Circuit breaker period good time to work on your bike
This circuit breaker is a good time to perform simple checks on your motorcycle to make sure it is primed to hit the road
The elevated measures to contain the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak has forced most motorcyclists to hunker down.
There are fewer of them on the roads. Weekend warrior and kopi tiam meet-ups have all but vanished as many are now staying home.
At the same time, once-busy motorcycle workshops have fallen silent - the exception being a handful that continue to provide emergency services for motorcycles involved in accidents or those that require urgent repairs.
While painful, this downtime can be a period where we take stock of our two-wheelers.
Performing simple maintenance work yourself ensures that when the circuit breaker measures are lifted, your machine will be ready to hit the road.
Motorcycle workshop owners Ong Kim Hua of Dirt Wheel and Rex Tan of Ban Hock Hin have some easy servicing tips.
Mr Tan said: "We don't know how long the stay-home measures will last, but you shouldn't ride a bike that has been parked for a long time without first checking it."
Simple visual checks can help one ascertain how rideable a motorcycle is, he revealed.
Basic checks on tyre pressure, suspension and brakes are a must.
Before you store your motorcycle and place a canvas cover over it, ensure that it has the correct tyre pressure.
To prevent flat spots on tyres, you should rotate your tyre each month, so that the tyres rest on different parts.
You could do a "hand test" to check your tyres' firmness if you do not own a tyre pressure gauge.
Also, look for oil stains along your motorcycle forks and rear shock, and the tell-tale signs in your motorcycle lot. These leaks can cause dust and grime to accumulate.
Mr Ong suggests oiling your motorcycle chain and checking its free play, especially if it is not going to be ridden for a long period.
"Lubrication is still needed on chains with sealed O-rings as there are little gaps and moving parts in a chain," said Mr Ong, who is also the KTM distributor in Singapore.
While cleaning and scrutinising your motorcycle chain, inspect the sprockets. Are the sprocket teeth worn and sharper-looking?
Making a list of what needs to be replaced and serviced will help when riders finally get the green light to ride again. This way, a mechanic will know what needs to be done immediately.
Other parts such as clutch cables and moving joints of the brake pedal also require lubrication.
If petrol is left in the fuel tank for more than a few months, residue could choke fuel lines, carburetors and fuel injectors, added Mr Ong, who recommends starting the motorcycle weekly and taking short rides.
He said: "It is best to cover your motorcycle because if left to the elements, water vapour and rain can get into the fuel tank past your fuel cap."
Mr Ong advised unplugging a motorcycle's battery cables so that it does not lose its charge.
It is also vital to check a motorcycle's braking systems before riding off.
"There may be brake fluid in your brake reservoir but it could have deteriorated over time," said Mr Tan.
"The last thing you want is to have no brakes when you need to stop in an emergency."
Checking brake pressure can be done safely without starting or riding your motorcycle.
Just push your bike in the carpark and apply pressure on the brake lever and brake pedal. If you brakes fail to bite, then you may have a problem, said Mr Tan.
But if you are unsure how to perform these safety checks or whether your motorbike is safe to ride, you could contact workshops such as Dirt Wheel, which specialises in dirt bikes.
Dirt Wheel will waive 50 per cent off the towing fee and get your motorcycle checked during this period.