10 Things You Should Do Before Riding a Motorcycle
As a new motorcycle rider, with almost zero or very little experience riding a motorcycle out on the road can be very intimidating. Some small things need your undivided attention so that you remain a good rider and take proper care of your ride as well. This list will guide you through some basics explaining why each of these tips is equally important.
1 - Do not buy a very expensive bike
As your first motorcycle, you obviously desire something that looks very cool and such motorcycles are generally expensive. Before riding a motorcycle of your own, learn to ride from a professional. If you are a beginner your first bike is will soon start looking like an old one because it is bound to get some wrecks due to your lack of experience.
The high cost and extremely powerful engine are not what a novice rider needs, I think you should not spend more than $1000 on your first bike and even if you are very well off it should not exceed $3000. You can always get that motorcycle which you dream of, as your second bike when you become more experienced.
2 - Get appropriate safety gear
You need to be aware that your only expenditure will not be the motorcycle purchase only; there are various other additional costs that come with owning a vehicle. You do have to buy a good helmet that costs around $500 and that is just not enough, remember to strap on the helmet after putting in on. Safety is not limited to head gear, multiple layers of clothing are also essential, not just because of cold weather but for safety purposes as well.
If you are riding anywhere over 15mph and get into some mishappening, the denim clothing you are wearing will tear off in a second, so invest in protective pants and a good motorcycle jacket for riding a motorcycle.
3 - Get License and Registration
It goes without saying that you need to have a valid driving license before you ride any type of vehicle on the road. In the U.S. you require a special motorcycle endorsement on your driving license before riding a motorcycle, also the process and some rules vary from state to state and you need to be aware of this by getting in touch with the local authorities. Generally, a written test also needs to be taken as a part of this process.
To get your new license plate, you need to register your motorcycle. For registration, you will have to show that the ownership of the bike is in your name, this will avoid unnecessary hassle and it is also compulsory by law.
4 - Buy an Insurance
There are some other essential things to do before you set out on the road for riding a motorcycle. A motorcycle consumes very little fuel and the insurance is paid yearly, standard insurance can cost anything around $120 and keep you financially secure if you get into any accident. Your medical bills can be covered. In the case of little damage to your vehicle keep some little things handy that can be possibly repaired by you, even if you are not an expert mechanic.
According to the requirement of your motorcycle keep some fundamental tools with you such as engine oil, spark plug, spare tube, accelerator and brake cables etc. (http://www.holidify.com/blog/motorcycle-road-trip-tips/)
5 - Know Your Ride
It is imperative that you know your motorcycle inside out, so that you can know if something is amiss. Not just before your first bike ride but before riding a motorcycle every time, a good rider needs to assess the vehicle visually to check if everything is exactly where it is supposed to be.
Check the tire pressure and condition before riding a motorcycle. Also while riding keep an eye out for sharp objects or nails on the road. A tire blows in the case of a four wheeler and causes some inconvenience but you are on two wheels and a tire blowout can be life threatening.
6 - Check The Chain or Shaft
For propelling your bike forward a chain plays a very important role, the chain of the bike needs to be adjusted properly. If it is too tight you will not be able to use the suspension fully as it might not compress and if it is loose the driveline lash increases, creating difficulty in managing the throttle input, so the chain needs to be just right. If your bike does not have a chain and is shaft driven, then it requires equal attention as well.
Before riding a motorcycle know when to turn the choke on and off. If the engine of your bike has been sitting cold for some length of time, the choke should be turned on but mostly motorcycle riders forget to turn it off. Leaving it on repeatedly in such situations can cause unnecessary problems in the long run.
7 - Cables and Brakes
It is crucial that you check all the cables and adjust them properly if they are not in the right place. Before riding a motorcycle, keep in mind to check the brakes once, they should be working properly and the brake pads should be replaced when they wear out. You should also be aware of the fuel capacity and estimated mpg of your motorcycle.
8 - Check Lights and Battery
If you are riding a motorcycle at night, check that the lights work properly. Never ride out on the road without properly working head light and tail light, a motorcycle can be easily ignored by high capacity vehicles on the road. Properly working indicators are also crucial to indicate other drivers on the road. Proper use of lights keeps you safe on the road and they are compulsory as well.
Adjust mirrors before riding out according to your position on the bike. Check that the connections on the battery are tight; there should not be leaks and cracks. The vent hose should not be plugged and if your motorcycle does not have the sealed battery type check that the fluid in it is sufficient.
9 - Remember Oil, Ouel & Filter
Check for oil levels, some bikes make it easy with their sight glass, but if you don’t have that then check the oil level periodically. Before riding a motorcycle, ensure the brake oil is sufficient and never ignore an oil leak even if it is very little as it might get worse with time. Check the fuel gauge to ensure you have adequate gas for your ride.
Do you have a fuel valve? Remember to check its position as well. Also, ensure that the air filter is clean, because if it is dirty the overall performance of the engine is affected.
10 - Make Your First Ride Easy
A thorough pre-ride inspection during your initial few rides is very important; it should be made a habit later for each and every ride. Make yourself comfortable on the bike, get to a comfortable position and make riding a motorcycle easy by taking help from new technology. Use GPS to guide you on new roads, use ear plugs, newly designed helmets with multiple functionalities.
Get additional accessories for your motorcycle such as windshield according to your needs and riding conditions. Know the roads that you are going to tread most of the time know all the traffic rules and follow them.
Do you think this list is helpful to you as a novice motorcycle rider? While compiling this article, we concentrated on the fact that all riders should be aware of the basic pre-ride checklist that needs to be checked off. You can gather more knowledge as a new rider by looking at tips in this video.
Let us know what you think about this article, share if you think it is useful. If there is anything more that needs attention and can be helpful for new motorcycle riders, mention it in the comments section.