Published: Friday, November 16, 2018
The weather’s warming up, and if you own a motorcycle you’re probably preparing to hit the open road. Here are a few important things you need to do before hopping on. Words: Jeremy Rochow
If you haven’t ridden for a while, don’t make your first outing a marathon. Motorcycle riding can be more physically demanding than driving so start with shorter journeys and build up to a long run.
We’ve listed 8 simple motorcycle checks that’ll help keep you safe on the road.
If there’s been fuel sitting in the tank while it was stored in the garage over winter, it may have gone stale.
Stale petrol can lead to a number of mechanical problems, including making it difficult for you to start your motorcycle, if at all.
In this case, it’s best to drain your tank and refill it with fresh fuel. While you’re there, it’s a good idea to change the oil and filter if your bike has one.
2. Drive chain/ belt tension
This vital part helps transfer power to the wheels of the motorcycle, so make sure it’s adjusted and well-lubricated before you ride.
You should also wipe off any excess grime using a rag or towel, which will create a clean surface that’s friendlier to lubricants.
As a motorcyclist, you’ll want to be visible to other road users as much as possible, so make sure all your lights are working.
Check your warning lights and indicators, as well as your brake, park, hazard and dash lights.
Make sure the coolant’s at the correct level and the cooling system hoses are in good condition.
If your coolant hasn’t been changed in more than two years, you’ll need to replace it. When replacing or refilling the coolant, make sure the engine is cold. Otherwise, you risk scalding yourself.
Before going for a ride, check the pressure of your tyres and ensure there’s at least 1.5mm of tread.
It’s also important to look for any deterioration, cuts or flat spots.
Test out the battery and make sure it’s fully charged before heading out.
The horn is a handy safety tool for motorcyclists on the road, so test it before leaving your driveway. Just try not to scare the neighbours.
Your helmet, including the visor, should be in good condition and free of any deep scratches or dents.
Remember, soft interior parts – such as cheek pads – can wear down over time so you may need to replace them to ensure full support.
Check your equipment
While it’s important to check your motorcycle is reliable and roadworthy, you also need to make sure your protective gear is up to scratch.
There’s a new tool to help riders evaluate the safety and comforts of jackets, pants and gloves – the Motorcycle Clothing Assessment Program (MotoCAP).
MotoCAP’s protection star rating, based on testing by Deakin University’s Institute for Frontier Materials, considers abrasion resistance, burst strength and impact protection in case of a crash.
A separate comfort rating is based on thermal comfort in the Australian climate. For MotoCAP ratings and information about the scheme, visit the MotoCAP website.