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.
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.