2012 Riding Season – Special Contribution

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The 2012 riding season is upon us, there are some things to remember as we pull our bikes out of the garage. Services and Maintenance.

When vehicles sit for any time it is important to check the tire pressure. Written on the sidewall, usually in small print, you will find the Tire Pressure in PSI and KPA (metric) and always checked when the tire is cold. I don’t usually inflate the Front tires to the max recommended rate, they aren’t handling the weight load like the Rear so I leave them 4 PSI light. This helps with handling and wear. The Rear is set at the required PSI. With gas prices high as they are today with no relief in sight, correctly inflated tires will save at the fuel pump as well. Check your tire pressure weekly and inspect for scalloped , uneven or low tread wear and sidewalls for dry rot, replace as necessary.

Air Filters should be cleaned or replaced as per the manufacturer’s instruction/interval, this will also save engine life and at the pump.

Spark Plugs should be replaced as per the manufacturers specification. Most late model Harley’s Spark Plug Gap is 38 – 42 thousandths, I usually open the Gap to 45 – 48 Thousandths depending upon the looks of the electrode. If it looks like it’s running rich I will gap at .048 and lean at .045, this also helps the Coil work a little harder making it that much more of a happy component.

Oil and Oil Filter, these items are changed out together. Most Fossil Oils are changed out at 3K, Semi-Synthetic around 5K and Synthetics around 7K miles. Check the manufactures specifications on the container. If your motorcycle uses different Oils in your Tranny and Primary, these fluids should be changed at the manufacturer’s suggested intervals unless using a different chosen fluid ie… Synthetic. Drive Shafts use a Hypoid fluid and replaced by specifications.

Whether you’re running a chain or belt, both should be inspected for wear and fit with their respective sprockets or pulleys. Raise the Rear tire off the ground enough to inspect for running true on the respective components. This is not necessary with Drive Shaft Models. Check your Rear tire wear while it’s up.

Lighting should be checked every time you plan on using it, Head Lamp (high & low) directional and most importantly Brake lighting, this could save your life.

Most Brake fluids should be drained and replaced with new approximately every 2 years ensuring you maintain the hydraulic viscosity for proper braking. Check your manufacturer’s specifications for the correct D.O.T. Fluid.

A tech tip on Front hydraulic brakes, by Jim Thompson. The average man has a grip of 70 – 110 lbs. in a panic these numbers can double. These forces are transmitted to the hydraulic system via a lever with a mechanical advantage of 5 to 7 to 1, to a small piston in the Handle Bar Master Cylinder down to the Caliper Piston with an internal hydraulic pressure of 500 PSI in a normal stop to 1500 PSI in a panic stop.

It’s for the panic stop reason why I never use 4 fingers on my Front Brake Lever. I use 2 fingers, Index and IQ, so I never lock up my Front wheel. Braking can cause just as many accidents as throttling so use them both wisely.

Your Battery, too many of us put the bike away without using a Tender. The Battery Tender can extend the life of the Battery for many years beyond the expected life. I talked with someone Tuesday night who had to change his battery after 7 years on a Tender when not in use. If you think your battery is compromised have it load tested before replacing, it may be something as small a loose cable.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions and have a great and safe riding season.

Tom Poole
Patriot Guard Rider – Rhode Island

(Just another example that Patriot Guard Riders has no borders)