Pre- Flight (Ride) Inspection-

I see it all day long. People come into the shop to pick up their bike and jump on it, turn the key on, start it up and pop it into gear and ride off. Why, you might ask is this a problem? After all, didn’t your Techs just work on it?
Yes, it is true that my guys may have worked on it, but….we are human. As Humans, we are prone to making mistakes just like everyone else. You should ALWAYS do a pre ride inspection. It only takes a few seconds and it could be all the difference between making it where you are going and not.
So, what should your pre ride inspection consist of? I will run down my recommendations for machine safety checks that should be performed EVERY time you get ready to go for a ride.

First, the walk-around - The walk-around is the most important part of the pre-ride inspection.

1. You need to look at the condition of your tires, are they down to the wear limit? Do they look flat? Are there any visible abnormalities? Look for weird bulges, cords showing, severe dry cracking.

2. Is there anything falling off? Check the turn signals and other hardware visually to be sure nothing looks out of place or loose.

3. Check the operation of the lighting system. Headlight high and low beam, turn signals left and right, and the brake lights/taillights.

4. Check your engine oil level. On some bikes this is done before starting the engine, other bikes require the engine to be warmed up. This is critically important to the engines life expectancy, so do it before every ride.

5. If your bike is equipped with a chain or belt drive, a quick visual check of the tension is easy to do. Refer to your owner’s manual for proper adjustment.

6. Make a quick check of your fuel level. Be sure the kids didn’t drain your tank to fill up the lawnmower (Don’t laugh- I had this happen…)

7. Fluid leaks- oil or coolant under the bike is a good clue there is a bad leak, but little leaks may not make it to the ground. Make sure the engine is free of visible leaks and that the suspension seals are not leaking. These checks are all done BEFORE you even swing a leg over the seat!

After you get on the bike, check your mirror adjustment, clutch lever free play and be sure both brakes are “pumped up”. Squeeze the front brake lever and push on the rear brake pedal, they should feel firm. If it goes to the grip, you have a problem. Don’t wait until you’re rolling down the driveway before you find out the brakes aren’t pumped up. Proper clutch lever free play is critical on cable operated clutches. Save yourself $500.00 and be sure you have the proper free play set at the lever- this is simple to do. Again, refer to your bikes owner’s manual for the exact spec.

All of these things are simple yet critical to the safe operation of the motorcycle. 5 minutes or less could save you a lot of pain in the end.


Ride Safe and Smart!

Dr Jay