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Common sense tells you to be careful when around dangerous fluids like petrol, but it is surprisingly easy to spill it whilst filling up your bike, splashing some across the gas tank and onto a hot engine, or exhaust header pipes. The results can be catastrophic, so always take care and don’t rush the job.


Some bikers prefer to sit astride their bikes whilst gassing up, arguing that this allows you to truly fill the tank to the brim and see the fuel rising to the very top. True enough, but aiming to squeeze in those last few drops increases the risk that one day, a slightly iffy pump, will suddenly squirt a last gasp of petrol into a full tank, possibly spilling it straight over the engine, your privates – or both!


Ooh Matron!


So set the bike securely on its stand, take your gloves off so you can feel the gas pump’s trigger pressure accurately, then get as close as possible to the gas tank filler cap, without taking too many deep breaths of the horrible petrol fumes. Angle the pump nozzle slightly to the side, or back of the gas tank, as this will minimise the risk of petrol splashing back from any ridge inside your petrol tank.


Fuel up steadily, gradually decreasing trigger pressure after 30 seconds or so. Most bikes take around 15-18 litres from reserve to full, or just over three gallons. It doesn’t take some pumps long to deliver that amount, so pump the last half gallon in very slowly.


Not only is petrol potentially highly flammable, but it damages paintwork too. So if you do spill some, get it wiped away as quickly as possible. Finally, make sure the gas cap has locked shut properly – test it by pulling gently at it with the key removed (assuming it is the locking type obviously). There’s nothing quite so deadly as leaking fuel over your nads as you ride off merrily into the sunset.


It ain’t big, or clever, so don’t let it happen to you.

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