Motorcycles, no matter what brand, require constant maintenance in order to keep them in tip-top operating condition. Neglect, whether mechanical or cosmetic, will result in the shortening of the lifespan of your machine. Apart from the standard Big Boy service intervals as indicated in your service book, there are regular procedures which we recommend should be followed that will help you maintain the upkeep of your motorcycle or ATV.
1) RUNNING IN PROCESS:
The long term life of your Big Boy scooter or motorcycle engine is dependant on how it’s run in from new. All new bikes, regardless of size, need to be “bedded in”, allowing the engine and gearbox to wear properly for the first +-500km of life. The better the engine is run it, the better it will perform and last over an extended period. On road legal Big Boy models, ride the bike smoothly for the first 500km at 50%-70% throttle, preferably on shorter rides. Accelerating smoothly and putting reasonable pressure on the engine without over-revving is ideal. Do not just go out and do one ride of 500km at 70% throttle, this will be detrimental to the bike. For off road, pit bike and ATV models, ride 5 tanks of fuel at 50%-70% throttle, also accelerating smoothly and putting reasonable pressure on the engine without over- revving or aggressive gear changes.
2) FUEL TYPE, ENGINE OIL AND GEARBOX OIL:
All Big Boy’s utilise highly fuel efficient eco-friendly 4-stroke motors and require Unleaded Fuel whether at the coast or inland. Engine oil will be changed at the designated service intervals by the dealer, but if your bike is out of warranty you might want to do an oil change yourself. The recommended engine oil for all Big Boy’s is BBR 10W40 Mineral Oil (Not synthetic). Oil capacity varies from bike to bike and is stipulated in your user manual or on the side of the engine near the filler cap. Run the bike for a while before draining the oil from the drain plug. Make sure to replace the drain plug securely before refilling the oil. Check your User Manual to see where the drain plug is located. For Gearbox Oil, Big Boy’s scooter range use BBR 80W-90 Semi Synthetic, while other Big Boy models use BBR 10W-40 Semi Synthetic Oil. Big Boy Strongly recommends the use of BBR oil as it has additional additives to assist operating efficiently at higher temperatures. the API rating will also reduce evapuration of oil during use.
IMPORTANT: If low grade or incorrect API oil is used, you will experience loss of oil due to vapouration.
3) TYRE PRESSURE:
One of the most commonly neglected points, incorrect tyre pressure can lead to many problems. Higher pressures can lead to excessive tyre wear, a hard ride and lack of traction while low pressure will lead to higher fuel consumption, a sluggish feel, increased tyre wear, punctures and bad handling. Big Boy recommend checking tyre pressures every time you fill your tank and if you ride seldom, check the pressures before every ride. Recommended tyre pressures:
- Scooters, 125 - 300cc: Front 1.8 Bar, Rear 1.6 Bar
- Road Motorcycles, 125 - 450cc: Front 2.0 Bar, Rear 1.8 Bar (Includes TSR and any bike fitted with an on road tyre application.)
- On / Off Road Motorcycles (TSR, XTG, SR Range), 125 - 450cc: Front 1.5 Bar, Rear 1.5 Bar
- Pit Bikes (Zooka Range), 90 - 160cc: Front 1.1, Rear 1.1 Bar
4) TYRE WEAR:
Pay attention to tyre wear and replace tyres when the tread level gets low. Also watch out for foreign objects such as nails and thorns lodged in the tyres which should be removed and the tube repaired or replaced immediately. Big Boy Spares and Accessories stock a full range of highly affordable replacement tyres and tubes which are available through the dealer network.
5) CHAIN DRIVE AND SPROCKETS:
If you own a Big Boy that has a visible chain drive, making sure that the chain is lubricated and at the right tension is critical. A neglected chain could result in premature chain and sprocket wear, rust, chains breaking or coming off the sprocket. Make sure your chain is lubricated on a regular basis with a good motorcycle chain lubricant but do not over lubricate and get lubricant on the tyres or disc brake pads. Adjust the chain tension as per the user manual and do not over tighten the chain as this can lead to permanent chain, sprocket or hub damage. For road-going motorcycles, check the chain tension every few tanks of fuel, but for off road models and pit bikes, check the chain tension after every ride, especially when you’ve been riding in muddy conditions. It’s also advisable to check sprocket bolts after every ride for off road and pit bike models. Also pay attention to sprocket wear as a loose or worn chain can damage sprockets. If the sprockets are worn and need to be replaced, replace the chain too. Running an old chain with new sprockets will cause the sprockets to wear excessively.
