We didn't have much experience in motorcycle maintenance prior to the trip, but we found that the best way to learn how to repair the bike is to take things apart and put them back together. Here we will list out the items we brought along for motorcycle maintenance, and tips for how to pick the parts that suit you.
Preparing spare parts is a must for long-distance trips, especially if you're going to places where there may not be anyone else
around for miles and miles. As a starting point, read through your motorcycle owner's manual for the specifications list of all the important spare parts on your motorcycle. Make sure that
you buy the same model/specs otherwise your parts won't fit.
Check your manual for specifications; Du Rui suggested we get platinum-tipped spark plugs because they produce a stronger and more consistent spark.
We were recommended Bikers Dream foot pump, which so far has done a great job. We chose the analog pressure gauge because it doesn’t need extra batteries and is less likely to break. [Taobao link]
Be sure to buy the tire with the correct specifications. Imported brands such as Pirelli, Goodyear, and Dunlop are the best, but the Chinese brands Zhengxin (正新), Jianda (建大) are quite good as well.
Tires are not all created equal. Learn to read your bike specifications. For example, 130/70-17 means that the tire is 130mm wide, aspect ratio is 70% (ratio of the height of the tire's cross-section to its width), and meant for a 17" wheel. The front and back wheels are often different specs.
Different patterns are used for different road conditions. Off-road tires have larger block patterns with deep grooves, which offer good traction; however, they wear down faster. Road tires are usually flatter with shallower grooves because less traction is needed to drive on nice paved roads; however, they will spin out in sand or in very muddy terrain.
Sprockets & chain
These are the gears that turn the chain, and they come in a big-small pair. We decided to go with factory-original ones from Chongqing Jianshe Yamaha. A good set of sprockets will last about 20k
km, and usually you would also change the chain at the same time. We're using Japanese made D.I.D. silver O-ring 428 chains bought from a Shanghai distributor. The sprockets were purchased
separately from a Yamaha dealer. [Taobao Link]
This lock comes with an ear-piercing alarm. Once the lock is fastened onto the brake disc, the alarm arms. Moving the bike slightly will trigger the alarm, and you have 5 seconds before setting off an ear-splitting screech. Very effective. Jie uses a Kovix [Taobao link] while Nate uses a similar lock made by Xena
photos, words and illustrations
©Nathaniel Brown and Jieming Sun, 2015