How should you prepare your motorbike for the summer, and what checks should you make or what maintenance should you carry out to ensure your bike is roadworthy if you’ve kept it off the road for a while? What safety issues should you consider while riding in the summer? In this guide we will cover all aspects of riding your motorcycle safely in hot weather.
6 Step Checklist To Keep Your Motorbike Maintained
It doesn’t take long to check your bike thoroughly and you will have much better peace of mind on your summer motorbike rides when you do. Here are six steps to take before you take your bike out this summer:
1. Inspect your bike
If your motorbike has been mothballed over the bad weather months of the winter, before you go out for the first time, it should be given a complete bike check. Just as you would with a car that has been sat for a few weeks, it is worth doing to help reveal any issues that may require attention such as leaks and signs of wear.
Another check is to turn on your ignition and to test your lights, horn and brakes.
2. Check your tyres and wheels
The condition of your tyres is highly important. It is advisable that you check the manufacture date and examine the rubber for dry rot, cracks, or excessive hardening from oxidation.
If your tyre has wear indicators, it should be easy to spot whether it is time for replacement when the wear bar becomes flush with the surface of the tyre. If you are unsure, check remaining tread depth at the area of the tyre that has seen the most wear or check with a mechanic.
3. Check your battery
If your battery takes a full charge, that’s a good sign in terms of maintenance. But if you would like some more accuracy, probing with a multimeter can give you an idea of your battery’s overall health.
The manufacture date can also be found on the sticker, and if yours is pushing five years you may want to start thinking about getting a replacement.
4. Check your brakes and fluids
It is advisable that you check your brake pads to see if they are wearing evenly. You can also measure the remaining depth of the pad material against the spec in your service manual to be sure they’re still safe to run.
Check your brake fluid and your coolant. A good flush with water, or even just a simple drain and fill will go a long way to preventing corrosion inside your cooling system.
If you have multiple bikes, or just don’t rack up a lot of miles on your machine, it’s good to change the oil at least once a season so you know it has been done and you don’t have old, contaminated oil in your cases.
5. A new oil filter
Always use a new oil filter and make sure you stay on top of fuel filter and air filter recharging or replacement.
6. Check your controls
It’s a good idea to check your clutch and throttle for smooth operation and adjustment.
You should also sit on the bike and make sure your mirrors haven’t come loose. Turn the handlebar lock to lock and check for cable and wiring interference or strain, and feel for notchiness in the steering head bearings. You should also double check your shifter and brake pedal are indexed where you want them. You might have gotten used to a position that was less than ideal last season, so adjust now before you build up that muscle memory again.
What Should Bikers Do to Stay Safe for Summer Riding?
As a motorbike rider, after following your vehicle maintenance checks, all that you can do is ensure that you are doing everything in your power to ride safely. Here are some key things to consider when riding your motorbike during the summer months:
- Despite feeling hot and sweaty during the summer months, you must ensure that all summer gear is still fully protective and avoid the temptation to leave bare skin exposed.
- Still ride with your headlight on dipped beam, even if the sun is blazing. You must always be visible.
- If you are taking a long journey, take frequent stops as heat stress can start building without you noticing it. This stands for anyone during the summer, but bikers must keep hydrated. Dehydration will adversely affect your concentration and your ability to react to situations will be impaired, which will make you unsafe on the roads. Excessive speed is one of the major factors causing fatalities among motorbike riders. Don’t get over-excited and treat a glorious summer’s day riding any differently to driving in dry conditions in the autumn.
- Watch out for the road surface conditions. Prolonged dry weather does nothing to improve the potholes caused by winter weather.
- Be alert when filtering through stationary traffic and if the gap you are thinking of riding through seems narrow, hold back.
- In the summer an extra danger is low early morning and late afternoon or early evening sun. This may momentarily dazzle a motorist who is looking to emerge from a minor road onto the main road that you are riding along. Try to make eye contact with the drivers of other vehicles around you when necessary.
Your next steps
All year round it is important for motorbike riders to stay safe on the roads by being visible and vigilant. But in the summer, other factors should be considered for your own and your bikes’ health.
Be Wiser is an established insurance broker you can depend on. We work with specialist insurers to provide competitive rates and meet a wide range of insurance needs. Our team of qualified insurance professionals can find the right bike insurance cover to meet your specific needs. Plus, when you choose Be Wiser, helmets and leathers cover comes free with all motorbike insurance policies.