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Maintenance Advice for Daily Commuter

Discussion in 'Motorcycle Talk' started by mtsrider, Nov 6, 2017.

  1. Seeking all daily commuters who ride despite rain and cold! I've recently started commuting to Seattle daily (riding across via Ferry). I've managed to get myself a good setup in terms of bike (Multistrada), tires (Pilot Road 4's), wet and cold gear (Klim), etc. As the temps are now dipping into the 30's I'm still enjoying the commute.

    What I need help with is understanding how much maintenance and upkeep on a daily or weekly basis is required.

    Some say to wipe down your bike and lube your chain after every rainy ride.... but soon that will be every day. Some say only once a week. I know that there much be some riders who are pedantic and others that are lazy. I can certainly see the appeal of a shaft drive to avoid the chain work. I intended to get a BMW but fell in love with the Multistrada instead. :)

    So, please help me separate fact from fiction. For the hard core daily rider in wet, cold, nasty conditions, what really needs to be done?
  2. I live on BI and commuted into Seattle for decades before retiring a couple years ago. Many years were on an old Beemer, (drive shaft). Some on a Buell, (drive belt) plus I bought a beater Night Hawk, (chain drive) which I put 50K on before it died.

    Deicer is your sworn enemy. It will corrode the pots in your disc brakes, not do your exhaust any good and rust about everything it can. If you ride through deicer, especially if there is any moisture, (water, slush, etc.) try to rinse your bike off with a garden hose. You won't get it all but you'll slow down the corrosion.

    Everyone has their own ideas about the chain. One guy I knew cleaned with PB Blaster before lubing. That might not be a bad idea when they start spraying the deicer. I never did anything special to the Night Hawk, (it was just an old beater) and never had any issues.

  3. I use a Scott Oiler on my Ducati.
  4. This is my first year as a bad weather moto commuter as well. I ride a '06 Buell XB12X.
    So far, my weekly regimen includes:
    • check all fluids
    • spray bike down w/ mild cleanser and rinse -- wipe it down with clean cloth afterward
      • goal here is to stave off corrosion
    • check fasteners
    • check for leaks
    • feel the rotors for uniformity (nice smooth, even surface, no grooves)
    • eyeball amount of brake pad friction material remaining
    • eyeball tire tread wear
    The Buell uses a belt so no maintenance to be done there but i will check for fraying / cracking.
    These steps really only takes about 30min, but, honestly, I spend as much time with my bike as I can :)

    • always look for problems when walking up to the bike
    • I obsess over checking my saddlebags for snugness and are properly closed
      • i will glance at them in my mirrors too making sure they are still closed :D
    • listen to your bike while it warms and while riding
      • note any unusual sounds
    That's about it. I could do more like check the lighting system -- I think I will work that into the weekly regimen.

    --Lawrence F.
  5. I ride a FJ-09 year round, commuting from Vancouver WA to downtown Portland. I too have a weekly checklist and it's very close to swanthog's list. I would add "check lights" to the daily list and "break check" to the weekly. My "break check" is to get going around 10-15 MPH (I live on a side street/cul-de-sac) and then hit both breaks full and see how they feel. I can't really lock them up with ABS, but I try :).

    For chain maintenance, I clean the chain every two weeks or every 200 miles during the rainy season and reapply the chainwax. Also gives me a chance to check chain slack.
  6. Chain maintenance every fill up. Wipe and oil if I see rust besides that. Rinse it every now and again.
    That's about all.
  7. I ride a belt drive motorcycle, a BMW F800GT, and before that a shaft driven bike, Honda NT700V. I simply rode into the garage. Parked the bike. Got my laptop backpack out of the top box and went inside. The next morning, I just go out and ride it away.

    I changed tires each Fall prior to the heavy rains. I wanted as much tread under me as I could get. As for the rest of the bike, I just kept up the normal maintenance schedule. I put on about 120,000+ miles with that routine and no issues.

    When I first started commuting, I did wipe the bike down each night. I soon realized that it was making the outside look pretty, but did nothing for the hidden areas that I couldn't get to. Plus, I was wiping grime into the paint. Over time, that would cause its own problems. So I gave up on that. I wash the bike every couple months. If you're putting on serious miles in the winter, the bike looks no better after one day's commute than it does after a month's commute.

    If you have a bike that is prone to rusting, I'd apply some ACF-50. The riders in England swear by it for keeping corrosion down.