1. What does the air filter do?
Your motorbike engine will have air passing through it as it is running. This air however, is not clean and contains a number of contaminants including dust, dirt and sand. The air filter
on a motorbike protects the engine from the particles present in the air which could make their way into the engine and block up the working parts. This can cause poor performance and additional wear resulting in more expensive running costs. The air filter
also enhances airflow in the engine to provide more efficient acceleration and horsepower. Nearly all models of bike have air filters and you can get special replacement aftermarket performance air filter
options to improve performance.
2. How often do I need to change the air filter?
The air intake filter
is a very important part for your bike so it does need regular maintenance. If you use your bike a lot then every 3 months (or 5,000 miles) check the filter over. If you have a paper filter this should last for at least 50,000 miles before it needs a clean but if you do run your bike throughout the year or in dirty conditions then it may need cleaning more often. You can clean paper filters many times so these should last for as long as your engine if you look after them. Paper filters do not work when they are wet so make sure you wait until they are dry before you put them back on your bike. You can clean oiled fabric or foam filters but this can be a messy and time consuming job so you may prefer just to replace these completely if they are very dirty.
3. What are air filters made from?
The standard air filters fitted to most factory street bikes are made from paper. These are lightweight, affordable, effective and have the additional benefit of being reusable. This means you can wash them and put them back in your bike and they should last around 50,000 miles before they need cleaning. You can also get fabric motorcycle air filter
options that are made from a type of cotton gauze layered between aluminium wire mesh sheets. These are not really designed to be reusable but should last for the engines life. Fabric air filters are oiled and pleated to enhance the filtering effects and can provide enhanced overall engine performance. Oil foam air filters are also available and these are mostly used on dirt bikes because of their superior ability to trap dirt. These are made from a durable polyurethane foam material and are designed to last the life of the bike, however if you do run your engine in very dirty off-road conditions you may need to change this filter regularly.
4. Can an air filter extend the life of a bike engine?
Air filters play a major part in engine performance and prevent dust, sand and other particles from entering your engine through the air cooling systems. This is important as tiny particles of grit can cause the moving parts of the engine to wear more quickly and can also build up to cause blockages and poor performance. By keeping your motorbike air filter
in good condition you can improve the life of your engine parts and cut down on running costs.
5. How do you clean foam air filters?
Foam filters are designed to last the life of the engine, but they can get dirty and blocked and this can inhibit air flow. Foam filters are oiled and this can make them difficult to clean so you will need to allow a few hours for this job. When you remove the foam air intake filter
inspect it thoroughly for any rips or tears. Also make sure the foam still feels solid and springy. Foam can degrade over time and start to crumble and come apart. Damage and wear to the air filter could be allowing dirt into the intake track so you will need to replace the filter completely if damaged/worn. To clean your filter use a bio-degradable, non-toxic cleaner (you can get special air filter cleaners) to remove the old oil and ingrained dirt. If the filter is heavily soiled you may need to soak it for around 10 minutes to loosen the grime. Rinse the air filter well and then dry thoroughly (don’t wring out excess water as this can damaged the foam). Now you will need to re-oil the filter before you put it back on the bike. You can buy special air filter oil products for this task.. Never use gasoline to clean your foam filter as this has a high flash point which could be dangerous when you put the air intake filter
back on the bike (it could also degrade the foam).
6. What happens if you run a bike without an air filter?
Air filters improve air flow in your engine boosting overall performance. If you do not have a good motorcycle air filter
fitted then there will be a noticeable lack of power from your engine no matter what other performance boosting parts you may have in place. Air filters prevent dirt and grime from getting into the moving parts of your engine. Without an air filter you can experience problems with carburetion and fuel injectors and general excessive wear on your engine which can lead to some expensive maintenance bills.
7. How do I apply oil to my air filter?
If you clean an oiled air filter
then you will need to reapply oil again before you put it back on your bike. This is because the oil forms an important part of the filtration system. You can buy special oils for filters and these will help prevent dirt and fine particles from passing through the filter. You will need to apply this oil to the outside of the air filter element and also the areas where the filter seals to the oil box. Filter oil is quite sticky so make sure the area where you are working is clean and lay some fresh wax paper or absorbent paper towels down before you start to keep mess to a minimum.
8. Should I be using filter skins?
Filter skins are affordable products that can extend the life of your filter. Filter skins are a good idea for dirt bikes that are exposed to very muddy, dusty or sandy conditions and reduce the frequency of air filter cleaning and maintenance.
9. Why should I choose BMC filters?
BMC air filters
are top quality products that offer improved air flow and performance. BMC air filters
are made from cotton to maintain air flow pressure and provide the best conditions for optimum engine power. A BMC performance air filter
is an affordable and easy to install aftermarket part that can boost your acceleration and horsepower. This is a good option for both the road and track. BMC provides air filters for top race teams including Team Yamaha and Team Suzuki. There are performance air filter
options available for all the popular models of street and sports bike.
10. How do I choose an air filter?
Make sure you check your owner’s manual before you choose an air filter. Paper filters are standard on most bikes and you can upgrade for to a fabric filter for higher performance. Foam filters are ideal for off-road bikes as they are very good at trapping dirt and fine particles of dust and sand.