Hints & Tips
Whether you’re new to biking or a seasoned rider, there are lots of maintenance tasks you can do yourself to keep your Suzuki motorcycle in tip-top condition.
If you haven’t ridden much over the winter months, or you’ve been storing your bike away, there are a few essential checks you should carry out before you hit the road.
- Remove all winter protection – covers and stands.
- Reinstall your battery after the winter charge.
- Check all of your fluid levels.
- Set tyre pressures – your manual will detail the correct tyre pressures for your bike.
- Service – if your bike is due a service, now’s a great time to get it ready for the summer’s riding.
- Brake discs should be cleaned with brake cleaner – always use a cleaner designed for brakes, anything else is likely to damage or impair the brake performance.
- Test the brakes – first sit on the bike and roll forward and apply the front brake, this will get the brakes going. When happy don’t forget to find a safe area to check and operate all brakes.
- Lastly, don’t forget to readjust your mirrors as they may have moved over the winter months.
If you’re going to store your bike away for the winter:
Store your bike away from direct sunlight – this will help to ensure the paintwork is kept in the best possible condition and will protect your plastics from turning brittle.
Cover it with specially designed cover - as a sheet will absorb moisture which can cause rust and mildew, and a tarp prevents moisture from escaping, which may cause surface corrosion.
Use paddock stands to store it – if your bike is being stored for a long period, keeping both wheels on a paddock stand will stop the tyres from deforming and degrading from the cold floor. If this is not possible, avoid leaving the bike on cold concrete; instead use carpet or a wood sheet such as plywood.
Plug your pipes – ensure you cover your exhaust and air intakes, this will stop any unwanted dust or debris entering the bike.
Add fuel stabiliser – you may wish to add a fuel stabiliser, as fuel can degrade over time. Fill your tank with petrol and stabiliser and follow the guidance given on the packaging.
Battery storage – depending on the type of charger you have, it’s often advisable to remove your battery, charge it fully, and then store. However, some chargers are designed to be used right throughout the winter, as they will keep the battery fully charged at all times. Follow the guidance provided with your charger.
Oil your seals – place a small amount of oil over your suspensions seals, this will stop them from drying out and becoming brittle.
Keep your chain well lubricated – salt on the winter roads can affect the chain, avoid this by keeping it well lubricated.
Keep it serviced – ensure you are following the service schedule, it’s designed to keep your bike performing as you’d expect, even through the winter months.
Check the anti-freeze.
Protect exposed surfaces.
Keep it clean – if possible gently hose off the road grit after each ride or at least weekly in order to avoid salt corrosion.
Check your tyres regularly – don’t get caught out with damaged or excessively worn tyres.
Check your lights – there will be lots of riding in the dark over the winter months, so whilst it’s obvious, don’t forget to check all of your lights are operating correctly.
As a seasoned rider you will probably be familiar with the following general maintenance tips, but if you’re new to biking there are lots of maintenance tasks you can do yourself to keep your Suzuki motorcycle in tip-top condition.
Change your engine oil or gear oil frequently. It lubricates your gears and engine and keeps your engine cool. Not changing the engine oil will cause damage to the engine. Your Suzuki owner’s manual will specify how frequently the oil should be changed and this schedule should be followed to maximise the performance, efficiency and longevity of your engine.
Spark plugs should be changed as specified in the owner’s manual (or if a problem is suspected). It is critically important to use the correct spark plug grade and type. Where the manual suggests an iridium plug, the cost is offset by the life-span, lasting 10,000 miles (16,000 km) or more.
Tyre pressure should be checked once a week or every time you go out. Underinflated tyres tend to affect handling and braking as the lack of pressure means the tyre wall isn’t firm enough to properly cope with the forces exerted on it. Over-inflation can also result in a deterioration in handling, as well as a reduced contact patch with the road. This can result in a lack of grip under braking.
Tyre condition is as important as tyre pressure for safe, reliable riding. Worn tyres are more susceptible to punctures and adversely affect the bike's handling. Cuts and cracks can cause a tyre to fail completely.
Always make sure you replace a tyre with one of the same type and size. You should also have the wheels balanced after a tyre replacement to ensure even road contact and tyre wear.
The chain which rotates the rear wheel should be kept lubricated. If it’s kept lubricated, it should last a very long time. If not lubricated, it could become damaged by excess heat, will wear the separate links and could cause it to come off the sprockets. It can also cause wear on the sprockets and bearings which can be very dangerous. The chain tightening procedure is detailed in the owner’s manual. Follow this carefully as too tight is as bad as too loose.
