It Happens Only In India – This phrase may remind you of a catchy old hindi song… but it sure reminds one of the current state of affairs here in India. Here I talk about the wrong practices of two wheeler maintenance which surely would be undertaken only in India. As anyone in the know would advice, there are certain do’s and dont’s in the field of automobile maintenance and repair.

motorcycle-engine-maintenance

Lets look at the bigger picture… A motorcycle chassis is made up of either tubular seamless pipe or sheet metal, which is one of the several vital parts of a motorcycle. A wheel rim is made up of either sheet metal or alloy and the front forks are made up of alloys and a seamless pipe coated with hard chrome. The point is that each of these parts are made with materials that have specific tolerances for its respective functions.

They certainly have their limits but these are well within what a normal user would subject to it during its lifetime. But accidents can alter these very parts both in terms of strength and durability. A motorcycle would continue to move even if certain parts like the visor, seats, rear grab rail, sari guard all get damaged although with a little discomfort for the rider , but at the same time there are the vital components such as chassis, fork, shocks, frame etc. Which play a serious role in the geometry and physics of the motorcycle.

Most cities in India have some sort of roadside repair shop where you could get almost any part on your motorcycle fixed at least visibly and chances are that the mechanic would not be having an idea on metallurgy and quality of materials. Just ask yourself a simple question.. why do manufacturers spend lakhs of rupees recruiting engineers and specialists? The simple answer is quality. A normal bike chassis during manufacture is subject to a laser alignment test. This is done by manufacturers using a laser to verify that each point in the chassis in the same specification as mentioned by the engineer. The same applies for shock absorbers and other vital components. In Poona there is an area known as NANA PETH, Here you would find people running businesses of Shock Absorber repairing or refilling. A factory fitted shock absorber is fairly reliable, once someone opens it, it just becomes a piece of scrap metal. The Front fork is repairable but repairing a chassis, front fork pipes, fork tee etc. are technically not advisable. As I said all those spares parts have a vital role in the proper functioning of a motorcycle plus a defect in any of these parts would put the lives of both the rider and pillion at stake.

When an accident occurs several parts like the chassis, forks and wheel rims can get damaged. This damage weakens these parts and if you would take it to the manufacturer authorized workshop, they would most probably recommend you to simply replace the damaged parts, which would be expensive but worth it since you would have a peace of mind. At the same time if you were to take the same, damaged vehicle to the nearest roadside workshop, you could get the damaged parts fixed with simple tools like a hammer and a welding tool.. yes, it is much cheaper and faster than the former but think again about the assurance of safety you get here. The only thing that can be called as assurance here is the usual dialogue “Kuch nahi hoga sahab”!

In my humble opinion I honestly think that we Indians would be the only ones in the world who would refill the rear shock absorbers and remove bends of front fork pipes, chassis’ and fork TEE’s. When company seals the shock absorber it can’t be repaired, we must throw it in the event of damage and it should not be refilled. But we do so, just to save some money. Cutting cormers wouldn’t be the wisest decision to make especially when you know that the lives of you and the rider behind you are at stake.

Choose wisely, don’t let your pocket decide how to maintain your machine, let your brain decide.. money comes and money goes, its not the same for health and well being. They say peace of mind is hard to attain and when it may cost a little more, why not spend? Respect your machine, it will respect you…

– Chinmay Dangre

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  • Sava

    This is one of the bigger problems with people of India today. Not only in automobiles, but also in various other areas, especially cellphones and other electronics.

    Instead of spending a little more money on official parts, people prefer to buy cheaper, but poorly made Chinese “jugaad” (eg. phone batteries, etc.) from places like Gaffar Market (Delhi) and end up risking their lives because of it.

    • karthik.S

      I brought a phone for 1250* when i want to change the battery the original costs 550/- i think there is a reason for people buying chinese products but it cannot be applied to all.

