Avoid Weak Links

By Jan Knobbe 

Considering upgrading your motorcycle’s performance? Winter is a great time to do it since the weather here in the Midwest is cold and hazardous enough to keep most of us off the roads. It’s when we traditionally do a lot of motor builds. There’s more to it than just the motor though.

Other Components to Upgrade

When you add performance to your motor you need to consider upgrading other components to avoid leaving a weak link. Compensators, clutch baskets, clutch, transmission and drive belt are all components that are replaceable with high performance parts. How much horse power/torque (hp/tq) the motor is making will determine if these components need to be upgraded to avoid them becoming a weak link. Weak links can lead to the components breaking and that’s never good. If you are spending money to create more hp/tq, you want to make sure all necessary components are also upgraded as needed.

Factory vs. Aftermarket

For example, factory stock cast compensators are only good for up to about 90 horsepower.  Aftermarket compensators are available that can handle up to 160 horsepower or better. Your next component that could become a weak link is the cast aluminum clutch basket. There are billet clutch baskets available that can handle higher hp/tq. You should also be aware of factory clutch plates. These can be upgraded to aftermarket clutch plates that have extra plates to apply more friction. There are also clutch lock up devices that take up to double factory hp/tq without slippage.

Worth the Upgrade

Transmission breakage is happening on most M8s that have upgrades to the powertrain demonstrating this weak link. Typically 3rd and 4th gear breakage under severe torque applications. The fix for this is the Baker six speed Grudge Box.  It is a costly upgrade that is worth it as it will make your bike more dependable. 

Riding or Racing

The last weak link to address is the final drive belt. This only needs to be replaced with a chain drive under severe street riding/drag racing, when the motor is running a turbo, or a supercharger. The chain drive will make sure the bike is a dependable touring street bike with a lot of giddy up and go!

Ask for Advice

Here at Chariots of Fire Customs LLC we like educated consumers. Upgrading your motor is a big deal and you should make your decision to do so knowing the facts. Come see us this winter and we will help you decide on the best performance upgrades and determine what weak links to avoid. 

Avoid Costly Repairs by Winterizing Your Bike Properly Now

Every spring, we have a stream of dozens of riders needing service before they can ever take that first spring ride. While we’re happy to help, we’d really love if everyone could avoid costly repairs that could have easily been prevented come spring time.

Here in the Midwest, transitioning from autumn riding to winter storage is the best way to keep your bike in riding condition. We’ve all experienced those random sunny days in December, January or February when you want to have the wind in your face. Follow these simple steps to be ready and prevent problems that would delay riding coming spring 2022.

How to Winterize Your Motorcycle

Prevent Rust & Corrosion with Lube

Protect any and all parts prone to rust or corrosion by applying lubrication. This includes your chain, bolts, cables and switches.

*See associate for complete details. Price may vary by make and model.

Change the Oil

There’s a reason we have an oil change special in November! Changing your bike’s oil before storing for winter is vital since used oil has contaminants (from doing its job). Contaminants that are suspended in the oil may gunk up and leave dirt in small cavities of the engine and hydraulic passages. Yes, you’ll want to start your bike once in a while to lubricate the engine again, but avoid running it for too long and causing contamination of the oil again.

Top Her Off

Fill up and top-off your gas tank before you roll into the garage. An empty gas tank tends to form condensation. We also recommend gas conditioner. Gas conditioner can protect your fuel for up to two full years. We recommend Helix 5 in 1. Today’s fuel turns bad after eleven days because of the alcohal content in the fuel.

Tickle with a Trickle

Keep your battery happy by putting it on a tender with a trickle charge over the winter months to keep it from draining. This extends the life of your battery since every time a battery dies, it loses some of its lifespan. Tenders also switch to float automatically to maintain the charge without overdoing it.

Shake the Shimmy

If your tires sit in one spot for a longer period of time, they may get flat spots causing a shimmy come spring that wasn’t present when you put it away. The easiest way to avoid this is to put your bike up on stands or a lift. If you don’t have a stand or want to spend money on a lift, here are a couple of things to do to save your tires:

  • Move your bike around a couple of times a month to keep the tires from resting on the same spots.
  • Add about 5PSI to each tire, as they naturally lose air over time. 
  • Park on plywood to help your tires avoid obtaining moisture from concrete floors.

