Over the miles covered and hours spent riding, passionate motorcyclists develop a relationship with their bikes. They learn how their machine takes curves and how quickly it picks up in the higher RPMs. Avid riders are meticulous in performing regular maintenance to keep their engines running in top condition, but even the best maintained bikes on the road eventually need more than an oil change or a new set of spark plugs.
If your bike has become difficult to start, there could be any number of reasons to blame. Ignition issues, leaking gaskets, fuelling issues, or worn or stuck valves will make it hard to get your motorcycle running.
A motorcycle engine that is in good running order may have a bit of blue exhaust when it's started, but once the engine warms up, the blue smoke should fade. If your bike has a blue exhaust while running, it may be something as simple as fouled spark plugs, but it could be an indication of something more serious. Leaking valve seals or piston rings that are not sealing properly allow oil to leak into the combustion chamber. A bike that is producing white smoke is burning coolant, most likely because the head gasket is leaking.
All motorcycle engines produce vibrations, but when your bike starts to shake more than usual, there could be a problem. It may be that the engine mounts are loose, the crank bearings have worn out, the clutch is loose, or the counterbalance bearings are shot.
When you change your motorcycle's engine oil, it is normal to see small particles of metal and even metal shavings in the oil pan. When you start to see unfamiliar bits of metal, or large bits that could be from gear teeth, this is an indication that engine components have been damaged and must be replaced.
In between oil changes, it is quite common to have to top off the oil after a long ride. Depending on whether your engine is liquid or air cooled, the normal oil consumption will vary. When you find yourself adding excessive amounts of oil in between performing regular maintenance, it could be that the valve seals are leaking, or the piston rings have worn out.
There are no strict guidelines regarding mileage that indicate when a motorcycle engine needs to be rebuilt. Learning what is normal for your bike will help provide you with a standard to use to determine the condition of your engine. If you have been experiencing any of these issues when you take to the road, an engine rebuild may be due. Keep your machine in top shape and continue to enjoy the open road for years to come.