Always Do These Six Quick Checks Before Riding A Motorcycle
Always do these six quick checks before riding a motorcycle
This idea of this list is to help you introduce quick, potentially life saving, checks into your routine before you set off riding a motorcycle.
Certainly on the UK roads, most ventures out on the bike consist of watching out for what everyone else is doing, dodging oil spills and slaloming around pot holes. The last thing you want to be worrying about is a problem with your own machine. While accidents caused by a mechanical problem are less common than they used to be, it’s still something you should be very aware of.
Most “pre-ride” safety check lists are not practical to do every time you get on your bike. Removing the seat to check the battery with a voltmeter? Getting out your paddock stand to check your oil levels? Sure, these things are highly recommended to do as part of routine maintenance, but not as a repeated check each time before you ride (unless you want to of course!).
As you approach your bike, lean down and give the closest tyre a firm press with your thumb, then move to the other side of the bike and do the same to the other tyre. We’re assuming you’re not carrying a pressure gauge everywhere you go and while this check isn’t precise by any means it will indicate if you have a soft or flat tyre. Getting down the road and hitting a corner with an unexpected soft tyre could lead to all sorts of unpleasantries.
The brakes are obviously one of the most important things you can check. As this isn’t thorough inspection we won’t be looking at the pads or discs. Instead, grab the front brake as your on the bike and push forward, if your brakes are gripping properly it should compress your front forks. We like to give the back brake a gentle press just as we pull away to check rear braking. If you’re not happy with anything make sure to investigate further before setting off.
We’re not going to be checking oil levels here, simply look around the bottom of your bike for any fluid that may have left the bike. As part of your usual maintenance routine you should already know the levels are all correct – here we’re checking that none of that stuff has left the bike while it was unattended. Before putting your gloves on run your finger along the exposed part of the forks, if your feeling any oil you likely have a leak in your fork seals and should arrange to have your forks serviced ASAP. The last thing you want is any of that stuff getting onto your brake discs. Give your brake fluid master cylinder a quick flick to check its between the lines before you set off.
Before putting your helmet on, gently lift the slackest part of the centre of your chain with your toe. We’re checking for any excessive slack. If you adjust your chain at home (if you don’t then start!) you’ll soon get an eye for how the correct tension should look. We’ll be writing an article soon with step by step instructions for anyone who has never done it before. In the meantime, be sure to check out our Essential Chain Maintenance article.
Once your on the bike, turn the handle bars full lock both ways and check that the brake, clutch and electrical cables are all moving freely and nothing is snagged in your steering.
6. Your Gear
Lastly, check your own gear before you set off. It’s all to easy to set off after forgetting to do up your helmet strap or secure all the fasteners on your jacket. If your safety gear isn’t fastened properly it could potentially come off in the event of an accident. Take 10 seconds to check it before you set off.
So there we have it, our recommended six quick checks before riding a motorcycle. We hope you will introduce these checks into your daily routine.