by Pat Goss
For those folks who travel on two wheels instead of four... this time we’re talking about motorcycles with our good friend Lyndon Abell, General Manager of Patriot Harley-Davidson in Fairfax, Virginia. All right, number one thing: a manual.
LYNDON ABELL: Absolutely. If you’re going to be working on your motorcycle, have a factory service manual. It’s far and away better than the aftermarket alternatives, and really not that much more expensive.
PAT GOSS: All right, now, with that in mind, some forgotten fluids.
LYNDON ABELL:Yes. Everybody is familiar with their motor oil and, in general, looks after that, but the fork oil is really important also. Harley-Davidson has two different kinds. This fork oil works as both a lubricant and sort of the shock absorber for your front end. Replace it based on specifications in your factory manual.
PAT GOSS: Okay. Brake fluid.
LYNDON ABELL:Brake fluid is really important, obviously. There are two different kinds that Harley has used, DOT 5 and DOT 4 in the last several years. It is absolutely critical that they not get mixed, and that you use the proper fluid for your motorcycle. Every master cylinder has a decal on top of it that will tell you exactly what fluid to use. Go by the decal, DO NOT go by what the fluid looks like.
PAT GOSS:Okay. Now, here we have some accessories, some add-ons. TyreDog is a tire-pressure monitoring system that you can add to your motorcycle. And tire pressure is about as critical as it gets.
LYNDON ABELL: Yeah, this seems like a really good idea to me. Anything that allows the rider to more easily check their air pressure, likely will lead to them riding around on tires that are properly inflated, and all you have is little tiny dollops of rubber on the road. It’s critical that your tire pressure be addressed properly.
PAT GOSS: Now, along with that, here’s something that you brought along. This is an interesting piece.
LYNDON ABELL:Yeah. Same idea. Harley’s had a temperature oil gauge for awhile, but a little while ago, they added a level to it. This allows you to very easily check your oil level.
PAT GOSS: So, both level and temperature.
LYNDON ABELL: Level and temperature. But, you know, it makes it so you can check your oil level every time you ride.
PAT GOSS: Okay. Now, we always forget the control cables.
LYNDON ABELL: Yeah, cables are something that a lot of people that are servicing their own motorcycles will skip. And it’s very important. The lubrication both makes the cable easier to use, you know, goes more smoothly, but also very important up here where it pivots in the throttle that that be able to slide properly. If it doesn’t, then instead of sliding around the throttle, it’s bending that wire. And it will bend it back and forth, and just like bending coat hanger, it will snap. And that’s a common thing.
PAT GOSS:All right. Primary chain adjustment on a Harley, over the years, has been manual. This, I like.
LYNDON ABELL: Yeah, they put this in new motorcycles a couple of years ago,. The cool thing is that it is retrofittable, and using your factory service manual, fairly easy to retrofit it to a bike back to the mid-‘80s.
PAT GOSS: And it takes care of the primary adjustment automatically.
LYNDON ABELL: Automatically.
PAT GOSS: Okay. Lyndon, thank you.
If you have a question or comment, write to me.
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