- Clutch Plates: For the steep and hilly terrain of Ladakh, it is best to ensure that your bike’s clutch plates have enough life left in them, to see you through the trip. So, when you are getting the motorcycle serviced, ask the mechanic to check the clutch plates and replace if necessary.
- Piston Rings: Another thing to watch out for is the health of Piston Rings, if your bike has been drinking engine oil lately; it is best to get the piston-cylinder kit checked for wear and tear and while you are at it, get the valves checked as well.
- Timing Chain: Another thing you need to pay close attention to is a loose/worn out timing chain which can end up spoiling your trip by reducing your bikes power output. So do make sure that you get the timing chain inspected at the time of service.
- Drive Chain & Sprockets: Check drive chin and sprockets for wear, if the chain and/ or sprockets are on the last lease of life, change the entire chain-sprocket set. Else get them cleaned and lubricated.
- Suspension: Riding on the harsh terrain of Ladakh with a bike loaded with rider and luggage can take a toll on the suspension of your motorcycle. Get the front and rear suspension checked, and if the need be, get them repaired/changed.
- Swing Arm Bush: Get the swing arm bush checked for slackness, change if there is a need.
- Air filter/Spark Plug: If your air filter and/or spark plug is over 10000Kmts old or approaching that figure, get them changed. Don’t throw the old ones out, keep them as spares.
- Clutch & Accelerator Wires: If your Clutch and Accelerator wires are over 10000Kmts old, get them changed and keep the old ones as spares. If they are not in need of a change then get them lubricated.
- Brake Shoes/Pads: Get the brake pads and shoes checked for wear, if they can’t last for 5000Kmts, get them changed. Also get the brake fluid changed or top it up, if you had changed it recently.
- Con Set: Con Set is an essential part of the motorcycle and if it’s loose or worn out, it can affect the handling of the motorcycle. At the time of service get it checked and change it if the need be.
- Engine Oil/Filter: If the engine oil is over 500Kmts old, get it changed. Also change the oil filter. In case your motorcycle uses an oil strainer, get it cleaned.
- Electrical: get all the electrical wiring checked, check all bulbs to see if they are functioning properly. Also clean the headlight seal beam and brake light to ensure better visibility.
- Fasten all nuts and bolts: Get all the nuts and bolts fastened properly, in case any is missing, get it installed.
- Carburetor Timing: Keep the Carburetor tuning as close to stock as possible. Running it rich will cause problem in high altitude areas and running it lean would lead to overheating in plains.
- General Check: Give everything a once over, ensure everything is working properly. And all the fluids are topped up, i.e. battery water, engine oil, etc. Ensure all fuel lines are intact and there is no leakage anywhere.
- Tires: Check both the tires for wear and signs of cuts and cracks. If either of them is nearing the end of their life, get them changed.
- Wheel Alignment: In case your motorcycle has spoke wheels, get them checked, and if the need be get them aligned before you begin your trip.
LEARN MINOR REPAIR/SERVICING:
If you have gone through the above routine, your bike should hold through for the entire trip, but it’s a good idea to ask your motorcycle mechanic to teach you minor chores like tightening rear brakes, adjusting clutch and accelerator play, adjusting chain, fixing puncture, replacing bulbs and changing accelerator/clutch cable/levers.
FINAL CHECKS ON THE D-DAY & BEYOND:
Now that you have prepared your motorcycle, and are ready to embark upon your trip, there are few checks that you need to perform.
Check if all lights, horn and indicators are working.
Double check fluid levels such as engine oil, brake oil, battery water etc.
Check tires for sir pressure as well as look for any of any nails, rocks etc lodged in tire tread.
Check if chain is lubricated properly and isn’t too tight or too loose.
Check for any leakages.
These checks should be performed each day before you start your journey, this should ensure there is no surprise in the middle of the trip.