Long-distance motorcycle trips can be a rite of passage or a regular event; either way, they’re sure to be a great adventure. These five mechanical checks should be second nature to ensure your safety before you head off.
1. Adjust the throttle
- Make sure the bike’s throttle opens smoothly. If it doesn’t, or if releasing it doesn’t cause it to snap closed, you’ll need to make adjustments before heading out on a long trip. In fact, it’s not safe to ride short distances if your throttle isn’t adjusted correctly.
- Take this opportunity to check and adjust your brake cable as well.
2. Check the tires
- Tires that are not inflated properly can very dangerous on a motorcycle trip. Make sure you double-check your tires before hitting the road.
- It’s a good idea to check the tread on tires as well. Keep in mind that it won’t wear down simultaneously on each side, so a thorough visual inspection should be mandatory before you head out.
3. Check and change the oil
Those who enjoy long-distance motorcycle rides know that they need to change the oil more often than those who ride sporadically.
- Make sure to check your oil level on a weekly basis and before a long trip. A lack of oil can cause serious damage to your motorcycle.
4. Check the mirrors
Side mirrors are important for any driver on the road, but they’re often a matter of life or death for motorcyclists. Not being able to see everything around the bike can cause a tragic accident.
- If a mirror is cracked or pieces of glass have fallen out, make sure to replace it before hitting the open road. Same goes if your bike is missing a mirror.
- It’s also important to make sure that all mirrors are adjusted correctly. To do this, sit on the seat and angle the mirror until you can see into the lane directly behind you and on either side of the bike.
5. Make sure all the lights work
Countless accidents happen every year because motorcycles are not as easy to see as traditional vehicles. It’s imperative that you make your motorcycle as visible as possible. This means ensuring that all of its lights work perfectly.
- Check your brake lights, headlights and turning signals for any cracks, damaged reflectors or burnouts. Your brake lights should engage regardless of whether you’re using the rear or front brakes.
- Make sure the high beams on your headlights work as well.
- Double check for exposed wires that could easily come loose.
For many people, taking a road trip can be one of most liberating experiences of their lives. If a motorcycle is your vehicle of choice, make sure to ride safe by performing these mechanical checks before you hit the road.