Why perform your own maintenance?
A fair question, especially if you normally have the family sedan, your bike, or your lawnmower serviced by a professional. The best answer is that to become a proficient motorcyclist requires a fair amount of human/mechanical interaction. By performing your own basic maintenance you’ll gain a much better understanding of how motorcycles function.
You also develop a much better feel for the health of your bike. In time you’ll be able to sense a small problem developing and deal with it before it becomes serious.
Mechanics who service large fleets of vehicles and airplanes rely on a system of preventive maintenance to do just that. By learning and performing regular preventive maintenance you’ll find that unexpected breakdowns will be few and far between.
Your owner’s manual will provide you with a list of items to inspect on a regular basis. This page will provide you with a better understanding of why inspecting those items, and how to go about it.
Learn some basic practices at least
In concert with preventive-maintenance inspections, I also recommend you always perform a pre-ride inspection, which consists of all of those little items that the owners’ manual recommends you check before riding off into the sunset. I’d be lying to you if I said that I always perform this pre-ride ritual, but I do use a combination of preventive maintenance and daily walk-around inspection of my bike to forestall unexpected problems.
I’m going to teach you to do the same thing. If that’s not enough to convince you, maybe these three practical reasons for learning to maintain your bike will. First, a little practical knowledge can mean the difference between riding home and a long walk when your bike breaks down by the side of the road.
Second, if you do take your bike back to the dealership for service, the staff there would much rather deal with a knowledgeable rider than an ignorant one. Third, it’s comforting to have enough knowledge to understand what was done to your bike and why, as opposed to trusting in blind faith that it was needed and done correctly.