KarlP (Veteran) View all posts in this topic  
Thu Mar 31, 2005 2:20 pm
ATTN: New Riders (and old timers)        

I propose that one of our esteemed moderators put up a sticky article that answers the very common newbie spring questions. Sort of like a super concentrated mini-FAQ that suggest first steps for solving problems. I don't want to stifle anyone from asking questions, but I'd rather not see the same question asked five times per week for the next two months either.

Feel free to submit ideas for common questions and first steps towards solving the problem. Also feel free to suggest changes to anything I've posted below.

I'm sure I could think of a bunch of others, but my initial ideas for topics include ...

My bike just died and won't restart! HELP!

The first thing you should try is switching to reserve. That is the gasoline knob by your left knee. You can probably hear gas sloshing in the tank. You can probably see gas sloshing in the tank. PLEASE switch to reserve. The bike might not start right away because you have drained the fuel lines. Crank the bike and let it sit for a minute. You may have to repeat this process several times before the carbs fill with gas.

I hear a clicking noise when I press the starter and the bike doesn't start! HELP!

Your battery is most likely dead. Charge it and check its fluid level. If it still doesn’t start, or dies frequently you probably need to replace the battery. You can jump start your bike from a car battery, but I advise you don’t do it with the car running. Your motorcycle’s voltage regulator was not meant to take the current that a car alternator can put out. The voltage regular won’t be an issue as long as you jump the bike off battery voltage and not the higher “running vehicle” voltage.

Another alternative is to bump start the bike. WARNING: YOU MIGHT DROP THE BIKE DOING THIS. My method for bump starting the bike is to sit on the seat and paddle the bike as fast as I can in neutral. I then shift the bike into 1st and quickly let out the clutch. As soon as I the bike starts I pull the clutch back in and give it some gas. This method probably doesn't work well for people with short legs. Search the board for other methods/descriptions of bump starting the bike.

I dropped my bike and now it won't start! HELP!

You most likely flooded the engine while the bike was on its side. Turn off the choke and give the bike full throttle while cranking the starter for 10 seconds. Wait 30 seconds for the starter to cool off a little and repeat several (3-5) times. Then try to start the bike with no choke. Gradually add choke till it starts.

What gas octane should I be using?

Regular unleaded. If you are in North America this is 87 octane ((R+M)/2)) gasoline or 85 octane if you are in a high altitude region. Plus/Super/Ultra gets you nothing with this bike. If you want to throw your money away, feel free, but don’t tell others that they need higher octane/more detergent. http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/autos/octane.htm

Where is the fuel gauge?

There isn't one. Fill your gas tank up to the bottom of the filler neck in the tank. Reset your odometer. Note the mileage that you have to switch to your reserve fuel setting. Depending on your riding style this will probably be somewhere between 190 and 300 miles on the odometer.

Where is the gear indicator?

There isn't one. It is not easy to add one. It usually doesn't matter. The easiest solution if you forget and really need to know, is to count the upshifts until you can’t upshift anymore and then shift back down.

Why is my engine overheating?

Is it really overheating? Don't assume your bike is overheating just because the temperature gauge goes up. If it is not in the red it isn't overheating. This is not a car temperature gauge that goes to the middle of the range and doesn't move. If it is really overheating check your coolant level. If the coolant level looks okay idle your bike on a hot day and check to see if the fan comes on before the temperature gauge hits the line before the red zone. If the fan doesn't come on, then search the board/ask on the board for advice.

How do I check coolant?

There are two places to check the coolant level. The first place to check the coolant level is the radiator cap. This is under the right handle bar. Do not remove this cap unless the engine is cool. When you do remove the cap you should be able to see coolant in the radiator filler neck. The second place is the reservoir. It is located under your left butt cheek. You will need to remove the seat and left side cover to see the coolant level.

What kind of coolant should I use?

For street use, I suggest 50/50 Ethylene Glycol and water. You can use automotive coolant that says it is safe for aluminum engines/radiators or motorcycle coolant. I use Honda premix coolant, but anything should work just fine.

What kind of oil should I use?

Name brand oil in a 5w50, 10w50, 15w50, 20w50, 10w40, 15w40, or 20w40 weight. You can use automotive oil as long as it isn’t labeled “energy conserving” or “energy conserving II”. You can use motorcycle oil as long as it is for 4 stroke engines. You can use conventional or synthetic oil in the bike, but many suggest not using synthetic till you have several thousand miles on the engine. Oil is a highly debated topic. Search the web and educate yourself. (For example: http://www.xs11.com/stories/mcnoil94.htm) Please don't post oil information that you can't back up with a verifiable reference.

Why does my bike bog between 2.5k and 5.5k rpm?

This is a high revving 248cc engine that is jetted lean at ~3.5k rpm to pass EPA emissions tests. My personal suggestion is just to keep the bike running between 6k and 12k rpm and you won't experience this problem. The engine is made to be revved. Rev it! The correct fix for this problem is to rejet and adjust your carburetors.

How/when do I lube my chain?

Clean and lube the chain whenever it needs it. If you've been riding in the rain a lot, if it looks dry, if there is a lot of grit stuck on it, or if its been more than 500 miles since you last cleaned it, then clean and lube the chain. Clean the chain by using a mild oil based solvent like Kerosene or WD40. Then lubricate the chain with your preference of chain lube.

I personally clean/lube the chain as follows:
- Go for a ride
- Put the bike in Neutral
- Put the bike on the center stand with cardboard under the chain
- Spin the rear wheel by hand and spray the chain with a WD40 nozzle.
- Wipe the goo off the chain with paper towels.
- Spray the chain down with Maxima Chain Wax or Honda Pro Chain Lube
- Wait at least 15 minutes before moving the bike

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