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Gear Reviews

Tutoro Trek Auto Motorcycle Chain Oiler Review

If you have a motorcycle with a chain you will be more than familiar with the regular maintenance it requires. Spraying on chain lube every few hundred miles, the inevitable fling of oil all over the rear of your bike, and the periodic clean of thick gunk from excess lube and dirt. Depending on how much your commute and ride, it’s a chore you need to do every couple of days to a couple of weeks. On a long tour, chain lube is just one more thing you need to pack. If you don’t have a centre stand or a handy paddock stand, the job is even more hassle to ensure the entire length of your chain is sufficiently lubed. There are no two ways about it, chain maintenance is a hassle, almost enough to make you buy a shaft drive BMW or a belt drive Harley… almost. 🙂

This is where an automated motorcycle chain oiler comes to the rescue. Essentially a small reservoir of chain oil you mount to your bike, with a long hose to dispense the oil directly onto your chain and sprocket as you ride.

Motorcycle Chain Oiler Comparison

How the automated oiler is activated can vary:

  1. Electronic motion detection (e.g Scottoiler xSystem)
  2. Vacuum activated (e.g. Scottoiler vSystem)
  3. Harnessing inertia of vertical suspension movements (e.g Tutoro chain oiler)

Electronic systems are expensive (~£200+) and need wiring to your battery. Vacuum systems are cheaper (~£100) but require additional hoses connected to an engine vacuum or induction outlet. This leaves the Tutoro Auto Trek, which is activated by suspension movements as an option that is both easier to install and cost-effective (£105). It is an intriguing option that I was keen to investigate more when Tutoro offered a kit for review.

Categories
Maintenance

Easy Motorcycle MOT Checklist to Avoid Failing

If you have a motorcycle or scooter over three years old, you will need to submit it for an annual motorbike MOT test to ensure it is still safe and road legal. No one wants an MOT failure and the prospect of a large repair bill. However, a large majority of test failures are simple things that can easily be identified and fixed yourself before you take your bike to the garage.

Motorcycle MOT Check
Pass your Motorcycle MOT first time!
Historic Motorcycle MOT Exemption

As of May 2018 historic motorcycles over 40 years old are exempt from MOT tests and vehicle tax. You will however need to apply for the ‘historic tax class’ – more details on the Gov.uk site. But note you can still be fined and get 3 points if your motorbike is not in a road worthy condition.

Covid19 Lockdown MOT Extension

Note there were MOT test date extensions brought in due to the Covid19 lockdown, don’t get caught out now this extension period is over:

  • MOT’s expiring on or after 30th March and before 1st August, get a six-month extension
  • MOT’s expiring on or after 1st August are due as normal
MOT Failure Statistics

Recently the Dept. for Transport (DfT) released MOT data for 2019, which provides for some interesting stats:

  1. 83% of motorcycles & scooters pass first time, compared to 67% of cars and light vehicles (up to 3,000 Kg)
  2. Across all vehicles types, 7% ‘Pass with Rectification’ – that is, after minor fixes at the test station within 1 hour
  3. 10% of motorcycles fail their MOT test, verses 25% of cars & light vehicles

Clearly, motorcycles are less likely to encounter an MOT test failure compared to other vehicles. In this article we will look at what the most common failure reasons are and if they could have been spotted before hand, thus compiling a motorcycle MOT checklist you can follow.

Categories
Maintenance

FZ6 Brake Maintenance and Braided Hose

Brake goodies to fit

This weekends chore was brake maintenance on the FZ6. Having only acquired the bike in the Autumn, it was unclear when the brake fluid was last changed, and being 13 years old, the original rubber brake hose, although visually OK, were likely past their best. The rubber hoses can degrade over many years exposure to the elements, which can lead to slight bulging when pumping the brake lever and thus reducing the final pressure applied to the brake pistons and pads onto the discs. Whereas braided hoses being built around a stainless steel mesh braid are more study, will not bulge or degrade in the same way and have a longer lifespan.

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Maintenance

Honda CBF500 Air Filter Change (2003-2008)

Standard service time and one of the key items to sort out is the air filter. The Haynes manual recommends this is replaced every 12000 miles or every 18 months. This is a really simply and quick item to change on the Honda CBF500, anyone can do it. Here I’ll give you a quick step by step guide on this task.

First, you need to remove the pillion and main seats. The main seat has a pair of 10mm bolts at its rear which can be accessed once the pillion seat has been removed. You then need to prise off the left hand side panel, this has two push fittings (highlighted in red below) in rubber gaskets and pops off with a firm pull.

