It may be tempting to jump on your motorcycle and ride off without another thought, but it’s important to make sure your bike is in good condition before you hit the road. Experts recommend conducting a quick pre-ride inspection before each trip.
What Should I Inspect on My Motorcycle?
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) suggests checking six areas before each ride. It uses the acronym T-CLOCS to help riders remember to take a look at the tires and wheels (T), controls (C), lights and electrics (L), oil and other fluids (O), chassis (C) and stands (S).
If you’re not familiar with your motorcycle’s controls or parts, you may want to consider taking a course, such as the MSF’s program for new riders, which includes a review of T-CLOCS. It’s also a good idea to consult your owner’s manual for your bike’s specific maintenance needs.
For those already familiar with their bike, the MSF provides the following guidance on some of the parts to inspect in each area:
Tires and Wheels
Make sure both tires are in good condition before starting a ride. Ensuring there are no embedded objects and bulges, and monitoring the wear of your tires may contribute to a safer ride. It’s also a good idea to check your tire pressure, especially when it’s cold outside, to make sure they have enough air.
While you’re looking at the tires, take a look at the wheels to make sure everything looks in order. Keep an eye out for bent, broken or missing spokes, for instance, and watch for excessive grease, which may indicate a cracked seal.
Finally, check your brake pads and discs for wear, and make sure both brakes work.
It’s important to know that each of your bike’s controls are in working order each time you ride. Check that your hand grips are securely in place and that your handlebars are straight and turn easily. Make sure your throttle easily moves and doesn’t make a revving sound when you turn the handlebars.
Test your levers and pedals, too, to ensure they are properly adjusted and have no bends or cracks. And don’t forget to look over your cables and hoses for visible damage, such as cuts or kinks.