All us bikes owners at some point of time come across problems with our machines. Some are minor but the others may leave us stranded by the roadsides.

As you may find out, some of it requires a little effort from your part and nothing more. The best thing to do is to read the motorcycle’s owner’s manual in your spare time. As this will help you get a better understanding of the machine and its internals.

Common Bikes Problems & Solutions

Low Mileage

This is what a lot of people complain about; it has quite a lot of reasons why it happens. I am explaining the most common reasons below.

Low pressure in tires can reduce fuel efficiency, tires must air to stay in proper shape. Or else all they will do is create rolling resistance. This makes it harder for the wheels to move and hence decreases mileage.

The first thing to do is to check your bike’s tyre pressure. Very casual approach to it would be to do that by kicking the tyres or by trying to push the rubber in using your thumb. If it goes in, get it checked and filled up if required. The manual will have the recommended tyre pressure ratings. For quick reference, manufacturers also paste stickers on swingarms or on the tank. Depending on your riding, check pressure once every month. Or whenever you experience sluggish engine response. You can also buy tyre monitoring tools from online portals.

Dirty engine oil can also reduce efficiency. Dirty oil can become thick and resistive to movements of parts in the engine. The most obvious sign of dirty oil is when the gear shift lever becomes too hard or noisy during shifts. If you have bikes that have ridden for over 2500/3000 Kms without an oil change (for mineral engine oils). Or if you notice smoke coming out of the tailpipes, check the engine oil. You can do that by removing the oil gauge, which is the oil cap. If the oil on the tip of the gauge is black in color, it’s about time you changed it. Also remember, having good oil in the engine is important for it to last long without any troubles. Servicing in recommended intervals is what you should always do. Check the manual (usually the end) to find service information and intervals. Generally, service intervals are after every 2500 to 5000 kms depending upon your bikes.

Carburetor tuning also needs to checked. Carburetors have two screws, an engine idle RPM screw and an Air/fuel mixture screw. The A/F screw adjusts the ratio of air versus fuel going into the engine. So more air and less fuel means better efficiency but lower performance and vice versa. The trick is, to find the right balance of both performance and efficiency. If you don’t have an idea on this, ask your mechanic to set it for you. You can have different hit and trial attempts to arrive at your preferred setting. If your bikes happen to be fuel injected. You can skip this part as the onboard ECU system adjusts your Air/Fuel Mixture settings. For all others, a proper, step by step guide can found on this page.

Tight Brakes

Tight Brakes

When the brakes are too tight, it can increase the effort needed by the engine to turn the wheels. Place the bikes in neutral and on the center stand and rotate the wheels. They must be able to rotate without much effort, If the front or the rear tyres are hard to rotate. Loosen the brakes by a notch and try again, if it’s a disc brake unit, take it to the company workshop to check them.

Riding styles can also affect efficiency. It may seem silly to go at 40Km/h all the time. Travel at a speed where the engine sounds and feels relaxed. somewhere between 3000 to 5000 rpm depending upon the bikes. Avoid hard braking. If you see an obstacle in front, brake early and slow down, also speed up until you reach the desired speed. These steps will help you be safer and more efficient.

Carbon Deposits

If you happen to own bikes that have ridden for over 30,000-50,000 Kms. A possible reason for low efficiency could be carbon deposits. On the piston and other components I felt a decrease in performance and efficiency. after about 30,000 Kms and got it in for service. The mechanic advised that I do a decarbonization of the engine. When the engine opened, I shocked to see that the piston coated with a 5 mm thick carbon layer… it covered in it. He scrubbed it off and cleaned the engine.

Later I noticed that the performance and efficiency was back to what it was like in the early days. It was awesome. The reason for this carbon deposition is the low quality of fuel. And although I had used premium fuels for about 10,000 Kms it did not help me too much. Most people notice low performance after 30,000-50,000 Kms and decide to sell off their machine. Instead you could follow these steps and continue using it for a longer period.

Valve Setting

If you have checked all the above and have found no results. Then the last thing you can do is valve setting. This requires an experienced mechanic and can be time consuming. As the engine head will have tp opened. This must done only as a last resort after checking all the above mentioned pointers. There are two valves on most machines in India apart from some like the R15 (which has four). There is an intake and an exhaust valve, and with time. The valve clearance can become different from the factory recommendation.

Improper Break-In

All motorcycles need to ridden well within a specified speed. And engine RPM usually in the first 1000 Kilometers. It may be hard to do so when you have already waited a while to get your hands on your machine. But if you want it to deliver it on both performance and efficiency, you must do so. Also avoid lending your bikes to others during this period as they may not be aware of it. If you have been cautious and followed the run-in a proper way and still get low efficiency. Try warming up the engine every time you start the bikes in the morning. Prefer for about 1 minute, and then be gentle with your throttle till the engine warms up.

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