Best Motorcycle Maintenance Must-Have Essentials

Easy buys that help you keep your bike running smoothly and save you money.

When a new rider comes to motorcycling from the car world, they often don't realize that a bike may wear out its tires in as little as 7,000 miles or that the chain needs to be lubed with every other fill-up of the gas tank. Motorcycles need more maintenance than cars—a lot more—and neglecting the basics can lead to a bike that doesn't work as well as it should, or possibly even a breakdown.

Thankfully, you don't have to be a skilled mechanic to perform routine maintenance. You do however need some supporting equipment. The following is a list of maintenance essentials that we feel will get a new rider up to speed on basic maintenance, and properly equipped to keep their motorcycle working well.

Workshop Manual

Workshop Manual on white background.
A Haynes manual costs less than an oil change and has the potential to save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Haynes manuals are also available in digital format online.Amazon

Your bike's factory owner's manual is a valuable resource, but it pales in comparison to the information available in a model-specific Haynes workshop manual. Having one of these motorcycle textbooks on hand is like having a professional mechanic at your fingertips. Whether you just want to know what it takes to change your oil or you're researching a complete engine overhaul, a Haynes manual is your best resource with detailed instructions, plenty of photos, plus tips and suggestions to help you get the project done.

Tire Gauge

Tire Gauge on white background.
Cheap pencil gauges or the readout on the air pump at the gas station may be convenient, but they’re not accurate enough for the tires on your motorcycle.Amazon

Most new riders don't realize how expensive motorcycle tires are (think $200 to $400 a set), or that they only last about 1/10th as long as car tires. Help preserve those precious buns by regularly checking the pressure with an accurate tire gauge like this one from Accu-Gage. With a flexible hose and large gauge face it's easy to use, and it comes with a lifetime warranty so you know you'll be able to rely on it for years to come.

Chain Lube

Chain Lube on white background.
Keep those links lubed! Your bike’s chain is the most attention-hungry component on your bike. Lube it whenever it looks or sounds dry.Amazon

Chain maintenance is an unanticipated and often overlooked aspect of motorcycle ownership. Your bike's chain needs to be wiped down and lubed every 300 miles or so—neglecting to keep those links coated in oil will lead to corrosion, kinking, and an early demise. Maxima offers everything you need to care for your chain, from cleaners and degreasers to several kinds of lube. Whichever flavor you choose, make sure you're applying it any time your chain looks or sounds dry. Doing it with every other fill-up of the tank is a good rule of thumb.

Flat-Tire Repair Kit

Flat-Tire Repair Kit on white background.
Don’t get stranded by a flat tire. Stop & Go’s kit contains everything you need to fix a flat, including a compact compressor you can run off your bike’s battery.Amazon

Flats happen, and unfortunately there's no room for a spare tire on motorcycles. Thankfully most modern bikes run tubeless tires, which means a roadside repair is fairly easy—if you're prepared. Stop & Go's flat-repair kit comes with plugs and all the tools (as well as detailed, illustrated instructions) you need to install them, plus a compact air compressor for reinflating that flat. Stuff it under your seat or in a saddlebag so you're ready for whatever the road throws at you.

Nitrile Gloves

Nitrile Gloves on white background.
Motorcycle maintenance can be a dirty job, but that doesn’t mean your hands need to get grimy. Nitrile gloves are ideal for oil changes and other chores.Amazon

Caring for your motorcycle can be a dirty job. Changing the oil, lubing and adjusting the chain, and numerous other maintenance tasks can expose you to dirt and grime that's bad for your skin and not particularly easy to wash off. Avoid getting your hands dirty in the first place by pulling on a pair of chemical-resistant nitrile gloves. Sold in boxes of 100, these Grease Monkey gloves are ideal for working on your bike as well as tackling other messy tasks.