Removal of side panel
Categories
Maintenance

Pre Ride Motorcycle Check – POWDERS Bike Check

Before you jump on your bike it’s highly recommended you run through a pre ride motorcycle check to ensure your bike is in good condition and won’t leave you in trouble. It can be crucial to catch anything unsafe or possibly even illegal (e.g. bald tyres), but also to keep tabs on general wear, tear and items due for servicing.

When to do Pre Ride Motorcycle Checks

It’s advisable to go through these before each ride or at least every few days if you ride daily. If your bike has been parked unused for several days or you’re planning a longer trip away, then definitely run through these checks. If you’re commuting daily on your motorbike you can probably go through this pre-ride motorcycle inspection every few days as you get more in tune with your bike’s condition and how often items need attention.

The POWDERS Motorcycle Check

Yep, it’s a funny acronym, but it will help you remember how to do motorcycle pre ride inspection, so you do not forget anything. This how to is one I was taught as part of my IAM training and can be found in the RoadCraft book.

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Maintenance

Fazer Clutch Service

Clutch basket

Just about to overtake and despatch a slow Sunday driver, you pull out, road clear, give the throttle a good twist and leave them for dust. But no – Grrrr! Clutch slip! The rev counter flies round, the engine screams for mercy, but you’re not going anywhere – eh?! Seconds later the clutch finally grips and wham! forward you finally shoot. A worn clutch slipping has to be one of the most infuriating issues to put up with.

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Maintenance

Fazer Maintenance Day – Carb Balancing

FZS600 Carb BalancingToday has been a productive day finishing off my regular servicing of the bike. The big downside of tackling routine servicing yourself is finding the time, and so I was forced to split the work across to free weekends a couple of weeks apart.

First the oil change, air filter and rear brake service (which included a new Hel brake line). Today finishing off, front brake service, carb balancing and other remaining checks etc.

The Morgan Carbtune tool makes easy work of balancing. The most difficult thing on the Fazer is finding the adjustment screws buried deep between the carbs. They’re almost impossible to see and you just have to poke a long screwdriver down into the engine and guess where they are!

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Maintenance

Servicing the Honda CBF500

Honda-CBF-500-Service-Balance-Carbs
Balancing Carbs

On buying a second hand bike it’s always best to give it a thorough service to ensure it’s in tip top condition and there are no ugly surprises. The seller had informed me this CFB500 was due it’s yearly service, so I set about completing all the usual chores: new air filter, oil change and new filter, new spark plugs, cleaning brakes, checking clutch/throttle play, checking chain tension, emptying breather tubes and generally greasing everything as needed. I like the Haynes manuals for jobs like this, both as a check list of jobs and for info on bike specifics.

I also gave the carburetors a balance and doused the bike in ACF50 whilst I had the tank off. Being a twin, balancing the two carbs was a doddle. A quick whizz round the block confirmed everything was running sweet and a well deserved cuppa was in order.

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Maintenance

Mugshot in a Mag

On my last visit to Oval Motorcycle Centre I ran into a photographer from Practical Sportsbikes magazine and ended up as an impromptu model for some shots. Well, they only put my ugly mug in print…

Practical SportsBikes OMC Article page2_closeup

Here I am in a fetching red boiler suit (OMC supplied) being shown by onsite guru Matt how to sort out my forks.

Read the full article in the May edition of Practical Sportsbikes, or just pop down OMC and check your bike out.

Categories
Maintenance

Servicing Forks Down at OMC

Servicing Forks on FazerYesterday afternoon I was down at Oval Motorcycle Centre (OMC), again, giving my forks a good service. The seals had recently gone and were leaking a lot of oil onto the stanchions and more worryingly down towards the wheel, brake discs and calipers. Not so good.

Stripping the forks down is not a simple job for a newbie, however with the expert guidance of Matt at OMC, I was able to perform the majority of the work and learnt an awful lot along the way. I splashed out on genuine Yamaha oil and dust seals, after being warning away from poor quality pattern parts. New circlips also went on, as the old ones were rather rusty. Oil wise, I opted for standard spec 10w, purely to gauge what the bike is like as standard, before changing things. However many Fazer owners prefer 15w oil to firm up the front end and reduce diving.

The Fazer feels a lot better to ride now,  definitely gives me more confidence in it’s handling. Perhaps some tweaking of preload settings could improve things further, something I’ve not tweaked about with yet. But that’ll be another day, maybe OMC’s Suspension Setup clinic…