  • Hello Chinmay, very nice article.
    I’ve freedom dx and most of the time when I get serviced my bike the service person told me that your bike has oil seal broken(Front shocker) and he showed me the sign of a black ring on the shocker rod. Is it really relevant with my shocker? I don’t know what is an oil seal that regularly broken up. Hoping an answer from you.
    Regards.

  • amit chakravorty

    Hi Chinmay,
    That is indeed a very good article, I have read all your previous articles as well and have found them very informative, keep more of those coming our way.
    I also had a query (I know perhaps I am going off track) but I am looking to upjet the carb and I am also contemplating on fitting a K&N on my karizma (I am asking you this cause one of your previous article was about performance mods) So if possible kindly answer my below mentioned queries:-

    1) Will this combo affect my engine in any way? Sans the mileage going down which I am prepared for, as in would it harm the engine in the longer run?
    2) Which size jet would you suggest, If am not mistaken then the current jet on a ZMA is 125 something, would 135 do the job also do I need to change both the main and the pilot jets.
    3) Do you happen to have ready made jets because I am not so keen in drilling the current jet cause tomorrow if I wish to change to the original settings it would just be a matter of changing the jet. If yes then kindly suggest a way I am based out of Mumbai.
    4) What kind of performance gain can I expect after this combo (I already have got Iridium spark plug fitted) my bike now does 130 (Speedo read) can a 10+ km/hr be expected.
    5) I have felt the top end grunt of karizma a bit dull would this enhance it any way.
    6) Would you suggest any other way to enhance the performance without playing with the engine

    I know these are a lot of questions but I would really be grateful if you could answer them.

  • Chinmay

    Dear Dinesh,
    I am considering the byke is pretty old and used extensively, so if the byke used very sober way then you can vomit some of the points…
    1. Pretty old vehicle?
    2. Check for fork main tube diameter if the “OD” is worn out then u will need to replace the main pipe.
    3. check for hard chrome layer on main fork tube, if the hard chrome layer is scratched badly or if u can see lining mark on it then replace th main tube.
    4. Check the distance piece which is inside the main hub. u will find in between 2 main wheel bearing. If the distance is less or if it is deformed then replace it. Coz distance piece make big differance. When u tight the main axle nut the bearings get tight either but if the distance piece has drformed shape then the bearing becomes tight to roll so the total load goes on main axle end point. But the points are on the main fork bottom tube so the load which is on axle point carries to main bottom tube and here the bending starts… The fork is made up of two tubes and free in center for moment. If u carefully check the main center point of main tube n bottom tube it can bend in the middle, so that means when the axle is transferring the main load to end of bottom tube that means fork main bottom tube is bending from the center of main tube and it opens on side of the seal in which seal can’t seal the oil. so change the main distance piece from main wheel hub if it is deformed.
    5. Check whether ur mechanic is fitting seal with proper special tool or not. while fitting seals mechanic generally use brutal force to fix.
    6. Check the seal seat, if the face is damaged by the mechanic then u wil have to replace the bottom tube for sure coz it’s PDC of aluminum alloy.
    7. The seal need special tool for extracting and fitting purpose to avoid fork bottom tube.
    8. Excessive fork oil level. check and make it proper.
    9. Use only fork oil rather than engine oil coz sometimes I have seen people using engine oil as a fork oil. (bullet is the only vehicle in which fork oil and clutch oil is having same grade 10W30)
    10. Try to find actual size of oil seal coz sometimes spare shoppee fellow gives the seal just by visual inspection…(GREAT Experienced EYE) u know wot I mean to say…..

    I hope I have given satisfactory information to you….

