and how you ride your bike, i.e. around town or sporting. You should check the levels every week to make sure you have enough oil and to ensure that the oil is clean. If you find yourself having to refill or change your more regularly, this might be an indication that there is a more serious problem with your motorcycle, which you need to get checked by a mechanic.
What am I looking for when I check my spark plugs?
A: Spark plug are very durable, but they are worked heavily when you use your motorcycle, so you do need to check that they are in a good condition. Look at the electrode and insulator and check the colour, it should be a light tan or grey colour, also check the condition of the insulator, if it is cracked it needs to be replaced. Also, if there is any build-up or residue on the plug, you might want to have it checked, or just replace it, spark plugs are relatively cheap.
What does ‘check the wheel alignment’ actually mean?
A: It literally means check that the wheels are aligned with each other and the motorcycles frame, centrally. To check this, have your front wheel upright and in-line with the bikes frame, for this you will need the help of a clamp or another person. Use something with a straight edge (or a taut piece of rope) to check the wheels are both in-line with each other, and also with the frame of the bike. This should highlight if either of the tyres are offset.
Where is the battery located on my motorcycle?
A: Every motorcycle is different and so the placement of the battery varies. The best thing to do is to check your user manual to find out where your battery is located. Typical places you will find a battery on a motorcycle include: under the seat, in the fairing, near the fuel tank, etc. Remember, before you remove or touch the battery, to make sure that the engine is switched off, for your own safety.
What tools do I need to maintain my motorcycle?
A: The tools you need depend on the type of job you need to do, but here are some of the main tools to have in your motorcycle maintenance kit.
- Paddock stand
- Screwdrivers, spanners, etc.
- Tyre levers
- Tyre valve key
- Pressure gauge
- A good lubricant
- Funnel (for things like adding coolant)
Can I replace my motorcycle headlight myself?
A: Yes you can, but it might be difficult depending on the type of motorbike you have. You should check your user manual first to make sure this is a job that you feel you are skilled to do. Before you do change your headlight, you should troubleshoot the problem to make sure the bulb has actually stopped working. It might just be you have a blown fuse that is preventing the light from working properly. Also, make sure you buy the right type of bulb for your motorcycle, by checking the ANSI Code, which is usually 3-4 numbers long and can be found inscribed on the bulb.
How can I make riding my motorcycle safe?
A: There are lots of thing you can do to make riding your motorbike much safer. Here are some ideas:
I know that I have to wear a motorcycle helmet, but do my passengers legally have to?
A: Yes, according to the gov.uk website:
“On all journeys, the rider and pillion passenger on a motorcycle, scooter or moped must wear a protective helmet. … Helmets must comply with the regulations and they must be fastened securely.”
Therefore, it is a legal requirement that you and anyone else who is on your motorcycle, must wear a helmet, remember, it is for your own protection. We advise that you always carry a spare helmet with you, just in case you end up giving someone an unexpected lift. When you are looking for a new motorcycle, consider the storage space an try to buy one that will allow you to store away a ‘just in case’ helmet.
Clothes and Accessories
There are lots of different motorbike helmets available, which one should I buy?
A: We strongly recommend you buy a high-quality full-face helmet, one that covers and protects every part of your face. If you are unlucky enough to involved in an accident then it is quite likely you will suffer some impact to your face, usually the part of your face that is not protected by a helmet, unless you are wearing a full-face helmet of course. A full-face helmet also gives your face better protection from wind and dust, as well as bugs.
A flip front helmet works just as well, if it covers your entire face when it flips closed. If you don’t have either of these, an open face helmet is fine, legally you can wear it as it protects your head which is the main thing. But it won’t offer as much protection in the event of an accident, which means you could suffer more damage to your face.
What is the point in buying riding boots?
A: Riding boots offer more protection to your ankles and shins than most other boots will do. These armoured boots come up higher to protect your legs, as well as your feet and they have a metal plate running through the sole to help prevent twisting. In the event of an accident, these boots can not only help you to remain on your bike, but they can also protect your legs from becoming damaged in the crash.
Motorcycle boots are designed to have non-slip souls that will grip well and help you to stay on your bike. What’s more, motorbike boots are oil resistant, which makes them easier to clean and keeps them looking newer for longer. They are extremely durable, so you won’t have to worry about having to replace them anytime soon.
Would normal gloves be okay, or should I buy some motorcycle gloves?
A: We strongly recommend that you buy some gloves that are designed for motorcyclists, this is because they are designed specifically for people riding motorcycles and so come with lots of benefits.
They help to protect your hands, not only in the event of an accident, but also from everyday riding. If you ride your bike your hands will be exposed to the weather, they will get wet with the rain or cold and stiff in the winds, they can get hit with debris and they can become sore with holding the handlebars. They can also lose grip on the handlebars if they become greasy or wet. Gloves help to prevent all of this by protecting your hands from the weather and debris, while providing support to make it easier to grip the handlebars for longer. They also give you a better grip on the handlebars, providing you better control of your bike. Because motorcycle gloves are designed to come higher up the arm than most gloves, they also help to ensure there is no bare skin between the gloves and the sleeves when you are riding.
