Things to do Before You Take Off in your Bike

It is great to ride a motorcycle but there are some things you should check on a weekly basis. You should never risk the safety of you or your motorcycle because you did not make enough time to carry out routine maintenance

Tires: The tires are a great place to start. Check for the amount of tread, some people will tell you that a tread depth of 1mm is fine but I personally would todonot ride with much less than 3. Modern sports bikes, because of the amount of power through the back wheel, wear out their tires in next to no time. So check them regularly and don’t try to economise by running them too low. Other important things to check are the pressures and for any cuts or nicks in the walls or tread. Check also for uneven wear that may be caused by alignment or balancing issues.

Oil: Check all oil levels but make sure you do this on level ground or you will get false readings. I you live on a hill take the bike somewhere else before carrying out these checks. It is always a good idea to buy small containers of critical fluids so you can top up immediately. If you are like most of us if you put it off it never gets done.

Chain: Check the chain or drive belt tension carefully, make sure you refer to your owner’s manual to find what is the right amount of play. Running to loose can risk it coming off and jamming the back wheel, which is the things nightmares are made of. Too tight and you will soon wear out sprockets and bearings.

Electricals: Make sure all the lights are functioning, particularly the brake light. Unless you want a truck up your back end. Giving the battery a little TLC can help prolong its life, although I find most of them die in a little over 3 years. If you only use your motorbike infrequently it is a good idea to put the battery on charge occasionally or you may find you will have to replace it even sooner. I have a small solar panel that I can plug into the bike which keep it topped up.

Brakes: Check the brake hoses, disc pads and make sure the brake fluid is up to the correct level. Hold the front forks firmly and check for play in the steering head bearings. Carry out a similar procedure on the rear swinging arm and the wheels. There should be no play in any of these. If you notice some I suggest a trip to your friendly motorcycle dealer.

Lubrication: Finally lubricate the chain and anything else you see that needs a spot of oil. Then just before you ride it have a think about your clothing, will it protect you if you take a spill?. Last but my no means least take a long hard look at your motorbike helmet does it have any damage to the shell and is the strap and buckle in good condition, and doubts replace.

– By Andrew Alston who is a keen motorbike enthusiast and runs a company that sells Motorbike Helmets