The monsoon is almost upon us, and it is time to take a good look at your two-wheeler and make sure it is well-prepared to bear the fury of the monsoon. Here are a few things that you can do to keep your motorcycle in top shape during the rainy season.
1. Check your cables.
Most motorcycles have cables, either for the clutch or their drum brakes. The humidity from the air causes them to rust from inside, and this is impossible to clean. If you find yourself needing to apply extra force at the lever, whether clutch or brake, it is a sign to replace your cables.
2. Check your tyres.
Road tyres have trodden on them to help drain water that would otherwise keep the tyre from staying in contact with the road. However, these need to be at least 2mm deep to be effective. If your tyres are worn, and the tread depth is less than 2mm, they will not perform at the optimum when you ride through the water. Tyre pressure is equally important – the grip strength decreases with rain, and the wrong tyre pressure will give you a reduced grip.
3. Check your electrical system.
The contacts in between switches tend to get rusty and fail when too much water gets inside them. Spraying contact cleaner or WD40 regularly will help them perform optimally. Applying Vaseline at the battery terminals will waterproof them and ensure your battery remains in the pink of health right through the rains.
4. Wash your motorcycle regularly.
This might sound counterintuitive, but you need to wash your bike regularly, even in the monsoons. This helps in two ways. Firstly, it helps take off mud and muck, especially if you use a pressure washer. Some parts like the rear shock absorber can be impossible to clean without a jet of water. And secondly, the mud attracts moisture, which will eventually lead to rusting.
You might find information on the Internet telling you to apply Teflon or ceramic coats to your paint to protect it, but in reality, a good automotive shampoo and wax will be more than enough to protect the paint. Also, none of the advice columns that evangelize Teflon and ceramic coating mention that they need to be done regularly and are not a one-time application.
5. Keep things lubricated.
Once you are done cleaning your motorcycle, grease the parts that need lubricating. This includes the chain, bearings, the hinges that levers are mounted on, and the ends of the brake and clutch cables. Use motorcycle chain lube for your chain, regular grease for bearings, and machine oil for cables.
6. Cover when not in use.
If you live in an area with heavy rainfall, make sure you cover the bike when it is not in use. Petrol tank caps don’t have a perfect seal, so water does seep under them. There is a drain for water that enters via the tank cap seal, but if that drain gets clogged with dirt or rust, it will eventually spill over into the tank, and water is always bad for the engine. Covering the bike when it isn’t being used is a simple way to prevent this from happening.
These tips will help maintain the health of your bikes in monsoons, and if your beloved beast needs a total overhaul, consider a two-wheeler loan. But don’t forget that you, the rider, are a big part of the machine when it is being operated. So, get yourself the best rainwear possible, clean your helmet visor and apply rain repellent to it, and adjust your speed and smoothness to suit the low-grip, low-visibility situations in the monsoon!