When should I wear my riding pants and when is it okay to just wear jeans?
A: It is never really okay to just wear jeans, unfortunately jeans offer you very little protection if you were to be involved in a crash. Sadly, you cannot predict if and when you will be involved in a motorcycle accident, so you can’t ensure you’ll be wearing your riding pants at the time, which is why the best option is to simply wear your riding pants all the time. Riding pants offer you much better protection in the event of an accident. They are usually equipped with CE-rated armour in the shins, knees and hips and they are designed to fit snugly.
Training and Licenses
There are so many different motorcycle licenses, which one do I need?
A: The license you need will depend on what you intend to use it for. If you are only using your bike to navigate city traffic, keeping your speeds low, you will only need a basic license. However, if you want to travel at higher speeds and be unlimited as to which bike you can ride, you’ll need an unrestricted license. To help you to decide, here are the different motorcycle licenses and what they permit you to do:
- CBT Certificate: This is a basic course you have to complete before you are allowed to ride on the roads. It is not a test, once you complete the course you gain a certificate which lasts for two years. If you do not pass attain one of the following licenses in two years, you will need to retake your CBT certificate course.
- Stage 2: A1 (Light) Motorcycle License: After completing this you will have a full motorcycle license. You can take your L plates off, ride on the motorway and even carry a passenger. However, you will be restricted to 125cc motorcycle.
- Stage 3: A2 (Standard) Motorcycle License. With this license, you can remove your L plates, ride on the motorway and carry a passenger. However, you will be restricted to riding a bike 35kW engine power or less, for the first two years. After this time, you will have the option to take further practical tests and ride unrestricted.
- Stage 4: A (Unrestricted) Motorcycle License: Once completed, you will have a full unrestricted motorcycle license and will be able to ride unrestricted on any bike of your choice. You can ride on motorways, remove any L plates and carry passengers.
Do I have to complete the CBT training course?
A: Yes, everybody needs to complete the CBT training course before they are allowed to ride on the road. The only exception is if you passed your car driving test before 1 February 2001. If you did pass your driving test before this time, then you can ride a 50cc moped that is limited to 30mph.
What’s more, the CBT certificate you receive from this course lasts for two years, if you do not pass your test before the certificate expires, you will need to retake this CBT training course. Once you have a valid CBT certificate you can ride on the roads, but you will need to wear L plates on your bike and you cannot carry passengers or ride on the motorway.
If I purchase a motorcycle on finance, will I own the motorbike?
A: This will depend on what type of finance option you qualify for. We have three different finance options available. If you choose a personal loan (and if you qualify for a personal loan) then you will own the motorbike as soon as you ride away with it, the loan is not secured against the bike. If you use Hire Purchase, you will own the bike, but only once you have finished paying the loan in full. If you choose a personal contract purchase, you have the option to own the bike at the end of the term, for a fixed price.
If I buy a motorcycle on finance but want to swap my bike for a different one, can I?
A: Whether or not you can change the motorbike during the finance agreement, will depend on what that finance agreement is. If you use a personal loan, you have the option to change the bike at any time, you do not need to settle the loan value. If you have a hire purchase agreement, you can change your motorbike, but only if you settle the loan value first. If you have a personal contract purchase, you have the option to part exchange your motorbike, but only at the end of the contract term.
I cannot afford to pay for a brand new bike upfront, are there any finance options available?
A: Yes, at CMG we use a panel of lenders including Honda Finance, Suzuki Finance, Blackhorse Motorcycle Finance and MotoNovo. These lenders allow you to pay for your motorcycle over easy to manage monthly payment options and over a variety of time periods, with the longest term lasting up to 4 years. This means you are able to buy the bike of your dreams and spread the cost over years, at as little as 0% interest.
If I buy a bike on finance, do I have to pay a deposit?
A: Yes, with all of the finance options we have available, you are required to pay a small deposit beforehand. The deposit amount is negotiable, so you can pay as little or as much as you can afford. Obviously, the more deposit you are able to pay upfront, the less you’ll owe on your finance agreement, which means it will be easier and quicker to pay off. A higher deposit amount will also make it easier for you to secure credit.
What finance types does CMG have available?
A: At CMG we offer three finance options:
- Personal Loan: whether or not you qualify for this will depend on your credit history and ability to pay back the loan. The lender doesn’t have the motorbike as security, you own the bike as soon as you enter into the credit agreement. At any point you can change the motorcycle for a new/different one.
- Hire Purchase: very similar to a personal loan except the lender secures the loan against the motorcycle, you do not own the bike until you have paid for it. Also, if you want to change your motorbike for a different one, you do need to settle the balance outstanding on your agreement.
- Personal Contract Purchase: the motorbike is leased to you over a certain period of time. At the end of this time you have the option to make a final payment and own the bike, return the motorcycle to the finance company, or part exchange the vehicle and get a new motorbike or scooter.
To apply, all you need to do is complete the form on this page: https://www.chelseamotorcycles.co.uk/scooter-motorbike-finance/ and we’ll take care of the rest for you.
Hire, Fleet and Delivery
Can I hire a motorbike for personal use?
