New Bike/Scooter Care & Maintenance (Class 101!)
So you've purchased your new Lifan and got it home all shiny and perfect. But what should you do to it, what maintenance should be performed, what things should you look for...
Don't worry! Even if you know nothing about bikes, or one end of a screwdriver from another. We've some basic, common sense suggestions below. Some are no brainers, some may require a little knowledge of how tools work etc.
1. READ THE OWNERS MANUAL!!
Before you even start your Lifan, carefully read the owners manual front to back. Take the time to familiarise yourself with the bike. The owner's manual is an extremely valuable and comprehensive tool; keep it in a safe place.
2. Make a mental note of the necessary service intervals
This will be clearly shown on the maintenance record sheet attached to the warranty. Service intervals can be shown by time or by distance, depending on the model (and weather or not your Lifan has an odometer!) If you have anything you are not sure about, ask your local dealer, they are there to help.
3. Become familiar with the various components on the bike and how they work. Practise starting your Lifan.
All bikes vary somewhat on how they like to start! But here are some basic guidelines.
- Firstly learn about all the possible things that must be right before you stand any chance of starting. Things like the engine kill switch must be in the ‘on' position, the ignition key (if it has one) has to be on, some road going models have a safety switch on the side stand, so use the centre stand when starting if it has one. Some models require a brake lever to be pulled on when starting. Also check you have enough fuel, and that the fuel is on (refer handbook if your not sure).
- Check the motorcycle is in neutral before kicking over or pressing the electric start button.
- If you are starting your Lifan for the first time that day or if it is a cold day you probably will need some choke (some models have auto choke).
- If you are kicking over the engine with the kick-starter, a lot of people make the mistake of pumping the throttle with each kick. This makes it very hard for the engine to start and you will end up “flooding” the engine. If this occurs you will have to just leave the bike for 10 minutes, or you can try holding the throttle fully open for a couple of kicks (more experienced tip) and be ready to close the throttle if the engine starts. Generally, if you want to squirt the throttle a few times, do it just before attempting the start, not during. So you start with a closed throttle or just slightly open (this is where the learning for your particular model comes in). You may also notice a slightly different starting procedure from when it is cold compared to when it is hot.
- When starting with electric start it is a good idea to depress the button down quickly with force (as opposed to a slow, light press!) This gives the best connection for the electrics, and allows for the best kick from the battery to the starter motor.
Do not hold the button down too long. Release as soon as you hear the engine start, and you might have to be ready to open the throttle too. You must also release the button if it doesn't start too. (Never let the starter crank over for more than about 5 seconds) Let it rest for at least 5 seconds, and then try for 5 seconds again etc. If you get to this point it is a good idea to re-check the engine kill switch, side stand, fuel on, etc.
When your bike starts, your next step besides warming it up is to get it "off the choke". If you didn't use the choke, or it has auto-choke, you don't need to worry!
If it needed full choke to start and it is a cold morning you probably wont be able to close the choke completely straight away. You can try, but be ready to hurl the choke back on when the engine spits, coughs and sounds like you put water in the fuel tank! If it stalls, go back to full choke before starting again. You will (sometimes slowly) be able to get the choke off as the Lifan warms up. Never leave the choke on permanently as you will "foul the spark plug" which means the bike will run funny and usually stop running. Then you usually have to remove the spark plug and clean it up or replace it, but that's another mission, and you're much better to just remember to "get it off the choke" as soon as possible. When the bike is warm (ie: just been running and off the choke) you shouldn't need to use the choke and it should roar into life immediately!
4. Pre-ride Inspection
All owners manuals have a detailed pre-ride inspection that only takes a few minutes to do, but could save time and expense. Experienced riders have an eye for detail of something wrong or out of adjustment, beginners need to just get in the habit of a pre-ride inspection, and will be experienced in spotting even small things that need attention.
95% of the time, motorcycle wear or damage can be avoided by a basic adjustment at an early stage. This often doesn't require much time or energy and could save you an expensive repair. (A stitch in time saves you nine!)
5. Learn Some Basic Maintenance
Again, your owner's book is really good at telling you what needs checking and/or adjusting. Lifan's have very reliable engines and don't require any extra attention over any other brands. You have the "safety net" of a regular service and a full 12 month warranty but with a little time and thought you can;
a) Ensure 100% reliability
b) Eliminate excessive wear & tear on consumables
c) Greatly extend the service life of consumables, which saves you extra time and money.
The 3 most basic things to check are:
- Tyre pressures.
- Drive chain adjustment (if applicable).
- Engine oil levels.
All of these things are easy to check and adjust and will make life on the bike easier and save you money on replacement parts. If you are not able to do this get a friend to show you, or ask your dealer how, as once you know, it is really very simple!
6. Breaking in the Engine
Read and follow the advise in the handbook about this. This will ensure your Lifan's future reliability, performance and value. Generally, the basic "running in" rules are:
a. Don't test the limits of the bikes power and speed initially, build up slowly over the weeks as it wears in.
b. Don't sit on the same speed and throttle position for any length of time. Vary the speed and load as often as possible
7. Specific New Bike Advise
Finally, With all new bikes, there is a settling in period because everything is brand new and whilst every care is taken in the manufacture and assembly of your machine, and all checks are performed before you take possession, your regular operation of your Lifan is the last "test" of quality that we cannot perform for you.
(Not without making it a used Lifan anyway!)
Any new bike should be regularly checked for nuts and bolts coming loose. Especially in the first month. If any come loose they should be tightened up firmly, and checked regularly over the next week. (Remember a stitch in time...)
- Lock tight persistent wrigglers
- Regularly performed "spanner checks" over all nuts and bolts at least in the early stages just makes good sense!
- Cleaning your bike is also a great way to find any loose nuts or bolts too. Use your eyes to scan for things when possible.
Phew! That was a lot to explain correctly. We hope you found this info useful. If any of it made sense, then we are one more step towards helping create more knowledgeable motorcyclists! We will add more details to this page as time avails.
Enjoy your Lifan and stay safe!