OUT FOR A RIDE: Make sure your bike is tuned and checked before heading off this summer. Image: Dries van der Walt
Cape Town - Summer is a great time to get your motorbike out of the garage, dust it off, and hit the road.
If you haven’t been on the bike for a while, are you sure it’s still in good enough shape to meet the demands of the road? The Automobile Association (AA) said it is important for all motorbike riders to check their machines properly, and to follow all road rules, to ensure a safer journey.
The AA commented: “Motorbike riding is an excellent activity, and brings friends and families together. But just as with your car, it is important to ensure that if you haven’t ridden it in a while, it is still in good mechanical condition, and that all the components are working as they should."
Ensuring basic safety
The Association also noted that it is critical for all motorbike owners to ensure their tyres and wheels are in good condition as these were amongst the most important safety features on the bike.
It is important to inflate the tyres to the manufacturer’s recommended air pressure, making sure there is enough tread left for future journeys. If your motorbike has been standing on its tyres for a while, make sure there are no flat spots on them.
The AA adds: “Remember to also check your wheels, making sure that if your bike has spokes, they are not bent or loose. Lift each wheel off the ground and spin it, this should give you an indication if there are problems."
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Other aspects of your motorbike to check before heading off include:
• Controls - All pedals and levers should move easily. Check that your brake control cables move freely and aren’t frayed. Check that the handlebars move easily from side to side, and that the throttle snaps closed when released.
• Lights - Make sure that your headlights and indicators all work properly, and don’t forget about your brake lights.
• Oil and fluids - Check the fuel and oil levels carefully, ensuring that all are in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
• Ask a professional - If you are not mechanically inclined, take your bike to a workshop to have a mechanic give it a once over, before you head out.
The AA suggests that “apart from these tips, we also recommend that if you haven’t ridden your bike in a while, you take it out to a quiet spot for a test ride to regain some “riding” memory. By doing this you will get used driving with your head up, looking ahead, and checking for blind spots."
In addition to all of this, the Association urged all motorbike riders who have not ridden in a while to re-check their equipment - such as helmets and leathers - to ensure they are still in good condition.
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“Even helmets without damage should be checked and replaced every couple of years as new developments in helmet safety technology make them more protective. Check to see if your helmet is still in good nick, and if you have any doubts, get a new one,” the AA concluded.