But, what if I breakdown?

Thinking about maintenance while on the road

Generally speaking, motorcycles need regular maintenance procedures performed on them, and because these bikes are subjected to rough roads, inclement weather, and direct sun and heat, its likely that they may suffer occasional performance issues, which also require immediate attention.

When we’re home, in our own community, we can easily visit our local BMW dealer, who is happy to perform just about whatever work we need done. But, when we’re not in our own community, or if we’re on the road, traveling far away from civilization, it may be necessary to perform these routine maintenance procedures ourselves, or we may need to make emergency repairs in order to keep the bike running.

But, it’s a BMW

While it’s true that these bikes are BMWs, and they are very reliable, there will come a time when I’ll have to work on the bike. I’m pretty adventurous, and not afraid to work on my bike, but the results have been mixed. I’ve installed numerous upgrades on the bike, and they’ve all gone well, but there have been a few times when I’ve performed some work, only to discover that I performed it incorrectly, causing some degree of damage.

I can’t afford to perform a maintenance procedure incorrectly while on the road, so I decided to get a little help. Motorcycles of Charlotte’s service manager, Michael Long offered to let me sit with one of their mechanics, and to go over any questions that I might have had about the most common, or the most likely maintenance procedures.

So, on June 18th, I visited the dealer, and began asking questions, hoping to get enough knowledge to stay out of trouble.

Maintenance 101 – The procedures

I created a list of the procedures that I wanted to discuss, and we got right to it.

The procedures in question are

  • Replace Air Filter
  • Oil Change
  • Final Drive Fluid Replacement
  • Valve Adjustment
  • Spark Plug Replacement
  • Battery Connect/Disconnect (For Shipping)

So, we started working on these procedures, not performing them on this given day, but disassembling the bike to whatever degree necessary, to simulate all of the work that would be required.

After about 2 1/2 hours of disassembling and reassembling the bike, I had written down enough information, and gained enough confidence for me to feel like I could safely resolve most issues that might come up, while traveling in the remote regions of the world.

And so, with a smile on my face, and satisfaction in my heart, I bid farewell to Clint, and thanked him for his help.

About the Author

Cliff Musante

Cliff Musante is a technologist, business leader, motorcycle enthusiast, father, grandfather, and more. In June, 2013 his passion for motorcycles was revitalized, and he set out to ride across Patagonia. Since then, he's logged thousands of miles, ridden across the US, and on July 10, 2019, he began a 120 day trip through Europe, and then on to Russia, China, and parts East. This 'Blog is the story of all of his adventures.


  1. Hey Cliff, I’m really looking forward to reading your posts while you’re on the road. How many miles are you expecting to cover over the duration of your trip?

    1. Hey Doug,
      The trip will be done in 3 segments. The first segment is the US, and Europe, which I expect to be about 5000 miles in total. The second segment will be the tour, with Edelweiss, which is expect to be about 11,000 miles, and the third will be my time in Thailand, which won’t include any miles on the bike, but will include about 1000 miles in a rental car.
      Can’t wait – 20 days until departure! So, that’s a total of about 16k – 17K miles.

    1. Hi Mark,
      Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve already purchased the printed service manual for my bike, and then a few months later, I purchased the digital version. So, I’m fairly well prepared, but at the same time, I find that there is no experience that’s better than actually doing the work yourself.
      Now, I’ve got a digital manual to fall back on, but in the event that I have to do the maintenance, I’ll be more comfortable, and have more experience.
      Thanks for the suggestion,

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