Keep it clean
Cleaning your bike is part of maintenance. Keeping it clean of dirt (and salt in winter) will not only keep it looking good, it also will avoid potential corrosion issues. It’s also a good way to inspect nuts and bolts to ensure they are tightened correctly.
A no brainer: your brakes must be working properly for safe riding. You need to inspect your brakes every day, carefully checking:
- Fluid levels in the reservoirs
- Front and rear brake systems for signs of fluid leakage
- Brake hoses for leakage or cracks
- The brake lever(s) and pedal stroke: these should be firm at all times
- Disc brake pad wear
You might be reading this having just passed your CBT, gained your full A1 licence, or just out of curiosity. But whatever your situation, joining the motorcycle community means, at some point, going out and getting yourself a bike.
In this section. we'll walk you through the basics: what kinds of bikes we have to suit your needs and riding style; what some of the bike terminology means; and how to get the most from a test ride at your local Suzuki dealership.
Types of bike
The first step in buying a bike is deciding what type you want. Your decision will based on the type of riding you're going to be doing, and your own personal style. Bikes fall into four main categories, each divided into more specialised various subcategories.
A scooter is an ideal first bike. They're simple to ride, with both your feet on a floorboard, easy to handle and park, and cheap to run, making them very popular in cities. While scooters traditionally have smaller engines (around 125cc) many manufacturers, including Suzuki, have models with larger engines offering greater range and versatility.
This is the classic 'standard' motorcycle in most people's minds. Streetbikes generally don't have fairings, which means you can see the engine: you'll sometimes hear the term 'naked' used to describe them. Streetbikes are very versatile: you can commute on them all week, then enjoy longer rides at the weekend. This category ranges from 'learner' bikes with 125cc engines right up to monsters with 1000cc.
If you want performance and racing agility, you need one of these. Sportsbikes are based on the bikes ridden by our BSB and Road teams, so they're designed and built with performance in mind. They're at their best on track days or blowing the cobwebs away on a sunny Sunday morning, but can also make exhilarating commuting bikes, too. It takes a bit of experience to handle the speed and power of these machines, so we'd generally recommend you get a few miles under your belt before you try one.
You don't have to be a seven-foot, twenty-stone biker with a beard like a rhododendron bush to ride a cruiser: just ask Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp. As the name implies, these relaxed, comfortable bikes are designed for long commutes or all-day rides, with larger seats and a leaned-back riding position with your feet out in front of you.
Adventure and Touring Bikes
Adventure and Sports Touring bikes are built with the emphasis on long-range comfort and a go anywhere attitude. They offer a range of luggage accessory options, some as standard and others as added optional extras.
When looking at adventure touring bikes it's important to consider practicality, comfort and fun to ride; giving you the versatility to allow you to explore. We also stock lower seats for the V-Stroms; 650 has a 20mm lower and 1000 i 30mm lower. This category ranges from 250 to 1000cc engines.
These are just the main types: as you get deeper into the biking world, you'll find the lines between different styles can get blurred, with many 'crossover' bikes that don't fit neatly into a specific category, which is good, because it means you're almost certain to find the bike that's best for you – and your local Suzuki dealer will be more than happy to help.
Buying hints and tips
- Choose a bike to match your capabilities and be realistic. As your confidence and skills improve, you can always upgrade to something livelier and more powerful.
- Consider what you'll be using the bike for. Are you going to be riding every day, or just at the weekend? Doing short local trips, commuting, or making long runs across the country? Whatever your needs and ambitions, we have a bike to suit.
Just like buying a car, you need to try a motorcycle before you commit. You need to be physically comfortable on the bike: the shape of the seat, the reach to the bars, the standover height – all these things matter, and only reveal themselves when you actually ride the bike.
As well as the cost of the bike itself, you need to factor in insurance, tax and maintenance. Don't forget you may also need to include your riding gear in your initial outlay, too.
We know it can be daunting buying your first motorcycle. Our Dealers have a wealth of experience and knowledge, and they're here to answer any questions you may have in fact, most will be only too glad of an excuse to talk about bikes! And don't worry: there's no such thing as a silly question. We want you to enjoy your riding, and be safe, so if there's anything you're unsure of, just ask.
Buying a used bike
- Check everything: controls, wear and tear, the bike's history, the lot. Also, have a good look for any damage: not all sellers will be anxious to point it out…
- Check the paperwork: MOT certificates if the bike is over three years old, any service records and, above all, the registration document (V5). If the seller can't produce them, walk away.
- Check that the VIN number on the registration document matches the one stamped on the bike: this can be in a number of places, so you might have to have a rummage around to find it.
- If you're looking at a used Suzuki, we can check that it's a legitimate import by Suzuki GB.