    Dear Amit,

    Thank you for appriciating my articles

    1) all the performance oriented machines has got very small life. The only thing is depeding on usage pattern. U know if u abuse it then the life is lil…
    2) PJ works till 1/4 and MJ works only for 3/4 throttle. fitting higher size jet is always preferable provided u have free flow canister. if u don’t put free flow exhaust canister then no use of putting K&N or upjetting the carb.
    3) I do have 135, 140 OE from concern companies.. but if u want 130 then I do drilling…
    4) if u go for free flow exhaust then should give u that much (+10)
    5) K&N is good at low and mid range but when u talk about high range then it will definatley give u problem. need free flow with higher jet size… First change the exhaust then u will find the noticable change in performance…
    6) When u put K&N don’t forget to put crank breather filter too or u may ruin the engine….without changing or touching the engine u can go for sprocket upgrading + MSD ignition cable for spark plug or split fire power cord + high perfromance HT coil (but becareful with it, it require known skilled person to understand all about HT coils) then coil u can try from NEW TCI controlled bullets coz these byks has lil higherside voltage than others…zma may be having 10-12K voltage in coil but bulls got almost 24K which are fitted in TCI bykes.
    7. U can go for higher size carb. for example if zma is with BS26 then go for higher side…
    8. K&N, if it is in the air box then air restriction is high so put it directly on carb.. but don’t forget to use crank beather filter too.

    hope this information is enough to make u satisfy…

  • You hit the nail on the head. People do have this problem, if a billed piece comes around 100 cheaper they will still go for grey. But the situation is improving.

  • Vimal

    Hi, I own a Yamaha RX 100 I am planning to modify completely so please guide me to improve its looks, engine performance, millage and its beat. I don’t mind about spending money but require the best for my bike. So please give me a complete detail on the area where all I can modify with required spares and mechanical process.

  • Hello brother…
    This is a very good article to read. I have seen many people buying motorcycle which are costly and they don’t even service it on time. They don’t even have time to have a water service once in a week. Proper maintenance keeps your bike everlasting.
    Keep riding….

  • Aditya

    hello sir,
    i hav a pulsar 150 dts-i 2005 model, am thinking of putting the bosch 2 head sparks plugs costing rs. 110 each.
    I wanna kno wht benifits will i gain with these plugs an wht may d drawbacks of using them if any.
    will i hav any little bost in power, an how it wud affect my bikes average.

  • Chinmay

    Advantage of twin point spark plug
    1. if one point worn out then second point works well.
    2. replacement time is high. no need to change often
    3. no need to set a lot
    4. the current flows at any point during sparking so worn out period is less.
    5. performace wise its ok since it takes time to worn out so performance (mileage) will be good.
    6. gives better mileage than single electrode. due to point 4,2

    Drawbacks
    1. very hard to clean (if manually)
    2. need cleaning machine for cleaning the plug.
    3. it’s not available in the market every where.
    4. it’s not performance oriented plug so it won’t give u any drastic boost or may be no boost.

    I saw these plugs in P150 DTSI found no great change but yes he is using it from long time. But I found NGK -IR or Bosch Platinum fused-IR is best in both the performance, for high performance and also for mileage oriented vehicle.
    NGK-Ir is available for all the vehicles. but bosch is available on ly for cars. Soon they will launch for two wheeler segment either.

  • Aditya

    thanks for such a valueble info.
    so do u suggest NGK-IR / Bosch Platinum fused-IR rather than than Bosch twin head ?
    wht wud b d price for NGK-IR any idea, i hav also heard a lot abt them, r they also twin head or single point ?

    An my bike lately having starting problems if its not used for a signle day, not sure if the bike wud start in 1st kick on d 3rd day, an i hav serviced my carborator an plugs past sunday but even when d rpm set to 1k the bike shuts off in idle mode by slowly d rpm decreasing. so i thought may b due to my plugs coz they gone old now, i havnt replaced them past 15k km.
    do u think changing plugs wud solve d probs ?

  • Aditya

    am still waiting for d post for my above probs.

  • Chinmay

    Use NGK-IR, single point. cost is 550Rs. each.

