10 Things to Check on a Pre-Ride Inspection

Even though the riding season is winding down, mild sunny days punctuate the oncoming cold and darkness. Get out and enjoy them! Winter can be long.

Pre-Ride ChecklistBefore you do, perform a quick pre-ride circle check to make sure all is in order with your bike.

The temptation is to put it off, knowing it’s headed for storage shortly. You’ve made it thus far through the season. What could possibly go wrong now? Don’t tempt fate.

Consult with your owner’s manual to learn the specific requirements for your bike.


10 Things to Check on a Pre-Ride Inspection


  1. Tires. Two small contact patches are all that are connecting you with the road. Examine the tread, look for damage and check the tire pressure. Tires tend to lose pressure in the cold so even if they’ve been fine all summer, that can change in autumn.


  1. Front Brakes. Sit on the bike, move it forward and apply the front brake only. Check for play and tension in the brake lever. Make sure the brake stops the front wheel and triggers the brake light. If you’re alone, move the bike close to a light-colored wall or hold a piece of paper behind the light. You’ll see the reflection more easily. While brake pads don’t need to be checked every time, inspect them periodically throughout the season.


  1. Rear Brakes. Follow the same process as for the front. Make sure you can apply the brake without removing your foot from the footrest.


  1. Turn Signals. Engage the turn signals and make sure both front and rear are illuminating.


  1. Clutch Lever. Make sure it operates smoothly and that there is free play in the lever.


  1. Throttle. Twist it, make sure it operates smoothly and snaps back to the off position when released.


  1. Fluids. Check the ground beneath the bike, looking for any fluid leaks. If there are any, determine the source, check the levels and top up if necessary. You will need to make the determination if it’s safe to operate.


  1. Chain. If your bike has a chain, check the tension, adjust if necessary and apply lubricant if it’s dry. The best time to lube is actually after a ride while the chain is still warm.


  1. Oil. Check the engine oil level to make sure it’s within the acceptable limit.


  1. Cables. Observe them, looking for wear and making sure they’re not getting caught up on anything.


Complacency can be a killer. Your motorcycle is carrying the most precious cargo there is. Taking a few minutes before every ride for a pre-ride inspection. Making  sure it’s safe is time well spent.


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photo credit: Jonathan Kos-Read via photopin cc


Author, writer, student and motorcycle aficionado Liz Jansen combines her artistic mediums to create stories that inspire readers to embark on their own journey of self-discovery. No helmet or jacket required.