Whether you ride on the road or track, take long-distance trips across the country or stick to the city streets, one thing’s for certain: problems will arise eventually.
There are ways to reduce the risk of issues before they occur, of course, like regular motorcycle services. Although, no matter how new, high-quality or well-maintained your bike is, an unexpected and unwanted situation eventually will come up. And when it does, you either need to know how to handle it or take it to a professional who does. It helps to know a good motorcycle mechanic in Brisbane.
As motorbike professionals with 40+ years in the industry, the Taverner team has fixed just about every issue a motorcycle can have. This blog offers advice on how to troubleshoot 10 of the most common motorcycle problems that riders need to watch out for.
With a little planning, the chance of many of these problems can be minimised, and they can be handled when they come up without too much hassle. When all else fails, Taverner is right here in the heart of Brisbane to fix common motorcycle problems of all kinds so you can get on with riding.
Here are some of the issues you’re most likely to encounter:
Chain and Sprocket Maintenance
Motorcycle chains are strong but tend to grow looser over time. If your chain isn’t tight enough, it will begin slipping and eventually break. You want a bike chain that’s tight enough to prevent slippage but not so tight that it makes it hard to shift gears. The answer is to clean and lubricate your chain regularly and watch out for sprocket wear and tear too.
Cleaning and lubing your chain is a fairly simple process that becomes even easier if you have a bike stand. You can check your chain’s “wiggle room” and see how much the links slide around when you apply compression to them. A good way to check if your chain needs replacing is by doing a visual check of the axle adjusters. If they are fully extended the chain is stretched and requires replacement.
You can also use the opportunity to examine your sprockets, looking out for signs like the tell-tale “shark fin” that happens when the leading edge wears more heavily than the other side.
Common motorcycle problems don’t come more common than this one. Flat tyres can and do happen even if you’re the safest rider on the planet. A light shake or the feeling of running out of power can be enough to alert you that you’re in trouble. Continuing to ride on a flat tyre can permanently damage the wheel’s rim.
You can prepare for the situation in advance by regularly checking the pressure, tread and condition of your tyres and carrying a tyre repair kit in case the worst happens.
If the battery on your motorbike drains while riding, the problem could be one of many things, including a bad connection, corroded terminals or just an old battery.
You can protect the battery on your bike in a number of ways. Lack of regular use leads to premature discharging, so if you don’t ride often, start your bike up once a week and let it idle for a few minutes. Check your battery for leaks and your terminals for corrosion, and clean the terminals when necessary.
Squeaky brakes are not just annoying, they can also be a sign of more serious (yet common) motorcycle problems like worn-down brake pads. You can use callipers to measure how thick your rotors actually are. If they’re thinner than the minimum thickness stamped on them, it’s time for new ones.
If the issue isn’t rotor wear and tear, it’s likely to be contaminants getting between the rotors and the brake pads. You can clean your brakes in a well-ventilated area by taking apart all of the components, cleaning them with a special brake cleaner and using a clean, dry cloth to wipe away any excess residue. A regular motorcycle service will help you keep your brakes in good shape before anything serious happens.
If you’ve started your motorcycle only to have it sputter out before you can go anywhere, unfortunately, the problem could have several causes. There are so many parts involved in electrical issues, and the wiring is so intricate it probably seems easier (not to mention safer) just to take it to your closest auto-electrician or motorcycle mechanic in Brisbane. However, some of the most common culprits behind electrical troubles are problems with the main fuse or battery, poor grounding or a faulty stator. A regular motorcycle service can help reduce the risk of all common motorcycle problems, including electrical problems, and keep your bike running well.
The speed of your throttle response determines how well your bike performs. There are many reasons for bad throttle response, and many of them are connected to the fuel supply. Bad fuel, clogged fuel filters and unused fuel economy can all cause a sluggish throttle response, as can other issues like incorrect spark plugs.
The fixes for a bad throttle response are as numerous as the causes of the problems themselves and can include changing the filters, replacing the spark plugs and upgrading the exhaust system.
Backfiring is caused by the presence of fuel that hasn’t combusted in the exhaust pipe. As well as being annoying, it can be dangerous – particularly if it results in flames. It will probably come as no surprise that motorcycle backfiring has many potential causes: wrong timing caused by a poorly placed chain or exhaust valve, too much fuel, too little fuel or a loose exhaust header.
There are some easy tips to take onboard to prevent backfiring: regularly clean your filters, clean your carburettor, use the right kind of fuel and make sure there’s nothing contaminating your fuel tank. If you can’t find the cause straight away, the best course of action is to consult a motorcycle mechanic in Brisbane.
Clutch Handle Tightness
You may notice your clutch feels stiffer than usual, or your hand starts to hurt after pulling your clutch several times during the course of a ride. Common causes are a dirty lever, stiff springs or a dirty or worn pushrod or actuator arm. These problems have different fixes, including lubricating the clutch cable and putting washers on the spring bolt.
Motorcycle oil leaks are most often caused by a damaged or worn-down gasket or faulty plugs. You can place a piece of cardboard under your motorcycle to see where the drip is coming from.
If you know what you’re doing, swapping a gasket or an oil drain plug is pretty easy, with one major exception: the head gasket. This one involves removing the top of your engine and exposing important sections of the engine, like your pistons. This can blow out your engine, so if you’re not a trained mechanic, it’s best to find a motorcycle mechanic in Brisbane to handle it.
Carburettor issues are common motorcycle problems that can show themselves with a variety of symptoms, including sputtering, hissing, leaking gas and lost power.
Often the issue is the mixture running too rich, too lean or out of balance. Both mixtures are often caused by ill-fitting after-market accessories or leaking exhausts. Proper installation is incredibly important for the smooth running of carburettors, including the proper sealing of gaskets. It’s also important to regularly clean the part with a carburettor cleaner and a soft bristle toothbrush.
Get Your Motorcycle Serviced at Taverner Motorsports
If troubleshooting on your own is too complex to handle, Taverner can fix all your common motorcycle problems and not-so-common ones too!
More than a motorcycle mechanic in Brisbane, Taverner can provide workshop services (including regular motorcycle services), performance work and whatever else is necessary to maintain your bike and keep it running at its peak.
Since 1975, we’ve been perfecting our trade to the highest level of quality and building strong relationships with trustworthy parts suppliers. Common motorcycle problems are an easy fix for us.
To see how much it will cost to fix your own motorbike issues, request a quote from the Taverner team.