Difference between revisions of "Supporting Your Bike While Servicing"

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Revision as of 23:36, 5 May 2007

Though covered in the service manual, many people use creative methods to support a bike while servicing it. This often results in tip-over accidents. Below we list methods that are proven to work, as well as general tips for preparing your bike for service.

Disconnecting the Battery

Unless it is something very simple, it is a good idea to disconnect the battery while working on your cycle. Remember that some wires are hot even when the key is in the OFF position.

To disconnect the battery:

  • Remove the seat.
  • Unscrew the bolt on the Negative (-) terminal of the battery. Push the wire aside, screw the bolt back in (this way it won't get lost).
  • Put a piece of duct/scotch tape on the terminal.

Supporting the Rear End

Luckily, the Ninja 250 has a centerstand, so it can be used to support the rear end.

A few comments about using the centerstand:

  • Some services require pushing the rear tire inwards. This can easily result in collapsing of the centerstand and subsequent tip-over. Always block the front tire from moving with a brick or something similar to prevent such accidents. Using a tether to tie up the front wheel to the centerstand works well too.
  • If you need to raise the rear end more than the centerstand does, just put a wooden board in front of the rear tire before putting the bike on the centerstand. This will wind up under your centerstand when you put it down, effectively making the centerstand longer. In this case blocking the front tire well is vital, since the nose of the bike is pointing down, and it's very easy to rock the bike off the centerstand.
  • Unfortunately, a bike on the centerstand is not stable enough side-to-side. If you are doing something that requires brute force (such as removing the axle nut), be very careful, as you can literally twist the bike into the ground. Having another person holding the bike is very useful in this situation.
  • Finally, the centerstand is best used on a flat, sturdy surface. If you have trouble putting your bike on the centerstand, visit this link.

Of course, if you are not satisfied with the centerstand, you can always buy a swingarm stand. This model from Pit Bull is known to work:

lg_ss_rear2.jpg

Supporting the Front End

Depending on what exactly you need to do, this can be done in a few ways:

1) If you need to work on the forks, you will have to prop the engine. Of course, you will have to remove the lower fairing for that to work. Be sure to put the bike on the centerstand to reduce the weight on the exhaust headers.

Examples:

FrontEndSupport1.jpg FrontEndSupport2.jpg Front wheel support.jpg

You can also prop the engine with a jackstand (which goes under the oil drain bolt). This method is less stable, but allows to raise or lower the front end smoothly and for some jacks there is no need to remove the lower fairing.

2) Of course, there is a civilized way of supporting your forks:

Fork seals2-2.JPG

3) If you have access to an overhead beam, a ratcheting tie-down (with a large ratchet mechanism) can be laced between the top of the forks and the beam. If you use this method, be careful not to put pressure on any cables or wires, and ensure that the tie-down is pulling on the center of the bike. This is not the best way to do it, but can be useful when supporting under the bike isn't an option.

4) If you just need to take the front wheel off, you can:

  • put the bike on the centerstand
  • loosen the axle nut
  • ask your friend to sit on the back of the bike, thus raising the front a little bit...
  • take the wheel off and prop the forks on a cinder block with a piece of wood on top of it (a stack of phone books also suffices).

The obvious downside is that this is not very stable. Taking off both wheels with the front end supported in such a way is not recommended. However, you don't need to take off any fairings for this method to work.

Working on the Engine

If you plan to work on the engine, you should get an engine stand.

Common Mistakes

  • Forgetting to disconnect the battery, or not doing it right and frying something. Remember: red cap goes on the '+' terminal.
  • Rocking the bike off the centerstand by accident when the front wheel was not blocked.
  • Flipping the bike sideways while using a wrench/breaker bar.

Make sure you can stabilize the bike somehow while applying brute force. For example, you can sit backwards on the bike while tackling the rear axle nut. Another example is to start loosening the oil drain bolt on the sidestand and then switch to the centerstand.

  • Some services require draining the oil. Don't forget to fill it back up after you are done! It does happen sometimes and makes people go crazy.