Tech Tips

Tech Tips

Winterizing Your Motorcycle

December 22, 2015
For many motorcyclists across the country, this time of year marks a crucial maintenance time for their rides; winterization. Some fortunate riders farther south enjoy a year round cycling climate, but if you’re not one of the lucky ones, you need to follow a few important steps to protect your bike over the winter months ahead. The following steps should help to assist you in winterizing your motorcycle so this spring you can hit the road with no trouble.

Video: Motorcycle Grips - How to Replace Grips on a Harley-Davidson - By J&P Cycles

January 1, 2015
Most people I know end up replacing their stock grips. Therefore, I thought everyone might enjoy watching this YouTube video, which was produced by J&P Cycles. It walks you through the process for replacing the grips on a Harley Davidson motorcycle; however, the same general concept applies to most makes and models.

Chain Maintenance

February 1, 2014
Proper lubrication and maintenance of a chain is essential for peak performance and optimal chain life. Every rider with a chain-driven motorcycle needs to provide their chain with the appropriate care by following the manufacturer’s lubrication schedule and recommendations.

Bringing Your Bike Out Of Hibernation

April 1, 2013
Over the past several weeks we have seen temperatures ranging from below zero to over 60 in just a matter of days. During the slow months after the holidays, those of us here in the Midwest have been watching and waiting patiently for the return of riding season. Now that spring is just around the corner, we must reverse what we “hopefully” did to winterize our bikes in order to get them running and ready for the riding season. Some of the basic items to look at are the fuel, electrical system and tires. FuelIf you kept a full tank…

Tire Pressure 101

March 1, 2013
There is a regular schedule that we should keep when it comes to our motorcycle tires. Keeping the air at a specific pressure is a challenging task that may get overlooked. The average do-it-yourselfer has so many other areas that he or she might want to focus more attention on than the tires, and many riders tend to ignore this important maintenance task—you know who you are—you just check your tires when you stop at a gas station when filling up (or maybe not)! Motorcycle tires are far more advanced than you might think these days. They have many different…

Jump-Starting Your Bike - Is It Safe?

March 31, 2012
The answer to this question is YES. I have found that all riders share a common denominator—we all have, at one time or another, had a DEAD BATTERY. It usually seems to happen in the most obnoxious and worst possible places. For those of you who have had this happen from a short or simply leaving the ignition key on Accessory, I’m sure you did not have jumper cables or a battery charger in your saddlebags. So what is a person to do! You can use a battery from an automobile or equivalent; however, there are several precautions to factor…

Motorcycle Winterization & Storage

December 31, 2011
OK, so you stretched your riding season out until you needed tire chains to maneuver through the snow and ice. Now, you have decided to park the beast until the weather is a bit more pleasant. You think, “It will only be a couple of months until riding season begins again, I shouldn’t have much to do to my ride, right?” Think again! A bike has special needs if you are going to store it for an extended time in any environment and expect it to roar to life at the flick of your ignition switch! In order to prepare…

How to Fix a Rusty Fuel Tank

February 28, 2009
I have been repairing motorcycles for several years, and the most notorious leave you stranded problem is: How do I know if my gas tank is rusted or starting to rust? Since most street bike gas tanks, with the exception of newer plastic dirt bike and ATV tanks, are made of metal, what normally happens with age and improper storage is the tank is most likely neglected. When a gas tank is half full, it will be exposed to air and moisture. And if you store your bike inside with the different temperature changes, you can get moisture build up…

Motorcycle Charging Systems

January 31, 2009
When it comes to this subject you must ask yourself what is involved in my bike’s charging system. Let me clarify this to the best of my ability. Since 1978 to the present, motorcycles have what they call non-serviceable type charging systems. What does this mean to the average rider? This is a maintenance-free type system; however we are going into this a little deeper. You must consider that if you add up all the parts in today’s motorcycle charging systems, there are just three parts to make your ride event free. 1st component – BatteryThe battery is the most…

Winterization Made Easy!

December 31, 2008
Now that the temperature is dipping into the single digits here in the Midwest, many riders are preparing to put their road companions to sleep for a few months. Although this can be a depressing time, on the upside, it gives us a chance to perform maintenance that we may have been putting on hold due to attending so many bike nights and boulevard cruises. Winterizing your motorcycle can be done in a short amount of time and is relatively safe to do. You should always refer to your owner’s manual for the proper procedures on winterizing your bike; however,…

Motorcycle Battery Maintenance

November 30, 2008
Most motorcycles in service today require a battery for the electrical system. If not properly maintained you may have bad charging effects and hard starts. There are two types of batteries that are in use today—conventional lead acid and maintenance free. Conventional Batteries are of a lead acid type and uses a different type of electrolyte acid, which requires periodic maintenance. In this type of battery, there are four areas to address. Maintain Water Level. If your battery has removable vent caps, you should regularly check the water level and add distilled water when it is low. Keep Terminals Clean.…

