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Change your Brake Fluid

I find that one of the most neglected maintenance items on a motorcycle is the brake fluid. The worst part about it is the fluid change procedure only takes ten minutes – it’s faster than an oil change! Most motorcycles state to do it every two or three years. The reason for the frequency is due to the limited amount of fluid in a motorcycle and the critical nature of the brakes on a motorcycle.

Brake fluid absorbs moisture rapidly. Moisture comes from multiple sources in a brake system, even if it is closed. Condensation from environmental factors. It could be a cold garage and you pull it out on a hot day. Winter time causes condensation on motor oil and brake fluid. The super low temperatures at night then warmer temperatures during the day. Or if you ride in the cold and heat up the brake fluid by using your brakes a lot. Condensation gets in from other ways too, but the bottom line is it does get in there.

Why is this a big problem? Compression. Water is far more compressible than brake fluid. So as moisture builds up, your brakes become squishy and do not have the stopping power that they should.

Another problem with water in the brake fluid – corrosion. Parts start deteriorating and even rusting. Holes start forming in the brake lines from the inside out.

Air can also work its way into the system over time. This doesn’t happen much if the system is well maintained and there are no leaks, but it can occur. A lot of people just bleed their brakes (remove air) on occasion and not do a full change. You’re already half way there with bleeding, do the full change!

“But the bottle says good for 50,000 miles!”

Yea, sure – but it doesn’t have how long it is good for time wise. That bottle is also going with the larger market, passenger vehicles (cars, trucks, suvs, vans).

Follow the factory recommendation for your motorcycle, but most common is two or three years to do a full change. I personally do it every year since it is such an easy process.

Motorcycles with ABS may not get a full change unless you have the systems to actuate the ABS modules. That’s okay though, as the other 95% gets changed and then if you trigger the ABS the fluid will work its way through. My Kawasaki motorcycle is supposedly an open system when off, making it a full 100% change.

So get out there and change your brake fluid before the riding season comes up. Brake fluid is cheap, just make sure you get the right stuff. DOT 4 is reverse compatible with DOT 3. Do not put DOT 3 in a DOT 4 motorcycle though. Make sure your motorcycle isn’t DOT 5, in which case you will need DOT 5. Check your owners manual, or most times the fluid type is printed on the reservoir cap.

Below is a video I did for the brake fluid change on my 2021 Ninja 1000SX. The procedure will be very similar across all motorcycles.

The following products may be helfpul:

Situational Awareness – Road Debris

Road debris can be just as unpredictable as cars, but the best thing you can do is be situationally aware and plan for exit paths. In the below video I go through a video posted on YouTube where somebody faces the “flying plastic” paradox – does it go left, right, oh wait – it moved completely different because of that other car. Always be prepared.

Ten Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for the Motorcycle Rider you Love

Valentine’s day is right around the corner, and so many couples use this time to share their love for one another. The motorcycle community can be a bit different for showing love. While flowers, chocolates and lingerie are still very welcome, diamonds and other expressions of love tend to favor toward gear, modifications and accessories for motorcycles. So if you’re struggling to find that perfect gift for the two-wheeled loving man or woman who stole your heart, here are some suggestions for 2023 that may help you out.

Alpinestars SMX-1R Vented Boots
I love these boots. They are so easy to put on and take off, they’re durable and most importantly, they do help keep your feet cool. These boots come with a soft but durable heel that allows the freedom of ankle movement but still has protection. A shift pad protects the boot and from wearing out from the upshifts while also adding some padding for comfort. The easy to use zipper and velcro straps make this boot a breeze to put on and take off. The ventilation during summer rides keeps your feet comfortable on those hot days. The sole is texturized and prevents slipping, whether on oil splattered pavement or walking through the mall. They have the standard version for men and the stella version for women.

360 Degree Camera
Standard GoPros are nice when you want to see just one direction, but the ability to make video content from a 360 degree perspective from wherever the camera is mounted not only allows you to create some amazing content, but it also works as a great “witness” camera for any unfortunate situations such as an accident. There are a few different models on the market, but the most common ones are the GoPro Max and the Insta360. Both are great cameras with high resolution. The resolution is comparable though the Insta360 has more format options. The GoPro has more microphones if you are looking for sound quality. For number of features, the Insta360 takes the cake. The main advantage of the GoPro is it has better splicing where the two cameras join together to create the 360 image and the shape provides for some better mounting options.
GoPro Max:

Battery Maintainer or Trickle Charger
Every motorcycle should be placed on a trickle charger. This keeps the battery topped off and fully charged which not only makes sure your bike will start when you want to ride it, but it can extend the batteries life by two to three times. I’ve had batteries last ten years when placed on a trickle charger. What makes some trickle chargers better than others is the functionality they have. The CTEK models not only keep the battery charged but it can recondition and recover them if they have failed or been drained all the way. In the winter it keeps the battery healthy, and lead acid batteries suffer if not fully charged in extreme cold – so keep them topped up and healthy by getting your loved one a trickle charger.