    Above information is half for me.
    but any ways.
    u can check some of the points.
    1. did u find any wetness on plug point?
    2. does your bike throw white smoke or black smoke from tail end?
    3. do u use choke while first start?
    4. what was the color of plug point? Black, brown or bone white?
    5. Which fuel u use? ever tried changing the fuel bunk?
    6. what is the setting of AFR?
    7. what is the color of spark at plug end?
    8. When did u last check vlave clearance?
    9. Ever changed the air filter?
    10. kick is too much soft?
    11. Any mods u have done?
    12. ever checked plug caps for leaky current?
    13. Did u check the slow running circuit in the carburetor?
    14. any cracks on intake manifold? (heavy cracks)
    15. Is there any vaccum leak from inlet manifold?

    Check above points and let me know. Besides where you from?

  • Aditya

    heres a detailed info:
    i frm mumbai, my bike is p150 dtsi oct 2005 model, my bike is totally in company finish wid no modifications done an no alterations. my bike running has been 30100km till now, an also i hav no probs for my avg i get 50+.

    for ur points stated above:
    1. i hav no wetness on my plug point.

    2. no black smoke or white smoke frm my silencer, that means my piston doesnt throw oil an nor i hav excess carbon smoke.

    3. i dont use choke for my 1st kick, but after 2 kicks if it feels bike is not starting i try giving choke.

    4. color of plug point is black, but not dark black.

    5. i use d normal basic fuel, i had tried xtra premium but didnt noticed any difference apart frm little avg, so i never used it again but that was 3 years ago, since last 3 years am using d basic petrol.

    6. the AFR is 5.5 rotation in anticlockwise direction frm full lean, i.e it slightly to richer side, for a good pickup.

    7. color of spark plug point is black, i dont kno which end u talking, if it bottom end were v put d spark plug wire then it has no color, just d proper silver steel type node as a new plug has.

    8. valve clerance i donno, but my mechanic had done some work on valve 2.5 years ago as i was getting some unwanted sound frm d engine. but my valve is original not been changed yet.

    9. no never changed air filter, only some times me an my frz ride d bike for almost 0.5 to 1km my removing d air filter. but dats very rare.

    10. my kick is not soft its quite hard, so it seems as if d compression is proper in my bike.

    11. no modifications have been done so far. only i hav got a new exide battery 2 weeks ago, coz my eralier batteries cell ver gone weak.

    12. i dont kno how to check for leaky current, but last sunday i had check whether am getting d proper current in both side wires frm my cdi but touching d wire to d engine cover an try to give a start by kick an self, an d current was same on both d sides.

    13. i dont kno wats d slow running circuit in d carburetor.

    14. no carks in d intake manifold.

    15. an no vaccum leak from inlet manifold.

    any now my bike idling is proper, i hav dont nothing changes for it, it just happened after riding d bike for 2-3 days everyday- d probs hav been gone, so my bike doesnt shuts off in idle mode, only probs now is d cold start problem, if i dont use d bike for a day, next day hav to kick it 4-5 times an that too hard kicks.

  • Mubarak

    I purchased 6 months old… HONDA ACTIVA(New Model) it has done 6500 kms.. my problem is that my self start does not work properly.. I even charged my battery… as this is my first scooter.. plz help!

  • Srinivasan

    hi Bro,

    I have Karizma R which has made 14k kms i recently noticed the white smoke from exhaust and the engine oil level has gone down, i remember i had given my bike to a local mech he did changed the valve clearance later that i observed this what could be issue, and does my bore piston has gone bad ??? or i just need to change the valve settings kindly advice

  • Srinivasan

    hi Bro,

    I have Karizma R which has made 14k kms i recently noticed the white smoke from exhaust and the engine oil level has gone down, i remember i had given my bike to a local mech he did changed the valve clearance later that i observed this what could be issue, and does my bore piston has gone bad ??? or i just need to change the valve settings kindly advice , i if bore poiston kit is replace will that arrest this issue completely ???

    • karthik.S

      The reasons are two 1. Bore is gone 2. Bad maintenance -You didn’t changed oil properly. Most probably you have your engine opened.

  • rohan

    Dear friend.

    When to repalce rear shock absorber? are there any critria for the same ? I have Yamaha Crux

    Thx in advace.