Motorcycle Engine Oil 101

October 31, 2008
Oil companies provide data on their oils, most often referred to as 'typical inspection data'. This is an average of the actual physical and a few common chemical properties of the oils they manufacture. Information is available to the public through their distributors or by writing or calling the company directly. I have been exposed to many kinds of Synthetic oils and premium grade oils. I want to define this so you can understand what the terms and abbreviations are. Viscosity is a measure of the 'flowability' of oil. More specifically, it is the property of an oil to develop…

Troubleshooting Faulty Ignition Coils

September 30, 2008
When your motorcycle is not running at its peak condition and you have exhausted all of the basic requirements, remember that engines require ignition systems that carry higher voltages these days, and these parts can fail. When your motorcycle has many miles and years of use, the systems have to be recognized from an ohmmeter level, not just a visual inspection. I recently had a set of 4 cylinder coils that when the engine came up to operating temperature, the engine would lose power and stall the cylinder. When tested with the multimeter, the coils were out of specification until…

Converting Your Foot Shifter and Hand Clutch to a Jockey Shifter and Clutch

July 31, 2008
Over the past two months I have been working on a project that not only consumed me but also made me feel as though I had completed one of the best projects I have ever been a part of. Back in April 2008 I was asked to be a team lead on an extreme makeover project for a 1982 XL 1000 Sportster for Staff Sergeant Daniel Gilyeat who had served two terms in Iraq and came home disabled. Many of you may recognize this Marine's name because he was also one of the latest recipient of ABC's Extreme Home Makeover.…

Hydraulic Brake Rotor Replacement

April 30, 2008
Spring has officially started, but you would never know it judging from the weather in the Midwest. It seems like we are entering another Ice Age. During the course of the long winter months, I have been busy repairing motorcycles that have been in dire need of some extreme makeovers and love. One thing that caught my eye was the brake rotors on a bike that recently visited my lab just a week ago. When you start hearing a metal grinding sound and you start feeling an erratic pulsating in the braking system of your motorcycle, it is time to…

Bringing Your Bike Out Of Hibernation

March 31, 2008
Over the past several weeks we have seen temperatures ranging from below zero to over 60 in just a matter of days. During the slow months after the holidays, those of us here in the Midwest have been watching and waiting patiently for the return of riding season. Now that spring is just around the corner, we must reverse what we “hopefully” did to winterize our bikes in order to get them running and ready for the riding season. Some of the basic items to look at are the fuel, electrical system and tires. FuelIf you kept a full tank…

Diagnosing Connecting Rod Problems

February 29, 2008
Winter has been so weird this year and you just can’t help wondering when will be that magical day to get your bike back on the road for another fabulous riding season. However, have you addressed the items that plagued you last fall? Were those items really bad, like a knock in the bottom of the motor? Well, if you had an engine that was knocking the last time you remember it, here is the problem with this tech tip. This is for the very serious weekend warriors, and if you even consider tackling this repair and fixing your engine…

Removing Those Stubborn Factory Stickers from Your Bike!

January 31, 2008
Since I recently purchased a new motorcycle, I thought I would give you some helpful tips on the removal of those pesky stickers manufacturers stick on our pride and joys. The old fashioned method for removing factory stickers by using heat works well for this process. Hair dryers can be used to gently soften the adhesive epoxy so they can be removed quite easily. When using heat to soften and remove the sticker in question, make sure not to overheat and bubble the paint! You will want to work the hairdryer back and forth across the sticker two to three…

Preparing Your Motorcycle for Winter Storage

December 31, 2007
Well it’s that time again. Winter officially started on December 22, and here in the Midwest, we've already had our share of snow and ice. If you're experiencing the same type of weather where you are, have you thought of putting your motorcycle in storage for a siesta or thought you may just let it go? I have been pretty thorough in the past on this subject and would like to explain just how simple and inexpensive this procedure can be. It can also be done in a relatively short amount of time. Winterization is not only a great way…

How to Diagnose and Repair Intake Manifold Leaks

November 30, 2007
Every once in a while I like to report back on some of the malfunctions that have plagued many of us in the past, such as your intake manifold. When it comes to intake manifolds, these items are under extreme heat at all times and don't always receive the proper cooling, which the front of the engine normally gets. The temperature at the mouth of the intake will vary, but often exceeds 240 degrees. Unlike the exhaust system, the intake manifold on many bikes is not a metallic-type material like on the American V-twins. In fact, most metric motorcycles have…
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