5 NEXT WEEK

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garage -

Are the chain ad­justers set the same?

Have a care­ful look at the chain ad­justers. Not ev­ery­one man­ages to get them on ex­actly the same set­ting on each side af­ter tight­en­ing a chain, but if a bike has a slightly twisted frame and a ten­dency to steer to one side or the other, a way of con­ceal­ing this is to set the back wheel skewwhiff to com­pen­sate. Quite apart from any­thing else, it’ll knacker a chain and rear sprocket in no time at all. If the ad­justers are wound right out it sug­gests the chain has come to the end of its life and needs re­plac­ing along with the front and rear sprock­ets.

6 What’s the oil telling you?

Have a good look at the colour of the oil, not just the oil level. Don’t worry if it’s dirty – that’s what you want to see, un­less it’s jet black and has the con­sis­tency of tar. You see, one sure-fire way of qui­eten­ing a slightly rat­tly en­gine is to change the oil for nice fresh stuff of a heav­ier vis­cos­ity. Cor, doesn’t it sound nice and quiet? Yeah, but wait un­til it’s nice and hot. Clean, fresh oil when the ser­vice record says it isn’t needed is a dan­ger sign. Or, if you’re lucky, the sign of a painstak­ing owner – but that will be backed up by the pris­tine con­di­tion of the rest of the bike any­way.

7Delve un­der­neath

Old-school steel ex­hausts rot from the bot­tom. Ex­haust bal­ance pipes de­cay where they come out of the header pipe. Col­lec­tor boxes rot. All can be patched with paste and you won’t see it un­less you grovel. And (a favourite one, this), sump plugs get bodged back af­ter some­one’s over-tight­ened them and stripped the thread in the cases or sump.

8Wir­ing spaghetti?

Pop the side pan­els off and have a look at the electrics. You ab­so­lutely do not want to see Scotchlocks, loads of those hor­ri­ble cheap blue or red con­nec­tors, ex­tra fuses placed in­line, or a few feet of wiring in a funny colour. It may be work­ing now, it might have been work­ing for some time, but the chances are it’s been cob­bled to­gether for sale, and it will fail soon.

9Is the ABS work­ing?

Older ABS sys­tems can fail and the MOT test now man­dates a fail if the ABS warn­ing light doesn’t go out when it should. It only takes a mo­ment to re­move the bulb. The same goes for things like al­ter­na­tor/ gen­er­a­tor warn­ing lights, as a means of cov­er­ing up a duff al­ter­na­tor. Also check the id­iot lights to see if any have a small piece of tape placed over as a mask.

Sort your bike’s stop­pers like a pro

Gor­geous but they need love

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