If you've been putting off an air filter change because it sounds like too much of a PITA, do yourself - and your bike - a favor and just go do it. Your engine will thank you
I smiling to myself of the memories I use to have in what I went through to change an air filter on my bike......
I did away will all of my OEM fairings. I just couldn't stand the hassle of dealing with them!
Now, in three minutes, I can be inside the air-box on my bike. Loosen and remove the aft bolt on the fuel tank. Lift the aft end of the fuel tank up and support it with the metal, "hold down" tang.
This is the "tang" that I am talking about. There are two "prongs" on one end and a single "tab" on the other. The two prongs fit into corresponding holes of the cross memeber. And, the "tab" fits into a slot on the underside of the fuel tank.
Remove the electrical connection; remove the fuel connection; remove the vent hose. Loosen and remove the forward fuel tank bolt. Unsnap the two "boomerang" fairings from the sides of the bike, (on my setup, I leave the forward ends bolted to the tank.). Lift the tank off. Use a battery powered drill/driver to remove the air-box screws.
It's a good idea to apply a very thin layer of grease between the two halves of the air-box during reinstallation. The grease layer will catch any dirt that might make it in that far.
You are right, change your air filters!
(And, for those of you who are brave enough to make your own, there is a post in the "How To" section. But, I don't think I put the photos back in that thread yet.....)