Vehicle reliability and safety are key issues for any road user but particularly motorcyclists, whose machines offer little protection compared to cars in the event of a collision.
If you ride a motorbike, the following checklist will help ensure you are as prepared as you can be for the dangers of riding on public roads.
Make sure you have enough fuel for the journey. Does your machine have a reserve tank switch or just a warning light? Can you turn the fuel tap to reserve while on the move without taking your eyes off the road? Do you know where the tap is?
Find out how to check the oil level on your machine. Most dry-sump machines require you to check the oil when the engine is hot, while most wet-sump machines should have their oil level checked with the engine cold. Which type is yours? The owner’s handbook will tell you how to perform this check correctly.
Is your machine water- or air-cooled? Do you know how to check the coolant level?
Check your bike for signs of obvious wear-and-tear. Are the light lenses or mirrors cracked or broken? Any noticeable buckles in the rims? Any drips or pools under the bike? Check for damage to the tyre walls and rim.
Check your lights and indicators are clean and working. Do you know where the fuses are and can you replace them?
As the only point of contact between you and the road, your tyres and their condition are critical to your safety. Too much air in your tyres reduces grip, too little promotes instability because it allows the side walls of the tyres to flex. Know your tyre pressures and the legal minimum tread depth.
Maintenance is vital. A badly maintained chain may snap or jump off and cause you to crash. If you cannot service your bike yourself get a professional to do it.