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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)

Here is an interesting video about motorcycle maintenance or rather the lack thereof by Pavlin on his old Yamaha 660 Ténéré (single)
I wonder what you guys think?
These are the two extremes; between the OCD maintenance and minimalist maintenance types. Interestingly lots of very frequent maintenance schedules seems to be driven by special interests. Motorcycle dealers, vendors etc..etc.. all fuelled by rumors on the internet....
My brother in law his a car mechanic, from Baja California, MX
I.E. I know for a fact, that he rarely changes his (cars) coolant. Maybe only when he needs a new water pump or a new radiator. Some of his cars have 300K + miles....The problem I can see with OCD maintenance is that's a lot of waste; money, time and resources. This is not to say that you shouldn't change your engine oil regularly or stop to clean and lube your chain frequently....However I believe that Pavlin as some very valid points.
 

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Yep, spent many years reviewing, analyzing and discussing UOAs and lubes/oils on BITOG. I haven't been in ages because of the overwhelming evidence over the years that we obsess and too frequently "maintain" our motors.

There are exceptions of course, like running a turbo DI engine with 87 octane fuel and then wondering why your oil diluted 30% in viscosity.
 

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Gas, oil and tires on my 04 Wee from 23K miles to 88K miles when I had a valve check. 1 valve got adjusted. I did rebuild the left fork and had the shock rebuilt. I added used Easter Beaver things I found in the for sale section. I'm at 101011 miles and going strong. Oh when I pulled the radiator at 88K for the valve inspection I kept the fluid from the radiator in a bucket and poured it back in the radiator on reassembly. It's original '04 fluid. Still keeps the bike cool and is still green. What could go wrong?
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Gas, oil and tires on my 04 Wee from 23K miles to 88K miles when I had a valve check. 1 valve got adjusted. I did rebuild the left fork and had the shock rebuilt. I added used Easter Beaver things I found in the for sale section. I'm at 101011 miles and going strong. Oh when I pulled the radiator at 88K for the valve inspection I kept the fluid from the radiator in a bucket and poured it back in the radiator on reassembly. It's original '04 fluid. Still keeps the bike cool and is still green. What could go wrong?
Exactly what I am talking about! :)
 

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I feel like half the battle is keeping it clean, easier to find problems and I’m more likely to work on a clean motorcycle. Oil changes, air filter, tire pressure/spoke tension and keeping bearings (stem,suspension and wheel) clean and greased are the important things IMHO.
 

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Gas, oil and tires on my 04 Wee from 23K miles to 88K miles when I had a valve check. 1 valve got adjusted. I did rebuild the left fork and had the shock rebuilt. I added used Easter Beaver things I found in the for sale section. I'm at 101011 miles and going strong. Oh when I pulled the radiator at 88K for the valve inspection I kept the fluid from the radiator in a bucket and poured it back in the radiator on reassembly. It's original '04 fluid. Still keeps the bike cool and is still green. What could go wrong?
I take a pretty hands off, not-broke-don't-fix-it approach to maintenance, so I didn't bother checking valve clearance from 20,000 miles on ward up to and past 140,000. For the same reason, I never installed a relay for the headlight cutout. But experience has led me to go through important switches and connections once or twice a year with DeOxit. I had some electrical issues early on - a blown fuse, lights, battery terminals - but not anymore since I've started doing that.

For the $7 it costs to to be confident that old coolant isn't going allow something expensive to corrode, I'll change change it. Mine was green too, until it wasn't. A fair bit of nasty crap settled out.

What really screws up a bike worse than anything is sitting. I like being able to trust the bike enough to take across the country.
 

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I've personally seen more bikes damaged by maintenance than lack of. (Not counting just left in a shed for 10 years cases).

Drain plugs being stripped is #1,drain plugs falling out post service (guessing the mechanic stripped the plug). Oil plugs not being refitted and no oil in the bike as a result. Dealers not burping coolant systems properly (A Triumph specialty that), Engines grenading for unknown reasons post valve check and adjust. Oil seals/gaskets blowing out post dealer service.

Mostly simple and avoidable stuff and not all home/shade tree mechanics either.

Not OCD, my bikes do get oil changes - at longer intervals than Suzuki recommends, occasional oil/air filter changes. Brake pads get checked every month or so. Coolant maybe every 5 years. Bearings checked lubed and replaced as necessary. (Something very few dealers will do). Valve checks/adjusts at far longer than recommended intervals. Brake fluid, I usually do all our bikes at once when one of them starts looking a big grungy. (1 bottle of brake fluid and two people make short work of all three bikes). Coolant system hoses ~10 years.

Given how few k's some riders put on their bikes, yeah a lot of people would be better off doing no maintenance at all.
 

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Oil, tires and gas, brake pads when needed. Other than that and basic safety basics, Ima gonna ride it until the wheels fall off.
 

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Of course most is OCD, excessive and unnecessary.....some treat motorcycles like they are made of glass.
And sell them long before they would be remotely hurt even if you did absolutely no maintenance.

