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Tips and Tricks for Motorcyclists

An ongoing column of useful information for riders of all types of motorcycles.

Shop gloves

There are various ways you can protect your hands. Many tech use latex gloves when they work because they allow the nimble dexterity required to work. But I personally despise constantly having the latex tear and sweat build-up in the glove. My choice of gloves are those made by Mechanix Wear. They come in various sizes and colors. I carry a set on the bike when I travel as well so I can do work or just a tidy air up or chain lube. Pack them in a freezer grade Ziploc bag to keep them from dirtying your other gear.

Glass vs. Plastic

Windex, Rain-X, Plexus, Pledge and so on. The list of cleaners, water repellants and anti-fogs is endless. But when it comes to a plastic face shield or wind screen the choices get limited. When treated with the wrong products, clear plastic has a tendency to age quickly by way of lamination distortion. In other words the exterior laminates begin to peel away causing haziness and making them downright hard to see through before riding season is over. When you’re cleaning or treating your face shield of wind screen, visit the manufacturers’ website for details about the best and safest products to use. If it’s not listed there, contact the manufacturer directly.

The warning above, straight from the manufacturers website.

Oil filters made simple

OEM's such as Yamaha, Honda and others like to use their own oil filters on their bikes, rather than a third party manufacturer like K&N. Only trouble is you may need to buy their proprietary removal tool to get the filter off. Dumb. In fact, without their removal tool you'll have a bear fight with your motorcycle and it's anyone's guess what you'll resort to to get the OEM filter off.

Instead of the bear fight do this: Take the bike to your dealer or local shop and have them drop the oil and remove the filter the next time you need it done. Sure it will be cheaper to drop it yourself, but without the tool it will end up costing you time, your own labor and money getting a tool that will indeed take the filter off. Then specify you want a non-OEM filter, such as a K&N, installed that is fitted with a basic 17mm style nut on the end or similar, which will make your next at-home oil change a snap, even on the road.

Above: The Honda filter above requires a special tool for removal, the K&N only needs a simple 17mm hex wrench

Pack a few hose clamps too

There are a lot of suggestions of items to carry in your on-board fix-it kit. Don’t forget the hose clamps which come in handy not just for cramming a hose back onto your bike, but several can be utilized with a screwdriver to render a broken clutch or brake lever useful again. They can also be used to stabilize a makeshift cable or wiring harness, until a more suitable fix can be made back at home. Add several sizes to your fix-it kit including one of two of the sizes already used on your bike.

Book your spring service early

Setting up your spring service sooner than later is always a good idea. In areas where there truly are four seasons, when the days warm up so will the wait for service. When arranging the date, talk with your service manager about what parts will be needed this time around and confirm he/she has them or will get them on order so they are there when you arrive.

Some shops do winter service specials to keep things busy during the slower months and wart off having to lay off staff. Take advantage of those specials and feel good about keeping your tech employed.

TM/Winter 15

Got a tip or trick to share. Email it to us at SReditor@soundrider.com . If we use it, we'll slip you a copy of the Sound RIDER! guide to Packing Light/Packing Right.


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