7 maintenance tips anyone can do on a motorbike

It’s a great feeling when you buy your first bike, whatever make, model and engine size you decide to ride. It’ a shame you can’t bottle that feeling of freedom, just thinking about it makes us smile at CBT London Bike Tests. Before you set off riding the bike though, spare a few moments to perform a few checks, it’ll keep you safe and highlight any problems you might have with the bike.

  1. Tyres: Two skinny little tyres are the only parts of the bike that make contact with the road when you are riding. Therefore, check to see the rubber is in good condition and safe to use. Establish the pressure in the tyres when they are cold and have a good look at the tread to make sure it’s legal and it’ll give you plenty of grip.
  2. Lights: Look at your front and back lights, test indicators and brake lights too. They get you noticed on the road, they’re vital safety features, if you find a loose connection or a bulb that doesn’t work, get it fixed or replace it straight away.
  3. Steering/suspension: Turn the handlebars left and right, see if the action is nice and smooth, sit on the bike and test the front and rear suspension for creaks, groans and any signs of issues.
  4. Brakes: Test the front and rear brakes separately. Do they work firmly and release without problem? Look at the brake fluid reservoir. Is it within the maximum and minimum levels? If it’s low, top up with the approved fluid type.
  5. Oil: Test the engine and transmission oil before you start the bike. The levels should be somewhere between the maximum and minimum setting, your bike’s engine could seize if you let the oil levels drop too low.
  6. Coolant: Take a peek at the coolant reservoir on your bike. Do the levels look okay? Normally the coolant shouldn’t drop unless there’s a problem with the system, if you are losing coolant this could be the sign of a leak.
  7. Chain: Finally, check the condition of the drive chain. Press the chain with your finger to make sure it’s not too slack. A little bit of lubricant will keep the chain in good condition and moving freely, you can pick up cans in motor accessory stores.

Great ways to save money on bike insurance

Take your CBT and you can ride a 125cc motorbike on the road with L plates for up to 2 years. Pass your full test and you can ride larger and more powerful machines. Before you do though, there’s the sticky subject of paying for bike insurance which you can’t avoid if you want to legally ride the bike on the road. This can be pricey but there are ways of lowering premiums so you don’t have to pay any more than you want to.

  • Look at the insurance group of the bike: Motorbikes are categorised into different price structures for insurance depending on the make, model and size of machine. Compare different machines before you make a purchase if you are worried about insurance. Ask the bike dealer what the insurance group is, you might be better off choosing a model in a lower insurance bracket.
  • Think about engine size: 125cc bikes are some of the cheapest to insure so they’re a popular option for city commuters. You can only ride up to 125cc with a CBT anyway but when you pass your full bike test this opens up a whole new world of powerful machines. Generally the smaller the engine the cheaper the insurance is likely to be, do you really need a 1200cc Triumph as a starter bike after passing your test, wouldn’t a 600cc Suzuki be just as much fun?
  • Build up your premiums: Try not to make any claims and that should see the cost of your premiums tumble. Steadily build up your insurance premium year after year and you’ll receive a no claims discount making the cost of insurance cheaper.
  • Get older! The older you get the cheaper insurance gets so be patient and one day your bike policy will be really cheap.
  • Fit an alarm: Finally, install an alarm on your bike. Insurers like Thatcham-approved systems and they should lower your premium as a result.