By winterizing your bike using this checklist, you can avoid a number of preventable problems like batteries that don’t hold charge, dirty carburetors, clogged fuel injectors, and no-start issues from tarnished gasoline and tires that are out of balance or without the proper inflation. 

Schedule your oil change today and get your bike ready for winter!

If you do find yourself out and about this winter, rest assured we’ve got your back with free towing within 60 miles November through February.

Ask a Motorcycle Technician: Motorcycle Modifications Based on Your Experience Level

There’s nothing quite like being on a bike, so it’s no wonder why people get into motorcycles. It’s exciting to find a great bike and make it your own through upgrades and custom work. But after years of fixing all kinds of bikes for riders of all experience levels, our technicians have some recommendations for what you should be focusing on based on your riding experience. 

New Riders – Build Your Foundation

When you’re new to anything, building a strong foundation of knowledge and skill is what takes you from novice towards expert. Especially with motorcycles. Practice builds experience. So, new riders should focus on these foundations before making big adjustments to their bike:

  • Safety – There’s nothing more important than safety on a motorcycle. Having the right gear, road knowledge, and well-maintained bike is crucial to a safe ride.
  • Regular Maintenance – How many miles until you need to change your oil? Your fork oil? When should you buy new tires or have a general tune up done? Knowing the basics about keeping your bike well-maintained will keep you riding longer and make it more enjoyable.
  • Pre-Ride TCLOCK – Always, always, always before you ride, TCLOCK. It’s so important we wrote a whole blog about it. Get the full pre-ride checklist here
  • Riders Courses – Think of riders courses like having a coach. Someone to show you best practices and offer suggestions to make you a better rider. The ability to practice, screw up, and try again, safely on a closed course. All that practice and coaching is what turns a novice into a more experienced rider. You can find classes at the Missouri Motorcycle Safety Program.  

Moderate Experienced Rider – Refine Your Preferences

You have the basics down, you know your riding style and what you enjoy best about your bike and it’s time to build on those preferences. Riders with moderate experience should be thinking about these things:

  • Check Tire Pressure* – One of the basic pre-ride checks is tire pressure. Even though you’re not a novice anymore, don’t forget about those foundations that got you here.
  • Comfort – Once you have the basics of riding down, you can turn your attention to making your motorcycle match your preferences. Swapping out the seat, handlebars, and forward controls are relatively minor adjustments that can make a difference for your comfort while riding. 
  • Aesthetics – Ready to customize the look of your bike? When you’ve been riding for a while and are ready to invest in making your bike your own, adding chrome or getting new paint job can make your bike look brand new.  
  • Sounds – Who doesn’t love the roar of an engine revving? Changing out your pipes for a little more rumble or upgrading your stereo system to jam out on a ride are ways to enhance the sound experience on your motorcycle.

Experienced Rider – Create Your Ultimate Ride

By now, you know the nuances of riding and have your favorite routes. You know if you prefer taking the highway versus touring or winding back roads. You know if you get a thrill with going fast to beat your buddy or just enjoy the relaxation of a leisurely ride. You’ve done it all so you know what you like…and what you don’t. For the seasoned rider, fine tune your bike for the ultimate riding experience:

  • Check Tire Pressure* – Hate to start with this basic pre-ride task, but it’s an important one. Even an experienced tech can’t look at a tire and know it’s low. You have to put a gauge to it and physically check to save problems down the road. 
  • High Performance Upgrades – Since you know your preferred riding style, you can have fun with upgrading different aspects of your motor to enhance your ride. Different styles of riding have different modifications that can boost your ride. That’s when we get into the Stage I to  Stage V performance kits. As you tweak your riding style, you will get the most enjoyment by also tweaking your motorcycle to match.

