Opinion: The Importance of Regular Maintenance

As I previously documented, I diligently adhered to the break-in recommendations outlined in the manual of my Triumph Thruxton 1200 R. As new parts settle into their working relationships with one another, it is advised by the manufacturer to abide by guidelines that keep the engine under normal pressure and regular operating temperatures.

Once I reached the end of the break-in period, I rode the motorcycle back to GP Bikes for its first service. More than just a simple oil change (as the invoice can attest), fluids were drained and flushed, tires were checked for pressure, as well as abnormal or premature wear, and bolts were re-torqued to ensure they hadn’t worked themselves loose. Taking a little over an hour, I had time to grab a bite and peruse the shop for some new gear before being on my way, finally able to enjoy the full rpm range of my new motorcycle with confidence. Of course I could have done it myself (and have on other bikes), but it would have taken me longer than the people who do it every day.

Following prescribed maintenance intervals and simple winterization techniques will ensure your bike runs smoother and more efficiently, but can also be helpful in finding small issues before they become big ones. Leaking oil, fuel or coolant is certainly a sign of trouble but isn’t always detected unless you’re getting under the bike. Of course, as a rider you “should” be regularly inspecting your bike before every ride, but how many of us actually do that?

The prevalence of electronic fuel injection and ECUs mean that the traditional concept or “tuning” is a thing of the past. That’s not to say that there aren’t benefits to regular service, whether you do it yourself or have it done by a trusted mechanic. Maintaining modern engines to ensure peak performance and fuel efficiency now means running diagnostic tests rather than adjusting choke cables and fiddling with finicky carburetors.

Many will no doubt balk at the idea of someone else touching their motorcycle not to mention paying for it, but there are benefits. For instance, a manufacturer could theoretically decline warranty repairs if regular service hasn’t been completed by a dealer. Also, when the time comes to sell a motorcycle it will often command a higher resale value if there is documentation to support the fact that it has been maintained by professionals. It is one of the many ways that you can protect your investment.

Not only was the break-in period recently completed, but it was also that depressing time of year that every motorcyclist dreads – hibernation. This way, the oil in my crankcase would be fresh and free of debris. With optimal tire pressure and a tank topped up with premium gas, I added quality fuel stabilizer to hopefully prevent evaporation and moisture. I then hooked up the bike to a battery tender to ensure that it will keep a sufficient charge and it be ready to ride come springtime. Whenever that may be…


  1. Another benefit of a dealer service is that they’ll run a recall check for your bike. About a month ago, the manufacturer of my current ride sent me an e-mail noting I had an outstanding recall. I cross-checked with teh Transport Canada website and there were a couple of possibilities. Soon after I did this, I got another e-mail from the manufacturer noting they’d made a mistake and to ignore the previous notice. The more people checking, the better. I’m not so sure about getting more money for a bike that’s been dealer serviced. I’ve traded in quite a few bikes at dealerships and they never once asked me if the bike had been dealer serviced. They generally quote the somewhere in the range from the valuation guidebook based on a few requested photos and an inspection at the moment of sale. Perhaps service records are more valuable in the case of a private sale.

  2. One overlooked benefit is that at every service, for Triumph’s, the mechanic hooks it up to the diagnostic computer that checks for any available updates to the ecu software and installs them. Also runs through a complete warm up to the point of the cooling fans coming on to check the operation of all the sensors. Try that at home.

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