A Pre Ride Motorcycle Inspection before you Head Out for a Road Trip
Winter is coming, which is the best season to travel on a motorcycle. I am sure that you all have decided on the place that you will ride and already planned your itinerary accordingly.
However, touring on a motorcycle could be a dangerous game even on a good day, more likely to take a turn for the worse if your machine isn’t functioning as it should be. Mechanical failure can occur in even the newest of bikes, so it’s worth taking a few minutes before every ride to make sure that your motorcycle is up to scratch and running like a dream. We all know we should perform a pre-ride check, but let’s be honest, we tend to skip them from time to time, don’t we?
Before my trip to East Sikkim, I didn’t inspect the bike. My bike refused to start in Zuluk and I had to load it on a pickup vehicle till Siliguri to fix it. When we get in trouble, then only we realize how important it is to do a pre-trip inspection before we hit the road.
The checklist below will help you monitor and ready your bike before any trip or ride. However, it does not make your bike 100% fail proof but, if you are not pushing your bike beyond its limit, it should be fine.
Before going to a ride always make sure to check your tyres as they are the most vulnerable component of your bike. Without them, you aren’t going anywhere. Inflate them properly as low tire pressure can cause problems from handling distortion to punctures and affect your fuel consumption. Also, check for cracked or gashed rubber, find out if there is enough tread left on them for wet roads. In the case of tubeless tyres, check for nails, glass or any objects which could lead to air loss while riding. Also, check for quick release mechanisms that hold your wheels in place and confirm that they are securely fastened.
Now that you know your motorcycle can roll, checking your brakes comes next as you would obviously want to stop it. Inspect the disc pads and find out how much it is left on both front and rear. If necessary replace it, as it is savings in the long run before they damage the disks.
Suspension system keeps your motorcycle on the road when riding over bumps. It also helps in steering and handling which is critical for safe riding. Check both suspensions by pushing them down. Also, check for oil leaks if any.
Check the levers and pedals carefully for cracks and breaks. Make sure all of the mounting locations, including the handlebar mounts, are tight.
Clean the mirrors, also, check for any cracks and loose mounts. While adjusting they should remain where you set them but, should be loose enough to re-adjust without effort.
Examine your bike for any loose connections, corrosion on the battery terminals which could cause a short circuit. Look for a broken terminal, bulge or bump in the case, crack or rupture of the plastic, excessive leaking, and fluid level.
Check the tension, it should not be loose otherwise, it might come off from the sprocket which could be dangerous while riding. Also before lubricating, clean the chain for oil and dust, that has an abrasive effect and shortens the chain’s service life. Also, check the teeth of the sprocket are not hooked and securely mounted.
Accelerator and Clutch Cable
Make sure that the cable’s ends and shafts lubed. Should not have any fraying or kinks. Also, check for no binding when the handlebar is turned. Carry a spare of each in case of a surprise damage.
Check Coolant level and cooling fans in case of liquid cooled motorcycles. Also, look for debris on the radiator and leaks in all the hose connections.
Check for engine oil level when its warm and on the center stand. Do not ignore to check gaskets, oil seals and housing for any signs of leak. Check brake fluid level for both front and rear. Remember, no brake fluid means no brakes.
Wiring, Lights and Electricals
Look for any loose or fraying chafing insulation, missing clips, and broken wire looms and ties. If you find any, repair or replace them. Check brake and taillights are working. Also, check your headlight and instrument cluster for any errors.
So, looks like you are ready and you can fire up the beast. But, don’t just hop on yet, leave the engine idle for 1 to 2 minute so that the engine oil can do its job allowing to lube all the engine components. Also, do not over rev the engine which can cause major internal damage to your engine.