6) AIR FILTERS:
This mainly applies to bikes like the XTG, TSR, TTR, SR and Pit Bike range that are used off road or in dusty conditions. The performance of your engine depends on clean, unrestricted air flow. A dirty, clogged air filter will rob your bike of performance so remove your air filter after off road rides and check it’s condition. If dirty/muddy etc, clean the filter with a good air filter cleaner, allow to dry and then apply a decent amount of motorcycle air filter oil to the air filter and work it into the foam before replacing the filter back in the bike, making sure that the filter is seated properly. The more off road riding you do, the more your air filter will need to be cleaned. Do not over-oil the filter, this could result in excess oil running into the carb intake.
Check your drum or disc brakes often and make sure they are working properly. Poor drum braking might just require having to adjust a cable while decreased performance of disc brakes could be from excessively worn brake pads, air in the brake line or a leaking brake line and loss of oil. If the brakes feel “spongy” the brake lines might have to be “bled”, an easy task if you know how but if you don’t, please consult a dealer as it’s not something that can easily be explained online. If you hear a grinding metal sound when the brakes are applied, chances are your brake pads are depleted, bacically you have metal pushing against metal. If this has happened, do not ride the bike as this will damage the discs and require not only the disc pads to be replaced, but the disc rotors too. See a dealer asap to have this seen to. For the safety of yourself and others, do not ride with under performing brakes under any circumstances.
Batteries need to be used regularly to remain charged. If your bike stands for extended periods of time without being started or ridden (over 2 weeks), disconnect your battery at the terminals and ensure you fully charge the battery on a charger every month. If you have not ridden for a while and the battery does not turn the engine over enough to have the engine start, try kick starting the bike. Taking it for a ride to recharge the battery is not enough, you will need to perform a deep cycle battery charge. If it’s a geared Big Boy you can also “jump-start” the bike by running the bike down a slope in neutral, then putting it into 2nd gear and letting the clutch out. The bike should spring to life. If you’d like to charge your battery, buy a “Trickle Charger” from your nearest Big Boy branch. It’s the best way to maintain the life of your battery if you are not a regular rider. The battreies in Big Boy products do not require being topped up with Distilled water.
9) SPOKED RIMS:
Spokes come loose, that’s just a fact and the harder you ride the worse it gets. Whether you ride an XTG, TSR or a Blackball Cruiser, check your spokes after every few rides. Loose spokes can cause a swaying sensation on the bike and can even lead to the collapse of a wheel if thet get exessively loose. If you are riding off road, you need to check your spoke tension as often as you check your chain tension. It’s as simple as taking a small screw driver and running it around the wheel over the spokes. They should all have a “Ting” sound as the screwdriver hits the spoke. If it makes a duller “Tok” sound, the spoke needs to be tightened. Do NOT over tighten the spoke, it will pull the wheel out of alignment. If many spokes are loose or the wheel is out of alignment, we recommend taking the bike to a Big Boy dealer to have the wheel “trued”.
10) CLEAN, LUBRICATE & TIGHTEN:
When washing an on or off road Big Boy, do not blast sensitive areas with a high pressure cleaner. Areas like gasket joins, pipe inlets, rubber seals, exhaust, susension linkages, bearing areas, electrical controls etc, should be only sprayed with a hosepipe, then washed with a bike cleaner like pre-mixed Prepsol, Clean Green etc, washed clean and then dried off with a chamois. Plastic enhancing products like silicone spray or automotive polish can be used on plastic body parts like scooter panels etc, but the most important thing is to spray areas that are prone to rust with a product like Q20 or WD40 which will prevent rust from occuring. Always lubricate the chain with a good motorcycle chain lube after washing. Other areas that benefit from lubrication are the kickstarter swivel, suspension joints, footpegs, clutch cable, etc. If possible, keep your bike in a covered area and if your bike is parked outside daily or nightly and is exposed to the elements, we recommend using a bike cover to prevent rust or premature aging. If you live close to the coast, regular washing and lubrication will be required more often than bikes from inland regions. Whether you ride an on or off road Big Boy, do periodic checks of the general visible nuts and bolts, making sure that they are secure. If you have a problem area with something that keeps coming loose, get yourself a tube of “Locktite” from your nearest spares shop and secure the problem.
No matter what you ride, ongoing upkeep of your Big Boy is important if you wish to retain the looks and performance of your ride. If you have any suggestions or additions to these tips you think might useful to other Big Boy owners, please feel free to post them on our Facebook page or Website comment area.