I do oil changes at 5,000 mile intervals (any modern oil dino, semi or full synthetic) not because its due but rather with mutiple bikes its easier to remember. The oil could easily last into the 7,000 or 8,000 miles but that is harder to remember.

So by definition I over maintain my bikes but not grossly as some do.
 

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The #1 consumable for an internal combustion device is AIR. It saddens me to see folks obsess about clean oil and stick a window screen in the airbox... If they have opened the airbox at all.
 

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" (1 bottle of brake fluid and two people make short work of all three bikes "

I got some Kirby speed bleeders and it took about 20 minutes to do front and rear brakes. 10-12 year old brake fluid gets kinda funky.
 

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The #1 consumable for an internal combustion device is AIR. It saddens me to see folks obsess about clean oil and stick a window screen in the airbox... If they have opened the airbox at all.
Window Screen?
 
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I attended the church of "Oil is the Life Blood of an Engine" from my dad so I'm pretty good about keeping it and filter changed. Did a pretty good once over at 11 years, 50,000 miles including wheel bearings, coolant, valve check (in spec).

Plan on riding until 100,000 miles or more. Air filter is a PITA to access on these bikes and some other bikes as well as the spark plug access. Those get done when convenient and during winter.
 

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Obsessive maintenance often seems like a weird sort of bragging on the part of some of the members on motorcycle forums. I'm on a couple different forums, and there are always guys like that. "Well, I rebuild my forks every year, but I can certainly understand how someone who isn't as diligent as me, and doesn't care about his bike as much as I do, wouldn't have the ambition to do that".

Every time you turn a wrench on a bike, you risk damaging it. Stripped threads, rounded off bolt heads, broken plastic, whatever. If you're one of those guys who obsesses about changing the oil and filter every 2500 miles (because why not, oil is cheap), you're also increasing your chances of screwing something up, like the seemingly common "oops, I just overtightened the oil drain bolt and stripped the threads" situation. Changing your oil and filter two or three times as often as the manual recommends isn't going to make your bike last to 100,000 miles any better than the guy who just does it when he's supposed to.

Some fairly smart engineers came up with the maintenance schedule on our bikes, and even the one in the manual can be a little conservative. Doubling down on what the manual calls for is just a waste of time and resources; it does increase your chances of needing to do additional maintenance, though, to fix what you broke.
 

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Obsessive maintenance often seems like a weird sort of bragging on the part of some of the members on motorcycle forums. I'm on a couple different forums, and there are always guys like that. "Well, I rebuild my forks every year, but I can certainly understand how someone who isn't as diligent as me, and doesn't care about his bike as much as I do, wouldn't have the ambition to do that".

Every time you turn a wrench on a bike, you risk damaging it. Stripped threads, rounded off bolt heads, broken plastic, whatever. If you're one of those guys who obsesses about changing the oil and filter every 2500 miles (because why not, oil is cheap), you're also increasing your chances of screwing something up, like the seemingly common "oops, I just overtightened the oil drain bolt and stripped the threads" situation. Changing your oil and filter two or three times as often as the manual recommends isn't going to make your bike last to 100,000 miles any better than the guy who just does it when he's supposed to.

Some fairly smart engineers came up with the maintenance schedule on our bikes, and even the one in the manual can be a little conservative. Doubling down on what the manual calls for is just a waste of time and resources; it does increase your chances of needing to do additional maintenance, though, to fix what you broke.
If you are not over maintaining your bike you must be undermaintaining your bike!

I like the sellers who try and use over maintnenace as a selling point. Changing the oil every 1000 miles or washing and waxing the bike after every ride does not increase the value or impress me as a buyer with your maintnenace prowess. These also tend to be the folks who brag about starting the bike up once a week over the winter to keep the oil circulated.

In a lot of instances over maintnenace to me is off-putting as a buyer as it shows the sellers lack of understanding of routine maintenance so I'm always leery if they actually did it properly or did they do it how they know best. Over maintaining simply wastes time and money.

I attended the church of "Oil is the Life Blood of an Engine" from my dad so I'm pretty good about keeping it and filter changed. Did a pretty good once over at 11 years, 50,000 miles including wheel bearings, coolant, valve check (in spec).

Plan on riding until 100,000 miles or more. Air filter is a PITA to access on these bikes and some other bikes as well as the spark plug access. Those get done when convenient and during winter.
Well its common sense that oil is critical to the function the internal combustion engine. I don't think anyone will argue that. However changing "the lifeblood" more frequently than necessary does absolutely nothing to prolong the life of the engine. As RCinNC stated all it does is give you more opprutinity to strip the oil plug threads from excessive removal/reinstallation
 

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That's pretty much my feeling on it too, Perazzi. If someone tells me that they change the oil at a ridiculously short interval compared to what the manual says, then I look at it more like a fetish than an act of maintenance. At that point you're changing your oil because you like the proactive feeling of doing something; it has nothing to do with prolonging the longevity of the bike.
 

