Regular motorcycle inspection and maintenance is essential to keeping your bike working properly and to catching any small problems before they become big problems. Especially if you are about to depart on a long motorcycle trip, it is essential that you go over every inch of your bike and make sure that everything is tuned up and that there are no small problems that could potentially become serious issues as your ride. To make sure that your bike is in 100% perfect working order, let’s start from the bottom.
Your tires, as the only part of the bike that should ever touch the road, are vitally important. You already know that tires wear down as your ride, but did you also know that they can age significantly in the sun? Unless you keep your bike covered on sun days, you’ve probably seen your tires become bleached and even cracked in the sun.
Before getting on your bike, look at your tires. Is there plenty of tread? Are they worn down? Is there any visible sign of damage? Check your tire pressure and give them an extra boost of air if they are low. Doing this before every ride will make sure you don’t have any trouble with one of your bike’s most important parts.
While some high tech bikes may have a dial that will check tire pressure for you, the best way to know that you have the right PSI is to check it manually. If you don’t have a pressure gauge, borrow one or purchase one from an automotive supply store.
There will be a valve on the tire where you can add air or let it out, usually with a screw-on cap. Take off the cap and press the mouth of the gauge against the valve firmly. If the reading seems particularly high or low, check it again. Most tires will have the recommended PSI either imprinted on the tire. If it is not, check your bike’s owner’s manual.
If your tires are underinflated, take it to a garage or gas station where they have an air pump. Use the compressed air to fill the tires, continually checking them with the gauge until you have the right pressure. If you overfill them, you can use the gauge to bleed away excess air.
Tread is essential to proper motorcycle operation in the best and worst of weather. A bald tire can make even a small puddle on the tarmac dangerous. To check your tread, take a quarter and place it into the tread. If there is enough depth that the top of Washington’s head is covered, you are good to go. If not, it is time for new tires.