With a large contingent of Netrider members returning from the annual Netrider Jindy pilgrimage earlier this week I thought it meet to jot down my after care regime having also returned from ~3,000 kms of riding. This isn’t a scheduled maintenance event more a list of stuff that needs doing after some time away touring, perhaps a mid service service if you will.
  • a damn fine wash – hose down and wet the entire exterior to make it easier to remove the encrusted dirt that’s accumulated then wash with a mit and decent quality detergent. Sure, I use different mits for the plastics and the wheels to help stop cross contamination, wheels last too. The first bit that always gets done is the inside of the screen – from most visible/sensitive/likely to scratch to least sensitive. It’s likely that I’ll also use degreaser on the back of the engine facing the rear wheel as this is an area which loves to collect road grime (love those freshly re-tarred road sections!) and brushes of different lengths and textures to clean around all the fiddly bits like the brake calipers and rear sets. If I’d got rained on I’d have also removed the lower fairings and given the headers a clean with some very poor quality steel wool (cheap = soft = no scratches) and given the undersides of the fairings a quick wash and recoating with Lannox to help stop dirt accumulating/sticking.
  • chain maintenance – lube/adjust every 300-500 kms right? Yep, you should, but looser is better than too tight. All that lube doesn’t always stay on the chain too and there’s no denying that lubing your chain without a rear stand can get a tad messy (gratz to all the owners of bikes with center stands, hope the extra mass is worth it!) with overspray getting on the swing arm and fling ending up all over the back wheel and select rear plastics/tail etc, coupled with a desire to ensure proper lubrication away from home we often tend to go a little overboard with the quantity of lube used too. So what’s needed? A damn fine clean of the chain, sprockets and front sprocket cover. And to help make this easier remove the rear wheel so that you have lots of slack chain to briefly immerse in your old ice cream tub filled with Shellite (aka Naphtha) to loosen the worst of the dirt and old chain wax/oil. I’ve stopped using a Grunge brush having found that the bristles are too hard and agressive on delicate rubber O and X rings and instead now favour old toothbrushes (I did try an old electric toothbrush but the battery simply didn’t last long enough), a liberal but not extended dousing in Shellite and some elbow grease. Always a good idea to first remove the sprocket cover, clean the front sprocket area and THEN do the chain :), ordered chaos. Remove the rear sprocket carrier from the cush rubber assembly and give that a damn good clean too. Why Shellite? It’s less aggressive than Kero and much better at loosening gunk and considerably less wiffy. YMMV. It’s not 100% rubber safe so just don’t leave your chain immersed in it for any length of time, and sure, it evaporates quickly and leaves no residue. While you’re at it, clean away any lube fling from the swing arm “BBQ” tongs (the plastic guide that goes over your swing arm where your chain runs) and lower engine area – anywhere the chain runs and is likely to have left gunk, including the underside of the chain guard towards the back of your rear wheel area.
  • bearing regrease – easy: we’ve got the rear wheel off and the sprocket carrier off too so this is a no brainer as it’s all exposed. Remove any blackened grease and reapply fresh grease. A good opportunity to also remove any encrusted dirt left over from the Bonang dirt sections, especially where the sprocket carrier seals and fits into the cush assembly, a good idea to also apply a smidge of grease to the rubbers themselves while it’s all exposed.
  • airbox & air filter clean – how many times did you clean your visor while you were away? Yep, think about all those dead bugs and now think to your airbox and, typically for bikes like the ZX-10R with a RAM air intake, you bike has likely ingested a considerable array of bug life which is now partly blocking your air filter and reducing your engine efficiency by messing up your carefully tuned AFR. One addition I recently made to Roxanne was to cover the very coarse external RAM air intake guard with flywire (the same stuff I have behind my radiator guard). Doing this does mean that you need to keep an eye on it but it’s far, far easier than accessing the air filter and air box.
  • lube – after all that washing and cleaning relube all the moving parts of your bike eg. levers, clutch housing cables, rearsets, pillion pegs, side stand, shifter etc with water insoluble protection such as Lannox or Innox 
  • wax, polish and metal protection – time to re-apply a fresh coat of decent quality wax polish to all the plastics, coat all the textured “black” plastic parts like the leading edges of the front fairings and all the exposed metal parts of the bike with Lannox to help stop dirt/grime from sticking in future.
Doing all of the above took six hours. Overkill? Your call. Getting up close and intimate with your beast allows you through visual inspection to see any developing issues, and it’s cathartic too for some of us to have a certain peace of mind knowing that you really look after your stuff and it too in turn will (hopefully) look after you too.
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