PHOTOS | KATE DISHER-QUILL
Damsels in distress? No way! Move over Prince Charming, and hand us your wrench while you’re at it. Here a few simple tips when it comes to knowing the basics on how to service your bike, courtesy of Rising Sun Workshop's co-founder Adrian Sheather.
First up - your bike will have a servicing schedule, comprising of an owner’s manual which will tell you how often it needs to be serviced, plus if it’s a second hand bike, a workshop history letting you know what’s been done to the bike and when. If you didn’t get (or can’t find) your owner’s manual, not to worry, just jump on the relevant bike forum and you’ll easily source this information. Have a read and get familiar, not only will you find out about how many KMs it should cover before having a service, but it will also tell you critical information such as fuel type, what spark plugs your bike uses and a whole host of other details.
If you are interested in a bit of DIY, the most common and relatively ‘easy’ thing to start with is your oil. Before you start, remember to consult your owner’s manual on the frequency of change and type of oil required.
The reason your oil needs to be changed regularly is that all the heating and cooling over time changes its viscosity, making it less effective. While you are there you should also replace the oil filter at the same time.
Step One: PREP
1. Clear an area, put down towels or anything you don’t mind getting dirty, just in case
2. Check if your bike has a centrestand (ideal) and if not consider buying a rear paddock stand, as this will keep your bike stable and provide enough gravity for the oil to drain out correctly
3. Get a socket wrench, a new oil filter and new oil handy
Step Two: DO
1. Unscrew your engine’s oil cap so air can pass through. You want this to happen so the oil drains properly
2. Next turn on your bike so it warms up the engine – it’ll warm the oil so it flows more freely
3. Then use your socket wrench to remove the drain bolt, and take off the oil filter
4. Oil should now start pouring out - use a towel to wipe down any other bits of your bike that gets oil on it in this process
* intermission while you wait for the draining to finish *
5. Now to put on your new oil filter. To get a good seal a tip is to dip your finger into the new oil container and rub some onto the new oil filter's o-ring. Consult your manual to find out how much oil your bike needs
6. Last step is to put your centre or rear paddock stand down
Step Three: SMUG
1. High fives all round, because you have just Done-It-Yourself! Nice one.
For more information, YouTube and forums are a handy source of information and how to videos, but if you can have a friend who knows what they’re doing show you it’s even better. “Regardless, please do be honest with yourself and your skill level” Adrian warns, “as there is real risk and consequences if you exceed your capabilities”
Curiosity and observation also goes a long way to better understanding your bike and potentially being able to solve or at least diagnose the problem yourself. Listen out for the nuances only you could possibly know. Does the battery only die at night? Maybe it’s the lights playing a part in this. Does your bike start OK but keep cutting out at the lights? Maybe the fuel lines are blocked. These little tricks will help you understand your beast better, and really help in the human/machine bonding.
And if you’re not ready to get your hands dirty don’t worry. The best way to start is taking a bit of an interest and talking to others in the moto-community for their advice, it’s an incredible source of information so don’t be afraid to ask!
RSW has launched its workshop calendar for Sydney riders to learn the basics from tools and electrics to minor servicing.
Erica is everyone’s support crew and personal cheerleading squad. A lover of all things moto and vintage, she is a red-lipped founder of the Throttle Dolls, splitting her time between her custom Sportster and her convertible BMW ‘Brenda’. As a regular IVV contributor, Erica shines a light on Petrolette road style, and standing on your own two feet when it comes to selecting vehicles, mechanics and gear.