Being a motorcycle owner gives you a sense of freedom like no other. However, it is not all glitz and glam and there are things that you need to do regularly to make sure that your riding experience is as smooth and safe as possible. Whether you are a newbie or a well-seasoned professional rider, nobody is exempt from these steps.
Here are 7 essential steps every motorcycle owner needs to take regularly.
Make Sure Your Motorcycle Is Insured
Motorcycle insurance is a legal requirement for all motorbike owners in the UK. If you drive without being covered you can risk big fines and losing your licence. Do not be the person who drives around without motorcycle insurance because you are endangering yourself and those around you. Additionally, if you get into an accident you will not be able to claim any compensation and if the police find out that your vehicle is uninsured they can seize your motorbike and in the worst-case scenario, they can potentially even destroy it.
Regularly Change Your Oil
This may seem like a fairly obvious point to make, however, too often people make the mistake of not regularly changing their oil. It is a very basic maintenance requirement for motorcycle owners and you need to change your oil every six months or every 3000 to 5000 miles driven – whichever comes first. A common mistake made among motorcyclists is that they assume that they do not need to change their oil because they do not ride their motorbike that much. However, engine oil does get old over time and does not work as well, so be sure to stay on top of this and change it regularly.
Regularly Check Tire Pressure
Again, this might seem like a trivial point but it is something that gets neglected by many a motorcycle owner. This is a mistake because the healthier your tires are the safer you are on the road. So if you take care of them then they will take care of you. If you are a frequent rider then you should use a tire pressure gauge to check your tires roughly around once a week. If you are unsure of how to do this, check out this handy guide on how to check your tire pressure correctly.
Regularly Check Your Chain Tension
This point is super important because if your chain tension is poor then you won’t have any power coming from the back wheel. There are tools out there that are made to help you check the tension of your chair. Ideally, you want your chain tension to have between 30 to 40mm of slack but this can vary depending on the type of motorbike and chain you have. You have to be careful with how you adjust the chain because if it is too tight then this can break the chain, and if it is too loose then it can fall off. So you need to get it just right and while you are checking the tension, it is worth lubricating the chain to prevent any other issues from arising.
Take Your Motorcycle For MOT Tests
For those who are unfamiliar with this term, an MOT (Ministry of Transport) test is an annual test that checks vehicle safety, exhaust emissions and roadworthiness aspects of vehicles that are over three years old. If you fail to get these checks done you can be fined up to £1000. The MOT will check several things, for instance, how well your lights work, your brakes, the exhaust system, fuel system, the frame, steering, suspension, tyres and more. While it can be a pain doing these tests and being without your motorbike temporarily, they are so important for your safety and the safety of other drivers on the road. In the same way, you rely on other drivers to be safe and sensible, they will rely on you to do the same.
Change Your Helmet
You might think that changing your helmet is not necessary, especially if it has not taken any damage, however, the reality is that after time your helmet begins to wear and tear. Having a strong and secure helmet should be your number one priority and it is recommended that you change it every five years or so. As your helmet ages, the glues inside of the helmet can negatively impact the inside lining. Additionally, the padding loses its strength over time and so you will become less protected. Do not take any chances and make sure you are using a helmet that is going to protect you as much as possible.
If you have had any kind of accident or received any kind of damage to the helmet, regardless of how minor it was, you must replace your helmet immediately.
Always Check The Weather
Before going out on a drive it is essential that you check the weather, especially if you are planning on going out for a long drive. Riding in better weather conditions is a lot safer than riding in snow, sleet or rain. Additionally, when the temperatures drop, black ice can be detrimental for motorbike riders because even if you do not get caught on the ice, drivers around you might and this can cause accidents. So, next time you go out for a ride, make sure you check the weather so you are fully prepared, and if you aren’t comfortable with the conditions then leave the drive for another day.
As a side note, it is important to be wearing proper gear when driving in difficult weather conditions, otherwise, this can affect your driving as your visibility can be reduced or you might be uncomfortable due to the cold.
To be a good motorcycle owner you have to make sure that you are being sensible and safe. This not only protects yourself but also helps to ensure the safety of other drivers on the road. Make sure to conduct these seven essential steps regularly and you will be set.