In the aviation industry, pilots perform a pre-flight check by walking around and visually inspecting the aircraft prior to every flight.
Similarly, you should perform a pre-ride check as well, it'll take a few minutes and it might save your life.
Here's what to look for when performing your Pre-Ride Check.
- Tires: A Visual check looking for excessive damage, wear, or anything stuck in the tread or sidewalls, followed by a pressure check using a tire pressure gauge at least once per week.
- Rims: More important on dirt bikes and dual sports, inspect the spokes by running a wrench or screwdriver over each spoke. This will make a tone where any loose spoke will sound different. Also visually check to make sure none are broken.
- Leaks: Check the oil, coolant, and brake fluid levels while inspecting your bike for any spots indicating a fluid leak.
- Throttle: Twist the throttle to check for proper operation. It should operate smoothly without binding and fully closed under its own power.
- Brakes: Depress the brake lever, and pedal to check if they are engaging. If they are operating correctly, there should be some resistance when depressing them and when fully depressed your bike should not move when trying to push it forward and back.
- Lights: make sure the brake, taillight, headlight, and indicators are working correctly.
- Engine oil: With any fluid, check the level and add more if necessary.
- Fuel level: You won’t get very far if you are low on fuel. This can also indicate if you need to fuel up before, during, or after your begin your trip.
- Drive chain: Check condition, tension, and lubrication.
- Clutch: Much like the brake lever, check for smooth operation. Also, try pushing your bike with it engaged. Your bike should move freely without engaging the brake.
- Cables: Loose control cables can negatively affect your ride, so check your cables for security.
- Nuts and bolts: Nuts and bolts can vibrate loose over time, and that can impact your ride in many ways. See if anything has vibrated loose especially before and after dirt bike rides. Give a light tug with a wrench on any known problem nuts and bolts especially the ones in the exhaust system.
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