Category Archives: Maintenance

A Night at OMC’s Basic Bike Maintenance Course

Last night I finally made it along to the Oval Motorcycle Centre’s (OMC) Basic Maintenance and Inspection Course. Something I’ve been meaning to do for some time, but never got round to it. The course covers all the basics of bike maintenance, starting with electrics (switches/lights), then blitz’s through, tyres, brakes, bearings (wheel, head race & swinging arm), chain, forks/shocks and finally control levers and cables.

Although the course is pitched at complete newbies, it covers an awful lot, such that even though I’ve done quite a few maintenance jobs (changing filters, downpipes, balancing carbs etc) I still came away having learnt much. From stuff as simple as a more efficient way to lube my chain, to stuff completely new to me, like the ins and outs of different head race bearing and spotting when they’re knackered. It was also a great chance to ask questions on simple stuff you’ve seen, but were never sure if it was OK or not, like the way you hear brakes pads catching slightly as you push a bike – are they supposed to do that or are they sticking?!  (They’re supposed to)

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Motorbike Pre-Ride Checks (BOLTS)

  1. Brakes:- Roll bike forwards and apply brakes. Checks pads have some wear left, look out for the groove in middle of pads, it should still be visible.
  2. Oil:- Check the oil level is between the min-maximum lines. You will probably need to put bike on centre stand and maybe warm up engine for couple of minutes first (check you manual).
  3. Lights:- Check all lights works and are clean. Hold you hand over rear lights or look for as reflection against a nearby wall as you apply brakes.
  4. Tyres:- Check tread levels, 1mm across 3/4 the tyre width (more in many EU countries) and for any obvious damage. Ensure  tyre pressures are correct too (see manual for exact values).
  5. Steering:- Handles bars should freely move left and right without fouling against anything or being hindered by wires/hoses.

MOT Passed

My trusty Fazer has just been in for an MOT, passed with flying colours, no advisories at all. Always a relief. Even though I knew the bike was sound, there’s still an element of worry that sits at the back of your mind.

Turns out, I’ve put on exactly 7000 miles since last years MOT. Not too shabby, definitely a well used bike, and I’m glad I upped my annual mileage on my last insurance renewal.

Replacing Air Filter on Yamaha Fazer FZS600

A key item on the regular service schedule is the replacing of the air filter. On my FZS600 2003 this is due every 6000 miles or every year (whichever is soonest). This year however, I decided to fit a K&N reusable filter, slightly more expensive but it should pay for itself after a couple of years. The Fazer 600 is known to run slightly on the rich side, so the increased air flow from a K&N should balance this out.

Here’s a quick video run through of how to replace the filter. It’s an easy task that you all should be able to tackle, don’t be put off by having to remove the fuel tank.

Tools required are minimal: an 8mm socket, T30 Torx socket/alan key, Philips screwdriver and some needle pliers (to unclip fuel pipe).

Tips as you go along:

  1. Ensure you only have a small amount of fuel in the tank to keep it light when removing.
  2. Have some tissues/rags to mop up the drop of petrol that’s left in the loose fuel pipe.
  3. Don’t forget to turn back on the fuel tap before bolting down the tank afterwards!

Buy a K&N air filter off ebay.

Fitted Fazer 1000 ‘Blue Spot’ Rear Brake Calipers

Fazer 1000 Rear Brake BleedingThe stock rear brake caliper on the FZS600 is a bit rubbish. It’s an old design and very commonly seizes up, which is exactly what I recently found when getting some new pads fitted. Rather than going down the route of stripping it down and cleaning it on a regular basis, I opted for the popular upgrade of the Fazer 1000 rear brake caliper. This is a ‘blue spot’ caliper, on par with the excellent front brakes I have and same as the R6.

Getting hold of a Fazer Thou rear brake caliper isn’t easy, they’re as rare as rocking horse pooh second hand

Getting hold of a Fazer Thou rear brake caliper isn’t easy, they’re as rare as rocking horse pooh second hand, but luckily I managed to find one on ebay.de for a good price, which included mounting bracket, pads, hoses, master cylinder (from Brembo) and reservoir. For this mod however, only the caliper and pads were used.

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Maintenance Day, Fairing Swap, Crash Bars Fitted

Yamaha Fazer Fairing SwapIt’s been a busy and productive afternoon, I managed to grab a few hours and some nice weather to tackle some jobs I’ve been waiting todo for some time. I swapped over my new genuine Yamaha fairing and fitted some genuine Yamaha crash bars.

You may have previously read how I had picked up a Fibreglass fairing copy, which I had been meaning to send to a local spray shop. Time and money delayed that, however in the mean time Yamaha had drastically reduced the prices of their fairings, from £450 to £180, with these supplied fully painted. With a spray shop quote coming in at around £100-120, it was a no brainer.

I still need to source some decals and swap the Yamaha tuning fork badge on the front, but all in all a reasonably straight forward job to swap everything over.

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New Front Tyre and Lesson Learnt

New Metzeler Z8 TyreOver the last couple of weeks I’ve been battling with a niggling issue of wobble from the front end. I’ve had the wheel re-balanced, kept checking tyre pressures, but never really resolved it. I was about to dismiss it as my large top box and rear tyre starting to square off. However throughout my front tyre has always needed a bit of air each week.

This last week however, it quickly became apparent that I had a slow puncture. My old Metzeler Z6 tyre was nearly a year and half old and showing only a couple of mm left, so I ordered a new tyre, whilst I could still ride about. That was until one morning I found it totally flat. Hoping I could pump it up enough to get to garage, I found air hissing out of the valve like crazy. Yes, the valve, there was no hole in the tyre – Doh!

After a quick trip to Halfords to pick up a valve tool, it turned out the valve core was super loose. Quick tighten and the tyre held up well. Hmmm, but what to do with the new tyre on order? Decided to swap anyway, the old Z6 would have only last a couple of months and I was keen to try out the new Z8. Ultimately, on two wheels we need as much grip as we can get, it’s a false economy running rubber until the very end.

Moral of the story, got a slow puncture, check the bloody valve first!

New Fairing For Fazer Arrived

New-Fazer-Fairing-PaintingThe new fairing for my Fazer 600 arrived the other day. I have opted for a pattern part, GRP version from CWC (Cars Wants Change) in Poland. As you can see the fairing arrived unpainted with just the white gel coat finish. So my daughter offered to paint it for me. Not 100% it’ll be a good colour match mind… It was far more cost effective than a genuine Yamaha part and first impressions are good, nice smooth finish in the main. Just a couple of edges that will need a bit of sanding prior to spraying.

Over the next week or so, I’ll get it painted up proper at a local spray shop and then fitted. I don’t think I’ll be able to do a particularly good job with rattle cans at home. Finally, once I’ve stuck on some decals and the Yamaha badge, it should look indistinguishable from a genuine Yamaha fairing. Of course, at a fraction of the price; £125 compared to £500. At that price, it won’t be such a tragedy if I drop the bike again!

CWC make all kinds of pattern fairing, rear huggers and other body parts for all manner of bikes (and cars). Do check them out

New-Fazer-Fairing