Regular motorcycle maintenance is crucial for ensuring the safety, reliability, and longevity of your Harley-Davidson® motorcycle. With careful attention paid to the right areas, you can catch potential maintenance issues before they become major problems and address them before they compromise your safety or lead to expensive repairs.
Meanwhile, proper maintenance can also help you get the most out of your bike’s performance—whether it’s adding torque out of the gate or increasing comfort over the long haul.
Ultimately, it’s about protecting your investment—and not just your financial one. By taking proper care of your bike, you can help ensure a longer-lasting relationship between you, your bike, and the road.
What does proper motorcycle maintenance look like, exactly? It all starts with six essential elements.
In the guide below, we deep dive into each of these topics so you can understand the essentials of motorcycle maintenance.
When it comes to safety, brake pads are one of the most important items on your motorcycle. For your safety, it’s critical to regularly inspect your brake pads, along with brake discs and fluid levels.
We typically recommend inspecting pads every 2,500 miles. However, if you ride under adverse conditions, you should inspect your brake pads more frequently—at every 1,000 miles or less. In the meantime, keep your brake system clean and clear of any dirt or debris. Use a suitable brake cleaner and a clean rag to wipe down brake components during regular maintenance.
It’s also crucial to use brake pads of the highest quality. You may think that when you’ve seen one brake pad, you’ve seen them all, but that’s certainly not the case. Harley-Davidson® brake pads are developed specifically to provide optimum compatibility and performance with the complete Harley-Davidson brake system. Stopping power, control, durability, and quiet operation are our highest priorities. And the Motor Company’s rigorous testing process ensures maximum performance and durability.
The two slender torus’ rotating beneath a rider’s and passenger’s ride are designed to take a lot of punishment, but because so much depends on them, they are among the most important parts of the bike to maintain.
Wear occurs more rapidly on motorcycle tires than it does on auto or truck tires because the tire patch, the area that comes into contact with the road as you ride, is much smaller than those found on four-wheeled vehicles. For stress-free riding, it’s of critical importance to monitor tire wear regularly.
Tire wear depends on:
During riding season, it’s a good idea to check tire pressure before each ride. If the bike feels heavy in front or is hard to steer, it may be an indication that tire pressure is low.
Use a tire gauge to check for tread wear. Most motorcycle tires are ready for replacement before reaching the minimum 1/32” (.8mm) tread depth or wear bar indicators. Motorcycle tires also tend to wear in irregular patterns.
Want to learn more about one of the most critical components of any motorcycle? Check out our complete guide to motorcycle tires
To keep your bike looking every bit as beautiful as the day you took it home—and protect it over the long haul—regular cleanings should be a mainstay of your motorcycle maintenance. Quick wipe-downs after a ride can help, but to protect and restore that like-new shine of your bike’s surface, you should frequently give your ride a full wash and detail.
To get started washing your bike’s surface, we recommend having these essential supplies on hand:
Popular H-D Motorcycle Cleaning Supplies