A: Yes, you can. At Chelsea Motorcycle we have a wide range of motorcycles and scooters available for hire. Including new and used bikes. We also provide maintenance plans and helmets, clothing and accessories, as well as help with insurance. For peace of mind, all our rental bikes and scooters come fully serviced and you have the option to add a maintenance plan. CMG are here to help you to ride away with your dream motorcycle today.
In fact, there are lot of benefits to hiring instead of renting, including lower costs and the ability to change or upgrade your motorcycle whenever you like. What’s more, not having to pay for your bike upfront gives you much more freedom on which bike you ride, allowing you to hire a bike, you might be able to afford to buy.
I need a delivery fleet of motorcycles/scooters for business, can CMG help?
A: Yes, CMG have a wide range of motorcycles and scooters available for hire and we do offer fleet hire as part of our services. This is a great way to set-up your business at a massively reduced price, as you do not need to buy the bikes upfront, you pay for them monthly, and as your business grows, you can add as many bikes to your fleet as you need. All our delivery fleet bikes come fully serviced, with the option of a maintenance plan. This is ideal for all kinds of delivery services, including; Uber, Deliveroo, Quiqup, food delivery companies and businesses or individuals delivering small packages.
If you hire a fleet from us, you also gain additional benefits, such as a discount on clothing and accessories. As well as the peace of mind that you will have a reliable fleet of motorbikes to help make your business a success.
I am starting up a delivery company and I need everything, from motorcycles, to accessories and insurance. Where do I start?
A: As there are a lot of things to think about when you are starting a delivery company from scratch, the best thing you can do is to use a company that can help you with everything. CMG, for example, can help you to choose your bikes, get helmets, clothing and accessories, add a maintenance plan and even help you to sort out your insurance. We can even provide finance options, or hiring options, to help to keep your business costs to a minimum.
If you do want to do this yourself, the best thing to do is consider your needs, decide how many bikes or scooters you need and which type you need, then take a look at the bikes/scooters available. Once you have bought or rented your bikes, sort out the insurance so that the bikes can be ridden and then go shopping for helmets, clothing and accessories. Don’t forget to buy security to keep your bikes locked and safe.
Should I buy a delivery car, or a delivery bike?
A: This often depends on your business and what it is you are delivering. If your packages are large, bulky or heavy, then the likelihood is a delivery motorcycle is not going to be suitable for you. However, if you are delivering smaller, lighter packages that can easily fit into the storage bags of a motorcycle, then a motorbike is much more beneficial for you. Before you decide, think about what it is you are going to be delivering and where you need to make your deliveries too. If you need to travel long distances a car may be more comfortable for you, but if you are delivering locally, or in and around busy cities, a motorbike is far more suited.
Can I hire a delivery bike instead of buying one?
A: Absolutely, at CMG we have a range of delivery motorcycles for hire. Hiring your delivery motorcycle (or even an entire fleet of delivery bikes) is often much more beneficial than buying them. Hiring a fleet of delivery bikes reduces the start-up costs, which is great for delivering companies that are just establishing themselves in the market. What’s more, buy hiring your bikes instead of buying them, you have peace of mind that they have been fully serviced and therefore, should be much more reliable.
What are the benefits to hiring a delivery bike instead of buying one?
A: There are lots of benefits to hiring delivery motorcycles instead of buying them. Firstly, it is much cheaper to hire delivery bikes than it is to buy them outright. By renting instead of buying, you have more choice over which bike you have, you aren’t as limited to your budget. You also have the option to change or upgrade your bikes whenever you like, as well as the option to add a maintenance plan, giving you peace of mind that if anything were to happen to the bike, it won’t affect your business. The company who hires the bike to you should also be able to provide you with clothing and accessories, as well as help with insurance etc.
How do I know how many delivery bikes I will need for my fleet?
A: To determine how many bikes you actually need for your business, you need to look at how busy your business is now, and the growth rate, so that you can ascertain how busy you expect it to be. The last thing you want is to create your fleet and then realise that you don’t have enough bikes to complete all the deliveries ordered through your company. Another thing you need to consider is your maintenance and cover options, if you rent through a company that can offer you a replacement bike, that’s great, but if you aren’t, you might want to have a spare bike in just in case. The good thing is, if you hire rather than rent your bikes, you can expand your fleet as and when your business grows.
I need to create a fleet of delivery motorcycles, what do I need?
A: To create a fleet of motorcycles you need the following:
- The desired number of bikes: i.e. the amount of bikes your company needs to be able to make all of its deliveries.
- Insurance: to cover your bikes in the event of an accident, damage or theft.
- Tax: you need to make sure you have tax on each of your bikes.
- Roadside cover: in the event of a breakdown, you will want to know your fleet is covered and has someone to call to rescue any broken down bikes.
- Replacement bikes: you need a plan in place just in case something happens to one of your bikes and you cannot use it.
- Clothing: your riders will need to wear the correct safety clothing, including a helmet, jacket, riding trousers and boots. All of these will protect the individual in the event of an accident, covering you as a business.
- Accessories: as a delivery company, you will most likely need storage boxes that can fix onto the motorcycle.