Like whiskey and wine, blue jeans and leather, motorcycles that are properly cared for get better with age. While new developments in motorcycle technology are exciting, there’s an undeniable allure to vintage bikes. What’s the difference between a custom classic with a nostalgic look and feel and a rusted-out shell of a former motorbike leaning permanently against your back fence? A lot of the time, it comes down to care. How well you maintain your motorcycle determines the state it will be in 10 or 20 years from now.

There’s a fair amount of work that goes into giving your motorcycle a better lifespan. Maintenance is key, but a lot comes down to how you ride as well.

The average motorcycle lasts 10-15 years, with touring motorcycles packing the longest lifespans and sporting motorcycles wearing out much faster. The life of a motorcycle is variable, though, and maintaining it is one of the main things you can do to help it last longer. Essentially, it’s the factor that determines how long your motorbike stays in action.  

How do you give your motorcycle a better lifespan? Whether you want to enhance your motorbike’s engine lifespan or your motorcycle tire lifespan, here are some top tips for increasing the longevity of your prized motorbike.

Maintenance Tips for Improving Your Motorcycle’s Lifespan

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The way to a better motorcycle lifespan depends heavily on how you treat your bike when it’s in your garage. Whether you prefer the DIY option or you like to take your bike to a professional, maintenance is the highest priority. Some of the key steps you need to perform on a regular basis to properly care for your bike include:

Clean the bike

Washing your bike frequently will clean off dirt and other substances before they can corrode its components. When dirt caked onto the metal parts of your bike meets with rain, it can turn to rust very quickly. Motorcycles are more exposed than cars, and unless you’re in the habit of giving your bike a quick clean after every ride, you should aim for a thorough one every two weeks.   

Lubricate the chain

A poorly adjusted or poorly lubricated chain spells trouble. A chain that’s too tight can cause problems with the wheels and gearbox bearings. Meanwhile, a chain that’s too slack can jump on the sprockets and jam up the rear wheel, causing an accident. Even a chain that’s too dry can stress out the engine, wear out before its time and even snap. Luckily cleaning and lubing a motorcycle chain is a pretty simple process, even for a beginner.  

Clean/replace the air filters

To maintain your motorbike engine’s lifespan, you need to regularly clean and change the air filters. Dirty air filters can cause dirty air to creep into the engine, preventing it from forming the right mix of oxygen and fuel. There’s a general rule of thumb that you should replace your air filters every 15,000 to 20,000 kilometres to protect your motorbike’s engine lifespan. If you often ride on dirty or dusty roads, it’s worth doing it more often than that.  

Check/replace the engine oil

Checking and replacing your motorcycle engine oil regularly plays a large part in achieving a better motorcycle lifespan. It’s also the most important factor in your motorbike engine lifespan. You should change engine oil roughly every 3,000-5,000 kilometres and use high-quality oil recommended by the manufacturer. Changing the engine oil isn’t too hard, even for a beginner, and there are step-by-step guides to making it easier.
Vintage bike restoration

Keep it under cover

Motorcycles are exposed to the elements by nature. But too much exposure to either the sun or the rain can cause problems that will shorten your bike’s lifespan: damage to the plastic and rubber components, cracks in the tyres, fuel evaporation, and rust on the metal parts. Keep your motorcycle in a garage if you can, and beware of heavy rain or flooding seeping in and causing the engine to seize up.

Check the tires

Preserving your motorcycle tires’ lifespans goes a long way towards preserving your bike’s overall lifespan. Low tire pressure speeds up wear and tear and can cause structural damage. Protecting your motorcycle tires’ lifespans by always ensuring they’re properly inflated helps you achieve a better motorcycle lifespan overall.

Riding Tips for Improving Your Motorbike’s Lifespan

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Sometimes it’s the decisions that you make and the steps that you take on the road that help you achieve a better lifespan for your motorcycle. Here’s what you can do to boost your bike’s shelf life when you already have your hand on the throttle.

Ride carefully

Slamming on the brakes too suddenly and too often is bad for your motorcycle tires’ lifespans. Excessive speeding overheats and damages the engine. It’s not that you can’t feel the full power of your motorbike and the thrill of the open road. But if you want your motorcycle to last, ride sensibly. 

Ride often

If you leave your motorbike sitting in your garage, it will break down a lot faster than it will if you ride it regularly. The chain will stiffen, the gaskets will weaken, and condensation will build up on the engine. For a better motorcycle lifespan, don’t let your bike sit unused for more than a month. If you’re planning to store it for the long term, turn the engine on every once in a while and let it run for a few minutes.

Riding your bike often is one of the easiest and most fun ways to give its lifespan a boost.  

Break your bike in

When you first get a new motorcycle, it’s important to follow all the instructions from the manufacturer about how to handle it during the first several hundred kilometres. Some of the parts on a brand-new bike can be stiff. Internal friction is often higher, leading to reduced fuel efficiency. There are steps you can take to make the break-in process a smoother one and avoid damaging your brand-new bike. Don’t ride too fast or too aggressively. Don’t lug the engine. Instead, start to power down before it has to work too hard.

Don’t overload your bike

Loading your motorbike up with more cargo than it’s built to carry is a terrible idea, and not just because it shortens its lifespan. It’s illegal and dangerous, and, worst case scenario, it can cause you to lose control of your bike. Overloading causes wear and tear on your tires, wheel bearing, suspension and frame. If you want to give your motorcycle a better lifespan, don’t exceed its load rating.

Get Your Motorcycle Serviced at Taverner Motorsports

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Regular servicing is important for making your motorcycle last. Among our many workshop services, Taverner offers both major services to keep your motorcycle in prime condition and minor services to cover the basics between standard services. We’re happy to take on all the jobs you don’t want or are just too busy to do, including replacing the engine, primary and gearbox oils, changing the filter and adjusting the chain and clutch.

Our other services include general maintenance and repair work as well as performance work to take your engine to the next level.

If you’d like to know more about how Taverner Motorsports can help you maximise your motorcycle’s lifespan, contact the friendly Taverner team.