How drastic can motorcycle maintenance be?

Messages
786
Location
Alabama
In terms of routine maintenance such as chain maintenance and valve related stuff? I’m specifically asking from a dual sport/dirt bike perspective. I understand too that the actual level of use dictates the maintenance schedule.

I ask because I have read in several different forums about dual sport and dirt bike maintenance being more frequent than other bikes. I plan on getting a dual sport and it will be a weekend toy and not a daily user. I’m a maintenance technician by trade so my career is based around preventative maintenance and the like and I always stay on top of things like this beforehand.
Oh and first time biker here getting ready to own first bike.
 
Messages
8,956
Location
Illinois
It can vary by the type of bike, and it can also vary by the brand of the bike.

Some of the maintenance items on the schedule for my bike are set up as time or mileage, whichever comes first.... plus the mention of riding in wet or dirty conditions. Example, brake and clutch fluids are every 16,000 miles or 2 years, whichever comes first.

BMW motorcycles seem the more demanding as far as what needs to be done, and when to do it. Also, probably the one that could requires the assistance of a dealership the most, considering the big manufacturers.

If there are models of motorcycles that you are interested in, search to find a copy of the maintenance schedule online and then read through it.

There can also be gaps in a manufacturer's maintenance schedule that seem baffling. On mine, there is no maintenance requirement for the fork oil or differential oil. That means I need to make a decision as to when I feel that this should be addressed. The experience and recommendation of a good, honest dealership service department can come in handy here. They can recommend when to change the fork oil based on what they've seen in real world conditions when they've torn down forks down to rebuild them.

Some items that should seem simple, can be difficult on a motorcycle, require special tools, or require the removal of other parts (removing the gas tank to get at one bolt for the alternator). Motorcycles can be a much tighter package. Changing the air filter on my GL1800, is a 3 hour, 2 beer job. Sure, some can do it faster....but I prefer to take it easy and do it once. However, replacing the brake pads is a 15 minute job.

I look at the maintenance schedule, and perform all of my maintenance for the coming 12 months, every February. Anything due for attention in the coming 12 months or 10,000 miles gets done in February. This includes wear items such as brake pads. I don't want to have to tear into the bike in July to replace brake pads, when it could have been done in February. Granted, I am wasting some money by taking a $30 pair of brake pads out of service early, but it is convenience versus cost.

Finally, once you buy, spending the money for a factory shop manual is usually a good idea as well. Usually less than $100.
 

NavyVet88

Thread starter
Messages
786
Location
Alabama
It can vary by the type of bike, and it can also vary by the brand of the bike.

Some of the maintenance items on the schedule for my bike are set up as time or mileage, whichever comes first.... plus the mention of riding in wet or dirty conditions. Example, brake and clutch fluids are every 16,000 miles or 2 years, whichever comes first.

BMW motorcycles seem the more demanding as far as what needs to be done, and when to do it. Also, probably the one that could requires the assistance of a dealership the most, considering the big manufacturers.

If there are models of motorcycles that you are interested in, search to find a copy of the maintenance schedule online and then read through it.

There can also be gaps in a manufacturer's maintenance schedule that seem baffling. On mine, there is no maintenance requirement for the fork oil or differential oil. That means I need to make a decision as to when I feel that this should be addressed. The experience and recommendation of a good, honest dealership service department can come in handy here. They can recommend when to change the fork oil based on what they've seen in real world conditions when they've torn down forks down to rebuild them.

Some items that should seem simple, can be difficult on a motorcycle, require special tools, or require the removal of other parts (removing the gas tank to get at one bolt for the alternator). Motorcycles can be a much tighter package. Changing the air filter on my GL1800, is a 3 hour, 2 beer job. Sure, some can do it faster....but I prefer to take it easy and do it once. However, replacing the brake pads is a 15 minute job.

I look at the maintenance schedule, and perform all of my maintenance for the coming 12 months, every February. Anything due for attention in the coming 12 months or 10,000 miles gets done in February. This includes wear items such as brake pads. I don't want to have to tear into the bike in July to replace brake pads, when it could have been done in February. Granted, I am wasting some money by taking a $30 pair of brake pads out of service early, but it is convenience versus cost.

Finally, once you buy, spending the money for a factory shop manual is usually a good idea as well. Usually less than $100.
Thank you for your input friend. I appreciate you taking the time to type all of that. I am looking at the new Honda CRF300L and I don’t think they have released yet, but I will pick up the manual when they become available.
 
Messages
6,243
Location
Scruffy City
For the bikes you are looking at it won't be that bad.

You will have things that you don't have on a car, like checking swing arm bearings, head bearings, spokes... and so on and so forth... You can probably have every stitch of "bodywork" off a small dual sport in under an hour (maybe much under). Some of them might not even have oil filters and may have (or additional) screens to clean.

The level of abuse plays a part as well...

Full on Motocross bikes make much more power and are much lighter and highly abused. They carry with them much higher levels of care.
 
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Messages
936
Location
Colorado, USA
With respect to a dual sport bike needing maintenance more often, there could be wear items that take a pounding if you do run it off road. From the pragmatic standpoint, chain maintenance is something you need to gauge on your own based on conditions you have been riding in and the chain itself (o-ring, standard roller chain, etc). In terms of valve adjustments, after the initial check of adjustment, try to stick with the recommended interval. I looked up the CRF250L maintenance schedule (300L should be similar) and it calls for valve check every 16,000 miles. With respect to the post about doing all the maintenance at one time whether it’s due or not, it’s up to you. However if my riding season put the valve adjustment interval over by 750-1000 miles versus doing it many thousands of miles early on a 16,000 mile interval I wouldn’t sweat it a bit.
 
