Give your bike a mid-season service
Give your bike a pep-up for the remainder of the summer and be finished in time for lunch
1 Bleed with me
Buy a bottle of DOT 4 fluid, remove the reservoir cap and attach a bleeder to the furthest bleed nipple from the master cylinder. A simple bleeder costs £5, and is simply attached, feeding in to a catch bottle and pump. Pump the brake lever and top up the reservoir with fresh fluid as you go. Repeat until lighter, fresh fluid appears in the bleeder tube. Lock the nipple off, remove bleeder, wipe up mess, repeat on other calipers.
2 Caliper clean
Remove the caliper from the fork leg and disc. Remove the pads, noting which side is which, as well as inspecting for wear. Gently pump the lever, watching for equal piston movement. Try to have 10-15mm of piston exposed. Clean all surfaces with a toothbrush and soapy water. Silicone lubricant will help you push pistons home and maintain free movement. Reassemble, remembering to pump up calipers before use.
3 Chain (cleaning) gang
Put the bike on a centre or paddock stand so you can turn the rear wheel freely by hand. Give it a dousing with a good quality chain cleaner, and allow to soak. Use a small, stiff brush to clean inner and outer side plates, rollers, sprockets and surrounding area. Rinse thoroughly. Allow to dry, then lube the inside run. A small amount on the side plates will prevent corrosion. Allow the lube to dry.
4 Drop the oil
Warm the bike for five minutes, prop it upright and remove the sump plug. Allow to drain for half-anhour. Remove the filter, brim a new one with oil and wipe some on the sealing o-ring. Fit the filter, replace the sump plug with a new sealing washer, and fill to the upper level on your sight glass/ dipstick. Run for a few minutes, check and top up as necessary.
5 Clear breathing
Remove your fuel tank – ideally low on fuel – being careful not to stretch hoses and damage connectors. Note the fitment of the hoses and breathers. Remove the airbox lid, or the filter cartridge. Do it slowly – don’t knock debris in to the inlets. Bugs and large items can be knocked off – if the element is very discoloured replace, or wash in the case of foam-type filters.
6 Freeplay and cable lube
Disconnect your control cables. Slide through the outer. If they’re catching slightly, run some lube down them. If that doesn’t help, replace them. Cable freeplay should be adjusted at the lower end with the upper adjusters wound in, then fine-tuned at the top. You want around 5mm of freeplay at the clutch lever tip, and throttle tubes should move no more than 3-4mm.
7 Coolant refill
Find the lower drain point on the system – a drain screw, or hose join. Undo to bleed. If coolant is dirty, a radiator flush or a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water will shift muck – fill and bleed, ride for 100 miles or so, then drain. Wash out with a hose. Refill with coolant specified by the manufacturer. Squeeze hoses, release air from bleed points, and, after a brief run, check it is full.
8 Wheel alignment
Even if you did it at the start of the year, check again. Two straight edges the length of the bike are required: lightly clamp to either side of the rear tyre so they touch the sidewall at the front and back of the wheel. Line the steering up straight. The distance from each edge to the sidewall of the front tyre must be equal – adjust the rear until you have equal readings either side.
9 Bearing up
You need front and rear stands, and probably a helper. Take the load off the wheel bearings, swingarm bearings and head bearings one at a time. Turn, wobble and inspect for any noisiness, notchiness or looseness. Head bearings can be tweaked up with an adjuster under the top yoke. Wheel and swingarm bearings are usually a case of straight replacement though.
Feeling for play in the swingarm bearings