A motorcycle’s handling abilities depend up on a number of factors. Also the older it gets, and more abuse it bears, its handling abilities degrade with time. You can always tweak it or leave it as per your requirements but it is always recommended to keep a close check on certain points in order to keep your bike safe and make it handle like new. So if you own a motorcycle which may be getting old, it is best to go through quick check points in the report below.
Suspension oil leak check –
The more kilometers a bike has covered on the ODO, the more are the chances that its suspension fork seals are reaching closer to its cycle-end. Usually fork-oil seals need to be checked timely for oil-leakage, and demand replacement almost 20,000 to 30,000 kilometers. Also, this is just a general figure, as the condition and replacement interval of a fork oil-seal also depends upon the make and riding behavior.
At the same time, if any of the forks are running on low suspension oil, this may change the riding behavior of the motorcycle. Usually, as soon as the oil level turns low, the rods tend to lose their suspension abilities which translates into vague handling.
So it is always recommended to keep a closer check on the condition of the suspension oil-seals, and replace them when needed.
Tyre condition check –
Apart from suspension, handling prowess of a motorcycle majorly depends upon its tyre condition. The lesser the grip present on the tyres, the more compromised its handling will be. Also, make and design of the tyres determine how the motorcycle handles. The rounder shaped tyres allows for quicker handling around the corners, while flat shaped tyres (as seen on cruisers and adventure bikes) result in slightly firm and tight handling. And the same goes for wide vs thin tyres.
Also if check for the current condition of the tyre, if there are too many punctures on it, then it is time to get yourself a new set of tyres. Furthermore, get into details and check for any cuts and flat section/skid marks as it may alter the natural handling of a motorcycle.
Low tyre pressure is another most common cause ague hanfling. Depending upon the make, your motorcycle tyres have a specific recommended tyre pressure and if you do not maintain it chances are your motorcycle will not handle in the way it is designed to do. The recommended tyre pressure for motorcycle tyres lies in the range of 32Psi to 38Psi, which varies upon the weight, tyre size, riding conditions, temperature and more. If you go way below it, say 10-15Psi, you will end up feeling more weight on the handlebar, which may even wobble as soon as you weaken the grip.
That said, like car tyres, even motorcycle tyres need alignment which should be checked every 10K kilometers. So make sure you ask your tyre replacement expert to check your motorcycle’s tyre alignment the next time you give him a visit.
Wheel damage –
Another most common way to disrupt your motorcycle’s handling capabilities is by getting your rim damaged. You will end up damaging your motorcycle rims if you tend to ride fast and overlook potholes. Also if you keep the tyre pressure low, chances are your rims may be damaged beyond repairs. Damaged rims are bad for neutral handling of the motorcycles, but the good news is they can be fixed. If your motorcycle has spoken wheels, then need not to worry as it is comparatively cheaper to get spoke wheels fixed compared to alloys. While alloys can be repaired too, but their tensile strength is compromised after damage, and so it is only better to get the alloys replaced then to go for a repair.
Though it is highly uncommon, even chassis/frame of a motorcycle which has developed a defect over long time usage or after an accident can later the handling of a bike. It is highly unlikely, so you need not worry about it. So it is best to probably look for some other cause and put this option on the sidelines until everything else is ruled out.