cruiser motorcycles

How to Take Care of Your Cruiser Motorcycle?

How to Take Care of Your Cruiser Motorcycle?

Table of Contents

Taking care of your cruiser isn’t an easy task. More often than not, you’ll find yourself questioning why you bought a cruiser in the first place. But the answer has always been there every time you took that bike down the road and felt that breeze hitting your chest.

However, it’d be wrong to say that it’s the most difficult vehicle to take care of. Compared to a car or a touring motorcycle, you’re definitely getting a bargain. Other than cleaning and regular maintenance, there isn’t much to do than just ride your motorcycle towards where the sunsets.

A cruiser bike can only be a hassle if you have the engine break down in the middle of the road or if you trip over and have to pick it up. Being stranded with a cruiser is bad enough, with or without it lying on the ground. Some of them, like the infamous Harley 883 Iron, are ridiculously heavy.

So, if you want to appreciate long-term durability and enjoy long adventures on your cruiser for a substantial duration, you’d best get used to the idea of taking care of your motorcycle.

The first thing you need to do is develop a sense of mechanical understanding pertaining to the fundamentals of how a motorcycle works.

Learn the basic names of the parts and eventually, you’ll start to see how the cogs and sprockets fit together to make the engine purr and move the roaring beast down the road at such speeds.

You don’t have to learn enough to start fine-tuning your bike like a professional dyno. Just remember that if you don’t even know the right name of the part, you’re going to be ripped off for not knowing the price.

As the ongoing process of learning continues, read the following ways to take care of your cruiser motorcycle.

Also Read: Thinking of Buying the Best Cruiser Motorcycle for Yourself?

1. Maintenance

1.1 Change the Engine Oil

As with a car, a motorcycle above 600ccs is going to require regular oil changes in about 3000-6000 miles. Depending upon how much you drive on a daily basis, this could mean 45-60 days at least. That means you don’t have to worry about it every now and then.

The summer seasons are generally more oil-consuming for motorcycles than winters. Moreover, the age of your motorcycle along with the type and brand of oil that you use makes a lot of difference in this regard as well. Additionally, this also means you’ll have to change the oil filter of your cruiser.

1.2 Brake Pads

Brake pads define the braking system of your motorcycle and thus, should be dealt with extreme care and caution. Unless you’re looking for a fatal road accident, you need to make sure that you’re keeping your brake pads cleaned and fresh.

Every two times you change your engine oil, change your brake pads. If you think they’re good because you haven’t ridden around that much, change them anyway.

This isn’t something you should take a chance with. Since many riders either prefer to or just have to drive up and down hilly areas, it’s crucial to note that brake pads are more likely to become worn out quickly in such a scenario.

Never cross the 2-millimeter mark when it comes to the thinning of the brake pads. In fact, don’t even let it get to that.

1.3 The tires

Being on four wheels brings a sense of security in terms of the balance of your vehicle. With a motorcycle on two wheels, however, even a little wobble can spell death if not a tragic accident.

Which is why you have to spend all the more time making sure that your tires are in mint condition. tires are prone to wear out with time even when we don’t ride out much.

That’s because environmental conditions such as extreme heat, cold, wetness, and even dust can factor into the destruction of the tire's composition, even sometimes making them rot.

Setting aside the state of the tire, a hole or a crack in the surface is an obvious sign that the tire has lived out its life and needs to be changed.

Also to be noted is that whenever you’re having your tires inflated, don’t fill in too much. That’s because you’re going to need the grip that comes with a little lowered tire.

At the same time, however, you can’t go far on an under-inflated tire because that is going to decrease the level of control you have on the road as well as on your speed because you won’t be able to brake as well.

Another point to note here is that hot tires seldom give off accurate readings and thus, you should only measure their pressure when they’re cold, i.e. when you’re about to head off.

1.4 Cleaning Your Cruiser

A cruiser motorcycle needs to be cleaned every few rides and as most of them have their appearance going for them, it’s often just sad to see one standing there all dirty and muddy. A cruiser is a big motorcycle but it’s not impossible to clean. It helps if you start off part by part, dividing the motorcycle parts into three sides. 

1.4.1 The Front

The front of your cruiser comprises the front brakes, the wheel, and the shocks on the front side. These are going to be mostly metallic and steel frameworks, and thus, should be considered safe for waterboarding them and scrubbing them clean with soap.

Same as other parts of the bike with a similar composition such as the silencer, you rub some polish on the material if you think your cruiser has lost its shine. This works wonders when you have a brand new motorcycle seat after a long while.

Make sure that the wire of your odometer connected to your along with your brake lines isn’t dirty or too loose. Other than the fact that they can get in your wheel at high speeds, you ought to ensure that they don’t wear out or mess up your readings. In older bikes, this problem can result in fines from the authorities.

