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Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else This is an opportunity to ask any question, and post any notice you wish that doesn't fit into one of the other sections.
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  #1  
Old 27 Jan 2011
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Must know bike maintenance

Hello!
I heading off on my first semi big solo trip and would like to hear what people have on their 'must know maintenance lists'. I'll be on the road for about 2 -3 months, both on tar and some dirt. I have experience with oil changes, air filters, tyre changing / patching (arrrggggg) and chain oiling...but I'd love to know what you think is good to have as a skill before I go. This would also include some general trouble shooting....ideas????
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  #2  
Old 27 Jan 2011
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You have the basics covered, but at this late stage if you get any problems, just use the HUBB if anything crops up, and make sure you can relate all the symptoms so as to get good replies.

Enjoy your trip, and where are you heading?
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  #3  
Old 28 Jan 2011
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get a small cheap multimeter, and learn how to use it on diodes, voltages, resistance etc
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  #4  
Old 28 Jan 2011
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Knowing how to troubleshoot electrical problems is invaluable. It is extremely simple and only requires a cheap multimeter, but most people know nothing about it. A circuit diagram for the bike also helps a lot.
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Old 28 Jan 2011
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I found that nearly all 'emergency' repairs were because the bike wouldn't start/run (apart from snapped subframes etc). This is down to two possible causes, there's no fuel, or there's no spark.

Figure out how your bike gets these two elements into your cyclinder and how to test for them in an easy manner.

If there's fuel you'll have wet plugs and you'll be able to smell it. If you take the plug out, reconnect the HT lead and hold the plug body against the engine you'll be able to see a spark when you try and start it.

A lot of whats important will depend on what type of bike you have, most have known weak spots. Carbs or no carbs is a common question.

On the whole if you can get the engine running you can limp along until you find help/tools/ to solve the problem.
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Old 29 Jan 2011
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It's essential to have a good understanding of electrics. I've seeen many people probing around with a multi-meter but getting nowhere because they don't understand the results or the limitations of the meter. It is very useful to carry a shorting link but only if you know how to use it.

Regular maintenance: You don't mention chain adjustment in your list of skills. This is very important - if it is too tight can cause untold damage, it it's too loose it may break more easily and again cause untold damage.

Get you home repairs: It's worth learning how to change wheel bearings and carry some spares plus the tools to fit it.
Also worth knowing how to deal with a broken rear shock. They can collapse and the bike may be unrideable.

As others have said, most of the things that stop you going are either electrical or fuel.
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Old 30 Jan 2011
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If you can fix a flat tyre and adjust your chain, you're more experienced than most adventure bikers i've come across !!
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  #8  
Old 30 Jan 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
If you can fix a flat tyre and adjust your chain, you're more experienced than most adventure bikers i've come across !!
Adastra is way ahead of the average IMHO just by asking. For example there was the chap somewhere in Holland I think it was whose CBRRRR something or other wouldn't turn over on our campsite. He'd taken the starter motor off and let all the oil soak into the grass . My jump leads said the starter motor was fine, so then he knew precisely how to fix it: get it to a mechanic who sold oil and the right O-rings

In 2-3 months you aren't going to learn to strip the gearbox and put it back together in working condition. Get yourself that multimeter, a tool kit specific for the jobs you know how to do and plan for the chance you might need to meet the local grease monkeys on your travels. Don't worry about it either, the vast majority of riders in any part of the world have exactly the same plan. It's easier to sign "it won't start" than " It wouldn't start, so I took the starter motor off and all this oil came out and this this English bloke came over and shook his head and he put some jump leads on it and it ran like crazy, so we put it all back together but we don't know if it sealed because all the oil was gone and then we couldn't diagnose any further"

Andy
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  #9  
Old 4 Feb 2011
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Thanks for the replies – very helpful. I'm learning about multi meters now. I also grabs some old chain from a motorcycle repair shop so I learn to fix / repair it.
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  #10  
Old 4 Feb 2011
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Make sure you get a multimeter that has a buzzer in it for continuity check. Basically if the circuit completes it sounds (i.e. it sounds at a resistance approaching 1). This is very useful if workingg on your own for checking switches and lengths of wire - you don't need to be in a position to see the screen. Also take off the pins that come on the end of the leads and replace with crocodile clips, if you need a pin-like at any point just clip a nail into the croc.
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  #11  
Old 4 Feb 2011
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Knowing your mechanics is one thing if you need to do it yourself but let's face it you'll only take the tools you need to do the basic stuff, anything else more serious happens you'll need locals to help and hopefully an experienced mechanic. I think the real tools you'll need are knowing your limitations and knowing when to ask for help. I'm sure as a woman you'd find many obliging men to help you get back on the road in no time at all. So in that case a little charm and a big smile goes a long way, then just sit back, drink some chai or a cold drink in the shade and watch those capable men work on your bike for free

Just don't make the mistake of taking a spare bike in parts along with you. I've seen ample of these kinds of people on the road that don't know what they need and so they just take everything they think they'll need (a bit like the Charley Mcgregor's of this world).

Parts and labour are much cheaper OS so unless you're worried about having OEM parts then don't take too much and enjoy the cheap cost of labour.

For example, when we had a flat tyre in Pakistan in 45 degrees it wasn't worth fixing myself as it cost only 20Rupees (30cents) for a garage to plug the hole and i got to have a nice cold drink at the same time. The trouble in Pakistan was trying to get them to take my money... they are really lovely people in Pakistan.
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Old 4 Feb 2011
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I think one of the most valuable things to know is how things go together in the bike. You may not need to know how to fix the problem, but it is down right empowering to be able to say without a doubt what an issue is.

For example on my R80g/s. If I have a slipping clutch, and I look down and see oil on the engine shelf I know that I have 1 or two seals leaking, and most likely the trans input seal. It is ridable most likely, but need to keep an eye on the oil levels.

If you are having anything fixed, watch them, learn how they do it, see how things interact in the engine. Read forums and study what other issues people have had and the symptoms. Half the solution is knowing and knowledge is power.
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