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I'll agree that a lot of folks seem to think their bikes are delicate creatures made of glass and gossamer, or motorcycles are manufactured from rare and exotic materials like Ming metal, unicorn hair, and pixie dust.

For example, I've seen many discussions of which antifreeze to use in motorcycles, and quite a few riders believe that you need some sort of magical "motorcycle-only" elixir. Uhhh.... they're made of the exact same stuff as the engine in your neglected grocery-getter...

I've even seen people who believe that only motorcycle engines contain this exotic lightweight newfangled material called "aluminum".

That said, there are differences in antifreeze formulations that I won't get into, but overall you can waltz into any Walmart and grab a jug of stuff that will work fine. Change it every two to five years and you're golden. The protective additives in antifreeze do wear out with use and time, so you do have to change it every so often.

For some reason, the most neglected maintenance, even among oil fetishists, is the brake fluid. On motorcycles, it's a fantastic idea with tangible benefits to flush your brake fluid at least every two years. (Cars usually recommend every four years, although it's extremely rare that anyone actually does it.)

I flush my motorcycle brakes every year, and flush the brake fluid in the hydraulic clutch on my Vee more often. Since the clutch sees a lot more use and travel than the brake systems, the fluid turns dark fairly quickly.

There are also quite a few tire fetishists out there who ponder date codes, obsess over tread pattern on/off road percentages, and worship entirely irrelevant performance metrics like tire noise, mounting difficulty, and whether they believe that the tire follows rain grooves too much. The vast majority of riders could never approach the limits of any modern tire, so I guess they're left with picking apart the mostly irrelevant stuff they can perceive.

Overall, I think a lot of this weird behavior comes about because people are far more heavily emotionally invested in their motorcycles. Motorcycling is an entirely emotional activity; we ride only because we love to ride. Cars are necessary for most, but no one really NEEDS a motorcycle.

There's also the influence of the poor quality motorcycles of yore that gave rise to so many Olde Byker Legends. Unmodified Harleys have been pretty much dead reliable and long-lasting for decades, but a lot of folks' minds are stuck in the distant dusty past where you had to twiddle points every few rides, oil leaks were perfectly normal, you had to rebuild your engine every winter, and every ride with more than one or two bikes needed a few pickups following to pick up the bikes that were certain to fail between taverns.
 

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The best way to know what's important for a bike is to ride the piss out of it. Things will wear out and break, and you'll get a pretty good feel for what intervals you can and can't stretch, where brand or spec matters or doesn't, what's likely to fail next.

Never take a bike to a mechanic you don't completely trust. I chose to do work myself because I've seen and heard about the careless mistakes "professionals" made, either through ignorance about a particular model, time pressure to get the job done, or sheer laziness. Nobody will care more about your bike and safety than you do.

Once you've done a job a few times, you'll know the tricks to do it fast and with minimal risk of damage. For example, I've seen a lot of people complain about the work it takes to remove the tank, and post pictures with the whole front end torn off. On a gen 1 wee, the only piece of bodywork you actually need to fully remove is the small plastic cover at the front of the tank, which comes off in about ten seconds by popping out two plastic push rivets. Everything else, you just have to remove the fasteners, unclip/spread and you can shimmy the tank out.

The only things that are truly critical to stay on top of are:
  • Tires - enough tread and air, no foreign objects
  • Brakes - not dragging, not spongy, enough pad material left, sliding parts clean and greased up if you ride in the wet a lot
  • Fuel system - not leaking
  • Wire harness - terminals/switches/fuseholders clean, no cracks in insulation, no rubs. If ignored, with age and exposure this will eventually strand you and be a real nightmare to fix.
  • Chain - lubed, no missing o-rings or cracked plates, no galling on rollers, not too loose
  • Driveline and suspension bearings
  • Oil - visible in the sight glass, not significantly leaking
To the OP video, I agree with most of the points except I don't think it's necessary to use the clutch when shifting up as long as you time it properly and unload the engine when shifting. I also don't understand the fussing about RPM - if you're sitting near the redline on the highway, you bought the wrong bike in the first place. Good point about sun exposure - very important to not park it in the bright sun for long periods if you don't want the plastics to break down.
 

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"window screen" Hold it up to a window and see the light! Kay and Enn. I mean if you have a sponsor that pays you to win races, shurr! Of special note is KTM adventure bikes with the non functional airbox. For all their engineers who developed that 150 HP lump and then saw the assclowns put a plastic breadbox on top of it that reliably leaked dirt into the guts must be (and still is) a PITA. Facepalm moment. And for all us "off road adventurers" to have to remove whole sections of bodywork to access this vital bit of kit after you spend the day following your friends to make sure THEY are not left behind. But I digress. This is not a design thread. Clean air and clean refreshed fluids is an act of kindness for your passion, your motorcycle. You can skip petting your dog and soon he will act like he doesn't know you. Cheers
 
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