Increasing your motorcycle's performance is not just about making it faster or louder. In these times of tightened purse strings, it is about getting the best possible value for your hard earned money. Not only this, it is about making sure your motorcycle lasts and performs well as long as it is able. By learning about your motorcycle and how to properly maintain it, you can be assured that not only are you getting the best possible value for your money, but that your motorcycle continues to provide service for many years to come.
Unlike cars, motorcycles do not suffer from body rust that sometimes leads to either expensive welding repairs or even to scrapping the vehicle should this work prove too expensive. A motorcycle cannot fail its MOT test due to rusted sills or seatbelt mountings. Barring major accidents which may damage the actual frame, a motorcycle can continue to provide sterling service for many more years than a car.
Therefore, one of the main reasons a motorcycle may be scrapped is that its engine may be worn out. By learning how to prevent this, not only can you improve your motorcycle's performance, but you can also prolong its life, therefore saving you time and money.
By performing regular maintenance on your bike, you are also increasing the bike's ability to perform overall. Regular maintenance keeps the bike in that 'good as new' condition, which leads to fewer expensive trips to the bike repair shop, and also gives you the reassurance that on a very cold morning when you are running late for work, your bike is more likely to easily start.
This regular maintenance includes such activities as checking the tyre pressure, checking the oil for level and consistency, and checking the air filter to make sure it is clear of obstructions. If your bike is a water-cooled model, then you should also check the water level and make sure there is plenty of anti-freeze, especially if wintertime is approaching.
There are now additives you can put into the fuel to improve your bike's performance. These are advertised as a great way to enhance your bike's condition without the need to strip down the whole engine and clean everything by hand.
Additives work by helping to clear any build-up of impurities and detritus that may accumulate in the fuel lines and also help clear any build-up that is actually in the cylinder heads. If you use such additives, make sure you read and follow the instructions for use exactly, though, as mixing the additives in the wrong proportions can result in a bike that does not start and that needs the urgent attention of a qualified bike mechanic.
Also to note is that when you first mix in the additives and fire up the engine, there is likely to be a considerable amount of black smoke produced. This is normal, and is the engine burning away all the carbon and other build-up from the cylinders.
You should be checking your oil levels and oil quality as part of the regular maintenance schedule, but having the correct engine oil can make a big difference in the performance of your motorcycle. Having oil that is too thick results in less power from the engine, while one that is too thin results in excessive wear on important parts within the engine.
By far, the safest option is to check the owner's manual, or failing that, the manufacturer's website, and you should find details of the correct engine oil to be used in your motorcycle. Many motorcyclists mistakenly believe that car oil is the same as motorcycle oil, and being much cheaper, they use this instead. This is a false presumption, and can lead to very poor performance, and ultimately the early 'death' of a motorcycle. As a general rule, use only the manufacturer-recommended oil in your bike.
This is a tricky subject amongst motorcyclists. Many, particularly younger cyclists, believe that having a loud exhaust actually improves a bike's performance, and even makes it go faster. This is not the case. All the energy wasted in making the bike as loud as possible, presumably to either annoy the neighbours, or impress friends, could be used in making the bike run more smoothly and more powerfully.
There are exhausts on the market that promise extra power, but without all the excessive noise. These exhausts are street legal, and result in a motorcycle that idles properly when at rest, yet does not sound like a typhoon jet taking off when the engine is revved. Simply removing the baffles from an existing exhaust does not increase the power, in fact, it decreases it significantly, as an engine needs back pressure from the exhaust system to work properly.
Also, you are advised to check the exhaust manifold for signs of leakage. Yes, a leaking exhaust may improve the 'sound' of your motorcycle, but a little exhaust sealant cuts down the noise and gives you a few extra BHP at the wheels.
As with normally aspirated cars, motorcycles use carburettors to achieve a fuel/air mix. This fuel/air mix and the ratio of the two are crucial to an engine's performance, both in terms of achievable power output and fuel consumption. Having the wrong mix can also cause a motorcycle to emit large amounts of damaging pollutants, and also to fail its MOT test. It can also lead to almost irreversible damage to the engine itself.
To help motorcycle owners with setting up their carburettors, there are setting tools that can gauge air intake vacuum levels. If your motorcycle has more than one cylinder and more than one carburettor, and you are looking to achieve the peak performance of your motorcycle, then these tools could be essential.
There are also compounds that you can spray into the carburettor whilst the engine is running. These are designed to clean the delicate moving parts within, thereby saving you the time and trouble of stripping the carburettor down by hand. Be warned though, as when these sprays are used, there is likely to be a lot of smoke from the exhaust as all the contaminants are cleaned out.
Some motorcycle owners, keen to get the highest number of horsepower from their bikes look to change the original carburettors supplied by the manufacturer to other, more esoteric, racing models. While this is certainly possible, and popular, the owners must take great care when attempting such a job. If the wrong carburettor is fitted, or even if it is set in wrong, then this could prove costly in repairs.
Checking your motorcycle's tyres should be a part of your regular scheduled maintenance. You should always check the tyre pressure , but also the amount of tread left on them. This is particularly true in the summer, when tyre and road temperature increase. This increase in temperature can result in excessive wear on the tyres, and if you are fond of riding in the countryside, with its challenging roads and hairpin bends, then this is an essential precaution.
There are also racing tyres available that while still being legal for road use give the rider not only added grip on sharp bends, but also reduce the contact wear with the road. Again, this can add horsepower and performance if the tyres are at the correct pressure.
eBay is a veritable goldmine of tools, parts, and accessories, all designed to give you extra performance from your bike. From exhausts and carburettors to oils and tyres, there is something to suit every bike and every pocket. To begin a search for performance enhancing parts on eBay, you can simply use keywords such as "Honda motorcycle engine oil" or " motorcycle exhaust sealant " in the search box of the home page or any page that contains the same search box.
It is worth entering your motorcycle's make and model into an eBay search box to see if there are specific parts or tools available for your particular bike. You should also be aware of similar models in the same range as yours that may have the same parts. You may also want to check to see if your chosen supplier is nearby. This gives you the opportunity to save some postage, but also meet the owner of the items you choose, as he or she may have other bargains you may have otherwise missed.
Regular maintenance can not only prolong the life of your bike, but it also improves its general performance. Things such as keeping the tyres at the correct pressure, making sure the oil is topped up and still working as it should, and checking the air intake can certainly improve the performance of your motorcycle. These tasks are easy to do, and they only take a few moments of your time. When all these basics are taken care of, if you are looking to further increase your bike's performance, then you should look to such things as the exhaust system, the carburettors, or whether your bike would benefit from racing tyres.
Above all, you should take your time, and work out exactly what you need to increase your bike's performance. Often, bike owners are all prepared for the job, only to find they do not have a particular tool or accessory essential for the removal or adjustment of a part, and this can lead to exasperation. Careful research reveals that possessing the right tools and parts results in a motorcycle with enhanced, and hopefully much longer-lasting performance.