As a motorbike enthusiast, you may wonder as a new or experienced rider, what are the most common types of motorcycle repairs, and how can you be prepared for these eventualities? We’ve put together a breakdown of common motorcycle faults, causes and preventions so you can stay one step ahead with your motorcycle maintenance.
Depending on your riding style and type of motorcycle, brake pads can last hundreds or thousands of miles. However, there are times when brakes fail, and, as you know, this can be seriously dangerous on the road. Shockingly, motorcycle brake failure is also more common than you think with the likely culprit being prolonged use of the bike without servicing in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations. It is always best to check your brakes, amongst other critical parts of your motorcycle before setting off on any journey. See our separate article on Top Tips for Safe Motorcycle riding This Summer for a list of maintenance tips. Additionally, as you ride, be observant to longer stopping distances than usual. If you can pull the brake lever even close to the handlebar grip or it feels spongy, it’s time to service your brakes.
Chain and Drive Systems
As with most components, chains require regular maintenance to work correctly. Signs of wear can take many different forms. You need to be on the lookout for kinks, missing or failing O-rings or X-rings, worn rollers and corrosion. Chains don’t tend to break suddenly but, over time, they can become fatigued which will worsen when not routinely maintained. Keep your chain clean, protected and lubricated to maximise chain life. You can find chain care accessories in the Bridge accessories department.
Tyres can crack and tear for many reasons, from neglect, chemicals, underinflation and a process called ‘cold tear’. ‘Cold tear’ occurs when the tyre surface generates heat when riding but the internal face of the tyre is significantly colder, often as a result of over inflation. The result of ‘cold tear’ is the formation of cracks on the surface of the tyre. This can seem concerning however, there is a simple solution you can follow to prevent ‘cold tear’. Before setting off, check your tyre pressure to ensure they are showing the correct PSI.
Additionally, tyres can perish if underinflated, if you are planning to store your motorcycle for extended periods of time, make sure you inflate the tyres to their maximum PSI levels and store the bike on paddock stands to elevate the bike off the ground. The storage space should be dry and climate-controlled if possible.
UK law demands a minimum tread depth of 1mm across ¾ of the tread pattern with visible tread on the remaining ¼ for bikes over 50cc. Under 50cc requires all the grooves of the original tread pattern to be visible – if any grooves have worn smooth, your tyre needs changing.That said, for safety reasons, we’d recommend changing your tyres prior to any of the tread wearing below 1mm.
If your tyres are worn, cracked or perished, you can book into the Bridge service department through the online service booking form.
Suspension is a critical part of the motorcycle for both handling and comfort. As suspension components start to wear out, increased feedback is received through the motorcycle as the suspension is not working as effectively.
Suspension wear can happen in a variety of different ways and for different reasons, however one of the most common problems is dirt ingress to the fork seals. Overt time, dirt builds up on the suspension fork pistons and finds its way past the seals into the barrels. The dirt wears out the fork seals through abrasion and eventually can cause fork oil, when under compression, to seep past the seals which means the fork runs low on oil.
A proactive measure you can take to prolonging suspension fork seal life, is to make sure that you clean around the fork seals on a regular basis, it’s also a good idea to use fork gaiters, although this is not possible with every suspension fork setup.
Electrical System Failures
Like other vehicles, motorcycles are not immune to electrical faults. However, motorcycle problems often stem from simple causes, like loose or corroded connections. When performing your own motorcycle repairs think about the issue logically: if you experience multiple component failures, there may be a problem in the earth (ground) connection. Most circuitry is routed through the same earth connection. Additionally, you can perform your own continuity checks, voltage checks and earth (ground) checks.
Possibly one of the most common issues you’ll face with motorcycles are battery issues. This can be due to battery drain or the finite operational age of motorcycle batteries. If you experience battery drain, it is likely due to not enough power being produced back into the system. A common culprit for battery drain is poor ground connection between the frame and battery. Additionally, remember that motorcycle batteries tend to last between 2 to 5 years and be observant to the appearance of rust and corrosion. Regular checks of your battery during your motorcycle repairs will maintain its effectiveness through its operational life; consider using a battery maintenance charger if your motorcycle will be stood for longer periods of time.
Gearbox and Clutch Repairs
Possibly the least common on our list are gearbox and clutch repairs. Your clutch or gearbox could break for a few different reasons. Firstly, your clutch won’t likely fail suddenly; instead, it will wear out over time when the friction plates lose their ability to provide ample friction from excessive heat. One sign you can tell that your clutch needs replacing is if the revs go up when you accelerate but the speed dial remains the same.
On the other hand, a gearbox can fail more suddenly and can break due to many different factors. For instance, your gearbox could fail as a result of corrosion, bent shift forks and incorrectly set chain tension. Some scenarios that would warn of an issue with your gearbox would be a burning smell accompanied usually with the sound of whirring and chattering from your transmission. If you experience these issues with your clutch or gearbox, you’ll need to repair or replace them immediately.
How Can We Help?
Bridge has an in-house service centre and therefore we can offer: Manufacturer warranty motorcycle repairs, Insurance approved estimate and repairs, Data tool installation, Power commander installation, Diagnostic & re-mapping, Data tagging and tyre fitting.
If you’ve noticed a problem with your motorcycle or need to carry out motorcycle repairs, Bridge has highly trained, award winning technicians that work only with state of the art and manufacturer approved parts.
To book your motorcycle in to the Bridge service centre, please complete the online service booking form.