Cell Phone Mount
A lot of motorcyclists have started using their phones as GPS systems instead of getting a dedicated GPS for the motorcycle. This works well for sport bike riders who aren’t touring all over the country and want to be able to just load up their maps, or Waze for its obvious features, and maybe make it easier to change their music. There are two widely accepted phone mounts out there, the RAM and the Quad Lock. You do need to know your loved ones motorcycle though to determine the best mount. Stabilizers and different designs may make stem mounts unusable, but there are handle bar mounts and other options. Both models come with wireless charging systems for those with wireless charging capable phones. If you have an iPhone, I highly recommend a Quad Lock with the vibration dampener – without it the camera will get destroyed from the vibrations. For Kawasaki sport bikes if you wish to go with the stem mount, I recommend getting the pro mount as it supposedly works better with the hex shaped opening.
Quad Lock Stem Mount:
Quad Lock Stem Mount Pro:
Quad Lock Vibration Dampener:
Quad Lock Wireless Charger:
Quad Lock Handlebar Mount:
RAM Stem Mount Ball Base:
RAM Double Socket Arm:
RAM Tough Charge:

Communication System
Do you ride with your loved one? Doesn’t matter if it is as a passenger or on your own bike, a communication system can really make for a great ride. Not only do these communication systems allow for two way communication, they can connect to your phone so you can listen to music or take phone calls. You can connect them to GPS systems at the same time as your phone and have two way communication, allowing you to be fully connected with all of your accessories. Unfortunately all comm systems are not created equal. The top contenders are Cardo and Sena and they have a great many models with different options to choose from. It all comes down to price and preference.
Cardo Packtalk Edge (2 Pack):
Cardo Packtalk Edge:
Sena 50s:
Sena 50s (2 Pack):

Dedicated GPS
A dedicated GPS system has its advantages for those who go out for longer rides and especially for those who go to new areas. Unlike a cell phone, a dedicated GPS has maps available all of the time. This means you don’t have to worry about losing service, which can happen all to often in the mountains. A GPS designed for motorcycles has advantages such as being water proof and working with riding gloves. I always recommend Garmin because it is free lifetime map updates, and you can make custom routes for your rides. The one I highly recommend at the moment is the Garmin zumo XT. Now this GPS is large, it has a 5.5″ display, so if this isn’t practical for your loved ones motorcycle you can go with the zumo 396 which has a 4.3 inch display. The XT is an all terrain model which gives topographic maps, where the 396 does not. Both support live traffic and weather and have many other features.
Garmin zumo XT:
Garmin zumo 396:

Not many of us have a lot of money lying around, and the motorcycle community knows there is poor and then there is motorcycle poor. So for those looking for cheaper gift options, here are a few that may help.

Ear Plugs
Ear plugs are pretty much a requirement when motorcycle riding. The wind noise can be deafening, but at the very least, damaging to your hearing over time. The issue is, a lot of ear plugs may be uncomfortable or block out too much sound. Ear plugs designed for motorcycle riding drop the decibels of the wind to a safe level while allowing you to still hear emergency vehicles, communicate with others, hear GPS instructions or listen to your music. There are a few variations, but the two I have used are below.

There is a wide assortment of keychains available on the market, but the ones trending lately – especially in the sport bike community, are KeyTails. These are fabric key chain tags that have a fun sayings or designs on them such as Turn Me On or Rear Women Ride Their Own. They are a great accessory that adds a personal touch to a motorcycle.
One Down, Five Up:
Fast as F–k:–k
Loud Pipes Saves Lives:
Panty Dropper:
Real Men Like Curves:
Real Women Ride Their Own:
Sportbike Heartbeat:
Turn Me On:
Two Wheels Moves the Soul:

Grunge Brush
A maintained motorcycle is a happy motorcycle, and part of that maintenance is on the chain. Cleaning the chain can be a cumbersome task, but thanks to the grunge brush it is a lot easier. This brush can clean three sides at once, cleaning all that grungy build up off three times faster. The cleaning bristle blocks are adjustable so it can be used on any chain driven motorcycle. The brush also comes with a long bristle side which allows your loved one to clean other components such as sprockets or wheels.
Grunge Brush:

Guardian Bell
Last on the list is a guardian bell. For those of you who don’t know what a guardian bell is, it is a little bell that is placed at the lowest point on the frame of the motorcycle. Also known as spirit bells or gremlin bells, they are a good luck charm for motorcycle riders. The legend behind them is that there are mischievous spirits lurking on the roads that hunt for motorcycles that they can cling onto and cause problems. These spirits cause the infamous electrical gremlins that are hard to diagnose and seem to be random, but they can also cause other issues which can be devastating such as an oil leak that causes a rider to go down and so on. The guardian bell captures these spirits inside the bell. The ringing of the bell drives them mad and eventually they want to run away, leaving your bike from their menacing desires and searching for another unwitting victim. There are rules to these bells. The legend says that the bell is given it’s magical abilities through the gesture of good will, especially by another rider, and even more so if a loved one. The rider cannot buy their own. Another rule is, as I previously mentioned, it must be hung on the lowest part of the frame so that it is the first thing a gremlin catches on to. This can be done with zip ties. If the bike is sold, the bell must be removed, but can be placed on another bike. The bell must be well intentioned with good will – so it cannot be stolen and then gifted.
I Love You Bell:
A Handful:
Ass Man:
Biker Cat: