Thursday, April 10, 2014

How To Best Prepare Your Bike For Long Road Trips!

Good maintenance of any vehicle is a must irrespective of taking it on long rides or not, this will ensure you have a trouble free ride. A bikes health and well being is as important as the riders' health. Respect the machine and you will be respected!

Long Ride Preps! 
  • Engine oil! It's a must to replace engine oil every 2500-3000 km. Remember engine oil is life line of your bike. It's good idea to replace before long rides.  
  • Engine Oil level should be between Max & Min. Do not worry about color, check viscosity. 
  • Check/replace gear box oil.
  • Check/Replace oil filter every 2500-3000 km.
  • Check/replace air filter every 2500-3000 km..
  • Check tyre tread depth if reached max lifetime/km do replace. 
  • Check/Replace both tubes- will reduce chances of flat tire. 
  • Check/replace clutch plates if necessary.
  • Check drive and chain sprocket.
  • Check condition of chain/weak or cracked links.
  • Check/replace fork oil and seal. 
  • Carburetor tuning.
  • Wheel alignment & Get Rim True done if required.
  • Get your bike serviced at-least 2 weeks in advance, this will help you test ride & fix any issues.
  • Replace clutch/brake/accelerator cables. Do not discard old cables carry them as spares. 
  • Check/replace brake shoe or disc pad if necessary.  
  • Check/Replace De-comp cable in case of Standard Bullets 'CI Engine.'
  • CI Engine Bullet Check condition of 'Electronic Points.'
  • Replace spark plug every 12-15000 km.
  • Check/refill battery electrolyte level.
  • Recharge battery or replace old one. 
  • Check/top up/replace disc brake oil.
  • Check if seat cushioning is in good condition. Last thing you want is a sore bum and hard seat. 
  • Check if all electrical components are working fine.
  • Correct drive chain tension.
  • Check and refill tire pressure every week.
  • Correct tire pressure for Bullet Solo - F-20, R-30. With Pillion F-22, R-32. 

  • Chain link lock assembly- 2 nos.
  • Spark plug.
  • Clutch lever (to replace in case of accident/fall) especially while riding to Leh (Black Ice!)
  • Quality fuse (5 nos)
  • Insulation tape.
  • Bike spare Key.
  • Butyl Tube. (3.25-19) fits front & rear just fine for Standard Bullet. 
  • Headlight/Tail light Bulb.
  • Engine oil (20w 50 for CI) for top ups, must after 500 km or in case of oil leak..
  • Few nuts/bolts of various size.
  • Foot Pump 
  • Tubeless puncture kit. 
  • Comprehensive Tool kit (original kit must.)
  • Cutting plier to remove nail or sharp object stuck in tyre.
  • Jerry can for spare fuel. Funnel or cut bottle neck (Dispose responsibly.)
  • Bungee cord.
  • Petrol pipe 1 -2 mt.
  • Lubricant for chain (use every 500 km.)
  • Grease. 
  • Swiss army knife. 
  • Permanent marker, could be used to mark the spot while dismantling wheel in case of flat tyre will be helpful while reassembling.
  • First aid Kit.
Daily Checks
  • Clean the bike every morning.
  • Check engine oil level (best when engine is warm.)
  • Check for any leaks.
  • Frequently check for any cuts/cracks in tire, remove embedded gravel.
  • While saddling bags be sure to tightly secure straps. 
  • Start the engine and let in run for few minutes, warn up the engine before hitting the road.
  • Max load bike could take is 175 kg, respect that limit. 
Brownie Points 
  • While transporting bike always remember to remove the mirrors.
  • Do not kill the engine immediately after long rides. Let it idle for few mins. 
  • Never use exhaust pipe for support while loading bike.
  • Do not over rev if stuck in muck or slush. Get down and try to push the bike. 
  • Inspect/Replace helmet visor prior to long ride. 
  • Carry all original vehicle documents + Photocopies. 
  • Spend time at the work shop and learn basics mechanics.
  • Always carry the owner manual, PDF form. 
  • Torch is a must. 
  • All specifications/numbers are for Standard Bullet CI engine. 
  • If CI engine kicker fails! Push the bike down hill, engage de-compressor to release pressure and shift to 2nd gear, the bike should start. 
  • I personally do not prefer the 'Leh Luggage Carrier,' instead I use saddle & tank bag. 
  • For spare fuel I got an exclusive carrier fabricated (fits 10 liter can.)
  • Safety gears absolute must!
  • Always help a stranded biker/traveller. 
Above all be a passionate biker and not dare devil! Start early ride slow, enjoy and make memories on the way, appreciate Nature. There is no point in rushing and clocking kilometers. Try and avoid riding post sunset. 

Following the above tips should make sure one has a smooth ride however, if something goes wrong and bike fails do not panic try and identify the issue the solution would be fairly simple most of the times. Bikers are always up for adventures, we would have better stories to share!

"Four wheels move the body, two wheels move the soul!"  

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