Prepare your ride with AMSOIL V-Twin Motorcycle Oil
Your favorite event of the year is fast approaching, and this year you’ve decided that you’re going to ride your Big Twin there and back. No trailering your motorcycle this year. That is going to add a few extra miles to the odometer. While that isn’t a big issue, where does that mileage put you on your maintenance? Should you do a complete oil change, adjust your primary drive, or look at anything else before you head out?
Riding to an event is an event within itself. You have the chance to take scenic byways to check out historic sites, and can stop at those never heard of roadside diners that serve the best local cuisine. One thing you don’t want to have to worry about is getting stuck somewhere because of a maintenance issue. If you’ve ever had to stop a ride around your local town, imagine having to do that a hundred miles into a ride. It’s a terrible feeling. Tires, brakes, and cables are just the beginning of the things to check before you start packing your motorcycle to head out.
Preparing your motorcycle for a long ride is a systematic checklist. Obviously checking the fluids is part of it. What other maintenance should you consider? A T-CLOCS inspection is a common systematic checklist used. Have you heard of it before? T-CLOCS means:
Tires and Wheels
- Tires and wheels – Your tires should be in good condition and have plenty of tread. You have wear indicators between the grooves on your tires. Your tires should have enough tread that you aren’t touching the wear indicators. If your tread is low enough to indicate it’s time to change tires, do that before you leave on the trip. Check over your wheels to ensure there aren’t any bends or cracks that can cause a vibration or to lose air during the ride. If you know where wheels weights should be, check that they are still attached correctly.
- Controls – Check that all of your controls are functioning correctly. Your hand and foot levers should operate smoothly. If they are cable driven, check that they are lubricated correctly. Also, if they could use a little lubricant, give them a simple spray with AMSOIL Synthetic Grease and make sure they operate smoothly after that. If they are hydraulic, meaning they operate on fluid pressure instead of a cable, check the color and level of the fluid. The fluid should be translucent and not cloudy. There should be a sight window on the holding reservoir, so make sure it is at that level and above the minimum line. If it needs to be flushed before you leave, be sure to flush it with
Lights and Electrics
- Lights and electrics – It should be pretty easy to check your turn signals, headlight (both low and high beams), and your taillight (both running and stop lights). You may need a friend to watch the taillights, or you can back up to a wall to see the light change when you apply your brakes. If you find any lights that don’t work, it may be as simple as changing a bulb before you leave on the ride. Also be sure to check your battery connections for tightness and corrosion, and even check the fluid level if it’s a maintenance item.
Oil and Fluids
- Oil and other fluids – Your motorcycle may have one oil that is used in the engine, primary drive, and the transmission. If not, it may use one oil for the engine and primary drive and a separate oil for the transmission. In either case, AMSOIL has an option for you. Check the fluid level at minimum. If the oil in each area is in good shape, you shouldn’t have to do much before you leave. Just check it along the trip as a precautionary measure. If you need to change the oils before you leave, there are a few options to consider:
- Engine Oil – AMSOIL offers four options for the best synthetic oil to protect your V-Twin engine. The variations are 20W-50, 20W-40, 15W-60, and SAE 60 viscosities. Be sure to check your manufacturer recommended viscosity before you buy a few quarts for the change. AMSOIL also offers a quick V-Twin Oil Change Kit which includes four quarts of 20W-50 oil, a chrome filter that should fit most Harley Davidson models from 1999 – 2016, and an O-ring for the drain plug).
- Primary Oil – AMSOIL offers a primary specific fluid for those bikers that don’t want the engine oil mixing in their chain case. It will keep your chain and bearings lubricated well up to 10,000 miles or one year.
- Transmission Oil – AMSOIL offers a specific synthetic transmission oil instead using a common universal oil. The AMSOIL synthetic transmission oil helps to quiet any chain noise and eliminate loud clunky shifts. It offers great protection up to 20,000 miles or one year, whichever comes first.
- Chassis – Check all of your grease fittings on the chassis to ensure they are lubricated. Look for cracks, corrosion, or anything out of the ordinary on the chassis prior to packing. You can also check the suspension shows no leaks around seals, the final drive chain or belt have no wear to indicate they need to be changed prior to the ride.
- Stands – The last item on T-CLOCS is the center or side stand. Make sure it extends fully to support the motorcycle and it returns fully close to the motorcycle frame and stays there when you lean the motorcycle up.
If you need a reference guide, check out the Motorcycle Safety Foundation checklist. It’s printable and you can always pack a copy for the ride to check your motorcycle every morning on the adventure. Click here to see the checklist.
While T-CLOCS offers a checklist for a motorcycle, most of the checks can apply to any chase vehicle that may be towing a motorcycle along the way or offer support in case of a breakdown. Tires, lights, controls, oil, and chassis are all applicable to the chase vehicle. If the engine oil in the chase vehicle needs to be changed before departure, check out AMSOIL 5W-20 synthetic oil, the 0W-20 synthetic oil, or the 5W-30 synthetic oil for what will suit your vehicle the best and offer the most protection. If the differential needs to be serviced before towing a great distance, give it a change with AMSOIL 75W-90 gear oil.
Sometimes the ride to an event is as much of the adventure as the destination. One key to getting there safely is a pre-departure check and completing any maintenance needed. Do it before you head out and then it’s a quick T-CLOCS check every morning. Be sure to stock up on any AMSOIL products you need to complete the maintenance through your local AMSOIL dealer. You can also find AMSOIL products for your motorcycle at www.BuyGreatOil.com.
Be safe out there!