- Created: 22 October 2009
If you are going to get the best from your motorcycle, you will need to ensure that it is properly maintained. Not only will looking after your motorcycle or scooter ensure that you get the best possible biking experience, it will also ensure that you stay safe on the roads and on the right side of the law.
With the help of Get On, who are aiming to encourage new riders to experience the excitement, freedom and convenience of biking, we have come up with a series of checklists that you can follow to ensure that you’re riding legally and safely.
The first thing that any rider should do is check that their documents are all correct. This includes the V5 logbook, motorcycle insurance documents, road tax (VED) and MOT (where applicable). Other optional services, such as breakdown cover, are also recommended.
Make regular checks to ensure that you have plenty left on your brake pads and check that both the disc and shoes are in good condition. Also remember that brake fluid runs out and doesn’t re-fill itself. Without the brake fluid, you don’t have any brakes.
Cracks can appear on tyres during winter time, even though you may not use your bike, so make sure that you pay close attention to your tyres, particularly in cold weather. Also keep a look out for nails, bulges and make sure your tyres are always at the right pressure. Even the smallest puncture can cause a serious blow-out at high speed.
Remember to check the tread depth on your tyres, which must be a minimum of 1mm throughout a continuous band measuring at least three-quarters of the breadth of the tread and round the entire outer circumference of the tyre. If the grooves of the original tread pattern of the tyre do not extend beyond three-quarters of the breadth of the tread (as is the case with many motorcycle tyres) any groove of the original pattern must also have a minimum depth of at least 1mm. The penalty for riding with tyres that do not meet this requirement can be as much as a £2,500 fine and three penalty points per tyre.
Regular oil changes can increase the performance, smoothness and longevity of your motorcycle, so make regular checks. Also remember to keep all major fluids topped up, even if you have not used your bike for a while. Particular areas to pay attention to are the coolant and the oil in the fork seals.
Chain and Sprockets
Winter can also cause problems with chains and sprockets. Cold temperatures can cause a chain to seize and become weak in places, so make sure all your links are loose and your sprockets don’t have too much wear in them.
Make sure your bulb is working and generating light and check the positioning of your headlight to avoid blinding oncoming drivers. Remember to check your tail light, brake light and indicators as well.