“Generally speaking, the care of motorcycles calls for little more than a display of common sense, ordinary thoughtfulness and some precaution combined with a minimum of manual effort.
Common sense dictates cleanliness and, as in all things, this virtue, or lack of it, has a direct bearing on the amount of repair that becomes necessary. Usually the motorcyclist who waits until trouble troubles him does not have long to wait. A motorcycle is a machine, and all machines require some attention. They cannot attend to themselves.
As insurance against stoppages and vexatious delays:
Avoid unnecessary tinkering, but do use wrench, pliers, and screwdriver for periodically going over all nuts, screws and connections—not some, but all—and, while you are about it, keep your eyes open for weakened wires or frayed ends.
Take up any undue slack in belt or chain or compensating sprocket.
Strain the gasoline.
Use only known qualities of oil.
Test the battery with an ammeter.
See that tires are well inflated.
When on the road:
Oil, and oil regularly. It is of supreme importance. When in doubt, do not fail to oil.
Let the burnt oil out of the motor base occasionally.
Don’t open your muffler when there is no real necessity for doing so.
Cut off power occasionally in descending hills. It greatly cools and helps the engine.
When the motor is running rightly, let well enough alone. Don’t keep changing the mixture.
When you have completed your ride:
Inject a few squirts of kerosene into the cylinder while it is still warm and “turn over” the engine a few times. It’s a small attention and cleansing operation that pays large returns.
Clean the machine as soon as possible. Mud caked over the radiating flanges of the motor soon causes it to heat unduly; sand and dirt permitted to accumulate in the muffler cause it to muffle too effectively, creating a back pressure, which deprives the motor of some of its power, sometimes causing it to overheat, and generally impairing its effectiveness.”
Source: “Care and Repair of Motorcycles”. Bicycling World Co. NYNY. 1908.