Motorcycle Tips and tricks: An evolving column of wisdom

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Yamaha Motorcycles Street Event - Cycle Barn


Tips and Tricks for Motorcyclists


A monthly column of selected favorites from our vast archive.


Touring beyond summer - get a room
Some of us like camping with our bikes in the summer, but when fall rolls around it gets a little too chilly outside for our bones and nose. Consider all that money you saved camping all summer and treat yourself to a room in the fall or spring instead. It doesn't have to be a typical hotel or motel. Many state parks feature rentable cabins, some year around. They are typically priced less and don't feature bed bugs, since most require you bring your own a sleeping bag.

Go Paperless
Does your face shield become blurry after a season or two of riding? One cause can be paper products. Turns out the fibers used in paper towels aren’t too friendly to plastic laminates and can cause them to obscure when used for washing or drying. The ultimate alternative is a fine Microfiber cloth. There are many on the market. Our favorite are GarageMates made by Heininger out of Bellingham Washington. We have several helmets that are into their third year on face shields as a result.

Custom Seats
One rider in his early 60’s quipped to me one day about how hard it is to ride very long “with these old bones.” When I asked, he revealed that he rides with a stock seat. One of the first upgrades worth making to any motorcycle is to have a seat fitted to your bottom by someone who is a skilled, modern-day saddle maker of sorts. That’s some of the best money one can ever spend on a bike to insure all day comfort. You may have a custom maker nearby, or you can send your seat along with photos to a pro.

Tire mounting add-ons.
It’s probably a given, that your owner’s manual doesn’t have a recommended interval for wheel bearings. But over time they do wear and you might notice the bike rides a little loose. For most bikes, this occurs after 15,000-20,000 miles. If it’s been longer than that, consider ordering up a new set of wheel bearings to have on hand next time you drop into the shop to get some new tires mounted. This is also a nice time to upgrade your valve stems to the 90-degree style if that will make airing up and down for you easier.

ACF-50 to beat away corrosion
When storing your bike, you can spray down any metal that could corrode during a long winter’s nap. Originally developed for the aircraft industry, ACF-50 can be purchased in spray cans. Apply it to chains, rims, forks and any other metal on your bike’s exterior that could become problematic. If there is any corrosion going on prior to applying the product, it will stop is cold in it’s tracks.

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