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Messages
9,410
Location
Canuck living in California
Personally I would skip forums and get myself a service manual. Forums can be good, but without a good understanding of manufacturers requirements, it can be hard discerning good advice from bad.

Other than that, you should enjoy working on your motorcycle. Most stuff requires basic tools and accessibility is usually very good. At least for me, compared to cars, motorcycles are super easy to work on and I enjoy it immensely.
 
Messages
1,522
Location
Ca
The owner's manual will cover needed maintenance. Being a new rider and especially if you ride dirt, you will go down. Outfit yourself with gear to protect your body. Have fun.
 
Messages
936
Location
Colorado, USA
In general advice solicited is based on the experience of many and like Rotella T4 was used for millions of miles before it received a JASO moniker, they are general principals that are applicable.
 
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Messages
4,234
Location
Central Maryland
In terms of routine maintenance such as chain maintenance and valve related stuff? I’m specifically asking from a dual sport/dirt bike perspective. I understand too that the actual level of use dictates the maintenance schedule.

I ask because I have read in several different forums about dual sport and dirt bike maintenance being more frequent than other bikes. I plan on getting a dual sport and it will be a weekend toy and not a daily user. I’m a maintenance technician by trade so my career is based around preventative maintenance and the like and I always stay on top of things like this beforehand.
Oh and first time biker here getting ready to own first bike.
"Drastic" maintenance, for me, might involve adjusting some of the more difficult bucket and shim valve trains, unscheduled but required valve chain guide replacement, a lot of fairing removal, modern bikes with stupid dealer-only electronic resets, dealer-only fancy tool requirements, and interference issues (e.g. getting starters in/out of GoldWing frames, carbs or injectors out of the middle of V-4's, etc.).

My experience is with older bikes, but don't worry, the manufacturers are constantly inventing new difficult things.

I would go to the bike-specific forum, for YOUR bike, where you will receive maintenance advice more enlightening than broad questions posted here.

But in general, you have to clean and adjust chains more often on off-road bikes, and replace the chain/cog sets more often as well.
 
Messages
10,466
Location
Jupiter, Florida
The good news is that those 300cc engines have been around for quite some time now. They hold up well and are tolerant of abuse. Yes, there were a few S/N's that had improperly made bearings. That's in the past. The current versions are excellent.

As always, choose a quality oil and change it frequently. Motorcycle transmissions and gears are notorious for shearing multi viscosity oils.
 
Messages
182
Location
The Netherlands
In terms of routine maintenance such as chain maintenance and valve related stuff? I’m specifically asking from a dual sport/dirt bike perspective. I understand too that the actual level of use dictates the maintenance schedule.

I ask because I have read in several different forums about dual sport and dirt bike maintenance being more frequent than other bikes. I plan on getting a dual sport and it will be a weekend toy and not a daily user. I’m a maintenance technician by trade so my career is based around preventative maintenance and the like and I always stay on top of things like this beforehand.
Oh and first time biker here getting ready to own first bike.
My 2010 crf 450x is used for trail riding, riding in sandpits, enduros and mx tracks.
This is about the heaviest use possible for a motorcycle.

I run an D.I.D X ring chain which lasts about 5 times as long as and regular chain. I also run steel front and rear sprocket which last about 3 to 5 times as long as alluminum rear sprocket (front is always steel) If the sprockets go bad it takes the chain with it so thats why i run steel on the rear as well.

Besides that brake pads might last only a 1000 miles in heavy wet sand, but they are sometimes only 15 euros for a set so no worries.
Hondas racing maintenance schedule cals for a new piston every 15hours, but this is for people who ride baja or paris-dakar with it.
My bike has now 4200km /2700miles on original piston and clutch, the motor has never been opened except for that the titanium inlet valves where swapped for steel when the bike was still new.

I change the oil every 1000km /600 miles, 1.5 quart and a filter so not that expensive.

Tyres last pretty long as long as you dont run them on asphalt and it depends on how sharp you want the knobs to be.


So all in all its not so bad.
The fully built tuned 250 fourstroke race engines are the worst, those rev to over 14.000 rpm and almost require a rebuild every 30 40 hours.
Especially when a valve drops the costs can be in the thousands.

However the crf250l engine is much more reliable because it is based on the cb250 or cb300 and is in no way comparable to a 250 four stroke mx engine because thats basicaly a 1 cylinder f1 engine and so is the maintenance.
 
Messages
183
Location
UK
If you get a lightweight & simple bike, you should be able to cope with 90+% of regular maintenance and 80% of heavy ones with proper documentation.
If you do go trail riding, I would aim to add another 5% to that. Ifyou can do100% then(y)
 
Messages
475
Location
VA
Tires are expensive, don't last long and aren't very good at doing either dual sport job. You could probably get 8K miles out of an x-ring chain and steel sprockets.
 
Messages
936
Location
Colorado, USA
Tires are what they are. Kind of like the cost of living, it can be high but it’s pretty popular. :)

With respect to maintenance of valves and chains and such, it’s been pretty well covered. I think you’re gonna be off and running when you get the bike
 
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