* Why do our technicians keep repeating “check your tire pressure?” It turns out that 90% of problems with suspension, wobbles, cupping tires, tires not lasting as long as manufacturer suggests, etc. can all be traced to…you guessed it, incorrect tire pressure. Here at our shop, we have had motorcycles come in with only 18-20 psi when most should have 42 psi or higher, recommended by tire manufacturers. You can find the tire pressure recommendations on the side walls, don’t forget to check and save yourself more hassle down the road!

Have more questions for our motorcycle technicians? Give us a call or come on by to talk bikes and schedule maintenance or modifications.

2009 Yamaha Roadliner

  • 20,395 Miles
  • 1900 CC Engine/Displacement
  • Fuel Injected
  • 6 Speed
  • 7/10 Overall Condition
  • After Market Accessories:
  • Saddle Bags
  • Corbin Heated Seat
  • Cobra Pipes
  • Base Floor Boards
  • Fairing
  • Windshield
  • Luggage Rack
  • Grips
  • $6000

2012 Victory Cross Country

2012 Victory Cross Country

  • 59,000 Miles
  • 106 Cubic Inch Engine and Displacement
  • Loyld’z Cams and Airbox
  • Fuel Injected
  • 6 Speed
  • 9/10 Overall Condition
  • After Market Accessories:
  • Color Match Inner Fairing
  • Custom HARTCO Seat
  • AZZkicker Handle Bars
  • SMT Wheels
  • 6 Speaker System
  • Sony Head Unit
  • Rusty Jones Bag Lids W/ Speakers and Bag Ext
  • Vicotry LED Headlight
  • Passenger Boards
  • Asking $10,500

Consider This When Purchasing a Used Motorcycle

By Reine Knobbe

First of all, thank you for making Chariots of Fire Customs LLC one of your go-to places when looking for a used motorcycle.  We realize that we have a very limited inventory so you will need to look elsewhere when we don’t have what you want.  We offer advice and knowledge when you walk into our establishment. But what is a person to do when they are out on their own looking to buy a used motorcycle?

The top three things that Jan and our technicians suggest you look for in a used motorcycle are milage, maintenance records, and overall condition. 

Mileage & Maintenance Records

The average miles put on a motorcycle are 3,000 – 5,000 per year depending on the state you live in.  If the mileage is very low, great!  If the mileage is on the high side that is good also IF the motorcycle was well maintained. That’s when you want to look at maintenance records to see if basic maintenance was performed in a timely manner. If the mileage is low, how are the tires?  They might be dry rotting from sitting. Not everyone realizes that tires need to be changed because of dry rot, even if there are low miles on them.  

Overall Condition

Questions to ask when looking at the overall condition might include: 

  • Was the bike in a flooded area?
  • Was the bike ever in a wreck
  • Does the owner live down a long gravel road? If so, the frame may be chipped which could lead to rust in older motorcycles. 
  • Are the spokes and wheels clean?
  • How is the paint?  
  • Will they allow you to start the bike and run it through the gears?
  • Can you take a test ride? Know this question is best saved for serious offers only. 

A couple other things to consider is the location of the seller. If it is out of state, is it worth your time and money to travel? Once you meet up with the seller use your basic instincts. Ask questions about why they are selling their motorcycle, such as:

  • Not enough time to ride
  • In need of funds
  • Upcoming surgery
  • No longer able to ride.  

There are as many reasons as there are people! By asking these questions you can get a feel for how much they love the sport. That can help you determine if the motorcycle was well maintained or not so much. When looking at a potential bike, consider the environment the bike is kept in. If the area is cleaned up and well maintained and the seller is knowledgeable about recent maintenance, it is likely that the motorcycle has been well maintained. If they name their motorcycle and have a special place in a garage you can rest assured, they kept good care of her!

Be sure to check out our current selection of bikes available and reach out if you have questions – we’re always happy to help!

1984 EVO

Miles: 30,750

Engine Cl: 80

Stock Cam

Carborated

5 speed transmission

Paint Color: Black/Red

Overall Condition: 7 out of 10

Accessories: Backrest pad and seat

Price: 5000