1.4.2 The Top and the Bottom

The top of the bike is more than just the seat or the tank. Your handlebars may not seem like much work but they ought to be cleaned and polished in order to retain their shine. Some cruisers don’t come with a lot of technical innovations other than a digital or analog speedometer.

Whatever your cruiser has, make sure you clean it and if there’s something like the sides of the accelerator that need to be oiled, do so. This will go a far way in ensuring that your bike doesn’t behave out of place.

The same goes for your clutch and the hardware on the side. Your side mirrors, sides of the tank, skirts, etc. are important elements that will be visible even at night.

This is why you should clean them and ensure that they’re mud-free because other than the fact that you’ll have trouble seeing and you’ll be ruining your clothes that you sit on your cruiser with, you’ll also be running the risk of eroding material and fading colors if you leave them exposed and uncleaned for too long. 

You’re going to have to get down on the ground and get working on the lower body at least once a week because that’s where all the dirt and mud is hanging. Your flaps can save them from a lot but not everything.

And unfortunately, this mud can cause a lot of damage even if you think it’s not visible every time you bank left or right on turns.

1.4.3 The Back

The wheels and suspension are also liable to be missed when cleaning a bike. Mostly because once you get a bagger or make your cruiser one, you’re likely to think it a hassle if your bags don’t come off easily.

Obviously, you need to take off your cruiser saddlebags or panniers if you have them equipped in order to reach for the inner part of the rear wheel. They’re supposed to be cleaned separately and should be dealt with according to the material you have on your saddlebags.

If they’re hard body shells made from fiber, they can be washed from the outside, and for the leather or soft padding inside, a slightly wet piece of cloth will do nicely as long as you stick to gentle scrubs.

That is, assuming you didn’t spill liquid detergent or milkshake in there. In which case, you’re going to have to wash it out completely and let it dry.

If you have leather saddlebags, you should stick with a wet cloth altogether and if the leather is any good, it’ll shine with a little scrubbing. If you think the leather is fading after years of use, you should use some polish.

The rear will also have your chain and sprockets that can be washed with water first and later oiled. Just make sure they’re not exposed as it’s not just a risk for the rider and their pants, but it’s also going to hasten the rusting process. At the cost of aesthetics, you can be saving yourself a lot more than just a couple of bucks.

If you have plates on the back, make sure they’re screwed in tight and don’t shake too much. More than a problem, they’re likely to become a nuisance if you find them vibrating and clanking on roads.

2. Storing it Away for the Winters:

The winters are not the best time to be riding out and in many parts of the country, you’re probably going to be storing your motorcycles away. However, that doesn’t mean you can just park it in your garage and leave it like nothing happened.

Also Read: 5 Best Motorcycle Trip Planner Apps for Adventure Touring

Although that’d be the best place, you have to ensure that the motorcycle is ready to be stored. Leaving your bike’s fuel pipes and carbs with remaining gas can be detrimental to its value. Similarly, if you’re storing it away for the whole season, you should change the engine oil and filters of the bike.

This is because bikes often get filled with acids and though regular oil changes are enough to take care of them, you can’t let them sit there for a whole season as they’ll make the interior rot.

Several oil companies offer winter weight oil like 5w-30s that has been designed specifically to ensure you don’t have a hard time starting the beast up in Spring. Unless it’s a contemporary model, older motorcycles don’t come with antifreeze.

Although not a necessity, it’s certainly helpful, especially if you’re changing the engine, brake, transmission fluids, and oil respectively. Liquid-cooled motorcycles often run the risk of developing acid in their coolants.

Another useful thing to note here is that since our government mandates the use of ethanol-flavored gas that is not particularly great for motorcycles, you should either empty your gas tank or all the canisters and containers attached to the bike.

If you’re on a bike like the 883 Iron or another fuel-injected motorcycle, it’s probably not an easy task to clean out the gas. This is where experts recommend going the complete opposite way and filling your bike up completely. There should be no space left in the tank for air to prevent water vapors and oxygen to start reacting with the gas.

3. Takeaway

A cruiser motorcycle is a serious investment that requires plenty of care. Even though it’s easier to take care of a bike than a car, you need to pay attention to any and every detail. If you ignore a little wobble or a sound, it can prove to be disastrous in the long run.

If you’re unsure about everything, you can always go to a mechanic. On the off-chance, you think you’d get ripped off, go do it any way but make sure that you watch everything they do. After a few times, you’ll eventually learn how they do it. Otherwise, you can always google anything you’re looking for and you’ll probably find a lot of ways to do it.

Make sure that you’re always taking care of your cruiser motorcycle because not only is it a long-term road companion, it’s an investment that can be worth a thousandfold.

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