I just think of all the people in the world that ride for years and never do hardly any kind of maintenance and have little to no problems, makes me worry less. I would bet my 2006 Vulcan Nomad has never had brake fluid changed, fork oil changed, or clutch fluid (hydraulic) changed. Although I will likely do the brake and clutch semi soon just because. All still works fine. Maintenance is cool, but I think it's often over exaggerated. Probably 5% of riders, or less, change their fork oil every 2 years or so. I've never changed fork oil in anything I've ever owned lol. I'm not knocking doing it, just pointing out that this is rare maintenance to perform for most people.
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Think the other component in maintenance items and intervals............many enthusiasts like working on the bike as much or more than riding.
I used to think along the lines of Tacoma. That changed as a bike I have owned since 1985 started having brake problems 5 years ago. So much gunk in the system that the brakes started dragging. Opened up my CBR 1100XX clutch reservoir 4 yrs after I had changed it. Bottom was full of gunk. Sure you can get away without doing maintenance. Many do. I get that. I used to be one of them... until I started doing my own maintenance. That changed my perspective 180 degrees. I even started changing out my cars brake fluid too.
Sure if you put on less than 2000 miles in a year adjust as necessary but if you ride a lot, do the maintenance. When you ride and something goes wrong you don't have as much protection as in a car when the brakes go bad. Changing fork fluid is more about control and comfort. Get some aftermarket springs for your weight while you are at it instead of having springs for an average person (Whatever that is). Its about control and comfort.
I do agree that most people change their oil much to often. Better machining, liquid cooled and better oil technology has lengthened the overall oil change out periods.
Oh, you should change out your coolant every 5 years (Honda recommends every two years. Not hard at all to do. If you don't your coolant gets impurities in it and becomes conductive. So any dissimilar metals start electrolysis and will cause problems down the road.
Not important if you trade bikes all the time. But I tend to keep mine for years and years.
The first two photos are my CBR clutch reservoir after only 4 years.
The last photo is my daughters Rebel 250 after who knows how many years. I had had it for 6 yrs. Brakes were still working just fine. Found the same thing on my 84 wing's clutch reservoir too. Almost empty and all gunky. Clutch worked fine.
Food for thought!
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^^^^^ You have motivated me to get off the couch and go change the brake fluid (I've done it once in the last five years!).
Thanks for the pics!!
Rob in New England
Most people don't understand that brake fluid absorbs moisture. Seals don't seal 100% against moisture. If the brakes get hot this moisture flashes to steam... and bye, bye to your brakes!
Your clutch on hydraulic clutch bikes same thing. Absorbs moisture as it is brake fluid.
I use AmsOil synthetic fluid. After spilling some on my paint twice I have found that it doesn't seem to eat paint on contact!
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Last edited by 1wiseguy2; 3rd November 2019 at 09:13.
There was a farmer this past summer who brought me an old irrigation wheel-line engine to repair, and when I opened up the carb it was absolutely spotless with no varnish build-up at all. Even the brass jets looked shiny and new. When I asked him if he treated the fuel he said he always added Stabil.
Not an official study by any means, and I know that there could be a correlation I missed. But since seeing that carb my belief in the stuff has been firmed up quite a bit.
This is outside the scope of NC maintenance, but while we’re on the subject, my practice with carburetors is to never leave fuel in the carb bowl at all during storage. All 4 of my carbureted two wheel machines as well as generators, chain saws, pressure washer, etc currently have empty bowls. With fuel in the bowl, it will eventually evaporate out, leaving residue whether it’s treated or not. And if the fuel is gravity fed and the fuel valve is open, that process will continue though out the storage period.
I rely on Stabil for fuel injected systems but for carbs I just drain ‘em.
I agree that draining carbs is the #1 choice for storage. But most average lawn equipment owners aren't interested in that sort of effort