It’s nearing the end of July, and the summer days are ticking down, which means you’ve got a good two and a half months of great riding weather before it starts turning cold. This is an opportune time to plan at least one or two big riding journeys on your motorbike, if you haven’t already.
But even if this is your first journey out with your bike, or if you have many bike trips under your belt, you’ll still need to check your motorcycle’s wheels and brakes before you head out. If you have someone younger riding with you, and they’re interested in motorcycles like you are, then show them these steps you go through to make sure your bike is in tip-top shape and always ready to ride.
What To Watch For
1) Tyre pressure. Under-inflation or over-inflation both mean trouble. If your tyres are under-inflated, this means your tyre walls don’t have enough firmness to deal with the forces being placed on them. This will affect handling and braking.
Over-inflation gives you the opposite problem: you won’t have a proper amount of contact on the road, and this will affect grip. This said, you will want more pressure in your tyres if you’ve someone riding pillion.
Make sure to use a good tyre pressure gauge, and check the pressure when the tyres are cold. If you’re unsure of the pressure, check your owner’s manual for the correct number. Keep in mind also that different driving conditions can affect your tyre pressure, so having a pressure gauge in your storage pack someplace while out on long trips can make plenty of difference between a safe ride and an unsafe one.
2) Brakes. No matter whether you’re out on a long bike tour, or you’re simply running errands through town, your bike’s brake pads must be in prime condition, or at least have plenty of wear left on them before you leave home on a big trip. If you do a lot of riding overall, then you know that this is an important step.
How to check for wear and tear: look to see if there is any metal exposed on the brakes. If there is, then you’ll need to get these changed as soon as possible. If you’ve the experience and the tools, then this level of motorcycle maintenance should be fairly easy to do.
But since this repair step has obvious safety implications should you get something wrong, you’ll want to let a professional service handle the task. It’s worth spending the extra money for a job done properly, because it’s your safety in which you’ll be investing.
Have a Pro Look Over Your Bike
If you are new to biking, and are unsure about how to perform your own maintenance tasks at first, you can always take your bike in for a vehicle inspection test. Many mechanics or motoring organisations offer some level of inspection service, so you’ll get the kind of peace of mind you deserve before climbing aboard and starting the engine for a long journey.
While the focus of this article were the tyres and brakes, pre-ride maintenance is a must for all parts of your bike, if you want to avoid costly motorcycle repairs and delays to any journeys you might take, no matter what time of year it is.