Q: Good stuff on chain maintenance in the June issue (“Drive Time”), except that I was always taught to “lube hot, adjust cold.” If you adjust the chain when you lube it, and you should lube it while it’s still warm, the adjustment will be too tight when the chain cools. Is that still a valid strategy?
Spring Branch, TX
A: You were taught well, Wissler. The heat in a warm chain helps the lubricant penetrate the space between the chain’s rollers and bushings, and spread over the O-rings to keep them from drying out and breaking. But for chain adjustment, or any other routine maintenance chores that don’t specifically say the parts involved should be warm or cold, you can assume the job should be done in ambient conditions.
Q: I’m a new rider, and while shopping for a new bike I noticed the only shops that let you test ride are Harley dealers. But if I’m not in the market yet to buy a Harley, how do I know what I want to buy if I can’t test ride a bike? Why don’t dealerships in California let you test ride?
San Diego, CA
A: It’s not just California. Beginners like you face a Catch-22. “New riders are generally not going to be offered a test ride,” says Greg Guthrie, general sales manager of Huntington Beach Honda. “It’s nothing against you, it’s just that motorcycling is an acquired skill, like flying a plane. Take, for example, someone who comes in with a permit and a fresh MSF sticker. We love that person coming into our store to buy a bike, but it’s scary to send him out the door with the keys to a brand-new motorcycle.” After you have some miles under your belt, the trick is to show up looking like someone who’s ready to buy, and not someone just killing a few hours. If you arrive on a bike, with your own gear, and have a valid motorcycle license, odds are you’ll get the nod. Breeze in wearing flip-flops and a tank top, ask to borrow a helmet, and look sheepish when you’re asked for your license, and you’ll be shown the door.